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GCB Digest Winter 2012 (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 2012 GCB Office 850 Gaines School Road Athens GA 30605 706-208-7132 1-888-519-3988 Email: gcbfyi@yahoo.com GCB President: William Holley 185 Weatherly Woods Drive Winterville, Georgia 30683 706-410-4945 Email: bill850@yahoo.com GCB Webmaster: Steven Longmire Email: info@sunbright.biz GCB Website: WWW.georgiacounciloftheblind.org Editor: Amanda Wilson 45 Rocky Circle, Northeast White, Georgia 30184 770-547-4700, Email: moonrocks@bellsouth.net Assistant Editor: Suzanne Jackson 131 Cannongate Circle Sharpsburg, GA 30277 770-463-1127, Email: susieb@numail.org TABLE OF CONTENTS From Your Editor, Amanda Wilson President’s Message, William Holley GCB Board Meeting Minutes, Robin Oliver GCB Treasurer’s Report, Jerrie Toney Helpful Hints, Sheila Rousey GCB Awards Guidelines GCB Chapter News News from Georgia Guide Dog Users From your editor, Amanda Wilson Hello, GCB Family. We thank each one who has submitted articles in this issue of our magazine. If you have any change of address, telephone number, email address, or desired change of format, please inform our GCB treasurer, Jerrie Toney, at jmt2@bellsouth.net or via telephone at 706-227-6142. Thank you to everyone who makes our GCB Digest such a big success. I particularly want to thank Suzanne Jackson, assistant editor, for the many hours she has worked on the magazine, for her editing skills and for her outstanding reading of the cassette tapes. Thank our president, William Holley, for his presidential messages, with information about important events, legislation, and projects. I appreciate the contributions from each member who sent articles, who made suggestions to make the magazine better, and have supported me in so many ways. GCB President’s Message Leadership: More Than Just a Notion Hello GCB Family, Happy New Year and I hope this Presidential Message finds you and your family members in the best of health. This is a great opportunity for our members to evaluate the progress made by the Georgia Council of the Blind (GCB) in 2011. Our number one priority was to create an organizational structure to increase the participation of our elected Chapter Officers in the growth and development of GCB. As a Result of our efforts, GCB has 9 functioning committees that include leadership from our chapters. The following committees meet on planned schedules: Leadership/Fund Development Membership Committee Public Relations/Technology Constitution/Bylaws Finance Scholarship Awards Banquet Employment The committees helped to enhance communications among GCB members which, in turn, helped to improved membership participation at the state and local councils. GCB has become an organization with an informed leadership. We are now in a position to increase our membership across the state. Individuals who are blind and/or visually impaired want to participate in GCB as long as we can provide direction and include them in the decision making process. Now that our GCB infrastructure is prepared to address leadership issues in the blind community, our goals for 2012 should include increasing our membership by 100%. We can no longer afford to be identified as representing only 0.0001179% of blind individuals with severe vision loss in the state of Georgia. The only way to accomplish this goal is to recognize leadership as being more than just a notion. For example, recently we learned services for the blind, in the state of Georgia, was moved, along with Vocational Rehabilitation, from the Department of Labor to the Department of Human Services. The decision to move the services was made at a time when GCB, National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and the Blind Coalition was negotiating to develop a Department of Blind Services. The decision was made to move the services by the Governor. We are being told nothing can be done to change the Governor’s decision. What will happen to Blind Services? As leaders in the blind community, how do we prepare ourselves to prevent this type of action from occurring? When we call our members to action, how do we assure our membership that it is not a waste of time? Well informed leadership can prevent this situation and others like it, from happening to its membership. Let us take the time to review the role of leadership. A good leader must be able to take the lead, support others when they are leading, and follow the leadership of the organization as directed. Some of our leaders get caught up in thinking they must always be in the lead position. Leadership is more than the individuals elected as officials, but is the collected consensus of the membership of the organization. It is time for us to get serious about our responsibilities as officers and members of GCB. We must learn to understand leadership is not all work or play but a combination of fun and serious work. The next time we are called to action will we be ready? We have to increase our membership by providing good leadership. Remember: Each one reach one and each one teach one. Bill Holley, GCB President Georgia Council of the Blind Board Meeting August 13, 2011, Carrollton, Georgia The meeting was called to order in the meeting room at the Carrolton Cultural Arts Center during the "Aloha GCB" conference by President Bill Holley. GCB members present to form quorum: President Bill Holley, 1st Vice Keith Morris, 2nd Vice Steve Longmire, Secretary Robin Oliver, Treasurer Jerrie Toney, representing At-Large membership Debbie Williams, Athens Daniels Myers, Augusta Chris Chavous, Bainbridge Tonya Wright, Chattooga Marsha Farrow, Cliff Jones representing Columbus, Macon Milton Brown, Chester Thrash representing Metro Atlanta, Tonia Clayton representing Rome/Floyd and Stephens Co. Al Camp. Also present were GCB Editor Amanda Wilson, newly appointed Parliamentarian Adam Shapiro, and representing GCBL Jim Horton (non GCB member). Marsha inquired about not hearing GGDU mentioned during roll call. Robin stated that as of this date GGDU has not paid membership dues. Bill motioned that the GCB minutes of April 16, 2011 be accepted as previously sent out. The motioned carried. Finance Committee: treasurer’s and budget reports -Kathy Morris read the reports. Beginning Checking balance for July $7.987.44, notes for June - Scholarship balance $6,078.05, Savings Account balance - $11,400.57, and ending CD balance - $11,276.81. Bill moved that the treasurer report be accepted as read; Marsha corrected and noted that the treasurer report should be motioned that it be filed to audit. The report was voted to be filed to audit. Constitution Committee: Constitutional Amendment - Robin read the amendment of adding [(B) No member of the Board of Directors shall receive compensation for services to the Georgia Council of the Blind. Members may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in exercising their duties. No professional staff employee of GCB shall be eligible for election to any office in this organization.] to Section 5: Board of Directors of our GCB Constitution. After much discussion, checking with the GCB Constitution to make certain we were following proper constitutional procedures and taking the roll again to ensure we still had a quorum, all of the above stated board members voted to accept and carry the amendment... Bill stated that he would use the National agreement and make it applicable for GCB's constitution. Marsha motioned that we follow suit as National and have each board member sign the Conflict of Interest agreement. The motion was seconded and unanimously passed. Employment Committee 2012: As stated in the earlier business meeting Tim Kelly of Macon thinks that we should focus more time on employment. As Tim stated "a job lasts forever." Volunteers for the committee are Tim Kelly, Amanda Wilson, Chester Thrash, Jerrie Toney, Jimmie Burkes, Annie Harris, and Steve Longmire. This, as all committees, is opened to all. Notify Bill at gcbill850@yahoo.com. Conference Committee 2012: Even though we have City Connections Inc. assisting with the conference in Savannah, we still need to form a conference committee. Members who volunteered today are Jerrie Toney, Steve Longmire, Jamaica Miller, Jimmie Burkes, Chester Thrash, Kathy Morris and Marsha Farrow. All other members will be assigned by the President. Audit: Bill motioned that we should have an audit done of our records. We can have one done for the cost of $500.00 that will cover several years. GCBL member Jim Horton suggested paying $1000, but it was decided that $500 would be good faith. It was unanimously voted on doing a $500 audit. The next GCB board meeting would normally be held October 15, 2011. The vendors are holding a program that day, and 1st Vice President Keith Morris would miss the board meeting. The date of the October meeting will be announced at a later time. The GCB brochures were issued to the different chapters. You can also find them online at our website, www.georgiacounciloftheblind.org The meeting was adjourned. Respectively submitted, Robin Oliver GCB Board Meeting October 29, 2011 MULTIPLEchoices CIL Athens, GA President Bill Holley called the meeting to order. After a Moment of Silence the roll was called. Members present were President Bill Holley, 1st Vice Keith Morris, 2nd Vice Steve Longmire, Secretary Robin Oliver, Treasurer Jerrie Toney, representing At-Large membership Debbie Williams, Athens Daniel Myers, Augusta Chris Chavous, Chattooga Marsha Farrow, Greater Columbus Greg McDuffie, Tim Kelly representing Macon, Chester Thrash representing Metro Atlanta, Tim Barret representing Northwest, Rome/Floyd Amanda Wilson, Marj Schneider representing Savannah, Stephens Co. Al Camp, Betsy Grenevitch representing GGBL and Alice Ritchhart representing GGDU. Secretary Report: After making note of correcting the spelling of Daniel Myers’ name, Greg McDuffie moved that the minutes be accepted. The motion was seconded and carried. Treasury report was presented with the current balances: Checking $6,494.60, Savings $11,404.03, CD $11,290.02, Scholarship $1,676.65. Portfolio amount $61,040.91. The 1-day event made $598.98. Tim B. moved that the report be filed to audit. The motion was seconded and carried. Tim K. asked if the audit had been done and at this time it hasn’t. Bill promised that it would be done before the end of the year. GCB Employment Committee 2012: Proposed Reorganization - Bill, Garrick Scott (NFB) and Alice Ritchhart (Coalition) met with lobbyist Annette Bowling in Albany, GA. The proposed thought is forming a Division of Blind Services, and hopefully this will make way for a smooth transition to a Blind Commission sometime in the future. Bill feels we need to know the budget that has been allotted for service toward the blind. We should have input on the decision making process when it comes to deciding how services will be rendered to the Blind. Alice stated that she agreed with Annette that the different organizations work together. Garrick does not support a Blind Commission, but supports Blind Service with Paul Raymond serving as Deputy Director serving directly to Commissioner Butler. The above stated trio will meet with Commissioner Butler and Annette in November 7. The counselors would be strictly blind counselors (not general counselors) and stay in VR offices. The CIL (Center for Independent Living), Goodwill or Easter Seal may contract counselors if VR don’t want us in their offices. Assistive Technology may have to stay with VR since clients may have more issues than blindness. BEP and GIB should be under the Division. Bill requested that all members of the board state their thoughts in writing (email) or phone on their feelings and what they want to be done. This is our opportunity to have their feelings incorporated in the discussions. Micro Enterprise: Bill is going to try to get funds into GCB to develop a Micro Enterprise program for the Georgia Council of the Blind. Marj is self-employed and participated in a program that assisted in training her and other people with disabilities in business basics (making business plans, etc.). The VR system works through extension with UGA (Small Business Ad Extensions throughout the state. There are many resources in the state and we need to build on them.) Legislation Committee: Transportation HB 227: Vote no if your region didn’t get what they needed. Some round tables listened and others didn’t. When you vote in your region, the ballot will show which proposed projects are set in your area. Marsha wondered if the PR Committee could get the information out through email, radio, and television spots. You can’t change what’s going to be on the ballot, but you can still go to the discussions on whether to vote yes or no on them. ACB (American Council of the Blind) has several email lists including the new transportation one that you can join. Go to acb.org and subscribe. A representative from each affiliate should be aware of it. ACB National Legislation Vehicle Donation Eight Georgia House of Representatives people are on the bill. Eric is requesting that we keep the pressure on. Calling Post will be coming back on a trial basis, where it will be monitored to see if it will be an effective way to pass information. We should also call and talk with each other. Legislative Agenda 2012: Blind Day Jan. 24, 2012, Disability Day at the Capitol is February, 16, Bill would like to speak with Eric Jacobsen of the GCDD (Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities) along with Alice and Garrick about the way the day is handled. After reminiscing about past January weather and postponed meetings caused by it, the January 21, 2012 meeting will be via phone. The April meeting will be face to face. Al motioned and it carried. Conference Committee: Tell a committee member what you would like to see. Judy Presley suggested that they could use wood chips in a parking area for the guide dogs. Since the Inn at Ellis Square provides a very nice breakfast, the convention committee suggests that we try to get the Lions to sponsor a reception instead of a breakfast. Bill suggested Athens as host of the 2013 1 day event and Augusta is locked in as host of the 2014 convention. We are bringing color to the GCB logo, navy blue background with white writing. Membership - GA Academy for the blind alumni, Tim K. stated that due to age and very poor health, Macon needs help in reorganizing the chapter; the CIL in the Macon area has not been an asset to them. Any and all suggestions are welcomed. Leadership Committee - Conflict of Interest Agreement will go out and be signed in January after the start of the year. Tim B. made the motion and it was seconded and carried. More Finance: The Budget was presented, and Keith motioned it be filed, motion seconded and carried. Mark February 5, 2012 on your calendar and be ready to have a good time at the Stephens Co. annual Bluegrass and Gospel Benefit Concert. Bill motioned the meeting be adjourned, Al seconded, the vote was carried and we adjourned. Respectively submitted, Robin Oliver GCB Treasury Report, Jerrie Toney July 1 through July 31, 2011: Beginning Balance: $7,987.44 Ending Balance: $9,451.48 Scholarship Balance: $6,110.05 Savings Account Balance: $11,401.51 Interest Paid: $0.97 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,402.48 CD Balance: $11,276.81 CD Interest Earned: $3.25 Ending CD Balance: $11,280.06 Total Combined Amounts: $38,244.07 Portfolio: $66,655.13 August 1 through August 31, 2011: Beginning Balance: $9,451.48 Ending Balance: $8,258.63 Scholarship Balance: $2,091.85 Savings Account Balance: $11,402.48 Interest Paid: $0.80 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,403.28 CD Balance: $ 11,280.06 CD Interest Earned: $3.35 Ending CD Balance: $11,283.41 Total Combined Amounts: $33,037.17 Portfolio: $66,686.67 September 1 through September 30, 2011: Beginning Balance: $8,258.63 Ending Balance: $7,522.63 Scholarship Balance: $2,091.85 Savings Account Balance: $11,403.28 Interest Paid: $0.75 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,404.03 CD Balance: $11,283.41 CD Interest Earned: $3.36 Ending CD Balance: $11,286.77 Total Combined Amounts: $32,305.28 Portfolio: $61,040.91 October 1 through October 31, 2011: Beginning Balance: $7,522.63 Ending Balance: $6,445.52 Scholarship Balance: $1,673.65 Savings Account Balance: $11,404.03 Interest Paid: $0.77 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,404.80 CD Balance: $11,286.77 CD Interest Earned: $3.25 Ending CD Balance: $11,290.02 Total Combined Amounts: $30,813.99 Portfolio: $62,313.77 November 1 through November 30, 2011 Beginning Balance: $ Ending Balance: $7,552.23 Scholarship Balance: $1,916.05 Savings Account Balance: $11,404.80 Interest Paid: $0.75 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,405.55 CD Balance: $ 11,290.02 CD Interest Earned: $3.35 Ending CD Balance: $11,293.37 Total Combined Amounts: $32,167.20 Portfolio: $61,362.00 December 1 through December 31, 2011 Beginning Balance: $7,552.23 Ending Balance: $6,942.23 Scholarship Balance: $1,916.05 Savings Account Balance: $11,405.55 Interest Paid: $0.77 Ending Savings Account Balance: $11,406.32 CD Balance: $ 11,293.37 CD Interest Earned: $2.92 Ending CD Balance: $11,296.62 Total Combined Amounts: $31,561.22 Portfolio: $61,961.29 Anyone interested in acquiring copies of the 2011 treasurer’s reports, budget, and/or 2010 convention report may make your request known by contacting the GCB office: Multiple Choices Center, 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, GA 30605, telephone 706-549-1020, or via email at jmt2@bellsouth.net and your request shall be honored. Helpful Hints, Sheila Rousey Hello, all GCB members, Sheila Rousey from the Stephens County chapter had this great idea of collecting and sharing some inexpensive helpful household hints and tricks that might help people with visual impairments to be more independent. She hopes that others in our group will send in their helpful household hints and tricks so that we might combine them into a resource booklet that could someday be used as a fund raiser. She said, “Many other organizations create these types of booklets and sell them as a fund raiser for their organizations.” Rousey also commented that we ALL know about the low-vision and adaptive aids from mail-order suppliers. This list is created for the purpose of locating items from LOCAL stores that can be used, and at a much lower cost to visually impaired consumers. Sheila suggested the following format for submitting ideas to this project. Name of contributor: Organization: Category: (i.e. labeling items) Product information: (where to purchase materials) Description: (how the materials can be used) Here is the helpful hint for the winter issue of the GCB Digest: Franklin Discover "Read Me a Book Any Book" Price: $29.95 Product Location: Staples Office Supply Category: Auditory Labeling -Identification Description: This device includes 200 recordable round stickers with unique numbers on each sticker so that individual messages or sounds can be put onto each sticker. The recording device can hold up to 15 hours of recorded information. The stickers can be recorded and then re-recorded onto again and again. Additional stickers: $9.95 which includes 200 stickers (sold separately). The actual recording device is shaped like a thick crayon with a recording nib at one end and the power button and light at the other end. The reading tool is lightweight and easy to use. Directions are included. Please note: The item's original intention is to allow parents the opportunity to read books, page by page, onto stickers in their own voice and then given to their children or grandchildren so that the child can enjoy hearing a loved one reading to them. GCB Awards Guidelines 1. All awards committees shall be appointed at the January board meeting. 2. Nominations to be submitted to the respective award committee chairpersons in writing (including e-mail) no later than June 15, 2012. 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 Basilisk: 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 (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 Co-Chairs Judy Presley, Phone: 706-878-2962 Email: hoyal@windstream.net). (June Willis Guiding Eyes) (Gerald Pye Community Service Award) (Rhoda W. Walker) (Walter R. McDonald Scholarship Awards) Chair, Debbie Williams, 1477 Nebo Road Dallas, GA30157 770-595-1007 Email: Debbie_teaches@comcast.net The deadline for receipt of scholarship information is June 15, 2012. Scholarship applications may be obtained from Chair, Debbie Williams, at the address above, or via the Web Site: http://www.georgiacouncilfortheblind.org. GCB Chapter News Athens Chapter The Athens Chapter officers are as follows: Daniel Myers as President; Jerrie Toney as First vice-president; Pete Hayek as Second vice-president; Robin Oliver as Secretary; Jamaica Miller as Assistant-Secretary; Annie Harris as Treasurer; and Mike Teal as Assistant-Treasurer. Chapter meetings are held at Multiple Choices, 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, Ga. 30605 on the fourth Saturday of the month at 11 A.M. In December, we held our Christmas party in conjunction with Multiple Choices at Multiple Choices on Friday December 9th from 12 P.M. to 3 P.M. In January 2012, we will hold our chapter meeting at Multiple Choices on Saturday January 28th at 11 A.M. In February, we will hold our chapter meeting at Multiple Choices on Saturday February 25th at 11 A.m. In March, we will be having our Music Night fund raiser, and the date of that event will be Friday night March 22. I can give you more information on that event when I know all of the details of it. I believe that event will be held at The Little Kings Club on East Hancock Avenue here in Athens, and I will double check on that information as well. Also in March, our chapter meeting will be at Multiple Choices on Saturday March 24th at 11 A.M. In April-our chapter meeting will be on Saturday April 28th at Multiple Choices at 11 A.M. For more information, contact Daniel Myers at 706-850-6750 or via email at danielhmyers@live.com. The Athens Chapter wishes everyone a very Happy New Year. Augusta Chapter The Augusta chapter officers are as follows: Chris Chavous as President; Heather Lopez as Vice-president; Kathy Morris as Secretary; Sheila Chavous as Treasurer. Chapter meetings are held at Columbia County Library, 7022 Evans Town Center Boulevard, Evans, Georgia 30809. Phone: 706-863-1946. Our Christmas party was at Carabba's Italian Restaurant, December 10th. We had 14 in attendance and everyone had a great time. For information, contact Christopher Chavous at 706-737-4341, or via email atcccmayo@yahoo.comm. The Augusta chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Bainbridge Chapter The Bainbridge chapter has the following officers: Tonya Wright as president; Paddy Duke as first vice president; Keith Carter as second vice-president; Gloria Hampton as secretary; Janice Tootle as treasurer. Chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at the library. For information, contact Tonya Wright at 229-248-0087. The Bainbridge Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Chattooga County Chapter The Chattooga County Chapter reported that Saunya Jones, student with vision loss, was honored as Ms. Trion Lions Club for 2011. Saunya’s mother is Editha Jones and is a member of the Chattooga County Chapter; Saunya rode in a convertible and wore her very own Tiara in the Summerville Christmas Parade held on December 5, 2011. Trion Lions Club Member Mrs. Carolyn Blackman was the owner of the convertible and purchased the Tiara for Saunya. Jan Morris of the Chattooga Chapter and Jan is also a Trion Lion Club Member drove the convertible in the Christmas Parade. Saunya and Betsy Greenwich also participated in the Holiday Cooking School in Summerville held on November 19, 2011. Saunya and Betsy both demonstrated how people with vision loss chop vegetables and create delicious snacks and side dishes with Lions Club Pecans. Everyone in attendance at the Holiday Cooking School demonstrated their appreciation of cooking without looking. On Monday December 19, 2011 at the Chattooga County Civic Center, the Chattooga County Chapter met to provide personal tours of the Helen Keller Display that is part of the Victorian Christmas Window Project in downtown Summerville. Saunya again dressed like Helen Keller and told the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. Saunya demonstrated the Perkins Braille and read a story in Braille about Christmas to the attendees. Marsha Farrow and others shared information about vision loss services and provided handouts. The Chattooga County and Floyd Chapters honored Evan Barnard with the first ever Mr. Wint Barton Distinguished Service Award for Evan's contribution to revitalizing the Marshall Forest Braille Trail in Rome. Evan and his mother Kathy attended a wonderful meeting and lunch held on January 16, 2012 at the Landmark Restaurant in Rome. There were 26 individuals in attendance. The Chattooga County chapter officers are: Marsha Farrow as president; Wendi Wilson as first vice-president; Mary Turnipseed as second vice-president; Jan Morris as secretary/treasurer. Chapter meetings are at the Chattooga County Library, 360 Farrar Drive, Summerville, Georgia 30747, on the Fourth or last Friday of the Month at 10:00 AM. For information contact Marsha Farrow at 706-857-2968, or email at marshafarrow@windstream.net. The Chattooga Chapter wishes everyone a happy New Year. East Georgia Chapter The East Georgia chapter members had a super Christmas Party in December with lots of great food and fantastic entertainment. We're planning to do big things in our chapter so watch for further developments.The East Georgia chapter has new officers which are as follows: Phil Jones as President; Patricia Cox as First Vice-President; Neb Houston as Second vice-President; Christine O’Brien as Secretary; Linda Cox and Anne Wheeler will serve as co-treasurers. For information, contact Philip Jones at 770-713-3306, or via email at brilman1952@bellsouth.net. The East Georgia chapter wishes everyone a happy and prosperous new year in 2012. Greater Columbus Chapter The Greater Columbus Chapter officers are as follows: Gregory McDuffie as President; Dirk Jones as First Vice-President; Clifford Jones as Second Vice-President; Terry Powell as Secretary; Laverne Byrd as Assistant Secretary; Joe McNeil as Treasurer; Otis Smith as Chaplain. Chapter meetings are held the first Saturday of each month at the Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, from 1PM-3PM. For information, contact Gregory McDuffie at 706-505-6128 or E mail: gregory.mcduffie@yahoo.com. The Greater Columbus Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Greater Hall County Chapter The Greater Hall County Chapter celebrated the holidays with a traditional luncheon at Luna’s here in Gainesville. There were 51 in attendance which included as guests 6 ATT pioneers and/or spouses who volunteer to repair all local Talking Book Machines. We were entertained by Eli Rousey, a very talented blind guitarist. Also as a guest was Kathy Evans and her husband Rex. Kathy opened the East Hall Library for our meetings on Saturday when the library was normally closed. Unfortunately Hall County closed the library and moved all visually impaired services to their main branch. Fortunately Kathy retained her position. We are currently meeting on the second Saturday of each month except July and August at 11 AM at Smokey Springs Retirement Community on Enota Ave. in Gainesville. Our Officers for the year 2012 remain the same with Richard Bagley as President; Judy Presley as Vice President; Sue Hesket as secretary; and Ted Brackett as Treasurer. For more information please contact Richard Bagley at 770-983-1213 or via email at richardbagley@bellsouth.net. The Greater Hall County chapter wishes everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. Metro Atlanta Chapter The Metro Atlanta Chapter held its election in November and all officers and board directors except one were re-elected for 2012. Sam Howard was not re-elected on the board because he is engaged to be married in a few months and will be moving to Miami, Florida. The officers and directors for 2012 are as follows: President, Ann Sims; First Vice President, Barbara Graham; Second Vice President, Chester Thrash; Secretary, Chris Baldridge; Treasurer, Steve Longmire; Board Directors: Lisa Jones, Brent Reynolds and Suzette Wood. The Christmas party was a success with 18 members and guests present. The chapter entertained and gave presents to one of the BEGIN children, 18-month-old and his mother. Adrian Ramsey and Ann Sims played carols while the members sang along. A delicious dinner was prepared by a member of the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Hapeville, and everyone enjoyed the entire afternoon. The first program for January, Friday the 13th, was a program about Braille, honoring Louis Braille whose birthday is January 4th. Lynn Miller, Diabetes Coordinator at the Center for the Visually Impaired, shared with the members her recent experience of taking the Braille course on line and also discussed and answered questions regarding diabetes. She was informative and enjoyable, and everyone appreciated the program. For February, plans are for an auction on Friday, the 10th, from 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm, at the Center for the Visually Impaired. There will be a supper for $5.00 per plate including the drink and dessert. Other chapter members outside of the Atlanta area are invited to come and join us and bring auction items to be bid on as a fundraiser for Metro Atlanta Chapter. For details and to make your reservations, contact President Ann Sims, at 404-767-1792, or via email at brailleteacherann@bellsouth.net. The Metro Atlanta Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Northwest Chapter The Northwest Chapter officers are as follows: James Howard as President; Frederick McDade as First vice-President; Ron Burgess as Second Vice –President; Cynthia Wilson as Secretary; Charles Stubblefield as Treasurer; and Robert Sprayberry as Chaplain. The Northwest chapter is still meeting on the second Tuesday every other month at the Bank of Lafayette community room at 7:00pm. Our chapter had a great Christmas party Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at the Dairy Dip in Lafayette. Thirteen members were present, and all had a great time. For information, contact James Howard at 706-996-4417. The Northwest Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Rome Floyd County Chapter The Rome Floyd County Chapter celebrated Christmas at their December meeting. A catered meal was provided by the local Lions Club. George Barton presented a beautiful program of Christmas music on the piano and Suzanne Jackson read selections from “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. Chapter officers are as follows: Amanda Wilson, President; Tonia Clayton, Vice-President; Suzanne Jackson, Secretary/Treasurer. Chapter meetings are held in the Etowah Room of the Rome library at 11:00, usually on the third Tuesday of the month. For information, contact Amanda Wilson at 770-547-4700 or via email at moonrocks@bellsouth.net. The Rome/Floyd County Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Savannah Chapter The Savannah had its Christmas party at Loretta’s House. They had lots of fun eating and fellowshipping with each other. The Savannah chapter has elected new officers and they are as follows: Kim Harrison, President; Marj Schneider, Vice-President; Jack Lewis, Secretary; and Loretta Thomson, Treasurer. The chapter meetings are on the third Tuesday of each month except July. Our Annual Christmas Party serves as our December meeting. We meet at the Clews Ford Company on Abercorn Street in the Conference Room from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A 30 minute Social Time is held prior to the meeting. For information, contact Kim Harrison at 912-228-1190, or email at dkimharrison@gmail.com. If you receive any emails from Kim’s old email address please delete it. The Savannah chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Stephens County Chapter The Stephens County chapter is holding its annual musical festival on Sunday, February 5, 2012 from noon until six. It is being held at the Shiloh Fire Department. They will have lots of food. The Chapter welcomes everyone to come and have a great time. The chapter usually meets at the Shiloh Fire Department. For information on their meetings, contact Alfred Camp at 706-886-3894. The Stephens County chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. News from Georgia Guide Dog Users By Marj Schneider In October GGDU held a very successful membership meeting at the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta. More than 30 members and puppy raisers from two guide dog schools attended. We held elections for two director positions on our board. Ann Sims and Sarah Hooper were elected for second two-year terms. Along with lively discussion during our business meeting, the event included a demonstration by one of the puppy raisers of massage techniques, which we practiced on our dogs and puppies. As a result of this meeting we gained several new members and are looking forward to continuing to build our membership in 2012. Before the end of the year GGDU adopted a new set of bylaws for governing our organization. Our prior constitution had become out of date and didn’t address some important aspects of how we should conduct business. A committee drafted a new document this fall, which was reviewed by Don Stevens, a parliamentarian who assists ACB on these sorts of issues. The new bylaws were voted on by members in December and are now in place.One issue we have been addressing in recent months is the problem of relief areas for our guide dogs at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Existing relief areas are outside of terminals, which makes them too distant to be used by passengers between flights. They are also outside of the secured zone of the airport, so even if someone has time to visit one of those areas, it is necessary to go through security screening again before boarding the next flight. New regulations from the Transportation Security Administration are now allowing airlines the option of setting up relief areas for service animals within the secured zone, and GGDU has been talking with Air Tran personnel about what options there are for doing this. We hope to set up a conference call meeting this winter to, hopefully, move the process forward with Air Tran. If such relief areas are set up by AirTran, they could serve as a model for other airports and help resolve a problem that has plagued guide dog users ever since airports got large and security screening was implemented. In January 2013, GGDU will host the Top Dog Workshop, a regional day-and-a-half long conference of guide dog handlers and puppy raisers in the Southeast. This event will be in Savannah and will likely attract over 100 attendees. Our members will be working during the next year to make this a memorable and successful event.

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