September 2015 Chronicle

September 2015 Chronicle

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

By Denny Huff

Greetings!  I hope this edition of the Missouri Chronicle finds all of you doing good and enjoying the end of summer. 

It's been a busy three months since the last edition of the Chronicle for a lot of us here at MCB and I want to say thanks to all of you that do the work you are doing to make MCB what it is.

As I reported in the last edition, Chris Gray and I have been invited to represent MCB on the MO Health Partnership Committee that meets every two months in Jefferson City.  Members of this committee include Family Service Division, MO HealthNet, Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of Senior and Disability Services, Missouri CLAIM, Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of Senior Programs, Care Connection for Aging Services, Department of Insurance and Financial Institution and Professional Registration, Missouri Veterans Commission, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services - Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, Missouri for Assisted Living Association, MO Kidney Program, Social Security Administration and MO Statewide Independent Living Council.

One of the goals of this committee is to network with these organizations and learn what each one does.  We gain valuable information in understanding how MO HealthNet works and how it affects blind pension recipients.

In our last meeting, Chris and I were invited to give a presentation of what the Missouri Council of the Blind does and the services we offer.  Chris and I spoke for about 20 minutes and we showed the MCB video.  There were a lot of questions at the end of our presentation and it seems as though they were really impressed with our summer camp program.  Let me inject here that whenever I give a presentation about MCB, I invariably get more questions about summer camp than anything else.  I know that there are a few that feel as though this program is too costly, but I believe it is one of the most important programs we have and it serves more of our members than any other program. If you have never attended one of our summer camps, then I encourage you to make plans to do so next year.

The committee was also very interested in our annual convention.  As a result of our presentation, the Missouri CLAIM will be added to the agenda for our upcoming convention in October.  CLAIM is the acronym for “Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri.  They will also have a booth set  up to allow you to stop by and ask questions that you might have about the blind pension, your MO HealthNet medical coverage or any other questions you might have about their services.  For more information about CLAIM you can go to www.medicaremissouri.com/missouri-claim.html.

One other thing about being on this committee is that if you have questions or problems with the blind pension, social security, veteran services, senior services or any other service provided by Missouri, then let Chris or I know and we can email your question to the committee and we will most likely get an answer immediately.  You can contact Chris by calling 314-832-7172 or email him at, chris@moblind.org.  My phone is 855-832-7172 and my email is dhuff@moblind.org.

I had the privilege of attending the closing program of the Youth Leadership Conference in Columbia this past July.  The Youth Leadership Conference includes not only visually impaired young people, but young people with various types of disabilities.  Our own Josh Starner was a part of this group along with about 25 other youngsters.

MCB was a sponsor of this conference and as I sat there listening to each young person speak about what they learned and to feel their enthusiasm, I was proud that MCB was partially responsible for this conference taking place.  I was inspired by their outlook on life even though the road ahead of them will be difficult to say the least.  One young man said something that I always try to convey to parents of children with any type of disability and that is to let your child be who they are, give them independence and although you want to protect them, let them go to explore the world on their own.  The worst thing you can do for them is to over protect them and not allow them to be independent and be who they are.  Thank you MCB for sponsoring this great conference.

Speaking of youth conferences, MCB will be hosting our own youth conference in August of next year.  I have been working with the youth services committee, the membership committee and the low vision committee to get this organized.  Although plans are incomplete at this time, we are hoping to have around 25 visually impaired young people from all over the state to participate.  If you know of a young person between the ages of 13 and 17, please let them know about this conference and to be watching for more details that will be forthcoming shortly.  My thanks to Jeff La Montia, Jannel Morris, Linda Gerken and James  Hollins for taking on this enormous project.

Along the line of the youth, let me also say that we are taking steps to encourage more young people to be a part of MCB.  One step we are taking is to amend our bylaws to include junior members under the age of 17.  The youth services committee has submitted an amendment proposal to allow all young people under the age of 17 to be a member of an affiliate or special interest affiliate.  The current bylaw only allows young people between the ages of 13 and 17 to be members and they want to open it to all ages.  We need to reach out to these youngsters at an early age and mentor them on the importance of being a part of an organization that works towards their future.

Another step we are taking is to bring back the Kids Club during our convention.  This will be on Saturday during the convention and will allow the parents of these children to be in the general session that day.  For more information please contact Linda Gerken at lindag@iland.net.

We are also having a teen time during the banquet time on Saturday night.  I know that when I was a teenager I didn't like sitting in with the old fuddy duddy's and I'm sure our young people feel the same way today.  So during the adult banquet on Saturday night, teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 will be invited to participate in their own activities.  Sorry adults, but this is open to teens only.  Again, for more information contact Linda Gerken.

For those of you that are receiving the Chronicle on cassette tape this will soon be changing.  We are getting closer to making the Chronicle available in daisy format and distributing the Chronicle on digital cartridge.  The cartridge will be taking the place of the cassette tape and distribution will work similar to the books you receive from the National Library Service.  If you don't currently have a book reader that plays the digital cartridge, then please contact the office and they will assist you in receiving one of the free book readers.  All of you that are currently receiving the Chronicle in cassette format will be sent a letter further explaining the transition process.

Something I would like for all of you to think about is our name, the Missouri Council of the Blind.  I was invited to speak to a group of eye doctors recently that specialize in low vision.  After my presentation they stated that they didn't know we also served people with low vision, they thought that according to our name we only serviced people that were blind.  I believe that this is also how the general public portrays MCB and they don't realize that we serve all legally blind residents of Missouri.  I don't think we need to change our name legally, but rather start including the words, visually impaired in our publications and promotional material.  We can say that we are the Missouri Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired.  I understand that technically a person that wears glasses is visually impaired, but I don't believe that they would consider themselves to be, so adding those words to our name most likely would not give the impression that we service those people also.  I would appreciate any feedback you might have on the name change.

I was able to visit several affiliates in the past three months which includes Tiger Council, Blind of Central Missouri, Delta Area, River City Workers and Southeast Missouri Blind Club.  I always enjoy visiting our affiliates and meeting the members.  It also gives me a good outlook on what the affiliates are doing and encourages me to try and do more for MCB and our members.

I am looking forward to our convention coming up in October.  Our guest speaker will be Eric Bridges of ACB speaking to us about advocacy.  We will also have a time on Friday afternoon to hear from the various agencies that service the blind in Missouri.  This will be our first opportunity to meet the new director of Wolfner Library, Donna Riegel.  I hope that all of you will make her feel welcome.

Also on the agenda that afternoon will be representatives from Rehab Services for the Blind, Missouri Assistive Technology and Alphapointe.  All of the agencies will be available afterwards for you to visit with them and ask questions or express any concerns you might have.

In addition to these agencies, we will have a representative from Sprint, Justin Eddings, and he will be speaking to us about what Sprint has to offer the visually impaired in Missouri.

This year we will also be electing three new directors, a public relations chair and a treasurer.  Hopefully some of the candidates will be posting their candidacy announcement in the Chronicle, but if not, we will be holding a candidates forum conference call on Sunday afternoon, September 20 at 2:00.  The number to call for the candidates forum is, 218-548-8268 and the pass code is, 26273#.  I encourage as many of you as possible to join us so you can hear what these candidates have to offer MCB.  I certainly hope that if you are considering running for one of these offices that you too will join us.

Earlier I alluded to the summer camp we have each year at Cobblestone Lodge and again, I encourage you to try and attend next year.  I was able to visit the camp for a couple of hours in July and met some of the attendees.  This year we had some new faces and I hope that they will join us again next year.  I also met with the Laytons and the camp committee to talk about our camp for next year.  I'm sure the camp committee chair, Beverly Kaskadden will be giving you the dates for next year's schedule and revising the applications online.  Let me say thanks to her and the committee for the work they do in making this possible.  I will also say that Cobblestone has agreed to donate some time at Cobblestone to our auction during the convention this year.  So if you enjoy Cobblestone and would like to go there some other time besides the weeks we sponsor, be sure and attend the auction and make your bid.

It seems as though my report has been very lengthy this time but there was a lot I wanted to tell you about.  Just one more item I want to talk about is our White Cane Walk we are having in October.  I am sure that Wilma will be telling you more about it later in the Chronicle, but let me encourage you to be a part of it this year.  I have been approached about concerns for blind pedestrians being struck by vehicles while crossing the street.  We hope that the White Cane Walk will help to bring attention to the laws surrounding the white cane and guide dogs.  Each year our president proclaims October 15 as White Cane Safety Day.  In conjunction with this we will have our awareness day on Saturday, October 10.  There are several affiliates participating across the state and I hope that if your affiliate isn't committed to do so at this time that you will consider hosting a walk in your area.  It isn't too late to do so, just let Wilma know you want to take part and she will get you up to date.  Wilma's contact phone is, 314) 873-9022.  Her email is, wilmachouse@gmail.com.  Thank you Wilma for doing all you are doing.

In closing let me say God Bless each one of you and your families.  I certainly covet your prayers as I continue to try and lead this great organization called the Missouri Council of the Blind.

Denny Huff

PO Box 515

St. Clair, MO

855-832-7172

DHuff@MoBlind.Org

 

 

AFFILIATE NEWS

Blind of Central Missouri

By Joe Morgan, President

 

Hello from Sedalia.  I am writing this report from Cobblestone."  Camp is going great and we are getting a break from the heat.  We held our picnic on June 28, 2015.  President Denny Huff attended along with his guests.  It was enjoyed by everyone and the fried chicken was especially good.  Everyone enjoyed the swimming party we had after supper. We have a money raffle under way and by the time you read this three people will be richer.  The drawing will be held on August 20.  Now some sad news to report, one of our long time members, Kenneth Kretzer passed away on July 11.  We also have two new members, Nick and Sarah Cason. They moved here from Jefferson City. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer. Until next time keep smiling!

 

Ozark Association of the Blind

By Yvonne Schnitzler

 

Our new President, Joe Dobbs, plans to recruit new members and find a way to raise funds to continue our donations helping others.  If anyone has ideas, please let us know.

 

Seven members are looking forward to attending the convention in Kansas City.  Ida Scotti and Yvonne Schnitzler were in Dallas for the ACB convention.  It was a super convention with fantastic speakers, informative sessions, meetings, and educational tours.  The highlight for many was the speaker Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese activist who inspired millions with the story of his fight for justice and freedom in China.  His interpreter, Danica Mills, translated as he spoke. The Assembly was mesmerized.  It is a must read book for anyone who believes or wants to believe in the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle.  I highly recommend his book, “The Barefoot Lawyer”. I spoke with him and was delighted he signed my book in Chinese.

 

Queen City Council for the Blind

By Marilyn Tuso

 

Happy summer and greetings from the Queen City Council for the Blind!  I want to take a moment to welcome all our new members; we are excited that you joined us!  I wanted to share a couple bits of information from the past few months.  In May we had a Police Officer come to our meeting to discuss with us, "Safety in our Homes."

 

In June we enjoyed lunch at Ziggie's.  YUM!! During the month of July, three of our members attended Camp Cobblestone up near Cuba, Missouri. We also talked about the upcoming convention which is being held in Kansas City in September.  We will finalize the plans at our August meeting.

 

One more thing, here's a big shout out to all members that were recognized as "Member of the Month".

 

Tiger Talk

By DeAnna Noriega

 

The Tigers have been so busy that members felt as if they were chasing their tails with both a June regular business meeting on the 12th and summer picnic on the 27th. Secretary Noriega was away training with a new guide dog.  Enzo is a 2 year old German Shepherd and was delighted to meet golden retrievers Kedzie and Keeper at the picnic. Immediate past President Gretchen Maune has been flitting around the country flying to Washington D.C. and Alabama for work related trips.  She also squeezed in attending the ACB National Convention. If that weren’t enough, she volunteered to serve as our Tiger Walk captain for October 10.  President Morris planned her vacation to attend a session of the MCB Summer Camp.  Tigers retired to the shade and skipped having a July meeting. It has been a humid hot summer for all, but Tigers are up to the jungle heat and rain getting back to business in August!

 

Tower Club of the Blind

By Felicia Booker, Tower Club Secretary

 

The Tower Club has had a difficult year with the loss of Jessie Clark, Marie Kelly, Robert Tuckson and Charles Coburn.  These people will be forever
remembered and in our hearts.

 

The Tower Club congratulates Sharyl Townson for being chosen employee of the year at Light House of the Blind.  We are continuing our community outreach with Missouri School for the Blind and two nursing homes.  One of our newest ventures is helping out at a food pantry. 

 

We are looking forward to co-hosting the 2016 Convention with UWB at the Sheraton Chalet Westport in St Louis.  We will have more exciting information in the future.  We look forward to seeing everyone in Kansas City.

 

IN MEMORIAM:  Marie Kelly, Past President of Tower Club

 

On May 15, 2015, Marie Kelly, past president of the tower club passed away.  She was 91 years old. Jesuita Tabor, current Tower Club president says, "Marie always had a super tenacity and was a phenomenal leader".  Marie was one of the original charter members of the Tower Club in 1958.  She served as its president for over 20 years.  Marie enrolled in the MSB in 1940 and graduated in 1948.  She attended Stowe Teacher College where she took business courses for two years.  She taught braille and basic literacy to blind adults.  She was a library narrator of talking books for the Missouri Council for the Blind.  She was the first Afro American appointed to the Board of Directors of the Service Club of the Blind.

 

Marie's daughter, Gloria Davis, wants her mother to be remembered as a leader who was active in organizations that championed equal rights on behalf of the handicapped and blind.  A person who traveled to Jefferson City on numerous occasions to influence legislation and advocate for laws to benefit the blind and handicapped.  She was a recipient of numerous awards and accolades for her service throughout the years; a collector of music boxes, talking clocks and dolls from around the world; and a lover of music from all genres.  Above all else, she was a phenomenal cook who cherished good food; kept a neat and organized home and lived by the mantra “put that back where you found it!!!”  Marie is survived by her daughter in Chicago and two sons here in Missouri.

 

Delta Area News

 

On May 26, we had our monthly affiliate meeting.  We are in the process of updating our bylaws.  We have also been reviewing applications for the Lola B. Garner Scholarship Grant.

 

At our June 23 meeting, we had a special guest.  The MCB President,   Denny Huff, along with Darren and Carla Bone made the trip to Southeast Missouri.  Denny gave the members an MCB update and answered various questions.  Several members were interested in Denny’s i-phone so he gave us a short demonstration.  After the meeting, several members along with Denny, Darren and Carla Bone went to Lambert’s restaurant for some of those delicious throwed rolls.  We at Delta Area would like to thank Denny for his interest in Delta Area and extend an open invitation for him, Darren and Carla to come back again anytime. 

 

On June 27, Delta Area Members were invited to River City Workers annual picnic.  We met at the Cape South Park in Cape Girardeau, Mo.  We had a great day visiting with the Cape group along with members from Poplar Bluff and our President, Denny Huff, his driver Darren Bone and his wife Carla.  We would like to thank the River City Workers for an awesome day of food and fun!

 

Several Delta Area members are getting excited about going to camp in July.  As I am writing this report, I am counting down the days until I can relax at Camp Cobblestone.  Our members elected not to have a meeting in July because the meeting date fell in the week that several members will be gone to camp.

 

Our next meeting is scheduled for August 25 at 10:30.  We hope everyone has a safe and happy rest of the summer!

 

 

COMMITTEES REPORTING

MCB Scholarship Committee Report

 

By Wanda Matlock

 

The MCB Scholarship Committee held a meeting via conference call on May 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm.  The purpose of the meeting was to review applications and choose the recipients for the 2015-2016 school year.  The MCB Scholarship Committee received a total of 8 applications for the MCB Scholarship.  We are pleased to report that we were able to grant scholarships to 6 applicants.  We would like to encourage anyone that needs assistance with continuing their education and meets the MCB guidelines, to apply for the MCB Scholarship Grant next year.  MCB Scholarship Committee members are Wanda Matlock, Patti Schonlau and Brittney Stovall

 

Building Committee

By Charles Johnson, Building Committee Chairperson

 

The Building Committee has been busy hosting various activities such as an open house, meetings, game days and dinners.  The building is in great shape and we are continuing to make more improvements.  We welcome our new committee member Robert Vaughn.  Robert has excellent ideas, is very helpful and extremely knowledgeable.  A special thanks to other members Jack Lenk and Angelo Trapasso for their dedicated service.  This is your building so please feel free to plan your future events here.

 

Youth Services and Membership Committees

 

As most of you know, MCB is on a mission to get younger members involved in the organization.  In order to do this, Youth Services and the Membership Committee have come up with a plan to host a youth night during convention.  This will be a time for the younger members to get together, have fun, and have youth level discussions about MCB or other related issues.  Therefore we are requesting assistance from all affiliates.  If each affiliate would donate $25 dollars then this money could be used to purchase needed items for the youth night during convention and promoting MCB to younger members.  We would prefer to have donations sent to the MCB office by September 1, 2015, but will of course take donations any time.  Donations can be specially marked for Youth Services Youth Night.  If you have any questions please contact Linda Gerkin or Jannel Morris.

 

ATI News

By Darrel Vickers, President

 

Hello Everyone.  This year’s annual convention will soon be upon us so I want to take this time to outline at least part of the agenda. 

 

Election of Officers:  We will need to elect a new Treasurer and Vice president.  Term limits are up for both officers.  If you are interested in running, please let me know.

 

Proposed bylaw changes:

 

Section 1. The objective of ATI is to further the education of the legally blind of Missouri in the field of adaptive technology.

 

Add sub section A and B to section 1

Section 1. The objective of ATI is to further the education of the legally blind in the field of adaptive technology.

 

Section 1- sub section A:

To raise public awareness of the need for adaptive technology for all blind persons.

 

Section 1 - Sub Section B:

To assist, encourage and support businesses and entrepreneurs in the further development of adaptive technology.

 

Article 2 No changes.

 

ARTICLE III.  MEMBERSHIP

 

Section 1. ATI shall hold membership in the Missouri Council of the Blind Incorporated.

It's membership shall be that of a Special Interest affiliate of the Council.  As a Special Interest affiliate, ATI shall not have a vote on the

Board of the Council.

 

Section 2. A majority of the membership of this Organization shall be legally blind.

 

Section 3. All members of ATI shall have the privilege of participating in the programs and projects of the Organization and shall be encouraged to assist with them.

 

Section 4. Membership in ATI is open to any resident of Missouri, at least thirteen years of age, who remits the first year's dues and a letter requesting membership, to the ATI's Vice President.

 

Section 5 currently reads.

The annual dues shall be ten dollars, payable to the Treasurer, on or before October 31 of each year.

 

Section 6. Members whose dues are not paid by October 31 shall automatically be dropped from membership.  Any member of ATI may be dropped from membership, with justifiable cause, by a two-thirds vote of the votes cast.

 

Propose changing section 5 to read as follows.

The amount of the dues shall be determined by the membership.

 

Propose changing the date dues do from October 31 to August 1.

 

This is for 2 reasons.

1. ATI's dues to MCB are due on September first.

2. It takes up valuable time at the annual meeting to collect the dues.

 

ARTICLE X.

AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

 

These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the votes cast provided the proposed amendment has been submitted for publication in the summer News Letter in writing and signed by two members of ATI. These amendments shall be discussed at the annual meeting and shall be voted on for acceptance at that time.

 

Proposed Changes BE changed at the annual meeting to also include a special meeting either in person or via a conference call meeting.

 

End of proposed changes.

Signed

Darrel Vickers

Beverly Kaskadden

 

Note: The bylaws can be read in their entirety on our website. http://ati.moblind.org

 

We currently do not have a guest speaker lined up. I am working on an idea for someone but their schedule may not work out. So if anyone has an idea please let me know.

 

Vendor Room:  As part of our bylaws, we are responsible for the vendor room at the convention. As of this writing we are contacting vendors. We will need some volunteers to act as a host. The vendor room will be open this year as follows; Thursday, 12 pm to 6 pm and Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.  Please let me or one of the other officers know when you will be able to work.

 

Fund Raising:  We plan to sell 50/50 raffle tickets.  They will be a dollar a piece or six for five dollars. You will be able to get tickets to sell from me at the convention.  The drawing will be Saturday afternoon in the main meeting hall.

 

Door Prizes:  We will be donating a ten dollar prize for MCB plus a couple of handmade items from me.  We will also have an attendance prize of twenty dollars at our meeting for one of our members.

 

Conference Call:  Pleas try to attend our monthly call on the second Wednesday of the month. I am sorry I missed July. I forgot I would be out of town. I will email the number to call a couple of days before the day of the call.  See you at convention if not before.

 

Craft Room

By Loretta Welch

 

I will once again be the Chairman in the Craft Room this year at the MCB Convention.  We want to have a very good Craft Room, so please get in touch with me if you need a table.  Homemade crafts are the only products to be sold in the Craft Room. 

The Craft Room will be open on Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and again on Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and again from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  If you are interested in having your own table, please call me at 660-679-5429 or you can write me at Loretta Welch, 7251 N.W. County Rd. 3001, Butler, MO 64730.  Thanks to everyone for your cooperation.  We look forward to seeing you in October!

 

ALD Reminder

By Mary Hale, Dual Vision and Hearing Loss Chair

 

Being able to hear voices is one thing, but actually understanding the words spoken is entirely different.  Please remember that MCB has assistance listening devices (ALD) available for during the MCB Convention in October.  They are available to help anyone who also has a hearing loss in addition to blindness.  Please also remember that you need to check on the registration form that you would like one reserved for you. There are only a limited number available and they are on a first come basis when you send in your registration or you can still call the MCB office. You’ll need to turn in your state ID when picking up your ALD at the registration table.  Your state id returned to you at the end of the convention. Looking forward to seeing and hearing you there!

 

Member of the Month

By Yvonne Schnitzler, Member of the Month Chair

 

Congratulations to the Members of the Month. MCB thanks them for their involvement in our organization and their community.  It is only because of members willing to step forward when there is a need that MCB will grow and be a vibrant organization of which we can all be proud. Many in the Council fit this description and deserve to be recognized as member of the month.  Please nominate them.

 

Jesuita Tabor is March Member of the Month. Jesuita is President of the Tower Club and its representative on the MCB Board.  She has been active in Legislation at the State and National level. Jesuita spends her time and untiring energy helping the MCB, her church, and community.  She is a cheerful, enthusiastic volunteer not only for MCB but in caring for the needs of the lonely and those less fortunate in the area. Thanks to Mary Pendleton for nominating Jesuita.

 

Sabrina Fowler is April Member of the Month nominated by Joe Morgan.  Some may remember Sabrina elected as Queen of the MSB in 1974. Sabrina is President and Board Representative for the River City Workers.  She was also a member of Southeast United Blind and the Allied Workers. Sabrina served on and chaired many committees. She was Chairperson of the MCB Resolutions and Bylaws Committee.  She is active in her church and the community and serves on the Board of the Good Shepherd Outreach Center for the Blind.  Sabrina was the first Employee of the Year and cited on another occasion for her dedicated work and inspiring attitude; once from the Kansas City Association for the Blind (now Alphapointe) and Alphapointe.  She attended the National Industries for the Blind Convention in Chicago and Washington, D.C. where she experienced a picture perfect moment when she was photographed speaking and shaking hands with President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

 

Joshua Starner, a student at the Missouri School for the Blind, is the May Member of the Month, nominated by his affiliate, the Blind of Central Missouri. Josh is President of the Senior Beta team and served as Vice President on the Junior Beta team. He plans to run for President of the National Beta Club his senior year. Josh has taken advantage of all the opportunities offered at MSB. He performed with the MSB percussion group at the National Beta Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. They placed first when the Senior Beta team competed in a talent competition at the State Convention in Branson. He is on the forensics team, a group that gives speeches and takes part in the Braille Challenge each year. This year, Josh was invited to perform a goal ball demonstration at the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum. In the sports program, he has been active in track and field, goal ball, cheerleading, wrestling, and swimming.

As a young boy, Josh wanted to become a police officer. When he realized the limitations of his disability, he decided to be a lawyer. After graduation from MSB in 2016, Josh plans to go to college and study criminal or entertainment law. With Josh’s enthusiasm and ambition, we know he will continue to excel and be successful in whatever field he aspires to study.
 

Member of the Month for June is Jeannie Halphin. Jeannie has served as Public Relations Chairman for the BCM and recruited new people for membership in the club. She helps at meetings and conventions whether it is running errands or helping with refreshments.  Jeannie volunteers for the West-Central Independent Living Solutions, the group that transports BCM members to the meetings. She assists members when they arrive and leave and guides them to the meeting area. Jeannie is that cheerful, thoughtful person that every affiliate would like to have in their group.

 

Braille Revival League of Missouri at a Glance

By Marvelena Quesada, First Vice-President

 

I would like to give all of you a quick overview of what has and still is happening with BRLM.  We have had a busy, productive and exciting year so far and still have more events to come.  We began the year by hosting a commemorative gathering at the MCB office in honor of Louis Braille's birthday.  Sometimes, it can be nice to get together and remember what a great achievement braille is and how important it is in all our lives.

 

For fundraisers, we held two Game Day events at the MCB office.  There were roughly 25 people who attended each and the fundraisers were a success!  We played Pass the Trash, and all enjoyed themselves.

 

Don't forget to pick up Raffle tickets for the 50/50 Raffle which will be held at this year's convention in Kansas City.  Tickets are $1 each, or six for $5.  Also, you don't want to miss our convention raffle.  For $5 per ticket, you have a chance to win a free, two-night stay at the 2016 convention in St. Louis. Contact a BRLM member for more details.

 

As we did last year, we gave $100 to Missouri's participant in the National Braille Challenge earlier this year.  Our candidate was Richard Tyraner and he did Missouri proud.

 

We also held an essay contest for children from grades seven through twelve. The theme is how braille has made a positive impact on their lives.  We are expecting many participants and consider this a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the possible future leadership of BRLM.  The winner will be invited to the BRLM luncheon at this year's upcoming convention.  Speaking of our luncheon, it will be on Saturday October 3 and we look forward to seeing you all then.  You don't want to miss John Weidlich and Jack Lenk doing their hilarious and spirited performance of "who's on first".  If it is half as funny as last year, you will be in stitches!  We will have tickets for the 50-50 drawing and a grand prize raffle for two nights paid at the 2016 convention at the luncheon as well.

 

In closing, BRLM has had a busy first half of 2015.  We look forward to more of the same and invite you to share our activities at convention in Kansas City.

A Blast from the Past!

By Yvonne Schnitzler, MCB Historian

 

History of MFB, MCB First Logo

Many older members might remember this bit of history but some will not. This is an article describing the MFB, MCB's first logo and its very important meaning. The logo was changed a few years ago. I am trying to find out the history of why the logo was changed and who chose the design. The following article was written by Alma Murphey and will be in the MCB History Book.

 

The MFB Logo Design

by Alma Murphey

June 1966 was the first print Missouri Chronicle edition to come out with the new look. Previously we could only afford mimeograph copies. It displayed the new logo designed by one of our sited members, Henry Heier, a distinguished artist. Henry explained the logo in this way.

“The emblem is circular in shape about the size of a half dollar. The background is black. The letters MFB (at that time we were the Missouri Federation of the Blind) are designed in such a way as to appear slightly raised and centered within the circle. A shaft of white light from above cuts through this sphere of black, shines over and through the MFB letters, and extends to the bottom edge of the circle and beyond in an ever widening beam of white.”

Heier says, “The black circle represents blindness with all its many problems; and the slightly raised effect of the letters indicate that the MFB opened, arose from, came into being because of these many people with like problems and a common goal. The shaft of light approaches from above the circle of darkness and is, first of all, a spiritual light. As it travels down through the circle, it becomes the light of knowledge, of wisdom and brotherly love and the light of hope for the future. It figuratively light a pathway to the Missouri Federation of the Blind and shines upon it as hope for the future.”  (1991 The Chronicle “Twenty-Five Years Ago” written by Alma Murphey)

 

Wolfner Advisory Council News Summer 2015

By Darrel Vickers, Wolfner Advisory Board Chairman

 

Wolfner Library contact numbers are (573) 751-8720 and toll free (800) 392-2614.  If you do not have computer access, please call one of the numbers above and ask for a reading advisor.

 

New! Android App:  The Bard Android app. is out of beta testing and available for download from the Google Play Store.

 

Magazines Available from Wolfner Library:  Below is a list of magazines we have begun to offer to our patrons. These are meant to supplement the NLS magazine on cartridge program.  These are generally recorded by other NLS network libraries throughout the nation.  We have gotten permission to access their audio files and make copies to circulate to our patrons.  Circulation of these is much the same as the NLS magazine on cartridge program in that a patron must return the cartridge in order to receive the next issue of the magazine.  Each cartridge will contain one issue from one magazine title.  Wolfner patrons may call their reader advisors and subscribe to the below titles, as many or as few as they wish.

 

AARP Magazine (MMA4) – Subjects of interest to senior citizens. (Formerly Modern Maturity)

AARP News Bulletin (ARP4) – Legislative news of interest to retired people, health care and costs, and Social Security.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (AHM4) - Suspense, mystery, and intrigue by well-known authors; reprints of classic tales; story contests, puzzles, and book reviews.

Arthritis Today (ARH4) -The Magazine for Help and Hope.

Audubon (AUD4) – Wildlife news from around the world and articles on contemporary issues related to biodiversity and endangered ecosystems.

Better Homes and Gardens (BHG4) - Practical advice on home and money management, with recipes, how-to-do-it home plans, and decorating ideas.

Current Biography (CUR4) - Articles about newsworthy individuals in politics, sciences, arts, labor, and industry; brief obituaries.

Good Old Days (GLD4) – Articles written by older Americans about experiences and memories from their childhood.

Guideposts (GDP4) – Interfaith inspirational stories.

Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine (HDM4) – Stories for ages 4-7.  Also contains jokes, poems, games and activities.

Midwest Living (MWL4) – Contains articles on gardening, history, travel, and recipes. Focus on Midwest lifestyles.

Missouri Conservationist (MOC4)-  The magazine focuses on conservation and outdoor recreation in Missouri.

Missouri Resources (MOR4) – Missouri environmental issues.

Playboy Magazine (PBY4) – Entertainment for men featuring humor, advice, party jokes, cutting edge fiction, revealing interviews with celebrated personalities, special insights into the world of sports, politics, business, and the arts, tips on fashion, lifestyle, movies books and music.

Popular Science (PSC4) - New products, trends, and practical applications of science and technology.

Redbook (RED4) – Topics include fiction, child rearing, family relations, home decoration ideas, fashion and beauty hints.

Reminisce (REM4) – General interest articles with sentimental reflections on the past.

Saturday Evening Post (SEP4) – General interest magazine containing humor, fiction, and nonfiction articles.

Seventeen (SVT4) – Tailored for women in their late teens and early twenties and highlights information on fitness, food, cars, college, careers, talent, entertainment, fiction and crucial personal and global issues.

Smithsonian (SMT4) – Articles about science, natural history, archaeology, art, history, ecology, and news of events at the Smithsonian Institution.

Southern Living (SOL4) – Gardening, history, travel and recipes. Focus on the Southern style of life.

Time (TIM4) -Short articles on politics and other general-interest topics. Regular columns included book, film, and music reviews and articles about famous personalities.

Wild West (WWT4) – Art, culture, history and personalities of the Old West.

Your Dog (YDG4) - Canine behavior, health medicine, dentistry, and new products for dogs. A newsletter published by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

 

Here are a few of my own recommendations of books I liked.

 

Political Fiction

Absolute Power DB41882  Baldacci, David.

Reading time: 16 hours, 35 minutes. Read by Roy Avers.  Description:  At sixty-six, with several jail terms behind him, Luther Whitney has decided this will be his last robbery. Everything goes according to plan--until Christine Sullivan comes home unexpectedly. Luther quickly hides in the walk-in safe and discovers it contains a one-way window. Soon Luther finds himself witnessing a brutal murder involving the president of the United States. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller.

 

Suspense Fiction, Mystery and Detective Stories

Endangered: a Joe Pickett novel DB81105  Box, C. J.

Reading time: 10 hours, 19 minutes. Read by John Jessup. Description:  When Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett's adopted daughter April is found severely battered and unconscious in a ditch, he immediately suspects Dallas Cates--April's rodeo-cowboy boyfriend. As April's condition remains critical, Mrs. Cates begins an intense campaign to protect her son. Violence and some strong language. 2015.

 

Romance

Silver thaw: a Mystic Creek novel DB80945  Anderson, Catherine, (Adeline Catherine).

Reading time: 11 hours, 35 minutes. Read by Kristin Allison. Description: To escape her sadistic husband, Amanda and her daughter flee to Mystic Creek, Oregon. The fresh start is rough, however, and Amanda copes by writing her rough, however, and Amanda copes by writing her thoughts down and tossing them into the wind. Neighbor Jeb discovers them and helps the pair. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.  2015

 

General

Mink River: a novel DBC00562  Doyle, Brian.

Reading time: 10 hours, 50 minutes.
Read by John Ogliore. A production of Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.  Description: In a small fictional town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter. It's the tale of a town, written in a distinct and lyrical voice, and readers will close the book more than a little sad to leave the village of Neawanaka, on the west coast of Oregon, beneath the hills that used to boast the biggest trees in the history of the world. Some strong language and descriptions of sex.

 

Disability, Human Relations, Young Adult

Blind sighted DB55570  Moore, Peter.

Reading time: 7 hours, 7 minutes.  Read by Erik Sandvold. Description: Eleventh-grader Kirk Tobak is moody and bored with school, his alcoholic mother, and druggie friends. His job reading for an independent young blind woman, with whom he discusses his problems, gives Kirk new insights. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2002.

 

Animals and Wildlife, Nature and the Environment

Owls aren't wise & bats aren't blind: a naturalist debunks our favorite fallacies about wildlife DB51666  Shedd, Warner.

Reading time: 16 hours, 5 minutes. Read by Gary Telles. Description: Distinguishes myths and misconceptions from authentic animal traits and behaviors for thirty familiar North American species. Presents facts and anecdotes about the beaver, muskrat, flying squirrel, porcupine, opossum, armadillo, crow and raven, raccoon, coyote, wolf, black bear, bison, and others, collected during the author's career as a naturalist. 2000.

 

Music Appreciation and History, Biography of Musicians and Composers

Positively 4th street: the lives and times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña DB52658  Hajdu, David.

Reading time: 12 hours, 49 minutes. Read by Robert O'Keefe. Description:  Based on hundreds of interviews, Hajdu's work scrutinizes the interpersonal relationships of Joan and Mimi Baez, Bob Dylan, and Richard Fariña and shows how the four emerged from the Greenwich Village coffeehouse folk music scene to become influential pop singers of the 1960s. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2001.

 

Humor

Meely LaBauve: a novel DB51539  Wells, Ken.

Reading time: 5 hours, 23 minutes.  Read by Rick Foucheux. Description:  Fifteen-year-old Emile "Meely" LaBauve leads an adventurous life in the bayous with his beloved gator-hunting Cajun daddy. But Meely ends up in jail and his father on the lam after the latest of their numerous run-ins with the law. Some explicit descriptions of sex, some violence, and some strong language. 2000.

 

War and the Military

Carrier: a guided tour of an aircraft carrier DB49536 Clancy, Tom.

Reading time: 20 hours, 42 minutes.  Read by Ralph Lowenstein.  Description:  History of the men and machines that comprise naval aviation. Describes the design and capabilities of aircraft carriers, as well as the role they play in international policy. Follows activities of the crew aboard the USS George Washington as they complete exercises in the Persian Gulf. 1999.

 

Email: darrel@ww4b.org and Phone: 636-667-3176.  Note this is an ATT cell number and ATT has free Mobile to Mobile calls so please do not hesitate to call me if I can help you in any way.

 

Your Missouri Council of the Blind New Image Thrift Store Report

By Jeff La Montia, General Manager

 

      Hello to you from all of us here at Your Missouri Council of the Blind New Image Thrift Store!  We hope you all enjoyed a wonderful summer with your families and those close to you!  Can you believe that in December of this year it will be four years since we have opened our doors??  How time flies when you are having fun!  You will be happy to know that we continue to experience growth and success as we have come along.  This is a testament to the hard work that our Team, including all of our Volunteers, has put into Your Thrift Store!  Collectively, everyone has done an exceptional job in propelling your thrift store into what it is today; a store you can all be proud to have at the Missouri Council of the Blind and a true gem in the Springfield community!

 

      At this time, I would like to provide you with a brief overall snapshot of how we are currently doing in fiscal year 2014-2015.  With each year that has passed, we have continued to show improvement across that board which has led up to what has been the best year since we opened!  Of note, since I am writing this to you in late July, all values for this fiscal year are projected as we have a little over one month left to go before we finish.  This year, our income is projected to close out in the $755,000 ballpark, which is pretty reasonable considering that we have not been open on Sundays since July of 2014.  We have continued to experience a rise in the average sale per customer over the past year, which has been instrumental.  In fact, a long time goal of an average sale per customer of $10 was finally reached in June of 2015 when we finished out at $10.02 per customer for the month!  It should also be noted that for 8 consecutive months (November 2014-June 2015) we have witnessed an average sale per customer of over $9 during each month with that value rising each month.  This is a great achievement and one that goes back to the hard work our Production and Sales Floor Teams have put into your thrift store.  In order for your store to continue growing, it will be crucial that we satisfy the pallet and the needs of each individual that walks through the door.  This will ensure that more dollars are spent by each customer on a daily basis.  Now, let’s take a look at expenses.  This year, we project to close out at roughly $723,500 in expenses of which is a dramatic decrease over what we saw during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.  This is tremendous and has been accomplished by a combination of processes/factors.  First off, we have spent much time cross-training all members of our Team in various departments and areas of your store.  Second, our Volunteer program has grown immensely, allowing our Team to function much more efficiently and effectively.  Third, we have greatly relied upon technology and industry knowledge to further enhance and streamline your operation.  Fourth, we have cut costs across the board in areas from supplies, truck/vehicle fuel (you can thank the fall of oil prices for that along with the use of GPS technology for route planning), payroll, and more.  With all of that being said, your thrift store stands to profit over $31,000 this year, which will make it the most successful year we have witnessed.  In reality, it can take a few years before a new business realizes a profit and at the end of our third full year in operation, we have done it!  Our work is not over as we still have a long way to go, but this next year (fiscal 2015-2016) is slated to be a breakout year as income continues to experience an overall uptick and expenses have been reined in such that we can blossom!  So, I hope you all are as excited as we are!

 

      As we continue to experience growth, we also must continue to expand our donor program utilizing our onsite Call Center.  We know that with growth comes the added pressure to bring in the goods to meet customer demand.  Donations all across the board have successfully risen during the past year to meet the added demand of items ranging from clothing, furniture, appliances, books, electronics, decorations, cookware, lighting, and more.  In fact, overall donation levels at your store have increased roughly 18% from the current fiscal year compared to the last fiscal year!  This increase can be attributed to more individuals and organizations getting to know where we are located and who we are coupled with how well our donor coordinators are doing in our onsite Call Center!

 

      As we expand our footprint across the Missouri Ozarks, it has become more imperative that we work with other charitable organizations as they may also have items that we need.  The other side of working with charitable organizations in our community is that in some form or another, we are all supporting a cause or are benefiting those in need!  In many ways, through donations and partnerships, we have developed a tighter bond with many giving organizations and people throughout the greater Springfield community! 

 

      Speaking of the community, your thrift store is making quite a name for itself as a place that provides mentoring, encouragement, job training and skills, and hope for individuals who need the help!  We have been able to make a huge impact with individuals who have been in and out of trouble with law enforcement officials, those who suffer with alcohol and drug abuse, folks who have lost everything in a natural or accidental disaster, those who are homeless, individuals who live with learning and/or other mental disabilities, and folks who fall under a variety of other disability categories.  Over the past year, we have been recognized by the Missouri Career Center, the Springfield Community Alternative Sentencing Program (CASP), and Alternative Opportunities for our efforts in helping folks generate the skills to join or rejoin the workforce.  While we are most certainly a fund generator for our beloved organization and cause, it is also important to remember that we must also do everything we can to be good stewards to the community that has graciously gone out of its’ way to help us!  We would like to report to you a very recent shining example of an individual who has come through these doors as a Volunteer and is now joining the workforce.  We will not mention his name, but this individual displays one of the biggest hearts that I have ever witnessed in my life.  I can tell you that this gentleman does have a mental disability and has lived through more in his life than most can imagine.  For the last eight months, this person, through his own volition, has volunteered his time here a total of 15 hours each week (three days per week).  He is extremely diligent, caring, good with donors/customers, and has a drive that most do not.  Regardless of the circumstance, he brings no excuses to the table and is always willing to perform his best.  Never once was he late, not even by a minute, for his shift and he always did everything he could for his Team.  His concern was that he would not be hired by any employer because of his disability, but on Friday, August 7, he will be joining Academy Sports of Springfield as a paid employee!  Its days like this that you will always look back upon and know that you truly helped someone that certainly deserved it!

 

      We really enjoy keeping you all updated on the status of your store, outreach, and our employees.  It continues to be a pleasure knowing that our Team here in Springfield is making such a positive impact on the Missouri Council of the Blind as well as the community in which we live!  I would like to express a Big Thank You to our entire Team here at the store and to those of you who have been there supporting us along the way!  To Mike Keller, our President Denny Huff, and the members of the Thrift Committee, we would like to personally recognize each of you for your service and commitment to our beloved thrift store.  You all have been extremely instrumental in helping us get to where we are today and for that, I would like to say Thank You! 

 

ANNOUNCING CANDIDATES

 

Seeking Nomination for Treasurer of MCB

By Robert Vaughn

 

With this notice I am announcing my candidacy for the office of MCB Treasurer.  The office of treasurer is a very important position.  If elected, I will work to save MCB money and will also do my best to make as much of our finances available to the programs that benefit our members and their families as possible.  Programs include, but are not limited to, Adaptive Technology, Children's Services and Summer camp, just to name a few.

 

I have served on a Board of Directors for a thrift store, had my own business selling products for the blind, and have been an adaptive technology and computer user/trainer for the last 18 years.  I'm also currently serving as President of UWB and the Chairman for the MCB Adaptive Technology Grant Committee.

 

I believe these experiences will enable me to be a good and productive treasurer for MCB. I have both the computer and the business skills to do the right things for the organization.  Thank you for your support.  Sincerely, Robert Vaughn.

 

Public Relations

By Wilma Chestnut-House, PR

 

I, Wilma Chestnut-House, am running for the position of Public Relations Director again.  This past year representing MCB has been great.  I took this job on as I would have taken on a position with full payment.  I hope the things that I have done and that you have heard about has proven to you that I can do the job.

 

I already have plans for the next two years.  One of the things that I plan to do is attend some of the universities and meet with the person over the disability departments so that I can be introduced to the blind students.  I will set up some meetings with the students and tell them about MCB.  This is just one of the things to build up membership.  I will go to Power-Up and the places that we usually attend, but I am looking to get our information out to new places.

 

I am working on starting up a special interest group concerning sports and recreation.  This should help bring in some young people.  At age 18-30, a lot of us are more interested in fun than learning and understanding about certain issues that concerned us as blind individuals.  We need that youth to help carry on our cause.

 

Once again, I am asking for your support in October.

Thank you, Wilma Chestnut-House, PR and Agape Council of the Blind President

 

CLAIM

By Judy Keseman, Manager, Outreach and Call Center

 

Each year during Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7, beneficiaries begin to identify areas of confusion and questions they need answered before enrolling. 

Here are several questions to consider adding to your list:

 

  • What do I do if I am enrolled in Medicare but not a Medicare Part D Plan?
  • What do I do if I am enrolled in Medicare and currently enrolled in a non-benchmark Part D Plan?
  • What do I do if I am enrolled in Medicare and have employer-sponsored or other third-party insurance plan?
  • How do I change to a different Part D Plan?
  • How do I get help paying for Medicare Part D Plan premiums, deductibles, and co-pays?
  • Who do I contact to help me enroll in a Part D Plan?
  • Who do I contact for information about Long Term Care assistance? 
  • What agencies and programs in my community could enhance my daily living?

 

You will find the answers to these questions and more when you attend the Missouri Council of the Blind Convention October 2 – 4, 2015 in Kansas City.

 

Representatives from MO HealthNet, CLAIM (State Health Insurance Assistance Program), AAA (Area Agency on Aging), and the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program will be in attendance and eager to answer your questions.  Don’t miss this chance to learn valuable information about services to positively impact your life.

 

MINUTES

Missouri Council of the Blind

Spring Board Meeting - April 18, 2015

Holiday Inn Kansas City, MO

DRAFT Minutes

 

The meeting was called to order at 9 a.m. by President Denny Huff.

 

Denny Huff led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Chip Hailey led us in prayer.

 

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. Members in attendance are listed at the end of this report.

 

The agenda was approved.

 

A motion was made and seconded to go into closed session. The motion was adopted.

 

The executive session adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

 

The president reported that during executive session, salary increases were approved for the Office Manager and Executive Director.

 

The open session was called to order by President Denny Huff at 11:20 a.m.

 

Denny welcomed Executive Director, Chris Gray and online listeners.

 

Guests introduced themselves.

 

President's Report

]Denny Huff reported that there has been quite a bit of activity since we last got together. Several legislative issues, going to Legislative Days and also Chris, Wilma, and Denny went to the capital to present the Adaptive Technology presentation.  Although things have been crazy with MCB work and his own work he said that it has been a good three months. 

 

He met with the Braille Revival League on a conference call and they would like to have a braille essay contest this was done three or four years ago and it went over very good. The Braille Revival League would like to sponsor it and they would like to give out a nice prize to the winner of the essay contest.  It was suggested that a Perkins Braille writer be given as the prize. He asked the Board to consider. He asked for a motion. There was some discussion as to whether it would be the old or new Perkins Braille Writer?

 

A motion was made and seconded to purchase a Perkins Braille writer for the essay prize. Jose Lopez amended the motion to award a $500 cash prize instead. The amendment was adopted. The motion to give the Braille Revival League $500 for a first prize for the Braille essay contest was adopted.

 

Denny mentioned that the Thrift Store is seeking to get its own 501c3 that would be separate from MCB. The bylaws have been drawn up and they protect MCB from the thrift store saying later that they want to support somebody else or whatever, the bylaws are drawn up in such a way that we are protected so that they can’t ever do that. Mike Keller has filed with the Secretary of State. The Board gave the thrift store permission to do this in 2011. The main reason for doing this is the liability issue. Because if someone falls at the store, breaks a leg or has some other complaint and files a lawsuit then MCB is responsible.  With this separation, the thrift store would be responsible. Denny said that it would take almost a year to make that complete process change and to separate the two. It's in process and hopefully will be done shortly. Denny took questions from the Board.  No update on the strategic plan; it is still in process but not very far along yet.

 

Michael Keller made a motion to name the Braille essay contest after one of MCB’s founders, naming it the Alma Murphy Braille Contest. The motion was adopted.

 

Executive Director's Report

Chris talked about Blind Pension improvements. We have finally made some headway.  The new relationship that MCB and blind pension recipients have with the family support division, through this new specialized office in Warrenton, is working pretty well. However, there are still issues. There are a lot of blind folks who have not yet been transferred to Warrenton and they are still having some of the same problems that he has been talking about since he came to Missouri. But for those who have been transferred, and for those whose cases he raises in Warrenton, things are getting better. Things are being handled in a timely manner and decisions are being made more appropriately for the blind recipients. People are receiving assistance in filling out forms.  We really are in a very different place today then we were and we all realize that this is due in a large part because of the Missouri Council of the Blind.  We saw something was wrong here, and set about a remedy.  Finally, FSD paid attention to us and are paying more attention to Blind Pension and SAB recipients today. He said that he will continue to monitor, but there is really great improvement.  Denny mentioned the demos in Jefferson City and Chris said that was a fun experience.  The Legislative Seminar and the Disability Rights day were a success. He was one of the people who spoke at the Awareness Day Rally. . He thought it went well,  and he thought it provided a lot of great visibility to MCB and a chance to put blind folks in the mix with other disability groups, and have us all be together working together, toward the same ends. 

 

In the office, they continue to assist affiliates in various stages of their requests for 501c3 statuses.  About two weeks ago they submitted a 501c3 renewal for the Adaptive Technology group. They are consulting with affiliates and trying to help them work on either getting their first 501c3 nonprofit status or renewing the ones they may have had before but have gone by the wayside. This is a service that the MCB office can provide. Those applications are done between Chris and Virginia. He closely monitors how the applications are going, and exactly what wording we use on them. He coordinates that with the MCB affiliate, and the office is a resource to help them get on track with their nonprofit status which is so important to everyone in MCB. During the legislative seminar, president's meeting, and various events in Washington D.C. and Arlington Virginia he did some consulting with Denny and he hopes we are happy about it.

 

He signed us up for the ACB walk this year. Melvin Smith has graciously agreed to help again with the walk. We can be good family members of the American Council of the Blind, and we can bring some dollars to Missouri by participating as walkers, by sponsoring walkers, and by encouraging our friends to sponsor walkers. Melvin did a superb job a couple of years ago and if he wasn't the biggest winner in the whole ACB he was right on top, Melvin said `number one.` It is our goal for MCB to be number one again this year and ACB was really glad to have us back this year. He talked about grant writing. He said that we have a relationship with Foundation Search. He managed through applications and letters identifying organizations to generate a small amount of money in grant funding for MCB between five and six thousand dollars which is much less than he would like. Getting grants is one very good way for the organization to bring in new revenue, the organization to balance its revenue, and expenditure needs, the organization to strengthen all of its programs. He sent a proposal in our board packets which would allow MCB to take advantage of a lady who does grant writing for ACB. He thought he would use the grant researcher from ACB, Jo Steigerwald, to work with him to identify a couple of program areas and then go out and identify several target people through Foundation Search and see if we could get some traction, get them to know us and hopefully help us with grant activity and grant funding. Jo Steigerwald works at a rate of $30 an hour. The funding would come out of the budget line item 660 which is $2500. He proposed that we try her services for 20 or 30 hours, maybe longer if things work out, but not over the $2500.00. Chris took questions from the Board on this topic. DeAnna Noriega made Chris's recommendation from the packet letter that the Board consider giving this strategy a try contracting with Jo Steigerwald for an initial 40 hours to test this approach in to a motion. The total cost would be $1200. The motion was adopted.

 

Denny mentioned that we are closer to getting a grant for putting the MCB Chronicle on to digital cartridges.  The grant has been filed we should have it within the next few months.

 

The Minutes for November 24, 2014, December 11, 2014 and February 9, 2015 were approved.

 

We took a short lunch break.

 

Treasurer's Report

William Hawkins reported that on February 9, the Board approved transferring our investments from Wells Fargo to Raymond James Investors. He spoke to James Pohlman this week and that transfer is complete now. We also made the decision back in August to move to Rickhoff he said we have successfully gotten through that transfer and that transfer is complete. He had to put some things in place to help with communication, but he thinks where we are right now we are in good shape. The Board should start to receive reports on time. Moving to Rickhoff has helped MCB with many accounting matters and helps keep us in compliance with the IRS as of the close of business yesterday, April 17, 2015, checking account balances were $13,107.03 for MCB Checking and $26,904.88 for the thrift store checking.

 

US Bank Investments

The Budget and Finance Committee met with the group at US Bank on January 16 and made a few adjustments to the investment policy on the real estate side. As of the close of business yesterday, the balance in that account is $1,329,402.01. William talked about the Ballman Family Trust.  MCB owns 5% of the Ballman Family Trust and we received $72,500 this year.  We are receiving $1700 to $1800 per year from the Edna May Larson Fund. Our Raymond James account balances are $364,401.00 and $2,119,427.39 for the other two accounts. We are receiving an 11.9% return on these dollars.  We are receiving a return of 9.1% at US Bank.

 

Donations

St. Louis Firing Squad:  Wilma Chestnut-House talked about the Firing Squad beeper baseball team. They are asking for a $1000 donation. Jose Lopez moved that we donate $1000 to the Firing Squad. The motion was adopted.

 

Children's Vision Summit:  Wilma Chestnut-House moved to give the Children's Vision Summit $1500.  It will come out of the Youth Services line item. The motion was adopted.

 

ACB Walk:  Melvin Smith asked for a donation of $1000 for the ACB Walk. Affiliates and special interest group members could also give donations.  He would like for MCB to be `number one` again. Chip Hailey moved that we donate $1000 for the ACB Walk for Melvin Smith. The motion was adopted.

 

Missouri Youth Leadership Forum:  Jesuita Tabor moved that we donate $1500 to the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum. This will also come out of the Youth Services line item. The motion was adopted.

 

ACB Breakfast Caucus

Denny Huff spoke on the suggestion that the Missouri Council of the Blind have a breakfast caucus at the ACB Convention where the candidates could come and talk about how they plan to help ACB. It would be held on Wednesday, or Thursday, during the convention.  The cost would be around $1100.  DeAnna Noriega moved that we have the breakfast caucus at the ACB convention.  After considerable discussion a roll call vote was taken. The motion was defeated by a 12-10 vote.

 

ACB Auction Item

MCB gave $100 last year for an auction item.  Jose Lopez moved that we spend no more than $100 this year. The motion was adopted.  Chris Gray will purchase and present the item.

 

Affiliate Grants

Jesuita Tabor moved that we rescind the motion to give new affiliates a $500 grant for the first three years. The motion was adopted.

 

Thrift Store Report

Michael Keller reported the Articles of Incorporation for the MCB Thrift Store has been drawn up. He worked with his attorney, Shawn Clancy, and he did this probono. Next, he will work on obtaining 501(c) 3 status with the help of Ruben and Brown.  Revenue since the start of the new fiscal year, September 1, 2014, was $444,410 which includes 48,700 customers.  $150,523 was in clothing sales, which is the largest sales item. February was a rough month for the store, especially the last 2 weeks because they had to close three days due to ice and snow.  March revenue was $63,427.00.  Projected income for this year is $790,000 with projected expenses of $755,500 and 86,500 projected customers. The store is averaging $9.13 per customer.  Last year’s average was $8.84 per customer. Their goal is $10.  Store rent is $12,183 per month.  Mike talked about Triple Net.  Most malls have this and it includes insurance, taxes, and any improvements to the complex which gets spread over existing stores in the mall.  There are 2 or 3 empty stores not paying anything.  The thrift store has the most square footage so they pick up around 20% of the cost for the empty stores. The owner is allowing them to pay this over 12 months.  Expenses were cut by $87,000 last year. The store was paying for trash as part of the Triple Net but they were also paying for their own trash so the next time around $3,600 will be taken out of the Triple Net payment and they won't have to pay this again  They are paying $300 a month for trash.  Mike answered questions from Board members and guests. Steps have been taken to form a Thrift Store Board in which three MCB members will serve.

 

Policies

MCB Life Member Award Guidelines:  A question was raised because the way it was currently drafted, staff members and/or the Executive Director would not be eligible to be nominated for an ACB life member award.  Jesuita Tabor offered an amendment to this policy that an MCB member or staff member would not have to be an ACB committee member and could be nominated for this award.  The amendment was adopted and the guidelines were approved as amended.

 

No nominees have been presented yet.  Denny extended the deadline for this year to June 1.

 

Youth Camp Guidelines

Linda Coccovizzo thought there might be a need to make a change in the Youth Services Camp Funding Guidelines in the policy manual. The limit for a child is $600 per year and that child can attend only one camp. She asked why a child can only attend one camp.  Denny said that more children could be served if we allow the youth to go to only one camp.  No motion was put forth to change the guidelines.

 

Fund Raising Opportunity

Wilma Chestnut-House said that she has a legal postage stamp with the MCB logo. The cost is $20 per sheet of 20 stamps. If 50 sheets are bought through MCB members, MCB will get $250 and 1000 stamps with the MCB logo will be in circulation. She thinks that this will be a great fund raiser and she will put the information on the chat list. She has 10 people committed to purchase stamps. Sweatshirts will be sold again this fall and they will have colors other than white. She had a copy of the stamp for anyone to view. Also on May 3, 14 ladies will run/walk with the Delta Gamma Center for Children with visual impairments. Their shirts will have “Missouri Council of the Blind Run for Sight with the Delta Gamma Center”.

A motion was made to adjourn.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 1:46PM.

 

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan

 

From the Lower Left-Hand Drawer

By John Weidlich

 

Well, I am happy to say that the drawer is open again and filled with lots of good information. I apologize for missing the column in June but I had a good reason. I went into the hospital on April 29 and by the time I got home, it was way past the deadline. So much for waiting until the last minute to submit an article, right? Word of advice: Don’t get pneumonia if you can avoid it, especially not the kind I had. It really does lay you low for weeks. But I am back and ready to write again so here goes. Enjoy.

 

News from Mind’s Eye: You no longer have to listen to the Mind’s Eye Radio Reading Service on one of those sometimes unreliable radios. You don’t even have to live in St Louis. If you have one of the new Victor Stream Readers and you have a wifi connection, you can listen to Mind’s Eye on the Internet Radio. Go to the Internet Radio option, select Search on ootunes, go to search by name and type in Mind’s Eye. You can also make it one of your favorites and put it in your favorite’s playlist.  Don’t have a Victor Stream or wifi? You can listen by telephone by calling (712) 832-8111. You can listen to the live broadcast or select archived broadcasts of some of the more popular programs, like the St Louis newspapers. You can also listen on the web site which is www.mindseyeradio.org. If you need help with any of this, email mwessel@mindseyeradio.org.

 

New resource For Veterans: rebuilding Together is looking for veterans with disabilities who need home repairs. These can include roofs, electrical work, plumbing, painting, and home modifications like handrails and grab bars. This program is for residents of St Louis, St Charles, Franklin and Jefferson Counties and the city of St Louis. For more information, contact Jessie Conner, jconner@rebuildingtogether-stl.org Phone: 314 918-9918, Ext. 10.

 

New From NBP: As usual, National Braille Press has several new items. The first one is Anyone Can Play: Accessible Games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This book describes a number of accessible iDevice game apps. It costs $12.00 in various formats. The next one is Everything You Need to Know to Use Mac with Yosemite and VoiceOver by Janet Ingber, which is a guide for Apple Macintosh computer users. It covers Apple Mail, Safari, iTunes, TextEdit and more. Cost: $22 in various formats. And coming soon:  Apple TV with VoiceOver: the Definitive Guide by Jonathan Mosen. This book will tell you what you need to do in order to use Apple TV with Voiceover. The cost will be $15.00. There are also new recipe books and lots of new books for children. To order any of the gbooks or to find out what else is available from NBP, contact National Braille Press at (800) 548-7323 or visit the web site www.nbp.org

 

Need to get some exercise? Blind Alive is a new company that provides workouts specifically designed for people who are blind. Several titles are available as digital downloads and some are available on CD from Amazon. For more information call (570) 212-9979 and leave a message. Their web site is www.blindalive.com

 

General Electric is selling a kit of Braille overlays for its new Artistry Electric range. This was developed with help from students of the Kentucky School for the Blind to make the range’s oven and cooktop controls accessible to blind customers. The kit costs $15.75 and comes in black or white to match the color of the range. For more information, call the GE Answer Center at (800) 626-200 or contact a local dealer.

 

Visus Labels, Inc. is marketing a system of adhesive labels with tactile patterns for identifying food containers, medicines and household items. The Visus Touch Classification Kit is intended for people who are not able to use Braille. Each kit comes with ninety labels and a set of instructions. The kit costs $34.95 for paper labels and $39.95 for heavier plastic labels. For more information, call (800) 310-4157 or go to www.visuslabels.com

 

The Hadley School has a new six lesson course called Transitioning to Unified English Braille which explains the changes in Braille that we will be seeing in books and magazines next year. To enroll, contact Hadley Student Services at (800) 526-9909 or visit the website www.hadley.edu

 

The American Printing House for the Blind offers Tactile Clothing Tape to use to put Braille information on clothing and linens. The Braille information will remain after the clothing goes through automatic washers and dryers. The package, which contains tape, safety pins and instructions, costs $59.00. Contact APH at (800) 223-1839.

 

APH has launched a new Products Showcase Shopping Site, featuring forty of its most popular products, including the Book Port, and the Color test talking color identifier. The website is www.showcase.aph..org

Freedom Scientific offers the Topaz PHD, a portable version of its Topaz desktop video magnifier, available in 12-inch or 15-inch models. For more information, contact Freedom Scientific at (800) 444-4443.

 

HumanWare is introducing a new version of its GPS device the Trekker Breeze called the Trekker breeze Plus. It retains the controls and command structure of the original model, but the Trekker Breeze plus has longer battery life and will perform better in large open areas and areas containing tall buildings. The new model costs $799 but owners of the original Trekker Breeze can get an upgrade for $199.00. Call HumanWare toll-free at (800) 722-3393.

 

Three very popular and prolific Talking Book narrators have recently retired from the Talking Book Program: Mitzi Friedlander, Roy Avers and Ray Hagen. During her 53 year career as a narrator, Mitzi Friedlander recorded more than 2,000 titles. Beginning in 1962, she has recorded books in many genres, including classics like Gone with the Wind, romances and mysteries. Roy Avers began recording for APH in 1961. He was the first winner of the Alexander Scourby Award in 1990. He studied Theater Arts in college and sang with the Louisville Opera Company. He recorded 1,750 titles. Health problems forced him to retire and he is currently under hospice care. Ray Hagen recorded books for 42 years. He also performed on and off Broadway. He recorded more than 450 books. His most ambitious book was On the Air, the Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio, which was 84 hours long. Many books by each of these excellent narrators can be downloaded from the BARD website.

 

The 6dot Braille Label Maker is a new powerful yet portable machine that can create Braille labels in any language. Use it to label practically anything at home, at school or in an office.  It has a built-in Braille keyboard and can be connected to a QWERTY keyboard. It has an automatic cutter and can be operated on battery or with an electric adapter. To learn more, visit www.6dot.com

 

Have you ever needed someone to be your eyes in an emergency, to help you find something you have dropped or to read something in print? Be My Eyes is an app that links visually impaired users with sighted helpers by phone using Face Time. When users access the app for help with a visual task, they are connected to a sighted volunteer who can be their eyes. Be My Eyes is available through the App Store.

 

According to an article in Wired Magazine, students at Birmingham City University have developed a camera-equipped smart cane called the Explorer that includes both GPS and facial recognition software that can help blind people recognize people. The cane’s software uses photos from gmail and other sites to identify people from up to 32 feet away. The person’s name and location is then fed to the blind user’s earpiece. The cane’s camera scans the user’s environment to help the user avoid obstacles and navigate busy streets. The Explorer is currently a prototype but researchers are hoping to find investors to help make it a commercial product.

 

Doctors at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute have developed a new implant that they believe may be a major breakthrough in the treatment of glaucoma. The new procedure focuses on the brain and not just the eye. Glaucoma is what is called a neurodegenerative disease. Vision cells in the eye deteriorate during glaucoma just as brain cells die in Alzheimer’s disease. Traditional treatment for glaucoma has focused on treating the front of the eye but the new procedure treats the back of the eye and its connections to the brain. Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg believes that a standard molecule called CNTF is the key to the treatment of glaucoma. The molecule is found all through the brain.  Dr. Goldberg is testing an implanted device that increases the amount of CNTF in the eyes of patients in the hope that it will stop the progress of the disease and possibly restore vision. In the past, the CNTF molecule had to be injected repeatedly into the eye. The implant, inserted into the white of the eye contains cells that produce the molecule and pumps it in to the eye, thus eliminating the need for the injections. The procedure takes about fifteen minutes and seems to have no side effects. The implant could work for a year or more before needing to be replaced. Right now, this implant is in the trial phase involving just a few patients so we will have to wait for more results.

 

The CLAIM program is a network of volunteers located in local communities who help people with questions about Medicare and related programs. CLAIM stands for Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri. Trained counselors provide free, unbiased advocacy, education and assistance to help people make informed decisions about Medicare and related health insurance issues. The toll-free call center is open weekdays from 9:00-4:00. The number to call to be referred to a local counselor is (800) 390-3330.

 

The T-Fal grill is an electric grill that is accessible to the blind. The grill uses tones that allow a person who is blind to know when the food being grilled is done. For example, if you are cooking a steak, tones indicate when the meat is rare, medium rare, etc. The grill also beeps when it is preheated and ready for cooking. The grill has settings for defrost, hamburger, hot dogs, fish, sandwiches and steaks. The price is around $150 and is available from Bed, Bath and Beyond, Wal-Mart and on Amazon.

 

By the time you read this, Windows Ten will have been released. (I don’t know what happened to windows Nine. Maybe Windows Eight was so bad that they decided to skip Nine completely.) Freedom Scientific says that the latest versions of JAWS and Magic are compatible with the newest version of Windows.

 

Finally, I want to share something I found quite interesting in an article from Esquire magazine that was reprinted in the Spring issue of Choice Magazine Listening. The article is The Road to mars by Chris Jones which discusses the many effects of lack of gravity being observed in astronauts who have been aboard the International Space Station for six months. Some but not all of the astronauts have experienced a conditions that scientists have dubbed ocular Syndrome or Vision Impairment and Intracranial Pressure, (VIIP.) This involves startling changes in vision that go away when the astronauts return home. The current theory is that increased pressure in the brain caused by fluid shifts in the brain due to prolonged lack of gravity may be damaging the retinas or optic nerves of some but not all astronauts. Future one year missions on board the craft will help doctors chart these vision changes. The effect of gravity loss on the body may level off in time improve or may become worse. There is some evidence that Ocular syndrome affects only men astronauts and only in the right eye. Far more men than women have gone into space, which may explain this or there may be some fundamental difference in the eyes of men and women or between the brain’s hemispheres.  This could have serious implications for future long voyages into space that might take years. Could astronauts reach mars but not be able to see? If the condition truly does not affect women, perhaps   crews on long space voyages might have to consist of sighted women and blind men?  Stay tuned.

See you in December.