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

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

December 12, 2008

Due to budget restrictions, this meeting was held by conference call.  The out of town members were connected by telephone while the Raleigh-based members met in the conference room of Fisher Building.  

Call to Order

Chairman Gary Ray called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m.    Present in the conference room were:  Gary Ray, Kathy Davis, Debbie Jackson, Julie Kagy, Barbria Bacon, Carl Keehn, and Carla Parker.  Connected by conference call were:  Allen Casey, Jennifer Talbot, Beth Butler, and Steve Walker. 

Carl Keehn offered the invocation. 

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Jennifer Talbot, seconded by Allen Casey, and carried to approve the minutes for the September 12, 2008 meeting. 

Report of Entities:

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

One of the biggest concerns facing AER and the school is the budget.  AER membership is decreasing.  Teaching positions are frozen and contracted funds are being recalled. 

Also due to budget constraints, the VIB Conference is being scaled down to 1 day this year—March 20.  No meals will be offered.  Vendors will be charged $30 rather than the normal $75; $15 for non-profit.  Business Enterprises may be able to supply drinks.  Notebooks will not be provided this year. 

Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped—Carl Keehn

The digital conversion continues to be on schedule.  Two digital talking book machines should arrive in February which will be used for training and demonstrations.  

The National Library Services will be releasing 5,000 machines to different regional libraries for them to distribute to the public as a final beta test for the machine.  Training modules will also be released in February.   Digital playback machines should arrive in May.  

Staffing changes:  Assistant Regional Librarian is Catherine Rubin and the Outreach Librarian is Gina Powell.

The Office of State Personnel is instituting career banding for the State Library starting with the librarians and library technicians. 

Due to the rezoning of the lot next to the library, the library now has a new address.  The address is now 1841 Capital Blvd. 

The Annual Volunteer Recognition dinner was held on November 6.  Service awards were presented to volunteers. 

Outreach Efforts included attending the National Federation of the Blind Convention in Charlotte, National Council of the Blind Convention in Raleigh, and the Adapted Technology Expo in Raleigh. 

The Department of Cultural Resources has been assigned a new e-mail server.  E-mail addresses have changed.  The same format (first name.last exists but the extension is now rather than 

Governor Morehead School—Barbria Bacon

GMS now has a highway room which is connected to most hospitals and community colleges across the State. 

The Downtown Lions Club visited the campus and ever child received presents such as boom boxes, MP3 players, headsets, DVD’s, CD’s.  A Wii video game was donated to the GMS cottage. 

During the holidays, students visited 3 nursing homes.  A Christmas performance of “Scrooge” was performed in Lineberry Hall. 

A new telephone system will be installed throughout the GMS campus.   

Department of Public Instruction—Julie Kagy

Ms. Kagy provided a follow-up to the study of the services at residential and public schools.  The study was presented to the legislature in December 2007.  The recommendations included that DHHS and DPI should establish a task force to exam how a free and appropriate education is ensured for deaf and hard of hearing, deaf/blind, and visually impaired students in NC.  The Task Force has met and has agreed to meet with representatives of traditional local educational agencies and residential schools to explore additional models for service delivery and identify the resources necessary for development.   DPI will meet with LEA EC Directors and residential school directors to discuss data and current placement options for students. 

Division of Services for the Blind—Debbie Jackson

DSB has developed several scenarios based on requests from the Department on various levels of possible budget cuts, if needed, beginning July 2009.  In addition to that, DSB has implemented reductions for the current year which includes travel, supplies and equipment, and vacant positions. 

In October, the Medical Eye Care Program stopped providing any new services or approving any new consumers to that program.  Hopefully, in July services will resume to consumers. 

As a part of the Rehabilitation Program’s State Plan, a needs assessment must be done every 3 years.  To do this, DSB is beginning to look at providers that can do the needs assessment.  When this assessment begins, assistance will be needed from consumer organizations.

State Council of the North Carolina Lions; North Carolina Lions Foundation—Steve Walker

The Lions are facing the same budget problems as everyone else with decreased membership and volunteer services.

The Lions Foundations’ budget was developed in April with cutbacks that would be manageable.  At this point, program service level is being maintained but the demands for these services are increasing tremendously.  The Foundation will provide as many services to as many people as it can. 

A wireless internet service has been installed at Camp Dogwood.  The Summer Camp is currently being planned. 

Prevent Blindness of North Carolina—Jennifer Talbot

One of the cutbacks last summer was to the Early Childhood Vision Plan for $500,000.  This program paid for eye exams for children entering school if they couldn’t be covered under other programs.   Prevent Blindness wrote to ophthalmologists and optometrists asking them to donate up to 3 exams with glasses.  In response to this request, 900 eye exams and 500 pairs of glasses were donated. 

Question was asked why in North Carolina individuals cannot be given a pair of used eyeglasses.  All of the used glasses that the Lions collect are sent overseas.  Gary Ray will look into the language of this legislation. 

North Carolina Council of the Blind—Allen Casey

A Southeastern Leadership Conference is being planned for April in Raleigh. 

The State Convention was held in September with 2 national speakers.

The Federal Communications Commission has recently requested public comments regarding accessibility to emergency information.   Hopefully with the digital transition, the visually impaired will be assisted in being aware of the emergency information that is being transmitted. 

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina—Gary Ray

State Convention was held in Charlotte and well attended.  Elections were held and Gary Ray is now the President of NFB of NC and Tim Jones is the First Vice-President. 

The 2009 State Convention will be in Raleigh, September 10-12. 

In February 2009, NFB will be going to Washington for their Washington Seminar. 

A commemorative Silver Dollar is being issued in honor of the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille.  This Silver Dollar is being sold for $45 and has Braille on the coin. 

The National NFB Convention will be held in Detroit in July. 

Elected Committee of Vendors—No Report

Old Business

At the last meeting, Tommy Jenkins asked that we thank legislators for all of their help.  Gary Ray is moving forward with this effort.

Gary Ray is also trying to get a Senator appointed to this Committee. 

Question was asked about the status of a possible revision to the CAAC general statute—More discussion will be held on this matter at a later date.   

New Business


Adjournment of Meeting

The meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.  The next meeting is March 13, 2009.


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