Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

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November 2011

The Official Newsletter of the

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

An affiliate of the

American Council of the Blind


The Michigan Council of the blind and Visually Impaired unites people: to promote cultural, social, and personal growth, as well as understanding toward progress, dignity, and equality in issues regarding blindness and visual impairment.

Joe Sibley, President

Donna Rose, Editor

General Inquiries regarding the activities of MCBVI may be made by calling toll-free 888-956-2284, or we can be contacted by email at:


Visit our website at www.blindmi.org

Deadlines For Newsletter Submissions:

February 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

August 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

Contact the Editor:

New Number: 517-489-2233

Toll Free: 877-254-6397


Editor's Note: Please help us keep costs down by not using our toll free numbers if you have unlimited long distance service.

Included In This Issue

Help MCBVI by Joining the ACB MMS Program

MCBVI Membership Campaign - Submit Dues & Membership Lists

MCBVI Accomplishments & Future Goals


2011 MCBVI Resolutions

New Rules for Companion Animals

And Much More

Follow MCBVI on Facebook! Search for Michigan Council of the Blind and you will find our page. "Like" us, and you will receive updates!

From the President

By Joe Sibley

As we head into this holiday season and prepare to launch another new year I am reflecting on the many events, challenges, and accomplishments of the past year. We faced some challenges regarding the Michigan Commission for the Blind board and raised our voices together. We have seen some chapters flourish while others are struggling. We have welcomed many new members from around the state who appreciate our message of positivity and productivity, not conflict for the sake of conflict. We have put Michigan back on the radar of our national ACB leadership. We are still facing challenges in this organization, but more and more great people are learning about what MCBVI represents and are joining their voice with us.

Let me address a problem that we need to look at, all of us together. We need to address our financial challenges. Our income has dropped significantly causing us to dip into our investment reserves to cover our basic expenses. This is not acceptable as we have had to make some cuts to the productive work we could be doing to benefit all of the blind and visually impaired citizens of Michigan. It is also bad for the long term future of this organization. If we do not increase our funding, MCBVI could someday cease to exist, and that would be a tragedy. I know what this organization has done for me personally and so many others over the years. I see the potential of what we could accomplish that would benefit so many people, youth and adults alike. We work hard to keep the cost of participating in this organization low both in dues and convention expenses. Of your membership dues, MCBVI receives five dollars. Sadly, that does not go very far these days. It is not often that we ask for extra donations, but as it is the end of the year and some people could use some tax deductible donations, perhaps you would consider an extra gift to the MCBVI general budget. I will put the address to send donations to at the end of this message. I realize that many of our members are unable to do that, which is fine. But for those that could spare an extra gift this year we will be very careful to put your funds to productive use. We are a registered 501c3 organization so your donations are tax deductible. Thank you in advance for at least considering this.

One less painful way to help MCBVI is to participate in the ACB MMS or Monthly Monetary Support program. You can elect to have 10 dollars or more automatically deducted from your checking account or credit card each month. You can designate up to 50 percent of that amount to be sent to MCBVI. Mary and I are personally participating in the program. Even with a deduction of 10 dollars per month, 5 dollars will go to ACB and 5 dollars can come to Michigan to support MCBVI. A few of those can make a big difference in our budget. See the ACB website for how to contact them to participate in the MMS program.

As of this writing our 2011 convention is a few weeks behind us, and what a wonderful convention it was. Our convention is always one of my favorite events of the year. We are able to accomplish so much business and education while still enjoying the wonderful fellowship that this organization offers. I was especially pleased to see many new faces at convention, along with many who haven't been to a convention in a while. If I try to thank everyone who helped make this convention a success I will miss some key people, so a very warm thank you to everyone who helped or attended the convention. The Causeway Bay Hotel and Convention Center in Lansing gave us many more options for meeting space. More than 50 enjoyed our cruise Thursday night aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat. We tried new things such as the continuing education presentation for social workers conducted by Donna Rose that was very well received and will be repeated next year. We had many teachers attending our presentations Friday. We had a much larger hospitality suite which many members and guests were able to enjoy.

I do have to recognize Casey Dutmer who stepped up during the preparation to assume the role of convention chair which he will continue next year. Sharon Dutmer again coordinated registration, finances, and hospitality, as she and Casey have done for four years now. Our convention committee included the Dutmers, Donna Rose, Mary Sibley, Michelle Visscher, Malaina VanderWal, Lisa Weber, and Cheyenne Blakeman. Thank you to the committee and the many many people that helped in any capacity. Look for more information about the 2011 convention later in this issue, along with the resolutions passed by our membership.

One of the most amazing experiences at this year's convention was to welcome Mitch Pomerantz, president of the American Council of the Blind. Mitch flew in Thursday and stayed until early Sunday morning so in addition to his presentations many of our members were able to speak personally with Mitch. Mitch's remarks as our banquet keynote speaker charged up all of us in attendance. If you heard that speech, you know who we are and why we are here, and how different we are as part of ACB than other blind consumer organizations. I hope to have that speech available on our website soon. I could ramble on about the convention for several more pages, but Donna needs space for other things so I will stop, but plan on attending the 2012 convention which will be earlier, September 13-16, 2012. Watch for details.

I will also put in a quick plug for the national ACB convention in July. Mary and I along with 10 others from Michigan were able to attend the 2011 convention in Reno. If you have never attended a national convention, it is life changing. The 2012 national convention is in Louisville Kentucky in July. I hope many of our members will join us as it is a much easier trip.

I have much more I would like to talk about, but let me close by wishing everyone a joyous and blessed holiday season, and we look forward to new adventures and projects for MCBVI in 2012. As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments. Thanks!


To make a tax deductible donation to our organization please make checks payable to MCBVI and send them to:


c/o All Needs Accounting

7751 Lakeshore Road

Lakeport, MI 48059

Help MCBVI by Joining ACB's Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) Two-for-One Program

From the ACB Web Site

If you are an ACB member, would you like to be able to help your state affiliate or an affiliate of your choice, and at the same time, assist the ACB at the national level too? Well, now you can by participating in the new and improved "Two-for-One" MMS Program.

Now, when you take part in the MMS Program, the funds are deducted from the account you designate, on a regular, monthly bases, as before, but with the change implemented by the ACB Board, you can designate to have all of the funds go to the national organization or you can, alternatively, designate an amount up to 50% of the net amount of your deduction to be given to an affiliate of your choice. This change allows you the choice of helping both the national organization and an affiliate of your choice at the same time. You can help two levels of our organization with one monthly deduction, thus, two-for-one! The affiliate you choose can be any of the state affiliates or any other ACB affiliate you wish.

All amounts are greatly appreciated, no matter how small or large! The ACB financial office in Minneapolis, Minnesota will withdraw the amount you indicate each month from your credit card, or your bank account. All contributions are kept completely confidential. This is an excellent way in which you can provide support for the American Council of the Blind.

To participate in the ACB Monthly Monetary Support Program, you can either enroll online at acb.org, Or by calling ACB's Finance Office at 1-800-866-3242.

If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please call the ACB office at the number above, or drop us a note at Info@ACB.Org .

Thank you in advance for your participation in the MMS program. You are helping us to make a difference in the lives of those whom we serve.

2012 Membership Campaign

Information for Chapters

By Charis Austin, Treasurer & Membership Chairperson

Please follow the following guidelines when submitting membership lists and dues to me:

All 2012 dues must be received by February 15, 2012.

Please include $10 for each member: $5 is for MCBVI and $5 goes to ACB.

Checks should be made out to MCBVI with MCBVI Dues in the memo line

Checks and all membership information should be sent to:

Charis Austin, Treasurer

2426 Thornwood, SW

Wyoming, MI 49519

You MUST include the following information for each member:

Name, address, phone number (home, work, or cell)

Email address, if available

Format preference for both the MCBVI NEWS and THE BRAILLE FORUM. A member may choose not to receive either or both publications. ( Please specify each publication choice.) Format choices for the MCBVI NEWS are Braille, email, cassette, and large print. Format choices for THE BRAILLE FORUM include: Braille, audio cassette, CD, large print and email. Members wishing to receive The Braille Forum by podcast or email need to visit the ACB web site to sign up to receive these formats.

Is the member sighted? This relates to Free Matter mailing privileges offered by the US Postal Service.

Please contact me with any questions.

Charis Austin


2426 Thornwood, S.W.

Wyoming, MI 49519

(616) 532-4737


MCBVI Accomplishments and Goals

By Charis Austin, Treasurer & Membership Chairperson

In 2011, MCBVI became more visible. We are regularly represented at meetings of the Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) and other gatherings of the blind community. We are letting the people of Michigan know that there is a consumer organization that practices and promotes positive and constructive dialogue, while still representing the concerns of all blind or visually impaired citizens of Michigan. This is demonstrated by more telephone calls asking for information about our organization.

We have provided financial and volunteer support for youth activities including Michigan Regional Braille Challenge™, the Braille-A-Thon which takes place on the lawn of the State Capitol in June, and activities at Camp Tuhsmeheta (Camp T). Members of the Executive Committee had a meeting with Sara Conrad, National President of ACB Students to discuss strategies for getting more youth involvement.

Each year the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) holds a convention which offers members a chance to share fellowship and learn about important issues and new technology. This year we took some chances and did some new things. For example, we hosted a seminar for social workers regarding working with blind clients. Social workers attending received three continuing education units (CEU's). In partnership with Michigan Dept. of Education Low Incidents Outreach (LIO) we held a seminar which provided an overview of Apple products. We took a dinner cruise aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat on the Grand River and with the help of owner Captain John, we were able to use this as a fund-raiser because he gave us a break on the price of tickets.

2012 GOALS

During a goal setting workshop At the convention three top priorities were chosen by members to guide our organization in the near future:

Better communication with members,

Mentoring members,

Stronger presence with our legislature

Read more about ideas to achieve these goals in upcoming issues.

Our President's goals for the coming year include:

Develop new funding sources to expand our efforts to assist blind and visually impaired youth and adults through grants, scholarships, and sponsorship of events.

Work to expand local chapters, especially in the southeast corner of the state where organizing a chapter is difficult because of transit and other logistical issues.

Expand marketing efforts to make MCBVI more visible and more accessible to those who would benefit by becoming involved. This will include additional media outreach and utilization of social networks.

George & Jennie Move to Retirement Centers

By Donna Rose, Friend

As many of you are aware, George Illingworth, and Jennie Baly are the senior members of MCBVI. They have reached a point where they have begun a new chapter in their lives, and thus have moved to retirement centers where their needs can be better met. While growing older can be difficult I think I can say they are both happy with their new homes. They don't want to lose touch with their old friends so I am including their contact information here so you can call and/or write to them with cards or letters. They both read Braille.

George Illingworth

c/o The Bethany Nursing Home
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Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired iconMichigan commission for the blind staff present

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired iconAmerican Council of the Blind

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired iconPh. D. Systems Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 1982 B. S

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired iconA. B. (summa cum laude in English Literature), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1982-1986 M. D

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired iconA special (retreat) meeting of the City Council, City of Eden was held on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 8: 30 a m., in the Council Chambers, 308 East Stadium

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired iconThis Information Paper is intended to provide information to the Productivity Commission. The Paper does not represent the policy position of the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs or the individual members of the Council

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