The Michigan Council of the blind and Visually Impaired unites people: to promote cultural, social, and personal growth, as well as understanding toward progress, dignity, equality in issues regarding blindness and visual impairment.
President: Michael Geno
Editor: Donna Rose
The MCBVI News is published quarterly in Braille, large print, on audio cassette and sent via e-mail to its membership. Contact the editor via E-mail at,
or by phone at (517) 333-9117.
General Inquiries regarding the activities of MCBVI may be made by calling toll-free 888-956-2284, or we can be contacted by e-mail at, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR'S NOTE: The contact information for officers and committee chairpersons will be included with your January issue.
From The President's Desk
By Michael Geno
Congratulations on a fantastic convention. That seems to be the response to our annual event this year held in Wyoming Michigan. The First week end in October we hosted our largest ever technology exhibition, while some of our activities were broadcast over the internet. More of our convention highlights will be shared by others elsewhere in this newsletter. The remainder of my report this time will consist of exurbs from the keynote address recorded at our annual banquet October 7, 2006. The title of this message appeared in the convention program as follows. "who are the secret keepers, and what do they know? This Title was guaranteed to bring a crowd! I hope those of you who could not celebrate with us, will also find this message, well worth your time.
MCBVI President Geno's
2006 Banquet Address
Everyone has secrets. How many of you came here to see which of your secrets I may have discovered? Fear of exposure, along with the temptation to know all about the secrets others hide, can be irresistible. Perhaps what I am about to comment on, will bring satisfaction by confirming our suspicions. But are we really like sharks ready to circle round the scent of blood? Someone told me once that sharks will not attack lawyers Because of professional curtesy. But the only secrets I am prepared to share here, are my own, or ones that are common to us all.
many issues competed for the attention of this opportunity to communicate to our internet audience, as well as those enjoying our Western style convention banquet. Legislation continues to be drafted with language concerning the blind that threaten our equal rights, and opportunities to positively influence programs and services that impact us as a minority. Serious issues exposed by the light of each annual resolution of the MCBVI, are being responded to by a growing number of citizens. One of our goals is to help the general public realize that decisions involving the blind, will impact the lives of all citizens. Whenever, or wherever dignity, equality, and understanding of even one among us is diminished, that loss must eventually settle as a burden on us all.
Society has begun to take note that Age related vision loss is becoming a common concern. Our local chapters, and state contact lines are receiving calls every day with requests for help and information. Through our efforts to respond, and in interactions in support groups, it is alarming to witness how many seniors continue driving blind on our roads and highways. The slogan, "Drive defensibly" takes on more meaning for travelers when they realize that a growing number of drivers licenses are still in use years after aging adults become legally blind. From warning signs, I have deduced who these drivers are that experience the beginnings of serious sight loss. Bouncing over curbs at corner turns, abrupt stops and steering changes, and the blaring horns of other vehicles on the road, are important clues to even sightless passengers. Exposure to eminent danger can convene a very important mental meeting in our mind if we choose to reflect on reality. Many fear to face a new representative in their mental meeting room. Our own personal mortality might seek the floor and begin to suggest difficult truths. Each of our responses to common realities can be very different from person to person. However, when truth is squarely dealt with, our approach to issues, and life itself, will never be the same.
In today's multi media society, we have passively witnessed the suggestion of our own mortality in TV and movie programs. News reports of gripping drama move some beyond passive observation. But in the comfortable lives of far too many, the pain and grief of unexpected disasters blazing before us, remain unreal. Any suggestion of our own personal mortality may be too uncomfortable, and for some, even morbid. But I have learned from my own experience, and from those who face their mortality every day, life is richer, and relationships stronger after facing it.
You might begin by visiting those among us who have already attended their meeting with mortality in nursing homes, cancer treatment centers, or facilities offering hospice care. Listening to individuals coping with these conditions can open a new prospective on our own daily agenda. During a visit to one of my closest friends, we frankly talked about life and death issues. Facing his terminal illness only days before he died, he said to me, "It seems such a contradiction. Never before have I contemplated something that is so certain, and uncertain at the same time." After I gave the eulogy at his funeral, I was struck by his continuing message to me. Now, his silence seemed to unify all that he had listened to or expressed during the brief 36 years of his life. It was at that time I clearly understood in his silence, the great man that he was. I continue to grow in his brotherly love. From experiences like these, I have learn to listened to even the silence of those close to me. Conversations with loved ones, seemed to have move deeper into my thoughts, memories, and heart.
Eventually, the time will come when our relationships with some while we live, must change with this ultimate separation. Our own meetings with mortality will rearranged the furniture of our life agenda.
My personal agenda was again influenced by this reality last December 27th, when I was told that I had cancer. Like most of us, up to then I continued to check my mortality at the door, convincing myself that I still have time. Now, I had to consider this challenge to long term plans and daily agendas. When I was next told last April that the surgery to remove this cancer, was not successful, Mortality now boldly sat down at my mental meeting table. Perhaps some of the minutes of my meetings with mortality will interest you, and help you prepare your own agendas.
Something in me has awakened to deeper experiences. My sensitivity to even the smallest blessing has been enhanced. How delicious is a Michigan apple, peach, or blueberry when you consider that this might be the last one you will ever taste? Each sensation leaves you cherishing the memory of similar blessings taken for granted in the past. The Uncertainty my friend spoke of, is not all bad. It can open your mind to helpful questions. Will this be the last chorus of Spring birds I will wake up to? Are these the last piles of Fall leaves I will hike through? Will I be blessed to see the next season of harvest, or holidays? Should I contact every one I care about, and share how important they are to me?
These questions and concerns are vivid burning choices that demand our attention. Mortality will make it very difficult to ignore them. And when you do, the consequences can be so painful. The irony of contradiction my close friend spoke of, I now sense in every bitter sweet action and relationship.
Just 8 weeks ago, I was suddenly nagged by the idea of calling a friend and member of our Port Huron Blue Water League chapter I had not spoken with since before my last surgery. Medical priorities seemed to prevent us from talking for several months. She also had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and the news about her washed like waves on a beech. In one report she would be doing good, then in the next, she was too sick to call. Sometimes the news would be days old, so I would decide not to disturb her rest with a phone call. Each opportunity to communicate never seemed to conveniently open. Finally, I felt in my heart to just make a call anyway because I cared. Maybe it was not a good time, but I could at least express that much. When her daughter answered the phone, I was told that she was resting. Then came this muffled conversation on the other end of the line. Next I heard her say, "Hello." She was happy to hear from me, and we spent time sharing again as members of our local chapter, and friends. We talked about her attending our next meeting, and traveling again with our group to next year's Winter Camp For The Blind. We warmed each other with our memories of camaraderie and fun we all share at this annual camp sponsored by Lions clubs.
I felt that she and I expressed much more than plans and future hopes. We tasted the intensity of something that was not spoken. In that intensity, we also affirmed how important is our brief time together. Each word, thought, and laughter, seemed to be punctuated with our recognition of precious value. She and I seemed to mutually understand that this might be our last conversation. Her passing proved us right. I am now thankful that I didn't miss that special talk. And I could have so easily made a simple decision to not make that call. Experiences like these have helped me learn the impact of our simple choices, in the larger scheme of life.
"there is always tomorrow, is a Mythology of comfort and a delusion. We expect that we will somehow avoid the statistics that others experience in society. XX per cent of persons die each year of heart attacks, auto accidents, or other unforeseen events. If you have time to have the inevitable meeting with your own mortality, there will be a complete shift in the importance of things. Issues I once argued and fought over, grow trivial in comparison to relationships. Possessions I have coveted and cherished seem to lose value. Especially when compared with expressions of caring between people. Now relationships can blaze with greater light and heat. Emotions run deeper, washing away hurts and barriers to understanding. What is trivial or burdensome can be forgiven, opening our mind to more that is important. This new prospective also changes what we understand in our past. How we approach our future can also be redirected. Facing our mortality can help us more clearly understand the distraction and harm resulting from unnecessary battles and selfish ambition. Some will just go on as they always have. How many opportunities with the time to do what is good will they miss? Can we really afford to fail those along our path who need our help and compassion?
You may be asking, what does all this mean to me? How does my mortality change the context of blindness, Political or social improvement? The truth is, facing this reality is basic to all that we think and do. The truth is, We, are the secret keepers. And what we know, should not continue to be a secret to others. We know that persons with out sight can enjoy satisfying productive lives. We know that the blind can successfully earn a living in many occupations and professions. We also know that the general view of blindness, is often misunderstood and far from the reality we face. We know that with training and opportunity, we are the most expert at defining our own limits.
Every thing we do represents a decision. Even not doing something, is a decision. Our personal experience, and growth, feeds the root of much that we decide and do. It even changes how we define failure or success. What decisions can we now act on, that are different from decisions in our past?
As an organized minority of citizens facing the challenges of blindness, We will continue to come into contact with those who will need to know the secrets in our unique knowledge and experience. We can share them as a duty, or a joy. Professional or volunteer, we can help each other according to a higher purpose. Can we dedicate ourselves to a caring mission with passion? Can we recognize even the simple things we do as part of a greater purpose?
We can choose to remain in the illusion of our own comfort and pleasure, or wake up to the wonder of our life's vivid realities. There is a brief mission statement for our organization at the beginning of each newsletter. But mission statements are just words, if they are not acted on with purpose and compassion. When people come to us who are losing sight, along with their family members and friends, what will truly motivate us? Will we be the caring guides they need us to be, offering help and comfort?
There are those in our organization who already have their mortality prospective. They more than just respond. They seem to know how brief life's opportunities are. Their gifts to us represent more than money, time, skill, or energy. Those around them draw strength from their passion, understanding, and wisdom. Those among us who have been blessed to learn from our mortality reality, can truly unite as brothers and sisters. Our daily acts of compassion toward one another, will unite us as one family. I feel blessed to be a growing member of this family, and invite those of you who have not yet joined, to schedule your own mental meeting with mortality. After that experience, you also can share the remaining moments of your life as a blessing of compassion and joy.
2006 Convention Update
By Kyle Austin, Convention Chairperson
As we look back at the 33rd annual convention, I feel that we can call it a huge success. This year Sixty eight people attended. Thanks to all attendees and the great time had by all. We particularly want to extend our gratitude to Mike Ellis (mee inc.) for putting together a great group of exhibits for Friday afternoon and for his generous donation of products for a fundraiser that raised over $500 for MCBVI.
Our annual auction hit an all time high. After a recount of money, we raised $1,126.00 from the auction. Thanks to all who made contributions for the auction and everyone who paid big bucks for several items. The break out sessions were well attended on Saturday. The banquet was enjoyed by all. President Mike Geno made a very moving speech that had an effect on everyone who attended.
The Sunday business meeting was well attended. I am sure you will be reading more about the business meeting later in this publication.
Thanks to all who attended and also thanks to all who helped put on the 33rd annual convention for MCBVI. It just gets bigger and better every year!
What Do I Do When
My College Doesn't
Accommodate My Disability?
By Donna Rose
Sometimes students come to us with horror stories about the lack of reasonable accommodations that they should be able to expect from their colleges or universities. The best thing that a student can do is to check out the services at a college or university prior to enrolling, and pick out one that is best prepared to meet their needs.
As someone who sued a major university in Michigan for simple reader service, I would have the following recommendations. First, make certain to put all requests into writing. Be specific as to what your needs are and why the accommodation is necessary. If you are denied an accommodation you need to document this with the date of the denial. If you wish to appeal a denial do that in writing as well to the director of services to students with disabilities on your campus and your school's ombudsman. Keep all communications you receive, including e-mails. What you are doing is creating a paper trail. In my case I chose to withdraw from school and file a complaint with the US Department of Education. Their Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is the government agency that takes and investigates education discrimination. There is a strict time limit as to how long you have to file a complaint, but you should exhaust all other remedies prior to doing this which will strengthen your case. There are many helpful resources available on their web site by going to www.ed.gov/ocr. You can also reach them by phone at 800-421-3481, or by e-mail at OCR@ed.gov. I will discuss the types of ways you can evaluate accommodations at a prospective school in a future newsletter.
A Tour of Our New Web Site
By Willie Phipps,
Technology Committee Chairperson
Our web site mic hivis ion.org has been up for awhile now. For those who have had a chance to visit, we hope you liked what you have seen so far. For those of you who haven't, here's a bit of a peek in the guise of a tour.
"Publications": Follow this link to read current and back issues of the MCBVI newsletter, and other publications.
"Suggestion Box Survey": Activating this link will bring you to a section of the site that will allow you to fill out a brief survey. Let us know what you like about the site, what you don't like about the site and ways we can improve it.
"Support the Michigan Council of the Blind" : Gives you information on donating.
"Why Join MCBVI": On this page, you and other visitors can read the benefits of joining the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired.
"Become a member": This link allows new members to fill out a membership form, print it out and mail it in with their membership dues.
"Contact Us": This section contains information about MCBVI and how to contact us.
And coming soon, "Hot News and Super Tips", a section that will contain tips and articles featuring MCBVI members around the state. Also soon to appear will be an "Audio Links" page, where visitors will be able to listen to excerpts of the MCBVI 33rd Annual Convention and more.
If you have any questions or comments about the web site please drop us a line at email@example.com.
Daily Bus Service Soon
By Donna Rose
Many of our members and friends will be happy to learn that on November 16th a new company called Michigan Flyer will offer seven round trips per day to and from Detroit Metro Airport originating in Lansing. The bus service is a partnership of Skybird Okemos Travel and Owosso-based Indian Trails Inc. The company is hoping to eventually add service every hour during the day. Buses will run from the Marriott at University Place, 300 M.A.C. Ave., East Lansing, to the Sunoco station at 3000 Dunckel Road, Lansing to Starbucks Corp.'s coffeehouse at 1801 North West Ave., Jackson. Then the route will proceed to the airport and back the same way. The trip is expected to take 1 hour and 40 minutes. Ticket prices are $25 each way for individuals, $40 each way for doubles and $60 each way for a family of up to six from the same household. After contacting the company, I have been asked by a representative there to help them make their web site more accessible. For more information you can contact the company by phone at 517-349-0359, or on their web site at, www.michiganflyer.com. I am hoping that this service can expand to other areas and have indicated this to the company.
By Donna Rose
A few items came across my desk that I thought I should share with our diabetic audience.
The first is news about a new talking tiny glucose meter that has been produced in Taiwan and is available here in the States. The Prodigy Meter measures 3-7/8 inches x 1-3/4 inches x 15/16 inch. The meter uses "state-of-the-art" capillary action, touchable test strips. The meter costs $30.99, and a box of 50 strips costs $18.95. Order five boxes of strips, and the meter is free. Medicare beneficiaries who have met their deductible can get the meter and supplies for free. It has already been FDA-approved. Contact the retailer, Diabetic Support Program, at 1-800-990-9826, or via their Web site www.prescriptionsplus.com.
The second item is the Braille Pocket Doctor, a 72 page book in contracted Braille for new diabetics which was Written by an Endocrinologist, a Registered Dietitian, and a Certified Diabetes Educator. The book contains many helpful sections including an explanation of diabetes, hints for eating and dining out, blood glucose monitoring, web and phone resources and more. The price of the 72 page Braille edition is $47, which includes shipping. This publication is also available in regular size print for $6.95, including shipping. Contact Pocket Reference Journals by phone at714-965-4570, or visit their web site www.pocketreferencejournals.com.
On November 8, 2006 join the First International Virtual Audio On-line Symposium on Diabetes. Scheduled to take place from 10 AM until 3 PM PST, the speakers will include Gretchen Becker who wrote the Book "Living with Type 2 Diabetes," Dr. Bernard Mahaver who will discuss the various drugs in use to control Diabetes, and Finally, Dr. Anne Williams, a noted Diabetic Educator who will discuss Research and Trends in Diabetic care. The program will be followed by a discussion period with Audience questions. To access the on-line conference room, go to: www.accessibleworld.org and select the Auditorium link. For more information regarding this symposium contact Robert Acosta, Chair, Planning Committee Helping Hands for the Blind, telephone 818-998-0044, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medicare Part D Plans Have Changed
By Donna Rose
Once again it is time to choose a Medicare Part D plan if you receive Medicare and you are not covered better by another health plan. Plan coverage has changed, so don't assume that the plan you chose in 2006 will be the same price or cover the same benefits and drugs. There are several places where you can go to get help making your decision about which plan is right for you. You can try www.medicare.gov where there is a tool that allows you to choose the pharmacies you would like to use, along with the ability to enter your medications. The tool will calculate the cost of each plan for your personal circumstances. Then you can make an informed choice. Medicare beneficiaries can also get help from the Michigan Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program by calling 800-803-7174 and leaving a message so they can return your call. You can enroll in a new plan from November 15 to December 31 each year.
MCBVI 2006 Convention Resolutions
The following are resolutions which were passed by a majority during the October Annual Business Meeting.
MCBVI RESOLUTION 2006-01
Whereas, Much of the information legislators and the public have been given regarding the services in which news is distributed to blind and visually impaired persons--such as newspapers, magazines, etc.-has been misleading; and
Whereas, HB5354 infers that the NFB Newsline is the only way to access news and information; and
Whereas, Electronic services, such as those rendered by the NFB Newsline, are very useful to many blind and visually impaired people; and
Whereas, They are not the only means by which such materials are, or should be dispersed; and
Whereas, Information provided by radio reading services is accessed by special receivers, local cable TV public access channels as well as through the Internet; and
Whereas, Radio reading services use volunteers who read local newspapers, shopping ads and coupons, provide community and human interest programming, and offer some listener participation in discussion of issues related to blindness and visual impairment; and
Whereas, This human element is often preferred by those who do not or cannot handle listening to synthesized speech from computer-based reading services; and
Whereas, Senior citizens who have complex medical conditions cannot navigate the complicated menu systems of the telephone and computer-based technology used by the Newsline;
Now, therefore be it resolved by the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired in convention assembled at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Wyoming, Michigan, on Sunday, October 8, 2006, That if state or federal money is to be given for the purpose of making information available to the entire blind and visually impaired population in Michigan, then it is our belief that the radio reading services around the state should be recipients of that money as well; and
Be it further resolved that, To place a surcharge on telephone bills to enable this type of service only would be very unfair; and
Be it further resolved that, We encourage the maintenance of robust radio reading services as well as the funding of other audio information services which would include a more diverse special needs population.
MCBVI Resolution 2006-02
Whereas, HB5354 states in Section 13 (1) "The Newsline for the blind fund is created within the state treasury;" and Whereas, HB5354 also states in Section 13 (2), "The state treasurer shall receive the money designated under section 12 (1) (a) for deposit into the fund. The state treasurer may receive money or other assets from any source for deposit into the fund"; and
Whereas, (4) of this law also states, "The Michigan Commission for the Blind shall expend money from the fund upon appropriation only for distribution to the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan for the purpose of the NFB-Newsline program;" and
Whereas, This type of funding arrangement introduces a conflict of interest involving the Michigan Commission For the Blind (MCB) regularly handling the dispersal of government-administered funds to a single political action group; and
Whereas, Financial support of one politically active organization that seeks to assert its own agenda, philosophy, and services that the fiduciary agency is supposed to equally provide to all consumers disenfranchises all other stakeholders not in or supported by that lone faction; and
Whereas, The supporters of HB5354--now signed into law by Governor Granholm, failed to include any assurances, standard protection, or even minimal fiscal safeguards or requirements of any kind for the NFB to provide government and Michigan taxpayers even the most basic and standard reports or information usually required in the operation of programs and services financially supported with government-managed funds; and
Whereas, HB5354 authorizes the Michigan Department Of the Treasury to capture funds from "any source," paving the way for last-minute "pork barrel" funneling of funds to a politically biased organization that does not equally represent the interests of all citizens or the blind; and
Whereas, NFB has blurred its identity with political lobbying and influences on state and national issues of government by intermixing service programs that are solely owned and managed by their members; and
Whereas, HB5354 infers that the NFB Newsline is the only way to access news and information; and
Whereas, The NFB has not always been forthcoming in providing full disclosure as to the costs, actual usage, and standard service delivery statistics or measurements that are usually required of other partner contractors and used to evaluate consumer impact and service delivery efficiency and outcome profiles; and
Whereas, MCB has already demonstrated the influence of this funding bias in their internal political communications, contracts with NFB-managed programs, and employment of and contracts with individual NFB-M members; and
Whereas, The letter sent by the MCB Board Of Commissioners to Governor Granholm favoring this bill before its passage and endorsed personally to her by the MCB Director in direct contrast with a standing policy enforced by the Commission Director prohibiting internal lobbying of any legislation by any MCB staff and partner associates including representatives on their Consumer Involvement Council;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Michigan Council Of The Blind and Visually Impaired in convention assembled on Sunday, October 8, 2006, at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Wyoming, Michigan, that MCBVI opposes MCB functioning simply as a "pass through" for money appropriated through this type of fund to one political group; and
Be it further resolved that, The MCBVI will seek an explanation from all government rules, procedures, and ethics-monitoring entities--calling upon them to make a full investigation revealing how such problem legislation was processed into law; and
Be it further resolved that, The MCBVI will seek the support of other concerned organizations and interests to promote the introduction of future legislation that nullifies the problems inherent in the current language of HB5354 and that also introduces new procedures and options that are free of conflicts of interest insuring fair and equitable opportunities to all politically active organizations or information services available to consumers wishing to impact policies implemented by the MCB; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Priority Action Committee formed at the July 15, 2006, MCBVI board meeting will be responsible for acting on the inquiries listed above and recommend what actions-if any--should be taken; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that MCBVI--if not successful in the other purposes of this resolution--may pursue remedies in the courts to rescind, declare illegal, or achieve rulings more favorable for all Michigan citizens and stakeholders.
MCBVI RESOLUTION 2006-03
Whereas, In the Michigan Primary Election held on August 8, 2006, blind and visually impaired citizens and persons with other disabilities for the first time were able to vote with total independence and privacy; and
Whereas, The Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) was instrumental in developing many of the features in the AutoMark; and
Whereas, MCBVI and other disability organizations felt the AutoMark voting machine was the most accessible;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired in convention assembled on Sunday, October 8, 2006, at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Wyoming, Michigan, that MCBVI wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to the Secretary Of State for implementing the Help America Vote Act with the most accessible voting machine when using an optical scanning system; and
Be it further resolved that, Copies of this resolution be sent to members of the House, Senate and Governor.
MCBVI RESOLUTION 2006-4
Whereas, We have held our MCBVI conventions at the Howard Johnson Plaza hotel in Wyoming, Michigan, for the past three years; and
Whereas, The hotel staff, volunteers and Convention Committee have provided outstanding service to our organization; and
Whereas, The planning an implementation of a convention is a challenging and time-consuming task;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired in convention assembled at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Wyoming, Michigan, on Sunday, October 8, 2006, that we wholeheartedly express our sincere appreciation to all those who worked so diligently to make our conventions a success.
Section 12 and 13 of HB 5354
Revenue From MSB Sale
(1) The net revenue received from the sale of property under this act shall be distributed as follows:
(a) An amount equal to 5% of the net revenue or $50,000.00, whichever is less, shall be deposited in the state treasury and credited to the Newsline for the blind fund created in section 13.
(b) The balance of the net revenue shall be deposited in the Michigan school for the blind trust fund managed by the state board of education and shall be used for the support of camp Tuhsmeheta in Greenville, Michigan.
(2) As used in this section, "net revenue" means the proceeds from the sale of the property less reimbursement for any costs to the state associated with the sale of property, including, but not limited to, administrative costs, including employee wages, salaries, and benefits; costs of reports and studies and other materials necessary to the preparation of sale; environmental remediation; legal fees; and any litigation related to the conveyance of the property.
(1) The Newsline for the blind fund is created within the state treasury.
(2) The state treasurer shall receive the money designated under section 12(1) (a) for deposit into the fund. The state treasurer may receive money or other assets from any source for deposit into the fund. The state treasurer shall direct the investment of the fund. The state treasurer shall credit to the fund interest and earnings from fund investments.
(3) Money in the fund at the close of the fiscal year shall remain in the fund and shall not lapse to the general fund.
(4) The Michigan commission for the blind shall expend money from the fund, upon appropriation, only for distribution to the national federation of the blind of Michigan for the purpose of the NFB-Newsline program. This act is ordered to take immediate effect. Clerk of the House of Representatives, Secretary of the Senate, Approved Governor
By Jeanette Geno, Chairperson
At our annual business meeting I turned over five checks from the Vehicle Donation Processing Center to our mcbvi treasurer John McMahon. Thanks to our President, Michael Geno, for writing letters on behalf of our organization so we could finally receive funds due to us. Donna Rose our First Vice President also shared some very helpful information about fund raising projects chapters might find very successful. We are looking into future contribution options with the Charity Motors operation out of Detroit. Stay tuned for more details, and keep those fund raising ideas coming.
Grants and Scholarships
By Rosemarie Facilla, Chairperson
The Scholarship committee has awarded John McMahon a $1,500 Scholarship from the Roy and Ethel Peterson Scholarship Fund. For the 2006-2007 school year. The Grant Committee has awarded $500 to Steven Miller of Grand Rapids toward the purchase of a closed circuit television that he needs to help him read print material. Congratulations to both recipients!
By Donna Rose, co-chairperson
It is that time of year again when we begin collecting our dues for 2007. On your membership lists please make sure to double check for address changes, and format preferences for both the Braille Forum and the MCBVI News. Remember to offer the e-mail version of both. It will be helpful if you list the person's first name first and last name last so that I don't have to flip them when I cut and paste them for the newsletter mailing labels. Last year almost every chapter had their dues in by January 31. I hope we can achieve this goal this year as well. You will be sending your dues and member list to our treasurer John McMahon, 517 South 13th St., Escanaba, MI 49829. In addition you can also e-mail us your membership list to my e-mail email@example.com. Let's have an even bigger membership drive this season!
By Karla Fields, Chairperson
During our annual state convention Mike Geno was re-elected by acclamation as MCBVI president for his second two year term. Deb Wild was re-elected by acclamation as secretary, and Kyle Austin was re-elected by acclamation as assistant treasurer. Congratulations to them all.
By Donna rose, Chairperson
This is our final newsletter of 2006. Anyone who paid their dues for this year will receive the January newsletter as well. New members start receiving newsletters in April and receive them through January of the next year. President Geno asked me to place the contact information for our executive board and committee chairs in the January issue. You will want to keep that section of your next newsletter for future reference as it is only printed once per year to save money. Thanks to all of you who send me items of interest in between newsletters. I save these for possible publication later. B.J. Seaman will be putting our newsletter into large print, Wayne Lepiors is duplicating the cassette edition. And the Blue Water League still does the Braille. I will likely be submitting the large print file from B.J. to the e-mail recipients. Our newsletters will be on our web site, www.michivision.org. The next deadline for submissions will be January 22, 2007. If you do not have e-mail and need to send me a committee report or chapter update please contact me close to this deadline with your report.
By Chris Schumacher, Chairperson
Our committee's hard work over the last few months resulted in four resolutions that were presented and passed at the MCBVI convention in October. I would like to thank Casey Dutmer, Sue Illingworth, Neal Freeling and Deb Wild for all their hard work and support. Special thanks also go to Mike Geno and Donna Rose for their valuable input in the discussion and writing of these resolutions. As we move forward and await the results of these, however, we must begin to think about other issues that we would start to work on next year. So, as our initial committee meetings are basically discussions of current concerns that might serve as the basis for resolutions, it is not too early to hear from you to help get this process going. Feel free to contact me or any other member of the committee with your ideas. Happy holidays!
Blue Water League Of The Blind
By Jeanette Geno, President
Hello from the BWL. Thanks to Lonnie Stevens from the United Way and BJ Seaman who drove, we had nine chapter members attending our state convention from the Port Huron area. congratulations from all of us to those who made our state convention in Wyoming such a success. The BWL has been busy hosting a Harvest party in October. We also held a fund raising auction at this event. We are excited about recruiting new members at this time. In November we plan to share a Thanksgiving meal with our Canadian friends from Sarnia Ontario Canada. Our meetings are usually held the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. We welcome visitors, and can provide more information by calling (810) 982-0717. Until our next report, happy holidays to all.
Capital Area council
By Donna Rose
In June our chapter had a nice luncheon in the dining room at the residence of Jim and Arlene Moore. We all thoroughly enjoyed our time together. In July a few of us met informally for lunch. We have had to relocate our meetings to a new place as the Korner Kitchen has converted their banquet room into a bakery/deli. We have had a little difficulty getting going this fall, but we hope to have elections during our November meeting. Several of us want to do some extra activities, like attending a MoPix movie at our local Celebration Cinema. MoPix is relatively new to our area. We will have a party in early December when we will sing holiday carols and celebrate the upcoming holidays. Our new meeting place is the Gone Wired Caf‚ in Lansing. For further details and to make a reservation please call President Jim Moore at 517-374-8681. We wish all of you a prosperous holiday season.
By Regina Wesley
The Detroit Council arranged a trip to Puddin Bay in August. We had 47 in attendance. Participants took a fairy to Kelly Island and then from there to Puddin Bay where there was sight seeing activities. We host monthly bingo and even had a special Halloween bingo. We will be having a Christmas party closer to the holidays. For more information on our activities contact Regina Wesley at 248-334-8386.
Detroit Northwest Council
By Chris Schumacher
Our chapter met during the summer months. The July meeting was a picnic in my backyard. The highlight of the party was having our members sing with a karaoke machine provided by our guests, Diane and Larry Luty. As the old Osmond song says, our chapter is a "little bit country and a little bit rock n' roll." I sang the country, and Carlton George and Tyrone Hamilton provided the rock n' roll with some Motown soul. Our August and September meetings focused on organizing our next fundraiser and transportation to the convention. We did not meet in October. In November we will be paying our dues and organizing our holiday get-together. We meet at Brownie's Diner in Wayne. Call George Illingworth at 313:937-9687 for more information and to make a reservation. We hope you all have a blessed holiday season!
By Sherry Gordon
On Saturday, July 22, fourteen members of the KCBVI met at the home of Lisa Kisiel for food and fun. Lisa and Charlotte Robinson provided hamburgers, hot dogs and brats, which were done on the grill. Everything tastes great on the grill! Everyone brought a dish to pass and everything was yummy! Following dinner, we had a discussion about a number of important issues, related to persons with visual impairments. We also discussed the possibility that the KCBVI host the 2007 conference of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. We decided this would be a great idea. We plan to put in a "bid" to host the 2007 conference at the business meeting of the MCBVI at this year's fall convention in October. KCBVI had six members who attended the fall MCBVI conference in Wyoming. We had a nice time and enjoyed the auction!! We are continuing with plans to have the 2007 MCBVI conference in Kalamazoo and will have a definite proposal for the MCBVI Executive Committee within the next couple of months.
At our October 12 meeting, we had two different speakers. One speaker, from the Kalamazoo county clerk's office, spoke to us about the AutoMARK voting machine. This was really cool and we all got the opportunity to try the machine. We hope everyone votes on November 7! This machine is great since it allows persons with disabilities to use the same paper ballot as persons who use the regular voting machines! We also had a couple of speakers on the county-wide millage proposal. We certainly hope the millage passes so our transportation system in Kalamazoo and surrounding areas can be maintained for all riders.
On October 14, a group of seven KCBVI members went to VerHague's orchard. This is our annual orchard trip. Many good apples, donuts, caramel apples and cider were enjoyed by all. Our annual membership meeting is coming up on Thursday, November 9. We hope to have several new members this year! For further information about the Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, contact Secretary Lisa Kisiel at (269) 552-4082.
By Rosemarie Facilla
The Muskegon Council is currently looking for a new meeting place as the restaurant where we have been meeting has closed. We plan to have elections at our next meeting and will have information soon on our new meeting space. For more information contact Rosemarie Facilla at (231) 759-8734.
Visually Impaired Persons for Progress (VIPP)
By Deb Wild
VIPP had our first meeting after our summer break on Tuesday, 09-12-06. We met at the Grandvilla Restaurant in Grandville and were pleased to have Braille menus. We had one new guest who expressed an interest in joining. About fourteen people participated in a relaxing Friday evening dinner cruise on the Grand Lady down the Grand River. On 09/21 our MoPix group containing VIPP members and many deaf and hearing impaired members, joined guests, dignitaries and media at Studio 28 for a long overdue party celebrating our one-year anniversary. Michigan now has seven MoPix theaters set up, where a little over a year ago there were none. Folks will get to try out the equipment by watching the movie "The Black Dahlia." Casey Dutmer was elected by acclamation as secretary. Charis and her committee have been working on revising the Bylaws which will be e-mailed soon. Joe Sibley created some new VIPP brochures. Many other items were discussed. If you would like further information about VIPP, please contact our membership chair, Jan Luurtsema, at (616) 531-8072.
Summary of Board Meeting
July 15, 2006
There was approval of a $500.00 grant for a CCTV. Three scholarship applications are in process as well. Concerning vehicle donations, Mike briefly reviewed reports from the last three months. In April the Vehicle Donations Center took in about $1,200.00. MCBVI received nothing after expenses were deducted. May was very similar, with MCBVI again receiving nothing. In June they took in nearly $2,000.00, deducting over $600 for ads to the Grand Rapids Press, along with other expenses. MCBVI again received no portion of the funds VDPC collected. MCBVI had not agreed to increase any advertizing payments to the Grand Rapids Press. After a phone discussion last June, the Vehicle Processing Center agreed to review the reports from January 2006 on. After this review MCBVI received only a reimbursement check for approximately $200.00 for these unauthorized Google charges. ACB also uses this vehicle donations program, meaning MCBVI may have been competing with ACB for donations in Michigan.
George and Sue and Casey attended the ACB convention in Jacksonville. George donated $25 for a door prize from MCBVI. MCBVI will reimburse George.
Mike and Jeanette continue to work through their health issues. Mike stated his surgery last March did not remove all his cancer. They have been involved with much activity regarding health treatments, Specialists and Trips to Detroit hospitals.
HB 53-54 was discussed. This involves the proceeds from the sale of the former school for the blind property, this amount being approximately $900,000.00. Sections 12 and 13 of this legislation are of great concern. Pat Cannon fielded questions from our Board.
He stated the language of the bill changed after entering the Senate. When asked about these concerns, he stated he was not comfortable with this language. This bill, now passed in to law now known as PA180 sets up a fund specifically for NFB Newsline. The Michigan Commission For the Blind, a program charged with providing equal service and support to all eligible visually impaired citizens, administers this fund that supports only the NFB. According to Director Cannon, the original language had advocated for some of this money to go into a trust fund for children who are blind or have visual impairments, and for some of it to go to Camp Tusmheta. There is no language included in this bill for accountability of any kind including the NFB, yet it will draw from Michigan tax payers. This legislation presents a serious conflict of interest. It was decided to form the Priority Action Committee to investigate the process used to establish this law, and related ethics issues. Legal council will be obtained to determine the legality of this slush fund.
The finance committee is exploring proposals to invest some of MCBVI's money. The financial holdings of the Petersen scholarship Fund were discussed briefly.
The Technology Committee continues its work on the web site. Technology training for a weekend in the winter or spring of 2007 is being explored. The Lewis Braille coin legislation passed. All proceeds will go to the NFB for Braille literacy. Electronics communications legislation was also discussed, including audible services such as talking book radio. NFB has taken steps to ask that a surcharge be added to phone bills for operating their NFB Newsline service.
It was decided we investigate other alternatives to the Vehicle Donations Processing Center, as well as to request that they agree to a better percentage of received donation value each month. President Geno Will also continue to insist we are to be paid all monies due to us up to this time. We authorized Mike as president to contact all individuals involved to relay our concerns. If we do not have these concerns dealt with in a satisfactory manner, we then will terminate relations, with written notice, within thirty to sixty days, at the discretion of the president. The Finance Committee was asked by Mike to look into other alternatives such as Charity Motors in Detroit. A bid needs to be made for the 2007 MCBVI convention. Submitted by Deb Wild, Secretary
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