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

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

December 7, 2007

Call to Order and Invocation

Chair Gary Ray called the meeting of the Consumer and Advocacy Committee for the Blind to order at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, December 7, 2007. 

The following members were present:  Gary Ray (Chair), Ron Eller (NC Council of the Blind), Steve Walker (NC Lions Foundation), Ann Vieregge (President of North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind)—connected by conference call, and Representative Linda Coleman (NC House of Reprentatives).

The following members were absent:  Tim Jones (State President of NFB and representative for the Elected Committee of Vendors), Jennifer Talbot (Prevent Blindness of North Carolina), Kathy Davis, (Outreach Director of GMS and Vice-President of NCAER), Linda Lewis (NCAWB Vice-President), and Steve Wilson (Lions Council)

Others in attendance were: Debbie Jackson (Director of Services for the Blind), Barbria Bacon (School Director for Governor Morehead School), Allen Casey (2nd Vice President of the NC Council for the Blind), Julie Kagy (DPI Consultant for Visual Impairments and Assistive Technology), Francine Martin (Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped), Ken Bucher (Lions Council—attending for Steve Wilson), Penny Rummel (Lions Club), and Carla Parker (Executive Assistant with Division of Services for the Blind). 

Welcome and Remarks
Chair Ray welcomed and thanked everyone for their attendance. 

Chair Ray has contacted the Boards and Commission Office regarding what constitutes a quorum. Since the Board is responsible to the Department, it was recommended that the questions be directed to the Department.  Debbie Jackson contacted the Department and received a response by e-mail yesterday.  The details of the e-mail will be discussed in “Old Business” near the end of this meeting.

Approval of Minutes
Motion was made by Ron Eller, seconded by Allen Casey, and carried to approve the minutes of the September 7, 2007 meeting. 

Report of Entities:

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

New Software In Use
December 6, 2007 NCLBPH reopened to the public with all staff using a major new upgrade of the Keystone Library Automation Software system.   The software is used by staff to provide all NCLBPH services:

  • from keeping track of what our over 10,000 library users want to read & what they have and have had,
  • to tracking our playback equipment inventory of more than 13,000 machines,
  • to handling circulation functions for check out of 2,000 items each day and check in of another 2,000 items a day,
  • to automatically selecting books for the majority of the library’s users and aiding staff in selecting books for the remaining users,
  • and much more!

The library was closed to the public November 30, 2007 through December 5, 2007 as all patron, collection, and related records in the NCLBPH database were converted to work with the new software and staff received hands on training. 

  • Throughout November LBPH staff attended online interactive training sessions called “webinars” provided by Keystone, in preparation for the new software.
  • December 2-6, 2007 Keystone staff were on site training and assisting staff in using the new software.  

The Keystone Library Automation Software was initially developed for NCLBPH starting in 1984.  It is now in use by more than 30 states’ LBPHs.

In preparation for this major upgrade, the majority of the 29 LBPH staff received new PCs, and LBPH purchased new barcode scanning equipment and mailing card printers.   The administration of State Library and Department of Cultural Resources has supported and funded all requested equipment.

Also in preparation for this upgrade, LBPH staff attempted to contact several thousand library users who had not borrowed a book or magazine from the library in over a year and who had overdue items from our library.   Large print letters were mailed to these users, and non-respondents received a follow-up phone call.  

Two New Voices at NCLBPH
A new Reader Advisor will begin answering the phones in December.  Lyman Clayborn was promoted from Processing Assistant II into this position which was vacated by Connie Israel.  He is already assisting in answering our local lines and staffing our Receptionist area as needed.

Corrie White began work December 3 as the new Library Clerk in Patron Processing Unit.  Her duties will also include assisting in staffing our reception area and helping answer calls on our local and toll-free lines.

NCLBPH Web-Braille Book Available for Download from NLS Union Catalog
Come Go Home With Me by Sheila Adams, BRX 1821, now has web-braille files attached to the NLS Union Catalog listing.  This means the book’s Braille files are available for downloading by registered web-braille users across the country.    Congratulations to Deborah Barnes, the NCLBPH Braille Coordinator, and Ardel Nolte, the volunteer who transcribed the title.

Upcoming Library Closing Dates:

December 24-26, 2007
January 1, 2008
January 21, 2008

The National Library Service continues working on digital books and players. The player has been designed and is being beta tested by 100 people.  Gary Ray is testing one of the players and demonstrated the new player which is based on a flash cartridge system.  It is user friendly and has a user guide built into the player.  Each cartridge will hold 22 hours so 90% of most library books will fit on one cartridge.   After this meeting, the player will be available for demonstration. 

Governor Morehead School - Barbria Bacon

Students and staff are very busy this time of the year.  GMS students sang in the Rotunda of the Old State Capitol for the holidays. 

The Legislative Study is moving along with focus groups across the State with DPI, OES, and the counties.    This study involves the entire education delivery system for children with disabilities in NC.  Once the study is completed, consumer and professional organizations will have an opportunity to have their input. 

Facility work on GMS campus—roads behind the campus have been repaired.  The Raleigh Garden Club is preparing a Culinary Garden and brickwork has been started. 

In an effort to promote a healthier lifestyle, GMS will be a “Tobacco Free School” effective January 1, 2008.  Signs have been posted around campus.   

The Braille Challenge is scheduled for the end of February. This is in collaboration with DPI, GMS, DSB, and many others in planning this Challenge.      

GMS’ Christmas Program is December 21 at 9:30 a.m. in Lineberry Hall. 

Department of Public Instruction - Julie Kagy

DPI is beginning the program with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic.  This program involves players and books on CD’s for students who need audio textbooks.  Every LEA now has their shipment of players and are now able to order textbooks on-line or through Mrs. Kagy.  The turn around time for audio textbooks is now 1 to 2 weeks rather than 2 to 10 months.   Mrs. Kagy presented workshops across the State to demonstrate how to access the new system.  Julie Kagy, Julie Barden, NCCU; and Mike Switzer, Outreach; attended the 2nd Regional Exceptional Children’s meeting to discuss current issues regarding DPI, programs offered at NCCU for teachers of the visually impaired, and the Outreach Program.

Debbie Jackson - Services for the Blind
Renovations—Milsap Dorm has been completely renovated at no State expense—Federal dollars were used.    DSB received 4 additional positions for ILR—3 counselor positions and 1 assistive technology instructor position all based in our field office.  Three positions have been filled.   The Economic Needs Scale for programs also changed.  The most significant was with DSB’s Medical Eye Care Program.  The new scale was implemented on September 1.  A marked increased in eligibility has been noted in this program.   

Outreach Activities—DSB participated in the VIP Fishing Tournament at Nags Head.  This year 550 blind/visually-impaired people attended.  DSB also held a booth at the State Fair in hopes to get the word out about our services.  The booth was staffed daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.  Interest in our services was great and DSB is planning on participating in next year’s State Fair. 

NCCU—Debbie Jackson attended a meeting in November with staff from NCCU.  The program is now heading in a great direction and moving forward.   Staff and students are very enthused with the program. 

State Council of North Carolina Lions - Ken Bucher

The District Governors have been busy attending conventions and meeting with their clubs. 
Some of the districts are moving forward with the Disaster Relief Plan as well with the matching relief plan.  The District Governors are having a raffle for a car/truck.  Tickets are 100.00 each and available from Lions.

The 2008 Lions Convention is in Greensboro at the Greensboro Highpoint Airport Marriot, May 29-31. 

The North Carolina Lions unanimously voted to endorse Sid Scruggs as 2nd Vice President of Lions Club International.

North Carolina Lions Foundation - Steve Walker

Construction—The new dormitory is completed with 16 bedrooms, private baths, and lounge area.  Furniture will be delivered next week and the building will be completed the early part of February.

Applications for 2008 summer camp are being completed. 

Camp Dogwood/Lions Foundation is conducting a Marketing Research Survey with the blind/visually impaired individuals that have attended Camp Dogwood in the past.  The program has not been changed in years. Camp Dogwood is open to new ideas and activities. 

Camp Dogwood’s fee structure has not been changed since the 80’s which was $85 a week.  This has been increased to $100 a week.  A sighted individual who accompanies a blind/visually impaired person increased from $125 to $150.  Scholarships are available to assist with fees if needed.

The Vision Van fee also increased from $75 a day to $100 a day. 

In the past, applications were accepted January – February.  Then applications are reviewed as a part of the budget process.  In May, the budget would be approved for the next year (July 1-June 30).  Those organizations that are funded could request money any time after July 1.  The problem with that method was funding was provided to other organizations before funding the Camps activities.  The process for distributing funds will be changed, although, a definite process has not been developed yet.     Each organization will be personally notified of this change when the process has been finalized. 

Camp Dogwood can accommodate 86 campers per week.  Applications are accepted January throughout the summer or until the all vacancies have been filled.  The Library for the Blind offered to advertise Camp Dogwood in their newsletter.  Out-of-state campers are welcome if space is available but they must pay the full cost which is $575. 

Representative Linda Coleman had to leave the meeting at this time. 

North Carolina Council of the Blind - Ron Eller
The North Carolina Council State Convention was held in September.  Mr. Eller’s term as President expired but he was re-elected by 2/3 vote for another 2 years.  The 2008 convention will be held in Raleigh. 

The Legislative Seminar will be held in Washington in February. 

Allen Casey attended the Indian Classical Music and Dance Society production in Chapel Hill.  This event involved visually-impaired dancers from Bangalore India. 
Approximately 200 people were in attendance.  The production was very well coordinated.  

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina - Gary Ray
The State NFB Convention which was held in Greensboro was a success with approximately 100 people attending.  The 2008 convention will be held in Charlotte in September.  The Federation will also attend the Legislative Seminar in Washington.  Newsline continues to grow with approximately 2,000 subscribers in NC.

North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind - Ann Vieregge
The alumni weekend is July 18-19, 2008.  The Charter has been found.  Mrs. Vieregge welcomed anyone and everyone to join the Association of Workers for the Blind.

The next Board meeting for the Association is March 8 and Mrs.Vieregge welcomed Mrs. Barbria Bacon and any others to attend.   Mrs.Vieregge requested a tour of the GMS campus.  Mrs. Bacon will be in touch with Mrs. Vieregge to arrange this tour. 

Gary Ray - NC Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Super Conference which is a conference for  organizations and professionals that work with the blind and visually-impaired in North Carolina is scheduled for April 24-26, 2008, and will be held on the campus of the Governor Morehead School. 

Elected Committee of Vendors - Ron Eller
The Statewide Conference is the weekend of February 17, 2008, and will be in Fayetteville, NC.

Old Business
Chair Gary Ray had requested Ms. Jackson to ask DHHS about quorums and entities within this Committee.  Ms. Jackson will forward the e-mail response from the Department to Chair Ray.  As the statute is written now, it is very specific to which entities are a part of this Committee and doesn’t allow for any delegation of membership or proxy.  An option would be rewrite the statute so it reflects the current the mission, makeup, and determine which entities should be represented.   
Also suggested in the rewriting, wording may be changed to allow for delegation or proxy in the event a member could not attend the meeting.

New Bills can be introduced to the legislature in the long session which will be January 2009.  Until that time, this committee will consider looking at the statute and make changes if and appropriate. If the Statute is changed, it must be approved by the Department and Governor before it is introduced to the legislature.

New Business

None

The next meeting of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee is March 7.

The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m.

Gary Ray, Chair
Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind.

 

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