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 Summer 2016 (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 and not a hand out  Summer 2016 GCB President: Keith Morris, 706-799-5225, GCB Digest Editor: Amanda Wilson, 770-547-4700, GCB Assistant Editor: Suzanne Jackson, 678-593-5836, Table of Contents: From your Editor, Amanda Wilson GCB Presidential Message, Keith Morris GCB Board Meeting Minutes, Christine O’Brien GCB Member Profile on Fred McDade GCB 2016 Convention Announcement GCB Fundraiser GCB 2016 Elections, Marj Schneider GCB Chapter News GGDU Georgia Guide Dog Users News, Betsy Grenevitch GCB In Memory of Geraldine Pye and Dorothy Smith GCB In Memory of Jessie Fench, Mike Hall GCB Celebrations GCB Amazon Smiles Program GCB Board Meeting Announcement   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, Marsha Farrow at 706-859-2624, or via email at Thanks to everyone who makes our GCB Digest such a big success. I particularly want to thank Suzanne Jackson, assistant editor, for the many hours she has worked on the magazine, for her editing skills and for her outstanding reading of the GCB Digest. I want to thank our president, Keith Morris, for his presidential message with information about important events, legislation, and projects. I also appreciate the contributions from each member who sent articles, who made suggestions to make the magazine better, and supported me in so many ways. GCB Presidential Message, Keith Morris Hello Fellow GCB Members, My how time flies!  It doesn't seem like it will have been two years in August since you selected me to be your President. During this time we have worked to clarify and clean up several sections in our Constitution and bylaws. The council is working well together as we strive to create an atmosphere of trust. I appreciate the work from the officers and members who have taken on different tasks that have needed to be accomplished. Thanks to everyone. May the next two years also be years of growth for everyone.    GCB Board Meeting Minutes, Christine O’Brien Atlanta-Fulton County Library One Margaret Mitchell Square Atlanta Georgia Saturday, January 16, 2016, 10:00 Am Call to Order: The Georgia Council of the Blind board meeting was held at the Atlanta Fulton County Library in Atlanta, Georgia. President Keith Morris called the meeting to order at 10:32. Invocation: Fred McDade, the GCB Chaplin, gave the invocation for the meeting. Before Fred McDade gave the invocation, he asked for prayers for his mother-in-law, Charles Stubblefield’s mother and Marj Schneider husband’s aunt, who had all died recently. Roll Call: The following members were present at the meeting. They include President, Keith Morris; First Vice-president, Robin Oliver; Second Vice-president, Fred McDade, Secretary, Christine O’Brien; Treasurer, Marsha Farrow; Member at large representative, Alice Ritchhart; Athens chapter, Jerrie Toney; Augusta chapter, Alicia Morris; East Georgia chapter, Neb Houston; representing Greater Hall County chapter, Dianne Roberts; Northwest chapter, Ron Burgess; representing Rome Floyd County chapter, Amanda Wilson; representing Savannah chapter, Valerie Hester; South Metro Atlanta chapter, Lisa Jones; Georgia Guide Dog Users, Betsy Grenevitch. Greater Columbus chapter, Greg McDuffie, was absent. We had many other members who attended the board meeting. They include Kathy Morris, Chester Thrash, Harvey Roberts, Jesse O’Brien, Teresa Brenner, John Hester, Steve Longmire, Barbara Graham, Evan Bradford, Jamaica Miller, Bob Farrow, and Rodrick Parker. Swearing in: Marsha Farrow, who is the president of the Rome Floyd County chapter, and Chester Thrash, who is the Vice-president of the South Metro Atlanta Chapter, was sworn in as Georgia Council of the Blind officers. Secretary’s Report: Christine O’Brien, the GCB secretary, stated that she had sent out the minutes from the October board meeting via email. Christine O’Brien and Amanda Wilson arranged for any board members who do not have email to listen to these materials on the phone before the board meeting. Christine O’Brien asked for any corrections to the October board meeting minutes. Marsha Farrow motioned that the secretary report be accepted. Chester Thrash seconded the motion and it passed with no opposition. Treasurer's report: Marsha Farrow reported that she has received dues from many GCB Chapters. Michael Benson gave $590 to GCB for legislative activities. Kay McGill gave $100 for the general fund and $50 for the scholarship fund. Marj Schneider raised $70 in a race that she ran. We thank her very much. The GCB checking account balance is $3909.54. Evan Barnard’s CD balance is $900.51. We set aside $500 for the 2016 convention. The $181.26 charged to Marsha Farrow’s bank card during the 2015 convention was removed. The Money market balance is $5740.11. The $17,000 CD gained $170.53. The gift-card account, used mostly for the calling post is $65.89. The Way Financial balance as of December 31, 2015, is $61,075.36. The markets have been down lately. We have lost a few thousand dollars. $786 went out from that fund for the Al and Cora Camp Scholarship fund. Marsha Farrow stated that Grimes Insurance is taking over our bonding insurance, and they will send us information. More coverage would cost GCB $1000 to $1500 per year. This insures the GCB officers against theft. Marsha Farrow asked if anyone knows what happened to the bank account of the Bainbridge Chapter. Jerrie Toney, the outgoing treasurer, stated that she had sent the Bainbridge chapter many letters, but they never answered her. Alice Ritchhart suggested that Marsha Farrow phone Janice Tootle, who had been their treasurer. Marsha Farrow announced that she has Al and Cora Camp scholarship envelopes to give to anyone who wants some. Fred made a motion that the treasurer's report be filed for audit. Christine O’Brien seconded and no one opposed the motion. Presidential Report: Keith Morris, GCB president, reported that he attended the Rome Chapter Christmas luncheon in December. He is planning on visiting the peer support group in Douglas, Georgia in February. He went over the list of committee chairpersons. Membership committee chairperson, Amanda Wilson; Technology committee chairperson, Steve Longmire; Convention committee chairperson, Valerie Hester; Awards committee chairperson, Judy Presley; Scholarship awards committee chairperson, Debbie Williams; Constitution and By-Laws committee chairperson, Alice Ritchhart; Fundraising committee co-chairpersons, Valerie Hester and Alice Ritchhart; Nomination committee chairperson, Christine O’Brien; Voting committee chairperson, Marsha Farrow; Finance committee chairperson, Jimmie Burkes; and Legislative committee chairperson, , Betsy Grenevitch. Keith Morris asked for anyone wishing to be on a committee to please contact him by phone at 706-799-5225, or via email at Finance Committee report: Jerrie Toney from the finance committee reported that the cost of mailing the large print amended Constitution to sighted individuals was $1.87 per envelope and came out of the presidential expenses. The brochures were paid for from the office supply expenses. The finance report was accepted as read. Membership committee report: Amanda Wilson has GCB brochures to give out to anyone who wants some. The GCB brochure is on the web site, so you can print it out if you need one. Amanda Wilson is planning on going to the peer support group in Douglass, Georgia, on Thursday, February 25, 2016, to talk about technology and for member outreach. Lunch will be provided, and if anyone wants to go, please let her know. We plan to go to the Georgia Academy for the Blind and the Center for the Visually Impaired to inform their students about: scholarships. Technology report: Steve Longmire, the chairperson of the technology committee, reported that his committee will meet on the second Thursday of every month at 8:30. He is working on making changes to the web site. Legislative Report: Betsy Grenevitch, the chairperson of the legislative committee, reported that all of the speakers who were supposed to be at the capitol for the Blind Day were there to speak to us. Many members of the Georgia Council of the Blind attended the Blind Day at the capital on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 in person or by phone conference. This was the beginning of the legislative session when the Governor gave his State of the State address. The event was attended as well by the seniors from the Georgia Academy for the Blind, along with the transitional coordinator and the superintendent. We were also lucky to have several students from Michelle Grenevitch’s school to assist us with our visits. The day was filled with lots of valuable information about the legislative process as well as the voting process, and all the students and members got the chance to actually work an accessible voting machine, thanks to the Fulton County Voter Registration office. A representative from the Secretary of State’s office spoke on how to get registered to vote, and all the ways we can make sure to cast our votes at election time. We also heard from several legislators, and had three primary legislators who spoke to our group about specific topics. Representative Brooks Coleman, who is chair of the Education Committee, is working with us to improve braille literacy for our students. He shared with the group that we do not need another law, but that we need to just get the school system to develop policy from what we have put forward in the past legislation we have tried to pass. He said once a policy is developed, they then need to enforce it. He has committed to help us work with the Department of Education to make this happen. The Georgia Council of the Blind presented him with a Louis Braille coin to remind him of his commitment. We hope after the session that he will help to get the task force formed so it can make braille a reality for our students. We then heard from Representative Kirby, who has crafted legislation on fake service animals, and also language to strengthen the attack law on our service dogs. The bill does not yet have a number. The Georgia Guide Dog group has been asked by Representative Kirby to be at the capitol when the bill is dropped for the media coverage to show support. Georgia Council presented Representative Kirby with a stuffed guide dog to show our appreciation for his efforts to resolve the fake service dog issue. Our final speaker of the day was Senator James, who spoke to the group about how to best work with your legislators during the legislative session and year round when trying to advocate for legislation to improve the lives of the blind and low vision in Georgia. She also stated she would be willing to work with Representative Coleman on the braille literacy task force as she serves on the Senate Education Committee. She also is willing to help us to work on the bill to get the Governor to form a task force to look at services for the blind and deaf/blind in Georgia. The Georgia Council of the Blind presented her with an American Council of the Blind Derwood K. McDaniel coin with braille and large print on it to thank her for what she has done to help the blind and low vision in Georgia, and to remind her not to stop helping us to get better quality services. After the morning presentations, some of us went and met with our representatives, and gave them a one page document with our 3 issues. We wish to thank the students from Michelle Grenevitch’s class, as they went to every office to deliver documents to all the legislators. The day was a success, and our thanks go out to all who made it possible: The chair of our legislative committee, Betsy Grenevitch, Marsha Farrow, GARR’s Radio, Sam McClain, Michelle Grenevitch and all of our speakers. Once the day at the capitol is over the work is not done, it is just beginning. So be alert, and be sure to talk to your representatives to help advocate for our important issues. Alice Ritchhart stated how glad she was that the students from the Georgia Academy for the Blind were at the Blind Day at the capital, but how disappointed she was about how many older people were not there. She said their needs were met by Vocational Rehabilitation, but they do not care about the younger people. It is much harder to get the necessary services for individuals with visual impairments. Marsha Farrow stated that Alice Ritchhart bought the gifts. We thanked her for doing this for us. These gifts will hopefully be a reminder to the representatives of the needs and goals of the blind community. Constitution Committee Report: Alice Ritchhart, the chairperson of the constitution and bylaws committee, stated that Chapter dues must be collected in October and sent to the GCB treasurer in November. The dues have to be turned in to the ACB by March of every year. Fundraising Committee Report: Valerie Hester, who is the co-chairperson of the fundraising committee, stated that they are working on dinner in the dark after the April board meeting. They are trying to finding car clubs for the braille rally. We agreed to have the lunchbox list to the fundraising committee by April. Many people do not yet know if they will go to the convention. Alice Ritchhart explained the Kroger card fundraiser. She stated that if you have a Kroger card and you wish to give your bonus points to GCB that you must go on Kroger’s website to fill out a form. Kroger will send GCB a check from our points every quarter. If Kroger collects at least twenty-five dollars, then Kroger will send us a check. Teresa Brenner informed us you can do this on your I-phone or I-pad as well as a computer. There will be smoothies sold on Friday and Saturday during the convention. Marsha Farrow suggested that we think about giving prizes instead of money at the cow-patty event. She also suggested that for the Camp scholarship, we have the fundraiser in Macon. We could sell tickets. We could invite people who are musically inclined to perform for the musical fundraiser. Is there going to be an auction during the convention? We used to make much more money than we have lately on the auction. The convention committee will discuss this and decide what they want to do. Georgia Guide Dog Users, GGDU, and Report: Betsy Grenevitch reported that GDDU will meet sometime this spring. She had put together a webinar last month for the Georgia Restaurant Association. Many people phoned in to the webinar and stayed for the whole thing. She said they explained about the law in restaurants, their rights and responsibilities and ours, and it's up on their website. A veteran had called in, saying no restaurant accepts him and his post-traumatic-stress-syndrome service dog. We also heard from the police academy, where we have been trying to get to for years to say when we're denied access to restaurants. Some of the GGDU members will be going to the police academy to do some training there. GCB Digest: Amanda Wilson, the GCB Editor, stated that the GCB Digest will go out three times a year. We need for everyone to submit articles for the GCB Digest. Guest Speaker: Marsha Farrow introduced our speaker, Danita Snulligan, a mobility and orientation teacher of the visually impaired in Gwinnett County. She talked about Blind Career Day. The following people spoke at the Blind Career Day. They include Marsha Farrow, Steve Longmire, Empish Thomas, and Vashaun Jones. There were 18 students with visual impairments from four Gwinett County schools. They had reporters from the Gwinnett Post and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. The career day was a huge success. They are planning to have it again, so if you are interested in being involved, please let us know. New Business: We voted on having the April Board meeting either at the Atlanta Fulton County library or at the Center for the Visually Impaired. The latter won out. The library is too far to walk from some bus stops, and parking costs way too much. So we meet at CVI April 16th for the next board meeting. Next GCB Board Meeting: The next Georgia Council of the Blind board meeting will be on Saturday, April 16, 2016, at 10:00, at the Center for the Visually Impaired, CVI, which is located at 739 West Peachtree Street, Northwest, in Atlanta, Georgia. Adjourned: The GCB board meeting adjourned at 12:52. Respectfully submitted, Christine O'Brien, GCB Secretary    GCB Member Profile: Fred McDade Fred McDade, from the Northwest Chapter, told me his story of how he lost his sight while he was serving in the army in Vietnam. Fred told me that when he went to Vietnam, he was an able bodied person with normal vision. He was driving a convoy of vehicles in a Vietnam village when his vehicle was hit by grenades. Fred was thrown out of the vehicle on to the ground. He woke up thirty-three days later with no vision and no feeling from the waist down. Fred asked the doctor, “Where am I?” Fred was told that he was in a hospital. He then asked why they were not turning on the lights in his room. The doctor told him that he had lost his sight. Fred was upset. He said that he would not answer to Fred. He said that he did not want to be this Fred anymore. Fred said that he started praying to God for Him to restore his vision. He stated that God told him that he could be all right without his sight. So, then Fred started working on using his legs. He was fitted with an artificial leg which he still has today. Fred went to various centers to learn how to do household tasks independently. Fred then went to college, where he received a master’s degree in Psychology. Fred did all of his school work by audio. He would listen to someone or a machine read his books, he would dictate his work on to a cassette or to a human to write down his thoughts for essays; he would be given oral tests where the professor read to Fred, and then Fred would verbally give him his answer. Then, after graduating from college, Fred began looking for a job. He looked high and low. He started volunteering in his community. He was interviewed by his local newspaper. The principal of Dalton High School read the article. He invited Fred to eat breakfast with him. The principal offered Fred a job. Fred had many readers to assist him in his work at the high school. Fred worked at the Dalton High School for nineteen years. Fred still goes back to Dalton High school to give motivational speeches to students with or without vision to motivate them to strive to be whatever they want to be in life. Fred has a big family. Fred said that his son Fitzgerald teaches Special Education in the Dalton area. Fred stated that he belongs to many organizations that support individuals who are veterans that are sighted or blind. Fred is the second vice-president and the Chaplain of the Georgia Council of the Blind. Fred belongs to Blind Veterans Association. Fred enjoys listening to non-fiction and fiction books on his talking book player from the talking book center. He likes to split wood, mow his grass and do light household chores. For more information about Fred McDade, please contact him at 706-278-4084. Georgia Council of the Blind 2016 State Conference/Convention "Wise at Sixty: Healthy into the Future" Thursday, August 4th through Sunday, August 7th, 2016 Clarion Suites and Conference Center 17 Gateway Boulevard East Savannah GA 31419 For Hotel Reservations Call: (912) 925-2700 You are cordially invited to attend the Georgia Council of the Blind Annual Conference and Convention in Savannah, Georgia. The convention is to be held at the Clarion Suites and Conference Center.  We have arranged a special rate for the rooms of $90 plus tax and rooms can accommodate up to four people.  A complimentary hot breakfast is available.  Reservation deadline is July 4th, 2016. GCB celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and Health and Wellbeing is the focus this year.  We are pulling together a program of experts in areas such as adaptive sports, nutrition, and stress management, to name a few.  In addition to health topics, the history of our organization will also be addressed by Jack Lewis, one of the GCB founders. Optional side trips can include: 1) a tour of the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision at their new location; 2) a 90-minute trolley tour of historic Savannah; or 3) going off on your own for a dolphin tour from Tybee Island. Friday afternoon will include opportunities for guided exercise and a chance to try tandem bicycle riding. On Friday evening the Lions Club is sponsoring a welcome reception, the highlight of which is author Sue Martin performing a selection from her new book In Dog We Trust: Independence, Thrills, and Dignity with My Seeing Eye Dogs.  On Saturday, will continue the health theme and include as well a panel of service providers for the blind and visually impaired.  Lunch will follow and afterwards a meeting to elect new officers.  Members will also have time to speak on issues that could affect our organization in the coming year. Saturday evening's banquet will commemorate GCB's 60 years with various speakers.  Sunday morning activities include a memorial service for members who have passed and for those who wish to participate in a gospel sing along or a walk in the area of the hotel. This Conference promises to be a memorable one.  Don't miss it!  Registration deadline is July 15, 2016. Round trip transportation to the conference is available. The cost is $60 per person.  To secure your reservation, call either Marsha Farrow at (706) 859-2624 or Amanda Wilson at (770) 547-4700. We look forward to seeing you in Savannah. For more information please contact the Georgia Council of the Blind at P.O. Box 381, Trion, Georgia 30735, or by phone at 706-799-5225; or by email at; or on our web site at GCB Fundraiser The Georgia Council of the Blind is holding a fundraiser which is being sponsored by the Lions District Governors on Friday, August 5, 2016, at 7:00 pm. There will be a reading by author Sue Martin. The fundraiser will be held at the Clarion Suites and Conference Center, which is located at 17 Gateway Blvd East, in Savannah, Georgia. The reception is open to all. Donation: $15 per person, $20 per couple. Refreshments will be served. Sue Martin started writing when she was fourteen years old. An avid reader, she relished the craft of the written word. An advanced placement English class in eighth grade first challenged her, and she honed and polished her writing as an English major at The University of the South. When she was twenty-six Martin’s life changed forever, and eight years later she returned to the craft of writing, for the first time writing in the first person. This body of writing would eventually become a blog and finally a book. Sue Martin has just released her second book Titled, In Dog We Trust: Independence, Thrills, and Dignity with My Seeing Eye Dogs. The new book is a companion to her first book, Out Of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliation. In this presentation Sue Martin will take the audience through the process of becoming a published author, with particular detail on the creation of her second book. Bringing out In Dog We Trust was a very different experience from Out of the Whirlpool. “I couldn’t have done the dog book by myself,” writes Martin. “The book was my entire husband’s idea and it was a true collaboration.” Martin explains that, while she loved the idea of a book about their dogs, complete with full color photographs, going from concept to reality was not something she could have done on her own. “I wrote the text and handed it over to Jim,” she writes. Her husband, Jim, has been the official family photographer over thirty years. Once he had the text he trolled through hundreds of family photographs to illustrate the text. When they were ready they handed the manuscript off to their book designer and she worked her magic. The book was born. Sue’s books will be available for purchase at the fundraiser. GCB 2016 Elections, Marj Schneider At this year’s GCB conference and convention, August 4 through August 7 in Savannah, Georgia, we will be voting for the officers who are responsible for running our organization between meetings of the membership. We will also be electing a representative for our at-large members; that person also serves on the board of directors. President Keith Morris has asked me to chair a nominating committee to seek candidates for positions up for election this year. I want to thank Jamaica Miller of the Athens chapter and Dianne Roberts of the Greater Hall chapter for serving on this committee with me. Along with the at-large representative, the officers that will be elected on Saturday, August 6 include president, first vice president, second vice president, secretary and treasurer. Currently, Keith Morris serves as president, Robin Oliver serves as first vice president, Fred McDade serves as second vice president, Betsy Grenevitch has been appointed to finish the term of Secretary Christine O’Brien, and Marsha Farrow serves as treasurer. Anisio Correia is serving as member at-large representative. All of these officers and the member at-large representative are eligible to be elected to a second term, or any of them can decide not to seek reelection. The job of the nominating committee is to report to the membership at the annual business meeting with a slate of candidates for these positions. We will be giving this report at the meeting on August 6, but this is also your opportunity as members of GCB to seek a leadership role in the organization. Consider running for one of these positions. Though each involves a number of responsibilities, what better way to learn and practice the skills needed to run an organization, and you’ll be doing it on behalf of the blind and visually impaired community in Georgia. GCB is the most important organization in this state that advocates for the issues vital to all of us. This is your chance to contribute as an officer or as a representative of our at-large members to the future of our organization. At our business meeting on August 6 you can nominate yourself or ask someone to nominate you to run for one of the positions listed above. To help you think about running for one of these offices, there are manuals available that outline the responsibilities of each of them, written by Ardis Bazyn of the American Council of the Blind. Contact Digest editor Amanda Wilson to ask for any of these manuals. They are very helpful for anyone considering running for office and those who are already serving in elected positions. Contact Amanda Wilson at 770-547-4700, or via email at           GCB Chapter News The Athens Chapter officers are Jerrie Toney as president; Jamaica Miller as first vice-president; Donald Rains as second vice-president; Evan Bradford, as secretary; Robin Oliver as treasurer. Their meetings are held at MULTIPLE Choices at 145 Barrington Drive in Athens, Georgia on the fourth Saturday at 10:30 AM. For further information, please contact Jerrie Toney at 706-461-1013, or via email at The Augusta Chapter officers are Deborah Lovell as president; Alicia Morris as vice-president; Ann Worley as Secretary; Kathy Morris as treasurer; and Ron Worley as their board member. Their meetings are held at the Columbia County Main Library on Evans Town Center Blvd. in Evans, Georgia, on the second Saturday at 1:00. For more information, please contact Deborah Lovell at 706-726-4054, or via email at The East Georgia Chapter reported that they have been really busy lately. AT their February meeting, Judy Byrd spoke to us about the Atlanta Eclipse Beep Baseball team and to talk to us about Beep Baseball and show us the equipment used in playing the game.  She also talked to us about a recreation and sports camp for Blind and visually impaired children called Camp Ability.  At their March meeting, Elizabeth Isaacs spoke to us about the White Cane Repair Service that she heads up. At their April meeting, they had a Gadget Swap where people brought some of their low tech equipment for swapping. Members donated items they no longer used which were then donated to other members. There was a great variety to choose from including magnifiers, Braille kitchen timer, writing guides, decorative items, and much more. If more than one member was interested in an item, their names were put into a “hat” and the winner drawn. At their May meeting, they heard from two of its own members about their recent achievements. Ann Wheeler talked about her participation in the recent community walk to raise awareness of the “rails to trails” initiative. Ann shared her history growing up in Covington near the railroad tracks. Her father trained for the Marines in World War II by running the railroad tracks. Ann has many fond memories of the tracks. She also talked about her experience hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Rosetta Brown shared her experience at the Stadler National Center for the Blind in Buffalo, NY, for call center training. Her goal is to work from home. She took several courses. AT their June meeting, they held their annual picnic. The food was fantastic and plentiful.  They are planning some great programs for the rest of the year, so stay tuned. The East Georgia chapter officers are Neb Houston as president; Cecily Nipper as first vice-president; Phil Jones as second vice-president; Linda Williams as secretary; Anne Wheeler and Linda Cox as co-treasurers; Elsie Aguilar, Rosetta Brown, Brenda Maddox, and Christine O’Brien as board members. For more information, please contact Neb Houston at 770-784-0236. The Greater Columbus Chapter officers are Gregory McDuffie as President; Dirk Jones as first vice-president; Clifford Jones as second vice-president; Lisa Brooks as secretary; William Miles as treasurer; Otis Smith as Chaplain. Their meetings are held at the Columbus Public Library at 3000 Macon Road in Columbus, Georgia on the third Friday from 10:30 until 12:00. For more information please contact Gregory McDuffie at 706-330-8185, or via email at The Greater Hall County Chapter reported that Thomas Woodyard is currently in Tallahassee, Florida, at the Florida State University, FSU College of Law Summer for Undergraduates Program. He was selected to participate in the program of 60 students who are learning about different areas of the law and how to apply for law school.  It is an amazing opportunity and he is very excited to be part of it!  The program runs from May 15, 2016, until June 10, 2016. Thomas had to miss the May and June Hall Chapter meetings because he will be returning from Tallahassee, Florida, to Cumming, Georgia. Thomas finished his first year at the University of Georgia, UGA, where he will be continuing with a 3.2 and is very happy to satisfy his Math requirements.  He will never have to take Math again.  Hooray!!!!!!!  He enjoys FSU but will be happy to get back to UGA in the fall! Thomas was chosen as the recipient of the CCLVI Fred Schiegert Low Vision Scholarship award, and will be attending the ACB National Convention in Minneapolis to receive this scholarship.  It is actually not an ACB scholarship, but is awarded at the ACB National Convention.  Tommy is most excited that Timothy Jones was awarded one of the ACB national scholarships and will be attending convention with him. Thomas won the CCLVI Undergraduate Scholarship award. The Greater Hall County chapter is donating two hundred dollars toward GCB convention travel expenses. They are donating two hundred and twenty-one dollars and fifty cents that is twenty-five percent of their recent fund raiser. The Greater Hall County chapter will be awarding a $1000.00 scholarship to a deserving local student who is visually impaired. The Greater Hall County chapter officers are Judy Presley as president; Vance Barnes as vice-president; Sue Heskett as secretary; Ted Brackett as treasurer. Their board members are Don Linnartz, Dianne Roberts, and Evelyn Rudy. Their meetings are held at the Smokey Springs Retirement Residence at 940 South Enota Drive in Gainesville, Georgia, on the second Saturday at 10:00. For more information, please contact Judy Presley at 706-878-2962, or via email at   The Northwest Chapter officers are Ron Burgess as president; Fred McDade as vice-president; Mayella McDonald as secretary; Charles Stubblefield as treasurer; Robert Sprayberry as Chaplain. Their chapter meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every other month at the Bank of Lafayette Community room, which is located at 104 North Main Street in Lafayette, Georgia at 7:00 pm. For more information, please contact Ron Burgess at 706-638-1132. The Rome Floyd County Chapter reported that their guest speaker for their March meeting was Angie Robinson. She is a professional social worker. She became involved with Laughter Yoga in 2012. She is both a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher. She loves to laugh and wishes to share the benefits of laughter. She states that laughter yoga is more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys. She said that “laughter is the Best Medicine.” She will teach you laughter exercises that can improve your health and well-being while having fun. Laughter yoga decreases stress, improves your mood, and increases your energy. Angie states that all ages and abilities can participate in laughter yoga. She said that you do not need any special clothing or equipment to participate in laughter yoga. Angie Robinson led us through some fun laughter yoga exercises. We had fun laughing with her. For more information please contact Angie Robinson at706-506-8929, or via email at Their guest speaker for their April meeting was Jason Slaughter, who is the director of the Community Share Ministries in Cedartown, Georgia. Jason Slaughter, pastor of Connect Missionary Church, told us that he has seen many miracles since he shut down his business to follow the call to help people in need. In 2011, Community Share Ministries (CSM) was launched. The goal of the non-profit faith based organization was to open a shelter for men in the Cedartown/Polk County area. Jason Slaughter said he received help from city and county officials, community leaders, volunteers and others. For more information about Jason Slaughter, please contact him at 678-634-4395, or via email at At their May meeting, they discussed how orientation and mobility assists individuals with visual impairments to be more independent. The Rome Floyd County chapter officers are Marsha Farrow as president; Chris Ingram as vice-president; Suzanne Jackson as secretary/treasurer; Dale Allen as Chaplain; Casey Owens, Misty Ingram, and Amanda Wilson as board members. Their meetings are held at the Rome Floyd County Library at 205 Riverside Parkway, in Rome, Georgia, on the third Tuesday, at 11:00 am. For further information, please contact Marsha Farrow at 706-859-2624, or via email at The Savannah Chapter reported that in May they returned to their former location for meetings. They are meeting at the conference room at J. C. Lewis Ford, which is located on 9505 Abercorn Street in Savannah, Georgia. They are still meeting on the first Thursday of every month at 6:00 PM. They had been meeting at LIFE, Savannah’s center for independent living, but Georgia Council of the Blind, GCB and Savannah Council of the Blind, SCB member Bob McGarry has left his position there as executive director, which meant they no longer had access to the center for their meetings. In fact, they had a good-bye party for Bob McGarry as part of their June meeting, with wonderful contributions of snacks from several members. Bob McGarry will be returning to his home in Gainesville, Georgia, and though they will miss him in Savannah, Georgia, they understand why he will be leaving us. The bus and paratransit system in Savannah is an ongoing focus at their meetings, with Savannah Council of the Blind, SCB members regularly attending meetings to learn about both changes to the system and in personnel and to voice their concerns. Most recently they have been sending letters to their senators and representatives in congress to ask that Chatham Area Transit receive more federal funds. The quality of service, both with the fixed route busses and with paratransit in Savannah, Georgia, is suffering due to lack of funding. Because public transit is such a key issue for them, they participate in whatever ways they can to have a positive impact on CAT. At their June meeting they had a guest speaker from Savannah’s south side police precinct, officer Brian Smith, who spoke with them about home security and personal safety. They had a very lively discussion about the merits and problems with alarm systems and they learned what happens in Savannah, Georgia, when they make a 911 call. A number of them shared experiences and concerns that they have when it comes to being safe. They know they all came away with things to think about, both to be safer in their own homes and when they are traveling about. Over the next couple of months the Savannah chapter will be focused on hosting the Georgia Council of the Blind, GCB’s 60th anniversary conference and convention from Thursday, August 4, through August 7, 2016. They are working hard to make this a well-organized, memorable event and hope that you are making plans to come to the coast in August for what promises to be a lively and very active gathering of Georgia Council of the Blind, GCB members and friends. Please join us in Savannah, Georgia. The Savannah Chapter officers are Marj Schneider as president; Bob Walls as vice-president; Teresa Brenner as secretary; Jon Bairnsfather as treasurer. Their board members are Jan Elders and John McMillon. Their meetings are held at the conference room at J. C. Lewis Ford, which is located on 9505 Abercorn Street in Savannah, Georgia. They are still meeting on the first Thursday of every month at 6:00 pm. For more information about the Savannah chapter, please contact Marj Schneider at 912-352-1415, or via email at The South Metro Chapter reported that they have decided to change the meeting place to Barbecue Kitchen in College Park, and the meetings are now held on the second Thursday of the month from 4:00 until 6:00.  In February, the members had a fun Valentine's game of grab bag prizes.  In April, they were visited by the new MARTA transportation group to explain and answer questions.  That night, three visitors came to participate:  Dick and Laurie Cannon, former members of the Gainesville Chapter, and the GCB Parliamentarian, Roderick Parker.  In May, Laurie Cannon gave a program of music, playing her auto harp and singing many interesting songs.  In June, the scheduled program person did not show up, but the chapter's own Brent Reynolds entertained members with two comical stories.  Everyone enjoyed all these programs. Barbara Graham moved from College Park to Atlanta in the Peachtree Road High Rise, joining a couple of the chapter members who live there, Lisa Jones and Chris Baldridge.  Barbara fell about two weeks before moving and was recovering at John and Ann Sims' home when suddenly she became very ill with low sodium and was hospitalized for over a week.  The moving went on, however, and Barbara was moved into her new apartment the day before she was released from the hospital.  Everyone pitched in to pack her things and then unpack everything in her new home.  She deeply appreciates all the wonderful help. Barbara is improving every day but continues to covet your prayers for her.  Barbara Graham’s new address is 2240 Peachtree Road, NW, Apartment #707, in Atlanta GA 30309. The South Metro Atlanta chapter officers are Lisa Jones as president; Chester Thrash as vice-President; Chris Baldridge as secretary; Steve Longmire as treasurer; and John Sims as assistant treasurer. Maquatia Dutton and Sam Howard are board members. For more information about the South Metro Atlanta chapter, please contact Lisa Jones at 404-556-8987. Georgia Guide Dog Users, GGDU, Betsy Grenevitch  The Georgia Guide Dog Users had our spring in person meeting on Saturday, May 7, 2016. The meeting was held at the Athens Clarke County Library, which is located at 2025 Baxter Street in Athens, Georgia in Multipurpose room C. The meeting was held from 11:00 am until 3:30 pm. Betsy Grenevitch held a business meeting during the morning. We walked to Buffalo Southwest Café for lunch. Our speaker was Cathy Bruce, owner of Canine Country Academy, located in Lawrenceville and in West Athens. Cathy has been training and helping dogs with behavior problems for the last 13 years.   Her skills from her prior acting career on Broadway make her a dynamic speaker and educator. She has trained with some of the top expert trainers, behavior consultants and Tellington Touch instructors in the country, is certified through the Certification Council of Pet Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Tellington Touch is a tool that anyone working with dogs or anyone who owns a dog would benefit from.  The applications for Tellington Touch in canine behavior modification and building a more trusting relationship with a dog are endless. Cathy will be giving a broad overview of some of these applications and usage of Tellington Touch techniques with our canine companions. For more information about the Georgia Guide Dog Users, GGDU, please contact Betsy Grenevitch at 770-464-0450, or via email at You can visit our web site by going to GCB In Memory of: Mrs. Geraldine Pye, 87, passed away on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Her funeral services were held on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 11:00am in Macon Memorial Park Funeral Home with Rev. Chris Minton officiating. Burial followed in Macon Memorial Park Cemetery. The family greeted friends on Monday, May 2, 2016, from 6:00 until 8:00 pm at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Pine Pointe Hospice, 6261 Peake Road, Macon, 31210 or the American Cancer Society, 804 Cherry Street, Macon, 31201. Mrs. Dorothy Smith, 82, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. She had lived in the Chickamauga area her entire life. She was of the Baptist faith, as a member of Mission Ridge Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her parents, Clifford and Clemmie Smith, Sr.; sister, Mary James Smith; and brother, Conley Smith. Survivors include her sisters, Sue Smith and Glenda McDonough; brothers and sister-in-law, Ronny Smith, Donny Smith and Clifford (Ethel) Smith, all of the Chattanooga area; several nieces and nephews. The funeral service was held on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at 2:00pm at the Fort Oglethorpe Chapel. Gary Moore was in charge of the services. The burial service followed in Lakewood Memory Gardens, East. The family received friends, from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and prior to the service on Saturday, at the funeral home. Online guest book at Arrangements will be made by W.L. Wilson & Sons Funeral Homes, in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. In Memory of Jessie Fench, by Mike Hall Many of you may remember Bill and Jessie Fench. According to her obituary from Sunset Memorial Park Funeral Home in Dothan Alabama, Jessie died on Wednesday May 24, 2016. For many years, Bill and Jessie lived in Georgia. Bill worked at a vending facility at Lanier Tech near Gainesville. Both Bill and Jessie were active members of the original Gainesville Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind. Often, my mom and I would give Bill and Jessie rides to GCB meetings. Jessie would ride up front with my mom and I would ride in the back with Bill. We always had plenty to talk about and we always enjoyed being together. In 1992, Bill and Jessie moved to Dothan, Alabama, to be closer to their daughter Renee and her husband. It was in 1994 or 1995 that Bill died. A service was held in Commerce, Georgia. A few of the GCB chapter members from Gainesville took food and went to Commerce to be with Jessie. I remember Jessie to be a kind and welcoming person. I can also describe her as quiet and strong. When Bill died, it was Jessie who called me and gave me the service details. Jessie was able to come and visit Gainesville a couple of times. One Friday evening, a group of us met with her at a Shoneys Restaurant for a meal and some good fellowship. Jessie talked about listening to a radio station that was affiliated with Bible Broadcasting Network. She enjoyed the music and I am sure that the programming was a great comfort to her, especially after Bill’s passing. Contributions are being accepted in Jessie’s honor to Bible Broadcasting Network and to Central Baptist Church of Dothan. The following is Jessie’s obituary as it appeared on the web site of Sunset Memorial Park Funeral Home. Jessie Mae Finch, 94, a resident of Dothan, went to be with her Savior Wednesday, May 25, 2016. Funeral services will be held at 3 pm on Friday, May 27, 2016, at Central Baptist Church with Rev. Stephen Russell officiating and Sunset Memorial Park Funeral Home directing. The family will receive friends at the church on Friday from 2-3 pm. A graveside service will be held at Grey Hill Cemetery in Commerce, GA, at 11 am on Saturday, May 28, 2016. Memorial contributions can be made to Bible Broadcasting Network, P. O. Box 7300, Charlotte, NC 28241, or Central Baptist Church, 1812 Honeysuckle Rd., Dothan, AL 36305. Mrs. Finch was born September 8, 1921, in Pickens County, SC, to the late Robert and Alice Gillespie. She lived most of her life in Georgia prior to moving to Dothan in 1992. Mrs. Finch was an inspiration to all who came in contact with her. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, William Finch, two brothers, J. W. Gillespie and Edgar Gillespie, two sisters, Lois Davis and Ruby O’Kelley. Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Renee & Stephen Russell, Dothan, AL; four granddaughters: Ashley Joiner and Kara McKlemurry, Greenville, SC, Erika Meyer, Jonesville NC, Stephanie Russell, Dothan, AL; three great-grandchildren: Zack and Salem Joiner, Elanor Meyer; a brother, Charles Gillespie, of Stone Mountain, GA, and several nieces & nephews.    GCB Celebrations We want to wish the following people a happy birthday and a happy anniversary. Janet Hardin, April 11; Linda Cox April 16; Sam Howard April 19; Jan Elders April 25; Terecia Standridge April 30; Sarah Maddox May 2; Chris Ingram May 10; Brenda Maddox May 10; Barbara Graham May 11; Betsy Grenevitch May 20; Judy Presley June 2; Philip Jones June 10; Amanda Wilson June 16; Keith and Kathy Morris’ anniversary June 16; Chris and Misty Ingram’s anniversary June 17; Danny and Suzanne Jackson’s Anniversary June 22; Dr. Philip and Carolyn Dillard’s anniversary June 24; Dale Allen June 28; Phyllis Edson July 19; Kim Harrison July 28; Jamaica Miller July 31; GCB Amazon Smiles Please support GCB by using Amazon Smiles. It will not cost you an additional penny to contribute to GCB. The only effort required on your part is to select GCB as your organization to support. Please urge friends and family members to do the same. Read below and follow the links. Go to, and select the Georgia Council of the Blind as the organization to which you would like Amazon Smile to Contribute. Now, spread the word near and far, to family members and friends. Everyone shops at Amazon, so tell them about Amazon Smile and GCB. GCB Board Meeting Announcement The next Georgia Council of the Blind Board meeting will be on Sunday, August 7, 2016. The GCB board meeting will be held at the Clarion Hotel at 17 Gateway Blvd East, in Savannah, Georgia, 31419. If you cannot come to the meeting in person, you can call in and listen to the board meeting by calling 1-218-339-0420, and the passcode is 155648#. If you have any further questions, please contact Keith Morris at 706-799-5225, or via email at