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

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

September 12, 2008

Call to Order

Chairman Gary Ray called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. 

The following members were present:  Gary Ray, Kathy Davis, Steve Walker, Jennifer Talbot, Ron Eller, and Anne Vierregge (conference call).

Others Present:  Barbria Bacon, Debbie Jackson, Julie Kagy, Tommy Jenkins, Carl Keehn, William Tubilleja, Carla Parker, and Beth Butler (conference call)

Members Not Present:  Tim Jones and Linda Coleman.

Approval of Minutes:

A motion was made by Steve Walker, seconded by Jennifer Talbot, and carried to approve the minutes for the June 13, 2008 meeting. 

Reports of Entities:

Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped—Carl Keehn

Digital Transition—the final contract for the flash memory cartridges was approved in late August.  There were 4 contracts:  1) production of player, 2) production of cartridge shells, 3) training, and 4) production of the flash memory cartridges. 

Three orders have been submitted for digital materials.  With the approval of the production of the flash cartridges, it was required that blank cartridges would be available at a fixed price to the network libraries and to individuals.  A vendor has been selected yet.  A training schedule has not been released. 

Personnel Changes:  Upon Francine Martin’s retirement on June 30, Carl Keehn’s appointment became formal.  Outreach Librarian, Lara Handler, resigned to take a position at UNC-Chapel Hill.  The Assistant Regional Librarian position will be filled on October 15 by Catherine Rubin.

Every two years, the National Library Services sends consultants to NC to review our program.  Overall, the library did very well.  A couple of recommendations were to increase the number of reader advisor staff and reach out more to the exceptional children’s coordinators at the various county school systems.

The Library has received an upgrade to their Keystone Integrated Library software which allows for importing of large print catalog data.

Governor Morehead School—Barbria Bacon

Governor Morehead School is back and running.  Eric Montross spoke to the students during the first week of school to build team spirit.  

Pavement and Sidewalks—sidewalk that comes down from the Admin building to Lineberry (repaired); around the circle in front of Lineberry is in need of repair but is “on hold”; reroute the sidewalk around the “Washington Tree” that leads from the Crockett-Peeler Building down to the dining hall. 

The firewall at GMS has prevented staff from accessing needed sites and files.   Kathy Davis is working with DIRM to assure needed sites are available to staff. 

The “Highway Room” located on the second floor of Lineberry which is primarily used by the NCCU Program now has the capability of video conferencing.  

Department of Public Instruction—Julie Kagy

Mrs. Kagy met with the Committee for State Adopted Textbooks to assure any requested books are accessible and requested that we do not adopt any North Carolina specific textbooks anymore—this is only a sales point for the publishers and has no benefit to the students. 

American Printing House fiscal year ended September 30.  All allocations were used serving 70 counties and 15 private schools. 

DPI is in the process of renewing contract with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic to provide all of the audio text for state adopted textbooks. 

DPI has begun ordering books from the National Instructional Material Access Center (NIMAC). 

DPI is preparing for the Vision Impairment Institute at the Exceptional Children’s Conference in November.  Staff from APH will be attending. 

Division of Services for the Blind—Debbie Jackson

A special provision emerged from the Legislature that proposed merging the disability agencies; i.e. Services for the Blind, Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Vocational Rehabilitation.  Special thanks go to NFB, ACB, and the Lions for advocating to keep these agencies separate. 

NewsLine was funded for another year through DSB. 

Medical Eye Care Program—In 2007, the MEC income scale changed.   Unfortunately, there are more people needing services than DSB has funding for.  Some steps have been taken to tighten the eligibility criteria.  The eligibility criteria is now strictly based on income rather than allowing for deductions.  DSB has also stopped purchasing eyeglasses for adults.  DSB appreciates all of the help Lions provide to our consumers.  

Transition Services—DSB hopes to expand transition services to the Buncombe County area in the West and to   Nash, Edgecombe, and Pitt County in the East.   

Camp Dogwood was held last weekend with 44 campers and everyone had a great time.  Thanks again to the Lions. 

North Carolina Lions Foundation—Steve Walker

The budget at the Lions Foundation is also tight. 

The program at the Lions Foundation that does cover the purchases of eyeglasses was increased.  When the budgeted amount has been spent, it will not be able to be supplemented as it has in the past years.  Costs of the eyeglasses must be controlled. 

The Deaf –Blind weekend at Camp Dogwood was very successful. 

About 18 months ago, the Foundation started looking at the types of activities that are being offered.  Over the past few years, attendance at the Camp has decreased.  A Marketing Company has been retained and they are surveying consumers, social workers, etc.  A Marketing Plan will be developed so consumers are aware of what is available and those who would like to attend Camp have the opportunity to do so. 

A Lion has pledged $250,000 toward developing a recreational center at the Camp. 

This year, resources are not available to continue funding programs that the Lions do not actually implement.  Any excess funds will not be able to be determined until the end of the fiscal year.  Any excess funds will continue to be used to fund GMS Athletic Program, Deaf-Blind Weekend, VIP Fishing Tournament, etc.  

North Carolina Council of the Blind—Ron Eller

The Council is very proud of the role it played to defeat the merger of the different agencies.  The Council is always ready to do whatever it can when this situation arises again.  The States of Georgia and Texas were not able to defeat the merger. 

The National Convention was held in Louisville, KY, the week of July 4th with 30 members from North Carolina in attendance. 

The State Convention will be held in Raleigh, NC, September 26, 27, and 28. 

The Council is in the planning stages of a Southeastern Leadership Conference.  The conference will either be held in Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC; or Atlanta, GA. 

The Councils website is under construction and is being redesigned. 

Prevent Blindness of North Carolina—Jennifer Talbot

Changes in the Vision Screening law--There had been a $500,000 provision but it was taken out during the session.  Prevent Blindness has been working with the Eye Commission to do a donor adopt program to cover the gap. 

At a recent Eye Commission meeting, questioned was asked of the Commissioners if they would like to abolish the commission along with the law.  The Eye Commissioners agreed the law was of value and agreed to keep the commission as is.  Prevent Blindness will be working closely along with the Eye Commission to make sure the laws stay in place and assuring there are no uncovered children. 

State Auditors office visited Prevent Blindness this summer.  No audit findings were found. 

Prevent Blindness may be using Retina Photography instead of standard vision screening practices for adults.  Prevent Blindness will be looking into obtaining grants through Kate B. Reynolds. 

Prevent Blindness was funded for the next 3 years to do a project with the CDC and Duke University on continuing training of pediatricians in NC to do better vision screening. 

North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind—Anne Vieregge

Association Weekend was the July 18, 19, and 20 with 48 participants enrolled.   Barbria Bacon conducted a tour of the gym and Lineberry Hall.  Debbie Jackson spoke to the group on Friday night.  The Board meeting will be held tomorrow, September 13, in the Fisher Building Conference Room. 

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina—Gary Ray

Gary Ray passed around a raised-line paper replica of the new Louis Braille Bicentennial Memorial Silver Dollar that will be available next year. 

Congress is limiting the amount of money to fund the digital conversion.  Due to advocacy, the House passed a budget allowing for $37 million a year.  It has not made it to the Senate yet. 

NewsLine has been funded for another year.  A newspaper has been added.  We now have Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh—Greenville may be added. 

National Convention was held in Dallas.  The State Convention will be held in Charlotte. 

North Carolina Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired—Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis is the new AER President and she is looking forward to serving in this role.  Kathy Davis and Gary Ray are planning “AER member only” training.   William Tubilleja attended the International AER Conference in Chicago in July. 

The “super conference” will be March 19-21, 2009.  For more information, .

Elected Committee of Vendors—No Report

Old Business

It’s important that we make legislatures aware of whom we are and educate them about blindness.  We need to make ourselves known to the legislatures. 

New Business

It was suggested that the CAAC send the legislatures a letter thanking them for their support.  Gary Ray will work on this letter. 

Adjournment of Meeting

Meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.


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