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

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

September 10, 2004

Call to Order and Invocation

Vice Chairman, Ron Eller, called the meeting of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind to order at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, September 10, 2004. A roll call was conducted and the following members were present: David Alexander, Ron Eller, and Hazel Staley.

Members not present: Tim Jones, Brian Lewis, Linda Lewis, Bill Apple, Jim Shuart, Steve Walker, Jennifer Talbot, and Representative Pete Cunningham.

Others Present: Debbie Jackson, Francine Martin, Cynthia Temoshenko, Kathy Brack, Raquelle Martin, Kathy Davis, and Carla Parker

Approval of Minutes- Motion was made, seconded and carried to approve the minutes of June 11, 2004.

Cynthia Temoshenko, Governor’s Council, and Kathy Brack, CAP, discussed a statute regarding service animals including police dogs. The current statute addresses use of service animals and physical harm to service animals. Other States have revised their statute to include emotional harm encountered when service animals are attacked. Feedback is needed to see if North Carolina should revise the statute to be more stringent regarding attacks on service animals. If in agreement, the revised statute will be presented at the January session of the General Assembly. This issue will be presented at the upcoming State Convention of the NC Council of the Blind and the NFB State Convention for their input and thoughts.

Division of Services for the Blind - Debbie Jackson

Training for new Commission for the Blind members is today at the Rehabilitation Center. Bill Apple is a part of the training session and asked Debbie to give his report to the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee. The first planning meeting for the Third Annual Conference on Blindness and Visual Impairment is September 17. The planning group hopes to expand to include staff from public schools with the possibility of the 2006 conference being held at one of the LEA’s rather than on the GMS campus.

DSB—Budget Issues—DSB came out very well with only one reduction ($30,000) and that was in our Special Assistance for the Blind program. It was money that would have been reverted to the State.

Newsline—Permanent funding for Newsline was not passed this year. A year ago, DHHS was instructed by the General Assembly to identify funding to be used for Newsline for one year and the same happened again this year so funding is in place for Newsline for one more year.

Left Turn on Red did not pass; although, a bill that relates to pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists did pass (House Bill 965). There are now penalties for drivers of motor vehicles who strike a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist. These penalties are fines that range from $100 to $500 and the driver could get 4 driving points and 1 insurance point. The bill also requires statistics be gathered that show how many people violate the law yearly. When the Left on Red bill is presented again, data will be available that shows how many people violate this law each year and are fined.

Federal Level—It is unlikely the Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act will be addressed during this congressional session.

Transition Agreements—The Charlotte/Mecklenburg agreement has been signed and two positions have been posted—1 Rehabilitation Counselor and 1 Community Employment Specialist. The signed Durham County agreement has not been received. When DSB receives the signed agreement, the position will be posted.

State Agency Budget—DSB ended the year with having to add money to each major DSB program—Vocational Rehabilitation, Medical Eye Care, and Independent Living Services. Money in "Other Vending" and "Social Security Reimbursement" was used to add money to the programs. Based on current spending, the same will happen this year.

North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped—Francine Martin

End of State Fiscal Year 2003/2004 Key Statistics

  • 9,957 individuals and 235 institutions actively borrowed books or magazines from NCLBPH.
  • The library’s annual circulation remained close to a half a million.
  • 18,601 telephoned service requests were fielded
  • 951 email requests were fielded
  • 1,951 applications for service were received & applicants contacted
  • 49,771 searches were made on the library’s online catalog
  • 87,381 titles are in the library’s collection
  • 298,813 volumes or copies are in the collection

NLS Consultant Visit

Deborah Toomey, new Consultant for the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), visited NCLBPH June 14-15, 2004.

  • She reviewed operations, met with the majority of staff individually, discussed our operations and upcoming NLS plans.
  • She will be providing a report on how NCLBPH meets national standards for library services to the blind and physically handicapped.
  • Her recommendations, as feasible, will be incorporated into the next NCLBPH long range planning document, to be developed in the Fall of 2004.

Staff News

  • Laurie Williams will begin work Monday, September 13, 2004 as Patron Services Librarian. Kristen Beebe, former Patron Services Librarian, resigned effective June 18, 2004 to take an equitable Reader Advisory/Reference position with Wake County Public Libraries involving no supervisory responsibilities.
    • Julie Harris, Collection Librarian, has been chosen to participate in the Development Dimensions International (DDI) online Leadership training offered to 12 Department of Cultural Resources employees via contract with Office of State Personnel.
    • Julie Harris is also participating in the live KLAS Version 7 webcast training sessions. KLAS is the specialized software used in all NCLBPH operations. Version 7 is a major new release of the software and vastly different from previous versions. We anticipate version 7 will be in use by NCLBPH within the next two years.

Long Range Planning

In Fall 2004, NCLBPH staff will develop the next long-range plan for the service. The plan will be based on NLS consultant recommendations, needs identified internally, patron survey information, and State Library and NLS mission, goals, and objectives. We anticipate a great deal of it will necessarily focus on migration to the new digital format. Patron recommendations are always considered. We welcome any recommendation for service changes or improvements.

Results of Previous NCLBPH Long-Range Plan

The previous NCLBPH 5-year plan has been completed and all objectives accomplished. A summary follows:

  • Applicant contact--Reduce waiting time to receive service:
    • New applicant contact responsibilities were distributed among all RA staff & procedures worked out so that could be accomplished. Eliminated daily backlog of applicants waiting 2-5 weeks for service. Now contact is made or attempted within 2 working days of receipt of application.
  • New computer system--Improve response time of computer system:
    • Provided critical info on systems to consultant who developed RFP. Stayed with Keystone & Outsourced. Response time dramatically improved and has remained instantaneous since outsourcing.
  • Nightly Service--Improve timeliness of service without reducing customer satisfaction:
    • Improved Nightly service & increased use. Recoded all patrons & all RCs above RC040000 so nightly is now serving the majority of patrons. All tape patrons were contacted by 2 temps over 1 year, interviewed and reading interests updated. RA staff continually recommended improvements for subject codes & did recoding. Waiting time for a book to be assigned to a patron after they returned a book was reduced from 2-3 weeks to 1-3 days.
  • Improve efficiency to cover increased circulation & loss of staffing in circ unit:
    • Studied & implemented backroom turnaround system. Determined cart specifications & purchased carts to ensure least moving of materials was required. Amount of shelving required was reduced by more than 50%.
  • Gain space for collection growth
    • All supervisors worked with outside consultant who developed Space Needs Study. As lease to current building was up, info in this study was used to document space needs beyond current building. Worked with State Property to develop RFP for new building. Stayed in current building & added 5,100 square feet of annex space next door for the braille collection. Braille collection moved to annex.
  • Statewide PR campaign—NLS Take a Talking Book Campaign
    • Statewide outreach done to optometrists, resources for the elderly (first time on this), public libraries, groups of newly visually impaired persons (VI), wide range of service providers for VI & disabled, advocacy and consumer groups gatherings, meetings, and conferences. Target audience specific promotional packets were developed & distributed in each phase of the campaign. Tote bags were used as fund-raiser for Friends and served as promotional items.

Outreach and Public Relations

  • Spring 2004 (# 124) issue of Tar Heel Talk was produced in large print, in Braille, on tape, and put it up on the library website.
  • Spring 2004 (#65) issue of Volunteller was produced in large print, on tape, and put it up on the library website.
  • Volunteer/Outreach Unit assisted the Friends in publishing the Spring 2004 issue of Friends in large print, on tape, and helped put it up on the Friends website.
  • The following outreach activities were done:
    • presentation to a Division of Services for the Blind Senior Week group.
    • booth at the State Convention of the Disabled American Veterans.
    • presentation to a Visually Impaired support group in Nashville, NC.
    • Division of Services for the Blind Mini Center presentations in Roxboro, Kinston, Greenville, Clinton, and Raleigh.

Volunteers

10 new individual volunteers were provided orientation and training this quarter. (Note: The term Quarter refers to the period of April-June 2004.)

  • During the quarter, 78 volunteers have contributed 1,345 hours. This gives a year-to-date and a year-end total of 119 volunteers contributing 6,429 volunteer hours.
  • Volunteer recruitment efforts this quarter include:
      • ads were run in the News and Observer.
      • flyers are being posted local book stores.
      • packets are being sent out to colleges to encourage students to volunteer.
  • We are exploring best methods to get and keep the recording of magazines up-to-date. Over the years, some magazine titles issue availability has fallen to a full year behind. To get these titles up-to-date, we are considering skipping issues. If that decision is made, we would put an announcement at the beginning of the recording of the magazine issue(s) affected. We are studying to ensure that if we do skip issues, we will be able to keep the titles relatively up-to-date from that point. We welcome patron thoughts on this

Governor Morehead School for the Blind—Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis, Outreach Director, presented the report for Governor Morehead School. 532 preschool students have been served through GMS preschool—Preschool is 0-5 years old. The current enrollment for the K-12 instructional program is 73 students. For the month of August, Outreach services were in 60 of the 117 LEA’s.

New staff include --Lead Nurse, Assistant Principal, School Psychologist, 3 new preschool teachers, and 1 new outreach teacher.

The Student Center is now open.

Upcoming Events—GMS Preschool is hosting "Very Special Arts" September 29; The Outreach Program will be presenting at Partnerships in Assistive Technology—November 4-5; Outreach will also be presenting at the Council on Exceptional Children in Greensboro—November 1; and the Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness is March 10-12, 2005.

Department of Public Instruction—Tom Winton
Mr. Winton was not present but did submit a report.

54th Conference on Exceptional Children – The 54th Conference on Exceptional Children is scheduled for November 1-3 at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel/Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Informative instructional sessions, a keynote presentation, poster displays and vendors are but a few of the conference offerings. Two instructional sessions will directly address VI issues. Maria Delgado from APH will present on technology resources. Julie Kagy and Peggy Holly will present on the use of laptop computers to promote academic success with students with blindness. Also, Estelle Condra (keynote speaker of the NC Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness) will address principals and exceptional children directors from across the state during the Administrators’ Institute on Tuesday, November 2nd. Additional conference information is available at www.ncpublicschools.org/ec/conference/ .

North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness – Planning is beginning on the 3rd annual North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness. This professional conference, which brings together agency and education professionals from across the state is scheduled for March 10-12, 2005. The Exceptional Children Division looks forward to continue its involvement and sponsorship of this worthy conference.

Federal Quota Funds – As of early September, 197 separate orders had been placed, totaling around $219,000, for instructional materials to be used in regular public schools and private education agencies throughout North Carolina. All materials that are non-consumable remain property of the State of North Carolina and are on permanent loan to the schools and agencies.

Summer Institutes – The Exceptional Children Division held a successful institute for teachers of visually impaired students on July 28-29 in Asheville. Maria Delgado, field representative for APH, instructed participants on the various APH technology resources. Twenty-six teachers and assistants participated and gained insight and skill in using the BookPort, Talking Typer for Windows, Termite Torpedo, Louis Database, and other valuable software and hardware.

NCCU-VITP Advisory Board – The Consultant for Visually Impaired continues to serve as co-chair with Dr. Deborah Hatton on the NCCU-VITP Advisory Board. The Board meets bi-monthly and is representative of stakeholder schools, agencies, committees, and consumer groups. The Board is currently working on strategies for student recruitment and publicizing the VITP. Currently the Board is also addressing issues of appropriate use of funds and positions for the VITP.

VI Listserv – The Exceptional Children Division has been operating a listserv for professionals in the VI field throughout North Carolina. This is an opportunity for teachers, assistants, O&M specialists, administrators and other professionals to post and reply to questions and comments. It is hoped this is a valuable resource to a field that is relatively small in number and spread thinly throughout the state. Persons interested in being added to the listserv should contact Tom Winton.

North Carolina Assistive Technology EXPO – The Exceptional Children Division continues its sponsorship of the North Carolina Assistive Technology EXPO, scheduled for November 4-5 at the North Raleigh Hilton. A comprehensive exhibit hall is available on Thursday, November 4th, and is free to the public. Instructional sessions in a variety of assistive technology areas (including visual impairments) will be offered, one of which will be led by Tom Winton. The Division appreciates the opportunity to continue this sponsorship along with that of other agencies, including the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. More information on the EXPO is available at www.pat.org .

Prevent Blindness North Carolina—Raquelle Martin

Legislative News: During the summer session, the legislature restored the K-6 certification program to full funding so training will be provided to over 4,000 new adults to do vision screenings in the school this year. Invitation is extended to any interested Lions Clubs to participate in certification training and help in the schools.

The legislature also increased funding to the Pre-K photo-screening program by $150,000 to provide partial funds for screening More at Four children. The Pre-K program is also in the process of conducting a scientific study of the photo-screenings technology with the CDC and UNC Center for Bio-statistical Research. It is anticipated that the study will be screened by December.

Adult Programs: PBNC received funding from the Glaucoma Caucus for the Charlotte and Wilmington areas to provide adult screenings. Screening of adults in Eastern North Carolina with funds provided by Kate B. Reynolds and the National Eye Institute. PBNC has been doing lots of adult screenings in the Greensboro area but do not have the funds to continue to provide adult services at as high a level. When requests are received for screenings in Greensboro, it is hoped that through collaboration with the Lions the screening will be provided.

The Adult Program has recently begun a collaboration with the WiseWoman program to connect women ages 40-65 who are underinsured to health screenings provided by the CDC’s North Carolina Wisewoman Program.

NC Council of the Blind—David Alexander and Ron Eller

The NC Council of the Blind State Convention is September 23-27 in Burlington, NC. Speakers include Dr. Ed Bradley from Texas and the keynote speakers for the banquet are Jim and Marjorie Megivern who are the authors of People of Vision: A History of the American Council of the Blind. Two seminars are planned: 1) diabetes, 2) telemarketing fraud and theft identity.

National Federation for the Blind—Hazel Staley

One highlight of this summer was the National Federation for the Blind national convention which was held in Atlanta the first week in July. Seventy-one people from North Carolina were registered, the largest delegation we have ever had at a convention. There were representatives from 17 foreign countries. Many States filled the exhibit hall with all types of technology and literature as well as exhibits.

Another highlight was two science camps held at our research and training center in Baltimore, one for junior and one for high school students. The junior high students studied sharks, which some say keep the Baltimore Harbor clean. Part of the study was dissecting sharks.

The high school students constructed a small space craft. This project was directed and supervised by a representative from NASA. The craft weighed about 60 pounds and actually went about 25 miles into space. The students took it out into the ocean for launching to prevent the possibility of it falling on a boat in the harbor. Launching had to take place when the wind and other atmospheric conditions were just right. This occurred about 6 a.m. The students were so excited that the early launching time was no problem. Many of our youngsters are very interested in space.

Our national headquarters has created a documentary called "Fulfilling the Future", which as shown in Charlotte on WTVI, a public television channel. Copies of the documentation have been sent to major cities in the State.

The State Convention of the National Federation of the Blind will be held at the Holiday Inn on Woodlawn Road in Charlotte, September 24-26

Old Business

None

New Business

None

Adjournment of Meeting

With no further business, a motion was made, seconded, and carried that the meeting be adjourned. The meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2004 at 1:00 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted

Ron Eller, Vice Chairman
Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind

 

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