Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

                           MCBVI NEWS
Spring/Summer 2006

     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 email to its membership.

     Contact the editor via Email at
wild-rose@sbcglobal.net
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 email at mcbvi1@verizon.net.

     EDITOR'S NOTE: In order to conserve space the contact information for executive board members and committee chairpersons is only included once per year following elections of officers in the October edition.

                    From The President's Desk
By Michael Geno

     Jeanette and I would like to thank each of you who have expressed your kind thoughts in calls and cards, along with your prayers for our healing. Jeanette's brain tumor does not seem to be life threatening for now, and its recent growth may be controlled by radiation treatment.  My surgery was successful, but not performed in time to remove all the cancer.  I am told that there is still a need for radiation or other treatment.  At present I am healing and getting stronger.  No further treatment can begin until I am healed enough to withstand the side effects and damage radiation causes.  Please feel free to call or E-mail us for updates.  I am thankful to be able to serve you full time again as President for as long as my health permits.

     The greek god Janus had two faces.  One looking forward, and the other looking back into the past.  Like Janus, I have two prospectives to compare in this report.  I just had the fascinating experience of listening to a 25 year old tape of "The M A B News" sent to our members in May of 1981.  We were then known as the Michigan Association Of The Blind publishing this newsletter three times annually on the 25th of January, May, and September.  The May 1981 MAB News was Volume 8 #2, implying that if there were no lapses in the deadline schedule, volume one issue 1 may have been published in January of 1974.
In 1981 Jeanette Merris was President, with William Rush as First Vice President, Betty Jacobs Second Vice, Elisabeth Lennon Secretary, Robert Engle Treasurer, and Lina Silvester relieving Eugene Saumier as Editor.  The 1981 Newsletter table of contents included for example: Message From The President, Letter From The Editor, Comments On MAB Membership, Thank You Douglas Camerin (then narrator of the taped newsletter, Bell Telephone News Release, Fundraising, Leadership workshop, Convention Report, and Dick Estel WKAR feature article, just to name a few.  Many of the standard features reported in our newsletter 25 years ago are much the same as you see in this publication today.  However, there were a few interesting differences.  The 28 large print page 1981 issue of the MAB News also included regular features under Titles such as, "Aunt Lina's Kitchen," "Hobbies And Avocations," and "Humor."  The newsletter was written, edited, and produced to professional quality, very informative, and entertaining.
The standard of excellence  set by this organization as reflected in the publication of our newsletters, adds to the hope and enthusiasm I have for present MCBVI initiatives.  The past quarter century of MCBVI activities, energy, and leadership, also challenges me with a number of questions.  Now that we are growing in membership, can we reach and surpass in the future the involvement generated back then?  Can we remain strong and active?  what will our leaders and members say about us, our efforts, and this issue 25 years from now?  Finally, how will anyone be able to look into the past if no one takes on the job of Historian and archive and preserve information and documents of our organization over time?  I believe we need to formally assign a Member or committee to protect and preserve for future generations and members, the details and history generated by our efforts and writing.  Our leaders of 25 years ago would be proud of present accomplishments, and the historic steps we are now taking.  Of all that we have accomplished during my term as president, what will take place upon the distribution of this issue of MCBVI Newsletter, will be the achievement of one of our most important goals.  I am proud to announce in this report that the MCBVI web site is now accessible on the World Wide Web!  This means that we have caught up with international communications and computer technology. The potential benefits are almost limitless, and will open doors not yet imagined by those of us who grew up at a time when black and white TV, manual typewriters, and dial telephones were considered modern.  You can now visit the MCBVI Home Page at the following web address.  http://michivision.org
Willie Phipps Chair of our newly formed Technology Committee will provide more details in his report later in this newsletter.  We are thankful to have the dedicated and skilled efforts of Willie and each of the Tech Committee members. Joe Sontag Pr Chairman and also member of the Technology Committee, has agreed to moderate our new MCBVI List Serve which should be up and running later this year.  For those who do not know about or use a "List Serve," it enables computer users sending and receiving messages to post information to a group of others signed up or subscribed to the list.  This creates a community of participants who can regularly communicate and share opinions and late breaking news and information.  These kinds of changes in our society because of computer communications, have brought distant people together, and strengthened the networks of many mutually interested stakeholders.  We hope that you will check out this historic opening of our cyber home, and provide input as to how we can build it even better.  There will be valuable and interesting information and surprises to enjoy while there, including the audio archive of this newsletter, and others recorded as far back as 1981.  We will have interesting and helpful information items posted regularly, along with links to other resources of keen interest to the visually impaired.  You will also be able to listen to recordings of meetings, and messages from our leaders near and far.  We intend to be innovative with fun and new features.  Our home page will be your fastest source of upcoming events, important news, and fascinating fun features of interest to the blind, their family members, and friends.  The success of all our efforts, depends on your input and involvement.  Please let Willie and your leadership know what you think, and how you feel about these and other initiatives.
This brings me to a concluding observation in this Spring 2006 President's report.  Posting information to our new web page, will help us begin to organize and preserve the images, sounds, and writing of this organization for future members and leaders.  I hope you will check it out, and contribute your part to this exciting chapter in the history of The Michigan Council Of The Blind.

                  MCBVI Fall Convention Update
By Kyle Austin

     Join us for the MCBVI convention on October 5/8 2006. We will be holding the convention again at the Howard Johnson's Hotel in Wyoming MI. The address of the hotel is 255 28th SW in Wyoming. For all rooms the rate is $84.75. This includes taxes. Make reservations directly with the hotel by calling (616)-241-6444.

     The theme for this year's convention is: Technology and you. We plan to have at least 14 vendors who be exhibiting Friday from noon until five p.m. Many of the vendors will stay over on Saturday for informational sessions and have the exhibits during the afternoon. We will have other vendors as well.

     Saturday will be a western night. Plan on dressing the western way. A good time will be had by all.

     Don't forget the auction Friday night. Only new items please. This is always a lot of fun and a nice fund raiser for MCBVI.
The registration information will be coming out in July, and Linda will still register you at that time or answer questions by phone at (877) 254-6393 (no calls after 9 PM please).  See you in October!

               Unique Accessible Photographic Art
Show for Blind And Sighted

     Facial Vision is a hands-on art show that can be equally enjoyed by people who are blind and sighted alike. It features portraits that have been made accessible through various adaptive and non-adaptive techniques. The show will open at the Creole Gallery in Lansing, Michigan, on July 9, 2006 and run until July 31.

     The show began with twenty-eight black-and-white photographic portraits of people who are blind taken by Suellen Hozman. The photographs were then reproduced using adaptive and non-adaptive technological techniques so that they can be seen by people who are blind and sighted with their hands. These tactile graphic techniques include different papers, plaster, and glass. Educational materials about the different production techniques will be available at the show.

     The opening reception for the show will be Sunday, July 9 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the Creole Gallery, located at 1218 N. Turner in Lansing's Old Town. There is a bus stop in front of the gallery. Non-opening day viewing times are Thursday through Saturday 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sundays noon to 4:00 PM. The show may be independently seen or you may choose to give one of our guides the opportunity to make a friend and be helpful.

     Suellen Hozman, the creator of the show, believes that Civil rights are all about equitable opportunity for people who historically are denied access. She says I want to change that for people who are blind and visually impaired.

     The show has three goals:
First that people who are blind are finally welcomed to an art show.  Second, that it is an educational experience for people to learn that talent and technology is out there that is currently not available to the blind.  Third, to stimulate a conversation with people in the 2D to 3D engineering, material science and forensic world to be interested in offering their talents to people who are blind to improve academic and life choices.
CONTACT:
Suellen Hozman
PHONE: (517) 482-1908
suellenyh@yahoo.com

          Writing for Publication or for Social Change
By Donna Rose

     In the spring of 2005 I was invited by the National Kidney Foundation to attend a four day governmental advocacy training workshop in Washington, DC. I was asked back to speak to Congressional leaders this month. Among the advocacy skills that were taught were writing letters to Congress people to convince them to support a variety of kidney disease health initiatives. I will share with you here what I learned and have practiced throughout the past year.

     If you want to be heard your message has to be brief and limited to the one topic at hand. Government officials are extremely busy, sometimes reading and writing long bills that are hundreds of pages long. There time and attention is particularly limited due to the nature of their work. Your brevity will pay off. Read and reread your text to cut out and edit your language to make it as concise as possible. For example, I am writing to explain why you should support can be cut down to, I am asking for your support In the first case there are 9 words used, but in the second only 6. If you edit your whole document you will likely get your point across quickly for the reader to read and understand the issue without throwing your letter down and responding to you with a form letter.

     I often write opinion pieces that are published to the editor of my local paper. The secret to this is to stay within the publications publishing guidelines. For instance, the Lansing State Journal will not accept letters over 150 words, and they mean it! Whenever you write to any publication, check out their guidelines prior to writing, and stick to them. Never forget to spell check your document. Misspellings will always detract from your message.

     When writing a letter as an advocate make sure you are writing to the right person about a problem, i.e. someone who has the power to do something about it. Often follow-up is necessary. Always include your name, address and telephone number on any correspondence.

     Letter and editorial/article writing is an important way to start the wheels of social change. If you abide by a few simple rules your efforts will be much more effective and you alone could make a difference!

                MCBVI Establishes Tech Committee
and New Web Site
By Willie Phipps

     The technology committee was formed over six months ago by President Mike Geno to help make MCBVI members aware of technologies available and how to access them, provide an accessible source for state-local blind related information, and to expand the presence of MCBVI.  This six-member committee consist of Joe Sibley, Joe Sontag, Jackie Boomstra, Rhonda Selby, Willie Phipps: committee chairperson, and President Mike Geno.

     We have been working on a few projects that we think you all will be excited about. Our current project is the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired web site http://michivision.org.

     At Michivision.org, you will find a fully accessible web site containing links to legislative news, MCBVI publications, helpful life-coping tips, and more. Fill out a membership application, print it out, mail it in. Listen to conventions you've missed. Contact a board member. Do it all a michivision.org. There will be an area on the site for visitors to offer comments and suggestions. These suggestions will be collected periodically to be reviewed by the Tech committee. We encourage you to follow that link and type in those suggestions. Help this site grow in to an indispensable resource.  We hope to have things up and running mid-June early July.  That is just one of the exciting things coming up.  Your comments and suggestions are welcome on this and future projects. For more information contact Chairperson Willie Phipps at
willstah@sbcglobal.net.
More JAWS Tips
By Donna Rose

     When using web pages with JAWS it is often tricky to get combo boxes to work properly. While located on a combo box, press enter to turn on forms mode, and quickly press the Alt plus the down arrow. Now you can navigate the combo box using your up and down arrow keys without the next page being loaded before you have made your choice. When you have reached the selection you want you can press enter or tab down to the button on the page that will enter the information and take you to the next page.

                      United Cerebral Palsy
Releases Consumer Guide

     United Cerebral Palsy, one of the nation's largest health charities, announced the release of Navigating the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage Program: A Guide for People with Disabilities, Benefits Counselors, Disability Organizations and Others on Ensuring Adequate and Appropriate Access to Prescription Drugs. The guide serves as a follow-up and companion document to Understanding Changes in Prescription Drug Coverage for People with Disabilities on Medicare, a consumer guide written by the same authors in 2005.

     Free copies of the guide are available in PDF, Microsoft Word and HTML file formats online at www.ucp.org.  For more information contact Jim Baker at (202) 973-7114.

                Michigan's Own Creates Disability
Web Site and Podcast

     Michigan's own, Larry Wanger, has launched a new website and podcast for people with disabilities called DisabilityNation from his home in Arizona. He says, The goal of the site and Podcast is to promote people with disabilities living life to the fullest and to dispel many of the stereotypes and beliefs that are widely held by people today.      The show will feature new episodes approximately every two weeks and will be available via popular channels including the iTunes Music Store and Podcasts. Interested persons can directly download the Podcast from http://www.DisabilityNation.net or get the show feed from http://feeds.feedburner.com/disabilitynation.net.

     A podcast is an audio file in MP3 format that can be subscribed to and is automatically delivered to your computer. With podcasts you can choose to listen on your computer or on an audio player such as the iPod. Often podcasters offer different options in that you can either stream the file or listen to it from the web site directly or you can download the show.
Don't be fooled by the "pod" in podcast, you don't need an IPod to listen to podcasts. Any MP3 player that you normally use will play podcasts. Additionally, you can listen on your computer by using software such as Winamp, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and ITunes.
If you want to listen to or subscribe to podcasts, the first thing to get is a media aggregator. This is a small piece of software that downloads any Podcast feeds that you subscribe to. There are many programs available for subscribing to podcasts.
After downloading the software just add the XML file address for the podcast you want to listen to then click the appropriate button to download the current show. When you want to download new shows, click the button in your chosen aggregator and the software checks to see if any new shows have been added and if so, the shows are automatically downloaded to your computer. Often, the software knows to check for downloads and you never need to manually tell it to do anything.  For additional information regarding DisabilityNation contact Larry Wanger at (206) 338-6225 or visit www.DisabilityNation.net.

                   Chicago Lighthouse Sets Up
Assistive Technology Computer Help Desk

     In an effort to accommodate people with visual impairments in need of technical support, The Chicago Lighthouse has established a telephone assistive technology support line.
The toll free number for the new service is 888 825-0080. It is available from 8 Am to 4:30 PM Central Time Monday through Friday.  "We're excited to have an opportunity to make it easier for people with visual impairments to take advantage of the many technological advancements that are now more readily available," said William Bielawski, program manager for adaptive technology and office skills training at The Lighthouse.  Bielawski noted that any blind or visually impaired person could call the support line regardless of what product they're using.  "It can be any hardware or software relating to assistive technology as long as the customer is visually impaired," he said.
"We also encourage calls from teachers and other individuals who work with people who are visually impaired as well as other interested parties."  Servicing the calls is Ray Campbell, a former engineer with Lucent Technologies who now works in The Lighthouse's Adaptive Technology program.
"Our intent is to offer a one stop place where people who are blind or visually impaired can get the assistance that they need," he said.  The program was made possible when The Lighthouse successfully matched a $41,000 grant from the Boeing Company Foundation.
Celebrating its centennial this year, The Lighthouse is one of the oldest social service agencies in Chicago. It is regarded as the most comprehensive agency of its kind in the Midwest and a model agency nationally.

                            Sue Tips By Sue Illingworth

1. A few grains of peppercorn placed in a pepper shaker will keep the pepper dry and free from caking; the same is true of a few rice grains in the salt shaker.

2. To avoid getting ants in the home, place a few coffee grounds in the corners where they seem to enter. Ants hate coffee.

3. When frosting cookies with chocolate, place one or two chocolate
chips on top of each cookie--depending on cookie size—before baking. When cookies are removed, the chips will be melted and easy to spread on top of the cookie with a spatula to avoid fingerprints.

                      Real Time Hotline to Help Air Travelers

     The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings Enforcement Office has established a toll free number that consumers who experience disability related air travel problems may use to obtain information and assistance. The phone number is staffed from 7 am to 11 pm local time in Washington, D.C. seven days a week. It provides general information to consumers about the rights of air travelers with disabilities and assists air travelers in resolving time-sensitive disability-related issues that need to be addressed in real time. If you have disability-related air service problems the toll-free number for the hotline is 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY).

                        Committee Reports

                      Legislative Committee
Donna Rose, Chairperson

     First let me say that I do not feel I can adequately cover all of the legislative items that require our attention. I am just spread too thin and the issues are just too numerous. Please let me know if you are a good writer and would be interested in writing letters on behalf of the legislative committee. We cannot simply react to the news. We must all be proactive. Here is a short list of relevant items that I hope you will find interesting.      It has been reported by the American Council of the Blind (ACB) that on Monday, May 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) formally announced their intention to bar, without exception, Medicare coverage for any device such as closed-circuit television systems (CCTVs), magnifiers, and any other low vision aids or technologies. CMS cites that they do not pay for any type of lenses, glasses or otherwise.

     You may have heard that there is a bill in Congress to create a Louis Braille coin with the proceeds from the sale of such coin to be allocated to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) for Braille literacy. The House version of this bill (HR 2872) passed by a voice vote. The Senate version of this bill (S 2321) currently has 64 co-sponsors. While MCBVI supports Braille literacy, we believe that monies from such a coin could be used to promote many Braille literacy projects throughout America and shouldn't be allotted to one organization. Congress men and women are unaware that there are many agencies working on Braille literacy. Some of our own senators and representatives have signed on to these bills because they are misinformed as to the true nature of Braille literacy and which organizations provide it.

     If you would be interested in receiving public transit updates from the Let's Get Moving arm of the Michigan Public Transportation Association you can request to be added to the email list by contacting Mr. Clark Harder at mpta@tm.net. The Governor finally signed a bill to allow Grand Rapids and Detroit to get some rapid transit funding. The plan for Detroit is to provide rapid transit trains from Detroit to Ann Arbor with a station at Metro Airport. Still our elected officials often fail to understand that public transit is good for the economy. In other cities where public transportation has been improved and increased there was a definite increase in the number of companies which located themselves in those cities, bringing jobs and revenue to those areas.

     By now you have probably heard that the Michigan School for the Blind property has been sold to the Michigan Leadership Academy and the City of Lansing. According to articles in the Lansing State Journal the City plans to build 45-55 homes on their portion of the property which will not include low-income housing. Part of the proceeds from this sale have gone to the Michigan Trust Fund for Camp T, while the rest will be allocated to the National Federation of the Blind for the operation of Newsline, the telephone service that provides listeners with several newspaper options for their listening pleasure. Once again we regret that our government officials fail to understand that there are many ways in which blind folks get their news information, such as radio talking book services and other electronic formats, and that these need support as well. The bill signed by the Governor allows the Michigan Commission for the Blind to appropriate the funds for Newsline. We hope that the Commission will act responsibly always asking for an accounting of how funds are used for Newsline when ever they are involved in appropriating funds to this project. It is our belief that doing so will make certain that all appropriations are used solely for this program as legislated.

                      Membership committee
Donna Rose, Co-Chairperson
John Mc Mahon, Co-Chairperson

     The past six months have been a busy time for John Mc Mahon and me as we have had to count members, cash checks and prepare our membership list. We currently have about 151 members, which is up from last year at this time. Please be aware that as in the past we will not accept dues beyond the August 31, 2006 deadline for this year. This is to allow us time to Braille out the membership list for the nominations committee for the October elections. As always members can send their membership dues to John Mc Mahon, Treasurer, 517 S. 13th Street, Escanaba, MI 49829. Please include a format preference for the MCBVI News and the Braille Forum. We welcome back all of our returning members and to those who are new we extend a special greeting of friendship.

                      Nominations Committee
By Karla Fields, Chairperson

     There are three offices open for votes this fall during our state convention. The offices of president, secretary, and assistant treasurer will all need to be filled. Deb Wild will run again for secretary and Kyle Austin has offered to run again as assistant treasurer. To make a nomination or confirm your own candidacy contact Karla Fields at (586) 465-2338.

                     Publications committee
Donna Rose, Chairperson & Editor

     The Spring/Summer issue of the MCBVI news will be the only one produced this summer. Our next issue will be published after the October convention with the next deadline for articles, reports and updates being October 16th. That issue will be slightly larger as it will contain the contact information for our executive board members and committee chairpersons. Please keep this portion of that newsletter as it will only be printed once per year. Of course, you can always call me if you need the contact information for any of these people.   Or email me at wild-rose@sbcglobal.net.
Some of you have asked how to submit documents. I prefer MS Word attachments as they are easier to cut and paste while maintaining the formatting. Please help me out by spell checking submissions prior to sending them to me. I get some wild spellings sometimes and if I don't catch them they don't make a very good impression.  I hope this newsletter has been fun and informative for you. Happy summer!

                      Resolutions committee
By Chris Schumacher

     Our committee had its first meeting of this year in April and has gotten off to a good start by writing one resolution, but we would like to have more. So we need to hear from you. Remember that the deadline for submissions is September 1st, and that will be here before we know it. These resolutions give our organization direction in what issues you would like to have addressed in 2007. They can be sent to me in Braille, on cassette or computer disk, or typed. If you don't want to try and write one yourself, send me your ideas, and the committee will put them together in the form of a resolution. Give us something to work on at our next meeting.

                 Scholarships & Grants Committee
By Rosemarie Facilla, Chairperson

     The scholarship Committee is working hard. thus far we have received three applications and are hoping to receive more before our June 15 deadline. John McMahon has worked hard on resolving Peterson scholarship questions so we will know how much money we have to work with through that scholarship as we have applicants that may be eligible. No one has applied for a grant at this time. For more information contact Rosemarie Facilla at 231-759-8734.

Chapter Updates

                 Blue Water League of The Blind
By Jeanette Geno

     Despite the fact that 5 of our members are struggling with serious health and cancer issues, we are active and celebrating the return of warmer weather. Jennie LaPine has cancer of the liver, and BJ Seaman is back to work following her regimen of Chemo therapy. We enjoyed a successful accessible Game Night in April, and planned a number of upcoming activities in our May meeting. The sub-regional library director also attended our May meeting to enlist our help in forming a reading club. Ten members signed up, and our first meeting of this interesting group will be held June 22 where we will review and select titles to read and discuss at future book club meetings. One suggestion we made during the formation of the Star Library Book Club, was not to make it exclusive to Braille and talking book readers. Instead, we expressed an interest in integrating these activities with sighted patrons of our public library system who also will learn and be sensitized to the active and equal participation by those who read books in alternative ways. This suggestion was well received, and we look forward to future discussions about books of mutual interest to participating readers. This might be the door that opens eyes to the importance of equal integration and access to public services and resources.
Also in June we will host a picnic at the Silver Trails Boy Scout Camp for visually impaired members and friends. Scouting volunteers will be on hand to assist in the roasting of hot dogs and marshmallows to go along with a lot of tasty summer treats. We hold no meetings in July. August we will take a 3 hour cruse on the St. Clair River, or hold our meeting at Scoops, a 1950s style ice cream and pizza parlor. We plan a fundraising auction to go along with our meeting in September, where we will finalize our transportation to the MCBVI convention in October. October will also find us celebrating the Fall with a Harvest party, and November out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving. The local area Lions club members usually share a Fall picnic with our chapter, and host a Christmas party in December. We meet the third Thursday of most months, at 7 p.m. Visitors and members are most welcome to join us. For more details, please call chapter President Jeanette Geno at (810) 982-0717 during day light hours. May each of you be blessed until our next report._

                Capitol Area Council of the Blind
By Donna Rose

     The Capitol Area Council of the Blind helped raise money for transportation to Visions 2006, a vendor fair for people who are blind or visually impaired which was held in Ann Arbor on May 10th. Those who attended were from our chapter and the Lansing Area Low Vision Support Group. A special thanks to the Capitol Area Transportation Authority (CATA) for their donation of $200, the Apothecary Shop in Lansing for their donation of $50 and to Wal-Mart in Okemos for a promise of a donation of $600. There were 20 people who attended the vendor fair and they all had a marvelous time.
Today we had an end of the year picnic at Grand Haven Manor where Jim and Arlene Moore reside. It was a very nice get together and the group may consider having their Christmas party there in December. We have distributed our resource list and will be checking up on whether or not it helps the community. Mike Geno had a Braille embosser delivered to our chapter and as soon as we get the Duxbury software we will be on our way to do some brailling in our community. Our meetings will begin again in September. For more information about our chapter contact President Jim Moore at 517-374-8681.

                  Detroit Council of the Blind
By Regina Wesley

     The Detroit Council of the Blind continues to sponsor bingo. We are planning to have a summer bingo sometime in July and will offer great prizes for players as appreciation for those who regularly play. On August 19th we will be taking a trip to Pudding Bay which will cost $50 per person. For more information contact Regina Wesley at (248) 334-8386.

             Detroit Northwest Council of the Blind
by Chris Schumacher

     Our chapter has been quite busy in the past couple of months. In March, Kim Walsh, the director of the Detroit Radio Reading Service, asked to come and speak to us about concerns she has regarding House Bill 5392--The Accessible Electronic Information Act--and how it could impact radio reading services in Michigan. As a result, we got together by teleconference and drafted a letter expressing our feelings regarding this matter. No action has been taken on this bill yet, but the letter is ready to be sent if necessary. We represented MCBVI at the Visions 2006 event in Ann Arbor on May 10th. Also in May we sold some Avon products as a chapter fund raiser. Our meetings are held the second Saturday of the month from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at Brownie's Diner in Wayne. Call George Illingworth at (313) 937-9687 for more information and to make a reservation. _

      Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
By Sherry Gordon

     The KCBVI is 38 members strong! We turned in our member roster, paid our dues and are ready to go! We did a fund raising project with Old Country Buffet. Folks got a full tummy and we made a few dollars. We are currently selling Krispy Kreme donut coupons if interested, the coupons are $5 each; you may purchase your donuts at anytime--we are giving you that option! We had our April meeting at the new College of Health and Human Services Building on Western Michigan University's campus. What a beautiful building! There is awesome state-of-the-art classroom technology throughout this building. This building houses the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies where Paul and Sue Ponchillia work. The KCBVI does not meet during July and August--we will have a picnic. This is always a great occasion--we have many great cooks in the KCBVI! For more information contact our chapter secretary, Lisa Kisiel, at (269) 552-4082. Have a great summer!!

     Muskegon Area Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired
By Rosemarie Facilla

     Muskegon Area Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired meets the third Saturday of the month at the USA cafe on Lakeshore Drive in Muskegon. We meet at 12 noon for lunch and our meeting afterward. Our chapter is working on publicity and will be passing out information on Saturday June 3 at the Wings of Mercy Pancake Breakfast. We do not meet during the months of July and August, but we are hoping to plan some summer activities. in September we hope to be able to have a presentation arranged for the meeting and take care of business of officers etc. for our November elections. For more information contact Rosemarie Facilla at (231) 759-8734.

          Visually Impaired Persons for Progress (VIPP)
By Deb Wild

     VIPP met in April and May at the Grand Villa Restaurant for dinner and our business meeting. Ann Griffioen came to April's meeting and gave Deb Wild a letter regarding the dissolution of the Kent County Council. This will be presented at July's MCBVI board meeting. We will attend a White Caps baseball game in late June as a fundraiser for VIPP. Included in the ticket price are a hot dog and a drink. Joe Sibley gave a MoPix presentation to some folks in Muskegon.  Our brochures need to be redone. Work continues on our bylaws. A nominations committee was formed to compile a slate of officers for next fall. We need to elect a new president and secretary. Two recreational outings are being explored: One is a trip to Muskegon to Michigan Adventure which is both an amusement park and a water park. The other is a trip down the Grand River on the Grand Lady. We decided to conduct our business meetings in 90 minutes instead of two hours. This was successfully done in May. Jim Bonnema and his wife Bonnie were our guests in May. Jim is a faithful volunteer at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He told of his trip to South Africa where he visited many relatives. We were surprised to hear how high the crime rate is higher than say Chicago. Young ladies carry Derringers in their purses. His niece showed hers and forestalled a would-be mugging on an escalator. The poverty rate is high there as well. The relatives were shown pictures of some huge Michigan snow banks. They in turn were alarmed that we would let our children out to play in that stuff. It was a very enjoyable talk. Form more information about the chapter contact Deb Wild at 616-235-8189.

                   MCBVI Special Board Meeting
Minutes Summary 03-11-06
Submitted by Deb Wild, MCBVI Secretary

     The teleconference meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m. Officers who were present were: Michael Geno, Donna Rose, Deb Wild, John McMahon and Kyle Austin. Also present were: Chris Schumacher, Jan Luurtsema, Karla Fields, Rosemarie Facilla and Sherry Gordon. Topics discussed were the 2006 budget and a detailed financial report which included reports from the 2004 and 2005 MCBVI conventions. The 2006 budget was approved at the January 21 teleconference board meeting at which John and Kyle were not present. Today's special meeting gave us the opportunity to cover all bases. The finance committee, who are Sherry, John and Kyle, will look into investment opportunities for some of our funds.
Chris pointed out ACB has started an electronic transfer program where members can designate part of their monthly donations to go to their state affiliates. Donna asked her to obtain information on this for the newsletter.
Kyle gave convention reports for 2004 and 2005.  Kyle made a motion, which Donna seconded, that the financial report be approved. The motion carried unanimously by consent.
Regarding MCBVI's 501-(C-3) status, John reported that he is
working to get an updated certificate from the IRS with our correct affiliate name.  The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

                   Important Dates to Remember
Compiled by Deb Wild, MCBVI Secretary

     No Executive Committee Conference Call (ECCC) in June due to
scheduling conflicts.
Sun. 07/09/06: 6:30 PM: ECCC.
Sat. 07/15/06: 10:00 AM: MCBVI board meeting. .
Tentative: Sun. 08/13/06: 6:30 PM: ECCC.
Tentative: Sun. 09/10/06: 6:30 PM: ECCC.
Thurs. 10/05 to Sun. 10/08: MCBVI convention at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Wyoming, MI.
Tentative: Sun. 10/08/06: 6:30 PM: ECCC
Tentative: Sun. 11/12/06: 6:30 PM: ECCC.
Tentative: Sun. 12/10/06: 6:30 PM: ECCC.

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1117 Miller Street
Port Huron, MI 48060

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