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

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

December 8, 2006

Call to Order

Chairman Tim Jones called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m.   Gary Ray offered the invocation.  The following members were present:  Tim Jones, Ron Eller, Gary Ray,  and Linda Lewis.  

Members not present:  Jennifer Talbot, Martha Butler, Steve Walker, Jerry Garner, Kathy Davis, and Representative Linda Coleman.   

Others Present:  Debbie Jackson, Carla Parker, Tom Winton  

Since there were so few members present, there was a question about what constitutes a quorum and if the committee could vote on approving the minutes from the September meeting today.  Many of the members/offices are held by the same person.   

The General Statute regarding the Consumer and Advocacy Committee for the Blind was read and discussed as it pertains to the members and who has voting privileges.   

The Statute regarding the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind is below: 

  § 143B164.  Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind – members; selection; quorum;

(a)    The Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind of the Department of Health and Human Services shall consist of the following members:

(1)   One member of the North Carolina Senate to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate;

(2)   One member of the North Carolina House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

(3)   President and Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina ;

(4)   President and Vice President of the North Carolina Council of the Blind;

(5)   President and Vice President of the North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind;

(6)   President and Vice President of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Workers for the Blind;

(7)   Chairman of the State Council of the North Carolina Lions and Executive Director of the North Carolina Lions Association for the Blind, Inc.;

(8)   Chairman of the Concession Stand Committee of the Division of Services for the Blind of the Department of Health and Human Services; and

(9)   Executive Director of the North Carolina Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Inc.  

Tom Winton will contact the Ethics Board to get clarification.       

Linda Lewis apologized to the committee for her lack of attendance at past meetings and will make every effort to attend future meetings.      

Report of Entities:  

North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped—Gary Ray reporting for Francine Martin

Digital Talking Books

  • Purchase requests for the digital recording equipment and studio booths were prepared and submitted this quarter.   NCLBPH is working toward installation in December 2006 and training of volunteers who will use the new system in January 2007.
  • The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped released photographs of the prototypes of the digital talking book player, digital talking book (encased flash card medium), and digital talking book mailing container.   Those pictures are inserted below in this report.    Full production and distribution is planned for Fall of 2008, with some machines and titles available in 2007.  Descriptions of the pictures and a new report on the work towards digital talking books are available via links on the main page of the NLS website: .  

  NLS Consultant Report and Recommendations

  • Volunteer/Outreach Unit Director and staff are working with NLS on making the electronic files for the NCLBPH volunteer-produced Braille books available as Web-braille files as any other NLS web-braille file via the NLS catalog.   This was recommended by the NLS Consultant during her visit in May 2006 and in her 2006 report.  
  • The NLS Consultant report was received and contains recommendations on how NCLBPH can better meet ASCLA standards for LBPH services.   Two key recommendations involve staffing levels.  To meet standards based on number of LBPH users, she recommends NCLBPH should have three more Reader Advisor positions and 2 additional professional librarian positions.  
  • NCLBPH was commended on its high level of service provision and work in meeting the recommendations made in the 2004 report.   The new 2006 report contains the fewest recommendations received at NCLBPH in the past 20 years, with the majority of recommendations simply indicating annual or biannual practices to continue.

  Staff News

  • Laurie Williams, Patron Services Librarian/Assistant Regional Librarian accepted a position with higher pay at UNC Central University as Access Services Librarian at their Law Library.   Her position has been advertised.
  • Gary is retiring March 1, 2007 .  A draft of the Position Description Upgrade Request to make that position a Librarian position has been submitted for review within State Library.
  • Todd Clayton, former Reader Advisor, has taken Carolyn Clay's Library Technical Assistant position in the Collection Unit.  We will be interviewing for the vacant Reader Advisor position soon.
  • Hank Garrett in Circ Unit (PA III) is retiring January 1 2007 & we've selected a person internally for his position.

Gary Ray reported there are approximately 750,000 cassette players in use. 

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction—Tom Winton

  • Federal Quota Funds – As of December 8, 54 separate orders had been placed with the American Printing APH in the Fiscal Year 2006-07 to procure instructional materials with Quota Funds for eligible students in North Carolina Public Schools. 
  • NCCU-VITP Advisory Board – The Consultant for Visually Impaired continues to serve as co-chair with Dr. Deborah Hatton on the NCCU-VITP Advisory Board. The Advisory Board met with NCCU faculty and administration on Tuesday, September 12. Dr. Diane Wormsley was welcomed to the faculty by the Advisory Board and Dr. Julie Bardin was congratulated on the completion of her doctoral program and awarding of her Ph.D. degree. The next meeting of the Advisory Board is scheduled for February 2007.
  • 56th Conference on Exceptional Children The Exceptional Children Division hosted the 56th Conference on Exceptional Children on November 6-7 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro . This is the nation’s largest and longest-running exceptional children conference sponsored by a state education agency. Two instructional sessions were devoted to visual impairments, including a session on learning media assessments by Julie Bardin of North Carolina Central University . This year’s conference was attended by 3,038 educators, administrators, related service personnel, paraprofessionals, parents, students and others.
  • RFB&D Project The Exceptional Children Division continues to partner with the State Textbook Warehouse to conduct a pilot project for improving provision of recorded textbooks to students in the state. Thirteen school systems are being provided with memberships to Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), which allows them to order digital recordings of state-adopted textbooks directly from RFB&D for the 2006-07 school year. Initial results reveal that more than 98% of orders placed since late July had been filled by mid-October, most within 7-10 days.  This is in comparison to the statewide data from 2005 which revealed that only 88% of orders had been filled by December 2005, even though some orders had been placed as early as March of that year. Should this pilot project prove effective, it may be implemented statewide for the 2007-08 school year. Included in the pilot project are Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Wake County, Guilford County, Wilkes County, Caldwell County, Henderson County, Cherokee County, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, Cumberland County, New Hanover County, Moore County, Montgomery County and Gaston County Schools.
  • National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) The reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 2004, and the resulting federal regulations released in August 2006, established NIMAS, which is a standard by which publishers will produce accessible files for textbooks and other core instructional materials. This will allow state and local education agencies to more easily produce these textbooks in alternate formats (e.g., braille, large print, digital audio) for students with print disabilities, including those with blindness or visual impairments. States will be able to access these files either directly from the publishers or through the newly established National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) which is being housed at the APH. The Department of Public Instruction already has language in its contracts with textbook publishers to require submission of these NIMAS-compliant files. The Exceptional Children Division is establishing a NIMAS Coordinating Council to develop recommendations for policies and procedures in the access, manipulation and distribution of these files and their resulting accessible formats. Various stakeholder groups, including the state assistive technology program, NC Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, school representatives and consumer organizations, will be invited to participate on the Council.
  • New VI Consultant The new State Consultant for Visually Impaired will be introduced within the next two weeks. Tom Winton, State Consultant for VI and Assistive Technology for the past eight years, has left that position to become a Section Chief within the Exceptional Children Division. The new Consultant will continue to have responsibilities for both visually impaired and assistive technology and will be the primary DPI representative to the Consumer & Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind.  

Division of Services for the Blind—Debbie Jackson

Renovation Update—the renovations of Cox Dormitory are complete.  Debbie Jackson welcomed anyone to take a tour—there is now an elevator and computer lab.  Hopefully, renovations for the Milsap Dormitory will begin in February and completed by the end of September.   

Services for the Blind submitted 3 expansion budget requests—1) additional funding and staff positions for the Independent Living Rehabilitation Program, 2) additional funding for the Medical Eye Care Program, and 3) additional funding for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  These requests have made it through the department level and now they are at State Budget.  

Services for the Blind also submitted a request to change the language of the economic needs scale for the Vocational Rehabilitation, Medical Eye Care, and Independent Living Program.   

The Counselor position associated with the new Transition program in the Wilmington area has been filled.  DSB is currently advertising for the Community Employment position.   

Question was asked about the implications of changing the economic needs test—DSB will be able to serve more people—more people will be eligible.  

American Council of the Blind—Ron Eller

Their convention was held in September in Fayetteville .  Attendance was down slightly this year.  Most of the members are from the central part of the State so that may have impacted the attendance.  Among some of the speakers were Gary Ray, Debbie Jackson, and Dr. Wormsley.   

The Legislative Seminar is coming up in February.  The Council is in the process of developing a resolution to have a “Braille Literacy” month declared by the Governor.   Gary Ray will work with the Council on this resolution.  

On the national level, discussion has been on the currency accessibility issue.    

National Federation of the Blind—Gary Ray

The State Convention was held in Fayetteville during September.  It was well attended. We hope the convention will be in Greensboro next year, but we have nothing definite yet.  

Newsline service is doing well.  Currently, there are about  2,000 subscribers.  We now have about 240 newspapers.  We are working on cleaning up our database and getting duplicate entries out of our files.  We are now delivering DAISY files of newspapers to folks with email and software to read the files.  We will again be asking the NC Legislature for money to continue Newsline in NC.  We will try to get it added to the continuing budget for DSB.  There is a bill going through the US Congress to pay for long distance charges for Newsline.  We hope it will pass.  

Our Washington Seminar is January 28 through February 1, 2007 .  We will have about 12 folks go to DC to lobby our national legislators.  

North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind—Linda Lewis

NCAWB Alumni was held in July at the Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh .  It was not held at the Governor Morehead School this year and attendance was down.  The dates for the alumni next year is July 20-22, 2007 , and will be held at the Governor Morehead School .   

Officers for the NCAWB are: Linda Lewis, President; Jerry Garner, Vice-President; Ann Vieregge, Secretary; Lee King, Treasurer.   

The Garner Road alumnus is interested in learning more about the NCAWB alumni and they are invited to attend the next NCAWB Board meeting, March 24.   

At the next Board meeting, there will be discussion on purchasing some type of plaque or memento to be given to students at GMS graduation for any outstanding accomplishments.   

North Carolina Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)—Gary Ray

The Governor’s Advocacy Council for Persons With Disabilities is heading up a committee to study the enforcement of Bill 866.  This bill put into state law some years ago that all websites and technology used by the State of NC must be accessible to folks with disabilities.  This bill made changes to General Statute, Chapter 168, which is titled “Persons With Disabilities.”  The committee has determined that many websites and technologies are not in compliance with the law.  We are currently studying how to increase compliance and enforcement of the law.  It is expected that a bill to do this may be introduced in the next legislative session.  

Our website, has a new look.  Our goal is to make the website a resource for professionals in the state who work with folks who have vision issues.  Visit the site and check it out.  

We continue to work on the next Conference on Blindness and Visual Impairment, which we call the Super Conference.  This conference brings together professionals in the field of blindness and visual impairment.  The Conference dates are Thursday through Saturday, March 22, 23, and 24, 2007.  The conference will be held on the Governor Morehead School campus.  Visit the NC AER website at for more details.  

Tom Winton added that DPI has a web accessibility committee that has been working on its web accessibility policy and it is now in place.  Staff has been trained in this policy.  If the website is not accessible, a plan must be in place to have it remedied within a certain timeframe.   

Elected Committee of Vendors—Tim Jones

The BE Program is going well.  In the upcoming session, we will be lobbying for the Randolph-Sheppard Act.  HELP (Health, Education, Labor, Pension) will be doing a study on the Randolph Sheppard Act and the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program.  HELP feels that all people with disabilities should be under one umbrella.   

Legislation has been written to move the Program from Department of Education to the Department of Commerce.  A lobbyist has been hired and in the beginning the main goal will be to educate people in Washington .  

Old Business


New Business


Adjournment of Meeting

With no further business, a motion was made, seconded and carried that the meeting be adjourned.  The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.   The next meeting is scheduled for March 9, 2007 , at 1 p.m.  

Respectfully Submitted    

Tim Jones, Chairman

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind


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