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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

September 9, 2006

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

Chairman Tom Winton called the 287th meeting of the Commission for the Blind in order at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2006 in the Conference Room of the Division of Services for the Blind, 309 Ashe Avenue, Raleigh, NC.  Members joined in the pledge of allegiance.  Mr. Graham Watt offered the invocation.

The following members were present:  Tom Winton, Debbie Jackson, Anita Cunningham, Sandy Foster, Graham Watt, and Russ Stinehour.

Not Present:  Cheryl Whitley, Stacey Milbern, Kellie Hightower-Spruill, Angela McCants, Kathy Brack, and John Miller—All absent members had excused absences.

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

Appointment of Parliamentarian and Remarks by the Chairman

Graham Watt was appointed Parliamentarian.

Chairman Winton 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.

Approval of Minutes

Since a quorum was not present, approval of minutes could not be obtained.  An e-mail will be sent to all members asking for approval of minutes or any changes that may need to be made to the minutes.   

Committee Reports:

Public Relations Committee—No Report

Intercommittee Relations Committee—No report from committee

Debbie Jackson did report that the Statewide Independent Living Council had its elections in August.  SILC has a  new chairperson, Lucy Hernandez.

By telephone, Stacey Milbern had reported to Chairman Winton about the NC Youth Leadership Summit Network.  According to Stacey, approximately 80 people attended—14 were low vision or blind. 

David Arthur also commented on the great attendance for the Youth Leadership Summit.  

Advocacy Committee—No Report

Personnel Development Committee—Tom Winton

The Advisory Board of the Visual Impairment Training Program will be meeting on Tuesday, September 12, at NCCU.  A new NCCU faculty member has been hired, Dr. Diane Wormsley.  Dr. Wormsley is one of the nation’s leaders in the field of education for blind and visually impaired students. 

Director’s Report—Debbie Jackson

In the past, DSB has had difficulty recruiting for Orientation and Mobility Instructors because of a requirement that they also be or eligible to become licensed teachers in NC.  The recruiting requirements for DSB’s Orientation and Mobility Instructors have now changed. 

Orientation and Mobility Instructors no longer need to be certified as a public school teacher in NC.  Applicants must have a Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in Orientation and Mobility. 

Completion of the Cox Dorm is running a little later than planned.  Hopefully, renovations will be completed in early October. 

The Crockett-Peeler Building will be getting a new AC/Heating Unit.  This will involve ceiling work so staff and students will need to move out of the building for approximately 10 to 12 weeks.  DSB will work with GMS to identify space for classes during this period. 

NewsLine has been funded another year. 

DSB will have two new Transition Program positions (Counselor and Community Employment Specialist) in the Eastern part of the State and will serve a 4-county area (Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pender). 

This year, DSB and DVR have agreed to pursue an update in the economic needs scale for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living Rehabilitation Programs.  We are at the very early planning stages.  The deadline for expansion requests is October 13 and more information will be available at the December Commission meeting. 

Two interns are working with DSB this fall—One from Winston-Salem State and the other from out of state.

Outreach—DSB will participate in the conference on Aging by having an exhibit and a round table discussion.   

An exhibit is also planned for the conference of school nurses.  Each of these conferences should allow DSB to reach several hundred people and help get the word out about services offered.  

College Day was very successful last year so DSB is  planning another one in November.  The purpose being for students at colleges/universities to learn more about DSB and the types of job opportunities available.  

DSB had an opportunity to be on health-related show on UNC-TV which focused on vision loss and correction. 

Debbie Jackson along with eye care providers and Prevent Blindness were on the show.  This was another great opportunity for DSB to get the word out about its services.   

Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee—No Report

The CAAC meeting was held yesterday by conference call.  It was held by conference call because of the NFB of North Carolina State Convention held in Fayetteville this weekend, September 8-10.  Most of the CAAC members were on the way to Fayetteville. 

Professional Advisory Committee—Sally Syria

The Medical Eye Care Program completed the fiscal year on schedule. 

Old Business

At the last meeting, a resolution was made to thank Mr. Ron Huber for all of his hard work—This resolution has been completed. 

New Business

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was re-authorized in December 2004.  The regulations for the Act have been completed and made official on August 14, 2006.  These are the regulations for programs to kids with disabilities including blindness and/or visual impairments.  One significant item is the age of transition students  changing from age 14 to 16, but State’s can still decide what their transition age will be.  North Carolina’s transition age is 14. 

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) were passed with the Act.

This is a standard that has been set for publishers of electronic files for textbooks and other instructional materials.  

A website that can be used as a reference regarding services to students with disabilities is at . This will provide information from the Federal perspective. 

Since Tom Winton has moved into another role at DPI, a new State Consultant for the Visually Impaired and Assistive Technology will be hired in the near future. This job should be posted in the next couple of weeks.

Adjournment of Commission for the Blind    

The Commission for the Blind meeting adjourned at 10:50 a.m.  The next meeting of the North Carolina Commission for the Blind is scheduled for December 9, 2006, at 10 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Tom Winton, Chairman Commission for the Blind         
Debbie Jackson, Director Division of Services f/t Blind DHHS/DSB


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