MCBVI NEWS December 2013
Official Newsletter of the
Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
Joe Sibley, President
For General Inquiries Contact:
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Chapters in Michigan Include:
- Grand Rapids
- Port Huron
Highlights of This Issue Include:
From the President
By Joe Sibley
Hello MCBVI Family!
So here we are getting ready to close out 2013. As we are also well into my last year as your president, it is time to reflect a bit on 2013, and the last 5 years I have been honored to serve in this office. Per our bylaws my third term as president will end at our convention in 2014, so at the end of that convention I will turn the proverbial gavel over to someone else. This has been a wonderful opportunity for my personal growth and I am grateful for that. I hope I did some good along the way. There were things I handled well, and times where I dropped the ball. I feel we have some great momentum going in a number of areas, and other issues where we need to step up our game as an organization. Our executive board has set some goals for my last year as president which include such things as seeding at least one new chapter, getting our student chapter off the ground, upgrading our website and marketing materials and more. Whoever steps up as our next president will find themselves with a great leadership team, and a wonderful group in our membership. How can you help? What would you like to see MCBVI accomplish in the future? This is your organization, not mine or anyone else's. You are MCBVI and it's up to all of us to work together for the benefit of all of the blind and visually impaired in Michigan.
Another great convention is behind us. We tried some new things this year, including the multiple breakouts Saturday afternoon. I admit I was a little concerned as it was a little confusing, but everyone did just find and found where they wanted to be for each session. Our broadcast team did a great job handling everything too, and for the first time we broadcast our Sunday business meeting on our own MCBVI Radio stream which we will be using more in the future. Gerry Grossman, the Human Jukebox from Chicago had everyone rolling on the floor at our banquet. We had a successful fund raiser Thursday night at Connexions Comedy Club. It was all great and I thank Casey and all of our convention committee members and the many hands who worked together so well as they always do. A lot of work goes into putting together a convention, it is exhausting, but it is one of my favorite activities of the whole year.
Next year our convention will be in Kalamazoo at the Four Points by Sheraton, the former Clarion. We are booked there for two years. The convention committee is already working on it. Watch for some changes as we try to make convention better and better every year. As I announced before the newly elected president of the American Council of the Blind Kim Charlson will be joining us and I am very excited to welcome her.
I usually don't give out book suggestions, but I have recently read "People of Vision, A History of the American Council of the Blind" and it is fascinating. If you really want to know where ACB came from and why we belong to this organization this is a must read. It is very detailed in what led up to the "civil war" in the NFB that resulted in the creation of the ACB. It is very detailed on the whole development of the organized blind movement and how ACB grew into the amazing body that it is. This book is available from the library for the blind, or you can download it from BARD.
Well, Donna is waiting for this so I will close for this issue, but please accept from Mary and I our wishes for a wonderful holiday season, and great blessings in the New Year! Joe
It's MCBVI Dues Time Again
By Charis Austin, MCBVI Treasurer
It is time to start collecting 2014 membership dues for both the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Anyone who is a member of MCBVI is also a member of ACB. Some people have indicated that they are more concerned about what happens in Michigan, however, you are getting benefits from being a member of ACB. ACB was involved in getting legislation passed relating to accessible prescriptions, quiet cars, and accessible cell phones.
All membership information and dues must be received by February 15, 2014. Reminder: in 2012 we passed an amendment to the Bylaws which states that any dues received for renewing members after February 15 will be returned. This amendment was passed to insure the timely submission of membership information and dues by both Chapters and Members at Large. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO LATE PAYMENTS!
Please include $10 for each person who wishes to be a member; $5 is sent to ACB to cover that portion of the dues. Local chapters may charge additional dues for their chapter memberships.
Include the following information on your membership list:
Name, Address, City, State and Zip; Phone numbers (home and/or cell and specify which you are giving(: Email Address: Vision Status: Sighted, Visually Impaired, Legally Blind, or Totally Blind which is for mailing purposes to comply with "Free Matter" postal regulations.
The last information we need is format choice for receiving publications from MCBVI and ACB. The MCBVI NEWS is published in email, Braille, Large Print, and Audio CD. The ACB BRAILLE FORUM is published in Braille, Large Print, and cassette, Audio CD, Email or Podcast. If you want one of the last two choices you must sign up for it yourself.
Send membership renewal and payment to:
Charis Austin, Treasurer
2426 Thornwood Street, SW
Wyoming, MI 49519
Checks should be made out to MCBVI with a note in the memo line stating 2014 Membership. New this year: We are now able to accept credit cards through PayPal: MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover. If you wish to pay by credit card, please contact me by phone at (616) 532-4737. Since this is my residence, no calls after 9:00pm please.
Message to all in MCBVI and its chapters
By Sarah Conrad
First of all, I want to thank you once again for having me speak at our recent MCBVI convention. I had a wonderful time meeting many of you and presenting about current issues in the American Council of the Blind. In addition, I want to follow up with you about some of the things we discussed during my presentation. As you may recall, I asked discussion questions at the end. We were unable to hear responses from every group and individual in the room, due to time constraints. I would, however, like to continue these conversations. As a reminder, here were the questions we discussed:
- 1. How do we as an organization and as individuals locate students or young people who might get involved in MCBVI?
- 2. Once we have students in our organization, how do we keep them? In other words, how do we work on membership retention for young people?
In addition to these questions, I encourage you to think about ways I can assist our great affiliate as a member the ACB national board of directors.
Please feel free to email me to continue dialogue about these issues. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Sara Conrad
Help Using Your "I" Device
By Donna Rose
Many of us are upgrading to Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, or iPod because they are increasingly more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired using Voice Over. Now there is help so you can learn how to better use these devices. The following are some resources you can use to get the most out of your "I" device.
- Call Apple's US Support Telephone Number at: (800)275-2273
Join an email list serve: There is a consumer run list for those who are blind and visually impaired called Idevices. To join this list send an email to: IDevices-join@GatewayForTheBlind.Com. Those subscribed to this list will answer your questions and perhaps you can answer some too. Answers are just an email away and very helpful.
Subscribe to an email newsletter from an expert and receive a newsletter with helpful tips and tricks. Visit: about.com and sign up for the tricks and tips newsletter. Although not specifically for people who are blind, this is a helpful newsletter which comes into your inbox about once per week.
Focusing on Voiceover: a Quick Summary of Changes in iOS 7 From: Blind Bargains http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=9527
How to Use the New Handwriting Feature in iOS 7 http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=9528
What's new in iOS 7 accessibility for individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, or who have low vision: http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=9529
National Braille Press sells many inexpensive reference and other books in many formats which can help you learn and navigate your iPhone and other Apple products. Visit them on the web at nbp.org, or call toll free 888-965-8965.
Listen to ACB Radio on your Phone
It is now possible to listen to ACB Radio on your phone. No computer or smart phone required. All six streams can be heard when dialing the number 231-460-1047. Just listen to the directions given and it is that simple!
Making it Through the Holidays
By Donna Rose
The holidays can be a difficult time for people. Some have lost and/or have sick loved ones, have conflicts with their families, or are simply lonely or feel alone. Then there can be the financial burden of the season. While it is true we can change our minds and decide to be happy. Here are some tricks which can help make the holidays more bearable.
Don't dwell on the negative. Stay in the moment. It can be helpful to distract yourself by doing something active you like to do. I like to go shopping and just browse while getting some exercise. Sometimes I make jewelry, call a friend or meet someone for lunch.
If you must spend time with your extended family members who may try and drive you nuts, limit your time with them, and by all means don't start talking about anything controversial. Just remember the moments you may have to spend with them can be limited and won't last forever. If you choose not to spend the holidays with your family, but don't want to be alone, there are probably others in your circle who feel the same way and would love to get together. Have a potluck and plan a grab bag gift exchange to make the party more festive. Remember our family doesn't have to be just our blood relation.
If you are able to give some time to a helping organization wrapping presents, filling food baskets or working a soup kitchen on Christmas or New Years, I can bet you will begin to feel like you are a part of something bigger which could make the holidays brighter for others as well as yourself.
Purchasing gifts for everyone on your list can be difficult, especially if your income is fixed. Plan way ahead and you might be able to find inexpensive gifts which are unique. If possible attend craft or even antique shows where small, but useful gifts are often available. I often bake gifts for people. If I want to buy more expensive gifts I try to pick them up right after the holidays when they are cheaper, or begin to purchase gifts in August so I am not spending all of my money in December on presents. Some online catalogs sell decorative personalized bags and other storage items which don't cost much and for free will print your name or family name on them. For example, a set of bags for holiday cookies could say, "From the Rose Kitchen".
AS I get older I would like it if we celebrated Christmas every other year or even every five years so it would be more special and less materialistic. But it is what it is. For the most part I believe the one thing that can bring a sense of joy is gratitude. There is absolutely no joy without it. So I would say sit down and count your blessings. Take accounting of what you do have in your life when you first begin to feel down, overstressed, or cranky. It doesn't have to be a long list. Sometimes I think about my wonderful home (how nice it is to live indoors), and the convenience of having my own washer and dryer. I think about how lucky I am to have such incredibly great friends. Sometimes I have been known to think about the types of food in my kitchen or even my clean sheets on the bed. And when you remind yourself of your blessings it is hard to remain sad. Don't be too hard on yourself as you try to fulfill others expectations. Be true to yourself. Love yourself and it will be easier to love others.
Used Laptop Computers for $245 with Vinux
Used Laptop Computers Available for $245 Set up with Vinux talking out of the box
Submitted by Roger Yake
Taken From: Blind Bargains
Need a new computer for home, school, or work? Can't afford the latest top-of-the-line dell or hp? Need something powerful that will last you a number of years while being reliable and getting the job done? The refurbished laptops I am offering will solve nearly all your problems.
If you need a laptop that is fast, reliable and guaranteed not to get windows viruses?
If you are tired of trying to find the right spyware and antivirus for you, or are worried that your web surfing habits could cause your computer to eventually run slowly, then my custom refurbished laptops may be what you're looking for.
These laptops are 64bit. By default they come pre-installed with windows7. This makes them slower than they could be and also a bit less reliable and of course prone to viruses and spyware. When you receive the laptop you'll be getting a laptop set up with Vinux talking out of the box with your choice of e-speak, eloquence, or cepstral voices of your choosing. I can even customize the keyboard hotkeys to your liking. If you like a jaws layout or window-eyes layout I can customize that before shipping.
What is Vinux? Vinux is a fast, stable, and reliable open source operating system with a friendly user interface that comes with all of the apps you will need to be productive at home, work, or play. With apps such as libre-office an alternative and easy to use office suite, gnu-cash, powerful accessible financial management software that works with quickbooks files the powerful jaws-for-windows-like scriptable Orca screen reader, firefox for web browsing, adobe flash for youtube, Mozilla Thunderbird with the lightning calendar, and more. On average they have 2gigs of ram and an 80gig hard drive. These laptops will sell for $245. I prefer Paypal for payment but will accept check or money order.
To purchase, contact: Josh Kennedy: phone, 717-827-1029.
Editor's Note: This section includes reports of active committees. If a report is missing it can be assumed there has been nothing to report at this time.
By Casey Duttmer, Chairperson
The financial details of our annual state convention are as follows:
We had about 60 registered this year. We started out with $2260.22. We spent $1,000 for the 2014 and 2015 conventions. That gave us a balance of $1260.22.
We deposited $5879.15. This gave us a balance of $7139.37.
Our expenses were $6021.31 leaving a balance of $1118.06.
We paid the hotel $4,094.02. Jerry Grooseman was paid $650. The bus fees were $198.74. We grossed $920 on the fund-raiser. We earned from the comedy show $280 and the bus $198.74
We made $441.02 on the fund raiser.
We made over $1409 on the auction. Next year the convention will be held in Kalamazoo.
Charis Austin, Chairperson
As of this date, we have 163 members. This is a little lower than last year possibly due to the organization passing an amendment not allowing members to renew membership after the February 15 deadline. Please see my article earlier in this issue regarding the submission of dues for the upcoming year.
By Karla Fields, Chairperson
Back in September at the 2013 State convention in Lansing the following people were elected to their offices by acclamation: First Vice President John Jarzyna; Second Vice President Sharmese Anderson; Treasurer Charis Austin; and assistant secretary Mary Sibley.
AT our convention in 2014 we will need to elect a new president (Joe Sibley's three terms are over), so please think about running yourself or for someone else you can nominate. Also in 2014 the offices for secretary and assistant treasurer will be up for re-election. If you would like to become a candidate or nominate someone please call me at (586)465-2338.
By Malaina VanderWal, Chairperson and Assistant Editor MCBVI News
Below you will find the resolutions adopted at the 2013 MCBVI Convention in their entirety. Please remember some of these are time sensitive and we need your participation!
2013-1 Resolution to the Hotel
WHEREAS, the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing Michigan for the past two years has provided necessary services and important accommodations to the members of the Michigan Counsel of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) attending its 2013 state convention; and
WHEREAS, the staff of the Hotel have been cordial and accommodating to MCBVI members;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) in the state convention assembled on September 13, 2013, at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing, Michigan, that this organization express its thanks and appreciation for the services and accommodations provided to its members by this Hotel and its staff
2013-2 Resolution of Thanks to the Volunteers
WHEREAS, The Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) cordially expresses its appreciation to all volunteers who worked to assist the attendees of the 2013 MCBVI state convention, and
Whereas, this organization request participation in assisting and communicating this resolution or it is sent to all volunteers;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI)in the convention assembled on September 13, 2013, at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing, Michigan, that this organization warmly and most sincerely express its appreciation to all volunteers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization requests one more accommodation from the Volunteer Coordinator that it is able to communicate this resolution, to all volunteers.
2013-3 Resolution for Accessible Prescription Labeling
Whereas, the House of Representatives and Senate through the able leadership of Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), have passed legislation that will allow for a greater level of privacy and independence for blind and visually impaired Americans of all ages who take prescription medications, through the passage of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, and
WHEREAS, in July, 2013, in accordance with this law, the U. S. Access Board released a report entitled "Best Practices for Making Prescription Drug Container Labels Information Accessible to Persons Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired or Who are Elderly", and it is available on both the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and U.S. Access Board web sites, and
WHEREAS, this report provides much-needed guidance to pharmacists on steps they can take voluntarily to insure that label information is independently and reliably accessible to all of their customers, but is not mandatory, and
WHEREAS, the success of this law will be dependent on participation from consumers who are blind and visually impaired to inform pharmacists in both local and chain stores that they want accessible prescription labels,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) in assembly at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing Michigan on September 15, 2013, go on record supporting this report, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MCBVI Executive Committee develop a plan by 12/31/13 to inform the membership, pharmacists, and rehabilitation agencies in the state of the existence of this report and the need for accessible prescription labels in Michigan, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the membership helps to make pharmacists and other consumers aware of this report with the goal of making accessible prescription labels available to all consumers who need them in Michigan.
2013-4 Resolution to the Greater Lansing Convention Bureau
WHEREAS, the Greater LANSING CONVENTION and VISITORS BUREAU has been assisting the MICHIGAN COUNCIL of the BLIND and VISUALLY IMPAIRED (MCBVI) in hosting our annual conventions at the Best Western Plus Hotel in Lansing for the past three years; and
WHEREAS, on several occasions a variety of issues needed to be resolved; and
WHEREAS, because of the Convention Bureau's able assistance, the three MCBVI conventions held at this hotel have been very successful; and
WHEREAS, the Convention Bureau has also assisted us by promoting the COMEDY for a CAUSE fundraising event;
THEREFORE, BE it RESOLVED in assembly on September 15, 2013 at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing Michigan that MCBVI write a letter of appreciation to the Greater Lansing Convention Bureau expressing appreciation for the help we have received.
2013-5 Resolution to Comcast
WHEREAS, a number of members of the MICHIGAN COUNCIL of the BLIND and VISUALLY IMPAIRED (MCBVI) subscribe to Comcast for various services; and
WHEREAS, most of the features on cable television are not accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired; and
WHEREAS, at the AMERICAN COUNCIL of the BLIND NATIONAL Convention participants received a demonstration of a talking program guide which had all menu choices that the sighted customers have; and
WHEREAS, the XFINITY iPhone Apps that Comcast has developed are reasonably accessible; and
WHEREAS, Comcast is becoming a leader in developing accessible Apps and a customer service division to assist people who are disabled;
Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED in assembly at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing Michigan on September 15, 2013, that MCBVI write a letter to the Comcast corporate headquarters encouraging the continuation of this development;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the president of MCBVI write this letter within thirty days after the adjournment of this convention.
2013-6 Resolution (ABVI) 100 years
Whereas, for the past 100 years The Association For the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) has provided a variety of services and resources to countless individuals who are visually impaired and
Whereas, (ABVI) provides support groups with a friendly environment and
Whereas, (ABVI) has contributed the necessary tools for people of all ages with vision loss to be as independent as possible
THEREFORE, be it resolved that MCBVI write a letter of acknowledgement and appreciation to ABVI for providing these services to the blind and visually impaired community, many who are members of MCBVI.
By Donna Rose, Chairperson and Editor, MCBVI News
Some people (you know who you are) are beginning to slip again when it comes to getting articles, reports and chapter updates to us by the deadline. Since it takes a lot of hands to get this publication out to you timely, please try and get your items to us prior or at least by the specified deadline for submissions. I usually send out a reminder before the deadline.
Malaina will be trying out putting the newsletter together for the next issue. She has been an enormous help to me and now I will give her help to get the final result together. Then if I am unable to do it someone else is trained and able.
Remember we always need your input. If you would like to share your story pertaining to blindness or vision impairment just contact either Malaina or me and we can help you get your story into the newsletter. It is inspirational for others to hear about your struggle and triumphs. The next deadline for submissions will be February 1, 2014.
What's Going On?
Blue Water League for the Blind (Port Huron Area)
By Phyllis Magbanua
Hello to all our friends in MCBVI. This has been a very busy and exciting year for the Blue Water League. From going out for lunch and dinner and having three very special guess Mary and Joe Sibley and John Jarzyna along with their drivers. We also went to Lansing to The Library without Walls. We also did two trail walks this year. One in the spring and the other was in September. Both times we went we took a lunch with us and had a very good time. In July we had a picnic at one of our parks. We also went on the Huron Lady 2 boat on the St. Clair River. Then we went to Pine Grove Park and had our ice cream social. IN September we had a picnic given by the Port Huron Lions as host. We also had seven of our members attend state convention this year. Thanks to the generosity of the United Way for helping us with transportation costs and providing a vehicle for the Lansing trips. They also helped pay for us to go to winter camp. In addition the BWL held a pancake fund-raiser in June. It turned out well thanks to the knights of Columbus of Lakeport.
In November we are having our Thanks Giving Dinner meeting at the Dorsey Steak House on Thursday night November 21st at 6pm. Then on December 5th The Port Huron Lions Host our Christmas party like they do every year. At this time we the members of BWL would like to thank all the people that have helped us out this past year. Very special thanks go to our sighted members and the United Way for their assistance to those who needed it.
The members of the blue water league would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year! We hope this coming year will be full of happiness and good things.
Cadillac Council of the blind
By Carl and Cathy Daily
On October 11, 2013 the Cadillac Council of the Blind in cooperation with Family Fare Super markets, the Cadillac Lions Club and the Wexford County Transit Authority devoted their time to the Stuff the bus project. This event took place at Family Fare and the goal was to fill the bus with food for three local food pantries. The event was a huge success and everyone was amazed by the generosity of those who gave food items!
Here is an excerpt from the Cadillac News, "Stuffed", by Mardi Suhs. "Military veteran donated a cart of groceries, including cases of vegetables. As he rolled up to the bus with his donation he said, "This is America and nobody should go hungry in the United States." An elderly lady asked for a list of what the food pantries needed. Then she went shopping. "I may not have much," she said when she returned. "But I have plenty to share."
"Things like that, they just melted my heart," Cathy said. "I truly felt the blessings from heaven opening up and blessing us. We were richly blessed."
It was great to have support for the cause and well worth braving the cold!
Cadillac Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired members wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!
Capital Area Council of the Blind - Lansing Area
By Donna Rose
The chapter elected new officers in November: Ruth Borough as president, Nancy Weaver as Vice president, Jayne Leute as secretary, Janeen Kalangian as treasurer.
In December we met at the Delhi Café for a holiday gathering. In January we will have a speaker to discuss medical insurance changes. We are planning to exhibit low vision aids sometime in March with time and place to be announced in the next newsletter. Our meetings take place on the first Tuesday of each month from 11:30 AM until 1 PM at the Delhi Café in Holt.
Our chapter is currently collecting recipes to include in a cookbook we can sell as a fundraiser. We are in need of a lot of recipes from appetizers to desserts. We particularly would like family recipes which are unique and really taste good. If you would like to submit one or more recipes please send them to or contact Ruth Borough: 1400 E. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing, MI 48910, phone 517)455-7580.
Our entire chapter wishes you all the best at Christmas and throughout the New Year.
Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
By Sharmese D. Anderson
Happy Holidays are here again… KCBVI is selling Raffle Tickets for ($2.00) or (3) for ($5.00.) The lucky winner will win a ($100.00) gift card from Meijer. The drawing will be in December just in time for Christmas.
For the month of October we had an awesome outing at Husted Farms. Many of us piled in for a fantastic Hay Ride and enjoyed Apple Cider with hot and fresh Doughnuts.
Have A Blessed & Safe Holiday from ALL of us at KCBVI.
Visually Impaired Persons for Progress - Grand Rapids Area
By Malaina VanderWal
VIPP was busy this fall with our annual Soup and Sub sale along with our Tastefully Simple fund-raiser. We earned $311.00 on the Soup and Sub sale.
On December 5th, VIPP will be attending an audio described presentation of the Sound of Music at the Civic Theater. This has been made possible by the Thornapple Lions and we thank them for their generosity!
We held elections during our November meeting. Treasurer and Vice President were up for elections and both were elected by acclimation. Casey Dutmer was reelected as Treasurer and Malaina VanderWal was elected Vice President.
We reminded the group to please call En-vision America and inform them of our needs regarding accessible prescription labeling. This also includes informing your pharmacy of those needs.
Everyone at VIPP hopes you have a safe and blessed holiday season!
Summary of the 07/20/13 MCBVI Summer Board Meeting
Submitted by Secretary Debbie Robinson
Due to several complications, the 07/20/13 MCBVI summer board meeting was conducted by teleconference. It began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 1:25 p.m. All chapter delegates and officers were present, and we had 22 participants. The agenda was approved as read. The minutes from the spring board meeting were approved as emailed.
President Sibley discussed the recently concluded ACB national convention in Columbus, Ohio. Kim Charlson was elected as ACB's First woman president. She accepted his invitation to our 2014 convention in Kalamazoo. Michigan hosted the Midwest Caucus and had representation at the nominations caucus. They talked a lot about the WIPO treaty. There were about 18-20 resolutions and bylaw proposals. The Accessible Prescription Drug resolution standards were approved.
He discussed the upcoming MCBVI convention and the new MCBVI brochure which he and Donna are working on. There is nothing new regarding the Ann Bratsberg issue. WE had paid her $500.00 awhile back and received three videos from her.
The Michigan Commission for Blind Persons (MCBP) met on Thursday, 07/18/13. They broke up into several subcommittees including for the Training Center and the Business Enterprise Program (BEP). People are asking hard questions in a polite/productive manner. They have met with BEP management and hope to meet with some of the operators. The Commission meeting was streamed, and there were some issues.
Joe discussed having open meetings for members to call and discuss concerns. The date for the first meeting was set for Saturday, 09/07/13 at 10:00 a.m., using this number and participation code.
Charis gave the financial report, prepared by Matt Livingston, with all figures from 06/30/13. The total checking account balance was $1,503.63. The total investment portfolio is $43,784.60. Total income from 01/01/13 to 06/30/13 is $2,607.41. Total expenses from the same time period were s $3,464.82. Resulting net loss was $857.41.
Casey and Sharon are doing convention registration. The hotel sales manager Melissa resigned abruptly. There are some contract concerns which will be addressed. The Connect Comedy fundraiser with pizza buffet was discussed. Scott Norris from the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will be there. We are getting $150 from the Lansing Convention and Visitors' Bureau and $200 from Celebration Cinema for sponsors. Problems with reserving hotel rooms were discussed. There is a new accountant with the hotel who said everything was a mess.
We need an interim grants committee chair. There have been a couple grant inquiries. There is no scholarship activity.
Regarding legislation, the access board has been working with the committee to develop best practices regarding providing accessible prescription labels. As mentioned earlier, the Accessible Prescription Drug resolution standards were approved, so members need to contact and inform their pharmacies and request their prescriptions in an accessible format. The Anne Sullivan-Macey Act may become a bill. There was a national call-in day last June in which Michigan actively participated regarding this act. The Rehab Act has not moved yet. Many things are up in the air such as state pension issues, Medicaid issues and health care exchanges. Some of the Obama Health care has been delayed. They are trying to reinstate the home property tax.
We have approximately 154 members. Several folks did not renew memberships last year because of the new deadline. Charis used the online membership method from ACB to submit information from MCBVI. There are some issues, but they are working on these. MCBVI's information was in on time.
Donna discussed how the upcoming MCBVI convention was being publicize. She sent Joe a partial draft of the new MCBVI brochure. Malaina has been very helpful with the newsletter. The new MCBVI mission statement will be at the end of the newsletter eventually, with the first few pages containing contact information. Three newsletters went out this year, the last one containing convention information. The last newsletter released a CD edition instead of cassettes, and this was successful.
There was no activity regarding Constitution and Bylaws.
The Resolutions committee has met twice. Creating a student chapter was discussed. Working on potential BEP resolutions was discussed, as were concerns regarding sheltered workshops. We may vote on the resolutions pertaining to the hotel, the staff and the volunteers before the Sunday morning business meeting. There was nothing in the constitution to prohibit this.
Regarding nominations, all the incumbent candidates are running: Jon Jarzyna for first vice president, Sharmese Anderson for 2nd vice president, Mary Sibley for assistant secretary and Charis Austin for treasurer. This is Joe's last term as president. We need to find another candidate for next fall.
Regarding Technology, the MCBVI convention and the banquet will be streamed on ACB radio on the live events channel. Four of the breakout sessions on Saturday afternoon will be streamed. It was decided to stream the MCBVI Sunday morning business meeting on our web site. , Setting up a technology page on the MCBVI web site was discussed.
The fund development committee has been working on getting convention sponsors. It was suggested if we all joined ACB's Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) program, it would be an easy way to get money for MCBVI.
Casey reported that it was a good year for Camp Tusmheta and Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB). MCBVI and VIPP cosponsored a music camp and helped sponsor an OUB newsletter. A birding by ear event was covered by CBS. JoAnn Pilarski worked very hard for camp in the box events, including getting donations. Unfortunately the assistant director was let go.
Regarding the new brochure, using an online printer is being explored. A thought was budgeting $600.00, and if more is needed, that can be brought to the board. A committee, which will meet by teleconference, was established to revise MCBVI's mission statement.
After much discussion, it was decided to proceed with setting up a PayPal process for accepting donations and other revenues on our web site for convention and that we have this in place by 08/15/13. Charis will be monitoring everything.
The Cadillac chapter working with the Department of Transportation (DOT) has three audible pedestrian signals installed. We were encouraged to check out the Blue Water League's web site. The Capitol Area totally rewrote their constitution and bylaws. They applied for Employee Identification numbers. But each chapter has to get their own solicitor's license. The Kalamazoo Council has five new members and was active publicizing at a downtown festival. VIPP and the campers from Camp Tusmheta enjoyed an audio-described Fourth of July parade. There was a Whitecaps baseball game outing in June, and there will be a picnic in August.
Jeanette Geno is receiving Palliative care. She fell and has a compression fracture. They continue to try natural methods. There will be no more chemotherapy. She thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers.
Apple Walnut Squares
From "Perfect Pies & More" by Michele Stuart (Ballantine Books, $26)
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, softened
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups chopped apples (about 3 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
To prepare the squares, in a medium bowl, use a pastry blender to mix together the flour, brown sugar, and butter until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Stir in the walnuts. Remove 2 cups of the mixture and press it into the bottom of the greased baking dish. Add the cinnamon, baking soda and salt to the remaining mixture, then place the entire mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the mixer set on low speed, beat in the egg, sour cream and vanilla. Once combined, gently stir in the apples. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly across the bottom layer.
Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. Allow it to cool before cutting 2- by 2-inch squares and serving.
Apple Walnut Squares can be kept tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 2 days.
Makes approximately 2 dozen 2- by 2-inch squares.
Per serving: 201 calories; 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 40 percent calories from fat); 28 g carbohydrates; 23 mg cholesterol; 157 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber.
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