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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

September 10, 2005

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

Chairman John Miller called the meeting of the Commission for the Blind to order at 10:05 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2005 .   The following members were present in the conference room:  John Miller, Tom Winton, Graham Watt, Debbie Jackson, Kathy Brack, Angela McCants, Kellie Hightower-Spruill, Cheryl Whitley, and Allen Moore.  Because of travel restrictions, some of the out-of-town members were connect by conference call.  Members connected by conference call were Sandy Foster, Ron Huber, Anita Heath-Cunningham, and Russ Stinehour.  

Others Present:  Jan Fesperman, Mary Flanagan, William Sansing, and Carla Parker

Appointment of Parliamentarian and Remarks by Chairman:

Ron Huber was appointed Parliamentarian.

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Ron Huber, seconded by Graham Watt, and carried to approve the minutes of the May 17, 2005 meeting. 

New Members—Chairman Miller welcomed two new members--Cheryl Whitley and Kellie Hightower-Spruill.  Allen Moore’s term has expired but he will continue to serve until another representative from SILC is identified.

Public Relations Committee—Ron Huber

Dave Arthur and Ron Huber attended the Lions State Convention in May and had a display table. 

Intercommittee Relations—Allen Moore

The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) members participated in training in Burlington on August 11.  Regular SILC meeting was held on August 12.   The various committees gave their reports.  Discussion was held regarding joining the National Council on Independent Living.  A few Bylaw changes were approved.

Elections were held—Pat Yarbrough is the Chair Person; Robert Thompson is the Vice Chair; and Ruth Haines is Member at Large.

Advocacy Committee—John Miller and Tom Winton

The Visually Impaired Teachers Program (VITP) at North Carolina Central University has been in place for 9 years and is not proceeding in the direction we had hoped.  The Advocacy Committee will determine which avenues need to be taken to resolve issues and proceed with having a successful program. 

Director’s Report—Debbie Jackson

Federal Level—Plans are still underway to close the RSA Regional Offices as of September 30, 2005 .   The Rehabilitation Services Administration is DSB’s federal partner in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  Historically, RSA has been divided into 10 regions with a central office in Washington .  The current administration recommends closing all of the regional offices, eliminating approximately 60 positions and have only a centralized office out of Washington .  The central office will provide technical assistance, monitoring, and consultation for each of the 50 States.  At this point, we do not know who will be our contact person.

State Level—General Assembly passed a budget and DSB received no cuts.  Appropriations were made for NewsLine  to be funded for one more year.  Radio Reading Services was appropriated $45,000.  Senate Bill 1058 pertaining to Guide Dogs passed.  This Bill provides stiffer penalties to persons who harm service animals and is effective December 1, 2005 . 

Renovations of Dorms on GMS Campus—Two dorms, Cox and Milsap, will be renovated.  The major renovations will begin on Cox dorm in October or November.  It is estimated it will take approximately 9 months to complete the major renovations on Cox.  Students will be moved out of dorms and into a smaller space on campus, Cathey Cottage.  In some situations, students may be housed off-campus.   Fewer students will be served at the Rehabilitation Center since we will not have anywhere to house them.  

Transition Students—Durham County School System Agreement is finally signed.  The Counselor position will be posted and final arrangements regarding office location is being worked out.   

Two district offices, Charlotte and Wilmington , have moved.  Their new addresses are:  Charlotte District Office, 5832 Farm Pond Lane, Suite 100 , Charlotte , NC 28212 ; Wilmington District Office, 3240 Burnt Mill Drive, Suite 7 , Wilmington , NC 28403

A number of events are coming up that DSB will be involved--NFB Conference, ACB Conference, VIP Fishing Tournament, and annual DSB area meetings.

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—No one from the CAAC was present.  Since Tom Winton attended the CAAC, he gave a brief report.  Reports were given from the Director of DSB, Library for the Blind, Prevent Blindness, and a representative from AER.  The 4th annual Visual Impairment and Blindness Conference is currently being planned and will be held March 9-11, 2006 , on the campus of Governor Morehead School . 

Old Business

Resolutions to express appreciation for services provided to the Commission by Annette Clinard and Catherleen Thomas were passed.  A motion was made by Ron Huber and seconded by Kathy Brack, and carried to approve these two resolutions.  A copy of the resolutions will be entered into the minutes of the 282nd meeting of the Commission for the Blind and a copy forwarded to the recipient, Governor of North Carolina, and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

New Business

In September of odd numbered years, the members nominate and elect a Vice Chair to the Committee and they serve a two-year term.  John Miller nominated Tom Winton to serve as Vice Chair, Russ Stinehour seconded the nomination, and all approved Tom Winton serving as Vice Chair of the NC Commission for the Blind. 

New Committees were also appointed.  The are as follows: 

Consumer Information

Angela McCants—Chair
Kathy Brack
Russ Stinehour
Anita Heath-Cunningham
Kellie Hightower-Spruill

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Ron Huber—Chair
Graham Watt
Kellie Hightower-Spruill
Cheryl Whitley
John Miller

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Tom Winton-Chair
Kathy Brack
Sandy Foster
Angela McCants
Anita Heath-Cunningham

INTER-COMMITTEE RELATIONS

Angela McCants--Chair
Graham Watt
Allen Moore
Cheryl Whitley

STATE PLAN

Graham Watt--Chair
Russ Stinehour
Kathy Brack
Sandy Foster
Tom Winton

ADVOCACY COMMITTEE

John Miller—Chair
Ron Huber
Graham Watt
Cheryl Whitley

Adjournment of Commission Meeting

Following an adjournment motion, a second, and a vote, the meeting adjourned at 10:55 a.m.  The next meeting of the Commission for the Blind is scheduled for December 10, 2005, at 10 a.m.

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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