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

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

December 12, 2003

Call to Order and Invocation

Chairman Tim Jones called the meeting of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind to order at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 12, 2003. A roll call was conducted and the following members were present: Hazel Staley, Diane Whitley, Ron Eller, and David Alexander.

Members not present: Brian Lewis, Jim Baker, and Representative Pete Cunningham.

Others present: Emily DuBois, Debbie Jackson, Francine Martin, and Tom Winton.

Welcome and Remarks

Mr. Jones welcomed everyone and extended a welcome to David Alexander who is a new member on this committee. He also extended congratulations to Debbie Jackson who was recently appointed Division Director for DSB.

Approval of Minutes

Motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the minutes of the September 12, 2003 meeting.

Report of Entities

Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped – Francine Martin

Braille collection to be moved

  • For seven working days in January (or February at the latest) the Braille collection will be moved from the LBPH main building at 1811 Capital Boulevard, right next door to 1813 Capital Boulevard. The move will give room for 10 years’ growth of all collections.
  • During that period of seven working days, various portions of the Braille collection will be unavailable to patrons. If a patron has an urgent need for a title in a closed part of the collection at that time, library staff will meet that need by interlibrary loaning the title from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Multi-state Center.

Staffed to serve

  • Heather Brown was promoted to Reader Advisor on December 8, 2003. Heather began work with NCLBPH in 1990 and has worked in the Circulation Unit, Machine Unit, and Patron Processing Unit. She is an avid reader. We are pleased her knowledge of books and LBPH services will now be available to patrons who call for service. Heather is filling Peggy Roberson’s position, as Peggy retired November 1, 2003.
  • Julie Harris began work as Collection Management Librarian on December 8, 2003. The position was vacant for seven months. Julie will be responsible for managing the book and magazine collections, including production of items, and will supervise the Machine Unit. Once trained, a primary focus will be on improving the accuracy of the library’s catalog and inventory records. Over time this should improve service to those using the online public access catalog. In a few months, she and I will also be helping answer the toll-free calls when Reader Advisory staffs are out. This should allow us to keep both toll-free lines open at all times.
  • Our Production Assistant, David Sisk, retired effective December 1, 2003. Janie Stanley will be promoted into that position effective December 15, 2003. Janie has worked in the Machine Unit since December of 2000. We plan incorporate volunteers into the production process to increase the number of additional copies of older, popular books no longer available in the collection.

User satisfaction and support

The 2002 patron survey results have been tabulated (survey sent in December 2002) showed increased satisfaction in all aspects of LBPH service. The survey covered aspects such as timeliness of service, courtesy of staff, and quality of book selections.

The next patron survey will be in the library newsletter due to go out in February or March of 2004. We encourage all to complete the survey and let us know how we are doing.

We want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the North Carolina Council of the Blind for their 2003-02 Resolution commending the staff and volunteers of the library and expressing the Council’s continuing support and assistance. A copy was given to all library staff and volunteers.

Public relations activities

It has been some time since we reported on public relations activities. A compilation of activities done by LBPH staff (primarily Gary Ray) and Friends members from July 2002 through the present follows.

1st quarter SFY 2002/2003

  • DSB Mini Center in Durham and Ahoskie
  • Class presentation to a Visually Impaired Teachers Project class at NCCU in August.
  • VI Support group in Roanoke Rapids
  • Division of Services for the Blind Senior Week group at the Rehab Center in July.
  • Pamlico Senior Center
  • Special tour for a gentleman from Morocco, as part of the International Visitors Center program
  • The state convention of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina
  • Tour for new State Library Commission Members
  • Booth and a short presentation at the state convention of the North Carolina Council of the Blind.
  • VI Support group presentation in Nash county during the quarter.

2nd quarter SFY 02/03

  • Division of Services for the Blind Mini Center presentations in Roanoke Rapids, Raleigh, Warrenton, Greenville, and Goldsboro.
  • A class presentation and tour of LBPH for a Visually Impaired Teachers Program class from NCCU in November.
  • A presentation to Visually Impaired support groups in New Bern, Chapel Hill, and at the VA Hospital in Fayetteville during the quarter.
  • A booth at the MS Conference in Raleigh during October.
  • Attended a Media Event at the NCATP in October.
  • Booth at an AARP workshop on vision loss in Raleigh in October. She also coordinated Friends volunteers at the Assistive Technology Expo during the quarter. Members of the BOD, volunteers, and LBPH employees helped out at the Expo.
  • 2 booths at the VA Hospital in Durham during the quarter.
  • A booth and a short presentation at the Lions Visually Impaired Persons Fishing Tournament in Manteo during October.

3rd quarter SFY 02/03

  • As part of the Take a Talking Book campaign, Volunteer/Production Unit sent out 120 packets to Division of Services for the Blind employees to encourage use of LBPH. Packets included a Friends Tote Bag.
  • Presentations to Visually Impaired Persons support groups in Sanford and Henderson.
  • Presentation for several classes at Lead Mine School’s Career Day in March.
  • Presentations at a Reading Day at Joyner School in March.
  • Booth at a Job Fair in Wilson in March.
  • Booth and a presentation at the North Carolina Association of Education and Rehabilitation conference in March.

4th quarter SFY 02/03

  • Presentations to Visually Impaired People support groups in Brevard, Asheville, and Morehead City this quarter.
  • 120 packets were sent to Division of Services for the Blind employees to encourage promotion of use of LBPH. Packets included a Friends Tote Bag. This activity was part of the Take a Talking Book Campaign promotional activities.

1st quarter SFY 2003/2004

  • State Convention of National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina
  • State Convention of the North Carolina Council for the Blind
  • North Carolina Library Association in Winston Salem
  • Gary has been asked to sit on the planning committee for the statewide Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness. The Friends will co-sponsor this multi-agency event, to be held in March 2004.
  • Take a Talking Book Activities this quarter follow:
    • 137 promotional packets went to Senior Centers across the state.
    • 200 promotional packets went to Councils on Aging across the state

Governor Morehead School – Judy Plymale

Ms. Plymale was not present, but submitted the following report following the meeting.

INSTRUCTIONAL SERVICES

  • For the 2002-2003 school year, The Governor Morehead School achieved "high growth" in the Department of Public Instruction’s Accountability Model (ABC Scores
  • Plans are underway to establish Braille Competition at the school. Applications will be submitted in December. Local competition will take place in the spring, utilizing a pretest provided by The Braille Reading Tournament. Tournament competition in Los Angeles may be offered to students whose pretest reflects a high level of proficiency. Currently there is participation nationwide with the exception of the Southeastern states.
  • The chorus opened up the Exceptional Children’s Conference in Greensboro, NC.
  • Our new Orientation and Mobility model for GMS now provides instruction in both individual and group settings. The mobility instructors and students are thrilled about the benefits of this approach as it provides countless social opportunities, peer modeling and open group discussions for our kids.
  • All students in the elementary program were given tickets as a gift by Disney on Ice and will be attending the show, Monster’s Inc., in December. After the show, students will have the opportunity to go on stage to talk and touch the characters.

SUPPORT SERVICES

  • Health Services, in conjunction with the Instructional staff, hosted a Health Fair on October 30th. The fair was the culmination of the October Healthy Choice theme of: "Falling into Healthy Choices". The booths covered personal hygiene, dental hygiene, mental health, healthy snacks, CPR, first aid, and height/weight/blood pressure. The students left the fair with floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, a healthy snack, and a stress ball, goals for a healthy attitude and a book to take home on "How to Beat the Winter Bugs".

OUTREACH SERVICES

  • Students have completed three short term sessions. They had the opportunity to visit NC State University, Exploris, Arts Together, NC State Fair, and Partnerships in Assistive Technology Conference.
  • Planning is underway for the 2004 Outreach Conference. Through the cooperation of GMS, Division of Services for the Blind, Department of Public Instruction, Dr. Deborah Hatton, Research Scientist, Frank Porter Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, Association of Education and Rehabilitation, Library for the Blind. Visually Impaired Teachers Program, a fabulous program, is being prepared entitled "It’s a Lifetime Journey".

STUDENT LIFE SERVICES

  • Renovations for a new Student Union are underway. Artist, Teresa Merrill, has an agreement with the Downtown Lions Club to design, create and implement plans for the Center. The Center will have a 50’s theme which will include, but not be limited to, a diner with booths and café tables, a theater with wide screen televisions and Nintendo games, game room with 3 large murals, a pool table, air hockey game, stereos, and a hallway that depicts the scene of walking down a sidewalk and looking at store fronts.

Department of Public Instruction – Tom Winton

53RD Conference on Exceptional Children

The conference was held on October 27-29 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The theme, "Together We Can Do So Much", was a quote from Helen Keller. Jeff Moyer, a singer and motivational speaker who is blind, sang at the Plenary Session along with the Governor Morehead School chorus. He also led one instructional session. Two VI instructional sessions were conducted, one by Jim Allan of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the other by Pam Hunt, VI Teacher in Winston-Salem. We also had an assistive technology lab, hosted by Partnerships in Assistive Technology, including Gary Ray from the NC Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Conference attendance was approximately 2,700.

APH Quota Funds

Quota funds continue to be accessed for procuring instructional materials for students with visual impairments. Since October 1, 49 separate orders have been placed totaling approximately $46,000. NCDPI has access to approximately $240,000 in Quota Funds for this fiscal year and looks forward to spending all of it based on the requests of schools throughout the State.

The Consultant for Visually Impaired is also making one APH product, the Book Port, available to VI teachers throughout the State. The Book Port is an electronic book-reading device and is promising in the delivery of more access to books and other text materials. These devices are being sent to teachers this week and training will be given in January. Teachers will instruct students in the Book Port and collect data on students’ ease and quantity of book access. This data will be sent to APH as part of a study of the Book Port’s effectiveness and for consideration in product improvement.

2nd Annual North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairment and Blindness

The Exceptional Children Division continues to collaborate with other agencies in planning the conference, scheduled for March 11-13, 2004, at the Governor Morehead School. The Division will likely sponsor the keynote speaker, who is tentatively slated to be Estelle Condra.

NCCU-VITP Advisory Board

The Division continues to participate in the Advisory Board with Tom Winton serving as co-chair. The Board is seeking ways to support the program and is looking at strategies for recruiting more students and finding additional funding incentives for them. Dr. Walker has been granted tenure.

Standards and Licensure

The Division is submitting new standards for licensure for VI teachers. The new license will be a graduate license, requiring a master’s degree, similar to other specialty areas, such as hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and severe-profound mental disabilities. Efforts are underway to ensure that the NCCU-VITP degree program is aligned with these standards and that courses are available, accessible and affordable.

Division of Services for the Blind – Debbie Jackson

Ms. Jackson reported the following:

Positions

John DeLuca has accepted a position at the Industrial Commission. Ms. Jackson indicated that she has been selected as the new Division Director for DSB.

The Assistant Director position has been posted and will close on December 15. Interviews will begin the first part of January. It is hoped that this position will be filled in 4-6 weeks.

Dorms

DSB is making efforts to improve the conditions of Cox and Milsap dorms. Previous funding was taken by budget cuts. It is has been determined that DSB will use federal grant money via a RSA and DVR arrangement. The first round of work will begin in the first of 2004 with waterproofing. Elevators are needed to be ADA compliant, and that will be pursued as well.

District Office Meetings

A series of district office meetings were conducted late November, early December. The purpose of the meetings was to sit down with cross programs to discuss issues. Another series will take place in the Spring of 2004.

DSB has also been involved in a workshop with the Community College System, as well as the VIP Fishing Tournament.

Budget

At this point money is tight is all DSB programs. With vending money and social security reimbursements, it is hoped that DSB can manage.

State Council of the North Carolina Lions – Diane Whitley

The VIP Fishing Tournament was a success in spite of Hurricane Isabel. There were about 400 fisher persons and 200 Lion volunteers. It was amazing how the Lions and businesses of District 31-J were able to pull it off.

Four Lions Districts have held Fall Conventions. All were well attended. Some had exhibitors of guide dogs and visual aids for our consumers. The item receiving the most attention was the aid that Kathy Harris used to identify the color of her clothing.

The other five Districts will have their Mid-Winter Conventions in January. Again guide dogs and visual aids will be exhibited at some of them.

Conventions this year have a real International flavor with a Past International Director from England coming in November and an International Director from New Zealand coming in January. The featured speaker at the State Convention in Fayetteville during the weekend of March 5-7 will be International President Tae-Sup Lee of Seoul, South Korea.

Bids will be let for the new dorm at Camp Dogwood in January, and it is hoped that construction will begin in late February or early March.

Requests for assistance continue to increase. We may have to look at funding in the spring.

The Vision Van continues to be active and the referral rate stands at about 50%.

On November 9, the NC Lions Diabetic Eye Care Center was dedicated as a part of the UNC Health Care Diabetes Care Center.

Clubs are having Christmas parties for their VIPs

North Carolina Lions Foundation – Steve Walker

No Report

Prevent Blindness North Carolina – Jennifer Talbot

No Report

North Carolina Council of the Blind – Ron Eller

The State Convention was held in Burlington in September. The convention was well attended and was very successful. A new format was tested for this convention, whereby people arrived on Thursday, with all day sessions on Friday and Saturday. It worked very well.

The National Legislative Seminar will be conducted in March.

Mr. Alexander also shared that NCCB has passed a resolution that makes it a criminal offense to strike a blind person with a cane or a guide animal, or to strike the guide animal with a vehicle. It is hoped that this resolution will become law.

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina – Hazel Staley

The State Convention was held in Rocky Mount in September. The attendance was good and the agenda was very interesting and informative.

NFB chartered a new chapter and gave a scholarship to a worthy student.

NFB has acquired a number of new members during the past months. Several of the chapters decided to take one meeting this Fall to review bylaws.

There will be an opening of the new Research and Training Institute January 30, 2004. The Institute is a large addition to the headquarters building in Baltimore. Several members from North Carolina plan to attend the opening event. Members will stay over for the Washington Seminar, which begins the next and continues through the following Wednesday.

Changes are forthcoming regarding accessing NewsLine.

North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind – Brian Lewis

No Report

Mr. Jones stated that the North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind has not been represented at the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory meetings in a very long time. Mr. Jones further stated that he would make contact with Brian Lewis to get a status on attendance of these meetings.

North Carolina Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired – Jim Baker

No Report

Elected Committee of Vendors – Tim Jones

ECV conducted a meeting the third Saturday in November. Everything is moving smoothly.

Mt. Mitchell restaurant is now open.

Legislators – Representative W. Pete Cunningham

No Report

Old Business

Mr. Jones asked Ms. Jackson if there was anything this committee could do to help with the budget. Ms. Jackson didn’t have any suggestions at this point.

New Business

None

Adjournment of Meeting

With no further business, motion was made, seconded, and carried that the meeting be adjourned. The meeting adjourned at 2:05 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for March 12, 2004 at 1:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tim Jones, Chairman
Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind

 

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