Fall 2012

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
Toll Free: 877-254-6397
Malaina VanderWal, Assistant Editor

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Upcoming Deadlines for 2013 Newsletter Submissions:
February 1, 2013
May 1, 2013
August 1, 2013
November 1, 2013

Highlights of This Issue Include:
Important Information About MCBVI Memberships and Dues
Joe Sibley Appointed to BSBP Advisory Council
Sharmese Anderson New MCBVI Second Vice President
What Diabetic Supplies and Services Are Covered by Medicare
MCBVI 2012 Resolutions
And Much More…
From the President
By Joe Sibley

Well it’s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us already. 2012 has been a busy year, especially with the executive order restructuring the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons and MCBVI’s involvement in the process. We have modified our bylaws to welcome junior members, those under 18, which I am very excited about. We have welcomed new members, and sadly have said goodbye to some good friends. We have members facing serious challenges, and we keep them in our thoughts and prayers. We had a wonderful convention in Lansing, and had our largest group in years attend the ACB national convention in Louisville. We have seen MCBVI receive recognition from ACB leadership as well as officials in our own state. Yep, it’s been a busy year and I look at it all with pride in the awesome people that make up this organization.
As I said, our convention was wonderful in September. We had some minor issues with the hotel, but they bent over backwards to resolve them quickly. We welcomed Ardis Bazyn, a true leader in ACB and sought after motivational speaker. We enjoyed great fellowship and attended great informational presentations. Although I am always exhausted by noon Sunday, the MCBVI convention is one of my favorite activities every year. I am also very humbled that you elected me to serve as your president for a third term. This organization has blessed me in many ways, thank you all. Remember by our bylaws, I cannot serve another term so in less than two years someone new will step up.
Among the MCBVI members we lost this year was our second vice president and good friend Pam Berryman. When Pam passed, it left a large hole in our board of directors. I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Sharmese Anderson, also of Kalamazoo, to fill Pam’s term until next year’s convention. There were a few people that I considered, but Sharmese has really impressed me with her enthusiasm and leadership in her local chapter. She will be a valuable addition to our board, and you can read more about Sharmese later in this issue.
One of the issues that the MCBVI board is looking at for 2013 is to stop producing the audio version of the MCBVI News on cassette, and distribute it on an audio CD instead. Unfortunately cassettes are becoming obsolete, and we hope that most members would have a CD player available to listen to their newsletter. If you receive the newsletter on cassette, please let Wayne Lepiors know if you are OK with receiving a CD instead  of a cassette at 810-982-2378, as Wayne coordinates the production of the audio newsletter.
I also plan in 2013 to begin regular phone meetings with our chapter presidents so we can share ideas and challenges, and see if there is an interest in an occaisional informal phone conference open to all members to discuss issues and ideas. These would be separate from our formal board meetings. As always if you have comments or suggestions, I welcome your contact.
I hope in this season of thanksgiving that you are taking time to be grateful for your blessings - no matter what they may be. We all have reason to be grateful, even in challenging times, and an attitude of gratitude goes a long way for your health and well-being. I am of course grateful to you and my many friends in MCBVI that have touched my life in so many ways. I have said many times that one of the smartest things I did when I lost most of my vision was to become involved in this organization. 
So, thanks as always to Donna and Malaina for putting this fine newsletter together. As we head into the holidays please accept wishes from Mary and I for a joyous holiday season, however you celebrate it, and a most blessed new year in 2013 as we all work together to take MCBVI to the next level as we reach out to benefit all blind, visually impaired, and sighted people throughout Michigan!
Take care,

By Charis Austin, Membership Chairperson
Important Information:
All Chapter and Member at Large 2013 dues must be received by February 15, 2013. Due to a change in our Constitution and Bylaws, any checks received after February 15, 2013 will be returned.
If you are a member of a local chapter pay their required dues to your local treasurer, and they will pass on the proper portion to MCBVI.
Please include $10 for each member: $5 is for MCBVI and $5 goes to ACB. 
Checks should be made out to MCBVI. Checks and all membership information should be sent to:
Charis Austin, Treasurer
2426 Thornwood, SW
Wyoming, MI 49519
The following information is needed for each member:
Name, address, phone number, work or cell phone, email, and 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.) In addition, specify whether the member is sighted. This relates to Free Matter mailing privileges.
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 a podcast or email version of The Braille Forum.
All checks or money orders should be made out to MCBVI. Please put MCBVI Dues in the memo line.  Dues are $10, $5 stays here in Michigan and $5 goes to ACB. If you are a member of a chapter, dues may be different.
Please contact me with any questions (616532-4737 or at
Introducing Sharmese Anderson - MCBVI’s Newly Appointed Second Vice President
By Sharmese Anderson
My name is Sharmese Anderson.  I am the President of the Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KCBVI), Ministry team Leader and a Greeter at my church, member of the Friends of Transit (FOT), Transportation Advisory Group (TAG), Disability Network of Southwestern Michigan and a single Mom.  And I happen to be partially blind and use a Guide Dog, named Chaka, who sees and leads as I direct and praise.
At the age of thirty-five, I thought I was living a pretty good life achieving many of the goals I wanted to achieve.  I worked full-time as an Executive Assistant to a pastor of a large church, owned my own Image Consultant, Make-up Artistry and Interior Decorating businesses as well as raising two sons, Joshua born in 1990 and Jerrimi born in 1996 with my then husband.
While working one evening with the cast of a Christian play, I left from behind the stage to rush to my seat in the Sanctuary because the play was about to begin.  I reached the entrance door and the lights were all off.  I stopped instantly.  I could NOT see anything!  So my best friend was to the left of me grabbed my arm and took me to my seat.  A few days later I scheduled an eye exam and was told that I have a rare, degenerative eye disease, call Retinitis Pigmentosa, that would eventually steal my sight and that Night Blindness was the first symptom.
So, all of my dreams of Make-up Artistry, Image Consulting and Interior Decorating faded.    In June, 2009, I stepped out on Faith and moved to Kalamazoo and God has presented me with a much bigger route than I could ever imagine.
Some people think I'm poised, polished, graceful, and have it all together.  You can thank God for all of that.  Anything that suggests I have it all together is not telling the whole story.  By the grace of God I am what I am.
I love dark chocolate covered almonds, coffee, seafood, spending time with my family and listening to audio books.
Joyfully Serving Him,
Sharmese D. Anderson
NEW 2nd VP, Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) President, Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KCBVI)
(269) 873-3953

Joe Sibley Appointed to Advisory Council
Our president Joe Sibley has been appointed to the advisory council for the agency providing rehabilitation services to those who are blind in Michigan.  The Michigan Commission for the Blind has been renamed Bureau of Services for Blind Persons.  The press release is below this article.  Congratulations to Joe.  His even temper and articulateness will serve Michigan’s blind citizens well. 
Also, MCBVI and VIPP member Trina Edmondson was appointed to the 16 member Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services, congratulations to Trina!

Snyder makes board appointments established
by Executive Order 2012-10
Seats filled for Rehabilitation Services, Commission for Blind Persons

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today announced 16 appointments to the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services and seven to the Commission for Blind Persons, both redesigned by Executive Order 2012-10. 

Housed within the Michigan Department of Human Services, the 17-member Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services reviews and evaluates Michigan’s rehabilitation programs and services, and advises the department director and governor. This is in partnership with Michigan Rehabilitation Services and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Bureau of Services for Blind Persons. Sixteen of the 17 members are appointed by the governor and one appointment is made by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  
The seven-member Commission for Blind Persons, housed within LARA, advises the department director and governor on the coordination and administration of programs and policies concerning the state’s blind community. 
“These individuals bring vital experiences to their posts, and I am confident they will effectively work to ensure Michiganders with disabilities have access to the resources and opportunities they need to achieve independence and employment,” said Snyder.   
Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services appointees: 
Sheila Ashcraft, of Pontiac, is retired after working more than 30 years in the consulting, legal and newspaper industries. She is a member of the Statewide Independent Living Council, and will represent that council for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2013. 
Carol Bergquist, of Escanaba, is director of vocational rehabilitation services for the Hannahville Indian Community. She will represent the director of a project carried out under Section 121 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, providing vocational rehabilitation services grants to the governing bodies of an Indian tribe or to a consortium of tribal governing bodies for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2014. 
Mark Eastburg, of Grand Rapids, is president and CEO of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids. He will represent business, industry or labor for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2014. 
Trina Edmondson, of Wyoming, is the veteran support coordinator for the Disability Advocates of Kent County. She will represent disability advocacy groups for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2013. 
Mary Ann Greenawalt, of Bloomfield Hills, is owner and president of B&B Specialty Foods Inc. She has worked with United Cerebral Palsy on local and national levels, and currently serves as the Metropolitan Detroit chapter’s treasurer. Greenawalt will represent disability advocacy groups for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2013. 
Caryn Pack Ivey, of Detroit, is the Region One project director for the Michigan Alliance for Families’ Parent Training and Information Center. She will represent parent training and information centers established under Section 671 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2014. 
Adam Kaplan, of Huntington Woods, is founder and CEO of Southfield-based Big Tent Jobs LLC, a recruiting company that matches ready-to-work citizens with disabilities with leading companies. He will represent business, industry or labor for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Albert Kresta, of Ann Arbor, is president and CEO of Ann Arbor-based Ave Maria Communications. He will represent business, industry or labor for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2013. 
Deanna Middlebrooks, of Detroit, is an independent contractor and counselor with Royal Oak-based Krans Integrative Cognitive Rehabilitation Services. She will represent vocational rehabilitation counselors for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2013. 
David Nicholson, of Grosse Pointe Farms, is vice president of PVS Chemicals Inc. He will represent the Governor’s Talent Investment Board for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2015. 
Michael Poyma, of Williamston, is the employment coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Division in East Lansing. He will represent disability advocacy groups for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2015. 
Anne Riddering, of Novi, is a rehabilitation supervisor and staff occupational therapist at Henry Ford Health System’s Center for Vision Rehabilitation and Research. She will represent business, industry or labor for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Brian Sabourin, of Midland, is the employment team director for Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services Inc. He will represent the client assistance program described under Section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Dennis Stanford, of Ypsilanti, previously served as a U.S. Census Bureau field operations supervisor. He is a disabled military veteran. Stanford will represent disability advocacy groups for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2013. 
Mitch Tomlinson, of East Lansing, is president and CEO of Peckham Inc., where he has worked for 36 years. He will represent community rehabilitation program service providers for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2014. 
Matthew Weaver, of Caledonia, has been a Michigan Rehabilitation Services client for five years. He is a founding member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Davenport University chapter and serves as a Michigan Disability Sports Alliance board member. Weaver will represent current or former applicants for, or recipients of, vocational rehabilitation services for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2014.
Appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. 
Commission for Blind Persons appointees: 
LeeAnn Buckingham, of DeWitt, is owner and president of Okemos-based Framer’s Edge, a small business she opened in 1998. She began losing her vision in 2001. Although now legally blind, Buckingham continues to manage business operations. 
Marianne Dunn, of Grand Rapids, is a clinical psychologist and owner of an independent practice, where she has worked since 1993. She has two blind children, and serves as a Michigan Parents of Children with Visual Impairments board member. 
Gary Gaynor, of Livonia, is founder and president of the Visually Impaired Information Center Inc., which publishes the only comprehensive directory of services for the visually impaired in the state. Gaynor is legally blind.
Michael Hudson, of East Lansing, is director of Michigan State University’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, where he provides programs and services for more than 1,200 students, faculty and staff with disabilities. Hudson is legally blind. 
Lylas Mogk, of Grosse Pointe, is director of the Henry Ford Center for Vision Rehabilitation and Research, a position she has held since 1997. Mogk serves as a National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services board member and is former chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Vision Rehabilitation Committee. 
Josie Barnes Parker, of Ann Arbor, is director of the Ann Arbor District Library and Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled. Under her leadership, the Ann Arbor District Library and Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled have received local and national recognition for adopting new technologies which provide special services to a broader population, including K-12 students.  
Joseph Sibley, of Wyoming, is owner of Sibley Media Services LLC, where he transcribes documents to Braille, large print or audio for the blind or visually impaired. He is serving his second term as president of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Michigan affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. Sibley is legally blind. 
Appointees will serve a term at the pleasure of the governor, and their appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. 

But I Don’t Know Who You Are Giving It To
By Suellen Hozman
Hi, it’s Suellen. 
I was born Jewish in 1943 in Detroit, Michigan.  So that means I learned about discrimination at a very young age.  I experience discrimination as the miserable habit of assuming characteristics about someone based on one factor of their person.  My spiritual self tells me that I am not my body or my mind.  So, that leads me to believe that all discrimination is fictional/delusional thinking.  Everyone who is subject to discrimination figures out their own way of coping.  You either develop skills and tools to deal with it or you don’t.  For me, I choose not to pay too much attention to delusions.
In 1961 I was stupid, actually I’ve been stupid a lot, and gave myself a closed head injury that resulted in some brain damage.  Obviously, I can still sorta write.  The brain damage gave me a condition called prosopagnosia.  The street name for it is face blindness.  I don’t remember people’s faces.  The part of the brain that remembers people’s faces doesn’t work well in me.  There is no treatment.  It is a regular part of my life that people approach me and say
“Hi Suellen” and I have no idea who is talking to me.  Sound familiar?
Some people with prosopagnosia remember people by their voices.  Sound familiar?  Not me.  I remember people by what it feels like to be with them.  My memory is good.  But if I don’t recognize the person than I can’t find the file folder.  Sound familiar?
I have a moderate case of prosopagnosia.  So, I recognize my children and people who are currently part of my day to day life.  I can also recognize people in context.  Like Toni at the chiropractors office.  But if I see her at Meijer I won’t know who she is.  Sound familiar?  
A few people have cases that are so severe they do not recognize anyone.
I began this piece with “Hi, it’s Suellen.” because I love it when people tell me their name either in person or on the telephone.  Actually, when I meet someone new I tell them about my prosopagnosia and ask them to tell me their name and how I know them next time I see them.
“Hi Suellen, its Joe from the Soup Spoon.” is an enormous help for me.  Then I can pull the file folder and it is wonderful.  Sound familiar?
It is much more difficult when I meet someone socially and they do not tell me their name or where I know them from.  They notice that I don’t recognize them.  So, they may think that I’m a snob or that I’m more important to them than they are to me.  In this situation I need to figure out a rescue operation.  It’s not like they look at me and notice that I’m blind and quickly rescue the situation by telling me who they are.  They know that I’m sighted and it is an expectation in the sighted world that everyone recognizes everyone else by vision.  That doesn’t work for me and I’m in a very small minority with prosopagnosia.  I’ve never met anyone else with it.
	So, my rescue operation for that occasion might be, “hey, do we know each other from Strip Scrabble?” hoping it gets a laugh and they will tell me where we know each other from.  Or, I might say I’m having a senior moment and my brain isn’t working.  Sometimes, I just tell the truth.  It is always awkward. Sound familiar?
As a minority, it is my observation that communities are sometimes as much about exclusion as inclusion.  Some groups will only welcome who they think is a carbon copy of them.  Some groups choose to be elitist about whatever their specialness is and only want people in their “community” who have that specialness.
Do you think it is possible that some people who are blind or visually impaired discriminate against sighted people?  Probably not.  Right?
It is my joy as a sighted person that I have always been welcome in MCBVI.  Perhaps, I have more in common with you than you thought
You can contact Suellen at or (517) 482-1908	
 Social Security Benefit Information for 2013

The monthly SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity) amount for statutorily blind individuals who work and receive Social Security Disability benefits for 2013 is $1740. That represents a $50 increase over 2012.  This means you can earn up to this amount and still receive your full monthly Social Security Disability benefits.  The rules when working are different for those who receive Supplemental Security Income SSI.
The Cost of Living Adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries beginning in 2013 will be 1.7%.  For further information call 800-772-1213 or visit

Diabetics Corner What Is Covered By Medicare?
Information Taken From the Medicare Website 

Did you know that some of your diabetic supplies and related services are covered by Medicare Part B?  You must be enrolled in Part B in order to use these benefits.  Insulin might be covered by your Part D Prescription Drug Plan.  Here is information taken directly from

“Diabetes supplies & services How often is it covered?

Supplies: Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers some diabetes supplies, including these:
Blood sugar (glucose) test strips
Blood sugar testing monitors
Lancet devices and lancets
Glucose control solutions  
Therapeutic shoes or inserts

Services: Medicare Part B covers some diabetes services, including these:
Diabetes self-management training  
Yearly eye exam
Foot exam
Glaucoma tests
Nutrition therapy services (medical)

Insulin How often is it covered?
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) doesn’t cover insulin (unless used with an insulin pump), insulin pens, syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, or gauze.
Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) may cover insulin and certain medical supplies used to inject insulin, such as syringes, gauze, and alcohol swabs.
If you use an external insulin pump, insulin and the pump may be covered as durable medical equipment (DME).
Your costs in Original Medicare
You pay 100% for insulin (unless used with an insulin pump, then you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount) and 100% for syringes and needles, unless you have Part D.”
It appears from this information you might be able to get your Part D drug plan to cover some or all of your insulin and supplies if you choose a plan which covers these items.
Choosing a Medicare Part D Drug Plan
Where to get help to make this decision?
By Donna Rose, Editor
Right now is the open enrollment period for choosing a new Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or Medicare Advantage Plan.  If you are planning to stick with your plan you don’t have to do anything and your current plan will continue, but if you want to switch to a different plan you have until December 7, 2012 to do so.  If you have Medicare and also receive health insurance through an employer you should contact them to find out if you need to purchase this coverage or if the coverage you already have is as good as or better than a Medicare Part D plan.
Here are some helpful tips for making the correct choice for your personal situation when considering a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan:
The best drug plan you can choose should cover all of your prescription drugs and have a premium with which you can live without going broke.  The more generic drugs you use the less your plan will cost in the way of copays.  Some plans offer coverage during the “donut hole” period.  If you have expensive brand name drugs it is likely you could enter this stage earlier in the year, so having some coverage during this time could save you money if some of your drugs are covered during this period.
Picking the right plan for you can be difficult, so ask for help from someone trained to give you good advice.  Here are three places you can get help with this important decision.
(1) There is a very good “Plan Finder” online at  It allows you to enter in your current list of drugs and save it in case you want to go back later.  The “Plan Finder” will then attempt to choose the best plans available for your situation.  You can compare plans and make a decision based on the results.  Choosing the wrong plan could cost you more, since you could end up choosing a plan which doesn’t cover all or some of your prescriptions, or you could choose a plan which is too costly for the limited number of drugs you do use.
(2) Another way to get good advice about the right plan for you is to call Medicare at 800-633-4227 and get information about which plan would be best for you.  Have a list of your drugs, dosages and amounts with you when you call so the representative can look them up for you and tell you the best plans available for your own personal situation.
(3) Here in Michigan you have the option to get advice from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program by calling 800-803-7174.  This program offers free trained volunteers who can answer questions and educate you as to your best options.  Plus, they might be able to visit you in your home to help you make the best choice.
If you are taking a lot of medications, choosing the correct plan could be confusing and more complicated then it will be for those who don’t.  Make sure you get the right help so the plan you choose can help you the best by covering all or most of your medications at the lowest possible cost.  Remember, you have until December 7, 2012 to choose a new plan. 
MCBVI Committee Reports
State Convention Report
By Casey Dutmer, Chairperson
The 39th annual MCBVI state convention was during the weekend of September 13 through 16.  Around 75 individuals registered for the event.  
Things started out by having a hayride & camp fire at Sundance Riding
Stables. There were 36 of us gathered and had lots of fun. We ate, sang, went on a hay ride, & had lots of fun just conversing with each other!
Friday we had exhibitors and a presentation by Ron Milliman and Ardis Bazyn regarding fund-raising, public relations and more.  Friday night we had our annual auction which again was a great success. We collected over $1500.
Saturday we had presentations regarding Emergency Preparedness, Low Incidence Outreach and Mike Zimmer from Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LRA).  He talked about the governor’s executive order which abolished the commission board and replaced it with a bureau. The agency name is now BUREAU OF SERVICES FOR BLIND PERSONS.  He spoke about the bureau's structure and answered questions from the audience.
Saturday night 35 attendees joined us for a wonderful banquet which was capped off by Ardis Bazyn's inspirational speech.
We had the memorial service on Sunday followed by our annual business meeting.
Next year the 2013 convention will be at the same hotel, from September 12-15.  Please come and join us next year in Lansing at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel, so you can join in on the fun and experience what a state convention is like. 
Constitution & Bylaws
By Wayne Lepiors and Charis Austin
At our 2012 MCBVI convention held in September, we amended Article Iv concerning type of membership and dues. By amending this article the following changes were made:
A new category of membership was created: Junior members are considered to be non-voting members at large who have not reached the age of 18. (The MCBVI Board is responsible for establishing the amount of dues.)
The process for starting a chapter was tightened. All groups wishing to establish a chapter must have at least five members and must complete an application and be accepted by the Board of Directors before becoming a chapter.
The renewal period for each year begins September 1, of each year and ends January 31 of the following year. All dues and chapter membership lists must be received by February 15 of each year. Payment for renewals after February 15 will be returned. Anyone who joins the organization on or after September 1 of any given year will be considered a paid member through December 31 of the following calendar year. New members can join later. This amendment was made because of the extreme difficulty in getting dues and membership lists in on time each year.
P.s. from Wayne:  My leg is doing fine after breaking it at the state convention.  I broke it in two places by the ankle.  I had two casts and now a boot for a while.  The doctor said it would take six months or more to heal.  I know a lot of people have been wondering about it. Thanks to all!
Membership Report
By Charis Austin, Chairperson
In 2012, much of our attention was devoted to Governor Snyder’s Executive Order 012-2 issued in February, abolishing the Michigan Commission for the Blind and moving blind rehabilitation into the Department of Human Services. While many of our colleagues in the blind community were picketing and protesting, MCBVI developed a position statement expressing our concerns and offering to be a cooperating partner. After this was submitted to the Governor’s office, we were invited to the table to address our concerns and offer our suggestions. As a result, the original Executive Order was rescinded and Executive Order 2012-10 was issued which created a much more acceptable bureau for blind rehabilitation. We continue to dialogue with the new Director of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons and officials from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the department in which the BSBP is located. MCBVI has received national recognition from the American Council of the Blind (ACB) for our positive productive way of handling this situation.
In 2012, we also made a change in our Bylaws in order to welcome junior members, under age 18, to become a part of MCBVI as Members at Large. This will give young people the opportunity to network with and be mentored by our adult members as they prepare for their place in the adult world. We also began the process of developing a student chapter which will give students from around the state a chance to network with each other in a positive, productive environment.
MCBVI also has more members visible on the national scene with ACB, including the fact that we had more members at the 2012 national convention than we have had in many years. 
We still are addressing the goal from last year about better communication with our members, although the MCBVI website has been continuously updated and will be developed even more in the coming year. The technology committee is also developing an audio stream which when launched will offer a variety of valuable programming for our members and friends.
Fund development is still an issue which we will be addressing with our new Fund Development Committee. As the funds become available we will have more opportunities to benefit all blind or visually impaired citizens in Michigan through outreach, grants, and scholarships.
MCBVI is on the move. We have some great momentum going as we keep adding new members and offer more opportunities to be of service to our fellow citizens. We need many hands both new members, and those that have been around a while to really take MCBVI into the future as Michigan’s best resource for all who are blind or visually  impaired!
Nominations Report
By Carla Fields
During the 2012 MCBVI Convention election, the results are as follows: Joe Sibley as President, Deb Wild   as secretary and Wayne Lepiors as assistant treasurer.  These three were candidates and were all elected by acclimation. The officers up for election next year are: First Vice President, Second Vice President, assistant secretary and treasurer.  If you would like to suggest a nomination for these officers please contact the nominations committee.  The nominations committee consists of Carla Fields Chair Person, Casey Dutmer and Arlene Moore.

Publications & Public Relations
By Donna Rose, Chairperson for both
It looks like this issue of the newsletter will be produced on schedule this time thanks to the cooperation of members who submitted their reports and chapter updates timely and Malaina gathering them up for me.
We have produced only three newsletters this year, partly due to problems getting items promptly, partly due to the timing of some newsworthy items, and partly due to my own health issues.
When submitting chapter updates or committee reports please give us the contact information of one point person who can be reached for each.  This newsletter makes it into the hands of non-members and we want to make sure they can reach people if they are interested in joining locally or have questions about our organization.
I am starting to work on text for our new brochure which Joe and I will start to put together after the first of the year.  We are planning photos for the new one, and we will be doing a brochure campaign after they are printed which will be encouraging our membership to use them as much as possible as they can be a huge marketing tool.
I am hoping to feel well enough so that I can promote our State Convention better this year as well.  If you would like to volunteer to be on the public relations committee we could use the input.  Contact me at 517-489-2233 or at  Note, there is a hyphen between the words wild and rose.
I am very glad Joe didn’t accept my resignation a year ago because I really like doing this newsletter and soon I will feel better than new and will be back in the pink.  I would have regretted my decision to resign.
Resolutions Report
By Malaina VanderWal, Chairperson

I would first like to express my thanks and appreciation for all the work this committee has done before and since I became Resolutions Chairperson!  During the 2012 MCBVI Convention in Lansing seven resolutions were read and approved by all in attendance. Below will be a portion of each resolution.  If anyone would like the resolutions in their entirety please contact me.  My contact info is as follows: E-mail: and my cell is 616-308-9644.
I will list the number corresponding with each resolution.  The first three resolutions pertain to the hotel, staff and the volunteers which were essential to the success of our convention.
Editor’s Note:  In the interest to save space and paper costs I have reformatted the resolution summaries below in a manner you might not expect, but which I think will still be equally readable.
2012-1 Resolution to the Hotel
In the state convention assembled on September 16, 2012 in Lansing, Michigan, that this organization expresses its thanks and appreciation for the services and accommodations provided to its members by the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel and its staff.
2012-2 Resolution to the Volunteers
In the convention assembled on September 16th, 2012, at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing, Michigan, that this organization warmly and most sincerely express its appreciation to all volunteers who worked to assist the attendees of the 2012 MCBVI state convention; and That this organization request one more accommodation from the Volunteer Coordinator that it is able to participate in communicating this resolution, or its sense to all volunteers.
2012-3 Resolution to the Staff
In the state convention assembled on September 16th, 2012, at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing, Michigan, that this organization expresses its gratitude and appreciation for the services and accommodations provided to its members by the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel.
2012-4 Resolution Bureau of Services for the Blind
In convention on Sunday, September 16, 2012 at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing Michigan, that we offer our thanks to Governor Snyder, along with Mike Zimmer and other involved state officials for their open dialogue and their commitment to maintaining and improving rehabilitation services to the blind and visually impaired citizens of Michigan; and That we continue our commitment to be a cooperative and collaborating partner in this process and urge that the Governor, Mr. Zimmer, and other involved officials of the State of Michigan continue to Converse with MCBVI so that we may assist to the greatest extent possible in the process of restructuring the rehabilitation services in order to maintain and improve the highest quality services for the blind and visually Impaired for all citizens of Michigan.
2012-5 Update to Accessible Prescription Labeling
On September 16, 2012 at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing Michigan, do the following: Communicate to the House of Representatives, Senate, and President Barack Obama our gratitude for swift passage of this legislation.  That the members and Executive Committee of MCBVI continue to spread the word of this legislation to consumers who are blind and visually impaired as well as pharmacists who can help to insure the information on our prescription labels is accessible.
2012-6 Anne Sullivan Macy Act
On September 16, 2012 at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing, Michigan that MCBVI urge our members and others to sign the online petition supporting this proposed legislation found on the American Foundation for the Blind website, and That the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired Executive Committee and membership work to encourage the Michigan delegation to become co-sponsors for the Anne Sullivan Macy legislation, and That after this legislation is moved to congress that the Executive Committee and membership work for swift passage of this legislation.
2012-7 Working to Create a Student Chapter
That our membership work within our means and with the assistance of the American Council of the Blind Students (ACBS) affiliate, That the MCBVI executive committee in partnership with ACBS work to create a student chapter within Michigan and to mutually agree upon a feasible plan for its creation, That (MCBVI) members offer support, friendship, guidance and opportunities to make a difference for themselves and for the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Technology Committee Report
By Jackie boomstra, Chairperson

The Technology Committee worked on learning to use the Duckstream program for streaming on the internet. We updated the MCBVI Web site so please visit it at and browse around at your leisure.  The Wireless internet connection was out of order at the hotel during this year's convention but we were able to connect via a hard wire.  We were still able to stream our convention live on the internet. 
The Technology Committee members are Mike Geno, Mike Smith, Marcia Moses, Joe Sibley and I. If you would like to serve on this committee or have questions please feel free to contact me at 616-455-6069 or email me at

MCBVI Chapter Updates

Blue Water League of the Blind 
Port Huron Area
Hello to all.  A lot has happened with the league and the community over the summer with a picnic hosted by the Port Huron Lions club and a few other events all of which can be found on our web site under the upcoming events page at Winter is rapidly approaching and we would like to remind our Cain travelers to be careful and to remind our neighbors to shovel their sidewalks. We hope to have you come and join the blue water league at one of our events at the grotto hall in Port Huron.  Address and more info can be found on our web site.  Hope to hear from you.  Sincerely the BWL!
Capital Area Council of the Blind
Lansing Area
By Donna Rose
At our meeting in early September we gathered up door prizes for the State Convention which was held in Lansing in mid-September.  Our chapter donated funds to the state convention in the amount of $370 for the hospitality room and one break with coffee.  
A vote was taken and passed to file a civil rights complaint about problems we all are having with CATA, the provider of our local door to door paratransit program, on behalf of members of our chapter.  We were missing some key members at this meeting so we will probably discuss this again before filing this complaint.  We all have tried to resolve these issues in other ways, through discussions and letters with CATA staff and by visiting the CATA Board of Directors, but to no avail.  I visited the CATA Board of Directors with a formal complaint in July, and although their letter back to me showed little promise, it appears they are making some changes so we might hold off on this until February to give them time to improve.  
We did not have a meeting in October due to the fact our President, Jim Moore, was ill and hospitalized.  He is out of the hospital now and our meeting in November took place at the Delhi Café in Holt.  At that meeting we planned our holiday//Christmas/Chanukah party for December 19th.  We all wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very prosperous new year.
Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
By Sharmese Anderson

KCBVI has been busy and here are some of the things we have done.  I did a follow up with Christine Boone, and went and spoke to the students at BSBP about MCBVI and KCBVI and invited them to our monthly meetings.
We went to Western Michigan University in partnership with The Michigan Foundation for the Blind and spoke to the students at their Low Vision Workshop about KCBVI and extended an invitation to them about our monthly meetings.
We are meeting several times a month in addition to our monthly meetings to update our Bylaws with a completion date of December 30, 2012.  They were
NEVER dated, signed or updated.
We recorded a commercial and radio commercial about KCBVI and extended an invitation to our monthly meetings to the public.
We submitted an application to be in the Kalamazoo Holiday Parade, and were accepted.  We will have and decorate a float and distribute KCBVI Brochures and candy to all the people attending the parade.
We are planning AFTER the parade to have a bake sale at Wal-Mart (waiting on confirmation) to begin our fundraising for the 2013 national and state convention.
So far, this is all I can think of at the moment of how KCBVI is reaching out to the community and trying to reach new members.  Be Blessed,
Visually Impaired Persons for Progress (VIPP)
Submitted by Deb Wild
Last June we had our annual outing to the White Caps game which is always lots of fun. Several of us in July attended the national ACB convention in Louisville. We picked up more MCBVI members in Lansing and rolled along from there on our rowdy “party bus.” It was pretty rowdy coming back too. We cheered when we heard the news en route that Sara Conrad was nominated to the ACB board.   We are thinking of chartering a bus to Columbus next year.
On July 4 some of us attended the parade in Grandville which was audio described and met some of the campers and staff from Camp Tuhsmeheta. In August we had a picnic with the food catered by Bob Edmondson and crew from The Bookworm Café. At our September meeting we had 38 people present. After much discussion it was decided to keep our meeting dates the same. Details   for the upcoming MCBVI convention were discussed. Celebration Cinema was one of our sponsors donating $300.00. Soup and sub order forms were passed out. This is one of our annual fundraisers. Another is an upcoming Tastefully Simple party on 11/07/12.
A few of us went to Robinette’s apple orchard in October where they also have a gift shop, winery, eating area, etc. Offices up for nomination this year will be president and secretary. The Thornapple Valley Lions are generously paying for those of us who are interested to attend the Christmas Grand Rapids Symphony concert in early December.
If you have any questions about VIPP, please contact our membership chair Trina Edmondson at (616) 243-0154.  
Northerners (Cadillac)
Our newest chapter in Cadillac is growing in membership, and is making an impact in their community. Advocacy by Carl and Cathy Daily along with assistance from Amy Shriner from the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired has cleared the way for audible pedestrian signals which will be installed at two intersections in Cadillac. MDot and the city of Cadillac have given their approval so the signals will be installed soon. Great advocacy! The group also joined with the Lions in the “Stuff A Bus” food drive where they worked to fill a bus with food donations for the community.

Summary of the 39th Annual MCBVI Business Meeting
Submitted by Deb Wild, MCBVI Secretary
Our annual business meeting was held on 09/16/12 at the Best Western Plus Lansing Hotel in Lansing, MI. It was called to order at 9:13 a.m. and ended at 11:56 a.m. Twenty-seven people attended. The meeting agenda and minutes from last year’s business meeting were approved as submitted.
As of 09/07/12, our checking account balance was $2,737.76. Our total investment portfolio balance as of 08/31/12 was $42,456.74. Total income from 01/01/12-9/07/12 was $48,909.63. Total expenses from that same time were $47,461.44. Two mutual funds and a CD were sold, and five new mutual funds were purchased to generate more income.
President Sibley reported one of the larger expenses we had was Accu-Conference of around $1,000. This was used for January and April board meetings and monthly executive committee conference calls. We will be testing numbers from   
The New Executive Order from Governor Snyder was discussed. 
Sara Conrad would like to start a student chapter in Michigan. 
We need to think about our next MCBVI president in two years, for this is Joes last term. 
Regarding nominations, Karla Fields reported there were no nominations from the floor. All officers were elected by acclamation: Joe Sibley, president; Deb Wild, secretary; and Wayne Lepiors, assistant treasurer. Next year the offices up for nomination will be first vice president, second vice president, assistant secretary and treasurer.
Regarding membership, Charis reported we have 172 members. She put forth the challenge of reaching 200 members. She gave us a chapter breakdown of members. Regarding publications and public relations, Malaina stated we need to be timelier about chapter and committee reports. The next newsletter deadline is 11/01/12. We might apply for a newsletter award from ACB. We have to submit two issues. We will work on new MCBVI brochures. Using CDs was discussed for those receiving newsletters on cassette.   
Seven resolutions were read by Casey at Saturday’s meeting. He read them again. All seven resolutions were adopted as submitted. See your newsletter for the summery.  The full text of the resolutions can be given upon request.  Contact info for resolutions will   be in the Resolutions Report.
Casey reported 75 people registered for the convention. Some folks and the hospitality room had to be moved a couple of times. It was approved that the convention committee be allowed to determine the location of 2013’s convention. We raised $1,559 at Friday night’s auction.
Regarding legislation, Casey reported vehicle donations are still not resolved. The biggest thing with legislation is the FCC Video Description Act.  Some industries are requesting waivers to do the audio description accessibility till 2016. Other issues are retirement and Pensions of state employees, health care, how much it will cost the state and public school issues. The Executive Order was again discussed.
Jackie Boomstra reported our web site was updated with convention information posted.  The convention was streamed. There was no wireless so it could not be monitored. However, there were reports it came across very well commendations to Mike Smith at the sound table. We have an internet radio station, MCBVI Radio, till the end of October. After that we will have to pay more for it. It operates 24-7. Programming ideas are needed. Money is in the budget to support the station.  
There was no activity for grants or scholarships.
Regarding fund development, we received over $820.00 cash and prizes for convention this year through sponsorships. The MMS program was mentioned. The committee has not met yet.
Regarding constitution and bylaws, Charis read the proposed amendment that would allow students and young adults to join MCBVI as junior members. They would be members at large but could not vote. This allows members under age 18 to be part of MCBVI. Deadline for paying dues would be the end of January. After much discussion it was decided to add language regarding dues and chapter membership lists. After this the amendment was adopted.
The dates for the 2013 MCBVI board meetings are 01/19, 04/20 (both by teleconference), and 07/20/13 at this hotel. At July’s board meeting we approved chartering a bus to travel to the ACB convention in Columbus, Ohio. Charis agreed to be the point person. We need to figure out the dates we want to attend because it goes from 07/04-07/12/13. Charis will take the credit card information. 
ACB adopted the UEB. There will be changes in Braille. Other English-speaking countries have adopted the UEB.
It was discussed sending our president to the midyear meetings in Washington, DC in February and paying expenses. This was referred to the executive committee, with Joe to present information to them.

Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Taken From:
Recipe Courtesy of Cathy Lowe
Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 20 min, Cook: 30 min
Yield: 2 loaves
Level: Easy

3 cups sugar 
1 cup vegetable oil 
4 eggs, lightly beaten 
16 ounces canned unsweetened pumpkin 
3 1/2 cups flour 
2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 teaspoon allspice 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon cloves 
2/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 9 by 5 loaf pans. Stir together sugar and oil. Stir in eggs and pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Blend dry ingredients and water into wet mixture, alternating. Divide batter between two loaf pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.