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GCB Digest Winter 2010 (Text Version)

THE GCB DIGEST A Publication of the GEORGIA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind An Organization Promoting a Hand Up Not a Hand Out! WINTER, 2010 GCB Office 850 Gaines School Road Athens, GA 30605 GCB President: Alice Ritchhart 125 Willow Pond Way Brunswick, GA 31525 912-261-9833, Toll Free: 877-667-6815 E-Mail: alice.ritchhart@comcast.net Editor: Ann Sims, 3361 Whitney Avenue Hapeville, GA 30354, 404-767-1792 E-Mail, teacherann@bellsouth.net Assistant Editor: Jerrie Ricks, 1307 Chester Place McDonough, GA 30252, 770-898-9036; E-Mail, jerrie_ricks@bellsouth.net GCB Webmaster: Steven Longmire WWW.georgiacounciloftheblind.org TABLE OF CONTENTS From Your Editor: by Ann Sims ------------------------------------3 President’s Message: by Alice Ritchhart ------------------------4 October, 2009 GCB Board Meeting Minutes: by Robin Oliver ---------------------------------------------------------6 Report from the Treasurer: by Jerrie Toney ------------------11 Blindness Day at the State Capitol: Submitted by Casey Owens and Reported by Stephanie Scott ----------------------13 2010 GCB Committees: Submitted by Alice Ritchhart -----15 Highlights of the 2010 GCB State Conference-Convention: by Judy Presley -------------------------------------------------------15 GCB Awards and Guidelines --------------------------------------17 Let’s Talk GCB: by Alice Ritchhart -------------------------------20 GCB Chapter Roundup ---------------------------------------------21 News Briefs and Announcements --------------------------------28 From Your Editor, Ann Sims Greetings, GCB family. We thank each one who has submitted articles in this issue of our magazine. The next issue should be sent out in June, and the articles need to be received by May 15, 2010. If you have any change of address, telephone number, email address, desired change of format, please inform our GCB treasurer, Jerrie Toney, at jmt2@bellsouth.net or via telephone at 706-549-2010. At our last GCB state convention in August, we voted to change our Constitution and Bylaws for chapter members to pay dues no later than October, and those dues from the chapter members to be sent in by each chapter treasurer by November 15, to the GCB treasurer. Members at large are to send their dues directly to the GCB treasurer. Almost everyone made that change, and this is helping the GCB treasurer to get the information to the national office in time. If you have not sent in your dues, please do so promptly, as Jerrie Toney is working on the new, updated 2010 GCB roster. The state and national dues are $12.00 per person. Chapters have different amounts for local dues which are retained in their affiliates. These dues cover membership from January through December of 2010. Please make your check payable to GCB and mail to treasurer Jerrie Toney, 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, GA 30605. Thank you for rejoining GCB in 2010, and thank you for our new members. We are looking forward to getting acquainted. Welcome to our newest chapter, Atlanta West, meeting in Carolton on the second Saturday at Ryan’s restaurant. At the January GCB state board meeting, this chapter received its Certificate of Affiliation. We welcome you to the GCB family and are looking forward to working with you and getting to know you better. PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE A Tribute to an Advocate By Alice Ritchhart As we begin 2010 advocating for several key pieces of legislation that will have an impact on the blind in Georgia, I would like to take the time to reflect on one of our young members who was a great advocate for us. I met Brian Leighton in Macon at a GCB board meeting back in 2003. It was Jack Lewis who introduced me to him as the president of the new Savannah Council of the Blind. The chapter presented its Constitution and membership roster and was granted its Charter that very day. Brian told me he did not know much, but he was going to work hard to improve things for people who are blind. He wasted no time in getting started with his commitment. He not only was an effective leader for the newly established chapter, but he arranged to meet with MacArthur Jarrett, then president of the Chatham National Federation of the Blind. Brian insisted that they join forces with their two organizations to more adequately meet the needs of the blind and disabled in Savannah. Once this alliance was formed, Brian, Mac, and both organizations got busy making a difference in their community. First they began working with the traffic engineers to get an audio pedestrian signal turned back on at a major intersection close to the Savannah Association of the Blind. A citizen had complained that the signal was too loud, and so the city had turned it off. Brian and Mac were able to convince the authorities that the signal was an absolute imperative and could be controlled to keep the neighbors happy as well. He and the Savannah Council of the Blind then convinced the city to put into place a plan to install additional audio pedestrian signals at vital intersections. To show their appreciation, Brian and the Savannah Council presented the head of traffic engineering with an award expressing gratitude for his efforts. Soon afterward Brian, along with his group and the Chatham NFB organization, cooperated with the Mayor’s Committee on Disabilities in meeting with the city council and mayor to point out all the areas in which the city was out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. They also took the opportunity to advocate for the city to hire an ADA coordinator. Once again the group was successful in its endeavors as the city hired an ADA coordinator in 2007. While president of the Savannah Council of the Blind, Brian Leighton worked hard with members and blind individuals who needed help advocating for VR services and Social Security. As president he also continued to represent the council on the Mayor’s Committee on Disabilities, served on the board for LIFE (Living Independent For Everyone), and was a member of the board for ACAT (Advisory for Chatham Area Transit). Brian, as many of you know, then became second vice president of our state council. He considered GCB to be his second family. It was at a state convention that he met the love of his life, Valerie Thomas, and it was at our 50th convention that he proposed marriage to her. Many of us in GCB attended and participated in their wedding. Unfortunately, during his first term as second vice president, Brian became ill and subsequently had to drop out of doing advocacy work. He remained interested in all GCB activities, however, and often, though not able to take part, still kept in touch with me offering moral support. We thought that Brian was making a come-back, and in the early part of 2009, he began trying to attend meetings. He even managed to accompany us to Blindness Day at the Capitol, but in October he became ill again. It was in December just before Christmas that Brian regrettably lost his fight for life. Savannah will miss Brian, GCB will miss him, and I will miss him as he was like my little brother. He often said I was his mentor, but I think I learned more from him than he from me. This year as we begin our fight at the Capitol to gain a Commission and try to remove economic barriers to enable blind people to receive the needed funds for adjustment training and other VR services, I know that Brian will be right there with us advocating. I hope that this tribute will serve as a reminder to all our other young members that you can make a difference and that you too are capable of being great advocates and leaders for GCB. In fact Brian is probably smiling with the knowledge that one of our young Savannah college students who joined GCB is now serving on its board and is hoping to start a student affiliate group in Savannah and possibly in the state. Brian tried to do this while he was Savannah’s president, and now his dream may become a reality. In closing I want to say “thank you, Brian. The challenges you faced and the successes you attained serve as a living monument to our memory of you. You will never be forgotten.” GCB Board Meeting Minutes October, 2009 Submitted by Robin Oliver The October GCB board meeting was held in Athens, at Multiple Choices Center. The meeting was called to order by president, Alice Ritchhart. After the invocation given by Marsha Farrow, the roll call and introductions of visitors were given by secretary, Robin Oliver. Those present were president, Alice Richhart; first vice president, Bill Holley; second vice president, Keith Morris; secretary, Robin Oliver; treasurer, Jerrie Toney; member-at-large rep., Debbie Williams; Athens rep., Dot Jones; Augusta rep., Stanley Lopez; Columbus rep., Jimmie Burkes; Chattooga County rep., Marsha Farrow; East Georgia rep., Phil Jones; Greater Hall rep., Judy Presley; Macon rep., Tim Kelly; Metro Atlanta rep., Diane Healy; Northwest rep., Fred McDade; Savannah rep., Kim Harrison; Stephens County rep., Al Camp; GGDU rep., Marj Schneider; GCBL rep., Barbara Graham; The GCB Digest editor, Ann Sims; webmaster, Steve Longmire & parliamentarian, Adam Shapiro. Absent: Atlanta West, Bainbridge and one Hall representative. The minutes for August GCB board meeting were accepted as read. The treasurer’s report was accepted to be filed for audit. Speaker, Mr. Way, from Way Financial Group, INC., talked via telephone to the board members about the securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc. The finance committee will get together and talk about taking the interest from the investment and start depositing it into our bank account for scholarship purposes. The interest amount is just over $3000. Committee Reports: Convention – Jimmie Burkes gave a recap of the GCB state convention in Columbus. The Columbus mayor was there, and you can see the media coverage on the GCB Website. Judy Presley spoke on the upcoming 2010 GCB state convention. It is proposed to be held at Uncoi State Park, which is four miles above Helen. Room rates are $100 a night plus tax, up to four people in a room. The convention is planned for August 5-8. Marsha motioned that we add the word, “Conference” to the title, starting 2010. Motion was carried. Al Camp motioned that we go to UNICOI for 2010 conference-convention, and the motion was carried. Regarding policy on chapters using the GCB tax number for fundraisers: We were reminded that the policy is in place for fund raising and that when chapters use the GCB tax number, 25% of the profits goes to the state organization. Forms for this purpose can be obtained from the GCB secretary. Legislative – Betsy noted that January 13 would be Blindness Day at the capitol, and we should provide gifts for the secretaries of the legislators. The August caucus attendants were receptive to the ideas. The purpose of the caucus was to educate the legislators. The Braille Bill is to be dropped on January 13. Keith says the Governor needs to get on board! Those of you who attend the Capitol on the 13th should notify Alice in advance so food can be provided for you. Technology – Steve reported on the October 12 technology meeting. Members were encouraged to check out the Website and let Steve know what you think. The old photos on the Website will be moved to the archives. Constitution/Digest – Ann reminded everyone of the new dues date for the chapter rosters, November 15, to be sent to treasurer, Jerrie Toney, with checks payable to GCB. Only two copies of The GCB Digest were returned in the mail. The next issue should be out in December. Chapter members were urged to send news for the magazine by November 15. New Business: Service Projects – Car Donations have been better this year. We are selling calendars from Chick-fil-A, and Betsy is the contact person. We have 100 calendars and can purchase more if needed. Each chapter is asked to take at least five. These proceeds will go toward the conference-convention. There were several ideas discussed about doing projects with the Georgia Academy for the Blind to increase our visibility to the youths of our community: (1) Prom - sponsor through donations for items such as formals for the girls, and/or suits for the guys. (2) Attend a meal served by the students. (3) Alumni connection. President Alice suggested a yard sale in Macon, with the proceeds going toward the prom, and that we attend the event. Marsha motioned that we in GCB support a project for the high school students at the Academy with their prom, provided this is acceptable with the leadership of the school. . Motion carried. We will check to see about holding a board meeting in Macon if arrangements can be worked out with the Academy staff. Fundraisers - Fundraisers were discussed, such as having a musical show or a dinner, or both a dinner and concert. More discussion needs to take place before decisions can be made. Board meeting attendance & transportation – Phil suggested holding meetings in a good, central location. Marj inquired if we should give up on the conference calls and wondered if they were entirely impossible. Dot motioned that phone conferences be held every other meeting, and that they should be conducted in two sessions with a time limit of three hours for the whole meeting. Motion carried. Dot also motioned that those chapter members needing the state organization to provide money for transportation to and from the board meetings could apply for assistance after GCB verifies that chapters’ bank accounts could not support this transportation cost. Motion was carried. ACB Legislative/President Seminar – This is to be held in February in Virginia. Marsha motioned that matching money for GCB attendees not exceed $500 per individual. A friendly amendment was made to limit this to two people. Motion carried. Other Business Georgia Industries for the Blind (GIB): An employee of the factory in Bainbridge, Stephanie Strickland, won her unemployment case. The young lady in Augusta lost her attorney. A letter has gone out, and a lawyer from Savannah will take the case. He is asking that GCB help pay his travel expenses to Augusta. Just Call GCB is on schedule again. Barbara Hurst of the Southeast Regional Coastal Commission will talk about the new rural regional transit project. A representative from Southeast Coastal Coaches was the very informative guest at Thursday's meeting. The meetings will be held on the third Thursday of the month through this year, 2009. Marsha challenged everyone to contact Atlanta West, the newest GCB chapter, to offer encouragement and to get acquainted with its members. Announcements It was decided to allow the youth at the next GCB state convention to name themselves since they do not like the name, YAPPERS. Marsha took Desma Pike the Rhoda Walker Award she received at the last convention in Columbus. We were reminded that the next coalition meeting is scheduled for November 14, at the VA hospital in Augusta, GA. Paul Raymond is the contact person if you need assistance with transportation. The Augusta chapter now has a facebook page. January 1, 2010, is the deadline if you would like to submit a request to go to the ACB Legislative Seminar. Guidelines will be sent out, and the board will vote on who should attend. There being no further business, meeting was adjourned. GCB Treasurer’s Report By Jerrie Toney (NOTE: Anyone desiring a complete copy of the following report, please contact treasurer, Jerrie Toney, at 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, GA 30605, telephone, 706-549-2010, or email, jmt2@bellsouth.net.) September 1 through September 30, 2009: Beginning Balance: $9,507.41 Ending Balance: $10,025.68 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,380.61 CD Balance: $11,127.18 CD Interest Earned: $18.72 Ending CD Balance: $11,145.90 Total Combined Amounts: $34,413.67 Portfolio: $51,557.28 October 1 through October 31, 2009: Beginning Balance: $10,025.68 Ending Balance: $9,088.19 Scholarship Balance: $1,111.48 (Scholarship fund) Interest Paid: $0.94 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,381.55 CD Balance: $11,145.90 CD Interest Earned: $18.14 Ending CD Balance: $11,164.04 Total Combined Amounts: $32,745.26 Portfolio: $55,051.84 November 1 through November 30, 2009: Beginning Balance: $9,088.19 Ending Balance: $10,114.61 Scholarship Balance: $1,111.48 (Scholarship fund) Savings Account Balance: $11,381.55 Interest Paid: $0.97 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,382.52 CD Balance: $11,164.04 CD Interest Earned: $18.77 Ending CD Balance: $11,182.81 Total Combined Amounts: $33,791.42 December 1 through December 31, 2009: Beginning Balance: $10,114.61 Ending Balance: $11,093.31 Scholarship Balance: $1,111.48 (Scholarship fund) Savings Account Balance: $11,382.52 Interest Paid: $0.94 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,383.46 CD Balance: $11,182.81 CD Interest Earned: $18.20 Ending CD Balance: $11,201.01 Total Combined Amounts: $34,789.26 Portfolio: $58,710.29 Blindness Day at the State Capitol Submitted by Casey Owens and Reported by Stephanie Scott 2010 Blindness Day at the state Capitol took place on Wednesday, January 13. We had a record number attendance of 70 plus advocates. Special thanks to Senator Ronald Ramsey who hosted a press conference addressing the funding of the Deaf-Blind Law. Senator Ramsey is also the sponsor of the resolution that was introduced in the Senate in 2009 on behalf of the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness. Special thanks to Representative Stephanie Benfield who introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives for the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness for the 2010 legislative session. Blind coalition advocates witnessed the presentation of the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness resolution in the House of Representatives’ gallery. Representative Benfield also joined blind coalition advocates for a “meet and greet” and “photo opp”. The Georgia Governor Candidate Forum was very informative. Thank you to Austin Scott and Carl Camon for participating in the candidates’ forum for Governor of Georgia. Also, Chic-fil-A donated 50 lunches for our event. The lunches included a Chic-fil-A sandwich, chips and a pecan brownie. Beverages were a choice of lemonade or tea donated by Alice Ritchhart. We also presented all of the state Senators and House of Representatives with ink pens that were made to resemble a white cane with a red tip. The canes read, "Now is the time for a Commission for the Blind". They were donated by Marsha Farrow. Special salute to the deaf-blind community and their interpreters. The deaf-blind advocates and their interpreters were very supportive. The Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness sincerely appreciates all of the effort put forth by the deaf-blind community to participate in the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness 2010 Blindness Day at the Capitol. Legislative White Books were distributed. These books contain photos and contact information for the Georgia General Assembly. If you would like one mailed to you, please forward your name and address to STEPHANIELSCOTT@AOL.COM. 2010 GCB Committees Submitted by Alice Ritchhart The following committees have been appointed to serve this year. If you would like to serve on any of them, please contact me at the address on the cover page of this magazine. Convention: Judy Presley and Al Camp, Co-Chairs; Marsha Farrow, Bill Holley, Steve Longmire, Robin Oliver, Sheila Rousey, Kathy Segers, Stephanie Strickland, Jerrie Toney, Amanda Wilson Finance: Marsha Farrow, Chair; Betsy Grenevitch, Bill Holley, Kathy Morris, Sheila Rousey, Ann Sims, Jerrie Toney Legislative: Betsy Grenevitch, Chair; Joan Estes, Steve Estes, Greg McDuffie, Keith Morris, Casey Owens Technology: Steve Longmire, Chair; Cliff Jones, Stan Lopez, Greg McDuffie, Robin Oliver, Jerrie Toney Nominating: Tim Kelly, Judy Presley, Marj Schneider Constitution: Ann Sims, Chair; Phil Jones, Robin Oliver, Granger Ricks, Adam Shapiro Highlights of the 2010 GCB State Conference-Convention Submitted by Judy Presley The GCB state conference-convention will be held from Thursday August 5 through Sunday August 8 at the Unicoi Lodge and Convention Center near Helen, GA. Unicoi Lodge is located in a lovely mountain setting with smooth hiking trails and beautiful Smith Creek within walking distance. Room rates will be $100.00 plus tax per room for up to four occupants. There will be a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet in Unicoi’s famous dining room. Those who wish to have a glass of wine or beer may do so in the dining room. The conference will begin with a cookout, hay ride, and sing along to the river bottoms. Four interesting tours will also be offered: Tour 1: The quaint little village of Helen. Tour 2: For the energetic, there will be a hike (.4mi) to beautiful Anna Ruby Falls. At Anna Ruby Falls, there is also an easy to walk, paved braille trail that follows Smith Creek. Tour 3: Smithgall Woods State Park Nature Center. There you can experience tactile exhibits including fox, bear, beaver, owl and other animals that are native of north Georgia. You can listen to a lecture by a naturalist by a babbling mountain stream. Tour 4: Babyland General Hospital, home to the famous Cabbage Patch Kids. Here you can adopt your own baby right out of the cabbage patch. We hope to arrange a personal guided tour. Tour transportation will be provided by Terry Sims’ Cool River Tubing company at no expense to GCB. For those not interesting in participating in the tours, craft classes will be coordinated by Unicoi’s full time, on-staff activities director who is working closely with the GCB convention committee to design activities appropriate for the visually impaired. The Stephens and Greater Hall County chapter members are excited about this conference and look forward to hosting the event. August is the prime tourist season for Helen, so make your reservations as soon as possible. For room reservations, call: 1-800-573-9659, or 706-878-2201, and ask for extention 271 or 272. Request rates for the Georgia Council of the Blind. Reservations must be made at least one month before the conference-convention. GCB Awards Committees and Guidelines It is time once again to read over the GCB awards guidelines and nominate those members you think deserve to be recipients of these awards. The deadline this year is June 15, 2010. The committees and chairs with their contact information are listed after the guidelines. If you need assistance in writing your nomination letter, Anne Wheeler, of the East Georgia Chapter, has offered her help. She can be reached at 770-786-5778 or email, awheel@bellsouth.net. GCB Awards Guidelines 1. All awards committees shall be appointed at the January board meeting. 2. Nominations for all awards shall be submitted to the respective award committee chairpersons in writing (including email) no later than June 15, 2010. 3. Nominations shall include the name of the candidate, plus the reason the candidate deserves the award. 4. Each award committee chairperson shall read to his/her committee members all award nominations. 5. The decision for selecting the award recipient shall be made by all members of that committee. 6. Criteria for the Rhoda Walker Award, suggested by Rhoda's sister, Helen Wasileski: The recipient can be a blind or sighted individual. Services rendered must be of non-paying status. Services may be any endeavor in the field of teaching, service, and betterment of life for the blind. The recipient must provide public awareness through speaking, seminars, and/or demonstration. There must be involvement of the educational field/teaching braille. The recipient must push any innovation involving blindness or blind people. 7. The committee for selecting the recipient of the June Willis Guiding Eyes Award shall be legally blind. 8. The sighted recipient of the June Willis Guiding Eyes Award (who must be a GCB member) shall be known to GCB members through attendance at GCB state activities, and through his/her willing assistance and service to the blind and visually impaired. 9. The Walter R. McDonald Award shall be presented to an outstanding visually impaired individual who has, through his/her leadership and service, contributed significantly to the betterment of the blind and visually impaired community, and who has demonstrated by deeds and achievements his/her dedication to the principles incident to blindness espoused and practiced by the late Walter R. McDonald. The recipient may or may not be a member of the Georgia Council of the Blind. 10. The recipient of The Gerald Pye Community Service Award must be an active legally blind member of GCB in good standing. He or she must have demonstrated superior service to his or her community in a number of ways that exemplify the work of Gerald Pye. The candidate must be nominated in writing by a GCB member who knows first hand of the candidate's community services. Examples of this service must be included in the written recommendation. 11. All GCB awards shall be presented periodically at a GCB state convention. Awards Committee Chair: Judy Presley, 706-878-2962, hoyal@windstream.net). (June Willis Guiding Eyes) Chair, Al Camp, 706-886-3894, decr99@yahoo.com 6972 Alfred Camp Road, Toccoa, GA 30506 Richard Bagley and Ann Sims (Gerald Pye Community Service Award) Chair, Kaye Hall, 478-788-5277 5475 Bloomfield Road Macon, GA 31206 Clifford Jones and Genie Rae O’Kelley (Rhoda W. Walker) Chair, Anne Wheeler, 770-786-5778, awheel@bellsouth.net 2199 Floyd Street, Covington, GA 30014 Barbara Graham and Heather Lopez (Walter R. McDonald) Chair, Robin Oliver, 706-548-7401, genuis43@yahoo.com 690 Fourth Street, Apt. 8201, Athens, GA 30601 Valorie Leighton and Amanda Wilson (Scholarship Awards) Chair, Debbie Williams, 770-595-1007, Williamsdebk@wmconnect.com 1477 Nebo Road, Dallas, GA30157 Dr. Phillip Dillard, Dr. Bill Holley Granger Ricks, and Tom Ridgeway The deadline for receipt of scholarship information is June 15, 2010. Scholarship applications may be obtained from Chair, Debbie Williams, at the address above or via the Web Site: georgiacounciloftheblind.org Let’s Talk GCB By Alice Ritchhart On the 4th Tuesday of each month GCB will host a membership conference call. The call will be held from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM. This is special because each month a local affiliate will host the call. That’s right. Each month it will be the responsibility of each local chapter to come on the call and choose a topic for discussion. It is your time to shine. You might choose to talk about how you are developing your membership, fund raisers that have been successful for you, or just pick a topic. It is up to you and/or some other members in your chapter to lead the telephone discussion. We will use the same number and PIN for each call. Reminders will go out a week before to remind your affiliate when it is your turn to be in charge. Below find the phone information and the schedule when you will host. (218) 844-3388 PIN: 57422 (let’s talk ,,gcb). Chapter Hosts: January: Chattooga February: Floyd March: Atlanta West April: Athens May: East Georgia June: Augusta July: Columbus August: Hall and Stephens September: Savannah October: GGDU and GCBL November: Macon and Metro Atlanta December: Northwest and Bainbridge CHAPTER ROUNDUP Announcement from the Stephens County Chapter, by president Al Camp, 706-866-3894: Bluegrass and Gospel Benefit Concert for the Georgia Council of the Blind scholarship fund and operating fund was held February 7, 2010, from 12 noon until ‘’’ at the Shiloh Fire Department, Toccoa, GA. The bands that performed were Jerald Lanham & Band, Brandy Rock Mtn. Bluegrass Band, Eli Rousey, Next in Line, John Oliver and Carmel Ridge, Al Camp and Night Owls, Ed Teague, Lawton and Friends. Emcee was Liz Moore; Sound was by Max Buckner. We will be making a report of the proceeds in the next issue of The GCB Digest. Macon Chapter: 2010 officers are Tim Kelly for president, Kathy Marsh for secretary, and Serena Kelly for treasurer. Two new members joined this year. They are Dorothy Orensman and Kathy Segers. Welcome to our organization. News from the Savannah Chapter, By Marj Schneider: We were all deeply saddened on the last day of 2009 to lose Brian Leighton, one of the founding members of our small chapter in Savannah. We have missed Brian at our meetings for quite some time, but it is hard to believe he will not be back again. Brian did so much to establish our GCB chapter, and he was always ready to attend a meeting of county commissioners or transportation planners. Whatever needed doing, you could count on Brian being there to help make it happen. His passing is a tremendous loss. We have started 2010 with a new president for our chapter, following Teresa Brenner's move to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Teresa has left us to live with her son's family where she'll be able to spend more time with her grandchildren, particularly while her son is deployed to Afghanistan. Our newly sworn in president, Bob Walls, has already conducted his first meeting in 2010, and we elected a new director to the SCB board, Mario Batie. Our chapter is rolling along with ideas for speakers for upcoming meetings and possibilities for bringing in much needed funding for our various projects. The first one is likely to be a 50/50 raffle with the cash prize to be awarded on St. Patrick's Day. We are also looking for ways to build our membership to make ours a growing GCB chapter. If you ever find yourself on the coast on the third Tuesday of the month, drop by and say hello. We meet at 6:00 PM in the conference room at J. C. Lewis Ford, 9505 Abercorn Street in Savannah. For more information, contact Bob Walls at 912-352-2236. News from Atlanta West: The newest GCB chapter, Atlanta West, will be meeting the second Saturday of each month at Ryan’s restaurant in Carolton, at eleven o’clock, for a business meeting and program, and afterwards, those who wish, may continue their fellowship by eating at the restaurant. The officers are Steve Estes, president; James Holland, vice president; and Joan Estes, secretary/treasurer. Carolton has a Belk store, so the chapter members might get involved in Charity Day there in May to raise some funds for the state and chapter. They already have their EIN, thanks to Joan’s work. They invite any GCB members who are interested to come visit them on the second Saturday. East Georgia Chapter East Georgia Chapter officers for 2010 are president, Neb Houston; first vice president, Phil Jones; second vice president, Patricia Cox; secretary, Christine O’Brien; and co-treasurers, Anne Wheeler and Linda Cox. The three board members are Dot Davis, Brenda Maddox and Granger Ricks. The meetings are held the second Saturday of the month at the Presbyterian Church in Conyers. Rome-Floyd County Chapter of GCB, by Casey Owens The Rome-Floyd County Chapter of GCB meets on the third Tuesday from 11:00am until 1:00pm. Meetings are held in the Etowah room of the Sarah Hightower Library in Rome, Georgia. Our meetings typically consist of a business discussion followed by food, fellowship and fun. Chapter officers include Dr. Phillip Dillard, chapter president; Dorothy Thomas, vice president; and secretary-treasurer, Suzanne Jackson. We have 15 actual members but of late we have enjoyed the attendance of 20 or more at our meetings. Our recent attendance has increased thanks to several members of the Lions club who have generously provided transportation for some of our members. Thank you so much, Lions! Our Christmas meeting which took place on December 18th, included a catered lunch and a program of entertainment. Our members wish to express their sincere appreciation to Mr. Ralph White, a Rome Lions Club member, for generously providing a delicious catered meal from the Piccadilly restaurant. Members were served fried chicken, green beans, several casseroles, rolls, an assortment of desserts, and beverages. After our meal members enjoyed listening to Suzanne Jackson’s wonderful dramatic presentation of a familiar poem, “The Night Before Christmas.” We were also delightfully entertained by listening to George Barton as he played a Christmas music medley on the piano. Suzanne and George are both active members in our chapter. George is a professional musician and is the organist for First Methodist Church of Cedartown. Our Christmas meeting was indeed festive and enjoyed by everyone. Our first chapter meeting of 2010 took place on Tuesday, January 19th. This was our “pot luck” lunch meeting. It was a cold, blustery day, and since we were all unwilling to let our hot food be neglected, we elected to eat before having our business meeting. Everyone enjoyed two wonderful soups with delicious cornbread. We were also served pigs-in-a-blanket, many special desserts, fruit and soft drinks. Betty Ellington treated us particularly well with her famous home-made tea cakes for all to enjoy. After lunch we all settled down to participate in our business discussion. When this was concluded, members listened as Suzanne read several poems written by Debbie Moon, a prospective new member who has been attending our meetings on a regular basis. As our time together ended, all would agree that we enjoyed a productive meeting and a good time of fellowship. Greater Hall County, by Judy Presley Greater Hall County Chapter elected the following officers for 2010: President, Wanda Martin, 770-535-7840; Vice president, Judy Presley; secretary, Sue Hask; treasurer, Millie Brackett; board members: Bob McGarry, Don Linnartz, and Tom Hodge. Meeting place is the East Hall Special Needs Library, 2434 Old Cornelia Hwy., Gainesville, GA 30501, phone, 770-531-2500. Bainbridge Chapter The officers for the Bainbridge Chapter are Tonya Wright, president; Janice Tootle, treasurer; Gloria Hampton, secretary. The directors are Edward Escoffery, James Harper and Keith Carter. The meetings are held the second Saturday of each month at the library. Athens Chapter: The officers are president, Rev. William Harris, (706) 743-5810, email: brobro@windstream.net; immediate past president, Daniel Myers; first vice president, Jerrie Toney; second vice president, Pete Hayek; secretary, Robin Oliver; assistant secretary, Jamaica Miller; treasurer, Annie Harris; assistant treasurer, Mike Teal. We meet every fourth Saturday of the month from 11:00am until 1:00pm at Multiple Choices Center for Independent Living, 850 Gaines School Road, Athens Ga 30605. Greater Columbus Chapter of GCB The officers for 2010 are president, Gregory McDuffie, phone, (706) 570-3695; email address: greggmcduffie@bellsouth.net; secretary, Mike Kelly; treasurer, Clifford Brinson. The chapter meetings are held the first Saturday of each month at the Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, from 1PM-3PM. Chattooga Chapter News, Submitted by Marsha Farrow The Chattooga County Chapter is now meeting at the Summerville branch of the Chattooga County Library in the Chattooga room. This has proved to be a good location due to wheelchair access and has eliminated the need for keys as was necessary when we were meeting at a local church. We are still being flexible with dates due to many physical health issues facing many of our members. We generally are meeting on the last Tuesday or Thursday of the month. We place local newspaper and radio announcements each month. Some of our ladies phone all of the interested individuals to remind them to attend. The November meeting was our "thankful meal." We had a very nice covered dish meal and invited local officials and people who regularly assist us such as: local transit drivers, dispatch staff, and those who read the Summerville News on cassette tape for us every week. The local sheriff came since he is very much concerned about disaster planning for individuals with vision loss and other disabilities. This was our way of letting the community know how much we appreciate all that is provided for our members. The December meeting was our "Christmas for Kids” meeting. We invite the students from our local school systems and provide useful educational gifts and information for them and their families. As a result of this meeting, a fifteen-year-old high school student went with us to the state Capitol on January 13th. This was his first visit to our state Capitol. January 25, 2010, was our braille emphasis meeting. Two individuals, a young student and an older member, were scheduled to read a braille book to the children's reading participant at 10:30AM, and then we hosted braille awareness activities from 11:00AM until noon for any other interested persons. March 6, 2010, we are joining with another group to rent the skating rink in Trion for both our visually impaired youth and other youth with disabilities to have a skating party. Many of the young students who attend our chapter meeting are regular skaters and do not allow blindness to "get in their way.” We are saddened to report that one of our long-time members, Mr. James C. Huskey, suffered a massive stroke on Christmas Eve and died a few days later. Augusta Chapter The officers are president, Keith Morris; vice president, Stanley Lopez; secretary, Kathy Morris; treasurer, Steve Everley; directors are Jack Eckert, Joyce Everley and Richard Jarnigan. Meetings are held at the Freedman Library, North Leg, on the second Saturday at 1:00. For more information, please contact Keith and Kathy Morris at 706-595-1465 or via email at mkumorris@yahoo.com. Northwest Chapter of GCB Chapter meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every other month at the Walker County Library at 7:00 PM. Officers for 2010 are president, James Howard; first vice president, Frederick McDade; second vice president, Ron Burgess; secretary,Cindy Wilson; treasurer, Charles Stubblefield; and chaplain, Robert Sprayberry. Metro Atlanta Chapter News, submitted by Barbara Graham In November, our members elected new officers for 2010. They are as follows: Adam Shapiro for president, Diane Healy for immediate past president, Ann Sims for first vice president, Chris Baldridge for second vice president, Herman Jones for secretary, Steve Longmire for treasurer, and three board of directors who are Barbara Graham, Lisa Jones, and Brent Reynolds. December was a wonderful celebration of Christmas with a delicious dinner prepared and served by our former Sunday school class members from Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. The room was tastefully decorated with everything delightful for the holidays. We sponsored a three-year-old BEGIN child from the Center for the Visually Impaired, and he, his sister and his mother all came to join in the fun and fellowship. We ended the evening by all gathering around to sing Christmas carols while accompanied by Ann Sims on the piano and Adam Shapiro on the guitar. The January meeting was planned for the second Friday night in the month, but due to bad weather, we had to cancel. We were planning a birthday party to remember Louis Braille. We are looking forward to the February meeting where our new president will appoint committees and discuss some of the projects planned for this year. Adam is continuing to serve as the representative for the totally blind on EDAAC (Elderly and Disabled Access Advisory Committee), and Brent Reynolds is on the same committee as a resource person. They work on transportation issues, and with the cut backs on our public transportation system in the Atlanta area, there is much work to be done. We were saddened to hear of the passing of Rita Coursey Scheu, sister of Kathy Coursey-Boes and daughter of Grady Coursey and Judy Epps. Grady and Judy, as most of you know, are honorary members of GCB, and their contributions through the years are invaluable. Please remember this family in your prayers. Come and visit us on the second Friday night of the month. We try to put an announcement of our meeting time and place in the CVI InfoLink. If you miss that announcement, please call our president, Adam Shapiro, for information: 404-874-3005. Georgia Council of Blind Lions (GCBL) A meeting of the GCBL was held during the lunch hour of the January GCB quarterly board meeting. We have two new members this year so far, and are looking forward to a busy year. Those interested may read the minutes of our meeting on the GCB Website. Link onto the Georgia Council of Blind Lions. Georgia Guide Dog Users (GGDU) A meeting of the GGDU was held on January 30, 2010, at the Center for the Visually Impaired with over 40 persons in attendance, including 30 puppy raisers and their puppies. President Marj Schneider gave a brief history of GGDU and its parent organization, GDUI (Guide Dog Users, Inc.). We were happy to have one new member join us, and we hope to encourage membership from many others during this year. For more information about this affiliate and to read issues of our quarterly magazine, please check out our Website at www.georgiaguidedogusers.org. NEWS BRIEFS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS GaRRS, from Phil Jones: GaRRS is really on the move. Some exciting and unique happenings are taking place at the Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS!) We have begun to air new features and programs that will hopefully be very informative and relevant to all of our listeners. Listener Spotlight is a program that will feature interviews with GaRRS’ listeners to find out who they are and what they listen to on GaRRS. Volunteer Spotlight features interviews with our volunteer readers. We have a couple of new monthly programs. One is called At Your Service. It is a program that will provide information about the many advocacy groups, agencies and organizations serving all persons with disabilities. The other monthly show is called Go Green. It is a program about the environment. Coming soon we will have a program featuring classic books. These new programs are just the beginning. GaRRS is not only your radio reading Service, but we want it to be your information outlet as well. We are becoming more involved in the disability community. Some of you attended Blindness Day at the Capitol, and you know that GaRRS was there covering the event and some of the speeches from legislators. Interviews with some of the participants were broadcasted over GaRRS. We would be happy to publicize your activities, events and meetings. Feel free to write us at the Georgia Radio Reading Service, 260 14th Street Northwest, Atlanta Georgia 30018. You may call us at 404-685-2820, Or email us at garrsinfo@gpb.org. Let us all work together to make GaRRS the best Radio Reading Service around. Hadley and Utah State University (USU): The Hadley School for the Blind and Utah State University (USU) partnered to meet the growing demand for an affordable certificate and degree program for teachers and paraprofessionals offered through distance education. This training better enables USU-Hadley students to work with children who are blind or visually impaired in a classroom. Enrollment in USU-Hadley is now open for the semester beginning in January. Students in this new program receive either a "Certificate in Blindness" or a USU degree with a focus in blindness, depending on their academic accomplishments. Areas of study include braille, anatomy and disorders of the human eye, working with students who have multiple disabilities and the role of para-educators who work with individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Learn more about this exciting program at http://www.skihi.org/HADLEYUSU-HOME. Georgia's Talking Book Centers Seeking Public Opinion: Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) has announced proposed changes in statewide service that should result in more efficient, effective service to citizens with visual or physical disabilities that prevent the use of public libraries. The GLASS network of 11 libraries serves every corner of the state, offering a variety of programs and support services, including the distribution of braille and audio materials from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped that are circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. GLASS libraries and an additional outreach center are strategically located throughout the state, and the network maintains affiliations with each of the state’s 384 public libraries. A series of public meetings will give consumers and providers in each service area an opportunity to learn about and respond to the draft plan. GLASS and GPLS encourage everyone who uses or is interested in the service to attend and share opinions and information that will help the planning team develop a final map for delivering the best service possible with the available resources. Who Should Attend? • Current and potential consumers of subregional services; • Service providers such as educators, health care providers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, etc.; • Talking book library staff members; • Library directors and staff. Friday, February 26, 2:00 p.m. Atlanta Fulton County Public Library 1 Margaret Mitchell Square Atlanta, GA 30303 404-756-4619 For a map & directions, go to www.afpls.org. The End

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