March 2011 Chronicle

March 2011 Chronicle

President’s Report

Greetings to All!

 

     Have you ever stopped to consider how our lives as blind people have transpired over the years?  From the blind beggar in the Bible to the time of Louis Braille a couple of hundred years ago and even to the time of Helen Keller just fifty years ago, there has never been a better time to be a blind person than today. 

It is because of people like Louis Braille and Helen Keller that we enjoy the privileges, benefits and technology we have today.  There are many over the years that have made major and minor contributions to the advancement and equality of the blind and visually impaired around the world. 

Although there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in changing the perception the world has for the blind, we enjoy a level of advancement that allows us to compete on more of a level playing field with our sighted counterparts than ever before.

     I for one, do not take these privileges for granted and don’t want to forget the determination, exhaustive work and the sacrifices made by our forerunners to bring us to where we are today. 

This is why I would like to introduce a new section to the Missouri Chronicle called the, “Hats Off” section.  Each publication will feature a person or an organization that has made a contribution to the progress of advancing the lives of the blind.  It may be a well known person from the history books or some obscure name of a person you may not have ever heard of but that none the less has made a significant contribution to the blind world.

     If there is a person or an organization you take your hat off to, please let us know about them.  It might be a person that has impacted the world with their contribution or someone in your local area that has made a difference in the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

     I personally want to take my hat off to all of the officers, board members and committee chairs that we have in MCB.  Many of them give of themselves unselfishly in carrying out the work that was begun in this organization over 55 years ago.  It’s because of people like we have today that we can say we live in one of the greatest states there are for a blind person to live in.  Without the work of these people and the people that came before them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy all of the benefits that we have here in Missouri today.  The next time you see or talk to one of our officers, board members or committee chairs, make sure to say thanks for the work they do.

     Speaking of committee chairs, most of you already know that our long time Chronicle editor, Bill Benson passed away in January.  I have asked James Hollins to fill that position and the board has approved him as the new Chronicle editor.  I know that James will do a great job with this time consuming task and bring us a publication we can all be proud of.  Assisting James in the publication of the Chronicle will be John Weidlich, Nancy Lynne and Janelle Edwards.  Together I believe they will make a great team in their contributions to the Chronicle.

     The board has also approved Ken Carter as the new health benefits chair.  Joining Ken is his wife Reba and Emma Lou Swope to make this an excellent committee.

     Since the last publication of the Chronicle the MCB board has met twice via teleconference call.  In November the board approved several new committee chairs and also established a new policy committee.  This committee is an ad hoc committee and is being chaired by Mike Keller.  The purpose of this committee is to establish policies that MCB should go by.  The policies will include but not be limited to program guidelines, board responsibilities, office procedures and many other operational guidelines of MCB.  This is a monumental task and will require a lot of work for this committee.  Mike will be assisted by Janelle Edwards, Shirley Brokaw and Beverly Kaskadden.

     The board also set as a standard for official publications of MCB a font of aerial 24 point bold.  This large font will be included not only in the Chronicle but in all communications to our members that require a large font.  For those of you that prefer print as your format of choice but you don’t need a large font, we will also make available standard print.  Just notify the office that you prefer standard print as opposed to large print.

     As most of you already know, our Executive Director, Jennifer Parker has resigned from her position.  The personnel committee will begin a search for a replacement to fill that position in the very near future.

     In our January board meeting the board approved a membership benefit proposal presented by the membership committee.  Simply put, the membership benefits allow MCB members to enjoy the full benefits of our programs while non-members will receive only half of the benefits.  An example is the adaptive technology grant.  Currently any legally blind resident of Missouri can receive a 50 50 grant from MCB for the purchase of adaptive technology, MCB paying 50% and the applicant paying 50%.  With the membership benefit policy, an MCB member will still receive a 50% grant for the purchase of adaptive technology but a non-member would receive only 25% for that purchase.  This change is designed to give some incentive for being a member of MCB and as a result to increase our membership to give us more clout when applying for grants and when presenting our concerns to legislatures. 

Those not affected by this change are those legally blind residents of Missouri that are under the age of 18 since you need to be that age to become a member of MCB.  My thanks to our membership chair, Gretchen Maune and her committee for their work in presenting this proposal.

     The board heard a report from our resource and development chair Elton Thomas.  MCB is the benefactor of several thousand products from a company in Washington MO.  These items include back packs, lap top cases, tote bags, glassware, electric clocks and many other products numbering over a hundred thousand. 

Although it has not been determined how these items will be dispersed yet, the board did approve an addition to the resource and development budget of $5,000.00.  This will allow Elton and his committee to take inventory of these products and then begin work on how to maximize the profit of these items. 

Also donated to MCB was the use of two semi tractor trailers to transport these products and the use of storage space in a large warehouse in St. Louis.  My thanks to Lowell Newsom, our Director of Development for coordinating this effort and to Elton and his committee for the work they have done.  I can’t leave out saying thanks to Tony Pickrell, President of the Southeast Missouri Blind Club for directing us in the direction of these goods.

     I had the priviledge of attending three affiliate Christmas parties this past year.  My thanks to the United Workers of the Blind, the St. Charles County Council of the Blind and to RITE for an enjoyable time at each celebration.

     Although I have not set a date for our next MCB board meeting, we will have one in April in Joplin at the Holiday Inn where our 2011 MCB convention will be held.

     By the time you read this I hope I have made it back to Missouri.  At the time of this writing Missouri is being hit by the winter storm of the century and I am stranded in Seattle Washington as a result.  Many of our members were affected by this storm, some more so than others, but I hope that no one had any long lasting affect.  My thanks to Bunny Maginnis, our emergency preparedness chair for reminding us on what action to take during this critical time.

     As always, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions you would like to present to me, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  My toll free number is, 888-362-1383 and my email address is, dhuff@moblind.org.  My postal address is,

PO Box 515

St. Clair, MO  63077

 

     Thanks for all you do for MCB.  God bless you and welcome to spring!

Denny Huff – President

 

REMEMBERING BILL BENSON

November 12, 1936-January 22, 2011

By Bev Armstrong

 

     Born in Sioux City, Iowa Bill and his mother moved to Mt. Vernon, Missouri when he was an infant.  They lived on a farm with his grandparents where he called home through high school and college.

     Bill entered MSB in the fall of 1943.  He graduated from MSB in June, 1955 as salutatorian of our class.

     Accomplishments were numerous throughout his school years.  Bill’s interest in writing and music was apparent early on.  I remember his writing the “I Speak for Democracy” essays.  His interest in music showed in many ways.  He played the trumpet in the school band and in high school he formed a jazz band.  His work with the jazz band continued for two years following graduation.  He spent two evenings every week at MSB practicing with the jazz band. 

     Even as a freshman in high school, his thinking was of a progressive nature.  He was a member of the newly-formed Social Service Committee which was a forerunner of the Student Council.

     Bill received a scholarship to attend the St. Louis Institute of Music where he earned his degree in music education.  Throughout his school years he had thought he wanted to be a writer, so he attended both what is now Missouri State University and Harris-Stowe College where he earned a degree in English.

     Bill married Jo-An Dolce in April 1961.  For the first ten years of their marriage he taught piano and band at twelve Lutheran grade schools.  For 39 years he entertained at the Cheshire Lodge in their Fox and Hound lounge, playing the trumpet and piano and singing.

     Their first home was in Pine Lawn, Missouri and in 1975 they moved to Richmond Heights, Mo.  Their current home is in Clayton.

     Bill was a man with a strong Christian faith.  One of his strengths was helping other people.  He did this in various ways.  In February 1984 MSB had no computers.  Bill organized a 24-hour musicathon which was held in the Fox and Hound Lounge.  Donations were sufficient to purchase computers for the school.  There are some blind students who have benefited from this gift, having secured jobs in the computer field.

     Bill also did other fundraisers.  They were held at St. Ann’s Catholic Church.  The first of these fundraisers was to benefit Native Americans in one of the western states.  Such fundraisers continued for a number of years, funds from each event going to a different charity. 

     In December 1984 Bill became President of the MSB Boosters Club and has served in that capacity until the present. 

     In 1987 Bill and Jo-An were part of a group of eight  who organized the St. Louis Council of the Blind affiliate where he served as Secretary until two years ago when he became President of the affiliate.

     Bill also served MCB in a number of ways.  He may be most remembered for being Editor of the Missouri Chronicle.  He held this position two different times—for ten years and more recently for five years until his death.  One could enjoy his humor when they read “The MCB Rhymoceros” and become informed when they read “The Lower Left hand Drawer”.  He also served as Bylaws and Resolutions Chairman.

     MCB recognized Bill’s capabilities and awarded him with one of the organization’s most coveted awards—the Ellis M. Forshee Award.  The Award was given especially for his work on behalf of the Missouri School for the Blind.

     Bill’s body is resting in the Crystal Cathedral Memorial Garden Cemetery in Garden Grove, California.

     He has surely made the lives of those he touched richer and he will be sorely missed.

Affiliate, What Are you Doing!

Ozark Association

Yvonne Schnitzler

Chronicle Reporter

     It is with deep sadness we report the death of Irene Stoll on October 30, 2010. Irene was a member of OAB for almost 45 years and worked tirelessly in many areas advancing the causes of the blind. As a fund-raiser she was always there organizing bingo games, bake sales, yard sales, and other endeavors to raise money for our affiliate. She worked relentlessly on obtaining new members and seeing that they had transportation to the meetings. As the head of the entertainment committee, we could always count on a great program, good food, and home baked cookies and cake. Irene was a dependable caring person and helpful to all our affiliate members when there was a need.

We want to say thank you to our charter member, Dorothy Moranville, for her 51 years of serving OAB as our treasurer and let her know how much we appreciate her. We know she will continue to serve our affiliate.

Allied Workers for the Blind News
Tracey Hawkins
AWB Public Relations Chairperson

 

AWB hosted a Fire Safety for the Visually Challenged at Alphapointe Association for the Blind. The Fire Department spoke for our October Fire Safety Month Program. We were able to get a generous donation of 'talking' carbon monoxide/smoke detectors from the manufacturer. We distributed them to those in attendance and many employees at Alphapointe. We contacted other organizations for the blind to let them know about the program and also donated several of the detectors to the different groups to distribute to their members. Thank you to Terri Arnold for putting us in touch with Cathy Pyper's First Steps for the Blind, a non-profit support group located in Kansas City. Terri coordinated the distribution of the talking CO/Smoke detectors for their members and some were also donated to a Lutheran group for the blind. Many in the blind community did not know such a product existed. We will explore more opportunities with this manufacturer. 

AWB's fundraising chairperson, Brandi Jones, and I are researching and discussing possibly selling these talking alarms across the state. We are also considering having a booth during the State and national conventions this year to sell this dynamic product. Please let us know if you are interested. 

Adoption- In honor of Veteran's Day and the Holidays shortly after, we wanted to pay tribute to our Veterans and wanted to choose vets who were blind.  

This past October, we contacted the local Veteran's Administration Center here in Kansas City and spoke with the Administrator for their VISOR, (Vision Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation) program. The program provides short-term blind and vision rehabilitation for blind veterans. We asked for two families in need. He provided the information to us, along with Christmas wish lists'. Both veterans have children in their families. We collected a generous amount of money and gifts from our individual members as well as the AWB general budget.  We also collected food to provide Christmas dinner for both families. What a great group! AWB was Santa Claus for them and their children!

A special thank you to Carol Hollins, Renee Deggs and Brittney Hollins for their numerous shopping trips with 'wish lists' in hand and for attending the 'wrapping party', a gift-wrapping event at our home, (thank you Gregg Hollins for attending and carrying in bags and bags of gifts). Thank you Carol and Brittney Hollins for accompanying William and I in making those deliveries on Christmas Eve to our veteran's homes.

     We don't want these families just for Christmas; they are our families for an entire year. We will work with them as a resource, as they are newly blind and don't know about what is available to them. We plan to do our best to educate them. One of our Veterans has been hospitalized, so Tracey Hawkins visited the V.A Medical Center and asked how we can help. His wife needed utility assistance, so Tracey directed her to contact the MCB office. Virginia has been briefed and is waiting for their call. This same Vet needs a computer (with Internet access), so we will seek resources in the community for a donation. Does anyone know of any Kansas City area resources for a computer?

We also want to help them both with repairs and updates to their homes this spring.  We will need help and plan to involve the community. One of our local television stations interviewed one of the families for their newscast and they talked about how wonderful Allied Workers for the Blind was for helping them during the holidays!

Thanks to Terri Arnold for again working with First Steps for the Blind to collect clothing and food for our families. Have I already said what an amazing group AWB is?

     We had members participate in the Salvation Army bell-ringing again this year on behalf of AWB. Thanks to Bill Reynolds, Activity Chairperson, for organizing that, as usual. Thank you Janie Vaughters and Norm Burke-Yale for participating. Hope I didn't forget anyone.

Blind of Central Missouri

By Trudy Blood

     Hello to everyone from Sedalia there is one thing I know, by the time you read this we will hopefully be rid of the snow.  We had our Christmas dinner which was a huge success, as always, Country Bumpkin did a great job! We had 50 members and guests attend.

     We have 2 new members, they are Ken and Vivian Kretzer, Ken is sighted and Vivian is losing her sight.  Congratulations to you and welcome to our club.  This is our report until next time, “keep a smile and a song in your heart, and if you can’t be good, be good at it.”

Springfield Service Club of the Blind

Marti Watson, President

 

       Hello from a chilly Springfield. We have had only a little snow compared to those around us. But they tell us there is more coming.

       We did something a little different for our Christmas party this year. Usually, each member purchases a small gift to place in a box for everyone to be able to draw an item from. This year we took that small amount of money and purchased gifts for a family who was experiencing difficult times. It helped the family and also lifted the spirits’ of all of our members.

       We are getting ready for our WHITE CANE WALK, which will be held on Saturday, May 21st, at the Southside Senior Center, here in Springfield. We are planning an exciting time, and wish that each of you could attend. Though we know that will not happen, here is a warm invitation to any and everyone. There will be a picnic, good entertainment, door prizes...Yes, I'm getting carried away, but we are truly looking forward to this year’s walk.

                         See you next time.

 

St. Charles County Council

Steve Schnelle

Vice President

     The members of SCCCB have just been waiting out the winter; kind of like the ground hog that should be popping its head out as I write this update. We’re all hoping that spring will come soon. Our Christmas party went very well and the food was great! We played games for prizes donated by local area businesses and sang Christmas songs. The time passed much quicker than any of us wanted. My heartfelt thanks to the kids of our members who helped with the games. They also provided entertainment with their antics and comments.

Our January meeting was canceled due to the bad weather and our February meeting will be held at a new facility. We are now using the independent living center in St. Charles called Delta Center. As our president, John Herzberg, has resigned we will be voting in a new president at that time. You all will find out in the June Chronicle who our new leader is. We’re planning another trivia night in May and would like to invite any of you who can make it to our area to participate. Trivia nights are always big fun and you may even learn something and enjoy it as well. Stay safe and warm and hope for a short winter.

Joplin Service Club of the Blind

Cindy Smart

     Hello again to all of you from the Joplin Service Club of the Blind.   

We hope you all had a happy and blessed Holiday season.

We are all wishing the best for all of you in this upcoming year.

I am happy to report that Virgil McCoy is doing much better since his surgery, and even cooked for us recently for one of our lunches.

In February, he will need to go back to Texas for another checkup.

We haven't had many weekly lunches these past three months because of Holidays and weather.

We all sure miss our Affiliate family when we are not able to have these lunches.

In November, the Joplin Association for the Blind had their annual soup and chili feed.

The service Club held a silent auction at that same event.

This was the first time our Affiliate had done this, and it was very successful.

Thanks to Linda Russell for all her hard work, and also to the others who assisted her.

     Also that same month, a local gospel group, Friends of God, raised money to provide us with food for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Some members of the Joplin Association and volunteers prepared it, and it was wonderful!

That same gospel group sang for us that evening for our dinner!

     In December, St. Mary’s Catholic Church provided us with a scrumptious Christmas dinner.

We had a local entertainer, Duke Mason, come and sing for us that evening.

Our Affiliate helped out a family with six children for Christmas this year.

One of the children is totally blind.

We also helped a couple of our members who are having severe health issues.

All of us in the Service Club are sad to hear about the passing of Bill Benson.

He did the Chronicle for many years, and will be greatly missed.

That is all I have to report for this time, and will look forward to writing again in the spring.

 

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI COUNCIL OF THE BLIND

AL Ashton PR

 

     Hello to everyone of you and best wishes for 2011 from the SOUTHWEST MISSOURI COUNCIL OF THE BLIND!!!!!!!  Our beloved group said to me, “You the new PR MAN.  I said who said?  They said we said, all 13 of us.  They were all staring at me so I said O. K."    That number 13 kind of bothers me though!!!   So here goes.   We greet all of you.  We had our Christmas dinner at the WILDERS RESTAURANT the evening of Monday December 20.  We had 13 members present {there's that 13 again} and enjoyed great food and fellowship.  We also want to welcome our new member Rev. C. J. Campbell [Soup] and I'll let him explain that to you some day.  It's for real as I understand it.   

 

Also, we want to express our heartfelt condolences to our long time member, Mr. Tom Smith whose beloved wife, Elvena, went home to be with the Lord November 18th.  Elvena is missed by all of us with fond memories.  Our prayers go out for Tom.  She was 78 years of age.  Our meeting times, incidentally, have changed to 6:30 p. m. on the 1st. Tuesday of each month.  We wish you all to have had a HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!!!.    "TIL next time, you all have a goodun'.          AL ASHTON, PR   MAANNNN

 

Tower Club Newsletter

 

     Hello everyone the Tower Club has been busy, busy, busy.

Theresa Moore represented us in Jefferson City in February for Legislature days.

In April we had a rainy day fundraiser and each member paid one dollar for each day it rained.

     In July Robert Tuckson, Charles and Veronica Coburn went to Phoenix Arizona for the ACB Convention. In 2011 the next convention will be in Reno Nevada.

We have celebrated birthdays and our next fundraiser for 2011 is saving our pennies and or change.

     We collected undergarments for the students at MSB. We sponsored for the students to go to the circus. For Christmas, we purchased toys, clothing, DVD player, and movies. Our twins Jonathan and Cody who turn 8 December 24; we sent two boxes of toys home with them for Christmas

We donated $100 to our local food bank.

     In October Charles, Jesuita, Theresa Ladonna, Carolyn, Sharyl, Shandria, Thelma, Charles and Veronica Coburn, Willie, Ken and Mr. Mack attended the convention in Jefferson City Mo. Charles Johnson received the very prestigious Nathaniel Johnson Award.

Two new members Moses and Emily from Kenya Africa are sharing information about their native country and native language.

In November we had a wonderful Harvest Fest. The famous author/poet Reginal Stringfellow was there and recited his poetry for us.

On January 17, 2011 Charles, Jesuita, Deandre and Darvon, two of the Tower Club youth, attended the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

While touring the old courthouse and listening to various politicians speak we had the unexpected pleasure to personally meet and talk with Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Senator Roy Blunt. We completed the three mile march from the courthouse to the Powell Symphony Hall.

The Tower was founded in 1956 and we plan to keep the dream alive.

Signing off… Tower Club St. Louis.

 

Rite Council

Bunny Maginnis

 

     Hello from Rite,

It's been quite awhile since we have visited in these pages so let me bring you up to date on what we have been doing.

Our main focus during the past year is finding new members. We have been very successful. From November of 2009 to January of 2011 we have gained 12 new members. As many of you know, we lost a lot of our older members through death.

     On October 30th we held our annual hayride in Forest Park. It was a beautiful, balmy night and we all had a lot of fun. The wagons are relatively inexpensive and the park builds bond fires for each group. We roasted hot dogs and marsh mellows and stuffed ourselves.

     Our Holidays were busy with good fellowship and fun. On December 4th we went caroling at the Mary Culvert home. Some friends from the United Workers joined us. We would especially like to thank John Weidlich for playing the piano for us. Afterwards we went to Balbo’s restaurant for our Christmas dinner. We had the pleasure of having our MCB president, Denny Huff and his driver Daren as our guests. The weather co-operated and we all had a great time.

     I am sorry to have to report that we have lost a long time member, Ann Becker, through death. She passed away in early January. Due to bad health she was not able to attend meetings for a couple of years but, prior to that, she was very active. She will be missed. Another of our members, Youlanda Downey is having problems with her back. Youlanda is one of our very active members. She is chairman of our cheer committee. Get well soon Youlanda. We need you.

Several of us are planning to attend the ACB convention in Reno this summer. We already have our train tickets.

     I am writing this on January 21st and the temperature outside is about 10 degrees but, by the time you are reading it spring will be knocking on the door and maybe everything will be turning green and there will be warm sunshine. Are you ready for that? I certainly am. But until then, keep warm and be happy.  Warm blessings.

Committees, What Should We Know?

 

Health Benefits

Kenneth Carter Chairman

 

   When I answered that phone call back in November, 2010, I knew very little about chairing the MCB Health Benefits Committee.  I told our president, Denny Huff, I would do my best!

   I solicited my "Girl Friday" and wife, Reba, along with Emma Lou Swopes, who is very knowledgeable and capable, to make up the Committee.

   We have been very busy since receiving the first application on December 2, 2010.  To date, we have received and approved nine applications.

   I am happy to be of service to our Missouri Council of the Blind.

Education and Welfare Committee Report

By Jerry Annunzio

 

     After being elected to the chair of the Education and Welfare Committee in October both the committee and I started planning for our visits to Washington D C and Jefferson City.  The Committee made several important decisions that will make both visits more efficient and less costly. 

     At the end of February and the first of March four of us will visit our two Senators and nine Representatives.  These eleven people are housed in five different buildings separated by the Capitol building and grounds. 

     We have appointments to see Senators McCaskill and Blunt in the morning then crossover to the House side to see Akins, Carnahan, Clay, Cleaver, Emerson, Graves, Hartzler, Long and Luetkemeyer.  Considering the security and the distance it will take a good full day to see them all and educate them on our views of the important issues. 

     Our campaign in Jefferson City is much bigger and more complex because of the larger number of house and senate members.  Missouri has thirty-four state Senators and one hundred sixty three state Representatives.  On Monday, March seventh beginning at one PM; we will have our planning and training meeting in the Capitol Plaza Hotel.  In order to see all one hundred ninety seven house and senate members, on Tuesday March eight, we will need a small army of MCB people ready to march on the state Capitol building.  That day will begin with a six thirty AM breakfast meeting at the hotel.  After the meeting we head to The Hill.  We encourage everyone to make appointments with the members in their districts. 

     I have been very pleased with the work of the committee and our office staff in putting together our program for this year.  I want to thank Chip Hailey for all of his good work in the past and all our committee members.  It is a pleasure to work with such talented and caring people. 

 

The Building Committee

The MCB Building Committee has observed the conditions of the building and discussed improvements that could be made.

We have worked to improve many of the repairs previously made to the building.

We have bids for the parking lot, but the committee feels the bids submitted may be a bit expensive.  At this point, we are continuing to accept bids in a search to find a more reasonable solution. One of the bids submitted, was in the amount of $2000.00.

     The new floor is absolutely beautiful! The building committee is extremely proud of a job well done, “KUDO’S” to the workers.

There are a few other details in the works at the building and we intend to tackle all of them as time allows.

Over all, the MCB building is something the committee is proud to be a part of.  We are dedicated to MCB and we will continue working as a team to make any improvements to the building as necessary.

Committee Members: Charles Johnson, Angelo Trapasso, Jack Lenk, Jesuita Tabor- Secretary

Report from the Summer Camp Committee:

     With the outside weather frightful with ice and snow, let’s imagine we are sitting along the side of the pool at Cobblestone.  It will be here before you know it.

I would like to introduce myself as the chair for the summer Camp committee.  I am Beverly Kaskadden, and I have been on the summer Camp committee for several years.  We didn’t want to make too much of a change, so Bev Shockley just found another Bev to take her place. 

I hope I can do as good as Bev as the chair. 

I feel that good communication is a very important factor, so please come to me if you have any questions or concerns.

I would like to have all applications mailed into our office instead of my home.  Since this is in the Summer Camp Guidelines.

     The first week at Cobblestone is June 5-12.  The July week is 17-24 and the extended weekend is September 8-11.  The deadline for applications to be into the office is May 1st for the June and July weeks.  The deadline for the September weekend is August 1st.

Our time at Cobblestone can be a rewarding experience.  It is a time to relax and leave the MCB business at the office and Board room.

     I am looking forward to chairing one of the most enjoyable programs that MCB provides.

Sincerely,

The Summer Camp Committee:  Beverly Kaskadden, Sam and Celita White, Jim Schonlau

March Membership Message!

By:  Gretchen Maune

 

     Greetings from your Membership Chair!  I hope you all are doing well and getting geared up for spring!  Springtime is about new beginnings, and the Membership Committee this year, is all about what’s new and exciting!

Our committee is here to keep things new and fresh, to gain as many new members as possible, and to keep the membership of MCB lively and informed.  We consist of three ladies from across the state:  myself (Gretchen Maune) in Columbia, Judy Burch of St. Louis, and Halley Korff of Warrensburg.  The three of us know the importance of Social Networking, both personally and for outreach, and so please ask any questions you may have about such useful social media as Facebook and Twitter.  Both gaining new members, as well as keeping our members in touch and involved are very important, and the internet is an extremely useful tool for this.

While more exciting Membership happenings will be announced in future issues, there is one in particular I am happy to announce this month.  On January 24 during the Board Conference Call, the Membership Committee presented an exciting Membership Benefits Proposal that was voted on and approved by the Board that very night.  This makes being a member of MCB have more benefits than ever before!  While previously, as long as you were a Missouri resident and Legally Blind, both members and non-members of MCB were eligible to receive the same benefits from such programs as the Adaptive Technology Matching Grant program and the Health Benefits program, now non-members will only be able to be awarded half as much as members.  This gives our members the special benefits they deserve, and will give more incentive for people to join MCB.  Gaining members will result in us both gaining donations, and giving us a greater presence when advocating for legislative issues.  Finally, the more new folks we get in MCB, the more fresh new ideas we’ll have and the more people we’ll have to volunteer to take on important tasks in the Council.

I am completely open to hearing your ideas as well as your questions.  If you would like to know more about this Membership Benefits change, have questions about Social Networking, or would like advice on gaining new members to your affiliate, please don’t hesitate to contact me by calling (573) 489-0986, or e-mailing me at Gmaune@socket.net.

 

WAGGIN TAILS

     Hello to all from the Missouri Guide Dog Users!  This article is being written on a very historic winter day here in St. Louis, where we are experiencing the first blizzard that Rick and I can ever remember.  We’re all snug inside while the snow falls, and have no desire to get out in the weather, but our dogs are loving it!  Park time is especially fun for them today.

Missouri Guide Dog Users (MGDU) now has 36 members.  We’re growing, and we invite you to join our special interest affiliate.  We’re in the process of making plans for some future activities with which we guarantee you’ll be excited to be involved.  The MGDU board has had several telephone conference calls, and very soon we’ll be holding a call where all members and others interested in MGDU can join us. 

In November, Kathy Nimmer’s book, Two Plus Four Equals One, was released.  Those four MGDU members who attended the January, 2011 Top Dog conference in Orlando were privileged to hear her speak at the Saturday evening banquet. Two of our MGDU members have pieces which were published in this book.  DeAnna Quietwater Noriega has a humorous, yet true-to-life piece, Conversations with My Guide Dog, and Judy Burch writes of how her first guide dog introduced her to her future husband.  The entire book is filled with stories and poems which reflect the many facets of working and living with guide and service dogs.  It’s a sort of chicken soup book which you’re sure to enjoy reading.  To learn more about the book and find out how to get it, go to www.servicedogstories.com where you’ll get all this information.  The book is available in print, on audio CD, in Microsoft Word and in PDF.

     Until next time, take care, and don’t forget to praise those good dogs for jobs well done!

--Judy Burch, MGDU Secretary

 

BRAILLE REVIVAL LEAGUE

     I am happy to announce that our Missouri affiliate will be eligible for membership in our national BRL organization this year, as we have 20 members.  We invite those of you who are interested in advocating for and promoting the use of Braille for children and adults alike to join our group.

Toward that end, I would like to invite you to send to me your tips and tricks for how you use Braille.  How does it help in everyday life?  How has it helped you in your employment?  I’d like to gather some ideas to print in upcoming issues of the Chronicle. 

Please send your ideas and suggestions to me at Basil05@sbcglobal.net or to 220 Woodridge Rd., Kirkwood, MO  63122.

--Judy Burch

BRL Secretary

Fashion and Etiquette

by Brandi Jones

     Here is the what's hot for Spring of 2011!   Bright vibrant colors are really big this spring. Bright pink, green, yellow, red, white, and blue tops paired with denim, navy, black, and khaki capris or shorts. Pants and capris are taking on a skinnier cut through the leg.  Flip flops are popular again this year as are ballerina flats and straw soled canvas shoes.  For the gentlemen, polos, button up wovens, and tees with jeans, chinos, or shorts are the way to go.  For both when possible the shorter the sock the better with shorts and capris this helps elongate the leg and makes you appear slimmer and taller.

     Let us touch on some of the things discussed at the convention.

It is important whether you are representing yourself, your employer or your favorite organization, to look good.  This is especially true of blind people, because to many sighted people you may be what they associate all blind people with or as with your employer or organization you are the company or group.  For example, when visiting the legislators during MCB's Legislative days in Jefferson City to them you are MCB. This is why it is so important to dress and act appropriately.  There is a difference in standards for how one should be dressed for different occasions, such as job interviews, board meetings, banquets, and any opportunity that you may have to represent not only MCB but the entire blind community.  Here are several examples of proper dress for such occasions.

     For job interviews and legislative days:
For ladies, a nice dress with hosiery, a pants suit with jacket, nice dress slacks and a nice top. Dress flats, heels, or boots.  For gentlemen, a suit with a dress shirt and tie, a blazer or sport coat with a dress shirt, tie and nice slacks. Dress shoes or dress boots.   

No jeans, sneakers, torn, or stained clothing.  There is however, an exception to the no sneaker rule, if you have medical necessity, clean black sneakers are acceptable.  This will be an ongoing theme.

     For banquets, dress is usually more formal depending on the theme of the banquet (which may be more casual). This is a great time to show off your finery. For ladies, cocktail dress with heels, a nice dress or suit with dress shoes and hosiery as appropriate.  Another option may be a nice top and slacks or skirt with dress shoes.  For gentleman, basically use the same dress as advised for job interviews.  If you happen to own a tuxedo take the opportunity to wear it if your partner is (dressed to the nines as well.)

     For board meetings business casual is generally recommended a nice top or polo with slacks for both men and ladies.

     For any other dress code tips don't hesitate to contact me.

Emergency Preparedness

     March is a month of transition. We can have all kinds of weather from ice and snow to tornados.  One day the temperature can be in the high eighties and the next the ground can be covered in snow. Whatever should occur, it is good to be prepared.

Since we have had more than our share of ice and snow this winter, it is not necessary to advise you on how to prepare for that. But, tornados should be upmost on our mind. Do you have a place in your home to provide adequate safety? Can you reach that place quickly when the sirens sound? Do you have pillows and blankets to cover yourself to try to prevent injuries? Do you have a battery operated weather radio and cell phone to call for help if needed? Do you have emergency phone numbers written close by the phone? Does everyone in your family know what to do in case of a tornado? Remember a tornado can occur at any time; Sometimes with little warning.

     During the spring months we should also be aware of floods. It only takes a little running water to sweep a car or person into a disaster.  Do not drive or walk into a swiftly moving stream. Do not cross water covered ramps or bridges. Call the highway patrol before you start on your trip. Remember, you only have one life, and so do the members of your family.

For emergency preparedness information go to http.disability.gov.register. Remember, "Don’t be scared. Be prepared."

The Craft Room Report

Co-Chair, Loretta Welch.

     I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Craft Room at the MCB Convention.  We had five different booths of Adaptive Technology.  Several people visited and there was a contest for a prize in Adaptive Technology.

     Our booth for Missouri Council was very successful.

We had several drawings for prizes  gathered from the places where Public Relations orders products and also from the town of Butler.  We sold Library Users tickets for our 50/50 drawing on Sunday at Convention.

     Phyllis Lovett and other individuals such as Angelo Trapasso had a booth with various products for sell.  There were several affiliates who had booths selling everything from candy to clothing.

     We strongly encourage many more of you to participate in next year’s convention to be held in Joplin.  Our thanks to Phyllis Lovett for being at our booth to help. 

MCB Convention-2011

Susan Sanderson

Convention Coordinator

October is fast approaching and it will again be time for Convention.  We will be gathering together at the Holiday Inn-Joplin, 3615 Range Line Road.  We have no host affiliate for this year and so the MCB board will be working to put together all the activities.  We will be asking all the members to help us.  Joplin Service Club has come forward and offered their services in helping with transportation around the city during the convention.  All affiliates help is needed.  If you can help please let me know my number is 660-826-8235 or my e-mail clown_4@hotmail.com.

     The dates for convention are October 14-16.  Place Holiday Inn-Joplin 3615 Range Line Road, Joplin. MO 417-782-1000.  What days filled with fun, fellowship and work.  Room rates are $89.00 a night plus tax and you are allowed up to 4 people per room.   Let’s start making our plans for lots and lots of fun at this year’s convention.

Bylaws/Resolutions Report

by Janelle Edwards

     It is my privilege to chair your Bylaws/Resolutions Committee.

     I want to take this opportunity to discuss procedures for submitting bylaw changes, and resolutions, for consideration at our next annual convention. It is my goal to make this process as simple as possible while still complying with our bylaws.

ARTICLE XI COMMITTEES Section 5 includes the following language: "Amendments to the Bylaws and Resolutions to be presented to the convention shall be sent to the Chairman in Braille and print and signed by two members no later than July fifteenth." When submitting resolutions, or bylaw amendments, the print copy and the braille copy must both be signed by the two MCB members proposing them.

If you have any questions or submissions, my contact information is in the Chronicle insert.

Public Relations

I want to thank the people for restoring part of the Public Relations Budget.  I did not overspend last year’s budget as was reported.  The raise in PR is not only for the present PR but also for the PR who will be elected in Joplin at this year’s MCB Convention.

My wife & I will be attending Legislative Days in March, Children’s Conference, Power Up Conference and the Board meeting coming up.  We handed out some products at the MCB Convention in October 2010.

I want to thank Linda Burris for serving on my committee.  She is a special lady and has helped me a lot. 

I will do my best to serve you well for this year.  Love and Prayers.  Leroy Welch, PR Chairman.

HATS OFF!

HATS OFF TO THE ST. LOUIS LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND…

Mary E. Ryder, a prominent St. Louisan, founded The Lighthouse for the Blind, originally known as Industrial Aid for the Blind, Inc., in 1933. Through her compassion and imagination, she identified the need for a place whereby the blind could count on developing new, productive skills while simultaneously earning a steady income.

Their first facility manufactured brooms, mops, doormats, and various other articles. In 1968, they began production of ballpoint pen cartridges for the government and other blind agencies.

In the 1980's, they added aerosol paints and liquid cleaner items to the product mix, and they were successful in obtaining a contract with General Services Administration (GSA) for the purchase of aerosol paint products.

As a result of this contract and new growth, they expanded from their main office to an additional satellite facility in Berkeley, Missouri. This new operation

Facilitated the addition of aerosol filling and packaging capabilities. This expansion allowed them to broaden their spectrum of products, provide greatly increased storage for production warehousing, and add a new maintenance area.

In 2002, they began producing large scale medical kits and recently added specialty bandage packaging and sterilization in 2010.

Currently, the Lighthouse holds over 20 contracts with Government agencies covering over 200 products. The current product mix includes Aerosol Cleaners,

Bio-based Cleaners, Liquid Cleaners, Office Cleaners, Maintenance Products, Repellent, Paints and Coatings, Medical Products, and the first Green Seal Certified Environmentally Preferred Cleaners.

To their knowledge, they are the only aerosol manufacturing facility in the world operated by primarily blind individuals.

In January of 2005, they launched the first of their See the Future programs. These programs have grown to include assistance to students in areas of technology

adaptations, activities of daily living skill development, professional career development for professionals in the field of vision, scholarships to educational and recreational camps, older adult assistance with low vision aids and, a mobile low vision clinic.

They are a member agency of the National Industries for the Blind and participate in the Ability One Program. Currently, between their two plants, they employ a total of 108 individuals, of which 65 are blind or visually impaired! Approximately 90% of their direct labor force is legally blind.

With their extensive growth, they continue to increase their employment opportunities and build upon their children's and adult programs.

In January of 2005, they launched the first of their See the Future programs. These programs have grown to include assistance to students in areas of technology adaptations, activities of daily living skill development, professional career development for professionals in the field of vision, scholarships to educational and recreational camps, older adult assistance with low vision aids and, a mobile low vision clinic.

These programs are available for those that are blind, legally blind, and function at the definition of blindness (FDB). FDB is defined as indicating blindness due to brain injury or dysfunction. An Optometrist or Ophthalmologist must confirm all vision impairments.

New to the Arts & Entertainment Program! The Lighthouse for the Blind and the Fox Theatre have partnered to bring descriptive audio shows back to the Fox Theater!

The Lighthouse will be offering to pay half the price of show tickets for a legally blind individual and their companion.

The St. Louis Lighthouse has recently made a donation of $32,500.00 to the MCB summer camp program.

     Thank you St. Louis Lighthouse for all you do for the blind of Missouri.  My hat is off to you!

From The Lower Left-Hand Drawer

Compiled by John Weidlich

 

   Many years ago, shortly after taking over as Editor of the Missouri Chronicle, Bill Benson began a new column that has become one of the most popular features of our magazine. It was a column of short news items of interest to blind people about such things as new products and services and accomplishments of MCB members.

This kind of information had appeared previously in the Chronicle going back to the days when Xena Johnson was Editor and similar columns can be found in many magazines. What made Bill’s column so unique was the clever and rather whimsical name that he gave to it. He called it From the Lower Left-Hand Drawer. Today the material for this column is largely collected on a computer rather than a drawer, and for all I know, there may never have been an actual drawer of any kind.  But somehow I always pictured Bill sitting at a desk with a serious look of concentration on his face, pulling open an enormous desk drawer, (a lower left-hand drawer of course,) and lifting out a huge stack of news items, trying to find just the right things to pass along to Chronicle readers.

Over the years, readers have learned about the latest in computer technology as well as sources for canes, cookbooks, bibles and religious material, travel opportunities, recorded books and periodicals, old time radio shows and much more. They have also read about what blind people are doing, their jobs, their hobbies and interests. Sadly, Bill has left us but his legacy will continue with this column and, in my opinion, its name should never change regardless of where the material comes from or how it is collected.  In my mind’s eye, it will always be found in the lower left-hand drawer.

Once again, it is my privilege to take on this column, as I did during the years that I was Chronicle Editor. I want to honor Bill’s memory by keeping this column alive and passing along news and information that you can use. The material included here is not endorsed or sponsored by me or by MCB, although I will be talking about some things which I have used and may give an opinion now and then.

The supply of stuff is a little slim this time but I will always be on the look-out for things that I feel will be of interest to you.  If you come across something that you think should be put in the drawer for inclusion here, please pass it along.  The best way to do that would probably be email or phone. My email address is weidlich@swbell.net and my phone number is 314 752-3031.

  But before we open the drawer and see what’s there, I would like to give a few of my personal memories of Bill Benson. I didn’t know Bill nearly as well as many of you, but I do have some fond memories of Bill. Bill graduated from MSB several years ahead of me so I didn’t know him when he was a student there, but my first memory of Bill is connected with the school. 

Bill and his friends had put together a very successful jazz band when he was attending the school. After he graduated, he came back to put together another band with some of the younger students. I played trumpet in that band and I remember that two of the songs we played were Caravan and September Song. I believe we also did a number called the C Jam Blues.  Bill’s dedication to his Alma Mater was well known through his work with the Alumni and the MSB Boosters. But when I think about Bill, I think primarily about music. By the standards of people making records played on the radio, I suppose you could say that Bill may not have been a great singer or pianist but Bill was a superb entertainer. He had that rare and wonderful ability to charm an audience and make sure they always had a good time when they came to the Cheshire to hear him play and sing. He could play many types of music and he loved making people laugh with comic songs that he either found or composed.

He was well known among St Louis musicians and music fans. He appeared often on KMOX and there were many articles about him in the newspaper.  He did more than just perform; he involved his audience. You could tell that he knew many of the regular customers at the lounge and that they knew and liked him. He played, he sang, he talked and he enjoyed himself. He also played the trumpet while accompanying himself on the piano, not an easy thing to do by any means. I think Bill enjoyed everything that he did, whether it was making music, editing the Chronicle, helping the kids at MSB or putting together the MSB Alumni Newsletter.

Those Alumni newsletters were fascinating compilations of voices and sounds from the past and interviews with former students and teachers. He was involved in many activities and everything he did was done with passion and enthusiasm. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by many people inside and outside the blind community. Now let’s see what’s in that famous drawer.

   The St Louis Society for the Blind is observing its 100th anniversary this year with several special events, one of which is going on right now.  The Society has brought an exhibit to St Louis from the American Printing House called In Touch with Knowledge: The Educational History of Blind People and Historic Braille Writers.

This is a traveling exhibit that has visited several cities and it is on display in St Louis through March 12. This hands-on exhibit showcases the many inventions and methods used in the past to teach reading, writing, geography, mathematics and science to blind students in the United States and other countries. The reading and writing section highlights the use of embossed print books, traces the development of Braille and the evolution of the Braille writer. Some of the items on display include the US Constitution in raised letters, the Hall Braille writer, and material in Moon Type and New York Point embossed writing. The geography section has everything from hand stitched maps to a talking globe. One of the fun items is a puzzle of the United States with removable pieces for each of the fifty states which are used to help blind children learn to identify the states by shape and by location on the map. There is also a math section with math slates, talking calculators and devices used to construct geometric figures. Finally, there is a science display containing models of animals and birds.

There is also information about the remarkable accomplishments of some famous blind scientists. All descriptions are in Braille or audio. The Society is encouraging blind people to serve as volunteers at the exhibit to answer questions for visitors.

   Anyone who knows me well probably knows that I have never been into physical exercise. However, I have been working out lately, thanks to a program operated by Paraquad called the Enabling Mobility Center. The EMC is a gym filled with exercise equipment, like weight machines, bicycles, a treadmill, an elliptical and other devices. It is for people with mobility disabilities. Several blind people in St Louis are participating in the program, including me. People typically come two or three days a week for an hour and a half. Trainers, physical therapists and students are always on hand to work with us and set up the equipment if we need help. The people there are very encouraging. They give us the help we need but also allow us to be as independent as we can be. If you live in the St. Louis area and want to know more about the program, call Paraquad at 314 289-4200.

     In its ongoing efforts to keep blind people up to date with the latest technology, National Braille Press has just released Getting Started with the iPhone, an introduction for Blind Users by Anna Dresner and Deane Martineau. In case you are out of the loop on this device, the iPhone is a cell phone that can also be used to do most things that computers can do, like send and receive email and go on the Internet. It comes with voice already installed. It has a flat screen but can be operated by blind people by learning where to touch the screen and using what are called hand gestures. There seems to be a lot of interest among blind people in this phone and if you are one of those using or thinking about learning to use the iPhone, this book could be very useful. It covers buying and configuring your phone, getting started, making calls, downloading and using applications, and using the iPhone as an iPod for music and podcasts. among other topics. The book is available in Braille, and audio or it can be downloaded from National Braille Press. The cost is $18.  To order, Call National Braille Press at 800 548-7323 or visit www.nbp.org.

     Reader’s Digest and Newsweek can now be downloaded from the American Printing House web site for playing on the new NLS player or on a device like the Victor Stream. Go to www.aph.org and follow the links to set up an account. If you find that you can’t play Newsweek on your Victor because you are not authorized to play the encrypted file, Aph suggests you contact Humanware to update your authorization key or you can use your NLS player if you have one.

   Terry Hayes Sales, a singer and actress who narrated talking books for APH for over sixty years, died on November 29. She was 94. She began recording talking books in 1938 and recorded over 900 books, including Little Women and the Nancy Drew books. Her last recording was in 2006. We also lost another

APH narrator this year with the passing of Fred Major, who also recorded several hundred books, including Crime and Punishment. A third talking book narrator, Flo Gibson also died recently; she recorded for the American Foundation For the Blind and produced commercial audiobooks. Books by all of these readers can be found on the BARD site.

  Db-review is an email list on which people review and discuss books they have read from the BARD site. The folks on this list seem to read just about anything, histories, biographies, mysteries, romances. classics, even children’s books. It is quite interesting to see how differently people react to and review the same book. To join send a blank email to db-review-subscribe@emissives.com

     Three new free technology-related correspondence courses are available from the Hadley School for the Blind, all involving the use of screen readers. The subjects are listening skills, web browsing and editing and formatting Word documents. For information visit www.hadley.edu.

  There is now an HD radio designed especially for use by blind people with lots of built-in accessibility. Called the Vision Free Radio, It was designed by Dice Electronics, with advice from blind consumers. The radio has a tuning knob which speaks frequencies and station call letters as you turn it and also indicates the availability of the extra HD stations. It has AM and FM and an alarm which can be set with speech. The downside is that we are paying a lot for accessibility since the radio sells for $250, plus $50 more for a stereo speaker. I have been told that the radio was so popular that it has been sold out and may no longer be available from Dice. However, I have also heard that it is being sold by Wall-Mart.  Dice is reportedly working on an improved model with new features, including the ability to get spoken information about artists and song titles, which are displayed on the screen. This would truly be a huge breakthrough and something that we have never previously been able to access. So stay tuned if you are interested in HD radio. You can contact Dice Electronics at 888 342-3999.

Ears for Eyes has produced a set of free cassettes giving instructions for learning such skills as travel, cooking, and household tasks to  people who have lost vision. To order, call Ears and Eyes at 800 843-686. The web site is www.earsforeyes.info.

     The American Foundation for the Blind’s Career Connect Web site now has the Job Seeker’s Tool kit, a free online course for unemployed blind adults, covering such topics as self awareness, career exploration, the employment process and interviews. Check it out at www.afb.org/careerconnect

  Here is a new source for white canes. www.bcanes.com, email bobel49@q.com, phone 402 727-5806.

   Stitch by Stitch: Sewing with Low Vision by Katheryn Hodges is now available in large print from Horizons for the Blind. It is designed for people with low vision who want to learn to sew, embroider or knit. To order, call 815 444-8800 or go to www.horizons-blind.org.

   The 2011 Edition of the Medicare and You handbook is now available in Braille or audiotape. The handbook covers Medicare basics, Medicare Part A and B, Medigap policies, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug coverage Plans, and your rights under Medicare. The book is easy to understand and gives lots of resources and information about what can be a very complex topic. To get it call 800 MEDICARE. That’s 800 633-4227. You can order the handbook in print using the automated system, but to get the Braille or tape edition, you need to say the word agent and speak to a customer service representative. The Braille edition comes in three soft cover volumes and mine came in three days.

  Would you like to be able to fly a plane? Its Your Plane is a software program that makes the Microsoft Flight Simulator program accessible to blind users. Using voice commands, you can fly a plane from the pre-flight check through landing and shut-down. A virtual co-pilot performs the maneuvers following commands that you give. To try this out, go to www.itsyourplane.com. Watch out. Don Shockley could be flying right over your house!

  On that scary note, I think we need to close the drawer for now. Don’t hesitate to send me anything that you think should be shared with other readers.

 

Attention: May I Have Your Attention? Please!

Missouri Assistive Technology– Show-Me Loans:  WorkAbility Loans

     Do you need to purchase a piece of assistive technology for employment reasons?   Are you looking for financing options?  Missouri Assistive Technology offers the Show-Me Loans, WorkAbility Loans (formerly Telework) to provide low-interest loans for Missourians with disabilities for the purpose of enabling them to continue to generate an income.  Here are some examples of what the WorkAbility Loans can fund: Business Equipment loan, Small business venture loan, or Assistive Technology (AT) to maintain or obtain employment.

     The WorkAbility loan is intended to purchase AT and equipment needed to work from home or other locations.  The program can assist eligible individuals with disabilities who need equipment in order to remove barriers to maintain or obtain employment. Some of the loans made through the program have been for devices such as a BrailleNote, Trekker GPS, and electronic print enlarging devices. Several borrowers utilized the MCB matching grant program to fund half of the device cost and used a Show-Me Loan to finance the remainder.

 

     The WorkAbility loans have a low interest rate from 2% - 4%.  An individual can borrow a minimum of $500 up to $10,000.  You can take up to five years to repay the loan.  Each individual can call our office to have a confidential call about projected monthly expenses and the process of applying.

 

     For more information on WorkAbility Loans contact:

Eileen Belton

Missouri Assistive Technology

1501 NW Jefferson St.

Blue Springs, MO 64015

800-647-8557 or 816-655-6702

E-mail:  Eileen.Belton@att.net

http://at.mo.gov/

 

CONGRATULATIONS

     The long time coordinator of the Missouri Assistive Technology program, Tap-I, Roselie Backer Thompson is retiring.  All of us at MCB want to say congratulations on your retirement and thank you for all of the service you have provided many of us over the past several years.  Although you will be missed we are sure that your replacement, Brenda Whitlock will step up and do a great job.

Enjoy your retirement Roselie!

Introducing ME!

By James Hollins

     Well, I decided I really don’t need to give a long drawn out introduction, because most of you know who I am already.  Yes it’s me, no you are not mistaken I did serve on your board for 4 years.  At the end of convention 2010, I gave that up and I do remember telling you I was not going any place.  I did not know I would be doing this though.  They decided to give the person who doesn’t talk much the job of editing your publication.  I have no intention on attempting to fill the shoes of our previous editor, but I intend to simply pick it up and keep forging forward. 

Instead of giving you a formal introduction, I thought I would take a little time and give you a snap shot of where this, your publication, is going.

In conversations recently about my new role as editor I have been asked if and how I plan to make changes to the Chronicle.  My answer has been “It is the people’s paper,” and with that I plan to give them what they want. One of the first things you will see is exclusive interviews with board members before and following board meetings.  I will ask questions that will keep the readers informed of important decisions being made the effect your organization.  In the effort to keep the reader informed you will begin to see more articles that come from you the members and your officers.  The purpose is to keep everyone up to speed of all things going on within your Missouri Council.

Another thing I am going to implement is the opportunity to hear feedback about what you read.  This will be called “letters to the Editor.”  Here readers will be able to submit letters asking questions for the editor to research an answer or in direct response to an article previously posted.  Of course this section will not serve as a means to bash or slander and any information will be verified to be true before reaching publication.  So begin thinking about what you know or want to know about your editor, this organization and those who run it.

The third thing is the new “Chronicle Snap Shot.”  This will be the half time report offered on the list serves from the editor made up of snap shots of what is going on while waiting for the next Chronicle issue to be released.  So if you have something your affiliate is preparing for and you can’t wait until the next issue, submit the announcement and they will all be posted at once in the new Snap Shot.  Keep in mind that the idea is to give people something to prepare for in the next issue without giving it all away.

     Next, be on the lookout for workshops and/or tips in the Chronicle about how to create and write a report correctly. This will challenge you to move away from English composition syndrome and into news reporting.  This is your paper and you want it to shine as such.  As your editor I want you to have the best of the best of all sides.

     Last are a couple of questions to you the reader or listener.  One of the changes that we are considering is how your publication is recorded.  So what I need is for those who are receiving the Chronicle via cassette to be in touch with me so I can begin and accurate count on who is listening. The fun does not stop there; I would also like to know whether or not you would like the idea of having a digital recording as opposed to a cassette? In the future, the Chronicle will be offered in this format as well as an option to download the recorded version direct from the website.

     Alright, I have kept you here long enough. I beg your forgiveness with my first issue, and ask you to hold on as the next few will likely bring more changes as I find my fit in this new role. If you have any questions feel free to contact me in whatever way works for you.  I thank you for this challenge and looking forward to reading your stories and answering your questions.