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

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

June 10, 2011

Due to budget restrictions, this meeting was held by conference call.  The out-of-town members were connected via telephone while the Raleigh-based members met in the conference room of Fisher Building in Raleigh, NC.

Call to Order
The Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind meeting was called to order by Chairman Gary Ray at 1:05 p.m.  Invocation was offered by Mrs. Barbria Bacon.

A motion was made by Allan Casey and seconded by Connie Alexander to approve the minutes of the March 11 CAAC meeting.

Present in the Conference Room:  Gary Ray, Debbie Jackson, Barbria Bacon, Brenda Savage, Lawrence Carter, Daniel Simmons, Julie Kagy, Carl Keehn, Carla Parker, Eddie Weaver and Gina Powell

Present by conference call:  Connie Alexander, Tim Jones, Allen Casey, and Jennifer Talbot.

Reports of Entities

Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped
Carl Keehn

Upcoming Closing Dates:

Monday July 4, Independence Day
Monday September 5, Labor Day

NLS:

The National Library Service has declared that the transition to Digital Talking book service is complete.  Most libraries had provided digital talking book players to the majority of their readers.  NC now has more active digital readers than cassette readers.

To assist local libraries in distributing digital players, the NLS printed up postcards with information on the FREE digital player, providing the contact information for the local library.  North Carolina mailed out about 3,000 postcards with good results.  Since May 23 we have shipped out over 400 digital players. 

NLS opened BARD to Institutional patrons, the end of April.  Institutions can apply for an institutional account, which allows full privilege or a Demo account with allows limited access to demonstrate the service.  Public Libraries are restricted to Demo accounts as their clientele are generally not eligible for the service.  Demo accounts are restricted to downloading a limited number of public domain titles.
LBPH:

During the quarter, the library has produced and released our first locally recorded digital recordings; Holy Smoke by John Shelton Reed and The Bushwhackers: The Mountains by William R. Trotter.  Both titles are available as a download from our local download site NOBLE and as a digital cartridge.  Now that we have solved the technical problems we were facing, we should be able to release other titles fairly quickly.

During the month of May, our digital circulation exceeded cassette circulation for the first time.  BARD circulation is becoming a significant factor in our circulation, in May it was over 10% of our overall circulation.

Gina Powell reported on Outreach.  The Library is hosting a summer reading program again this year.  Thirty-Three kids are registered and the program is scheduled from June 1 through August 31.

There will also be a Summer Reading Program at GMS.  Dr. Gary Bishop, UNC Professor, will be bringing games developed by their science lab for the students to play with.  This event will be held June 23 and volunteers are needed.

A Summer Reading Program for adults will run from the beginning of July through September.  There will be prizes for the top readers.

The Library for the Blind had vendor tables at the Wake County Library Orientation, the Super Conference, several mini-centers, Maze Day in Chapel Hill, and at the Senior’s Golden Jubilee.   A presentation was also made for the Library Directors at the State Library Orientation meeting, at the Tarboro Public Library, and for the Social Workers at the Murdoch Center.

Prevent Blindness North Carolina—Jennifer Talbot
So far, Prevent Blindness has faired very well with the budget; although, Prevent Blindness is seeing a large increase in the requests for adult resources.

Governor Morehead School—Barbria Bacon
Mrs. Bacon reported that it’s been a great week for residential schools.  Graduation and celebrations at all 3 schools were held.  The Eastern School for the Deaf graduated 8 students, GMS graduated 6 and 4 of those were with diploma, and the Morganton School for the Deaf graduated 14. 

Summer school is planned for all three schools.

The transitioning from DHHS to DPI to meet everyday obstacles and challenges exists daily regarding IT, MOA’s and MOU’s, property, maintenance, etc. 

The biggest challenge is the 5% cut which equals to approximately $1.6 million dollars for the 3 schools.  Legislation also states that we close one of the residential schools and consolidate those programs into 2 schools.  In looking at going to 2 schools, we must minimize the impact of services provided to our children and minimize the cost of the change but maximize the savings.

A plan must be in place by January 1 regarding the closing of one residential school but it will not take effect until July 1, 2011.

The CAAC thanked Barbria Bacon and Debbie Jackson for all of hard work during the transitioning between DHHS and DPI.

Deputy Secretary Spaulding joined the meeting at this time.

Department of Public Instruction—Julie Kagy
Mrs. Kagy is reporting from the Division’s Exceptional Children’s section.  With the additional staff from our Outreach Program, the section now is referred to as Sensory Support and Assistance Technology.  DPI will increase the system of statewide support and the role consultants and continue to provide functional visual assessments to the LEA’s. 

DPI has a new email system.  Email addresses will contain first name.last name@dpi.nc.gov.  The old email addresses will be forwarded to the new address for 6 months. 

The Penland Building on the GMS campus will be the site of the Instructional Resource Materials Center.  The Penland Conference room will still be used as a conference room.  The purpose of the material center is to make more efficient use of the American Printing House and textbook funds. 

As of January 2011, the American Printing House has 1,350 legally blind public school students registered and 432 legally blind registered in private and home schools.

Dr. Diane Wormsley’s functional vision curriculum in teaching braille to ten teachers across the State has been approved by DPI and will take effect in July 2012. 

Mrs. Kagy announced this will be her last CAAC meeting.  Another member of DPI will be attending the CAAC meetings in the future.  Mrs. Kagy is always welcome to attend in the future. 

Division of Services for the Blind—Eddie Weaver
Mr. Weaver reported on the budget.  At the present time, DSB’s budget for the Medical Eye Care which is funded by all State dollars was reduced by $191,000.  Remaining for the Medical Eye Care Program is $1.7 million for SFY11/12.  The program has been restricted this past year by only being able to provide medications.  DSB will be looking at what services will be resumed effective July 1, 2011. 

The Independent Living Services Program (Social Workers) budget was reduced by $1 million dollars in appropriations but it will be replaced by SSBG money. 

Everyone has heard the word “consolidation”.  At this time in the legislation there is no consolidation mentioned.  However, in March Governor Perdue issued an Executive Order 85 which recommended the consolidating of Services for the Blind, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Vocational Rehabilitation.  This proposal would take effect July 2012.  The three Division Directors have submitted to DHHS their recommended structure if this takes place.   Mr. Weaver has talked with other agencies that have merged in the past and they were able to keep separate State Plans, budgets, and keep the structure of the State Rehabilitation Council. 

There is a hiring freeze.  DSB has 15 vacant positions and a couple of retirements are being planned. 

DSB’s media campaign kicked off in March and the DSB State Office received 770 phone calls.  Horizons Productions is working on a 3 minute video for employers. 

DSB’s new case management system is in process.  The first phase will be implemented June 20.  It is a testing phase with staff across the State.

Deputy Secretary Spaulding thanked Eddie Weaver for the worked he has provided DSB under his leadership as Mr. Weaver came in at a difficult time in State Government.

North Carolina Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired—William Tubilleja and Daniel Simmons
Mr. Tubilleja informed the committee about AER providing the seed money to get the Raising Cane 5K Race but AER is cutting ties with the race so the race can be organized under 501 and there will not be any inappropriate use of AER funds.

Two regional AER conferences are being planned—1) August 12-14 in Boston; and 2) October 28-30 in Cleveland.

Daniel Simmons reported that the AER Super Conference was successful with over 100 registrants and great presenters. 

The Raising Cane 5K race raised $8,200 with 76 registered runners, 94 registered walkers, 30-40 volunteers.

North Carolina Council of the Blind—Allen Casey
The Council of the Blind is focusing on attending various functions around their areas to get the word out about blindness and services offered. 

The Council also presented 2 scholarships for 2011/12—One to a student at ECU and the other to a student at UNC Charlotte.

The 50th Anniversary of the Council of the Blind will be held in Reno, Nevada, July 8-16.

The State Convention will be held September 9-11 in Raleigh, NC.

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina—Tim Jones
The State Convention of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina will be held September 9-11 in Winston-Salem.

The National Convention will be held in Orlando, FL, July 3-8, 2011.

North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind—Connie Alexander
The NCAWB convention will be held in July 22-23 in Raleigh on the campus of GMS.

Elected Committee of Vendors—Tim Jones
The BE Program has officially gone into the Forscom Facility at Fort Bragg and a visually impaired operator is running it. 

BE Sales are at approximately $12 million; Average Operator Income is in the mid-40’s.

GMS Alumni--Lawrence Carter
A summer camp is planned for August 4-6.  Topics will include starting college, riding city buses, beep ball, etc. 

The GMS Convention will be held August 5-6.

Braille Literacy Council—Debbie Jackson
The Braille Literacy Council has not met but we are coordinating the BELL project.  Five kids are currently registered with the ages ranging from 5 til 12.

Old Business
Budget—The Governor has 10 days to sign, veto, or ignore the proposed budget. If the Governor chooses to ignore the budget, it goes into law. June 14 is the date that the budget must be signed, vetoed, or ignored by the Governor.

Boards and Commission List—All nominations have been approved for Commission appointments except for 2. 

New Business
Three position papers were sent to all members.  A motion to approve all 3 position papers was made by Daniel Simmons, seconded by Connie Alexander and carried.

Next meeting of the CAAC will be held Friday, September 16, at 1 p.m.

 

 

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