New picture of officers. ***Description: GCB officers Betsy Grenevitch (At Large Representative), Marsha Farrow (Treasurer), Cecily Laney Nipper (President), Kathy Morris (Secretary). Not pictured: Marj Schneider (First Vice President), Judy Presley (Second Vice President).

GCB Digest Online

GCB Digest GCB Digest Spring 2010 (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, 2010 GCB Office 850 Gaines School Road Athens, GA 30605 GCB President: Alice Ritchhart 125 Willow Pond Way Brunswick, GA 31525 912-261-9833, Toll Free: 877-667-6815 E-Mail: Editor: Ann Sims 3361 Whitney Avenue Hapeville, GA 30354 404-767-1792 E-Mail, Assistant Editor: Jerrie Ricks 1307 Chester Place McDonough, GA 30252 770-898-9036; E-Mail, GCB Webmaster: Steven Longmire GCB Website: TABLE OF CONTENTS From Your Editor: by Ann Sims President’s Message: by Alice Ritchhart DHS Transportation Services Staff Directory: Submitted by Bill Holley GCB Board Meeting Minutes: by Robin Oliver Report from the Treasurer: by Jerrie Toney GCB Awards and Guidelines GCB State Convention-Conference Information: Letter to the GCB Chapter Presidents: from Alice Ritchhart News Briefs and Announcements **************************** From Your Editor, Ann Sims 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, desired change of format, please inform our GCB treasurer, Jerrie Toney, at or via telephone at 706-549-2010. This issue of The GCB Digest will be my last one as your editor. I feel that it is time to pass this responsibility on to others since I have served as assistant and editor for more than ten years. I deeply appreciate everyone’s assistance in helping me with this magazine. I particularly thank Jerrie Ricks, my 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 thank our president, Alice Ritchhart, for always sending in her timely president’s messages on informative and important events, legislation and projects. I thank my husband, John M., my son, Stephen and Betsy and D. J. Grenevitch who spent many hours proofreading and preparing labels for mailings. I appreciate the contributions from each member who has sent articles, who has given suggestions to make the magazine better and who has supported me in so many ways. I thank Jack Lewis who first edited the magazine back in the 70’s and for giving me the opportunity to serve with him in the 90’s. ***************************** President’s Message By Alice Ritchhart As I write this message, I find myself tired, frustrated, and disappointed. The legislative session is winding down, and once again any present expectations of services improving for the blind and visually impaired in Georgia are very dim. As the session began, we had high hopes. Both important pieces of legislation, the Commission for the Blind Bill (HB465), and the Braille Literacy Bill (HB464) were placed into committees where both state legislators sponsoring the bills assured us they would have a hearing and get out to the floor for a vote. The reasons for the Commission for the Blind bill not getting a hearing were many. First the sponsor wanted to make sure the Governor would support the bill, and so several of us met with the Governor’s staff to encourage passage of our legislation. However, that was not considered to be satisfactory since we were told that our sponsor, Representative Howard, wanted to meet with Michael Thurmond, the Commissioner of the Department of Labor (DOL). We asked to be part of the meeting, but that was not to be as the Commissioner requested a private meeting between him and our sponsor. This was obviously just another delay in getting the bill before the committee. After Howard met with the DOL Commissioner, Thurmond, they decided that a meeting including all of us along with the commissioner would be beneficial. We were led to believe that it was to discuss how the Vocational Rehabilitation Services would transfer from DOL to the Commission once the bill passed, but that was not the case. Instead once again we found ourselves presenting the facts of why a Commission for the Blind was a necessity. While all this was happening, the committee that was responsible for the bill experienced a very significant change. The committee chair was replaced by another legislator. The new chair made it clear that any legislation that came with a funding request for new monies would not get a hearing. We had made it clear from the beginning that at this time no additional funding was being requested and that the bill only required the funds currently designated for services for the blind. Unfortunately, the Commissioner of DOL told the legislator who was supposed to be working for us that the bill would involve more money and consequently, bill HB465 is now dead. The Braille Literacy Bill required no funding, but it, too, went nowhere. We received no answers as to why this bill did not pass. I did learn that due to the economy, other legislation was being proposed to prevent teachers from the necessity of having to take extra courses to maintain their certification at this time. Because of this, I can only speculate that since our bill was going to require teachers to take courses on a regular basis to ensure adequate braille skills, our Braille Literacy bill would conflict with this legislation, therefore, it was denied consideration. What it really boils down to, I believe, is that all these people are sighted “professionals” who think they know what is best for us and that we are ignorant and uninformed. We have provided facts, statistics, and even professionals from states where there is a commission, and yet they seek the information from those individuals who currently are supposed to be serving us, but have been serving inadequately for some time now. Many blind and visually impaired people in Georgia remain unemployed, and several cannot even get the adjustment to blindness training due to current poor policy which the authorities are reluctant to change. I’m a good example of a blind person who remains without employment. I am a certified visual rehabilitation therapist with a vender number from Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Georgia, yet they give me no work. I have been waiting for such employment for three plus years. Then there is Marsha Farrow who was a full-time state employee who was forced to take disability because of bad VR policy. These are just a couple of examples. Another regrettable situation is that the two programs, Business Enterprise and Georgia Industries for the Blind that have provided viable employment options for us, are constantly under attack. Even the professional DOL staff seems to take action that puts these programs in jeopardy instead of trying to help enhance their function and growth. If we are to succeed in making services better for our young and newly blind or visually impaired people, we need all our members to get involved. It cannot be just the same few of us involved because the powers that be think it is just a meager few complaining and that the majority of blind are fine with the current status quo. Consequently, as the session ends we must now begin the fight of our lives. It is an election year, and each of us has an opportunity to make a difference. We can do this first by making sure that we are registered to vote, and then by going to the polls in November and casting votes that support our cause. We can make a change. Again, I call on you to get involved and help those of us who are so terribly discouraged. Know that even though discouraged and tired, I, like Marsha Farrow, make one promise and that is that I will not give up on a Commission for the Blind in Georgia! I hope you all will make the same pledge and take action. Everything else depends on you all for as you surely understand, I will not and cannot succeed in my commitment alone. ***************************** DHS Transportation Services Section Staff Directory Submitted by Bill Holley Please note that charter transportation to the convention can be arranged by the chapter members if they contact the DHR transportation representatives for their district and submit a request form for the service. Atlanta Office Staff 2 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30303 FAX: 404-657-6215 Name: Rich Devine Title: Service Manager Room: 29-463 Phone: 404-657-6211 or 404-520-0856 (BB) FAX: 770-344-3242 Name: Leigh Ann Tranier Title: Unit Chief Room: 29-462 Phone: 404-657-6214 or 404.558.0618 (BB) FAX: 770344-3241 Name: Vickie Young Title: Assistant Contracts Administrator Room: 29-453 Phone: 404-463-6864 FAX: 770-408-5846 Name: Roxanne Neal Title: Fleet Manager Room: 29-455 Phone: 404-657-9454 FAX: 770-344-3239 Name: Charlene Reid Title: Risk Manager Room: 29-454 Phone: 404-651-8089 Field Operations Coordinators District 1 (Regions 1, 3, 4, 8) Name: Danita Crawford Address: McIntosh Trail RDC 120 North Hill Street, PO Box 681 Griffin, GA 30224-0018 Phone: 678-603-7665 FAX: 678-302-3816 District 2 (Regions 2,5,6,7) Name: Perry McMillon Address: Gracewood State Hospital 100 Myrtle Drive, Bldg. 68 Gracewood, GA 30812-1500 Phone: 706-836-3396 FAX: 706-434-7999 District 3 (Regions 9, 10, 11, 12) Name: Lewis Spears Address: Brantley County DFCS 127 Bryan Street, PO Box 1148 Nahunta, GA 31553 Phone: 912-704-0786 FAX: 866-348-6249 Regional Transportation Offices Region 1: Name: Michele Nystrom, Coordinator Phone: 706-802-5389 Name: Marsha Barnes, AOC II Phone: 706-802-5390 Address: NW GA Regional Hospital 705 North Division St. NW, Bldg. 103 Rome, GA 30165 FAX: 706-802-5392 Region 2: VACANT Phone: 770-532-5363 Address: Child Support Office 465 EE Butler Parkway, PO Box 683 Gainesville, GA 30503 FAX: 770-532-5367 FAX: 770-359-1287 Region 3: Vacant Phone: 404-651-9047 FAX: 404-463-2225 Vacant, AOC II Phone: 404-463-6092 FAX: 404-463-2225 Name: Shanona Atkins, AOC II Phone: 404-463-2226 Address: 2 Peachtree Street, 32nd Floor Atlanta, GA 30303 FAX: 770-342-7298 Region 4: Name: Cathy Perry, Coordinator Phone: 770-229-3198 FAX: 770-357-1928 Name: Linda Sisco, AOC II Phone: 770-229-3205 FAX: 770-357-1929 Address: McIntosh Trail RDC 120 North Hill Street, PO Box 681 Griffin, GA 30224-0018 FAX: 770-229-3206 Region 5: Name: Peggy Hackett, Coordinator Phone: 706-227-5306 FAX: 706-433-7601 Vacant, AOC II Phone: 706-583-2700 FAX: 706-433-7573 Address: 330 Research Drive, Suite 100 A Athens, GA 30605-2750 FAX: 706-227-5308 Region 6: Name: Cheryl Herrington, Coordinator Phone: 478-952-3439 Name: Pamela Hicks, AOC II Phone: 478-757-2530 FAX: 478-314-6767 Address: Macon Training Center 4885 Riverside Drive Suite 300 Macon, GA 31210-1148 FAX: 478-757-2529 Region 7: Vacant Phone: 706-790-2014 FAX: 706-434-4504 Name: Flora Birt, AOC II Phone: 706-790-2015 FAX: 706-434-4503 Address: Gracewood State Hospital 100 Myrtle Drive, Bldg. 68 Gracewood, GA 30812-1500 FAX: 706-790-2001 Region 8: Name: Roger Willams, Coordinator Phone: 706-649-7220 Vacant, AOC II Phone: 706-649-7221 FAX: 706-256-9928 Address: New Horizons CSB 1215 2nd Avenue, PO Box 1357 Columbus, GA 31901-1357 FAX: 706-649-7475 Region 9: Name: Jan Law, Coordinator Phone: 478-374-6439 FAX: 888-890-9181 Name: Christi Brown, AOC II Phone: 478-374-6437 FAX: 888-874-0612 Address: 103 College Street Eastman, GA 31023-6168 FAX: 478-374-6441 Region 10: Name: Allen Blue, Coordinator Phone: 229-430-1602 FAX: 229-317-9556 Name: Valerie King, AOC II Phone: 229-430-1600 FAX: 229-317-9554 Address: Dougherty County DFCS 200 W. Oglethorpe Blvd. Ste. 410 Albany, GA 31701-6803 FAX: 229-430-1604 Region 11: Name: Lavera Stephens, Coordinator Phone: 912-462-5135 FAX: 888-301-9435 Name: Wendy Guinn, AOC II Phone: 912-462-5133 FAX: 888-301-9437 Address: Brantley County DFCS 127 Bryan Street, PO Box 1148 Nahunta, GA 31553 FAX: 912-462-5136 Region 12: Name: Carlene Dukes, Coordinator Phone: 912-264-7292 Name: Bonnie Martin, AOC II Phone: 912-264-7290 FAX: 912-717-6594 Address: Glynn County DFCS 4420 Altama Ave, Suite 9, (PO Box 2670 Brunswick, GA31521 FAX: 912-264-7294 ***************************** GCB Board Meeting Minutes January 16, 2010 The meeting was called to order at the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta by president Alice Ritchhart. The invocation was given by 1st vice president Bill Holley. We had 100% representation from each chapter and affiliate of the board: President, Alice Ritchhart; 1st vice president, Bill Holley; 2nd vice president, Keith Morris; secretary, Robin Oliver; treasurer, Jerrie Toney; at-large rep., Debbie Williams; Athens rep., Dot Jones; Atlanta West, president, Steve Estes; Augusta rep., Stan Lopez; Bainbridge rep., president, Tonya Wright; Chattooga rep., Marsha Farrow; Columbus rep., president, Greg McDuffie; East Georgia rep., Phil Jones; Greater Hall rep., Judy Presley; Macon rep., president, Tim Kelly; Metro Atlanta rep., president, Adam Shapiro; Northwest rep., Fred McDade; Rome/Floyd County rep., Amanda Wilson; Savannah rep., president, Bob Walls; Stephens rep., president, Al Camp; GCBL rep., president, Anne Wheeler and GGDU rep., president, Marj Schneider. Also present, The GCB Digest editor, Ann Sims and GCB Webmaster, Steve Longmire. President Alice Ritchhart swore in the new members of the board including president of the newly formed Atlanta West chapter, Steve Estes, and newly elected president of the Greater Columbus chapter, Gregory McDuffie. The minutes were accepted by board members as emailed. Treasurer Jerrie Toney gave her report. We had an ending checking account balance of $11,093.31, an ending savings account balance of $11,383.46, an ending CD balance of $11,201.01, and a portfolio valued at $58,710.29. GCB constitution and bylaws committee chair, Ann Sims, did the annual reading of that document. Judy Presley and Bill Holley gave a report on the 2010 convention. This will be the first convention held in the Northeast region of the state. The theme has yet to be decided. Leadership development was decided by info gathered by membership visits. Leadership training will be held with Louise Hill from UGA. Thursday August 5 we will hold a cook out and hayride. All should be thinking of who you would like to nominate for an award. We have well deserving members in our organization. Anne Wheeler will assist you if you need help in writing your award nomination letter. To help cover convention costs, each member should think of yourself as a fundraiser so let Marsha know of any contacts you may know. We will try to have the UNCOI representative on the April board phone meeting. Legislative chair, Betsy Grenevitch, gave a legislative update report. 70 members attended Blind Day at the Capitol. GaARRS At Your Service was there covering the event at 11am for advocacy spot. The Washington seminar should cover such topics as the TeleCommunication and the H.R. 734 Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act. Finance chair, Marsha Farrow, and treasurer, Jerrie Toney, gave the budget/finance reports. After discussion on the motion of 1st vice president, Bill Holley, that we pay someone to do our taxes, GGDU president, Marj Schneider, made a friendly amendment that we make this an annual procedure. The motion was carried. President Alice Ritchhart led the Academy Service Project discussion. Ann Sims suggested that participants of the Belk Charity Day event give part of your proceeds to the Georgia Academy for the Blind prom. Under New Business, Bob Walls led a moment of silence in honor of former 2nd vice president, Brian Leighton, and his family. a. President Alice Ritchhart designated her committees. They are as follows: 1. Constitution and Bylaws: Ann Sims, Adam Shapiro, Phil Jones, Granger Ricks, Robin Oliver 2. Convention: Judy Presley, Sheila Rousey, Al Camp, Marsha Farrow, Bill Holley, Jerrie Toney, Robin Oliver, Steve Longmire, Kathy Segers, Fred McDade 3. Finance: Marsha Farrow, Bill Holley, Ann Sims, Kathy Morris, Jerrie Toney, Sheila Rousey, Betsy Grenevitch 4. Legislative: Betsy Grenevitch, Keith Morris, Greg McDuffie, Amanda Wilson, Casey Owens, Steve Estes, Joan Estes, Brent Reynolds 5. Nominating: Judy Presley, Marj Schneider, Tim Kelly 6. Technology: Steve Longmire, Jerrie Toney, Stan Lopez, Cliff Jones, Robin Oliver, Greg McDuffie 7. GCB Awards: Judy Presley is chair, and she will appoint her members. b. Let's Talk GCB meetings will be held the fourth Tuesday each month, as the board elected to hold them on this day. The call in number is 218-844-3388 and the PIN is 58422 (Let's Talk GCB). Each chapter and affiliate will have a month to host the talk. The calendar runs as follows: January -- Chattooga February – Rome/Floyd March -- Atlanta West April -- Athens May -- East Georgia June -- Augusta July -- Columbus August – Hall/Stephens September -- Savannah October -- GGDU and GCBL

November -- Macon and Metro Atlanta December -- Northwest and Bainbridge c. EIN Information and Constitutions: 1. President Alice Ritchhart has learned from firsthand experience that obtaining your Employment Id No. from the IRS is a simple and rather quick matter. You can apply By EIN toll-free telephone service; taxpayers can obtain an EIN immediately by calling the Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. -- 10:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. An assessor takes the information, assigns the EIN, and provides the number to an authorized individual over the telephone. You can also apply online at: equals 102767,00.html 2. Each chapter and affiliate who has not submitted its constitutions and bylaws should do so ASAP to the secretary. Several topics were discussed under Unfinished Business: a. President Alice Ritchhart will go to a meeting on January 26 to discuss the conditions of GIB. Jim Hughes is also scheduled to attend. b. CVI's Anisio Correia stated that individuals were not the only ones being hit by the state's declining budget but agencies are feeling the bite also. c. State Tidbits: DOL members are being used to replace VOC workers. You can find the Guide for Voters with Disabilities at GLASS and GPL's will be holding public hearings at different libraries to get the public thoughts on moving the talking book centers of 11 operations of libraries to one location during February. There is effort to get VR to drop the economic means test. As of yet there are no answers to this method, though Paul Raymond states that it is a policy and not a law. d. President Alice Ritchhart asked each chapter and affiliate representatives about upcoming events they had planned. On February 7, Stephens will hold its annual bluegrass and gospel concert where some of the proceeds go toward the GCB scholarship fund. Bainbridge members have a potential new member and they are also raffling off a handmade blanket. Rome/Floyd is enjoying great fellowship as LIONS are helping with transportation. Savannah is looking into different fundraisers and a membership drive. GCBL would like to run a booth at the Lions state convention. Chattooga will be reading braille books to 25 preschoolers. GGDU will hold a meeting at CVI. We adjourned at 3:20. Called Meeting via Phone March 29, 2010 The meeting was called to order by President Alice Ritchhart at 8:05 pm. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the proposed leadership training at the upcoming state convention-conference. The training would be provided by the Fanning Institute located at the University of Georgia. Board members present were as follows: President, Alice Ritchhart; 1st vice, Bill Holley; 2nd vice, Keith Morris; secretary, Robin Oliver; treasurer, Jerrie Toney; Athens, Willie Harris; Atlanta West, Steve Estes; Augusta, Stan Lopez; Bainbridge, Tonya Wright; Chattooga, Marsha Farrow; Columbus, Greg McDuffie; East Georgia, Phil Jones; Greater Hall, Judy Presley; Metro Atlanta, Betsy Grenevitch; Northwest, Ron Burgess; Rome/Floyd, Dr. Dillard; Savannah, Bob Walls and GGDU (Georgia Guide Dog Users), Marj Schneider. Board members absent were as follows: At-large, Debbie Williams; Macon, Tim Kelly; Stephens, Al Camp and GCBL (Georgia Council of Blind Lions), Anne Wheeler. Also present were Webmaster, Steve Longmire;Hall member, Bob McGarry and Savannah member, Kim Harrison. The possibility of chapters getting a $2500 DD grant was discussed. The grant would be geared towards the leadership training that would be held during the convention, not the convention itself. There were a number of questions raised, such as, would the training be opened to all members of the council or just the current leaders; would we be obligated to do all three phases of the training; is this too much of a project for GCB to handle at this time; could the cost be divided among the chapters and would the Fanning Institute be the right source to offer our group training. Cost was also a matter of concern. As stated in the proposal, the cost of Phase I is $6240, Phase II, $15,000 and Phase III, $10,000. How would we finance the training? Bill found a matching grant that would help cover Phase I (we have 2-3 years to cover Phase II and III). No contracts have been signed at this time, and there is room for negotiations. Bill stated that this should not be a one man show, and McDuffie suggested that all chapter presidents should take an active part in making things happen. Marj motioned that a leadership committee be formed to meet with the Fanning Institute and see if we can arrange a training program that would better suit our needs and budget for the convention. The motioned was seconded, voted on and carried. The leadership committee consists of Bill Holley, Alice Ritchhart, Willie Harris, Greg McDuffie, Keith Morris and Bob Walls. Steve Longmire will also assist, transportation permitting. The committee will try to meet with Fanning prior to the board meeting which will be held via phone Saturday April 17, 2010 from 10 am to noon. The meeting was adjourned at 8:52 pm. Sincerely submitted, Robin Oliver, secretary ******************************* GCB Treasurer’s Report By Jerrie Toney (NOTE: Anyone desiring a complete copy of the following report, please contact treasurer, Jerrie Toney, at 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, GA 30605, telephone, 706-549-2010 or email, GCB Treasurer’s Report, January through March, 2010 January 1 through January 31, 2010: Beginning Balance: $11,093.31 Ending Balance: $9,572.50 Scholarship Balance: $1,211.48 (Scholarship fund) 1/22/2010: $100.00 Deposit “Macon Chapter $100.00 Scholarship fund” Savings Account Balance: $11,383.46 Interest Paid: $0.97 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,384.43 CD Balance: $11,201.01 CD Interest Earned: $4.76 Ending CD Balance: $11,205.77 Total Combined Amounts: $33,374.18 Portfolio: $62,939.65 February 1 through February 28, 2010: Beginning Balance: $9,572.50 Ending Balance: $10,060.09 Scholarship Balance: $1,211.48 (Scholarship fund) Savings Account Balance: $11,384.43 Interest Paid: $0.97 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,385.40 CD Balance: $11,205.77 CD Interest Earned: $4.76 Ending CD Balance: $11,210.53 Total Combined Amounts: $33,867.50 Portfolio: $62,939.65 March 1 through March 31, 2010: Beginning Balance: $10,060.09 Ending Balance: $8,183.83 Scholarship Balance: $1,211.48 (Scholarship fund) Savings Account Balance: $11,385.40 Interest Paid: $0.87 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,386.27 CD Balance: $11,210.53 CD Interest Earned: $4.30 Ending CD Balance: $11,214.83 Total Combined Amounts: $31,996.41 ****************************** GCB Awards Committees and Guidelines In the last issue of The GCB Digest you were given these awards, guidelines and committees. We are presenting them again this time to encourage you, if you have not already done so, to send your nomination letters in soon. The deadline this year is June 15, 2010. The committees and chairs with their contact information are listed after the guidelines. If you need assistance in writing your nomination letter, Anne Wheeler, of the East Georgia Chapter, has offered her help. She can be reached at 770-786-5778 or email, 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 email) no later than June 15, 2010. 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 Chair: Judy Presley, 706-878-2962, (June Willis Guiding Eyes) Chair, Al Camp, 706-886-3894, 6972 Alfred Camp Road, Toccoa, GA 30506 Richard Bagley and Ann Sims (Gerald Pye Community Service Award) Chair, Kaye Hall, 478-788-5277 5475 Bloomfield Road, Macon, GA 31206 Clifford Jones and Genie Rae O’Kelley (Rhoda W. Walker) Chair, Anne Wheeler, 770-786-5778, 2199 Floyd Street, Covington, GA 30014 Barbara Graham and Heather Lopez (Walter R. McDonald) Chair, Robin Oliver, 706-548-7401, 690 Fourth Street, Apt. 8201, Athens, GA 30601 Valorie Leighton and Amanda Wilson (Scholarship Awards) Chair, Debbie Williams, 770-595-1007, 1477 Nebo Road, Dallas, GA30157 Dr. Phillip Dillard, Dr. Bill Holley, Granger Ricks and Tom Ridgeway NOTE: A new scholarship is introduced in this issue of our magazine. Below are the guidelines: Robert “Bob” Willis First Timer’s Scholarship Committee will set aside $500 from the $3000 annually from interest from GCB investments as long as the money is provided. These investments were largely raised by Mr. Bob Willis of the former Atlanta Chapter of GCB. The First Timer’s Scholarship is to be given to someonewho is already a member of GCB or someone who will join GCB as an at-large member or a local chapter member. A letter of support from a teacher or local chapter president must be provided along with the application from individuals seeking the scholarship. The applicant will also write a letter that provides his/her interests in GCB and, in general, interest in improving the lives of Georgia’s visually impaired. Youth age 16 years of age and older may apply if the parent or legal guardian joins GCB or is already a member of GCB and is willing to attend along with the youth. The $500 will be used by GCB scholarship chair to pay in advance fees such as the hotel/lodging fees, conference registration, convention meals, and if necessary, a check or prepaid gift card provided to the scholarship winner to cover round trip travel expenses. GCB treasurer and finance committee will develop a budget line to provide the details of how the $500 is spent and if the entire $500 is not needed, the remaining funds will be returned or remain in the scholarship fund. An agreement form will be provided for the recipient to sign if for any reason he/she cannot attend and the gas gift card will be returned. The scholarship committee will draft and propose the application and will make the final decision for choice of the recipient. The scholarship recipient will write an article for The GCB Digest concerning his/her experiences during the state convention-conference. The scholarship will be advertised on the GCB Website and included in the information provided our scholarship applicants. The deadline for receipt of all scholarship information is June 15, 2010. Scholarship applications may be obtained from chair, Debbie Williams, at the address above or via the Website: ****************************** GCB State Convention-Conference Information The GCB state convention-conference will be held from Thursday August 5 through Sunday August 8 at the Unicoi Lodge and Convention Center near Helen, Georgia. Room rates will be $100.00 plus tax per room for up to four occupants. There will be a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet in Unicoi’s famous dining room. For room reservations, call: 1-800-573-9659 or 706-878-2201, and ask for extention 271 or 272. Request rates for the Georgia Council of the Blind. Reservations must be made at least one month before the convention-conference. Here is the tentative program: Georgia Council of the Blind Convention-Conference “Learning From Our Past, Challenging Our Future” August 5-8, 2010 Thursday, August 5, 2010: 12:00, Registration 1:00-5:00, Tours 1. Babyland General Hospital 2. Smithgall Woods (Tactual Wildlife of Helen) 5:00, Welcome and Cookout 7:00, Hayride Friday, August 6, 2010: 9:00, Registration 9:00-5:00, Exhibit Hall 9:00, Workshops 1. Communication: Fanning Institute (first 20 to sign up) 2. Membership Building Brainstorming Sessions: Bill Holley 10:00, National Industries for the Blind Leadership Management Training Program Information/ Building State Student Affiliate: ACB Rebecca Bridges 11:00, Team Building (Outdoor Activity) 12:00-2:00, GCB Award Luncheon 2:00, Tours 1. Anna Ruby Falls and Braille Trail Walking Tour 2. Shopping Downtown Helen, Georgia 3. Tubing on the Chattahoochee (must have sighted partner) 5:00, Dinner on your Own 7:00, GCB Auction Saturday, August 7, 2010: 7:00, Blind Lions’ Breakfast & Business Meeting 9:00, Registration 9:00, Welcome Stephens & Hall GCB Affiliates and Local Dignitaries 9:30-10:30, Advocacy, the Basics: Alice Ritchhart 10:30-12:00, GCB Candidates’ Forum 12:00-1:30, Lunch on Own 12:00-1:30, GGDU Business Meeting 1:30-5:00, General Business Meeting & Elections 6:30, Banquet 9:30-11:00, Mini October Fest (Come Polka) Sunday, August 8, 2010: 8:30, Church Service 9:30-10:00, Memorial for GCB Members 10:30-11:30, GCB Board Meeting ***************************** Presidents’ Letter 2010 Convention/ Conference “Learning from Our Past Challenging Our Future” Dear Chapter Presidents: It is that time of year again when we start thinking about our annual convention. It is also the last time for me to address you as President for this event. I truly believe this convention promises to be our best event yet. I hope you and your members are making plans to attend. The host chapters (Stephens and The Greater Hall) have been working hard to provide a lot of not just southern, but German hospitality and fun. This year’s theme is, “Learning from Our Past, Challenging Our Future”. In keeping with the theme, what we have learned from the past is that each affiliate needs to send $20.00 for the snacks for the hospitality room, and $25.00 for door prizes to Jerrie Toney to our office in Athens. Second, from the past we learned that we also need each affiliate to bring three items for our GCB auction which will be held Friday night to benefit our scholarship fund. Now the challenge comes by trying to invite at least one member from your affiliate to attend our convention, especially if the member has never done so before. Also be thinking about getting involved in the convention by planning to help out in the hospitality room. In closing, let me take this opportunity to thank you for all your contributions to make our convention-conference a success, and I look forward to seeing you all in August. Sincerely, Alice Ritchhart, GCB President ***************************** News Briefs and Announcements Teresa Brenner reports: Congratulations to Marion F. Badie, Savannah Technical College's 2010 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) winner and his nominating instructor, Susan Pinkston, Department Head for the Management and Supervisory Development (MSD) program. Badie, an MSD major, was selected by a panel of community judges at the selection committee screening which took place at the college’s Crossroads Campus on Friday, February 26, 2010. On March 24, 2010, Badie will compete in the regional competition in Fitzgerald, Georgia at East Central Technical College. In May, he will attend the state level competition where the regional finalists will be announced; those finalists will compete for the title of the state’s 2010 GOAL winner and the recipient of the GOAL medallion. Joan Estes of the Atlanta West Chapter of GCB reports: Our monthly meeting at Ryan's in Carrollton has been good for attendance. We face the issue of transportation but have an idea to “chase after" a van we might get. The members that come are very enthusiastic and helpful. We love every minute that we spend on trying to enlarge the membership. We are excited about our first fundraiser. The "Chattahoochee Pickers" (a very popular local gospel-bluegrass group) will be playing for us on May 15th at the Carrollton recreation park pavilion. One of the musicians is the cousin of Jim Holland, our vice president. The concert will be the program for our May meeting. We are already distributing flyers about it. I plan a banner for the pavilion at the concert. We heard from the Rome Library for the Blind that there were an unexpected number of the new digital talking book players available at this time. We informed everyone in Atlanta West, whether they are paid members or not, about the new digital players and let them know they can probably receive one if they make inquiry at the library. So far we have not had a response from the group, but I am hopeful they will take advantage of this opportunity and be able to enjoy the digital player. Delana, who is with the Rome Library will be our guest speaker at our June 12th meeting. She will bring some digital players with her to demonstrate them to our members. From the GCBL: The Georgia Council of Blind Lions will be meeting on Friday, May 28, at 12:00 noon, in Tifton, at the state Lions convention. President Anne Wheeler will be bringing beautiful bird houses to raffle as a fundraiser for the group. GCBL members, please make your plans to come to the business meeting and stay to help with the fundraiser. Marsha Farrow of the Chattooga County Chapter reports: An Angel on Earth! Chattooga County GCB members adopt Terra. Betty and Gene Hall of Trion, Georgia, members of GCB, have been foster parents for more than 160 children in their loving home. Terra has been in the Hall home since she was five months of age, and she is now thirteen. She is blind; fed by a tube; confined to a wheelchair; and has no verbal communications. Yet to her family and friends Terra is an angel sent to us by God. She touches so many lives, and her father said that he cannot wait to walk streets of gold with Terra some day! The adoption celebration was held on Saturday, April 24, 2010, in the fellowship hall of Central Avenue Baptist Church where Terra and her family have attended for many years. The Hall family honored several employees of Department of Family and Children Services for their love and service to Terra. Local pharmacist, and Lion, Joe Cook, was recognized for his many years of filling prescriptions for Terra on an emergency basis at all hours of day and night. The Chattooga County Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind was represented by president, Marsha Farrow and vice president, Wendi Wilson. Chattooga GCB received praise for including Terra and her family in many special events over the past several years. Betsy Grenevitch came to Summerville several years back and was part of a large gathering which honored foster parents of Chattooga County and specifically the Hall family. The following poem was written for Terra in 1999 by a young troubled girl, also a foster child in the Hall home. According to Betty Hall, this young girl was known to be trouble in every since of the word, but Terra touched her in a way that only Terra could do. No one else had been able to get through to this very troubled young lady before she met Terra. Terra Written by Terra's special young friend. She's blind but she can see. She's deaf but she can hear. She's mute but she can speak. If only our world would stop to listen, She would tell us of her world. She doesn't have to see you to know you are there. She doesn't have to hear you to know you are speaking. With a single touch she can say a thousand words. When you look at her you don't see someone in pain; You see the beautiful face of an angel. Don't pity her but rejoice. It's not a handicap. It's a gift from God. The GCB convention-conference committee will be sending out the registration forms soon. Please make your plans to attend in August. Remember to send in your nominations for awards by the deadline of June 15, and remember to look into transportation to the convention from the list provided in this magazine. May each of you have a wonderful and prosperous summer!