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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

May 17, 2005

In order to accommodate a federal requirement, this meeting was held on May 17 rather than the normal meeting time of June 11.  The members from Raleigh met in the Fisher Building Conference Room and members from out-of-town were connected by conference call.   

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

Chairman John Miller called the meeting of the Commission for the Blind to order at 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, 2005.   The following members were present in the conference room:  Tom Winton, Graham Watt, Debbie Jackson, Kathy Brack, and Angela McCants.  The following members were connected by conference call:  John Miller, Annette Clinard, Allen Moore, and Sandy Foster.

Members Not Present with Excused Absences:  Catherleen Thomas, Russ Stinehour, and Ron Huber.

Others Present:  Dave Arthur, Jan Fesperman, Joann Strader, Sally Syria, Mary Flanagan, Dr. Wiggins, and Carla Parker

Allen Moore offered the invocation.

Appointment of Parliamentarian and Remarks by Chairperson

Tom Winton was appointed Parliamentarian.  A motion was made by Graham Watt, seconded by Angela McCants, and carried to approve the minutes of the March 12, 2005 meeting.

Committee Reports:

Public Relations Committee—No Report

Intercommittee Relations—Allen Moore

The Statewide Independent Living Council met in Burlington May 12-13.  Training was held to update members on laws and regulations.  Minutes were approved and budget issues discussed.

Advocacy Committee—No Report

Director’s Report—Debbie Jackson

Federal Legislation—Reauthorization of the Workforce Act which includes the Rehabilitation Act—The House has their bill and the Senate is scheduled to mark up their bill on May 18. 

There is still activity around the closing of the RSA Regional Offices.  A buy-out option has been offered to the federal employees.  A rally has been scheduled for May 26 in Washington to raise awareness and express concerns about the closing of the RSA offices.  We are not sure of the structure of the RSA office in Washington.

State Legislation—The House has their budget and the Senate is now working a budget.  DSB has no cuts in the Governor’s Budget.  In the Senate budget, DSB was scheduled to receive a small inflationary increase in the Medical Eye Care Program, but at this point we will probably not be receiving that increase.   

Labels for Literacy Project—Our agency has been contacted to participate in “Labels for Literacy Project”.  In this project, a number of brand name packing companies have developed labels that have uncontracted (grade 1) braille and large print on the same label.  The consumer will place the label on the canned good for easy identification.  Initially, the agency will distribute the labels and consumers will provide feedback to the Project Director.  We are now in the process on getting the word out and developing a mailing list of consumers who would like to receive these labels.  The first packet of labels should be mailed out in July or August and will be distributed monthly.  If anyone is interested, contact Carla Parker at Services for the Blind. 

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—No Report

Professional Advisory Committee—Dr. Wiggins

The Medical Eye Care Program is serving those meeting the guidelines and operating within budget. 

Old Business

Harm or Hinder Law, S1058—Kathy Brack

The bill passed in the committee and hoping it will continue through the House and Senate. 

New Business—Mary Flanagan

DSB is moving forward with the Statewide Needs Assessment.  Mississippi State Research and TrainingCenter has been selected for the needs assessment and the contract is being written.  It will begin in July and members of the Commission will be contacted for input.  

Three Commission appointments will be expiring at the end of June—Allen Moore, Catherleen Thomas, and Annette Clinard.  We are working to fill these slots.  Members may be asked to continue serving if a replacement is not found before the next Commission meeting in September.

A motion was made by Tom Winton, seconded by Kathy Brack, and carried for a resolution thanking these three commission members for their service to the Commission for the Blind. 

NC Central University VITP—Tom Winton

The program continues to have a vacancy for the 3rd faculty position.  Other concerns regarding the program and the support given by the university have surfaced.  Mr. Winton will keep the Commission informed as he is allowed to share more detailed information. 

Adjournment of Commission Meeting

Following an adjournment motion, a second, and a vote, the meeting adjourned at 3:20 p.m.   The next meeting of the Commission for the Blind is scheduled for September 10, 2005.

Respectfully Submitted,

John T. Miller, III. Chairman, Commission for the Blind DHHS           
Debbie Jackson, Director, Division of Services for the Blind/DHHS          


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