GCB board - taken at the 2018 Convention Conference

GCB Digest Online

GCB Digest Spring 2011 (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 SPRING, 2011 GCB Office 850 Gaines School Road Athens GA 30605 706-208-7132 1-888-519988 Email: gcbfyi@yahoo.com GCB President: William Holley 185 Weatherly Woods Drive Winterville, Georgia 30683 706-410-4945, Email: bill850@yahoo.com GCB Webmaster: Steven Longmire Email: info@sunbright.biz GCB Website: WWW.georgiacounciloftheblind.org Editor: Amanda Wilson 45 Rocky Circle, Northeast White, Georgia 30184 770-547-4700 Email: moonrocks@bellsouth.net Assistant Editor: Suzanne Jackson 131 Cannongate Circle Sharpsburg, GA 30277 770-463-1127 Email: susieb@numail.org TABLE OF CONTENTS From Your Editor, Amanda Wilson President’s Message, William Holley GCB Board Meeting Minutes from October, Robin Oliver GCB Board Meeting Minutes from January, Daniel Myers . . . . . . . . . 10 GCB Treasurer’s Report, Jerrie Toney GCB Committees and Contact Information GCB Award Guidelines Helpful Hints and Contact Info, Sheila Rousey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Oral Hull Adventure Camp, Judy Presley Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Seniors, Kay McGill Georgia Radio Reading Service, Jae Traina Cosby Lions Club hosts St. Patrick’s Day gala, Diane Glidewell 2011 Georgia Legislative Session in Review, Alice Ritchhart American Council of the Blind Legislative Agenda Chapter News Announcements From Your Editor, Amanda Wilson Hello, GCB Family. We thank each one who has submitted articles in this issue of our magazine. If you have any change of address, telephone number, email address, or desired change of format, please inform our GCB treasurer, Jerrie Toney, at jmt2@bellsouth.net or via telephone at 706-227-6142. I want to say thank you to everyone who makes our GCB digest such a big success. I particularly want to thank Suzanne Jackson, our assistant editor, for the many hours she has worked on the magazine, for her editing skills and for the excellent reading of the cassette tapes. I want to thank our president, William Holley, for his presidential messages, which include information about important events, legislation and projects. I appreciate the contributions from each member who sent articles, who made suggestions to make the magazine better, and have supported me in so many ways. President’s Message, William Holley Greetings GCB Family Members I pray this second presidential message finds you and your family members in good health and spirit. Since our last communication, many events and activities have occurred, involving our membership in the growth and development of Georgia Council of the Blind (GCB). I want to thank each and every one of our participating members for their commitment to the goal of enhancing the growth and development of our organization. However, there still remains some confusion about the committee structure and the objectives to involve our members in the decision making process of our organization. In order to clarify the objectives of the committees, our members will need to participate in deciding what they want to happen in the GCB committees. The committees were developed so all members can have a voice in the organization’s decision-making process. Also, it is an opportunity to ensure something gets accomplished by the organization leadership. For years, our members have engaged in hours of conversation about real issues that are still unresolved. We can no longer afford the luxury of waiting for someone to do things for us that we should be doing for ourselves. The committee members should be meeting and making recommendations to the GCB Board of Directors for an action plan to resolve the issues. As of April 16, 2011, the following committees have met or are scheduled to meet: Public Relations/Technology Committee, Finance Committee, Youth Committee, Banquet Committee, Leadership/Fund Development Committee, Constitution By-Laws Committee, and the Legislative/Transportation Committee. The Co- Chairs of the Committees will schedule all of the committee meetings. If you are interested in participating in a committee meeting, please contact the Co-Chairs of the committee or the GCB Secretary. Some of our GCB members may prefer not to participate in a committee. The committee structure is a lot more formal and businesslike in doing things. However, our members can still participate in the growth and development of GCB by attending exciting and fun events. Metro Atlanta Chapter had a wonderful event called Family Fun Day. Athens Chapter, along with members of the GCB Leadership, participated in the fun filled event. Stephens County Chapter had a great Gospel Music Festival. Metro Atlanta Chapter, Chattooga Chapter, and Athens Chapter participated in the event. Both of these events and all of our chapter meetings offer an opportunity to meet and greet members or potential members to become a part of the GCB family. I have heard it said, “GCB is not able to compete with organizations that have a lot of resources to offer its members. “ I suggest that GCB has a resource no other organization can offer, which is real down to earth people who know how to have real down to earth clean fun. You cannot buy that with a gadget or even a smart car. Our members must remain open minded, supportive of each other, and support the visually impaired and Blind community. When is your next chapter meeting or community activity? Invite a potential member and send an invitation to other chapter members. Remember each one must reach one to grow and develop GCB. GCB Board Meeting Minutes, Robin Oliver Georgia Council of the Blind GCB Office 850 Gaines School Rd. Athens, GA 30605O October 23, 2010 Board Minutes The meeting was called to order by 1st Vice President Bill Holley. Willie Harris gave the invocation. Joseph McNeil was appointed Parliamentarian. Roll Call and Introductions were made around the room. Members Present: President, Alice Ritchhart; 1st Vice-president, Bill Holley; Secretary, Robin Oliver; Treasurer, Jerrie Toney; At-large Representative, Valerie Leighton; Athens Chapter, Willie Harris; Atlanta West Chapter, Steve Estes (via phone); Bainbridge Chapter, Tonya Wright (via phone); Greater Columbus Chapter, Dirk Jones; Greater Hall County Chapter, Judy Presley; Macon Chapter, Tim Kelly; Metro Atlanta Chapter, Ann Sims; Northwest Chapter, Fred McDade; Rome Floyd County Chapter, Tonia Clayton; Savannah Chapter, Teresa Brenner; Stephens County Chapter, Al Camp; GCBL, Barbara Graham; and GGDU, Marj Schneider. Also present were GCB Editor, Amanda Wilson, Webmaster, Steve Longmire and Parliamentarian, Joe McNeil. Members Absent: 2nd vice-president, Keith Morris; Augusta Chapter; East Georgia Chapter. The secretary read the minutes and 3 corrections/changes were made: 1. Betsy Grenevitch represented GGDU, 2. Non roll call vote changed to indecisive and 3. Remove baggage from the rooms to time to check out. Minutes were then accepted. Annie Harris read the Treasurer’s report; Ending Check Balance $8,422.90, Ending Savings $11,392.03, Ending CD $11,243.13 and Portfolio $64,813.65. Ann Sims moved it be accepted to audit. Motioned was carried. Judy Presley reported that the convention was all in all a good event in spite of a few problems, such as some people being placed in rooms that were a distance from the main event places. Alice mentioned that she would send the secretary the resolution that was made so that it could be sent out. Marsha inquired about GCB buying its own portable microphone system. Bill suggested that a technology committee look into things that may be needed by the GCB office, the costs, and how they would fit into our budget. Steve Estes made a presentation on behalf of Atlanta West to be the host of the one-day event in 2011. The board voted that Atlanta West be the 2011 hosts. There was much discussion as to whether GCB should enter into a contract with the Dept. of Labor, which would have a member of GCB, working in conjunction with Kay McGill, making presentations to seniors around the state. It was motioned, seconded and carried. Finance – Marsha reported that the small auction gifts that did not sell were passed on to the Stephens County chapter to sell at their auction; this was done since all proceeds made at the Stephens auction are given to GCB. The $800 value Helen package expires March 31 and is on the GCB website. The Georgia students that were sponsored at the convention are very appreciative of the sponsorship. Bill would like volunteers to join the financial committee. Marsha stated that you do not have to be a numbers person to serve on the finance committee; creative and energetic minds may come up with bright ideas that may inspire the members to see things in a different light. All volunteers, please let Bill know. In order to prepare for the upcoming Legislative Seminar, the present committee and any new volunteers will meet to discuss the budget before January. At this time, we do not know if we are sending anyone to the Legislative Seminar. Web Auction – Steve reported that you can go directly to the auction site using www.georgiacounciloftheblind.org]/auction. They will set up a user ID and password that you can use continually. You can also submit your bids by email or phone. The site will keep the highest bid posted. The hosting and domain name are now listed under GCB and not Steve Longmire, and the company we are using is go daddy. This drops our costs from $120 to around $70-75. He is looking into adding Google Ads to our website, so that the site can earn some money. At this time, we have an email account that has one email. For an additional $15 we could go from 1 to 5 email accounts. These accounts are assigned accounts, and they have a more professional look. From our domain, we paid $15 for one email account, and under Godaddy we would pay $30 for 5. Feedback from the members is greatly appreciated and desired. Alice motioned that we pay the additional $15 to go to five email accounts. The motion was seconded and carried. Legislative/Transportation – Alice started with the resolution to the Dept. of Resources concerning the inaccessibility of the park we used for our convention. It has to be signed by the secretary and sent to the Dept. of Resources. Senator Ramsey will carry the Commission for the Blind bill and we will be starting from scratch. It will state that the Commission would serve as advisors with the library and center that sends the books out to students. No one knows why the Braille Literacy Bill did not make it out of committee last year but it will be reintroduced. We will ask for the funding for the Deaf-Blind bill that was passed without mandates a few years ago. On the federal level, the Telecommunications, after 3 years, (and the FCC still has to write the regulations), has passed. On transportation the state legislators passed HB 277. During the 2012 elections, your region will have an opportunity to vote on a one-cent sales tax that will go towards transportation. If your region already has this in their program they will receive 15-20 per cent (except Atlanta, who could get up to 50%) of the funds collected to go towards operation and maintenance of public transportation. You must advocate now, and get your mayors or county commissioners in your region to go along with this program. G Vest – Betsy Grenevitch spoke on the Georgia Educators who work with the visually impaired. The theme this year was Assess for Success. It is a conference that runs from Wednesday evening to Friday afternoon. The keynote speaker was Karen Blankenship, who is over the National Agenda. It was highly stressed that TBI’s should be used as teachers and not tutors, and an emphasis should be placed on Core Curriculum (O&M, Braille, Independent Living Skills, etc.) They held a Media program, which focused on teaching Braille to students who still have a good bit of vision. Paul Raymond made an appearance. Paul is working on providing training regardless of the economic status of the family. This will be implemented statewide. O&M and Technology are now classified as adjustment services. Your goal does not have to be that you want a job; you can choose to be a homemaker. Betsy thanked GCB for allowing her to represent us. Constitution Amendments – Robin tried to introduce an amendment, and it was determined that it was not presented correctly and no action was taken. The matter of conflict of interest became a matter of discussion, concerning Alice’s representing GCB under the Department of Labor, while she was serving as GCB President. The Conflict of Interest point is this: no governing officer shall receive compensation in the name of the organization, and be a voting member of the board. The board went into a closed session. There was much discussion between Alice and Bill with different interpretations of what is a conflict of interest. Marj wondered if there was a mutual authority that all would trust that could give some clarification, and Marsha suggested that maybe the Executive Board meet with Mitch Pomerantz and other national members to discuss this matter. Marsha participated in training through ACB on this very topic and signed an agreement on this matter. After more discussion, Alice, in order to eliminate confusion and allow us to move forward, resigned her position as GCB President. The board will look into how we can prevent such questions from happening again. Service Project for the Academy of the Blind, Box tops for Education - Alice reported that the Bainbridge Chapter participated in the campaign. You can check at www.boxtopsforeducation.com to see if you can continue to participate. The Blind Coalition will be November 13, 2010, and all are encouraged to attend. In an attempt to avoid the traffic in Atlanta during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, and moving to a slightly warmer spot than Athens, the board voted to hold the next board meeting in MaCON. Respectfully submitted, Robin Oliver, GCB Secretary Georgia Council of the Blind Board Meeting Minutes Saturday January 22nd, 2011 Georgia Academy for the Blind Macon, GA The meeting was called to order by President Bill Holley, and he welcomed all in attendance. Invocation was given by Fred McDade. Roll Call - Officers present : Bill Holley (President), Keith Morris (First Vice-President), Steve Longmire (Second Vice-President), Robin Oliver (Secretary-by Telephone), Jerrie Toney (Treasurer), Valerie Leighton(Member at Large), Athens, Daniel Myers, Augusta, Heather Lopez, Bainbridge, Tonya Wright, Chattooga, Marsha Farrow, East GA, Neb Houston, Tim Kelly, representing Macon, Metro Atlanta, Ann Sims, Fred McDade, representing Northwest, Tonia Clayton, representing Rome/Floyd, Savannah, Teresa Brenner, Stephens, Al Camp, GCBL, Anne Wheeler and GGDU, Marj Schneider. GCB Editor Amanda Wilson was also present. Officers Absent: Atlanta West, Greater Columbus and Greater Hall. The annual reading of the Constitution & Bylaws was done by John M. Sims. The swearing in using the Oath of Office was given by Secretary Robin Oliver by telephone. GCB Minutes-had been e-mailed out by Secretary Robin Oliver-Motioned, Seconded, and Approved. GCB Treasurer Report was Read for Jerrie Toney by Kathy Morris-also had print outs of it. Motioned, Seconded, and Approved to accept for audit. GCB Finances Report-which was the Proposed Budget for 2011-was also read for Jerrie Toney by Kathy Morris-and also had print outs for it. Constitution Amendment - The following was proposed as an amendment. GCB Constitution Article V. Officers, Directors and Appointees Original: Section 6: Appointees The Editor of the GCB Digest and the GCB Webmaster shall be appointed by a majority of the GCB Board of Directors, shall attend Board meetings and shall have a voice, but no vote. The GCB Digest Editor and the GCB Webmaster may designate a representative to serve in his or her absence from a Board meeting. Proposed Change: Section 6: Appointees The Editor of the GCB Digest and the GCB Webmaster shall be appointed by a majority of the GCB Board of Directors, shall attend Board meetings and shall each have a vote. The GCB Digest editor and the GCB webmaster may designate a representative to serve in his or her absence from a Board meeting. If either the Webmaster or The GCB Digest editor hold a state office, they shall designate someone to represent them on the GCB board as the Webmaster and/or the Digest editor. Signed; Dirk Jones Anita Thomas Tonya Wright Robin Oliver Ann Sims After discussion it was motioned, seconded and approved. Old Business: 1. Department of Labor Contract; President Bill Holley discussed this matter to make sure that it was understood that there are no conflict of interests involved and that everything was clear that the contract is between DOL & GCB, and he would get a letter from DOL acknowledging this fact, and that Alice Ritchhart is the GCB representative. 2. GCB 2011 Banquet - This will be hosted by the Atlanta West chapter in Carrollton, GA. It was discussed if we should have the April board meeting there in order to take a tour of the place; if not a board meeting, perhaps a committee could go and tour the place. 3. DD Council Communication Workshop - It was stated that for those who participated in the workshop at the convention, to turn in their transportation costs so they can be reimbursed. New Business: GCB Committee Appointments; all elected Chapter Officers are assigned to a committee. Any other members are also welcome to be on any of these committees. This information is listed in the last issue of the GCB Digest: Committees are as follows: Leadership/Resource Development - Chair, President Bill Holley, assigned members Chapter Presidents Membership - Co-chairs !st Vice Keith Morris & Phil Jones, assigned members Chapter 1 Vice Presidents Public Relations/Technology - Co-chairs 2nd Vice Steve Longmire & GCB Editor Amanda Wilson, assigned members chapter 2 Vice Presidents Finance - Co-chairs Treasurer Jerrie Toney & Bookkeeper Kathy Morris, assigned members chapter treasures Constitution/By-Laws - Co-chairs Secretary Robin Oliver & Parliamentarian Joe McNeil, assigned members chapter secretaries Legislative/Transportation - Co-chairs At large rep Valerie Leighton & Adam Shapiro Appointed Committees: Awards - Chair Judy Presley, Banquet Chairs Atlanta West and Scholarship Chair Debbie Williams Affiliate membership - It was discussed that being a member of any affiliate does not automatically make you a GCB member. You have to pay GCB dues to be a GCB member. Announcements: Georgia Guide Dog Users (GGDU) will meet Saturday, February 26, 2011 at the University of GA, in Athens. Transportation Day at the State Capitol will be Thursday February 3, 2011 in Atlanta, GA. Blind Day at the state capitol will be held in the Coverdell Building on February 8, 2011 Stephens County Chapter will hold their annual Gospel Fest fund raiser will be Sunday, February 13, 2011. The location of the April Board meeting will be announced at a future date. The meeting was adjourned. Respectfully submitted, Daniel Myers, President Athens Council of the Blind GCB Treasury Report By Jerrie Toney September 1 through September 30, 2010: Beginning Balance: $18,570.20 Ending Balance: $8,422.90 Scholarship Balance: $2,379.24 Savings Account Balance: $11,392.03 Interest Paid: $0.94 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,392.97 CD Balance: $11,238.35 CD Interest Earned: $4.78 Ending CD Balance: $11,243.13 Total Combined Amounts: $33,438.24 Portfolio: $64,813.65 October 1 through October 31, 2010: Beginning Balance: $8,422.90 Scholarship Balance: $2,004.24 Savings Account Balance: $ 11,392.97 Interest Paid: $0.97 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,393.94 CD Balance: $11,243.13 CD Interest Earned: $3.70 Ending CD Balance: $11,246.83 Total Combined Amounts: $32,210.96 Portfolio: $65,809.59 November 1 through November 30, 2010: Beginning Balance: $7,565.95 Ending Balance: $9,940.48 Scholarship Balance: $2,510.25 Savings Account Balance: $11,393.94 Interest Paid: $0.94 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,394.88 CD Balance: $11,246.83 CD Interest Earned: $3.82 Ending CD Balance: $11,250.65 Total Combined Amounts: $35,096.26 Portfolio: $66,537.21 December 1 through December 31, 2010: Beginning Balance: $9,940.48 Scholarship Balance: $2,510.25 Savings Account Balance: $11,394.88 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,395.85 CD Balance: $11,250.65 CD Interest Earned: $3.82 Ending CD Balance: $11,254.47 Total Combined Amounts: $35,473.58 Portfolio: $65,579.50 January 1 through January 31, 2011: Beginning Balance: $10,313.01 Ending Balance: $10,807.14 Scholarship Balance: $3,274.05 Savings Account Balance: $11,395.85 Interest Paid: $0.97 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,396.82 CD Balance: $11,254.47 CD Interest Earned: $3.70 Ending CD Balance: $11,258.17 Total Combined Amounts: $36,736.18 Portfolio: $69,014.40 February 1 through February 28, 2011: Beginning Balance: $10,807.14 Ending Balance: $10,180.59 Scholarship Balance: $3,516.45 Savings Account Balance: $11,396.82 Interest Paid: $0.87 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,397.69 CD Balance: $11,258.17 CD Interest Earned: $3.82 Ending CD Balance: $11,261.99 Total Combined Amounts: $36,356.72 Portfolio: $68,685.01 March 1 through March 31, 2011: Beginning Balance: $10,180.59 Ending Balance: $8,415.41 Scholarship Balance: $4,342.85 Savings Account Balance: $11,397.69 Interest Paid: $0.97 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,398.66 CD Balance: $11,261.99 CD Interest Earned: $3.46 Ending CD Balance: $11,265.45 Total Combined Amounts: $35,422.37 Portfolio: $69,932.60 April 1 through April 30, 2011: Beginning Balance: $8,415.41 4/1/2011: $1,008.00 Balance Transfer “Scholarship fund $1,008.00 Main checking account into the Scholarship fund” 4/8/2011: $50.00 American Council of the Blind MMS program Scholarship Balance: $5,350.85 (Scholarship fund) Anyone interested in acquiring copies of the 2010-2011 treasurer’s reports, budget, and/or 2010-2011 convention report may make your request known by contacting the GCB office: Multiple Choices Center, 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, GA 30605, by telephone at 706-529-1020, or via email at jmt2@bellsouth.net and your request shall be honored. GCB Committees and Contact Information Leadership and Fund Development Committee Chairman, Bill Holley- The President of each chapter will be represented on this committee (706) 410-4945 Email: gcbill850@yahoo.com Membership Committee Co-Chairs, Keith Morris- The First Vice President of each chapter will be represented on this committee (706) 595-1465 Email: mkumorris@yahoo.com Phil Jones (678) 957-6676 Email: brilman1952@bellsouth.net Public Relations/Technology Committee Co-Chairs, Steve Longmire- The Second Vice President of each chapter will be represented on this committee (404) 234-5820 Email: info@sunbright.biz Amanda Wilson (770) 547-4700 Email: moonrocks@bellsouth.net Constitution and Bylaws Committee Co-Chairs, Robin Oliver- The Secretaries of each chapter will be represented on this committee. (706) 549-1020 Email: gcbfyi@yahoo.com Joe McNeil (706) 322-3311 Email: jdmcneil@knology.net Finance Committee Co-Chairs, Jerrie Toney- The Treasurers of each chapter will be represented on this committee. (706) 227-6142 Email: jmt2@bellsouth.net Kathy Morris (706) 595-1465 Email: mkumorris@yahoo.com Legislative/Transportation Committee Co-Chairs, Valarie Leighton- The Members-at-Large will be represented on this committee with any volunteer from membership. (912) 398-9985 Email: valveepbaseball@yahoo.com Adam Shapiro (404) 874-3005 GCB Awards Guidelines and Committees It is time once again to read over the GCB Awards Guidelines and nominate those members you think deserve to be recipients of these awards. The deadline this year is June 15, 2011. The committees and chairs with their contact information are listed after the Guidelines. GCB Awards Guidelines 1. All awards committees shall be appointed at the January board meeting. 2. Nominations for all awards shall be submitted to the respective award committee chairpersons in writing (including e-mail) no later than June 15, 2011. 3. Nominations shall include the name of the candidate, plus the reason the candidate deserves the award. 4. Each award committee chairperson shall read to his/her committee members all award nominations. 5. The decision for selecting the award recipient shall be made by all members of that committee. 6. Criteria for the Rhoda Walker Award, suggested by Rhoda's sister, Helen Wasileski: The recipient can be a blind or sighted individual. Services rendered must be of non-paying status. Services may be any endeavor in the field of teaching, service, and betterment of life for the blind. The recipient must provide public awareness through speaking, seminars, and/or demonstration. There must be involvement of the educational field/teaching Braille. The recipient must push any innovation involving blindness or blind people. 7. The committee for selecting the recipient of the June Willis Guiding Eyes Award shall be legally blind. 8. The sighted recipient of the June Willis Guiding Eyes Award (who must be a GCB member) shall be known to GCB members through attendance at GCB state activities, and through his/her willing assistance and service to the blind and visually impaired. 9. The Walter R. McDonald Award shall be presented to an outstanding visually impaired individual who has, through his/her leadership and service, contributed significantly to the betterment of the blind and visually impaired community, and who has demonstrated by deeds and achievements his/her dedication to the principles incident to blindness espoused and practiced by the late Walter R. McDonald. The recipient may or may not be a member of the Georgia Council of the Blind. 10. The recipient of The Gerald Pye Community Service Award must be an active legally blind member of GCB in good standing. He or she must have demonstrated superior service to his or her community in a number of ways that exemplify the work of Gerald Pye. The candidate must be nominated in writing by a GCB member who knows first hand of the candidate's community services. Examples of this service must be included in the written recommendation. 11. All GCB awards shall be presented periodically at a GCB state convention. Awards Committee Co-Chairs Judy Presley 706-878-2962 Email: hoyal@windstream.net). (June Willis Guiding Eyes) (Gerald Pye Community Service Award) (Rhoda W. Walker) (Walter R. McDonald) (Scholarship Awards) Chair, Debbie Williams 770-595-1007 Debbie_teaches@comcast.net 1477 Nebo Road Dallas, GA30157 The deadline for receipt of scholarship information is June 15, 2011. Scholarship applications may be obtained from Chair, Debbie Williams, at the address above, or via the Web Site: www.georgiacouncilfortheblind.org Helpful Hints By Sheila Rousey Hello, all GCB members, Sheila Rousey from the Stephens County chapter had this great idea of collecting and sharing some inexpensive helpful household hints and tricks that might help people with visual impairments to be more independent. She hopes that others in our group will send in their helpful household hints and tricks so that we might combine them into a resource booklet that could someday be used as a fund raiser. She said, “Many other organizations create these types of booklets and sell them as a fund raiser for their organizations.” Rousey also commented that we ALL know about the low-vision and adaptive aids from mail-order suppliers. This list is created for the purpose of locating items from LOCAL stores that can be used, and at a much lower cost to visually impaired consumers. Sheila suggested the following format for submitting ideas to this project. Name of contributor: Organization: Category: (such as labeling items) Product information: (where to purchase the materials); Description: (such as how the materials can be used) Here is the helpful hint for the spring issue of the GCB Digest. Name of contributor: William (Bill) Graham Organization: Stephens County Area GA Council of the Blind Category: Labeling – Raised Markers Product Location: Michael’s Brand: Recollections Pearl Stickers Price: Package 49¢ Description: These plastic beads come in six strands appearing as though they are a strand of beads. They can be cut apart or used in their strand to create multiple bead patterns for marking items. Each strand contains 16 beads. Strands are also different sizes from very small to very big sized beads. To contact Sheila Rousey please email her at rtsbrousey@nctv.com or call her at 706-886-8619. ORAL HULL ADVENTURE CAMP BY JUDY PRESLEY It has been my experience over the years that each time I have been brave enough to step out of my comfort zone and try something adventurous, that it has increased my self-confidence and self-esteem. Whether it was leaving home for several weeks to get a guide dog, attending a national convention, learning to cross country ski at Ski for Light or back packing in Colorado with llamas, I always come home as a stronger person. I recently heard about an adventure camp for the blind in Oregon called the Oral Hull Camp for the Blind. I decided to check it out and this is what I found: The goal of the Oral Hull Camp for the Blind is to provide a variety of traditional and more adventurous activities and to allow each person to select his own activities of interest. Among the adventurous activities are wind surfing, sky diving, dragon boating, white water rafting, jet boating, bungee jumping, long distance bike riding, rock climbing, and of course, more traditional camp activities such as crafts, archery, swimming, music, hiking, and just enjoying the company of other great people from all across the US and the beyond. They accept around 32 to 40 people per session. The average age is around 50 years old. Over 60 percent of the campers come from outside the Pacific North West. The Oral Hull Camp was founded in 1962 as the only blind specific retreat and conference center in the Pacific North West. It is located in serene rural Sandy, Oregon, with magnificent gardens and giant evergreen trees. Highlights of the park include the Enchanted Gardens, a spacious lodge with a native stone fire place in the dining room, and Braille library. There is a swimming pool and a 14 seat indoor spa, walking track, trout pond and expansive paved walking trails, many with guide rails and much more. This sounded like the perfect place for me, whether I indulged in the adventurous activities or just spent time strolling in the Enchanted Gardens. I later found out that I could bring a family member if I wanted to. I have signed up for the last week in July, so you may hear more in the fall Digest. Contact information for the Oral Hull camp in Oregon: Phone 503 668 6195 Web site http://www.oralhull.org Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Seniors By Kay McGill Are you or is someone you know at least 55 years of age and experiencing vision loss or a combined vision and hearing loss? Project Independence could help. This vision program for seniors is administered by the Georgia Department of Labor/Vocational Rehabilitation Program and provides services that can help you remain independent, including: * Low vision exams by qualified professionals to assess your needs * Skills training in your home community by certified rehabilitation specialists * Mobility training by certified instructors * Support groups that offer opportunities to learn from and interact with peers * Assistive devices such as talking watches, pocket talkers, big button phones and magnifiers * Funds for seniors to attend and participate in the Camp for the Blind, Camp for the Deaf-Blind, Helen Keller National Center, Confident Living Program, and the Albany Center for the Blind. * Training for groups and/or individuals on living with vision loss and topics such as handwriting, laundry, recreation, labeling, Braille and computer training. Georgia Department of Labor/Vocational Rehabilitation contracts with Project Independence Service Providers throughout the state. Contact Kay McGill, Manager, and Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for seniors, 404-638-5208 or kay.mcgill@dol.state.ga.us for more detailed information and referral. Contact Information: Kay McGill M.A. Ed. CRC Manager, Georgia Vision Program for Seniors Dept of Labor/Vocational Rehabilitation Services 755 Commerce Drive, Suite 615 Decatur, GA 30030-2619 Georgia Radio Reading Service By Jae Traina Cosby As the State’s only radio reading service, the Georgia Radio Reading Service (Gars) is an independent 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1980 whose mission is to improve the quality of life for every Georgian who is blind, visually-impaired or has difficulty with access to the printed word. Through sub channel radio transmission and streaming on the Internet (www.garrs.net), volunteers from across Georgia provide approximately 160 different radio shows each month including cover-to-cover readings of magazines, newspapers, and books, population-specific programming (Seniors, Veterans and Hispanic/Latino News), public service announcements and information regarding community-support programs. Gars’ programming is designed to inform listeners of opportunities to obtain or maintain independence in their own communities, increase their personal health outcomes, obtain or maintain self sufficient employment (livable wage), and increase their community involvement, advocacy and socialization. For more information, or to order a radio or request a website listener password, please contact Gars at 1-800-672-6173 or visit www.garrs.net. Or contact Jae Traina Cosby, Executive Director Georgia Radio Reading Service, Inc. (GaRRS, Inc.) 260 14th Street, NW Atlanta, Georgia 30318 404-685-2822 (direct) 678-472-1401 (cell) 404-685-2821 (fax) jcosby@gpb.org www.garrs.net
Lions Club Hosts St. Patrick’s Day Gala Reporter: Diane Glidewell Email Address: dglidewell@myjpa.com Sounds of music, laughter, and conversation streamed from the National Guard Armory on Franklin Street in Jackson, into the spring evening on Saturday, March 19, as the first St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance held by the Greater Butts County Lions Club was enjoyed by more than 200 people. In the midst of shamrocks, green tablecloths, sparkling table lights, and other decorations reflecting the special Irish Saint’s Day, those attending began the festivities with a traditional meal of corned beef, cabbage and new potatoes, plus a choice of chicken, catered by Winnie Goodman of Wing Depot, and her staff. After the dinner, the party moved to the dance mode, with the DJ offering fast, slow, and line-dance numbers. There was also karaoke, and there proved to be many local talents ready to take the microphone and add to the evening’s entertainment. For some of those attending, the party became a family affair. Michelle Reasor pointed out that, seated at one table, were her mother and four sisters, plus other family members. Cindy Cook, whose birthday was on March 20, enjoyed the dancing with her mother, Edith Lusk, and daughter, Amy Cook, as well as other members of the family. “We’re having a ball,” said Reasor. “We consider it a great success and are planning to do it again next year,” said Linda Godin, of the Greater Butts County Lions Club. The funds raised by the event -- tickets were $20 per person -- will be used for the new Veterans Memorial Park, which is being designed on land recently donated for it on East Third Street in Jackson. Funds will also go toward two scholarships for Butts County students. “It’s so awesome. Many of these women [of the Lions Club] took a day off from work to get things ready yesterday,” said Goodman. “They are so willing to give.” Gordon Cook, of the Greater Butts County Lions Club, pointed out two special guests: Mel Mosier and Scout. A special cause of Lions Clubs internationally is assisting those who have needs related to eyesight, whether it be a better pair of glasses or help in adjusting to a world without sight. Mosier, who grew up in Michigan, moved to Butts County from Henry County five years ago and received Scout from Leader Dogs for the Blind in Michigan two years ago. “It was thanks to the hard work of a bunch of Lions who virtually paid for him,” said Mosier, who was introduced to the Lions Club International shortly after being accepted for the leader/guide dog program. The Greater Butts County Lions Club was chartered a year and a half ago, and Mosier has recently become acquainted with the local chapter. “I want to introduce Scout to these Lions and tell them ‘thank you,’” said Mosier. Mosier said that many people have to use a white cane instead of a dog but that progress with a cane is slow. He said that he has a wonderful relationship with Scout and that Scout, whose father is a yellow lab and whose mother is a black lab, decides to work by choice. “Some people think I’m training him, but he’s training me,” explained Mosier. Scout did not seem to mind the crowds of people and the relatively loud music at the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance, but he did take a nap during part of the party. The members of the Greater Butts County Lions Club were definitely not napping at the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance, as they were busy combining work with fun for themselves and others. The relatively new group was named Butts County Organization of the Year at the Butts County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony on March 5. 2011 Georgia Legislative Session in Review By Alice Ritchhart This year we did not favor too well in the legislative arena. We were unable to get the Commission bill introduced because our sponsor was a freshman representative to the house, and was so overwhelmed he did not feel comfortable in introducing it. We have been assured he will do so next year, and now that the session is over, he is going to meet with us so he can be prepared. I reported at the board meeting that it did not look like the Braille Literacy bill was going to be introduced this year either, but the last week of the session, it was dropped into the hopper. It is HB 662 and when the session starts next year it will be read, then assigned to a committee. So get ready to help push this along. We tried to get the legislators not to cut funding to Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), but I am afraid that it is going to happen. There are major changes happening at VRS, and if we do not act ,we could lose out as blind clients. There is rumor that the new Interim Director thinks General Counselors is ok, and if we don’t stay alert we could take two steps back. It is important that the President of GCB get a letter written to Annette Bowling of the ARC to ask that she help influence the Commissioner of DOL to let the blind become a totally separate division of VRS with its own director answering to the Commissioner with its own funding. She is willing to do so, but needs to hear from GCB that we want her help. Having a Division like Florida’s will make it easier once the economy improves to get a Commission. Let me state that some of us met with the Governor’s office and they made it clear that with the current fiscal troubles, we will not get a Commission, and so if we can get a Division, this will be better than current status. Also this year during the session, a House and Senate bill was introduced that would have given the preference for state prisons vending to disabled police and Veterans. For them this meant that they only have “10%” disability to be able to bid on these sites. Also if passed, it would wipe out the BEP preference. Several venders and members of the Georgia Statewide Coalition for the Blind showed up at the hearing and spoke against the bill in the Senate. We were called protesters, even though we were not disruptive, but they can call us what they want as we were successful in stopping this bill. One of the sponsors stated he was not aware of the BEP program, and so wanted to study it and re-write it. In the House, it never made it out of committee, and so we must just watch to make sure it doesn’t move next year. In the meantime, the BEP Vender’s Committee is taking steps to get the priority for BEP in all Georgia state facilities including the prisons. Finally regarding HB 277, the law that we will vote on during the primaries in 2012 for a one cent sales tax for transportation moves along. We had the opportunity to ask that our interest be added to the project list of each regional round table. Each region has a round table, and they were to have their project list to Georgia’s Department of Transportation (GDOT) by March 30, 2011. We were advocating for the list to include: monies for operating and maintenance of existing systems, sidewalks, curb cuts, accessible buses, and audio pedestrian signals to list a few. I can report that Athens got their request for some of these items on the list. Macon got request for funds for capitol and operating and maintenance of transit system. Augusta got request for operating and maintenance, and also for 10 audio pedestrian signals. Chatham and Brunswick region got operating and maintenance for the transit system and improvements to routes to bus stops (i.e. Curb cuts, and sidewalks etc.). Hall County did not do as well. They did not get funds for operating and maintenance of the transit system. The Mayor told the folks with disabilities in Gainesville they would use their local match to fund the local transit, but nothing for the regional cause. It was suggested that they get in writing the promise of using the local match for public transit. In Northwest Georgia they did not do as well either. They got on the list to do bike paths, and curb cuts, but no monies for operating and maintenance of the public transit. In fact, some of the counties refused to believe that the funds could be used for this even though it is spelled out clearly in the law, and their Senator is the sponsor of the legislation. It was suggested to these folks that when the public hearing occurs, they should show up and state they will not support the bill. They should ask then and get in writing that they will use their local match to then pay for operation and maintenance of the transit system. Atlanta was also successful in getting operation and maintenance on their list. It is now up to all of us who got our items on the round table list to make sure they stay there. American Council of the Blind Legislative Agenda 2011 Legislative Imperatives Three issues are at the forefront of ACB’s legislative agenda in 2011. These include: access to prescription drug label information; Medicare coverage of low vision devices, and amendment of the Internal Revenue Code to promote charitable donations of qualified vehicles. I. Accessible Prescription Drug Labeling The Issue: At least 25 million Americans experience severe vision loss impacting their ability to independently read prescription labeling and related information. Given that the incidence of vision loss is expected to dramatically increase, this poses a significant public health challenge. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implements laws and regulations that govern the amount and nature of information that is provided to the public about prescription drugs. However, the FDA has never issued specific regulations or guidelines to guarantee that prescription drug information intended for patients is accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired. In general, states are the primary regulators of the content and format of information provided directly on prescription bottles and/or pharmacy-provided packaging. Nearly all of the states in the union have statutory requirements pertaining to prescription labeling. However, no state law ensures that prescription labeling is accessible to persons with vision loss. Legislative Action: ACB calls on Congress to introduce and pass The Prescription Drug Accessibility Act. This legislation would grant the FDA clear authority to regulate this area and develop standards to ensure that prescription labeling is accessible to individuals with vision loss. A number of existing solutions demonstrate the feasibility of providing access to prescription drug labeling and pharmacies should be prepared to provide prescription labeling by multiple means. II. Low Vision Aid Exclusion The Issue: In November of 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) promulgated a regulation that has had a detrimental impact on the lives of countless individuals who are blind or visually impaired. To the dismay of the blind community, the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Acquisition Rule contains a provision entitled "Low Vision Aid Exclusion" which states that all devices, "irrespective of their size, form, or technological features that use one or more lens to aid vision or provide magnification of images for impaired vision" are excluded from Medicare coverage based on the statutory "eyeglass" exclusion. ACB is well aware that this extremely restrictive reading of the "eyeglass" exclusion has resulted in the denial of vital assistive devices for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries who may have disabilities, particularly those with vision loss, who need to use such devices to live healthy, safe and independent lives. This proposal has had a significant impact on beneficiaries with vision impairments who depend on assistive technology that incorporates "one or more lens" to aid in their vision. The expansion of the eyeglass exclusion has prevented access to devices such as hand-held magnifiers, video monitors, and other technologies that utilize lenses to enhance vision. Unbelievably, CMS has also excluded coverage of inexpensive devices like white canes. Legislative Action: ACB calls on the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to introduce and pass the Low Vision Devices Inclusion Act of 2011. This critical legislation would overturn the CMS regulation barring coverage for low vision devices and establish criteria for their provision. Such criteria would acknowledge other distinctive features employed by the most valuable low vision devices, other than their mere use of a lens, such as a device's integration of a light source, use of electrical power, or other distinctive features. III. Vehicle Donation The Issue: Since its original authorization in 1986, charitable vehicle donation has become a critical fundraising tool for over 5,000 large and small charities like ACB and its state affiliates. As these programs proliferated, so did concern about abuses. In November 2003, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported on the benefits to charities and donors that resulted from vehicle donations. Before 2005, a taxpayer could deduct the fair market value (FMV) of vehicles donated to charity. Under Section 170 of Title 26 of the US Code, a donor could claim FMV as long as it was under $5000. However, some donors were fraudulently claiming excessive deductions and some charities were shortchanged by unscrupulous third-party contractors who manage their car donation programs. According to the GAO, these problems were exacerbated by insufficient IRS oversight to detect or police these problems. In its F/Y 2005 budget request, the Administration proposed reforming the rules governing vehicle donations by requiring a qualified appraisal on all donated vehicles. The final changes, included in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, limited deductions over $500 to the proceeds of eventual sale of the vehicle by the charity, regardless of appraised value. Only if the charity keeps and uses the car to advance its own mission, rather than selling it for the resulting revenue, can the donor now deduct FMV exceeding $500. A GAO report, released in 2008, documented overall decreases in vehicle donations of 15 percent in 2005 and another 28 percent in 2006. Unfortunately, since 2005 ACB has felt the consequences of this regulation and has witnessed revenues from vehicle donations shrink by 85%, and the number of vehicles that have been donated plummeted by 94%. Legislative Action: Based on these reports and testimonials from charities, legislation was introduced in the 111th Congress to restore certainty to prospective car donors about the resulting deduction. That bill garnered 211 congressional cosponsors from across the political spectrum. At the beginning of the 112th Congress, Senator John Ensign (R-NV), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced the text of that bill as S. 110, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to promote charitable donations of qualified vehicles. The bill permits donors to claim FMV up to $2500 and requires the IRS to issue new guidance for donors and charities on how to properly calculate FMV. Claims of value exceeding $2500 would require a certified appraisal. The bill would maintain IRS reporting requirements for both taxpayers and charities--and retain penalties for false reporting--without scaring away donors altogether. The American Council of the Blind supports this legislation. For further information, contact Eric Bridges, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs American Council of the Blind 2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 650 Arlington, VA 22201 ebridges@acb.org GCB Chapter News Atlanta West The Atlanta West chapter is hard at work these days. The sleepy west Georgia city of Carrollton is excited, as we iron out the details for the one-day state convention. The site of the convention meetings will be the beautiful new Cultural Arts Center, a treasury of international art and music. The banquet, featuring a luau theme, will be at the Hawaiian Restaurant, which is next door to the center. Meanwhile, our chapter still strives to increase both membership and finances by planning fund raisers, and inviting interesting guest speakers. We always attempt to inform newcomers about services such as the Regional Library for the blind and available adaptive technology for accessing computers. The Atlanta West Chapter officers are Steve Estes as president; James Holland as vice-president; Joan Estes as secretary and treasurer. The Atlanta West Chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month at 11:00 A.M. at the Carrollton Regional Library in Carrollton, Georgia. For more information please contact Steve Estes at 770-562-4213 or via email at stestes@bellsouth.net. Athens Chapter The Athens Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind reports that they had a brief meeting on Sat. Feb. 19th at Showtime Bowling Center here in Athens--and then took part in the Multiple Choices Bowl-a-thon on that day with several of our members bowling in the bowl-a-thon, including myself. Our chapter donated money in the amount of $300.00 to Multiple Choices for the bowl-a-thon. The purpose of the Multiple Choices bowl-a-thon was a fund raiser to raise money to try to keep Multiple Choices sustained, and to serve people with all kinds of disabilities. On Friday, March 25, at six o’clock, the Athens Chapter will be having its Music Night Fundraiser, with several bands and groups playing and singing at Little King's. The Athens Chapter officers are Daniel Myers as president; Jerrie Toney as first vice-president; Pete Hayek as second vice-President; Robin Oliver as secretary; Jamaica Miller as assistant secretary; Annie Harris as treasurer; and Mike Teal as assistant treasurer. The Athens Chapter meets every fourth Saturday of the month from 11:00am until 1:00pm at Multiple Choices Center for Independent Living, 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, Georgia 30605. For more information please contact Daniel Myers at 706-850-6750 or via email at danielhmyers@live.com Augusta Chapter The Augusta Chapter reports that their April meeting will be at a new location. The meeting will be held at the Columbia County Library - 7022 Evans Town Center Boulevard, Evans, Georgia 30809 - (706) 863-1946. The meeting will be at 1:00 on April 9th. The Augusta chapter is planning for their 3rd Annual Picnic at Diamond Lakes Park in October. The Augusta officers are Christopher Chavous as president; Heather Lopez as vice president; Kathy Morris as secretary; Sheila Chavous as treasurer; and their board members are Keith Morris, Stanley Lopez, and David Everley. For more information please contact Christopher Chavos at 706-737-4341 or via email atcccmayo@yahoo.com. Bainbridge Chapter The Bainbridge chapter is still selling raffle tickets. The Bainbridge chapter has the following officers: Tonya Wright as president; Paddy Duke as first vice president; Keith Carter as second vice-president; Gloria Hampton as secretary; Janice Tootle as treasurer. The Bainbridge chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at the library. For more information please contact Tonya Wright at 229-248-0087. Chattooga County Chapter The Chattooga Chapter is participating in Belk's Charity Days and hopes to raise some needed funds to utilize for community projects. One current joint community effort is with a ministry to males from about 12 years to 16 years of age who are being raised by grandparents; have lost a parent to death; and young men who need to learn life skills. Three Circles Foundation was established with the dedication of Dr. Jeremy Collins and his wife Dr. Jesse Collins, both Veterinarians. Although Dr. Jeremy and Dr. Jesse have no children of their own just yet, they have a love that is evident for teaching good work ethics to young men from Chattooga and Floyd Counties. Three Circles meets the third Saturday of each month and the attendees participate in a community based project. Wendi Wilson and Christy Hammond, who are members of Chattooga GCB, have benefited from having Wheel Chair Ramps built at their homes by the men, women, and boys of Three Circles. The Group also helped Wendi with storing items in her attic and hanging pictures on her walls. The Group manicured Wendi's lawn as well as all of the other chores. The young men are learning to change tires, change oil, handle horses, drive tractors, lawn mower repair, carpentry skills, and many other skills. The Group has lunch together and often has a Guest Speaker and Bible Study is offered freely. This Saturday on April 16th, the Chattooga County Chapter will provide fried chicken, corn, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and bread for the approximately 35 attendees. This lunch is in appreciation of their dedicated work for both Wendi and Christy, as well as their assistance to many families in need in Chattooga County. This is one way we as people with vision loss can partner with other organizations to make a real difference in the lives of our members and others as well! Three Circles Foundation 224 Perennial Springs Road, Summerville, GA 30747 (706) 822-0166 ‎ threecirclesfoundation.com The Chattooga County chapter officers are as follows: Marsha Farrow as president; Wendi Wilson as first vice-president; Mary Turnipseed as second vice-president; Jan Morris as secretary/treasurer. The Chattooga County chapter meetings are held at the Chattooga County Library which is located at 360 Farrar Drive, Summerville, Georgia 30747, on the Fourth or last Friday of the Month at 10:00 AM. For more information please contact Marsha Farrow at 706-857-2968 or via email at marshafarrow@windstream.net. East Georgia Chapter The East Georgia chapter reports that they have 34 people on our roster. We have had 4 meetings this year, and frankly, our attendance has been rather low, 20 at one monthly meeting, 12 at one, and 10 at 2 meetings. So we’ve been talking about how to get more members and build up our meeting attendance. One idea: Have our own Facebook page. We just got one started the second weekend in April. Go to facebook.com, and key in East Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind. On this page we will write about upcoming chapter events. Another idea: Have bowling, or some other activity or field trip some months, especially in the summer, instead of a meeting. Or have some meetings with just a speaker who can talk about Braille, technology, guide dogs, etc. Or have a support group for the newly-blinded, particularly the older folks. Advertise about EGC and its activities via federal and state agencies for the blind and put flyers in eye doctors’ offices. Go to visually-impaired resource classes and offer to read to them in Braille, speak or answer questions. To draw more high-school or college-age members, have a scholarship for one student for one thing, like computer software or pay for their books. Invite high-school-age or younger students who are visually impaired to a meeting so they can meet visually impaired adults, who can be an example to them. We plan to have a picnic the second Saturday of June and a yard sale the second Saturday of July. The East Georgia Chapter wants to let you know that Barbara Turner passed away on December 13, 2011, after a long bout with Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 76.The Turners have 6 children and were married 53 years. Barbara attended the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon. The touching and sweet memorial stressed that she had a very busy, happy life. She will be greatly missed. Let’s all keep Melvin and his family in our prayers. The East Georgia Chapter officers are Neb Houston as president; Phil Jones as first vice president; Patricia Cox as second vice-president; Christina O’Brien, as secretary; Anne Wheeler and Linda Cox as co-treasurers; and their board members are Dot Davis, Larry Chalena, and Elsie Moonie. The East Georgia Chapter meetings are held the second Saturday of each month in Conyers. For more information please contact Neb Houston at 770-784-0236. Greater Columbus Chapter The Greater Columbus Chapter is kicking off its event for the new independent living center. The name of the center is called Contact Clothe. The next event will be in May. The Greater Columbus Chapter will be holding its annual cookout on May 21. Also on June 5, we will be holding our annual Gospel Benefit. Everyone is invited. The Greater Columbus chapter officers are Gregory McDuffie as president; Eddie Walker as first vice-president; Dirk Jones as second vice-president; Terri Powell as secretary; Laverne Byrd as assistant secretary; Clifford Brinson as treasurer; Joseph McNeil as assistant Treasurer. The Greater Columbus chapter meetings are held the first Saturday of each month at the Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, from 1PM-3PM. For more information please contact Gregory McDuffie at 706-570-3695 or via email at greggmcduffie@bellsouth.net. Greater Hall County Chapter The Greater Hall Chapter is planning to assist the North Hall Lions Club with "WHITE CANE DAY" on Saturday, April 23. Don Linnartz of our chapter is coordinating our members to assist the NH Lions. Our members have done this for several years now, because the funds that are raised by the Lions go directly to the Georgia Lighthouse, and they use the funds to help people with visual impairments get needed surgery, glasses and other services that otherwise they could not afford. It is a very worthy cause. This fall, as we started our monthly meetings, our chapter benefited from the hard work and dedication of our vice -president, Judy Presley, as she scheduled speakers for our meetings. One of our speakers, Ann Wheeler, shared with us about her career as a teacher, then becoming visually impaired and continuing to teach. It was very inspiring to hear how she faced the challenges. We had Anisio Correia from the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta to come and share his story and also provide us with information about "PROJECT INDEPENDENCE", the State Department of Labor program for Older Persons, which is currently directed by Kay McGill, who has spoken to our chapter in the past. Another speaker was Harold Mooney of the Telephone Pioneers. This is an organization of men that still are employed or have retired from AT&T, formerly BellSouth, and formerly Southern Bell. They are telephone installer-repair technicians, who volunteer their time to repair and overhaul the 4 track audio cassette players that we use for our Talking Books tapes. Harold told of the organization's history and how many men have contributed to it. He also told us that it is becoming more difficult to repair and overhaul the players because they are being phased out because of the new digital players. Another of our speakers was Sheila Rousey. Many of you know Sheila. She is an "energized" lady that holds your attention. Sheila was so informative and inspirational, that she used practically the entire meeting time, but no one objected for not having the dull business portion of the meeting. The Greater Hall County Chapter officers are as follows: Richard Bagley as president; Judy Presley as vice-president; Ted Brackett as treasurer; Sue Hesketh as secretary. The Greater Hall county chapter meetings are held at the East Hall Special Needs Library on the first Saturday of each month. For more information please contact Richard Bagley at 770-983-1213 or via email at richardbaggley@bellsouth.net. Macon Chapter The Macon Chapter is having a picnic on May 21, 2011 at The Georgia Academy for the Blind at six o’clock. The Macon Chapter has some members who are very sick and need to be remembered in prayer. These people are Jo Ann Little, Kathy Marsh, and Carolyn Carr. The Macon chapter officers are Milton Brown as president; Kaye Hall as secretary; Serena Kelly as treasurer. The Macon Chapter meetings are held in the basement of the Dempsey Apartments on the second Friday night of the month at 7:30 p.m. For more information please contact Milton Brown at 478-962-3747. Metro Atlanta Chapter The Metro Atlanta Chapter reports that this has been an unhappy beginning of the year for our chapter as we lost one of our former members, Desta Tesfai, in his tragic death in February. He was an outstanding and caring individual, and we will miss him very much! The meetings have been well attended and exciting. In February, we had a new member join us, Ray Brown, and we welcome him. One meeting that stands out was in March when we decided to combine our business meeting with a social. We invited other chapters to join us, and several members of the Athens Chapter came to Atlanta to play games with us and to fellowship. Our April meeting had one prospective member visit us, Lisa Jones, who just moved here from Mississippi and was a member of an ACB chapter there. We are hoping Lisa will join us soon. Also, Anicio Correia, Vice President of Programs at the Center for the Visually Impaired, was our guest speaker. He explained the new Call Station project just getting started at CVI. The first training session will be given in June, and hopefully, several blind and visually impaired persons will be hired from that group. There will be more training sessions throughout the year. To begin with, blind and visually impaired persons interested in applying for the training will have to have a rehab counselor; later on, it is hoped that any blind or visually impaired individual may apply without going through rehab. If you want Anisio to come and explain this program to your chapter, you may contact him at CVI at 404-875-9011. Our May meeting is planned for the second Friday night in the month and will be an auction. We would like any of you to come and join us for this event. There will be some very nice items to bid on, and there will be fun and fellowship as well. For more information please contact Ann Simms at 404-767-1792 email teacherann@bellsouth.net. Northwest Georgia Chapter The Northwest chapter officers are as follows: James Howard as president; Frederick McDade as first vice-president; Ron Burgess as second vice-president; Cynthia Wilson as secretary; Charles Stubblefield as treasurer; Robert Sprayberry as chaplain. Chapter meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every other month at the Walker County Library at 7:00 PM. For more information, please contact James Howard at 706-996-4417. Rome Floyd County Chapter The Rome Floyd County Chapter has been very busy. They finally had their elections with the following officers: Amanda Wilson as president; Tonia Clayton as vice-president; Suzanne Jackson as secretary/treasurer; and three board members, Christina Holtzclaw, Debbie Moon and Maia Santamaria. Jae Cosby from Georgia Radio Reading service came to our March meeting. She had lots of interesting information about herself and her organization. She had a pop quiz afterwards and one of our members won a free tee-shirt. Jae had us to put all of our names in a hat and draw one out to win a free radio. So if you want her to come to your chapter meeting, please contact her. See the article above for her contact information. The Rome Floyd county Chapter is participating in the Belk Charity Day tickets to help blind people in their community to go to the one-day conference or for young people to go to camp this summer. For more information please contact Amanda Wilson at 770-547-4700 or via email at moonrocks@bellsouth.net. The Savannah Chapter The Savannah Chapter members continue working on community issues and committees. We have actively participated in the collecting of possible projects for the HB 277 Round Table. We plan to spread awareness in our region regarding the 1% Sales Tax that will be voted on in the Primary election in 2012. Teresa Brenner and Kim Harrison went to the Capital in support of BEP vendor, Bob Walls, at a hearing for HB 77, which would have eliminated the priority for Blind vendors in State facilities. It would have also jeopardized the priority for Blind Vendors in federal facilities, due to wording in the bill. Our efforts were successful for this year’s threat, but it will probably resurface next year. Teresa Brenner, Kim Harrison, and Jermaine Smart attended the Belk Charity Days on April 16 to raise funds for our group. We will be planning another “audible movie night” as a membership drive activity to be held in the very near future. Kim Harrison has challenged our members to come up with items to sell as a fund raiser. We were inspired by the GGDU’s latest fundraiser, the lighted arm bands. Way to go GGDU. The Savannah Chapter officers are Teresa Brenner as president; Marion Badie as vice-president; Dr. Jack Lewis as secretary; Kim Harrison as treasurer; and three Board members Jan Elders, Jermaine Smart, and Cyndi Milbourne. The Savannah chapter meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month except July. Our Annual Christmas Party serves as our December meeting. We meet at the JCLewis Ford Company on Abercorn Street in the Conference Room. Our meetings begin at 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A 30 minute Social Time is held prior to the meeting. For information contact Teresa Brenner at 912-247-0446 or via email at Tabrenner49@gmail.com. Stephens County Chapter The Stephens County Chapter officers are as follows: Alfred Camp as president; Sheila Rousey as vice-president; Delores Rutenber as secretary; Nettie May Liles as treasurer. The Stephens County chapter usually meets at the Shiloh Fire Department. For more information on their meetings please contact Alfred Camp at 706-886-3894. ANNOUNCEMENTS Buy a Lighted Arm Band and Support Georgia Guide Dog Users. To raise funds, Georgia Guide Dog Users is selling lighted arm bands for $10. These versatile arm bands are made of weather and shock resistant materials and are 10-15 inches in length. The adjustable elastic band is black, with the portion over the light made of reflective yellow material. The three-position switch is for a flashing or solid red light that is visible for up to one mile in no or low light situations. A Velcro flap covers the unit with the switch and battery housing. The replaceable battery, which is included, lasts for 200 hours. These arm bands are ideal for blind and visually impaired pedestrians, and for friends and family who walk, run, bike or are out doing anything at night. You and they will be safer by being more visible to drivers, and you can help GGDU at the same time. To order one or more arm bands at $10 each, send a check made out to Georgia Guide Dog Users to Marj Schneider, 212 Oxford Drive, Savannah, GA 31405. Include a note in print or Braille with the address where the order should be sent. For further questions, contact Marj at < marjschneider@bellsouth.net>. Let’s Talk GCB Schedule for 2011 We cordially invite you to the GCB conference call. It is held on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The schedule is listed below. The phone number is 218-844-3388, and the PIN 57422 (Let's Talk GCB). March 24: Rome/Floyd & Augusta April 26: Athens & East GA May 24: Chattooga & Youth June 28: Stephens & Bainbridge July 26: Columbus & Macon August 23: Atlanta West & Savannah September 27: Hall & Northwest October 26: GGDU and GCBL November 22: Metro Atlanta & At Large Members Dr. Robert J. Crouse: A Man of Vision By Marsha Farrow Robert J. Crouse, Ed.D, former Executive Director of Blind and Low Vision Services of North Georgia now known as Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia. Dr. Crouse retired as of June 30, 2006 after forty years of service in vision rehabilitation. Dr. Crouse worked for the last 30 years as administrator of three different nonprofit agencies serving the blind and visually impaired. He also served on the faculty of the University of Northern Colorado for four years and was a research specialist at the University of Nottingham, England, U.K. for 2 years. He served as Principal of the National Mobility Centre while in England. Dr. Crouse earned his B.S. and M.A. from Western Michigan University in Special Education of the Developmentally Disabled and in Blind Rehabilitation, respectively. His doctorate was awarded by the University of Northern Colorado in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. He has co-authored two chapters in Foundation of Orientation and Mobility and published two articles in professional journals. Dr. Crouse has considerable experience in grant and contract administration in several areas. While at the University of Northern Colorado, he administered grants from the U.S. Office of Education to establish a training program for teachers of the visually impaired. In England, he was the chief operating officer for a grant from the Viscount-Nuffield Fund, a major U.K. foundation, to establish training programs at the National Mobility Centre. He has administered numerous grants in Maine and Georgia from the state vocational rehabilitation agencies to provide services to eligible vocational rehabilitation clients. While in Maine, he secured and administered contracts from the Defense Logistics Agency through the Javits-Wagner O’Day Act to produce items for the Navy and Army, including helmet retention straps, Navy Neckerchiefs, Flyers Kit Bags and currency bags for the Federal Reserve Board and Bureaus of Mint and Engraving. These experiences taught him to interpret and meet government specifications for product manufacturing, quality control, cost accounting and packaging and shipping specifications. Dr. Crouse was very active in his field. He served on the National Advisory Council, Regional Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Mississippi State University for 5 years. He was a member of the Georgia Blind Coalition and served on its Executive Committee. He served on the Board of Directors of National Industries for the Blind and the Standards Development Committee of the National Accreditation Council (NAC). Dr. Crouse has served on 25 on-site review teams for agencies applying for accreditation or reaccreditation for NAC. Dr. Crouse has given numerous presentations to consumer groups, spoken at professional conferences and to civic clubs and United Way Campaign companies. Dr. Crouse has been a member of Lion’s International for over 20 years and he was a member of the Marietta Lion’s Club. He was very active in Lion’s District 18-A and supported their efforts in the area of Sight Conservation. Dr. Crouse was very dedicated to employing individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, and visually impaired as service providers. He recognized the talents and skills possessed by these individuals in the areas of instruction in computer skills, broiler repair, social work, low-vision education, and rehabilitation teaching. He demonstrated innovation in making the working environment accepting and supportive of his employees who had vision loss. His own dedication to orientation and mobility training was exemplified in the mobility instructors who worked countless hours under his supervision. Dr. Crouse, was a dedicated member of the Georgia Council of the Blind for many years. He attended many conventions during his years of service in Georgia. He and wife Maxine enjoyed their retirement years in Florida. Dr. Crouse spent much of his time on the golf course. “Thank you, Bob, for all you gave to us” and you will be missed!!! Send Cards: Maxine Crouse 2320 Wilson Way The Villages FL 32162 And a note from Marsha: Bob Crouse was a great man who gave more than we will ever truly know to help us who are blind and deaf-blind. He believed in me when I truly did not trust my own skills. He gave me the confidence to complete FSU and asked me to work for BLVS long before I graduated. He was such an encourager to so many of us! Bob's memory will remain in my heart as long as I live and I pray for the day we can reminisce in that perfect place! Bob Crouse passed last evening at his home in Florida. His two sons and his wife Maxine were with him. As I get more information, I will post it on the listserv. Those of you who knew Bob can testify to how much he enjoyed life and was always the source of a great deal of humor. He was a great friend to many of us and will be missed. Please send cards to Maxine at the following address: Maxine Crouse 2320 Wilson Way The Villages, FL 32162