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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

March 8, 2013

The Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee (CAAC) for the Blind met in the conference room of the Fisher Building on Friday, March 8, 2013.  The budget now allows for out-of-town members to attend in person if they wish and get reimbursed.  If not, members may join the meeting by conference call.

Call to Order

The CAAC for the meeting was called to order by Chairman, Gary Ray, at 1 p.m.

Present in the Conference Room:  Gary Ray, Debbie Jackson, Eddie Weaver, Peggy McGohan, Wayne McGohan, Gina Powell, Claire Hakin, and Lucy Radford

Present on the Conference Call:  Allen Casey and Tim Jones

Report of Entities:

Elected Committee of Vendors—Tim Jones
The Business Enterprises Program is doing well with 72 operators and an average income of over $41,000 per year and $11 million in gross sales annually. 
The annual training conference was held in Raleigh at the Holiday Inn with 47 operators in attendance.

Governor Morehead School—Debbie Jackson reporting for Barbria Bacon
Since the incident in Connecticut, security on the GMS campus has increased. One code yellow drill has taken place and a code red drill is planned. 

Students are excited about the iPads that were ordered.
The State Board of Education approved the residential school calendar for next year and the improvement plan.
GMS is beginning to plan for Summer school.

Claire Hakin—Department of Public Instruction
I-M-ABLE, functional braille project, is planning an additional workshop for teachers of the visually impaired in Durham, March 21-22.

The Exceptional Children’s Division is planning summer institutes.  On July 23, a one-day session offered to Orientation and Mobility Specialists in working with students with multiple impairments.  A two-day workshop will be held on APH intervention continuum for learners with visual and multiple impairments.   An Exceptional Children’s Conference will be held November 21-22 in Greensboro. 
William Tubilleja is coordinating low vision clinics.  A low vision clinic will be held in Morganton on March 18-19; on the GMS campus on April 8; and in Wilmington April 22-23.

APH has 1,200 legally blind students registered this year.

Common core testing—all children will be tested the same.  Chair Ray was concerned about the modifications that will be made to accommodate the visually impaired; i.e. will the test be available in braille, on-line, etc. 

Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped—Gina Powell (Gina Powell presented Carl Keehn’s report)

Upcoming Holidays for the Library:

Friday    March 29 – Good Friday
Monday  May 27  -      Memorial Day

The NLS has launched the digital magazine service.
Over the next few months, the NLS will be conducting a survey of present and potential patrons to determine how to better serve them.  Earlier in the year, the NLS contacted a number of national organizations serving our target audience and asked their assistance in publicizing the upcoming survey.  Each Network library was provided with a randomly selected list of patrons, to update contact information in preparation of the survey.   The survey is scheduled to extend from mid-March through June.  Patrons will be given the opportunity to respond either electronically or by telephone.

North Carolina was selected as one of the first libraries to implement the digital magazine service.  The initial phase involves 5,000 readers on the east coast and 5,000 on the west, served by 5 east coast libraries and 5 west coast libraries.  The first digital magazines were shipped out on Thursday February 28.  For two months, readers will receive their magazines in both cassette and digital format.  After two months, the cassette service will be discontinued.

With the NLS digital magazine program in operation, North Carolina is now working to roll out a local digital magazine program.   Keystone has built a new serials category to which we are now in the process of adding our magazine subscriber list.  Our recording program will produce the magazines currently in production, in both analog and digital format.  Any future production will be digital only.  We will include all the magazines we produce or provide locally, on a single cartridge and the reader will use the bookshelf feature of their player to select the magazine.  We hope to send out our first digital magazine mailing in April.

The library underwent our biennial review in early February.  Every two years, the NLS Consultant visits the library and meets with all staff as well as with our administering officials.  This year, our consultant met with State Librarian Cal Shepard, Assistant State Librarian Laura O’Donoghue and Library Services Section Chief Jan Reagan.  As a result of the visit, our consultant will draft a report which analyses the library and how it meets American Library Association Standards.   The consultant seemed pleased with the program in North Carolina, as well as the high caliber of the staff.

The second “Heard Any Good Books Lately” program was released on the Triangle Radio Reading Service in mid-February.  Underwritten by the Friends of the Library, the program discusses new and popular books, highlighting the collection of the Library for the Blind. 

On Monday, March 3, Keystone Systems rolled out a new online public access catalog for North Carolina.  The new catalog should be easier to use and will allow the reader to refine their searches for more accurate results.  A browse feature has been incorporated which highlights recent materials and the catalog will interact more effectively with the BARD service to enable the reader to access both the local and BARD collection.

Gina Powell—Outreach
The Library has participated in a number of outreach events including the Braille Challenge on February 14; a continuing program at Conn’s Elementary; mini-center in Robeson County; a deaf-blind conference at Atlantic Beach; gave a tour for the GMS students; and will participate in the NCCVIB in April. 

Division of Services for the Blind—Eddie Weaver
Mr. Weaver had a chance to meet with the new DHHS Secretary, Dr. Aldona Wos. 

A new Acting Deputy Secretary was appointed, Sherry Bradsher.  Ms. Bradsher is replacing Marie Spaulding.

DHHS has put into place a travel/purchase restriction policy.  Normal travel and operating supplies will be approved.  Until further notice, CAAC and Commission for the Blind members will not be reimbursed for their expenses.   All requests to purchase must be approved by Division Director and forwarded to Purchase and Contract for their approval.  This has recently been put into place.  As we learn more, we will share information. 

Vacant positions are being reviewed by DHHS before being posted. 

Sequestration—DSB is expecting a 5.1% reduction in Federal dollars for the remainder of the year.  This will impact the ILR and VR Programs. 

Due to changes in the Medicaid Program in October 2011, the Medical Eye Care Program has been hit hard.  With the budget situation, the Medical Eye Care is very limited on the services that they can provide.  We are referring applicants to Prevent Blindness NC. 

Services for the Blind had 4 retirements during the month of March.

State Council of the North Carolina Lions--Wayne McGohan 
The Lions is in the process of redistricting and reducing the number of chapters from 8 to 5.  Voting day is May 19.  Something that the Lions sponsor that most people are not aware of, is gene replacement therapy for macular degeneration at UNC Chapel Hill.  A lot of money goes into that research.  Mr. McGohan encouraged people to join the Lions.
Eddie Weaver explained the VR Program to Mr. McGohan. 

North Carolina Council of the Blind—Allen Casey
The Council returned from Washington from their annual legislative seminar. 

Their national convention will be in July in Columbus, OH.  The state convention will be in Greensboro, September 27-29.
If anyone knows of a blind or visually impaired student seeking a scholarship, please contact Allen Casey.  Mr. Casey will send information to Eddie Weaver and Claire Hakin so they may share with staff and colleagues. 

Lucy Radford commented on the seminar in Washington.  It was a great seminar.  A couple of the topics were TEACH and disabled vets/transportation. 

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina—Gary Ray
NFB’s annual convention will be in Orlando, FL, the week of July 4.  The state convention will be in Fayetteville on September 12-15.   This coincides with the Commission for the Blind meeting in September so Gary Ray will ask the Commission to move their meeting a week later in September. 
The “super conference”, NCCVIB, will be held April 19 and 20.  Joan Brock is the keynote speaker.    On April 18, NCAER is holding a preconference.  It will be an introduction to the iPad and is open to everyone.

Braille Literacy Council—Debbie Jackson
The Braille Challenge was on February 14.  There was a challenge in the West and it was held at Camp Dogwood with 14 attending and the Central challenge was held on GMS campus with 21 kids attending. 

The BELL program will be held on GMS campus July 15-26.  This is a day program not a residential program.  A small version of BELL will be held in Lincolnton July 8-12.  This program is open to kids 5-12 years old. 

Closing Remarks—Chairman, Gary Ray
Last year, we had 4 areas of concern with the legislature and we were successful with all four:  1) Newsline, 2) unclosing of GMS, 3) unclosing of DSB; and 4) getting the CAAC off the hit list to be abolished. 

This year we need to get funding for Newsline, $75,000.

Chairman Ray will meet the new DHHS Secretary on Monday and share with her our interest in keeping the agencies separate and not merging.
Old Business:

New Business:

The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.

The next CAAC meeting will be Thursday, June 13, from 1 til 3 p.m. in the Fisher Building Conference Room.



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