MCBVI NEWS

July, 2015

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Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

An Affiliate of theAmerican Council of the Blind

John Jarzyna, President

For General Inquiries

We have chapters in:

Highlights of This Issue Include:

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

by John Jarzyna

As I sit down to begin writing this issue’s President’s message, many events are underway for the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. I would first like to take a moment to thank the Grand Rapids area affiliate for welcoming me to their May 2015 meeting. I was thoroughly impressed with their group and enjoyed the evening’s events immensely. With summer approaching, the executive board of MCBVI has been hard at work with many matters concerning our organization. Many committees have been addressing issues specific to them, which I will be discussing briefly in this article.

First, under the direction of our public relations director, Joe Sibley, we have prepared for distribution our new public relations pamphlet. At this time, only an email version of the pamphlet is available for our members. A paper version will be printed and distributed shortly.

Also, hard at work has been the Prescription Labeling Committee, which is preparing a presentation to be given at the MCBVI Convention, to be held this year in Kalamazoo, Michigan. At this presentation, the committee will provide information regarding new and accessible ways those who are blind and visually impaired are now able to utilize in order to read the necessary information on prescriptions, and where these devices are distributed. Speaking of the MCBVI State Convention, the convention committee is hard at work preparing an exciting and informative program for all of you to attend.

At the present time, I am preparing to attend the National Convention for the American Council of the Blind, to be held in Dallas, Texas this year. As you read this, I will already have returned from the National convention, and will certainly have much information to discuss in future newsletters.

Also, I am planning to hold another Saturday town hall meet-and-speak with the president in the near future, so please be sure to check your emails for the date.

In closing, I hope that all members of the Michigan Council of the Blind have an enjoyable and safe summer.

MAKE PLANS FOR THE 2015 CONVENTION

by Joe Sibley

If you haven’t done so already please mark September 24th-27th on your calendar for the 42nd MCBVI state convention! The convention returns to the great hospitality we enjoyed at the Four Points by Sheraton in Kalamazoo. The theme this year is “Believe in the dream, what’s next for you?”

We will have many presentations to inspire you to strive for the goals in your life. Highlights will include:

Registration information is either with this newsletter or will be out soon. You can visit the website www.blindmi.org and check the convention page for the latest information. Please register and book your rooms early to save money.

If you or your chapter wish to sponsor some of our activities, provide door prizes, or exhibit your products contact Charis Austin at 616-532-4737.

If you have questions contact Joe Sibley at 616-724-1650.

See you in Kalamazoo!

CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS

by Wayne LePiors

The Constitution and Bylaws Committee is recommending the following changes. Only the portions of the articles being changed are being shown with the original text with the change noted.

ARTICLE III. OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES

B. Board Of Directors

1. The Board of Directors shall consist of: President, Immediate Past President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and one delegate elected from each Chapter. Officers cannot serve as chapter delegates. The MCBVI NEWS Editor and Membership Chairman are ex-officio members of the board.

Delete: The MCBVI NEWS Editor and Membership Chairman are ex-officio members of the board.

Article Iv. Membership

D. Chapters

Original: 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.

Change:

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, submission of Constitution and Bylaws and approval by the MCBVI Board of Directors.

Original:

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

Change:

2. All members of each organized chapter shall be members of the Michigan Council and of the American Council of the Blind. A member wishing to belong to more than one chapter in Michigan must determine which chapter will be the primary chapter. ACB and MCBVI dues will be paid to that chapter. Local dues must be paid to the second chapter, the amount to be determined by the chapter. MCBVI and ACB dues will only be charged once.

Original:

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 and chapter membership lists 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.

Change:

F. Dues

Each member shall contribute membership dues to the funds of this council as set by the Board of Directors. Chapters are responsible for setting the local portion of their dues. The renewal period for each year begins September 1 of each year and ends January 31 of the following calendar year. All dues and chapter membership lists 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.

HELLO FROM WASHINGTON

by Casey Dutmer

A warm hello from Sharon and Casey Dutmer from Shoreline, WA.

As most members of MCBVI know, Sharon and I moved to Shoreline, Washington on October 1 last year.

We made this change because the climate is much more moderate than in Michigan which helps Sharon deal with her arthritis. Her daughter lives here and has two children. We're having a lot of fun interacting and getting to know the grandchildren. They are so much fun.

Many have asked how I'm doing with this major adjustment. I'm doing quite well. We had a mild winter so I am able to walk in the middle of winter and not have to worry about snow and ice. If I want that, we just have to drive 30-40 miles to the mountains for snow.

I went to the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) state convention as a first timer and met a lot of WCB members. On the way home, I was asked to join the UNITED BLIND of Seattle and be their secretary. I did just that and was elected. From the beginning I've felt very much a part of this affiliate.

One thing that MCBVI should consider, because it made my transition much easier, is putting together telephone forums.

I joined WCB in April last year and immediately got involved with their technology and book forums. By doing this, I got to know individuals on a much more personal level. I now facilitate this call.

One time the book forum call only had three participants: me, the President, and Second Vice President. We had a very personal conversation and got to know a little about each other. This conversation helped to put me on two state committees.

WCB has several other forum type calls. Even if participation is light in the beginning, the concept really does bring members together.

We've found a good church not very far from where we live and we are quite active.

Members here a lot about the Washington affiliate, but we have some of the same struggles MCBVI has finding new and upcoming leaders. One reason WCB can do so much for their membership isn't because they are better. When the vehicle donation program was launched, this affiliate made a great deal of money which allowed WCB to expand their activities.

I believe MCBVI has a great future ahead. I also think that putting together some forum calls and being patient will motivate the present membership and encourage new people to want to be new and upcoming members and leaders of MCBVI.

Sharon and I thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve this wonderful organization.

Have a great year and a fun convention.

ACCESSIBLE PRESCRIPTION LABELS

by Linda Yacks

Have you ever mixed up your medications, found out you weren’t taking them according to directions, or just plain had your meds mixed up with someone else? Me too! It’s time for all of us who are blind or visually impaired to take a stand.

To promote this effort, the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired has formed an Accessible Labeling committee chaired by Faith Meadows. We have been meeting since February to discuss strategies to get the word out regarding Accessible Medication labels. Now, we are asking you for your help. ACB national has worked on this concern for some time, and many states have formed committees to support this effort. All the committees and measures in the world will accomplish absolutely nothing if the individual pharmaceutical customer does not make their needs known and ask for accessible labels. Below is some information that the committee has gathered to help you.

To the best of our knowledge and research, at the time of this writing, there are five ways you can access the information on your medication labels:

You always have the option of asking a reliable sighted person to read your labels and you can mark your bottles with rubber bands, dots, etc.

Some of you are already familiar with the Pen Friend. This gismo uses bar code labels to mark anything on which you attach them. You can place a label on your prescription or medication scan the code on the label, and then record what you need the label to say. Here again, you need a sighted person to assist when you first purchase medications. I know one person who takes their Pen Friend to the pharmacy and asks the Pharmacy staff to record the information.

The ScripAbility system is marketed by Envision America providing technology for audible, large print, and braille labels. ScripTalk provides recorded information on an audible label affixed to the bottle by your pharmacist. The ScripTalk comes to you with a base unit with a place to set your medicine bottle. Then the ScripTalk will read what the bottle says. One feature that this product has that I like is the ability to work down the label by line in order to get information like the RX number for future reference. The large print and braille labels permanently attach to medication packaging. The amount of braille on the label is limited to bottle size. I have done some extensive research on the web, and it is my belief that, at this time, Envision America is the only company making a product to print or braille labels. Some local or national pharmacies may be printing large print labels on their printer in the store.

The next product is a fairly new one on the scene. It is called AccessaMed. The Pharmacist needs to purchase the start-up kit for this program. However, it does not have to work in conjunction with the store’s software. It has its own program. The Pharmacist simply prepares the bottle normally then uses the AccessaMed software to create the digital audible label. This label attaches to the bottle. It is approximately two inches tall by one inch wide. You push the button on the device and your information is read by a synthetic voice using text-to-speech technology. If you don’t want to hear everything on the label, just press the button again and it will stop talking. Each digital accessible label has a battery, a little speaker, and a button. It can attach to round or flat bottles and boxes. The sticky stuff used seems to be very strong. The device can hold up to one minute of recorded information.

Walgreens has chosen a label device that is recorded and attaches to the bottom of your bottle as well as large print. They offer audio and large print through their mail-order pharmacy. Contact them Toll-Free: 866-525-1598. Call your Walgreens to find out if the technology is available through your local store.

CVS.com offers accessible labeling using the ScripAbility products via its mail order service. They have all three types of labels, braille, large print, and audio. For more information, phone Toll-Free: 888-861-4363.

CVS Caremark is a mail-order pharmacy also providing accessible labels using the ScripAbility system. For more information, contact CVS Caremark, Toll-Free: 800-552-8159. The gentleman I spoke with was knowledgeable and helpful.

Walmart also participates in the Envision America program. I spoke with a customer service representative. She was very helpful and was able to answer my questions without looking up the information. You may contact Walmart Toll-Free: 800-273-3455. You may be able to receive more information by calling Toll-Free: 800-331-0085. According to my research, Walmart makes accessible labels available in 36 stores.

Now it’s your turn! Contact your pharmacy provider and ask for accessible labels. It’s time to rally the forces. Together, we can make a difference. Your safety may depend on it.

EDITOR’S NOTE

The following is a list of pharmacies in Michigan currently offering the ScripAbility products from Envision America. Phone numbers and addresses will be provided.

THE UBER EXPERIENCE

by Malaina VanderWal

Those of us who are visually impaired are no stranger to the issues which arise when we want to go somewhere spur of the moment! Or perhaps it is passed the time to schedule a trip with a local para-transit service. Many times it is not convenient to take para-transit, use a fixed rout bus service or ask someone to take us because we are not able to get there ourselves. Taxi cabs are also an option but it may take longer to get a ride than anyone would want to wait. If you have a smart phone such as an iPhone or an Android phone there is an app which may be able to fill the Transportation gap!

Last year I heard on my local news broadcast about the popular company called Uber which allows anyone to request a trip via their smart phone. Eliminating the hassle of talking to rood dispatch personnel and not really knowing how long the wait time will be or the cost. Uber can solve all of these issues. Once the app is downloaded to the user’s device, enter in the account information along with a valid credit/debit card or PayPal account and the sign-up process is complete. There are no cash transactions with Uber and tipping is not required. The option to split an Uber fare is also available to those with the Uber app on their smart phone. I will describe the app with VoiceOver as I am using an iPhone 4s.

Once the app is downloaded to the individual’s phone and the account information entered the app will display the following buttons. From left to right is Uber-X which is the lower cost option and Uber-L for larger vehicles. Next is the account menu button. This displays the name and other information pertaining to the account holder. The next button is the pickup location button. If the address displayed is not the correct one, then write in the correct address and change it. The last button on the screen is set pickup location, ETA six minutes as an example. After double tapping on the set pickup location another screen appears with a cancel button and the word confirmation. Next are the credit card type and the last four digits of the card number. The fare estimate button is to check to see approximately how much your trip will cost. In order to get fare quotes a destination must also be entered. The promotion code is to enter in a code which you can get from friends or family when signing up this code will allow first time riders to have a ride for free up to 20 dollars. The person who shared his or her code with the new Uber customer will also receive 20 dollars off their next trip. The rest of the buttons before destination have already been described. There are four swipes from left to right if on the promotion button. Set your destination and the fare can be checked. Once you enter in your trip information double tap the request button and wait for the alert with the time of arrival and driver information.

The name of the driver, license plate number and a one way time to contact them appears on the screen. It is so simple I wish I used the app when I first downloaded it to my phone last year. The trips used so far went smoothly and while I do not want to use it all the time this really is great!

In the three trips I took thus far my drivers were kind and courteous. They did not assume I needed assistance but they did offer and I accepted it when necessary. The other great thing about Uber is the ability to contact the driver with instructions on where to be picked-up and I used this feature for one trip. We talked on the phone and the driver was able to locate me soon after. When taking a taxi I never knew who the driver may be and if my ride arrived. Uber takes the guess work out of all of it.

Uber drivers use their personal vehicles and in an Uber-X vehicles can transport four people. There is also a way to rate the driver from a 1-5 star rating five is a perfect rating. Receipts are also emailed to the passenger with a breakdown of the trip costs.

The app is much easier to use than I thought it would be and any hesitation I felt over using the app along with the service vanished after my first trip. This is available in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Ann Arbor, Lansing and Kalamazoo at the time this was written. “Uber your own personal driver” is true and if available try it out for yourself!

HANDY PHONE INFORMATION SERVICE AVAILABLE

by Joe Sibley

The Information Line, once known as Tell Me is a great tool for those who are visually impaired. If you dial 408-752-8052 it will open the door to business searches anywhere in the country, driving directions, news, sports scores, weather information and much more. All information is accessed by your voice and it is easy to navigate. You can even check movie listings, play blackjack, check your horoscope and other fun things to try. Remember this is not a toll free call but The Information Line is a great resource for anyone!

COMMITTEE REPORTS

CONVENTION

by Joe Sibley

See the article earlier in this newsletter about the 2015 convention coming up September 24th-27th. Registration information will be sent to you or you can look on line at www.blindmi.org on the convention page for the latest information.

If you, your business, or your chapter wishes to sponsor, exhibit, or contribute door prizes or auction items contact Charis Austin at 616-532-4737. For general convention questions contact Joe Sibley at 616-724-1650. The convention committee includes Joe Sibley, Marla Neubaum, Kyle Austin, Faith Meadows, Charis Austin, Anna Grace, Donna Rose, and Mike Branch.

MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION

by Charis Austin

MEMBERSHIP:

As of this writing, we have 177 members.

Our website has been updated so that Members at Large and new members can pay for membership on line. The payments go through PayPal. A $1 fee is charged to cover the cost of accepting a credit card. Members who belong to chapters must pay dues through their chapter.

Just a friendly reminder to keep your contact information updated with us by either contacting me directly or asking one of your chapter officers to let me know the changes. My contact information is at the end of this article.

FINANCE:

A full report will be given at the next Board meeting which is taking place by conference call Saturday, July 18.

During the January Board meeting, it was determined that we should find a new provider for our Toll-Free number as one way to cut costs. In April, we made the change to www.grasshopper.com and canceled the account with Sprint. Our toll free number has not changed. We will be able to add extensions as we need them. We now have the ability to set the hours and days we receive calls, see the phone numbers for the people who call us, and monitor the amount of time we are using each month. We are paying for 500 minutes a month (approximately 8 hours of service). It is early to say what the cost saving will be; what we have done is improve the quality of management of the line.

The Executive Committee approved two expenditures as a result of motions during the April Board Meeting.

Donate $500 to Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB). OUB is a 501(c)(3) organization. Their mission is to enrich the quality of life of people who are blind and visually impaired through lifelong education and recreation. This summer they are holding five camps for youth. For more information about OUB, visit their web page at www.oubmichigan.org or contact Gwen Botting, Executive Director at (989) 855-2430.

Approved $50.00 to be used for 2 $25 door prizes at the ACB Convention.

My time has been spent working on getting sponsors and exhibitors for the MCBVI Convention in September so that we can keep our costs down. A full list of sponsors will be provided at the convention.

We are now able to accept donations on line. Support from our membership is important if we are going to maintain programming and begin new programs that will benefit people who are blind and visually impaired in Michigan.

If you are interested in making a donation, please visit our web site www.blindmi.org and click on the donation link or contact me.

Charis Austin, Treasurer
2426 Thornwood SW
Wyoming MI 49519-2147
616-532-4737

NOMINATIONS

by Karla Fields

We will be electing people to fill the following positions at this year’s MCBVI Convention. The positions available this year are: First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.

The following people will be running for First Vice-President: Gail Mancewicz and Phyllis Magbanua. Running for Assistant Secretary is Mary Sibley. Running for the office of Treasurer is Charis Austin.

Running for Second Vice-President is Sharmese Anderson. Contact information for committee members is: Debbie Robinson can be reached at 616-235-8189, Arlene Moore at 517-374-8681, Lora Leggett 586-791-4243 and Karla Fields at 586-465-2338.

PUBLICATIONS

by Donna Rose & Malaina VanderWal, co-editors

If you are a committee chairperson, or write your chapter’s update, please let us know by each newsletter deadline if you won’t be submitting a report or update. That way we won’t be worried that we haven’t received anything, or have to track you down which can be time consuming. The deadline is the deadline, so if we don’t hear from you in time any late submissions will need to be kept until the next newsletter. We hope you are having a productive summer and enjoying yourselves!

RESOLUTIONS

by Malaina VanderWal

The resolutions committee is in the process of researching ideas and suggestions for this year’s resolutions. Some of the areas we discussed were the Greyhound website accessibility issues along with the automated system and Netflix inaccessibility with the website and iPhone app. Another issue of concern is the Michigan.gov website and the challenge accessing information when using a screen reader. Other issues are also being discussed, but we need help from the membership! If there are suggestions for resolution ideas please bring them to my attention.

Some other resolution topics are ones which may require additional resolutions building on the ones from last year. Comcast is still the only television subscription provider with built in accessibility in the cable set-top boxes. If anyone in MCBVI currently uses another provider, I want to hear from you. What are your accessibility issues with the television service provider? What steps have you taken to enquire on your own behalf regarding this issue?

Another issue we may revisit is the accessible prescription labeling topic. Last year we urged MCBVI members to talk to their pharmacies about accessible prescription information. Advocacy is the key here and we cannot expect pharmacies to just start providing accessible labeling. We need to educate the pharmacies and take advantage of what is available if possible.

Last week I decided to contact CVS.com where I currently get one of my prescriptions. Although I was satisfied with the information CVS.com was providing me about my medication, I wondered if I could take it a step further. I asked the pharmacy tech if it would be possible to include more information concerning the pill itself. I explained if it were possible I would appreciate the shape and color to be added to my audio label. I received a call back a short time later from the pharmacy tech informing me my request would be granted. When I received my medication a few days later I immediately checked the label as I always do and I was surprised at what I found. Not only did CVS.com include my requested information regarding the pill’s shape and color, but they also included the writing located on the pill! I was very impressed by this and I plan on contacting them and thanking them for including all of the information I wanted and more. If I chose not to advocate for myself my label would not contain this important information.

If you have any suggestions pertaining to a 2015 MCBVI resolution please contact me at 616-308-9644 or at my email address at Malaina@iserv.net. Please give me your ideas and suggestions by September 1st, 2015. This will give the committee time to work on the resolution.

CHAPTER REPORTS

BLUE WATER LEAGUE OF THE BLIND PORT HURON

by Phyllis Magbanua

Hi MCBVI family. This has been a few rocky months for the BWL, but we are on the right track now.

On May 13th we went to the Dorsey Steak House for lunch and had pizza and birthday cake. We had a big group that went and had a good time. On June 17th we are meeting at Vantage Point and will walk along the Saint Clair River. Later on we will come back and have our lunch at Vantage Point. People can bring their own lunch or purchase one. We are also planning a Picnic on July 16th at Metcalf beach. Everyone is bringing a dish to pass and the BWL will buy the chicken and drinks.

Then in August we will have a short meeting to discuss who is all going to the MCBVI convention this year and plan what we will do this fall.

We are trying to have a fundraiser the second weekend of August. Every year there is a big yard sale from Port Huron all the way up through the thumb. We are planning to sell popcorn and ice cream and all kind of items. That is what the BWL is up to for now. For more information on the BWL contact President Jerry Clay 810-329-0124.

The BWL wishes everybody a very happy and safe summer.

CAPITAL AREA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND GREATER LANSING

by Donna Rose

Our chapter continues to work on our cookbook fundraiser. If you have some family recipes or ones you have used for a while you are welcome to submit them to us. Send them to me at wild-rose@sbcglobal.net (don’t forget there is a dash, not an underscore, between wild and rose.) If you don’t have or use email please give me a call and you can dictate them to me 517-489-2233.

Our chapter is in the process of writing a letter of support for Michigan Flyer, a shuttle bus company which travels from East Lansing to Detroit Metro Airport for a reasonable fare compared to a taxi or other car service. All of their buses are lift equipped and the fare is very reasonable compared to a cab or other car service. There are no other shuttles from the Lansing area for this purpose and the airport and other transportation providers are making it extremely difficult for the Michigan Flyer service to offer customer friendly curb to curb service, especially to those who have disabilities. Presently the shuttle is only allowed to sit for a brief period of time and their stop has been moved from right at a convenient door to over a football field away. This has caused undue hardship for people who are blind, have disabilities, people with young children and seniors as the area to the door is not an accessible route, is not enclosed, and is noisy and filled with fuel odor from the jets on the nearby runway. If you need more info regarding this issue please contact me and I can explain more. There is a lawsuit which has been heard in circuit court where my sister and another individual are plaintiffs.

In other news, our chapter will be holding a picnic at our President Ruth’s place at a nearby campground in August. Contact President Ruth Borough 517-455-7580 to learn more about our chapter. Have a great summer!

VISUALLY IMPAIRED PERSONS FOR PROGRESS GRAND RAPIDS

by Malaina VanderWal

VIPP met in May for the final business meeting until September. There were two guest speakers present: Gwen Botting, Director of Opportunities unlimited for the Blind (OUB) and John Jarzyna, President of MCBVI. We heard about the activities OUB put together for the summer for middle and high school students who are blind or visually impaired.

President Jarzyna spoke to VIPP about his trip to Washington D.C. and encouraged members to participate in this at least once if possible.

In April, VIPP held a Tastefully Simple party fundraiser and those who were able to attend had a great time. The fundraiser went well. Then at the end of May we held another fundraiser this time it was at Culvers home of the famous butter burger. Thanks to all who came out and worked part of the night or all four hours! We could not have done this without the generous support of our members and other volunteers!

Back in April several VIPP members went to John Ball Zoo and had fun during the Wild Encounter program. During the program VIPP members were able to touch a variety of animals. On June 18th VIPP members will attend a Whitecaps baseball game at Fifth Third Ballpark. On July 4th, some of our members will go to the parade held in Grandville and it will be audio describe for us. In August VIPP will have our annual picnic at Wedgewood Park. If there are questions about VIPP call me at 616-308-9644.

From all of us at VIPP have a safe and fun filled summer!

Summary of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired Spring Board Meeting

by Debbie Robinson

The MCBVI Spring Board Meeting was conducted by Teleconference on 4-18-2015. It was called to order at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 12:44 p.m. Three of our five chapters were present. All officers were present except Wayne Lepiors. We had excellent member participation. The spring board meeting agenda was approved as read. There was one correction in the winter board meeting minutes. However, that was again corrected via e-mail from Donna after the meeting. The official newsletter deadline is October 15 rather than November 15. The minutes had stated the deadline was November 13. They were approved with the correction.

President Jarzyna reported on his trip to the ACB midyear board and legislative meetings. Due to bad weather, he had challenging travel conditions and got there a day late. In the legislative seminar, there were three issues addressed at Capitol Hill: Medicare issues, a treaty and medical devices being covered by Medicare. Everyone was given materials to give to the legislative staff with whom they met. He recommended others from MCBVI go next year. He attended the last Blue Water League meeting. He wants to visit all chapters this year.

Charis gave the financial report prepared by Matt Livingston. As of 4-17-2015, our checking account balance was $4,363.13.

Total investment portfolio balance as of 3-312015: $40,666.62.

Total Income from 1-12015 to 4-172015: $2,551.50.

Total Expenses from same time period: $1,825.02.

Result Net Income: $726.48. The financial report was approved as submitted.

The technology committee is exploring producing/broadcasting podcasts to provide information to MCBVI members. Bill Sparks from the Legend met with them to instruct/provide information. They will again use ACB Radio/Live Events for streaming the convention and will stream the Sunday morning business meeting on MCBVI radio.

Joe reported Things are falling into place regarding convention. Marla Neubaum is the committee’s vice chair. Kyle is focusing on finding a site for next year. There is a committee working on programming. There is a new catering manager at the Four Points by Sheraton with whom Joe and Kyle need to meet. Convention dates are 9-24th-27th-2015. Thursday night will feature accessible games or time to relax and visit. After discussion, it was decided we would, as of 2016; start convention on Friday morning instead of Thursday night, and that it would end on Sunday. There would be no organized events on Thursday night, though people can still come Thursday. We are very close to having Richard Bernstein as our banquet speaker. We will not know till early May if his court schedule will allow it. ACB now wants $100.00 for using ACB radio/live events. Doing a joint convention with another state affiliate was discussed. There was No activity for Grants or scholarships.

Brenda Henige reported for legislation. She mentioned the important upcoming May 5 Proposal One vote. The Senate recently passed a historic "Doc Fix" Bill which keeps certain processes in place that work. Netflix announced the availability of movies with audio description. She has one person interested in being on the legislative committee.

Charis reported as of 4-172015, we have 176 members. She turned in to ACB a count of 174 members.

Regarding public relations, Ann Bratsberg is waiting for Joe to produce an audio track for PSAs. He e-mailed to the executive committee a draft of the brochure. The graphic design guy is ready to help. It will be a tri-fold with some pictures, and it will be formatted for emailing and in text only for Braille. It should be either in production or completed by July’s board meeting. On our web site, he put up a donation page connected to our PayPal account. He is working on a membership form for members at large to use. He is hoping to have online registration for convention and pay with PayPal. He is hoping to do a lot of work regarding marketing of convention.

All newsletter formats are being sent out. All submissions were in on time. They had a conference call to discuss formatting and style concerns. The next two newsletter deadlines are June 15 and October 15.

Malaina reported the resolutions committee is almost complete. Joe e-mailed The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) report, which is 58 pages. This is a document released to the public containing information with the bureau’s responses to all points put forth. Joe is willing to work with the committee on any resolutions that might come up regarding this report. She shared a lot of information regarding accessible prescription labels and what that committee is working on. The committee is planning a resolution regarding Netflix concerning accessibility of their app and their web site.

The constitution and bylaws committee is working on one proposed bylaw concerning members who want to belong to more than one affiliate and how dues will be paid. This proposed bylaw will be read at July’s MCBVI board meeting.

Regarding nominations, Karla reported the offices up for election this year are First Vice-President, Second Vice -President, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer. At the time of Karla’s report, Charis Austin is running for Treasurer. Phyllis Magbanua is running for First Vice-President. If you wish to run for these offices, contact Karla at: 586-465-2338.

After Karla’s report, Mary Sibley stated she would again run for Assistant Secretary.

Charis is working on sponsorship levels for convention. $200 is the highest sponsorship level, and the lowest is $25 to $49.00. She mentioned setting up a fundraising committee meeting now that membership and dues are completed.

The national convention dates are 7-3-7-11/2015 in Dallas. John is thinking about going. Gary Wood and David Ellingwood may go. We need an alternate delegate and nominations committee representative. It was decided to spend a total of $100.00 for door prizes and purchasing an auction item.

We discussed possibly donating to Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) as we did last year. This year we budgeted for $500.00. Charis read an e-mail from Gwen Botting who hoped MCBVI would continue to sponsor this important work. It was decided to table this to allow Gwen to come to May’s executive committee conference call. We discussed the Department of Education, the many changes causing OUB to leave Camp T, obtaining the original trust document (which Casey tried to do several years ago), decreasing camp attendance and the greater need for parental involvement.

The executive committee, after research by Charis and Joe, and with Matt’s approval, voted to switch our toll free number from Sprint to Grasshopper, a phone service for small businesses. We have been paying about $400.00 a year to Sprint. Charis is setting up the account. It will cost about $31 a month plus a one-time $30.00 transfer cost. We will have about 500 minutes per month. We are not under any contract. Invoices are accessible. To pay the bill, we have to run it through the convention account. We do not have a credit card on the main MCBVI account but do have one with the convention account. We will transfer money from the general account into the convention account and pay with PayPal. The MCBVI summer board meeting will be on 7-182015 at 10:00 a.m. by teleconference.

Next MCBVI News Deadline

October 15, 2015

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

To Contact the Editors:

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

Malaina VanderWal, Co-Editor
malaina@iserv.net
616-308-9644

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