MCBVI NEWS
Summer 2012

The Official Newsletter of the
Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
An affiliate of the
American Council of the Blind

OUR MISSION
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, and equality in issues regarding blindness and visual impairment.

Joe Sibley, President
Donna Rose, Editor
517-489-2233
Toll Free: 877-254-6397
Wild-rose@sbcglobal.net
Malaina VanderWal, Assistant Editor
malaina@iserv.net
616-308-9644

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:
info@blindmi.org

Visit our website at www.blindmi.org
We are now on Facebook!
Search for Michigan Council of the Blind to find our page.
"Like" us to receive updates!

Upcoming Deadlines for 2012 Newsletter Submissions:
November 1, 2012

Highlights of This Issue Include:
State Convention Information
Proposed Bylaw Change
Governor Restructures MCB to Become Bureau of Services to Blind Persons
MCBVI Member Is Elected to ACB Board
And More
 

From the President
By Joe Sibley

I am writing this just having returned a few days ago from the ACB national convention in Louisville. Other than coming home with a nasty sinus infection it was a wonderful experience. I am very proud of the 20 members who made the trip, Michigan's largest delegation in years. It was a wonderful moment for me to request 21 chairs at the roll call Sunday night, and we received some nice cheers for that. We also received some very nice compliments from ACB leaders from across the country on our way of handling the Executive Order situation, more on that later. 16 of us rode the bus down which was a lot more fun than playing the airport game. Thanks to Charis and Kyle Austin for coordinating the bus along with Lenger Travel Service. I won't tell you Kyle's new nickname. We do plan to have a bus to go to Columbus next year so please plan to join us! It will be a shorter ride and you can enjoy the company of your friends.

I have been trying to decide whether to say this publicly or not. With our current financial situation I have not asked MCBVI to support me as your president to attend the ACB national convention or mid year meetings. When it was looking like I wouldn't be able to make the trip this year, two of our members who wish to remain anonymous contacted me and offered to fill in the financial gap. Neither was asked, they just made the offer. At first my pride said no, but I was very touched that they thought it was important for me to be there so I finally accepted. Other members helped me too. I am humbled and moved beyond words and wish to publicly thank those who helped me attend the conference. I just hope I represented you well during my time there.
Mary was not with me in Louisville, she was working at Camp Tuhsmeheta this summer for Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind. I have to admit this is the first year I have really been involved with Camp T. I have seen personally the impact this camp has on our young blind and visually impaired kids, not just at camp but at OUB's "camp in a box" locations. OUB is taking some great directions, despite very tight funding, and mediocre cooperation from the Department of Education which owns the camp property. We need to support OUB. These camps are making an impact on these kids, and these kids are our future.

OK, let's get to the executive order 2012-10. As you will remember when executive order 2012-2 was released in February we as an organization did not protest or picket, we did our research and presented our concerns to the governor's office and offered to be a cooperating partner. I believe you will find 2012-10 much more acceptable, one of our largest concerns from the beginning keeping blind rehab services a separate bureau from the general agency. I again want to thank everyone in MCBVI who was involved in this process. We still have some details that will have to be settled, but I am optimistic that we will have fine services for Michigan's blind and visually impaired citizens when all is done. You can see my column in the last issue of MCBVI news for more details. The press release regarding EO 2012-10 will follow in this issue. I also wish to thank Governor Snyder, along with Mike Zimmer, chief deputy director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for welcoming us to the table and accepting our input.

Finally although we need prayer and support for a few of our members who are having serious health issues right now, I want to acknowledge a miracle. On August 6 our newsletter editor Donna Rose will receive a new kidney which is being donated by one of our members, Suellen Hozman. Donna has been struggling with kidney failure for years which has been a serious burden in her life, but this gift she is receiving is a gift of a new life. I'm sure I speak for all of MCBVI when I say go Donna, we are behind you!
Enjoy your summer and see you in Lansing in September for the MCBVI convention!
Joe
Joe.sibley@comcast.net


Michigan Council of the Blind
and Visually Impaired

39th  Annual Convention
"Let's Plan Our Future Together!"
September 13-16, 2012
Best Western Plus Hotel
(formerly the Causeway Bay)
6820 S. Cedar Street
Lansing, Michigan
517-694-8123 or 800-333-8123
You are cordially invited to join us for the 39th annual convention of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI), the Michigan affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. This year, the convention returns to the Best Western Plus in Lansing! This hotel which was known as the Causeway Bay last year proved to be a wonderful and welcoming facility for our convention and will be even better this year!

We are honored to welcome Ardis Bazyn of Bazyn Communications of Burbank California to our convention. You will know Ardis from her years of leadership in ACB and she is a sought after motivational speaker for many types of presentations. In addition to serving as our banquet keynote speaker Ardis will join us for activities throughout our convention and we look forward to welcoming her back to Michigan! You can learn more about Ardis at:
www.bazyncommunications.com    .

We have another special event to welcome you to the convention this year. On Thursday evening September 13 we will travel to Sundance Riding Stables where we will enjoy a hay ride, animals to feed, other activities to try, and a good old fashioned meal of hot dogs and beans around the campfire! Tickets for this event are only $30 which includes everything. We will provide bus transportation from the hotel and back! Come on Thursday and enjoy great fellowship in Michigan's great outdoors in September. Space is limited so register early!

We have a special offer this year for those needing continuing education units (CEU's) for social work. We will again be offering a program Friday morning entitled, "Best Practices when working with someone who is blind or visually impaired" from 9:00am to noon. We have been approved by NASW-Michigan to offer three continuing education clock hours for social workers. The cost to attend will be only $30.00, a real bargain. The program will be presented by Chris Visscher, msw/lmsw. After the program attendees can enjoy convention exhibits and programs! For more information or to pre-register for this opportunity, call the registration line below.

Friday afternoon exhibits and programs are open to all without convention registration. Friday evening through Sunday activities do require registration, but all are welcome, if you are a member or not!

Hotel Rooms: Hotel rooms at the Best Western Plus are only $79.99 per night plus 13 percent tax for up to four people per room. You must reserve your room directly with the hotel by calling 517-694-8123 or 800-333-8123. Be sure to specify that you are attending the Michigan Council of the Blind convention to get the discounted room rate. Rooms must be reserved by August 30th to insure that you get the convention rate. MCBVI is not responsible for hotel room reservations.

The Best Western Plus offers recently renovated guest rooms, all include a refrigerator and microwave. Hummingbird's Restaurant offers a variety of medium priced choices for breakfast lunch and dinner. Other amenities include an indoor pool, sauna, health club, sports lounge, and more. 

There are a variety of other restaurants and stores near the hotel, but not walkable. Nearby Celebration Cinema offers movies with MoPix which includes audio description for the visually impaired, and closed captions for the hard of hearing. Call 517-393-7469 to find out what is playing in the MoPix equipped auditorium.

Registration: Registration is now open.  Registration for the convention is $15, and only $10 for students, and those under 21. All are welcome, if they are current members of MCBVI or not. To register by phone, call toll free 877-254-6393. This rings into a private residence so no calls after 9pm please. You may also complete the registration form and mail it to Casey or Sharon Dutmer, 5940 Bayberry Farms Dr SW APT 6, Wyoming, MI 49418
. Make all checks payable to MCBVI Convention. Registration is not final until all fees are paid. Please register by August 30, 2012. Please please register early!

Banquet: Our banquet Saturday evening September 15 will feature a social hour at 6:00 with entertainment. A cash bar will be available. The banquet begins at 7:00 with a keynote address by Ardis Bazyn. Dinner begins with a garden salad with assorted dressings. The entree options were Whitefish or Roasted Turkey, both served with Garlic mashed potatoes and vegetable medley. Dessert is a chocolate brownie. Tickets for the banquet this year are only $32.00.

We are offering a new option for breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. If you prefer you may skip the restaurant and have breakfast or lunch right in our main meeting room. You may choose breakfast Saturday, lunch Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. Cost for each meal is $15 and must be pre ordered when you register. All breakfasts come with chilled fruit juice, basket of breakfast breads, cinnamon rolls & coffee service.

Saturday between 7:30-8:30 you can come in for The English Scramble: A split toasted English Muffin topped with bacon strips, fresh scrambled eggs with American cheese served with country potatoes.

Sunday     between 7:00 and 8:00, it's The Heartland: Fluffy scrambled eggs, sausage and country potatoes. You must come in during the hours listed to be served, no refunds if you miss it. 

Saturday at noon, the optional box lunch will include a Turkey sandwich with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato & pickle, a piece of whole fruit, cookies, pasta salad, and chips. Soda will be separate @$2.25 each on site. 

A vegetarian option will be available for all meals. If you have special dietary concerns, please indicate that when you register.

Exhibits: The exhibit hall will be open to the public on Friday September 14 from 12:30pm to 5:00pm. The exhibits will be open to those registered on Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Come and enjoy technology, a variety of products and services, and much more. If you or your chapters are interested in exhibiting your products or services, call Charis Austin at 616-532-4737 or email charis533@gmail.com.

Come and enjoy a variety of presentations during the 2012 convention. Presentations Friday afternoon are open to the public. Saturday sessions do require convention registration, but all are welcome. Programs planned this year include information about the new Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) in Michigan, emergency preparedness, education for blind students in the state, fund development, goal setting and more. The final schedules for presentations will be announced soon, watch the MCBVI website (www.blindmi.org    ) for updates.

Friday night after opening business we will enjoy our annual auction! Kyle Austin returns as our stellar auctioneer giving you a chance to bid on a variety of great items including fresh baked goods yum! We are seeking donations of auction items, items must be new.

Come visit our large hospitality room Friday and Saturday night after convention activities. Relax with your friends and enjoy snacks and beverages plus games if desired! Note that we will not be serving a meal in the hospitality room but will have plenty of food and drinks to enjoy.

Sunday morning at 8:30 we will have our annual memorial service, remembering members we have lost during the year. Please submit names of members who have passed, or that are having serious health issues to Faith Meadows. At 9:00 Sunday it is our annual business meeting. Stay and participate with opportunities to express your opinions and vote on critical matters including resolutions. Convention adjourns at noon on Sunday.

You too can participate in the 2012 convention. If you, your organization, or your business would like to be a convention sponsor we have opportunities available! Contact Charis Austin at 616-532-4737 or email charis533@gmail.com    .

We are also seeking donations of door prizes and auction items. To learn more contact Sharmese Anderson at 269-873-3953 or email sharmese269@yahoo.com    .   

To keep up with the latest convention information check the convention page on the MCBVI website at www.blindmi.org    , or follow MCBVI on Facebook. Search for Michigan Council of the Blind to find our Facebook page.

This year we are pleased to announce that much of our convention will again be streamed live on ACB Radio World! Visit www.acbradio.org     and select ACB Radio World to listen at home or in your hotel room.

Note: MCBVI is not required under the ADA to provide personal care assistants or round-the-clock services of any kind. MCBVI, hotel staff and volunteers cannot administer medications or provide transportation, other than what is listed. We will attempt to provide transportation from and to the bus, train, or airport if arrangements are made when you register. A limited number of volunteers will be available to assist at the convention but will not be able to provide extensive guide service or personal care assistance.  Thank you for keeping this in mind when making plans to attend. 

Your convention committee and your board of directors look forward to welcoming you in September!

Casey Dutmer, convention chairman
616-534-0581 Casey354@comcast.net

Proposed Change to MCBVI By-law
Article IV Membership
Editor's Note:  The current wording of Article IV is followed by the proposed change which will be voted upon during the Sunday morning business meeting at the State Convention in September.
 
ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP

     A.  Voting members of the Michigan Council of the Blind and
Visually Impaired shall consist of chapter members and members at
large of the state of Michigan.

           B.  Qualifications of Officers and Members 

     1.  All members of the board of directors of this council
shall be active members thereof, who shall have attained the age of
eighteen (18), and who shall have been elected as provided in these
by-laws.

     2.  A majority of the members of the board of directors shall,
at all times, be visually impaired.

     3.  The active or voting members of this council shall consist
of any persons who shall have attained the age of eighteen (18)
years and who are interested in work for the blind, and who shall
have been proposed for membership and been approved in accordance
with the by-laws of this council, or, the rules authorizing the
formation of this council.

     4.  The majority of the members of this council shall, at all
times, be visually impaired.

     C.  Chapters

     1.  A local chapter shall consist of five or more visually
impaired individuals in any community of the state desiring to
affiliate themselves with the Michigan Council of the Blind and
Visually Impaired, provided that each chapter shall hold at least
four business meetings a year.

     2.  All members of each organized chapter shall be members of
the Michigan Council, and of the American Council of the Blind.

    D.  Member At Large

     A member at large shall be an individual who is not associated
with a local chapter.

     E.  Honorary Membership

     An honorary member shall be any individual who, in the opinion
of the Board of Directors, is worthy of such recognition.


     F. Dues

     Each member shall contribute to the funds of this council
membership dues as set by the Board of Directors.
Proposed MCBVI By-law Change


ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP (proposed amendment)

Voting members of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired shall consist of chapter members and members at large of the state of Michigan who are eighteen (18) years of age or older. 

Non-Voting Members

Any person who has not reached the age of eighteen (18) years may become a junior member at large by completing an official application therefore accompanied by one (1) year's dues and by designating the applicant's preferred edition of the "MCBVI NEWS" and the "ACB Braille Forum".

An honorary member shall be any individual who, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, is worthy of such recognition.

     C.  Qualifications of Officers and Members 

     1.  All members of the board of directors of this council shall be active members thereof, who shall have attained the age of eighteen (18), and who shall have been elected as provided in these by-laws.

     2.  A majority of the members of the board of directors shall, at all times, be visually impaired.
   3.  The active or voting members of this council shall consist of any persons who shall have attained the age of eighteen (18) years and who are interested in work for the blind, and who shall have been proposed for membership and been approved in accordance with the by-laws of this council, or, the rules authorizing the formation of this council.

     4.  The majority of the members of this council shall, at all times, be visually impaired.

     D.  Chapters

     1.  A local chapter shall consist of five or more individuals eighteen (18) years of age or older, the majority of whom are visually impaired, in any community of the state of Michigan desiring to affiliate themselves with the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, provided that each chapter shall hold at least four business meetings a year. Chapter status will be granted after successful completion of an application and approval by the MCBVI Board of Directors.

     2.  All members of each organized chapter shall be members of the Michigan Council and of the American Council of the Blind.

     E.  Member At Large

     A member at large shall be an individual who is not associated with a local chapter.



F. Dues

     Each member shall contribute to the funds of this council membership dues as set by the Board of Directors. The renewal period for each year begins September 1 of each year and ends January 31 of the following calendar year. All dues must be received by February 15 of each year. Payment for renewals after February 15 will be returned. Anyone who joins the organization on or after September 1 of any given year will be considered a paid member through December 31 of the following calendar year.

Snyder issues revised executive order to enhance services for people with disabilities - Wednesday, June 27, 2012
LANSING, Mich. - Following collaborative input from Michigan residents with disabilities, Gov. Rick Snyder today issued Executive Order 2012-10 with changes that will better leverage expertise and resources to meet their needs.
     
Today's Executive Order transfers the duties of the Michigan Rehabilitation Services to the Department of Human Services and reconfigures the Michigan Commission for the Blind as the Bureau of Services to Blind Persons within the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
     
Snyder previously issued Executive Order 2012-2 last February, but it was rescinded in April to work with advocates to ensure the best possible services for residents who are blind or visually impaired. The new E.O. maintains two separate entities to address needs of people with disabilities and keeps services to blind persons, including the Business Enterprise Program (BEP), within LARA. Today's E.O. reflects the recommendations of federal and state advocates to provide the best customer service and resources to Michigan citizens. 
     
     
"After discussion and collaboration with disability advocacy groups and individuals throughout Michigan, this executive order provides for efficient delivery of services while, at the same time, addressing the specific concerns and suggestions of citizens," Snyder said. "I want to thank those who participated in this productive process to ensure the very best services for Michigan residents with disabilities."
     
Richard Bernstein, an attorney and advocate for protecting the rights of people with disabilities stated, "I thank the governor for his willingness to work with the blind community and their advocates to address our concerns. By working together, we've been able to ensure the continuation of essential services for the blind in Michigan."
One of the recommendations implemented in the executive order, and based on stakeholder input, is assurance that BEP related to businesses on federal property and the Business Opportunity Act will remain within LARA.
     
"We are pleased that the Governor and other involved officials have been very receptive to our input," said Joe Sibley, president of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. "I am confident when the dust settles that we will have fine services for the blind and visually impaired in Michigan, and the amazing staff of the Commission for the Blind will be able to continue the great work that they do."
     
The E.O. also appoints the director of the new Bureau of Services for Blind Persons and Michigan Rehabilitation Services to serve as ex officio members of the newly-created Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services, which will include a range of individuals with disabilities and advocacy groups. It also clarifies the requirement in the federal regulations for the Talent Investment Board representative on the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services.
     
The order also mandates an implementation date of Oct. 1, 2012 for all portions of the order except matters related to the Disability Concerns Commission, whose transfer to Department of Civil Rights takes effect 60 days after the order is filed. This provides time for public meetings and amendments to the two new bureaus' state plans.
     
"We appreciate the Governor's willingness to work openly with us in developing plans to strengthen services for the blind," said Dr. Fredric K. Schroeder, first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind. "In particular, we appreciate his commitment to keeping these services within a single agency to ensure that programs are coordinated and administered by individuals with specialized training and experience in blindness."

Congratulations to Sarah Conrad
Elected to ACB Board of Directors
By Charis Austin, Treasurer

On behalf of the MCBVI Executive Committee, I want to congratulate MCBVI Member, Sarah Conrad, on her election to the ACB Board of Directors at the national ACB convention.

Sarah is an MCBVI Member At Large. She attends Calvin College and is majoring in Special Education. She just finished a term as President of ACB Students. 

She is very energetic. While at the convention she was involved in presentations, delivering the convention newspaper,           helping out at the ACB Auction, Working on a fund-raiser for ACB Students, and much more. She is interested in getting a Student Chapter started in Michigan.

Join me in congratulating Sarah!

A Brighter Future in MCBVI and ACB
By Sara Conrad, President ACB Students
	
Throughout my years with ACB and MCBVI, I have seen a major issue with student membership, or the lack there of, across our organization. As the President of the American Council of Blind Students, I have set out to reduce this age gap and increase the presence of younger members in ACB as a whole. In doing so, the topic of student chapters within state and special interest affiliates is inevitable, and I have set out to help states join with ACB Students to create affiliates for student groups.

At this time, California is the only affiliate of ACB to have an established student chapter. I am proud to say, however, that Michigan is on the move! We are eagerly working to create a student chapter and implement student-friendly programming that will encourage younger membership in MCBVI. 
While I do not have much to report on the status of the logistics of such an endeavor, I do want to stress the importance and true excitement brought with this change. 

We see the issue of age in ACB, where very few scholarship winners attending national convention continue on with ACB, and these winners are the majority of our student recruits each year. In addition, after hosting five focus group conference calls with more than 30 ACB leaders, I was made aware of the issue of programming for young people in affiliates, as state affiliate presidents lamented of unsuccessful membership retention efforts at their local chapter and state convention meetings. 

Although the process here in Michigan will take some time due to state constitutional requirements, there are other promising changes taking place within ACB for the recruitment and retention of young people. First of all, ACB Students Second Vice President and Convention Chair Caitlin Lynch of New York and I are currently forming a new mentor program for national scholarship winners that will begin this summer in Louisville. This program will include communication between ACB Student leaders and winners, networking students with their state affiliate presidents, and encouraged attendance at student and state events throughout convention. In addition, we will be contacting students before and after convention for continuity, in hopes for greater success in keeping them hooked within ACB.
Furthermore, ACB Students is diligently working to form a program called Adopt a Student which would assist young adults in attending national convention. We realize that this event is crucial in the membership retention of young people and hope to see increased involvement from state and special interest affiliates in our efforts as we continue to create the program. I will be speaking in Louisville about these efforts as well as student membership in general, with hopes to encourage our affiliate leaders.

In closing, I am honored to work with the leaders of MCBVI to establish the student chapter and organize new programming. It is our intention to help the membership as a whole for the future of ACB. Together, we will grow student involvement and see this brighter future shine. 


Update on Accessible Prescription Labeling
By Malaina VanderWal, Asst. Editor

During the last few months I have worked on bringing Accessible Prescription Labeling to the Grand Rapids area.  I have communicated with En-Vision America the manufacturer of the script Talk, which will read aloud relevant information contained on a prescription label.  This device will allow the user to view prescription information in the privacy of his/her home. This would eliminate asking for assistance if one is unable to read the printed label.  

Do to the fact the Grand Rapids population of blind and low vision individuals is wide spread, some of us discussed changing pharmacies.   This would assume we could find and agree upon a central location for all to take part in.  This is a challenge in itself because several things must be taken into consideration.  These range from location in proximity to one's home among others.  Most pharmacies that would be more likely to provide accessible prescription labeling are the small independent pharmacies.  

In order to try and learn if anyone of the pharmacy chains such as Rite Aid or Walgreens offers any type of accessible prescription labeling, I contacted the Rite Aid pharmacy I use.  I learned they currently offer a low vision solution but not one for someone who is totally blind.  They gave me a number where I could contact headquarters.  I called and asked if they provided accommodations for those who are blind and visually impaired.  They asked for my name, the store number of the Rite Aid I used and my phone number where I could be reached.  I ended the conversation with the feeling that I probably would not hear from anyone.  A few days later I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from the Rite Aid district manager!  I explained what I would like in accessible prescription labeling and he seemed very receptive and said he would look into what could be done.  I also gave Rite Aid a print out of the information on En-vision America's website regarding the Script Talk.  In addition, I contacted a couple of local Walgreens and one said they could provide a low vision solution and another said they did not have anything available.  

In the Grand Rapids area some of us have contacted the pharmacies we use in an effort to bring this to our area.  If you want to do the same I will provide numbers to three of the big chains. The number to Rite Aid is 18007483243, Walgreens's 18009254733 and CVS is 18007467287.  

What you can do to help spread the word if this is an important issue for you.

    Contact your pharmacy and explain to them you want accessible prescription labeling.  Explain what it is and describe how beneficial it would be and how it would put an end to the possibility of medication mistakes.  
Progress is being made on this issue with the passing of accessible prescription labeling language going through the senate and for language making it into the final package when it reaches the President's desk.  Also, in the last few days Wal-Mart has implemented a pilot program.  Currently it is through their mail order service and in three of its stores.  The mail order service is available for anyone wanting to participate. Unfortunately none of the in-store locations are in Michigan but it gives me hope this shall become obtainable in more pharmacies regardless of whether using an independent pharmacy or a large chain!  While I was in Louisville at the ACB convention, I am pleased to report that thee Accessible Prescription Labeling Act was signed by  President Obama!  Thanks to everyone for their work on this issue for helping it pass quickly!

For any questions or more information on how you can get accessible prescription labeling in your area contact me at Malaina@iserv.net    .


What Is a Mitzvah?
By Donna Rose, Editor

About a year ago my friend Suellen asked me what she would need to do to offer me a kidney.  I have been on dialysis for three years and the waiting list for a kidney transplant could take as long as 5-7 years.  A kidney from a living donor usually works twice as long as one which comes from a deceased donor, approximately 15 years.  When she first asked me I called my transplant center in Grand Rapids and was told by the donor nurse that their center doesn't take any living donor over the age of 65.  I was disappointed because Suellen is slightly over this age limit, but after another whole year of dialysis and all of the health complications related to it, I recently contacted them again explaining my friend is willing to step forward and she is in good health and I would really like her to be screened.  After Suellen went through oodles of tests we were told they would do the surgery.  She was a good match. We are having surgery on August 6th at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids.  This gift will change my life significantly.

Suellen tells me that giving me one of her kidneys is a "mitzvah" for her.  I had heard this word previously since I have several friends who are Jewish, but this is the first time I ever began to understand its real meaning. To compare this word to an English language equivalent may not convey the exact meaning, but basically it means obeying the commandments in the Torah.  It is a good deed or human kindness which you might extend to someone regardless of how well you know them.  But I think the meaning is also about a sacrifice involved to improve the life of another which ultimately gives back, or pays forward goodness to the world.  It might not be easy, nor does it have to be martyrdom.  I think it is about using your talents and/or resources to help individuals, thus improving our world.  I strongly believe that this good can become contagious to others just by releasing such behavior into the cosmos.  

Having a person offer me such a life saving gift has made me do some real soul searching over the past few weeks.  It has made me take stock of all of the people who have helped me, as well as all of the people I may have helped.  It has prompted me to think about ways I can do more mitzvahs myself.

MCBVI has many people living up to the philosophy of the "mitzvah".  While I won't mention all of their names here, because I am certain I would leave someone out, we all know of the wonderful dedication of many of these folks.  They don't know us all personally, but yet they give of their time and talent, as well as other resources, because it is the right thing to do to improve the lives of others.  

A friend of mine was once in a grocery store when a woman with a lot of groceries and a bunch of young children was checking out ahead of him.  He asked if he could pay for her groceries and she was overwhelmed by his kindness.  It turned out that her husband had recently lost his job and my friend's assistance would be very helpful to their family.  The bill was over $100, which for the time was a pretty large chunk of change.  I am certain she wondered why he did this.  

When I was about 12, I was walking over to a friend's house when I came across a little boy about 6 or 7 years old.  He had just fallen off of his bicycle.  He was carrying a gallon jug of Kool-Aid to his cub scout meeting.  Of course the container had sprung a leak, and he had gotten scraped up.  He was worried that his mom would be mad at him for this accident.  I gave him sympathy for his predicament, and offered to walk him to the place of his meeting, trying to carry the container in such a way we wouldn't lose too much more of it.  When I look back on this incident I remember him crying and can still feel a pang in my heart for him.  I couldn't improve the situation completely, but as we began to walk he stopped crying.  I think he was glad that someone older had come along and was willing to stop and help.

People don't always think they have the resources necessary to help others, but if you examine yourself thoroughly you will see there are ways you either are doing, or could do a mitzvah for someone else to make their life better or more comfortable.  It doesn't have to involve money, or giving up a vital organ, but these examples should encourage us to do our best to leave the world a better place than when we came into it.  

I love you Suellen.  Thank you for stepping forward to give me a new life!

MCBVI Committee Reports

Constitution and Bylaws
Wayne Lepiors, Chairperson

Please see the section earlier in this newsletter on the proposed bylaw change.

Nominations
Karla Fields, Chairperson

There are three offices up for election at our State Convention in September.  They are; president, secretary and assistant treasurer. Jo is running again for president. Deb is running again for secretary and Wayne was appointed to the assistant treasurer position earlier this year which was vacated by Charis when she became treasurer.  He is running for the assistant treasurer position.  Contact Karla, Casey or Arlene Moore if you wish to run for these offices or have any candidate suggestions.


Publications & Public Relations
Donna Rose, Chairperson for both

We will only have three newsletters published this year.  The next deadline for submissions will be November 1, 2012.  This has been a year filled with a lot of breaking news about the abolishment of the Commission and its restructuring.  This has postponed our newsletter as we wanted to keep you as up-to-date as we could about these developments which could affect us all.  My health has been poor this year, but the good news is I will soon be getting a kidney transplant.  This is why the next deadline for the newsletter is November 1.  By then I should be well enough to get it ready.  

Malaina is now the assistant editor and she will be gathering your chapter updates and committee reports.  Her phone number and email address are listed at the beginning of this publication.  If you are a chapter president or committee chairperson, please get your updates and reports to her by the deadline so the process can move along as smooth as possible.  It seems like these things slowly trickle in, sometimes taking a whole month or more after the deadline.  If items are too late then formatting becomes an issue because I have to cut and paste them into the already created document and it can ruin the previous formatting for some reason.  If you don't have a report please just email or call Malaina and let her know.  Active chapter should always have updates for us.

Joe and I will be working together to create a new brochure once I thoroughly recover.  I am looking forward to feeling better with more energy so I can participate more in our organization. 




Technology Committee Report
Jackie Boomstra, chairperson

The Technology Committee has been hard at work these past few months. Our web site has been updated. Please visit it at www.blindmi.org     and browse around.

This year all of our committee members have installed and configured Duckstream on our computers and will be able to assist with streaming the MCBVI convention.  Mike Geno conducted training for us on Winamp which is a media player and we all have it configured correctly on our computers. We also have acquired our own audio streaming service and will be streaming the MCBVI convention using this service. Having this service is very exciting   because it opens up an exciting new world of opportunities and possibilities for us. In the near future, we will begin streaming media that promises to be entertaining, educational and a lot of fun! It should be a great place to tune in often. We will keep you updated on our progress with this.

If you have questions or want more information, please email me at jackieboomstra@sbcglobal.net     or call me at 616-455-6069.

Chapter Updates

>Blue Water League of the Blind
Port Huron Area
By Gerald Clay, President

      Hello, everyone.      The BWL is on the move with addition of the new web site 
we have added business cards and brochures to help get the word out.      The 
month of may will bring a pizza party     to its members at the Dorsey Steak 
House. For June and July we are planning outdoor activities for our members 
weather permitting.      For those interested in participating contact us on the web 
by adding     www.bwlblind.com     to your favorites list on your computer.      All 
contact information is on the web site                so if     you wish to contact us     The 
Blue Water League is here to help so give us a call.
Capital Area Council of the Blind
Jim Moore, President

We have had some illness in our chapter over the past six months or so.  Jim, Arlene, and Gary attended the ACB National Convention, but Jim and Arlene had to return home prematurely due to Jim's health.  .  We are gearing up to help again with the convention and will hold a meeting in August to discuss this.

Congratulations to our member Jo Ann Sheehan who was installed President of the Holt Lions Club on Thursday, June 21, 2012. We are grateful for her contribution to the community of those who are blind/VI who reside in our area and beyond.
 
Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired 
By Sharmese D. Anderson, Acting President

KCBVI) is doing great things! In May, we had a Bowl-A-Thon at Pinz Bowling Alley and raised money.  We are selling Raffle Tickets to raise money for KCBVI.            The tickets are $5.00 per person.  The drawing will be Sunday, September 16, 2012.      The winner will receive a Handmade queen size Patchwork Quilt, made by Marlas' grandmother who is 99 years old with Macular Degeneration.

We Congratulate Faith Meadows, who is our NEW Vice President.

Faith, Marla and Sharmese attended the ACB Conference / Convention and it was a blast loaded with lot of information and fellowship.

Join us for Fun, Food and Fellowship at our Annual Picnic on Saturday, August 25, 2012.  Any questions or concerns please contact me: Sharmese D. Anderson, (269) 873-3953.


Thoughts and Prayers Needed

Please keep the following individuals in your thoughts and/or prayers as they are having serious health issues.  

Pamela Berryman
Jeanette Geno
Jim Moore

At the April MCBVI Board Meeting
April 21, 2012

Editor's Note:  The following summary is from draft minutes taken by MCBVI Secretary Deb Wild during the April board meeting which was conducted via teleconference.

     After housekeeping and approval of the winter board meeting minutes, MCBVI President Joe Sibley discussed Executive Order 2012-02 which was signed on 02/24/12. This disbands the Commission for the Blind as it stands now, placing it under the auspices of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Joe wrote a draft position statement from MCBVI, and Neal Freeling and Charis Austin reworked it. This was then sent to the governor's office. In March, Michael Geno, Casey Dutmer and Joe Sibley met with   Mike Zimmer of LARA and Brian Rooney, Deputy Director of DHS, who was present by phone. They wanted to work constructively with MCBVI. The old executive order will be rescinded this week. There will be a media release about this. A new executive order will be reissued which will not take affect until 10/01/12. MCBVI will be part of the restructuring process. There will be seven people on the advisory board, including some who are blind. This board will represent the concerns of   all blind/visually impaired citizens of Michigan.  There will be a Rehab Council for the blind and the Commission board. They will work in the Bureau of Services program within DHS. BEP will also be restructured. There will be significant changes in the new executive order. Mike, Casey and Joe saw the draft which shows many good things. The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons is the new name which may change. It was decided to wait until the announcement of rescinding the executive order and the press release were received and then get the newsletter out.
     Everything is updated on the web site. Our web guy Bill Cresswell has made it easier to post material. He set up a blog for discussion of news and information. We need someone to monitor it. We now have our own stream for MCBVI radio which will have programming, information and special events. It is not public yet. The technology committee is being trained. We found a service to do this very inexpensively. Mike Smith has been the point person. It is hoped everyone will be willing to participate in program blocks.
     Charis gave the financial report. As of 04/18/12, the checking account balance was $2,820.37. As of 03/10/12, our $20,000 CD is ready to reinvest again if the board agrees. Total income was $3770.42. We had good direct public support of contributions at $250.00. To generate cash, we sold the Oppenheimer fund of $1,281.18. Total expenses were $2,239.62.
Net income was $1,530.80. We may need some of the $20,000.00 CD to help our operations.
Matt is researching putting together a new portfolio as recommended by a new adviser of Merrill-Lynch. Charis e-mailed Matt to get more information. 
     Casey reported our convention will be at the Best Western Plus in Lansing, formerly the Causeway Bay Hotel. The dates are 09/13-09/16/12. The convention theme is Planning Our Future Together.

     Michael reported there were no grant applications. Mary reported there were no scholarship applications.
     Casey reported HR4087, regarding accessible prescription labels, has 251 sponsors. There is a Senate version coming out with similar language. We were urged to contact our Congressmen and senators. 
     MCBVI member Malaina VanderWal has been very involved with En-Vision of America regarding the ScripTalk Program that blind/visually impaired people can use to read their prescriptions. Pharmacies must purchase part of the device. She has contacted local pharmacies and Posted information about the bill and how we can sign the petition. He discussed HR860, the Accessible Vehicle Donation Act, which needs our support, Executive Order 2012-02 and other bills in various stages of process.
     Charis sent in money for 160 members. Since then three more members have paid. Three more have expressed interest but have not paid. One Young member is very interested in starting an affiliate. Attempting to start a new chapter in the Detroit area was discussed, along with various challenges. This has MCBVI's support.
     The newsletter was discussed. As mentioned before, May first is the next deadline. Information can also be sent to Malaina. Sending Donna a get-well card from the board from Joe and Mary's Braille stock was discussed. The new MCBVI brochures are in the works. There are still a lot of old brochures. Regarding constitution and bylaws, there was no activity.
     Deb and Casey reported for Resolutions which met once since January. Faith Meadows has joined the committee. Many things were discussed, but no resolutions were drafted. The deadline is 08/06/12. Unfortunately since that meeting Pam thought it necessary to resign as chair due to health concerns.     
     Karla reported the offices up for election are president, secretary and assistant treasurer. Jo is running for president. Deb is running for secretary. Wayne is running for assistant treasurer. Contact Karla, Casey or Arlene Moore if you wish to run for these offices or have any candidate suggestions.  
     Joe and Michael reported for Jackie regarding the technology committee which continues to meet by Skype. Members are Jackie Boomstra who is chair, Michael Geno, Joe Sibley, Mike Smith and Marcia Moses. MCBVI radio was discussed. It was asked if testing could be done at the July board meeting. They could possibly use Skype to monitor a test of MCBVI radio. There will be a link to MCBVI radio on our web page. ACB radio/world will be used to stream our convention. 
     The Last Planning and Quality (PAQ) meeting a week ago was canceled and has not been rescheduled at this time. All committees are in limbo. Regarding the Consumer Involvement Council (CIC), Phyllis reported they met on 04/12/12. Bob Robinson discussed the Training Center for the Blind. A gentleman who is a veteran would like to join which would add an extra chair to the CIC board. They would like to have a veteran on the board. Richard Bernstein discussed transportation concerns in Detroit. SMART and DDOT have gone to court several times. There is a great need for the blind and disabled from Detroit to participate on advisory boards. There are bills in the works for public transportation. People in Detroit may want to contact Transportation Riders United. People can also contact the Let's Get Moving Coalition in Lansing. The future of CIC is uncertain, but it will be business as usual through the summer.
     The July 21 board meeting room is reserved at the Best Western Plus Hotel. Lunch will be paid for by MCBVI. Information was disseminated for the bus trip to Louisville. We will leave on 07/06 and return on 07/14/12. Since this meeting the date of return has been changed to 07/13/12. There is no count at this time. Cost may be in the $200 range per person.
Charis was appointed to collect all the contact information. 
     Regarding Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB), Casey is chair. The Department of Education agreed to provide food services. James Baird was hired as camp director. It costs $100-150 a weekend. They are working with Amway for a grant which will help pay for staff and equipment. Gwen Botting was asked to be the Director of OUB. Bridget Smedes is administrator, and Mary Sibley is assistant administrator. The future looks good. Some camps are a gardening weekend, a family camp, LIO camps, a culinary camp, a music camp, a braille camp, a science camp, plus off-site activities. There will be an event at Camp Dearborn. They would like to see MCBVI donate funds. It costs $350 to $450 to run the camps.
     Regarding fund development, we need people who are willing to devote time and think outside the box. We may need to revise our mission statement. Charis Austin will be committee chair. Carl Daily, Casey Dutmer, JoAnn Pilarski and Wayne Lepiors are willing to serve. Joe Sibley is an ex officio member. Many things need to be discussed such as what is our purpose for raising this money? What good things do we want to do and how much will it cost to do them? The MMS program was again discussed.
     The Cadillac chapter is working with local transportation sources to get numbers of approximately how many handicapped people and how many blind people use these services. They are working with a senator's office. There are eight members.

It was asked about certificates for chartering chapters. There is a charter ready for each chapter with a logo on it. Charis has certificates and frames.  
     The Commission board will meet in June and maybe September. At a Kalamazoo Training Center presentation, Sharmese tried to get folks to come to the Kalamazoo chapter meeting. Things fell through after she had transportation all set.  It was suggested that MCBVI do a presentation with food or a fun activity. We would have to clear this with the director. The meeting was adjourned at 1:41 P.m.

Thought For the Day

It's better to light one candle, then to curse the darkness.
The End