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MCBVI NEWS

April, 2015

Michigan Council of the Blind

and Visually Impaired

An Affiliate of the

American Council of the Blind

JOHN JARZYNA, President

For General Inquiries

Phone: Toll-Free (888)956-2284

By Email: info@blindmi.org

On the web: www.blindmi.org Facebook: Search for Michigan Council of the Blind

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

BY JOHN JARZYNA

As this is our first newsletter for the year 2015, I would like to start by wishing every one of you a happy New Year. To start things off, I would like to inform members that we have a new First Vice President of the organization, Phyllis Magbanua.

As I sit down to write the message, I have just returned from the annual American Council of the Blind Affiliate President’s meeting and Legislative Seminar held in Washington D.C. during the last week of February.

This was my first time attending the seminar, and I am able to walk away from it knowing it was a very productive and enriching trip. I would urge any able MCBVI member to make plans to attend the seminar at least once in the future. I was also able to make the trip to Capitol Hill on the Tuesday of the seminar week. While many attendees of the seminar took a cab to Capitol Hill, with the help of a totally sighted guide from Ohio, a few of us were not deterred from experiencing the city’s local transportation of the subway, an experience I will truly never forget.

Upon our arrival, we spoke with the staff of our two Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, along with my House of Representatives member, Candice Miller. During these meetings, I addressed the imperatives, consisting of the three issues addressed during the seminar the previous day: (1) H.R. 729, Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015, (2) The Reintroduction of the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act and (3) THE Marrakesh Treaty.

A lot has been happening in MCBVI since our last newsletter. The committee on Accessible Prescription Labeling, appointed by myself, has been working diligently to bring this issue to the forefront in the state of Michigan. As the year progresses, please keep your ears open regarding further progress of this matter.

Getting down to business in this new year, I have appointed individuals to act as chairpersons of a variety of standing committees, to make MCBVI run at its highest potential.

Another essential committee that has been hard at work is the Convention Committee. They have been preparing for the 2015 MCBVI State Convention, to be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan September 24 through September 27, 2015 at the Four Points by Sheraton. They are currently setting up a program and other activities to be held at this convention. Prior to attending the state convention, I am preparing to participate in the American Council of the Blind National Convention, to be held in Dallas, Texas July 3rd through the 11th of 2015. If there are any members of MCBVI who are interested in attending the national conference and convention, please contact one of MCBVI’s officers so we may arrange for an accurate number of participants in our section. I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank the Technology Committee for all of their hard work and dedication to improving the lives of all those in need of their assistance. As mentioned in my previous message, this organization must operate on a balanced budget. While our goals are clear, we are still in need of individuals who are able to assist this organization in raising funds, so that programs we have supported in the past may thrive once again. If there are any members with ideas that may enhance MCBVI’s fund development or other programs, please do not hesitate to contact myself or one of your State Officers. Again, my door is always open to serving all the members of MCBVI in regard to any questions, comments, or concerns that may present themselves. In closing, I would once again like to remind you all that this is your organization and it is important to have your input on what you would like to see accomplished. Please do not hesitate to contact me by one of the following means: email john.jarzyna@gmail.com or by phone at 586-781-3646.

MY FIRST MCBVI CONVENTION EXPERIENCE AND WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN ME IN 2015

BY ANNA GRACE

I had no idea what the Michigan Council OF the Blind and Visually Impaired was really about. I just wanted to get connected with a group of people that would understand what it’s like to live with impaired vision. I found my way to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired shortly after moving to Grand Rapids a year and a half ago. I received a warm welcome and was invited to join VIPP, our local chapter of MCBVI. Since my background includes a wide variety of organization, leadership and coordinator positions, I was quickly recruited to the convention team. (Thanks, Casey!)

I was amazed and impressed with the men and women that met regularly for months behind the scenes to share ideas, plan and prepare a successful convention. It was a joy and honor for me to be included despite being the new girl. Our theme for the 2014 MCBVI Convention was “Living without Limits”, a topic with great relevance to me personally. I was so blessed by the various speakers that shared both practical and inspirational messages. Every detail from the friendly and accommodating hotel staff to each and every part of the convention program was done with excellence.

Throughout the weekend, you could hear the conversation of old friends and new, words of encouragement, shared tears and lots of laughter. To save money, I shared a room with a few ladies I barely knew. It didn’t take long for us to form strong friendships that I have no doubt will last a lifetime.

The business aspect of convention was organized well; topics were informative and flowed with ease. There was a perfect combination of business and pleasure which created an MCBVI Convention experience that I will never forget.

I’m excited to be a part of the Convention Team again this year. It is our hope and mission to provide a convention that will educate, encourage and inspire everyone. Our theme FOR 2015 is “Believe in the Dream. What’s Next for You?” This is going to be more than just a weekend of ‘feel good’ presentations and activities. We are putting together an itinerary that will provide education, support, encouragement and practical information that will be relevant to MCBVI chapters as well as the individual. Topics such as physical and emotional health, fitness, education, business, fundraising, MCBVI and you, technology Q and A, mobility and orientation tips and more are possibilities. Everything we are researching and considering for convention is with you in mind. We want to create afun-filled, educational, informative and inspiring weekend of events. Your feedback is welcome and encouraged. Please call Anna Grace at 231- 394-0159 or email at annagrace1972@yahoo.com to share your thoughts. Please join me, September 24-27, 2015 for the MCBVI Convention and prepare to be blessed!

US BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING DISTRIBUTES FREE CURRENCY READER

The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing BEP is distributing a free currency reader to people with vision impairments upon request. The iBill® Currency Identifier identifies all denominations of U.S. paper currency by either voice announcement, tone pattern, or vibration pattern. This follows a pilot program BEP launched in September through the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to test ordering and distribution processes and to gauge demand in advance of the current roll-out.Approximately 15,000 readers were pre-ordered and delivered under the pilot program.

Those who wish to request a reader can download an application form by going to:www.moneyfactory.gov/uscurrencyreader

Further information is also available on this site or by contacting BEP via phone (844)815-9388, or by email at meaningful.access@bep.gov.

This program is one of several initiatives BEP has undertaken to promote access to paper currency. Previously, BEP partnered with the U.S. Department of Education to develop apps for mobile devices that scan and identify currency images. There is an app for Apple iOS platforms, Eyenote, and another for Android phones (IDEAL).

FRESH PRODUCE RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR

BY DONNA ROSE

 

I have been getting fresh fruits and vegetables delivered right to my door, with many other healthy foods for about the past nine months now through Door to Door Organics, a company located in Livonia, MI. This company delivers organic and NGMO (Non Genetically Modified Organic) foods all over Michigan. Delivery is free for a lot of communities, but deliveries to Grand Rapids will cost $1 extra.

You may ask, well how does this program work and how much does it cost? The company sells four different size boxes (bitti, small, medium, and large) on a weekly or biweekly schedule. You choose the day of the week for your delivery. I chose the bitti box ($24.99) which is enough for about a week for one or two people. I have it

 

delivered biweekly on a Monday. You pay a flat rate for the box you choose and additionally for any other items you add. On the Friday before your delivery day your order is unlocked and can be modified until noon the day prior to your delivery day. The bitti box gives me about eight choices of fruits and vegetables and you are allowed to choose substitutes for five of these. Items come appropriately packed for the weather, or if you prefer you can ask to have your items placed into your own cooler if you won’t be home.

This service offers tons of other grocery items, such as meat, dairy, bakery, pantry and so forth. Many of us order using the computer, but you can order by phone and they welcome your orders this way as well. Give them a call and find out for yourself. Their contact info is as follows:

1.888.2.VEGGIE (283.4443) 877-711-3636

michigan@doortodoororganics.com

http://www.doortodoororganics.com

 

MCBVI 2015 BUDGET

SUBMITTED BY MATTHEW LIVINGSTON

INCOME:

MEMBERSHIP DUES, $1,700.00, FOR 170 MEMBERS

INTEREST AND DIVIDENDS, $1,800.00, BASED ON 2014 FIGURES DONATIONS, $1,000.00 BASED ON 2014 FIGURES

CONVENTION SEED MONEY, $2,500.00 ON HAND IN CONVENTION ACCOUNT

FUNDRAISING INCOME, $1,000.00 SHOULD AT LEAST OFFSET EXPENSE

TOTAL INCOME, $8,000.00

EXPENSES:

ACCOUNTING/TAX PREP, $1,200.00, MATT HAS DECREASED TO $300 PER QUARTER

BANK FEES/INCOME TAX, $180.00 BASED ON 2014 FIGURES MCBVI NEWSLETTER, $1,000.00, PER BOARD/COMMITTEE PUBLIC RELATIONS, $600.00, PER BOARD/COMMITTEE TELEPHONE (SPRINT) $400.00, BASED ON 2014 FIGURES NATIONAL DUES, $850.00 BASED ON 170 MEMBERS

NATIONAL CONFERENCE$500.00 PER BOARD/COMMITTEE

BOARD MEETING MEALS/TRAVEL, $40.00, BASED ON 2014 FIGURES BOARD OFFICER REPRESENTATION, $0.00, BASED ON 2014 FIGURES

FUNDRAISING EXPENSES, $1,000.00, PER BOARD/COMMITTEE TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE, $300.00, PER BOARD/COMMITTEE WEBPAGE HOSTING (GODADDY), $0.00, FIVE YEAR RENEWAL PAID IN 2014

SCHOLARSHIPS/DONATIONS, $500.00 BASED ON 2014 FIGURES GRANTS, $0.00, BASED ON 2014 FIGURES

CONVENTION, $2,500.00, TO OFFSET $2,500 OF SEED MONEY ON HAND

TOTAL EXPENSES, $9,070.00,

TOTAL PROJECTED DEFICIT, ($1,070.00), 2014 DEFICIT WAS ($1,507.60)

2014 FINANCIAL REPORT

SUBMITED BY MATTHEW LIVINGSTON

As of December 31, 2014, our reconciled checking account balance was $3,636.65

As of December 31, 2014, our investment portfolio balances were: Cohen & Steers Ltd Durat Pfd & Income Fund Inc, mutual fund, worth $9,064.00

Hartford Balanced Income Fund Cl C, mutual fund, worth $15,514.53 Lord Abbett Short Duration Income Fund C, mutual fund, worth $5,963.20

Pimco Income Fund Cl C, mutual fund, worth $3,518.74 Pimco Total Return Fd Cl C, mutual fund, worth $5,842.82 Total investment portfolio balance as of December 31, 2014 was $39,903.29

Our Income Statement for the period of January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 is as follows:

Income:

Direct Public Support through Individual Contributions $365.00 Indirect Public Support through Other Organizations $680.00 Dividends Received $1,878.24

 

Interest Earned $0.32

2014 Membership Dues $1,650.00

2015 Membership Dues $50.00

Total Income $4,623.56

Expense:

Accounting Fees $1,500.00

Bank Fees $150.00

Newsletter Expenses $1,350.23

Recognition Awards $90.00

Streaming Costs $90.00

Telephone $401.68

Website $510.25

ACB Membership Dues $870.00

Taxes $29.00

Donations $600.00

ACB Convention Delegate Expense $500.00

Board Officer Travel $40.00

Total Expense $6,131.16

Resulting Net Loss is -$1,507.60

Additional information:

The Website expense of $510.25 covers us for 5 years with GoDaddy.

MCBVI COMMITTEE REPORTS

CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS

BY WAYNE LEPIORS, CHAIR

Currently, there is nothing new to report regarding the constitution and bylaws. If there is an item you wish to be removed or amended please let me know. My contact info iswaynesworld50@comcast.net or 810-982-2378.

CONVENTION IS COMING SOON!

BY JOE SIBLEY, CO-CHAIR

As we are enjoying spring remember that the 2015 MCBVI convention is not that far away. This year the convention returns to the Four Points by Sheraton in Kalamazoo where we had an excellent experience last year. This year’s theme is “Believe in the dream, what’s next for you?” where we plan to explore how you can achieve your own dreams, and the dreams of MCBVI.

You can expect great presentations to educate and motivate, exhibits

Of technology and more, the banquet Saturday night, our annual business meeting Sunday morning, the auction, fun and fellowship, and much more! The Four Points by Sheraton is an easy hotel to navigate and again most activities will be in one room.

If you, your chapter, or your business or organization would like to be a convention sponsor, or exhibit at the convention contact Charis Austin at 616-532-4737 for more information.

So mark off September 24-27 on your calendar and watch for complete convention information this summer. Look for updates on our website as well. If you have never been to a state convention or if it has been a while this is the year to join us! Thanks from your 2015 convention committee!

LEGISLATIVE

BY BRENDA HENIGE, CHAIR

I appreciate the opportunity to serve as legislative committee chair. A little about myself since I am new: I recently moved to East Lansing and am a member of the Capital Area Chapter. I have worked within human services and government providing program coordination and advocacy within court systems, veteran services, and disabilities programs. As a legally blind person my whole life and now totally blind, I have experienced countless situations where I needed to advocate for myself in education, employment, transportation, and in other areas.

Most recently, after losing the remainder of my vision and needing to use speech in order to use a computer, I have been unable to return to my job as a veteran benefits counselor, due to inaccessible PDF documents and case management system. So, I

understand what issues we face and I am motivated to work with others to increase access in all areas to those who are blind and visually impaired, to the same programs and services that others enjoy without barriers and limitations.

I believe that many of us are members because we want to work together to improve our lives as people who have vision limitations. I hope every member will begin or continue to communicate with his or her government representatives, so that a dialogue exists to provide education and awareness of the challenges we face in obtaining equal access and to continue making changes and improvements. Please feel free to contact me if you need help in locating contact info for your government representatives or need assistance with relaying your concerns to them.

Whether you are comfortable using email or websites to communicate with officials, or you prefer to communicate with them via telephone, mail, or in person, our concerns need to be relayed to our elected officials. I also encourage everyone to use various methods to advocate for themselves, such as making requests, complaints, providing feedback, or anything that may help you acquire access and participation, in order to live independently and accomplish your goals as someone who is blind or visually impaired.

Please get out and vote on May 5! There is a proposal on the ballot that may affect public transportation in Michigan. A percentage of sales tax comes back to the locality where you live, but it depends on what transit services you have in your immediate area on whether these funds will actually be received and whether they will help. It depends on where you reside on how it’s going to benefit you, so you may want to research it. THE FOLLOWING STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSAL WILL APPEAR ON THE May 5, 2015 ballot.

MAY 5, 2015 SPECIAL ELECTION BALLOT PROPOSAL 15-1

A proposal to amend the State Constitution to increase the sales/use tax from 6% to 7% to replace and supplement reduced revenue to the School Aid Fund and local units of government caused by the elimination of the sales/use tax on gasoline and diesel fuel for vehicles operating on public roads, and to give effect to laws that provide additional money for roads and other transportation purposes by increasing the gas tax and vehicle registration fees.

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

Should this proposal be adopted? YES [ ]

NO [ ]

Additional information may be found on the State of Michigan website within Secretary of State. There is a link called “Information for voters” at www.michigan.gov/sos/ and there will also be coverage of this important vote on the news since it is coming up very soon.

If you are interested in working with me as a committee member or want to discuss any issues of concern, please feel free to email me at brhenison@gmail.com or call me at 517-231-3194.

MEMBERSHIP

BY CHARIS AUSTIN, TREASURER

Thanks to everyone who sent their money and membership information in on time. As of this date, we have 174 members. The goal in the budget was 170 members. This does not mean that we should stop working on getting members. The breakdown of the membership is as follows:

Blue Water League: 32 Capital Area: 24 Northerners: 10 KCBVI: 25

Members At Large: 26 VIPP: 57

Total: 174

Note: BWL and VIPP have one member with duel membership. If you change any of your contact information; please be sure to

let us know so you will keep getting information in a timely manner. If you are not getting information in the format that you would like, please let an officer in your chapter know or contact me so that it can be changed.

Charis Austin

2426 Thornwood, ST SW

Wyoming, MI 49519-2147

NOMINATIONS

BY KARLA FIELDS, CHAIR

During the 2015 MCBVI state convention the following positions will be up for election. First and Second Vice President, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer! Currently, there is one candidate for Treasurer Charis Austin.

If anyone wishes to run or make a suggestion to the nominations committee I can be reached at 586-4652338. Other members of the nominations committee are Lora Leggett, Arlene Moore and Debbie Robinson!

RESOLUTIONS

BY MALAINA VANDERWAL, CHAIR

In accordance with the accessible prescription labeling resolution MCBVI passed during the 2014 state convention, a committee was formed and is chaired by Faith Meadows. The committee is working on educating the public and contacting pharmacies in Michigan to learn if they offer accessible prescription labels. What we continue to learn is most of the chain pharmacies which most of us use still do not offer access to prescription information. Furthermore, these pharmacies do not know what accessible prescription labeling is. Therefore much work still needs to be done.

The committee is working together and individually to bring awareness to the public through support group presentations, and informing agencies working with the visually impaired community and much more. The committee reached out to AccessaMed another manufacturer of an audible labeling device! We will continue to work to bring education to the Michigan pharmacies and the public.

If anyone attempted to obtain accessible prescription labeling but encountered a barrier please contact Lainey Feingold atlf@lflegal.com or by phone 510-548-5062. Barriers can include things like insurance providers not covering controlled substances, difficulty with insurance changing to a mail order pharmacy and more. We need to do our part and go to the pharmacies and tell them this is an important issue!

Next, thanks to the resolution we passed during the 2014 convention large print and braille menus will be available during the 2015 state convention! Our sincere thanks to ACB for assisting us with this issue!

In addition, a report concerning the activities of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) was generated but not published. Once the information is available it will be sent by email or a link to the information will be posted and put in the next issue of the newsletter.

Resolutions help drive our organization and this is your chance to be at the wheel. I invite members to join me and together we can shape MCBVI. If anyone wishes to serve on the resolution committee my information is 616-308-9644 or Malaina@iserv.net. I look forward to serving with anyone who wishes to put forth effort in crafting the 2015 resolutions.

PUBLICATIONS/MCBVI NEWS

BY DONNA ROSE, CO-EDITOR

It may seem odd we did not have a January issue this year, but as you may recall last year we changed the dates to three times per year and we are trying to arrange deadlines during times that are the most convenient for those producing the newsletter so we can get it out to you timely. We are giving ourselves a month after each deadline to get it out to members. Also this new timetable will keep us from running one year of the newsletter’s budget into the next.

Thank you for sticking to the deadlines. It is helping our efforts to get it done each time and out in the mail. The next newsletter deadline will be June 15, 2015, so mark your calendars.

TECHNOLOGY

BY JACKIE BOOMSTRA, CHAIR

We are interested in using MCBVI radio, our telephone Conference line and the MCBVI web site to assist MCBVI members with learning and educational opportunities. We have discussed using podcasts to provide information and training on "anything technology related." Some ideas might be demonstrations on the Victor Stream, Bard (Braille and audio Reading Download), Android and iPhone applications, or screen reading programs such as NVDA, Window Eyes and Jaws. Please let us know what you would be interested in learning more about. You may email your ideas to me at Jackieboomstra@sbcglobal.net or call me at 616-455-6069.

CHAPTER UPDATES

BLUE WATER LEAGUE

BY PHYLLIS MAGBANUA

Hello from the BWL family to all our friends at the MCBVI. It has been a very cold winter here in the Blue Water area. There isn't very much going on right now with the BWL. We did have our annual election of officers. The officers up for election were Vice President, Treasurer and MCBVI Delegate. Phyllis Magbanua was nominated by acclamation to stay as Vice President again and Wayne LePiors and Amy Udell ran for Treasurer. We took the vote but it ended in a tie. We will vote at our next meeting when we have more members. Next we voted for MCBVI Delegate and Bob Furtado won by acclamation. We will let you know who will be our Treasurer in the next newsletter.

Right now we have been looking for a place for the BWL to hold our meeting we have been meeting at the same place for over 30 years. Wayne talked to the United Way and they are going to let us use the carriage house behind the United Way. We hope spring will arrive soon and everyone has a Happy Easter!

 

CAPITAL AREA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND

DONNA ROSE

Our chapter is currently working on a cookbook as a fundraiser. If you have recipes you would like to share please contact me and we will consider them.

We are considering volunteering once a month at the Greater Lansing Food Bank. Several of our members have discussed they would like to do this and we are looking over the logistics now to see how we can be a part. We have also talked about doing a food drive too. In December we had a nice get together at a restaurant for the holidays.

From our chapter to yours, we wish you a very happy spring!

KCBVI REPORT

BY MARLA NEUBAUM

KCBVI had a Christmas Party and gift exchange at Mi Pueblo in Kalamazoo. This is a Restaurant that gave us a generous gift card for the 2014 auction. It was a lot of fun including gift giving.

Every year KCBVI picks a cause to sponsor around Christmas. Last year we purchased items that we felt could be used by the drivers of the Metro County Connect. This year we found out about a group that provides Soaps, Shampoo, Reading glasses, etc. to the Woman’s Jail IN Kalamazoo. Members brought in these items and they were presented to the “Unforgotten Man project. We plan on helping all through the year.

We also had a fund raiser. Tickets were sold during Kalamazoo’s Art Hop and by individual members.

Betty Roberts, one of KCBVI’s members wanted to do something special for our former president and current member Pat Baily. She suggested getting her a blanket and KCBVI’s member Michelle Jeminez agreed to make this blanket. Pat has had a lot of health issues and this was a way to let her know that KCBVI cared.

KCBVI celebrated Valentine’s Day by wearing Red at the February meeting and everyone brought a bag of candy. The candy was put into individual bags for all members to take home. Cookies were also brought for everyone’s enjoyment. The winning tickets were picked from our fundraiser and the winners were:

1. Jolynn Hawkins $75.00

2.Faith Meadows $100.00

3.Patricia Babladis $150.00

NORTHERNERS REPORT

BY CATHY DAILY

The winter was difficult up north this year causing us to cancel a meeting and a bake sale event! It was strongly encouraged to stay off the roads during this time! However, the spring time will be here soon in time for our bake sale in April!

We hope everyone enjoys the warmer weather ahead! From all of us at the Northerners!

VIPP REPORT

BY MALAINA VANDERWAL

Spring is slowly creeping closer and I for one cannot wait! VIPP is planning a trip to the John Ball Park Zoo on April 11th! And in June members will be attending a White Caps game at Fifth Third Ball Park! This is always a favorite outing for many of our baseball enthusiasts! Also, in July VIPP will also be attending a fourth of July parade celebration which will be audio described! We appreciate the work our social committee puts forth in planning these events!

We decided to hold a tastefully simple fundraiser date and time to be announced. This is a fun time where we can try new foods and raise money for VIPP. In addition, we will again do a Culvers fundraiser in May.

In December VIPP members attended a musical at the Grand Rapids Civic Theater. The musical was Mary Poppins and our thanks to Andy Rent for his fantastic descriptions as always! Thanks most of all go to the Thornapple Lion’s club for the generous opportunity allowing us to see the play!

Finally, as I conclude this update I am excited to say with in the last week VIPP gained four new members! Welcome to the MCBVI family!

SUMMARY OF THE MCBVI WINTER BOARD MEETING

SUBMITTED BY DEB ROBINSON

The MCBVI winter board meeting, conducted by teleconference, on 01/17/15, was called to order at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 12:30 p.m. Four chapters were present, and the Northerners were absent. All officers were present except Sharmese Anderson. We had about 15 other members present. The agenda was approved as read, with the change of moving voting for the appointment of first vice president from new business to the next item so she can vote. President John Jarzyna proposed that Phyllis Magbanua be appointed to the office of first vice president for the remainder of the term that he would have served. This was approved. The summer board meeting minutes were approved ase-mailed. There was a question about the homestead exemption mentioned under legislation.

In his president’s update, John mentioned we need to contact Ann Bratsberg to get video spots out for PSAs and greater publicity. He plans to attend the midyear board and legislative meetings in Washington DC in February and the ACB national convention in July in Dallas. He will report on both events. The dates for the national convention are 07/03-07/11/15. Our state convention will be in September.

The MCBVI brochure is almost completed. We have a new mission statement. Fundraising is very important. A once a year raffle was mentioned, as was working with other organizations in Michigan representing other disabilities.

Joe Sibley and Kyle Austin are MCBVI convention co-chairs.The convention dates are 09/24-09/27/15 in Kalamazoo once again at the Four Points by Sheraton. Regarding Braille menus, corporate was contacted, and Joe and Kyle have a contact number to call with any problems. The hotel will pay for Braille menus this year. We hope to have the option of online registration for MCBVI members.

Regarding legislation, Brenda Henige, who was absent, submitted a report which was read. Governor Snyder passed an executive directive in October for people employed with disabilities. The goals are to eliminate barriers to enter the work force and to increase employment for those with disabilities. In November, she submitted her own comments regarding audio description in movie theaters to the U.S. Department of Justice‘s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). The Able Act was passed in December. This will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to age 26) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

The new V1 talking box from Comcast was discussed. The phone number to contact is:

1-855-270-0379.

Charis Austin read the financial report prepared by Matt Livingston. As of 12/31/14, the reconciled checking account balance was $3,636.65. Total investment portfolio balance as of 12/31/14 was $39,903.29. Total income for all of 2014 was $4,623.56. Total Expenses for all of 2014 was $6,131.16, with a resulting net loss of -$1,507.60.

There was discussion of why the newsletter was so high at $1,350.00 last year. Charis read the proposed budget for 2015. We have one toll free line pointed to Sharmese costing $400.00. There were no calls. It may be time to review this. After discussion, the proposed 2015 budget was approved. See your spring newsletter for the text.

Charis is collecting information and dues for membership. Anything received after 02/15/15 will be returned. Information lists and money must arrive together or they will be returned. Members can pay using PayPal, but there will be a dollar charge per transaction.

Regarding resource development, we need to start planning fundraisers. Charis wants people to serve on this committee who will be active, willing to learn and willing to work. Three members expressed interest. Raffles and Pins with our logo on them were suggested. Charis is working on getting sponsors for convention.

Regarding public relations, we are behind on the brochures. The new logo chosen last year is on MCBVI’s web site and Facebook. We have a new mission statement. We have a graphic designer working on things. A possible fundraiser, putting a picture of our MCBVI logo on coffee mugs, was discussed, as were business cards.

Concerning publications, the MCBVI newsletter deadline dates for 2015 are 03/15, 06/15 and 11/13/15. Anything submitted after deadlines will not be accepted. Malaina VanderWal is collecting all chapter and committee reports. Each newsletter will be sent out in all formats about 30 days after each deadline. Options for getting the newsletter to folks without computers were discussed: The NFB Newsline, using the ACB service that reads the ACB Braille Forum,

ACB radio, MCBVI radio and phone access. Public relations will explore this.

Wayne Lepiors reported for constitution and bylaws. The topics of junior chapters and if one wants to be in two chapters in the same affiliate were mentioned. Any proposed changes/amendments are to be read at July’s board meeting.

Regarding resolutions, Malaina reported eight resolutions were passed at our last convention. She sent the resolutions to ACB president Kim Charlson who requested them. She checked on what has been done by MCBVI with each resolution and is forming her committee.

Karla Fields reported for nominations that the offices of first vice president, 2nd vice president, treasurer and assistant secretary are up for nomination.

Jackie Boomstra reported one of the goals of the technology committee is to provide educational opportunities for MCBVI members. This can be done on the MCBVI web site, via teleconference, live programming on MCBVI radio or workshops at state conventions. Another goal is using MCBVI radio more effectively. They will continue streaming the MCBVI convention on MCBVI radio and ACB radio. Other ideas were to make the MCBVI web site more interesting and accessible, to create links on there to recorded state convention programming and/or MCBVI minutes, perhaps podcasts on MCBVI radio and creating a listserv.

The accessible prescription labels committee is formed. There is a lot to do to get the information out to the blind population. The Best Practices have expired. Writing letters, articles in local newspapers, TV coverage about accessible prescription labels, contacting senior resource centers and the Department of Aging was mentioned.

Our next MCBVI board meeting will be on Saturday, 04/18/15, at 10:00 a.m.

Next MCBVI News Deadline June 15, 2015

Submissions received after this date will be saved for the next newsletter

Next MCBVI Board Meeting via phone Saturday April 18, 2015, 10 AM

Please send your chapter’s MCBVI Board delegate to these meetings.

All other members are welcome just contact us for conference phone number and passcode.

To Contact the Editors:

Donna Rose, Co-Editor
Wild-rose@sbcglobal.net (note there is a dash between wild and rose) 517-489-2233

Malaina VanderWal,Co-Editor malaina@iserv.net616-308-9644

Our Mission:

To act as a catalyst in changing the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired and their families through education, advocacy, and camaraderie.

©Copyright 2015 Michigan Council

of the Blind and Visually Impaired