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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

June 13, 2008

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

Chair Graham Watt called the 294th meeting of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, June 13, 2008, in the conference room of the Division of Services for the Blind, 309 Ashe Avenue, Raleigh, NC.  Members joined in the pledge of allegiance.  Graham Watt offered the invocation.

The following members were present:  Graham Watt, Debbie Jackson, Kathy Crow, Stacey Milbern, Tommy Jenkins, Eddie Weaver, Allen Casey, Richard Oliver, Anita Heath-Cunningham, Terri Meyers, Jay Williams, Julie Kagy, and Beth Butler

Others Present:  Dr. Fleming, Dr. Bernstein, Jan Fesperman, Gary Ray, Cynthia Joos, Dr. Wiggins, Joann Wood, David Arthur, Mary Flanagan, Dr. Gropper, and Carla Parker

Chair Graham Watt welcomed everyone and reminded members of the Ethics Awareness and Conflict of Interest order.  If any board member has any known conflict with respect to any matters coming before the Board, please identify the conflict or appearance of conflict and refrain from any undue participation in the particular matter involved.

Allen Casey was appointed the Parliamentarian.

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Kathy Crow, seconded by Anita Heath Cunningham, and carried to approve the minutes of the March 8, 2008 minutes. 

Committee Reports:

Public Relations Committee—Kathy Crow

The committee met this morning before the Commission meeting.  The Public Relations Committee agreed to begin by targeting the medical profession in getting the word out about DSB’s services.  At the next meeting, a cover letter will be presented to the Commission.  The DSB brochure is on the website but cannot be downloaded and printed.  The committee recommends the brochure be downloadable so they can be printed at doctor’s offices, district offices, etc.  The upcoming in-service training at Duke, Medical Update, would also present an opportunity to get the word out about DSB services. 

Intercommittee Relations Committee—Stacey Milbern

The Statewide Independent Living Council met with RSA last week.  A SILC Youth Training is planned this weekend.  SILC is also one of the sponsors of the Summers Youth Leadership Forum.

Advocacy Committee—Tommy Jenkins

The Advocacy Committee has not met. 

Personnel Development Committee

No Report

Director’s Report—Debbie Jackson

Retirements continue within DSB.  Over the next six months, 3 Rehab. Counselors, 2 Social Workers, and 2 Job Placement Specialists will be retiring.

The program at North Carolina Central University is doing very well.  NCCU has obtained a 5-year RSA grant to provide training to students who want to become Certified Vision Therapists.

Legislation has been introduced at the Federal level that may open up the Randolph-Sheppard Program to people with disabilities other than blindness.  DSB will be keeping track of this legislation. 

Renovations—DSB’s Braille and Communication Unit will be relocating to the Haywood Building.  Also, Aids and Appliances will be relocating to the Haywood Building.  A classroom setting mini-center will also be set up in Haywood. A suggestion was made to have the Aids and Appliances section open for our next meeting so the Commission members can visit this section.  

Consumer and Advocacy and Advisory Committee—Gary Ray

A couple of legislative issues that the CAAC will be focused on are:  Left Turn on Red; HB 388—In NC, when parents of children with disabilities decide to home school or send their child to private school, they lose access to some direct services such as mobility.  This bill would allow the parent to seek these services and also have a tax deduction.

The mandated Legislative Study of the delivery of education services to the blind and visually impaired and Deaf and Hard of Hearing has been completed and presented to the legislature. 

Professional Advisory Committee—Dr. Wiggins

Dr. Wiggins reported that the additional money requested for the Medical Eye Care was not approved.  Money is being shifted to cover the deficit for this year.  Plans will be made to avoid this deficit in the upcoming year. 

Old Business

Chair Graham Watt reminded everyone of the Ethics Training that all members are required to attend. 

New Business

Chair Graham Watt resigned as Chair of the Commission for the Blind.  Members of the Commission thanked Mr. Watt for all of his services. 

A motion was made by Terri Meyers, seconded by Tommy Jenkins and carried to nominate Beth Butler as Chair of the Commission for the Blind.  Beth Butler accepted this position. 

A Vice-Chair will be elected at the September meeting.

Graham Watt agreed to continue serving as the Ethics Liaison.


Following an adjournment motion made by Anita Heath-Cunningham and seconded by Beth Butler, the Commission for the Blind meeting adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Graham Watt, Ph.D., Chair Commission for the Blind 
Debbie Jackson, Division of Services f/t Blind     


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