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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

December 9, 2006

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

Chairman Tom Winton called the 288th of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 9, 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, Jay Williams, Angela McCants, Kathy Brack, Graham Watt, Russ Stinehour, Stacey Milbern, and Kellie Hightower-Spruill.

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

Dr. Bernstein, and Dr. Fleming.

Members Not Present:  John Miller, Anita Heath-Cunningham, Sandy Foster (all 3 has excused absences).

Cheryl Whitley was not present.  Chair Tom Winton will follow up with Cheryl Whitley about her absence.   

Appointment of Parliamentarian and Remarks by the Chairman  

Angela McCants was appointed Parliamentarian.

Chairman Tom 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.

Training will be planned for new Commission members or any member who has not participated in past training.  This will be discussed later in the meeting. 

Every commission/council is required to appoint an Ethics Liaison with the Board of Ethics.  Graham Watt will serve as the Commission for the Blind’s Ethics Liaison. 

Since Angela McCants, Vice-Chair, no longer works with the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center , she is no longer eligible to hold the position she has on the Commission.  The Bylaws of the Commission for the Blind require a representative from the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center to serve on the Commission.  Angela McCants thanked the members for the opportunity to serve on the Commission.   

Approval of Minutes

Since a quorum was not present at the September meeting, the minutes for the June 2006 Commission meeting were not able to be voted on for approval.  A motion was made by Graham Watt, seconded by Kathy Brack, and carried to approve the June 2006 minutes. 

A motion was made by Russ Stinehour, seconded by Kathy Brack, and carried to approve the minutes of the September 2006 meeting.   


Public Relations Committee:  No Report

Ron Huber was formerly the Chair of the Public Relations Committee.  Tom Winton appointed Graham Watt as Chair and other members of this committee include Kellie Spruill, Cheryl Whitley, and John Miller.  

Inter-Committee Relations Committee:  No Report

Angela McCants formerly chaired this committee.  Tom Winton appointed Stacey Milbern as Chair and other members of this committee will include Graham Watt, and Cheryl Whitley.

Advocacy Committee:  No Report

John Miller is Chair of this committee.  Jay Williams was added to serve on the Advocacy Committee. 

Personnel Development Committee (subcommittee of the Advocacy Committee):  Tom Winton is Chair, along with Anita Heath-Cunningham, Kathy Brack, and the ECAC position. 

The Personnel Development Committee was developed because of issues with the Visually Impairment Training Program at NCCU.  Recently, the Commission for the Blind and the Advisory Board advocated with the General Assembly to get NCCU to do more as far as administrative support.  The Advisory Board met on September 12 at NCCU.  At that meeting, Dr. Wormsley was introduced.  Dr. Wormsley is the endowed chair at the University.  Dr. Wormsley is one of the leaders in the country in preparing teachers and other professionals who work with blind and visually impaired students. 

Director’s Report—Debbie Jackson

Renovations—The renovations for the Cox Dormitory are complete.  The dorm now has an elevator and computer lab.  Renovations for the Milsap dorm will, hopefully, begin in February, and completed by September 2007. 

The Division submitted 3 expansion budget requests—1) Independent Living Rehabilitation, 2) Medical Eye Care, and 3) Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  All three made it into the Department’s budget.  DSB also submitted a request to change the economic needs scale for the Medical Eye Care Program and Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  Changing the economic needs scale will enable the Division to serve more people.

All agreements with the with the new 4-county Transition Program in the Eastern part of the State have been signed.  Two positions are associated with this program.  The Counselor position has been filled while the Community Employment position has been posted. 

DSB is expanding their technology services.  A Technology Consultant position will be in all DSB district offices across the State.  

Since DSB changed the recruiting requirements for Orientation and Mobility Specialists, 3 O & M Specialists have been hired.    Orientation and Mobility Specialists no longer need to be certified teachers. 

DSB’s first Leadership Development Program was completed with 14 participants.  This program provides supervisory and management training to staff.   

Report of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—No one from the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee was present so Tom Winton gave a report. 

Gary Ray will be retiring effective March 1 and will be moving to Asheville , NC . 

The annual “Super Conference” is March 22-24, 2007 , and will be held on the campus of Governor Morehead.  It is being planned by various groups such as GMS Outreach, DSB, NCAER, and DPI.  More information can be found at .   Russ Stinehour volunteered to assist with this conference. 

Russ Stinehour inquired about the Commission’s take on the federal case regarding paper money and blind people.  This was also discussed at the CAAC meeting.  DSB has not taken an official stand.  ACB is advocating for the change in paper money and NFB is not advocating for the change. 

Professional Advisory Committee—Dr. Wiggins

The Medical Eye Care Program is operating within its budget and the people who are eligible are being served.   

Old Business

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) established the NIMAS (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard) and NIMAC ( National Instructional Materials Access Center ).  It relates to publishers of textbook files meeting a standard and being produced in an accessible format so braille or other media can be produced.  States (authorized users) will be sent textbook files so they can be downloaded and converted into accessible format for students.  A NIMAS Coordinating Council is being developed in NC which will develop procedures for accessing these files. 

The vacant DPI VI Consultant position has been interviewed for and an announcement should be made within the next two weeks.  When this person is hired, they will be invited to attend the CAAC and Commission for the Blind meetings. 

A former Commission for the Blind member, Mr. J. Oattley Lee, passed away.  He served on the Commission for many years.  If an address can be found, a card of condolences will be sent to the family.   

New Business

Mary Flanagan spoke to the Commission about DSB’s Employer Advisory Committee.  Last April, DSB had an “Employer Thank You Breakfast” which was quite successful.    At that breakfast, many of the employers were interested in serving on an Employer Advisory Committee.  The first meeting was in August.  The Employer Advisory Committee would like someone from the Commission to attend these meetings so information can be shared.  Graham Watt and Kellie Spruill were recommended to attend the Employer Advisory Committee meetings.   Kellie is interested but would like to talk with Mary more about it.     

Adjournment of Commission for the Blind

The Commission for the Blind meeting adjourned at 11:15 .

The next meeting of the North Carolina Commission for the Blind is scheduled for March 10, 2007 , at 10 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

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


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