Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

                           MCBVI NEWS
SUMMER 2005

     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 related to blindness and visual impairment.

                      President: Mike Geno
Interim Editor: Donna Rose

     The MCBVI News is published quarterly in Braille, large print, on audio cassette and sent via email to its membership.
     General Inquiries regarding the activities of MCBVI may be made by calling toll-free 888 956-2284, or we can be contacted by email at mcbvi1@verizon.net.

     EDITOR'S NOTE: In order to conserve space the contact information for executive board members and committee chairpersons was included with your last newsletter and will not be replicated here. Look for this section again after the upcoming annual elections.

     Preliminary information about the fall MCBVI state convention can be found under Committee Reports.

                    From The President's Desk
By Michael Geno

     Copyright July 2005, by M. Geno, all rights reserved.  Permission is granted to publish for this newsletter only.

     Our very young grand daughters have just left after a 10 day stay with us.  That is why I am still in the story telling frame of mind while considering the most important information to share with you.  Perhaps there is a favorite book or story you recall that was a comfort before bed time.  But the story I have to share with you now, will not comfort, and should even bring you to your feet running to the phone, or mail box with an urgent communication to your family, friends, and government representatives.  Here is how the story goes.

     Once there was a peaceful village of creatures called Bennifs, all living together deep in the forest in peace and harmony.  They helped each other, and relied upon their collective energy and work, in a just sharing society.  They  slept snug in their warm burrows with the assurance that things would continue tomorrow as they had for a long time.  But one morning, along with the beautiful singing of the birds, they heard distant noises.  Yet, there were no clouds and the sun shown with no sign of a storm or lightning.  As each day passed, These noises seem to slowly grow louder and more disturbing.  None of the Bennifs really could tell where these strange noises came from.  All they really knew for sure was that the sounds grew closer and louder with each passing day.  Even so, many Bennifs in the once peaceful community chose to ignore these harsh sounds, or thought up reasons to explain them away.

     Then one evening just before dark, one of their watchers saw something far off that seemed unbelievable.  Just as the last of the days light faded, a portion of the starry sky appeared where a distant tree had just been standing.  The news of that fallen tree spread just like lightning to many in the peaceful community of Bennifs.  The shock electrified some, with the realization that someone was cutting down the forest:  Destroying the very trees they had long relied upon for shelter.  There were those who could not believe that such things could be true, because for as long as they could remember, the forest of trees had protected them with out fail.  These Bennifs slept that night with their long memories to comfort and wash away any fear.  But the few who did believe, chattered and considered until the sunrise, what could be happening?  And what should be done?  There were even some appointed to venture close to the fallen tree and report back what they learned.

     Suddenly the noise started again, even louder than it was ever before.  So loud that those who returned to tell what they saw, could hardly be heard.  They shouted and jumped up and down to get every one's attention, but the noise was so close and loud now, that many panicked while others returned to their burrows as if nothing were happening.  Others who looked up, saw more and more of the sky appear as the trees fell closer and closer.  Then just as the sun sank into night, one huge old tree fell on the edge of the village, crushing several homes and families under its giant weight.  Finally, there was not one who could continue to deny the truth.  It was hard for each Bennif to believe the awful cuts they could now see for themselves.  Others from another forest called Ticians, were cutting down most of the beautiful trees that the Bennifs had depended upon for so long.  Now it was too late to stop them.

     The Ticians did not rely upon the trees the Bennifs needed for shelter, as they had trees of their own that they would never think to cut.  The Ticians did not care much for the Bennifs, and kept cutting even when they saw the fear and suffering each tree they cut, crashing down on the Bennifs.  not one Bennif who ran away, could ever return there to live happily again, because when they tried, all the trees were down and dead.  No birds sang there, as the sun dried up all the ground, while the wind blew it around like sand.

     Some Bennifs who found other places to hide, remembered and wondered, what could they have done to stop it?  If only they had tried when the sound of the distant cutting first started.  Each surviving Bennif knew now, to look for changes, and leave their comfortable places to learn how and why they happen.  As the years passed, they taught their young before settling down to sleep among some new trees they found here and there, to watch and listen with care.  But some Bennifs who were so very young and had never heard or watched the falling of something as sturdy and old as a tree, just thought it was a scary story, and slept with out ever believing it.  These Bennifs were the ones who never watched out for the Ticians, or listened to reports about what they were doing.  When a distant crashing sound began again one morning so very far away, they  went about their business as usual, and did nothing while the noise of cutting grew louder and louder.

     This story of the Bennifs and the Ticians is only a parable, the truth concerning our government politicians and program Beneficiaries is very real.  Yes, it is true, the neighborhood of our government programs and services is being torn down.  The Politicians are in the woods making cuts, and if you are one of the millions of eligible Beneficiaries dependant upon long standing and deep rooted government funds or services, it might not be long before things come crashing down near you.

     In our last issue, Donna Rose, Chair of our Legislative Committee, provided some warnings of things to come.  She mentioned government programs and services important to the visually impaired,  are now being targeted for Deep funding cuts.  Serious changes are planned for Medicaid on both a federal and state level.  Also in jeopardy are Supplemental Security Income levels, (SSI), and Rehabilitation Services as we have known them.

     I was a Bennif myself when a very beautiful forest was cut down.  It was the Michigan School For The Blind in Lansing Michigan.  It was one of the best training centers of it's kind in the world, graduating skilled and independent students for more than 100 years.  It took 90 years at the time I left the school, to build the staff, facilities, and traditions of this fine educational institution, to a standard of excellence now lost to future generations of visually impaired children.  In less than ten years Michigan politics and politicians reduced it to little more than a nursing home for a few students.  Upon our graduation in 1971, not one in our class could have imagined the sad fate so soon to come for our school.  After all, it had been running for so long, and celebrated so much tradition and success.  When they closed that beautiful campus after it had  been neglected and run down, many of us mourned in disbelief.  The Visually Impaired youth of today, and perhaps the next hundred years, will never know the benefits we enjoyed and learned from, at a residential school like MSB.

     Now, changes are being promoted that you and I need to know about.  Each of us as stakeholders, needs to provide input, and influence pending changes now proposed for consideration.  I urgently call upon MCBVI members, as well as non-members of this organization, to get informed, and take action without delay.  If we do not get involved now, what is being set-up to replace what we are used to, may be worse than nothing at all.  Don't ignore the cutting, or let one or a few, confront the Ticians.  We need to unite and let the power of our collective voice be herd louder than the noise of all the cutting.  Together we can make a difference, if you act now.  We are not helpless against Politicians or Government administrators.  Just as the eating of an elephant happens "one bite at a time," or the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first few steps, each of us must begin.  Here are some options that can help.

     1.  If you are not a member of the Michigan Council Of The Blind and Visually Impaired, (now) is the time to join.  It only costs $10 per year for a Membership At Large.

     2.  Those who have already joined and support our efforts, need to talk with family members, friends, and colleagues about how serious our goals are, and invite them to join.  Many are just waiting to be asked, if only you would invite them.

     3.  Read and pay attention to our publications and reports.  You will be better informed and given effective options to influence the outcome of decisions that will effect the lives of disabled citizens for years to come.

     4.  Participate in local chapter, state, and national meetings and events.  You will find opportunities to network and develop relationships that will inspire and strengthen you as an individual, as well as our membership.

     5.  Share your skills and resources.  Help with fund raising, writing letters, serving food, making phone calls, are just some examples of the many supportive efforts that empower the total influence of a grass roots organization like the MCBVI.  Every contribution in funds, words, and deeds are important and appreciated.  I wish to extend my personal invitation to you, now listening or reading this newsletter, to seriously consider joining us, and attending a chapter meeting or activities scheduled during our fall convention in Wyoming Michigan.  Don't put it off.  If we do not face this together, a cut may be coming to a tree near you.

                    Leadership Events Report
By Michael Geno

     Since our Spring newsletter, your leadership Teem has been very busy.  Tuesday May 3rd, we conducted a member orientation for resident clients at the Michigan Commission For The Blind Training Center in Kalamazoo.  Two participants expressed an interest in getting more involved.  Director of the center, Melody Lindsey also attended, and called me afterwards, to express that she was very impressed with our interesting and informative program.  We have scheduled to continue to meet with MCB clients at the center the first Tuesday of each month.

     It was also my privilege to visit with the Detroit Northwest chapter last June.  This fine group is on the move, and now has a great restaurant where they plan to hold regular meetings.  Those attending the cocktail hour before our banquet this October, will also be treated to some fine entertainment from one of their newest members.  Convention plans also include a MoPix viewing during the week end of October 7-8-9.  This is one of the many successes resulting from hard work and our financial contributions, that will bring independence and enjoyment to the lives of visually impaired citizens.  Our next project is planned for Escanaba Michigan.  We will be organizing in the Upper Peninsula in the next couple of months.  The July State Board meeting enabled us to focus on many important governmental issues, and planning for our Fall convention activities.  Check us out, and have fun making friends along the way.

            Lansing Residents Enjoy Accessible Buses
by: Jeff Moyer, Talking Signs, Inc.

     The process of creating access is largely user-driven. People who require alterations to public ` places and public transportation must advocate for those expenditures and celebrate their installations when they happen. That is true for the fortunate individuals in the Lansing Area who now benefit from the accessibility of Capital Area Transit Authority's buses. All buses are equipped with Talking Sign remote infrared audible signs. The buses are accessible to us because of advocacy. A growing number of visually disabled citizens use the buses with increased ease, thanks to the installation of Talking Sign transmitters. One knows what bus is coming from 100 feet away, can quickly identify one's bus by scanning several buses at a transfer point and easily find the door. All of these travelers celebrate the new independence and ease of travel the system provides.

     There are no doubt more of you who would like a receiver in order to take advantage of CATA's cutting-edge accommodation. If you want more information on how to get a receiver, or how to get your local bus company to install this wonderful orientation system, contact Jeff Moyer, Vice President of Talking Signs Inc., at 888 323-0626.

     On the national scene, we are anxiously awaiting the final passage of The Surface Transportation Bill, HR3, that will include  a pilot project concerning remote infrared audible signs, possibly on a regional, intermodal basis. Thanks to all ACB members who havezraised their voices in support of this Federal legislation.

                        Chapter Building
By Donna Rose

     No one would argue that every chapter could use new members. Here are some ideas for advertising your chapter. The regional libraries for the blind all produce periodic newsletters. They will likely post short blurbs about your chapter and the contact information where people can call to inquire. Most newspapers have community calendars which are also free ways to post your chapter information. For a small cost you can develop a flyer about your chapter in large print, and have it copied at an office store, so that you can leave several at local ophthalmologists and low vision specialists offices. Often sighted people see these and pick them up for visually impaired family members or friends.

     MCBVI now has a brand new brochure in large print, so you can drop them off as well. You can get a supply by contacting Joe Sontag. Copies will be available at the state convention as well.

      Also, you can print your own business cards for distribution with brochures and flyers. The card stock for these comes in all sorts of colors and designs and can be purchased at any office supply store for a nominal charge. Whenever you are advertising your chapter don't forget to include the contact information for one of your members so others can reach you. Tell us in your next chapter report the steps you have taken to advertise your chapter and its activities.

                         Computer Offer
Information Submitted by Jennie Baly

     The Texas Center for the Physically Impaired (TCPI) will provide people who are blind or visually impaired with a used computer for a donation of $100. You will receive a new step by step computer training tutorial combining Window-Eyes and Windows 98 by Brian Hartgen on 6 audio cassettes. Also 40 page tutorial in large type font for Windows 98 for those that can use the mouse. Plus a mini-tutorial on key boarding.  This comes with a Pentium 233 mgh or faster refurbished computer with 64 megs of ram or more.

      The computer will have Windows 98, second addition with a demo copy of Window-Eyes. It will have speakers, 56 k dial up modem, sound card, and a cd drive. All this plus a copy of the Juno e-mail program. This gives you everything that you need to learn how to use a computer and to be able to enjoy an e-mail program.

      The demand has been pretty high so it will take about two months to receive yours once you give your donation. Call or write to Dr. Langford, President, Texas Center for the Physically Impaired, 11330 Quail Run, Dallas, TX 75238 Phone- (214)340-6328.

                            Sue-Tips
By Sue Illingworth

     1. To remove all pet hair from chairs and sofa, moisten a plastic glove, rub it over the fabric, and the fur will come off in clumps.
2. To prevent bacon or any meat grease from clogging your drain, shape pieces of aluminum foil into a cup and place it in the drain; pour the grease into it and discard the cup when it cools off.
3. Should you find your bag of brown sugar hard as a rock, place a slice of apple in the bag; the apple will restore the sugar to its original condition.
4. (This tip appeared in one of the newsletters last fall; but with the West Nile season upon us, it bears repeating.) Tie a piece of Bounce to your belt loop or pin it to your shirt; the Bounce makes an excellent mosquito repellent.

                  MoPix Has Arrived In Michigan
By Joe Sibley

     Thanks to an agreement between a group called MoPix West Michigan, and Jack Loeks Theatres/Jackson Entertainment, a Grand  Rapids based movie theatre chain, with theatres around the state, MoPix has arrived in Michigan. Auditorium 11 at Studio 28 in Grand Rapids is now equipped for MoPix and began regular presentation of accessible movies on July ninth. MoPix is short for motion picture access.
MoPix West Michigan began as a project of VIPP (Visually Impaired Persons for Progress) an MCBVI affiliate in Grand Rapids. In the fall of 2004 the effort expanded and it became a group of it's own with a core group of both blind and deaf people collaborating to make this a reality. In February of this year, an agreement was made with Jack Loeks Theatres, that we would raise $6100, half of the cost of retrofitting one auditorium at Studio 28 for the MoPix system. Many individuals made generous donations toward the project, and many local and statewide organizations including NFB of Michigan, Quota Club of Grand Rapids, two Lions clubs, NAPH of Grand Rapids, MCB, and of course MCBVI.
MoPix works in two parts. For the blind, we bring into the theatre a wireless headset. The headset provides an excellent description of the activity on the screen the same as DVS videos for home use. You hear the dialogue and music through the big theatre sound system and the description in the headset. Those who are deaf bring in to the theatre a specially designed reflector on a gooseneck. The reflector fits in to their cup holder and they adjust the reflector at the other end of the gooseneck so they can see the screen, and a reflection of a large display panel on the back wall of the auditorium which displays captioning of the movies dialogue. So far I have received very happy comments by both visually and hearing challenged people who have tried it out.
Jack Loeks Theatres/Jackson Entertainment has just rebuilt their web site and it is much more accessible. You will need to find the page for Studio 28, and by the time this newsletter is distributed there should be a place on that page listing what the current MoPix ready feature is. Their site is: www.bigscreenmovies.com

     You can learn a lot more about MoPix technology and coming movies that are MoPix ready at: www.mopix.org

     As for MoPix West Michigan we hope to both work toward a second installation in Grand Rapids, and to help other communities to get MoPix in their areas. Showcase Cinemas in Flint and Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti areas have announced that they will install a MoPix system in each of those venues.
In the meantime, we hope those that can will come to Grand Rapids and check it out. By the way Studio 28 is just down the road from the Howard Johnson’s Plaza where the MCBVI convention will be held in October.
If you have any questions at all about MoPix or would like to make a donation please e-mail me at: joesiblwey@sbcglobal.net

                         JAWS Revisited
By Donna Rose

     Have you ever been annoyed because you can't see your computer screen to check out formatting and the placement of text? JAWS has an answer for this problem. If you push your Insert key plus the letter f you will hear about the formatting on a particular word or line where the cursor is located. You will be told the font and size and whether the item is underlined. You will also hear about the alignment and whether or not an item is centered. Now to find out where an item is placed on the page just line up your cursor on a letter or beginning of a sentence and push the Alt key plus delete and you will hear where any chosen character is from the left margin and the top of your page in inches. These commands are invaluable, particularly when you are preparing a document that has to be right, like your resume.

                   July Board Meeting Summary

     The last MCBVI quarterly Board meeting was on July 16, 2005 at the Korner Kitchen Restaurant in Lansing. Most of the topics covered were presented in committee reports which are given in that section of your newsletter below. Additionally Casey Dutmer spoke about Commission for the Blind (MCB) Consumer Involvement Committee (CIC) Activities. In his position as chairperson of this committee, He expressed disappointment that often CIC business gets set aside as "community partners" make presentations and carry out discussions for the bulk of the Commissioner's meeting. There is also concern that Consumer Involvement Committee, and Business Enterprise Program Operators Committees reports at Commission meetings are not always received by a quorum of Commissioners.
Other Board topics discussed involved Fund Raising ideas, web page development with a list serve, and Fall convention activity planning. MCBVI state Board meetings are open, to members and visitors. Space and seating is limited at our usual meeting place, so letting us know well in advance that observers are interested in attending, will enable us to consider a larger suitable site when necessary.

                        COMMITTEE REPORTS

                      Convention Committee
Submitted by Kyle Austin, Chairperson

     Get ready for a great time again this fall when we all get together for the MCBVI 2005 state-wide convention! This year the convention will be held on October 6th - 9th at the Howard Johnson’s Hotel in Wyoming, Michigan. Room rates will be $70 plus tax.
Although you will be receiving a convention registration packet soon, some of the highlights are as follows. The theme of this year's convention theme will be health and safety. On Saturday we will learn about the new Medicare Part D prescription plan that goes into effect on January 1, 2006. In November Medicare recipients will be contacted by the government and asked to choose a plan, so this talk will prepare people for this process. There will also be some leadership training and chapter building information, as well as a glimpse into new aids and appliances. We are hoping to be able to attend a movie to try out the new MoPix (Descriptive Video) system at a local theater.
Gals get out your grass skirts and guys get those Hawaiian shirts ironed and ready to party, because our banquet theme will be Hawaiian. Our banquet speaker will be Jeff Moyer from Talking Signs. You won't want to miss the fun and informative time we are planning. Convention information and registration Toll Free Hot-Line number is (877) 254-6393.  Hope to see you there!

                      Legislative Committee
By Donna Rose, Chairperson

     There is a lot going on legislatively speaking! The national budget was passed and the Medicaid program took a huge hit as 10 billion dollars was cut from its budget. Letters were sent to Congress from MCBVI asking Congress people not to make these cuts. Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt has put together a commission to decide how these cuts will be implemented. Today I read an article by the Michigan League for Human Services which stated that the Michigan House and Senate had both passed some serious cuts to Medicaid. It is expected that recipients may have to pay a small deductible for services and that some services will be limited, such as hospitalization days and doctor visits. There have also been reports that people who are taking care of disabled children may not continue to be eligible for Medicaid benefits. Once these decisions have been made some of the particulars will be posted here in an upcoming issue.
People who are receiving both Medicare and Medicaid will see their prescription plan with Medicaid change as it will be handled by Medicare Part D starting on January 1, 2006. The prescription coverage is expected not to be as good as the current Medicaid drug benefits offered to these individuals. Medicare recipients who do not receive Medicaid will be asked if they would like to join Part D for prescription coverage.
Another astounding thing that happen since our last issue was the announcement that many regional offices of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) are planned to be closed, and services trimmed. RSA funds and provides technical assistance to most government rehabilitation programs in America. Once again there seems to be a push toward combining all rehabilitation services together across disability groups, including services for people who are blind/VI, with the excuse being that there is a need to save money. A letter from MCBVI was sent to Ms. Spellings, then the new director, asking her not to downsize RSA. A letter from Maria Zacharias, Acting Director of Communications and Customer Service at RSA was sent to one of our members, Gary Wood, in response to a letter that he sent to Ms. Spellings regarding this issue. She said that once we needed many regional offices, but our advanced communication trends don't require these offices any more as so much can be done electronically. This is worrisome news at a time when every social program is being threatened with cutbacks. More about this in a later issue!

                      Membership committee
by Donna Rose, Co-chairperson

     Membership tasks are an ongoing project. The letter writing campaign to 101 previous members who had not rejoined, which was sent out about the time of the Spring newsletter, was successful. We received dues for another 25 individuals which brings our current membership to 131. These member's names were sent to the national office for inclusion, but unfortunately we didn't get credit for them at the national convention since the deadline is March 15th. It is so very important to get those memberships in early in the year.
If you have been wondering where your membership cards have gone, never fear, I plan to get them to you. Please be aware that anyone who wishes to vote during the fall convention must have their dues in no later than August 31.  This is so I can present the most accurate membership list to the nominations committee prior to the convention. They will then be able to verify who is eligible to vote.

                      Nominations Committee
Submitted by Karla Fields, Chairperson

     It is time again to prepare for voting for those offices which will have expired terms this fall. At this year's convention we will be voting for three offices to be filled. The offices which are expiring are First Vice President, Second Vice President and Treasurer. Donna Rose has announced that she will once again be running for First Vice President. If you would like to run for office or nominate someone else please call the nominations committee chairperson, Karla Fields at (586) 465-2338.  Remember, you won't be able to vote unless you have paid this year's dues by August 31, 2005.

                     Publications Committee
By Donna Rose, Chairperson

     Rosemarie Facilla has been gathering a list of those people who have decided to receive their newsletter via email. We currently have 34 people getting their MCBVI News in an email format. Thanks to Rosemarie and all of those who have agreed to this. We are saving the organization a lot of money. We currently have 15 people who will receive their newsletter in Braille. This is down from about 35. Although this is a real money saver we will still continue to produce the newsletter in Braille, large print or on cassette tape for those who would like one of these formats.
The next deadline for submission of reports and articles for the fall issue of the MCBVI News will be October 16, 2005. Please try and keep the submissions as brief as possible. You can reach me by email at wild-rose@sbcglobal.net.

                      Resolutions Committee
Last Call For Resolutions
By Chris Schumacher

     The September 1st deadline for submitting resolutions is fast approaching, so if you have anything to send us, we need to have it now. Remember, you don't have to write it up in the form of a resolution; we can do that for you. Items can be written in Braille, typed as a text file on computer disk, sent by e-mail, recorded on cassette, or given to me by phone. Remember, these resolutions are the basis of MCBVI's focus for the coming year. So let us hear from you.

                      Scholarships & Grants
By Rosemarie Facilla, Chairperson

     MCBVI has created a data base for mailing out scholarship applications throughout the state of Michigan. Our deadline for the MCBVI scholarship is usually June 15th each year. We can award up to $1000. This year we have chosen an applicant from the Detroit Area. She is planning to attend our state convention in October to be recognized for her scholarship award. Look for a story about her in the fall issue of the MCBVI News.
We also have a grant program to help people purchase aids, appliances, or adaptive technology. Anyone can apply for a grant from MCBVI, including members. For information concerning grants or scholarships contact Rosemarie Facilla by email at: mcbvi1@verizon.net.

                       CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS

                 Blue Water League Of The Blind
by Michael Geno

     The Blue Water League Of The Blind has a number of new member activities planned in the next few months. In August we will be hosting an Old Fashion Ice Cream Social with old time radio shows and snacks to enjoy. This should keep us all cool, and help bring back memories and fun.
In September we will hold a short business meeting, followed by an out door grilled picnic with our local area Lions Club.
Our very popular Harvest Party in October is becoming an annual tradition with fun, crafts, and surprises. You never know just what to expect, but a lot of fun.
We meet the third Thursday of every month accept December and July. The dates for these events are, August 18, September 15, and October 20th. Most activities begin by 6-30 PM, and are usually wrapped up by 9 PM. For more information, contact President Jeanette Geno by calling our home number (810) 982-0717,

     There is no charge, but always good to know ahead of time, who and how many are coming. That way, if there are prizes and food, no one will go with out. Blue Water League members wish all a great
Fall, and looking forward to seeing you at our Convention in October.

                      Capitol Area Council
By Donna Rose, Secretary

     The Capitol Area Council meets regularly, the first Wednesday of each month, taking July and August off. In May the  met at the Korner Kitchen Restaurant and a few new prospective members attended. The chapter will be deciding if they may want to switch permanently to a lunch time meeting to attract more new members. Members may gather this summer for a get-together or picnic. Our next meeting will be on Wednesday September 7 at 7 PM. Call President Jim Moore at 517-374-8681 for the address of our meeting place.

                    Detroit Northwest Chapter
By Chris Schumacher, President

     I guess you could say that for the past several months our chapter has been in a state of reorganization. We've lost a few members but gained some new ones. Finding an adequate location for our meetings has also been a challenge for us, but thanks to one of our new members, we have solved that problem. So now we are focusing our attention on such things as chapter bylaws and planning future activities for the group. To assist us in this, President Geno attended our June meeting and did an excellent presentation on chapter growth. We learned a lot from Mike as well as enjoyed an afternoon of fun and fellowship.
Our chapter meets on the second Saturday of every month for lunch at 1 p.m. At Brownie's Diner, 34250 Michigan Avenue, in Wayne. If you're in the area, come join us. For more information please contact George Illingworth at 313-937-9687.

                 Kalamazoo Council of the Blind
& Visually Impaired
by Sherry Gordon

     We had a picnic at Lisa Kisiel's home on Saturday, July 16. Almost 20 members and friends were in attendance. Each member brought a dish-to-pass. Lisa Kisiel and Mike McAbee were the barbecue chefs. The mingling and food was wonderful!!!
The Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired now has a web site!! I believe we are the first and only MCBVI affiliate chapter to have a web site. The address is: www.kcbvi.org
The creation of the web site is largely due to the work of Willie Phipps, one of our KCBVI members. Please visit the site. There is a "sign-in" registry so we can see who is visiting.
The KCBVI meets monthly, September through June, on the second Thursday. Our next regular meeting will be held on Thursday, September 8 at 5:30 p.m. We hold our meetings at the Disability Resource Center, located at 517 East Crosstown in Kalamazoo. For more information contact Lisa Kisiel 269-552-4082.

               Muskegon Area Council of the Blind
and Visually Impaired
by Rosemarie Facilla, Treasurer
& Board Delegate

     Muskegon Area Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired Chapter meets usually the third Saturday of the month at USA Café on Lakeshore Drive at 12:00 Noon until 2:00 pm. We do not hold meetings during the months of July or August. Our next scheduled meeting will be September 16, 2005.
For more information contact: Marian Davis at (231) 744-7440
or, Rosemarie Facilla at (231) 759-8734.

                              VIPP
by Deb Wild

     VIPP is not meeting during July or August. Kyle and Linda are working on the convention. Several of us attended a White Caps game in early June which was a lot of fun. Several of VIPP's members have seen the MoPix movie the Fantastic Four and are all excited about it. I hope to see it next week. This has been a great thrill for us.
VIPP’s next meeting will be Tuesday, 09-13-05, at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired at 456 Cherry, SE, from 6:30-8:30 pm. Contact Deb Wild at 616-235-8189 for more details.