November 2014

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

JohnJarzyna, President

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Highlights of This Issue


John Jarzyna

As we approach a new season of the year, so it is with the Michigan Council of the Blind and visually impaired. Some of you may know me from my previous post as First Vice President in the Organization but I’d like to take a few lines to introduce myself as your newly elected President, John J. Jarzyna. I reside in Southeast Michigan and am currently a member of the Blue Water League of the Blind located in Port Huron. One of my goals for this term is to visit each chapter. I’d like to thank Joe Sibley for his dedication to our Organization, serving three terms as President and look forward to working with him on the Executive Board as Immediate Past President. Further, I wish Casey Dutmer and his wife Sharon well in their move to the State of Washington to be closer to their family and thank them for their years of service.

I would like to take a moment to thank all those who attended the 2014 MCBVI Annual Convention held in Kalamazoo, Michigan on September 25, through September 28, 2014. It was a very successful convention with many first timers attending. Another first for this convention was to have our keynote and Banquet Speaker ACB President, Kim Charlson, make her presentations through the magic of the telephone. She was unable to physically be with us due to the fire in Illinois which canceled many flights. Thanks to the good work of our Technology Committee, specifically, Mike Smith, who made this happen. Thanks to Kim for sharing your insight with us.

There are many things that MCBVI must address in the coming months. Many positions are available to chair or serve on the many standing committees which our organization currently has. There is also the matter of appointing a new First Vice President to fulfill my term. Our Public Relations Committee is in need of a new Chair and several committees are looking for members (some of you may have already applied).

  1. Constitution and Bylaws Committee
  2. Convention Committee
  3. Technology Committee
  4. Resolutions Committee
  5. Fund Development Committee

The Fund Development Committee has had a lack of interest in the past leading to no fund raising activities taking place. We need to be able to run this organization with a balanced budget. It is my goal that we appoint individuals who are dedicated and interested in carrying this organization forward. I’d like our Organization to be able to resurrect our grant and scholarship ability to promote education and employment of the blind and visually impaired in our State.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your vote of confidence in electing me your new President. My door is always open; so to speak, please feel free to communicate with me via email or phone 586-781-3646.

Here is wishing everyone health and happiness throughout the coming year and a very Happy Holiday Season.

Sincerely,John Jarzyna


By Joe Sibley

Hello MCBVI family!

As you know by now I have served three terms as your president and could not run again, and I am delighted that you have elected John Jarzyna as your new president. If you don’t know John he is a great guy, and is an attorney from Ray Michigan. I throw my full support behind John as he takes on this challenge. You have already heard from John in this issue of the MCBVI News.

As I have said in previous columns I am very grateful to you for honoring me to serve as your president. MCBVI is a great organization that changed my life after I lost most of my vision; I trust it has changed yours too.

I want to thank all of the fine people in MCBVI that I have had the joy to work with or enjoy fellowship with. If I try to name names I will miss some people, but know that each and every member is special to me.

I am certainly not going away, as the immediate past President I am still on the board, and plan to work on next year’s convention, and work on public relations so we can bring more friends into the fold.

This is an organization that changes lives. We do it in a positive productive manner. We try not to attack each other or anyone else. If a problem comes up we work to solve it in a productive way, working together with each other and the blind community in Michigan. I didn’t say we are perfect people, but we try to do our best to make a difference.

Again, many thanks for the opportunity to serve as president of MCBVI. Let’s continue to work together to reach out and change lives as our new mission statement says.

Blessings to all, Joe


By Charis Austin, MCBVI Treasurer

It is time to start collecting 2015 membership dues for both the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Anyone who is a member of MCBVI is also a member of ACB. Some people have indicated that they are more concerned about what happens in Michigan, however, you are getting benefits from being a member of ACB. ACB was involved in getting legislation passed relating to accessible prescriptions, quiet cars, and accessible cell phones.

All membership information and dues must be received by February 15, 2015. Reminder: in 2012 we passed an amendment to the Bylaws which states that any dues received for renewing members after February 15 will be returned. This amendment was passed to insure the timely submission of membership information and dues by both Chapters and Members at Large. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO LATE PAYMENTS!

Please include $10 for each person who wishes to be a member at large; $5 is sent to ACB to cover that portion of the dues. Local chapters may charge additional dues for their chapter memberships. MCBVI members belonging to a chapter give dues to your chapter treasurer. Members at large send payments to the address below.

Include the following information on your membership list:

Name, Address, City, State and Zip; Phone numbers (home and/or cell and specify which you are giving(: Email Address:  Vision Status: Sighted, Visually Impaired, Legally Blind, or Totally Blind which is for mailing purposes to comply with “Free Matter” postal regulations.

The last information we need is format choice for receiving publications from MCBVI and ACB. The MCBVI NEWS is published in email, Braille, Large Print, and Audio CD. The ACB BRAILLE FORUM is published in Braille, Large Print, and cassette, Audio CD, Email or Podcast. If you want one of the last two choices you must sign up for it yourself.

Send membership renewal and payment to:

Charis Austin, Treasurer

2426 Thornwood Street, SW

Wyoming, MI 49519

Checks should be made out to MCBVI with a note in the memo line stating 2015 Membership. New this year: We are now able to accept credit cards through PayPal: MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover. If you wish to pay by credit card, please contact me by phone at (616) 532-4737. Since this is my residence, no calls after 9:00pm please.


By Malaina VanderWal

Thursday night began our convention with a concert featuring the Band Beyond Sight! They played an assortment of songs and I found myself singing along to the songs I knew. Thanks to Beyond Sight for a wonderful show.

Friday night Casey Dutmer gave a history of MCBVI and Charis Austin read the proposed changes to the bylaws. Kyle Austin returned as our auctioneer and it was a fun time!

Then, Saturday morning Casey Dutmer read the resolutions after which there was discussion and all eight resolutions were adopted.

Thanks to all of the speakers and panel members for sharing your stories of how you live without limits it was inspiring.

Also, for contact info for the studies Western Michigan is conducting info will be put online and on the Facebook Page. Congratulations to John Jarzyna elected MCBVI president!


By Charis Austin

John Jarzyna, our new President has indicated that he does not want to run the organization with a deficit as we have over the past few years. Planning successful fundraisers is now more important if we want to get rid of the deficit.

In the first article, I discussed the fact that we need a good Mission Statement which we now have. Our next task is to determine the purpose for raising funds; raising funds to keep MCBVI going is not enough! Do we want to reinstitute a grant program for equipment, scholarships for students in college, raise money for a piece of equipment TO BENEFIT THE ORGANIZATION, help with scholarships to State and National Conventions, or ESTABLISH funds to support advocacy efforts? The sky is the limit!

We now need to develop a list of possible projects to raise the funds keeping in mind how much we have to invest as well as how much human power it will take to complete the project. If the need is to raise a few thousand dollars options are more limited and it will probably need more than one opportunity. Do we need a direct mail campaign, raffle, fundraising events, or a combination?

Remember that all goals must be specific and measurable. Examples include: raise $5,000 for scholarships; enlist support from five community leaders. A bad goal is “Raise money for the organization”.

Once goals are set and a plan established, it is time to establish a working committee to raise the money. The people selected need to have experience in the area where they are going to help. Workers do not have to be members of the organization. All members must have time to work on the project.

Make up your committee roster before asking potential members of your committee to insure that you get members that you need. If the person you ask is not available be sure to ask for recommendations for possible other members with the skill set you are looking for. Some positions to look for include:

  1. Chairperson: Puts together a strong committee; runs meetings; makes sure that committee members are following through with responsibilities; responsible for booking location for fundraiser.
  2. Secretary: Keeps records of all meetings; takes attendance; writes correspondence; makes phone calls; keeps communication going between committee members.
  3. Advertising/Media: All contact with the media including print, website, and radio/TV.
  4. Bookkeeping: Keeps an accurate profit and loss account of the entire event.

  5. Volunteer Coordinator: Coordinates volunteers needed to run the event smoothly.

After the event, it is important to have a debriefing to determine the things that worked and things that didn’t work. If you have established realistic and measurable goals, it should be possible to determine whether the event is a success.

In closing, you may be reading this article and saying, “I can’t be involved in fundraising because I don’t have any experience…” You won’t get experience if you don’t try. If we believe in MCBVI and want it to continue, we are the ones that must lead the effort to raise money. It is not going to come from outside unless we make it happen.



By Wayne Lepiors, Chair

Hello MCBVI land. Charis Austin read the original bylaws and proposed changes at the MCBVI 2014 convention in Kalamazoo on Friday evening and again at the business meeting on Sunday September 28th. They were sent to members with the summer issue of the newsletter. The proposed changes were adopted on September 28th. Basically the changes give executive committee voting rights to assistant secretary and assistant treasurer, which was not the case previously.

Also, I want to thank the membership for reelecting me as assistant treasurer.

Finally, if you want to see a change to the constitution or bylaws please contact me at I hope everyone has a great fall season!


By Karla Fields, Chair

Friday night there were nominations from the floor. Debbie Robinson was elected by acclimation for secretary and Wayne Lepiors was elected by acclimation for assistant treasurer.

The nominations committee presented their candidate for president which was John Jarzyna. Faith Meadows was nominated from the floor. The election for president was held on Saturday. The winner of the election was John Jarzyna. At the end of the business meeting on September 28th, 2014, John Jarzyna resigned as first vice president and assumed the presidency.

Next year the offices for election are as follows: first vice president, second vice president, treasurer and assistant secretary. Contact the nominations committee if you want to run or have suggestions for nominations.

If you are interested in serving on the committee please contact me at 1-586-465-2338. The Current committee is Arlene Moore, Debbie Robinson and I. I am looking for one more.

Publications & Public Relations

By Donna Rose, Chair

The MCBVI News will only contain business this time due to our budget constraints. Hopefully our next edition will be back to normal.

We are asking everyone who is able to consider taking their newsletter via email. We provide it in large print and you can print it out if you would like.

We want you to read our newsletter because it helps you keep up to date on MCBVI business and activities, as well as informative articles. But if you honestly don’t ever read it, don’t feel obligated to receive it. During our membership drive you have the option to sign up for the publications of your choice from MCBVI and ACB. Sometime in the near future we will present a survey so we can make sure we are presenting information you would like to read in our newsletter.

Thank you for submitting your newsletter items so promptly and on deadline. We are much more able to get the newsletter out timely with this cooperation. Copies will be sent to you approximately one month after each deadline. We need this time for production of the various formats. Newsletter deadlines for 2015 are: March 15, June 15 and October 15. Please mark them in your calendar.

You can help us further by using your spell checker before sending us your documents.

I have decided to step down as public relations chairperson. I feel there are many more members now who could really shine in this position. I will be joining another committee to be determined. Thank you for allowing me to serve in this capacity. Have a fun-filled holiday season and new year.


By Malaina VanderWal, Chair

I want to begin by again thanking my committee for all the hard work put into this year’s resolutions! Thanks go out to Casey Dutmer for agreeing to read the resolutions it was much appreciated and your contributions the last few years were invaluable! Each year I learn more about the process of writing a resolution.

This year the committee composed eight resolutions and passed all of them. There were two resolutions to the hotel, one to Discover Kalamazoo, one on accessible prescription labeling, two dealing with the BSBP one concerning Comcast and Charter and one to Starwood Hotels.

A full copy of the resolutions will be on our website. Also if you would prefer that a copy be sent to you let me know. My email address is at the end of this newsletter.


By Phyllis Magbanua

Hi to all our MCBVI family. This has been another good year for the BWL, but we will always miss our good friend Jeanette Geno.

In September we had our picnic hosted by the Port Huron Lions club and in October we went to the apple orchard and had our Halloween party. November 20th we are planning a dinner party to celebrate the BWL’s 60th anniversary. We plan to invite everyone who has helped the BWL over the years. The support shown to us is much appreciated!

Thanks to our friends at the Grotto Hall where we have the BWL meetings each month. Also thanks to united way and the LBPH staff and to all members of the BWL.

Finally we end the year with a Christmas Party! We hope everyone has a happy and blessed holiday season from all of us at the BWL.

Capital Area Council of the Blind

By Donna Rose

We are really having fun with our chapter. We enjoyed a great picnic at the Cottonwood Camp Ground in Lansing in early September. Our President Ruth let us use her camp spot for this purpose and the weather was wonderful. We brought dishes to pass and played horse shoes. Our next endeavor is to collect canned goods for one of our area food pantries in Lansing. We will have elections in November and our holiday get-together in December. From everyone in our chapter we wish you a peaceful and safe holiday season.


By Sharmese Anderson

Hopefully everyone had a great summer as we all did from KCBVI.

For the months of July and August we didn't have any meetings but we did come together for our annual picnic.  We hula hooped, played bingo, a few members took the Ice Bucket Challenge and enjoyed delicious Smoked meats prepared by Wendell Neubaum. 

It's now back to business as we resumed our monthly meetings every third Monday which began in September.

Have a spook-tacular Month!

From all of us at KCBVI


By Cathy Daily

October was a busy month for the Northerners. We completed the fourth year of Stuff the Bus. This is an event to collect food for those in need. We filled two pick-up trucks and half a van full of various food items. There were 40 cases of vegetables and 44 boxes of other food items. This was the fourth year for the Stuff the Bus event. We had nine Northerners attend and four Lions help out. The community is getting used to us holding this event.

In addition to "Stuff the Bus" we also planned a craft/bake sale to raise funds to purchase equipment for students with special needs held at the Senior Center.

Finally, in October we worked on planning a fundraiser dinner where the proceeds will go to the Baby Needs Project. This helps to provide much needed baby items. Happy Holidays!


By Malaina VanderWal

During the September meeting we had Shelly as a guest speaker from the Library for the Blind. She discussed how people who receive library services can get a free currency reader beginning in January. We also discussed the sub sale we do each year and will explore other options for more fundraising ideas.

On the fourth of July members of VIPP attended a parade which was audio described thanks to all that made it out for the event.

At the end of September several VIPP members attended the MCBVI State convention. We also had two first timers from our chapter we hope it was a great experience!

During November’s meeting we will hold officer elections for president and secretary. Also I would like to welcome our three new members to the chapter.

Happy holidays from VIPP!

Summary of the MCBVI Summer Board Meeting

Conducted By Teleconference

Submitted By Debbie Robinson

The date of the MCBVI summer board meeting was moved to 07/26/14 due to the ACB national convention. The meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 12:42 p.m. All chapters were present. We had a quorum. The agenda for this meeting and the minutes from the spring board meeting were adopted as submitted.

President Sibley reported this is the 24th anniversary of the ADA. The Justice Department recommends modifying the ADA rules so that all movie theaters are required to provide close captioning and audio description. If passed, they will have six months to comply.

We were having some problems with this phone conference system. We used to use AccuConference which cost about $1,000.00 per year. The executive committee decided to stay with this service.

The logo for the new MCBVI brochure has been approved. The mission statement committee met and submitted a new mission statement which has also been approved. It is in the back of the summer newsletter and on the MCBVI web site.

John Jarzyna attended the ACB convention as our delegate and representative on nominations. Michigan had four people attend. Next year we need to coordinate and communicate better regarding delegate and alternate and how many chairs Michigan needs. The iBill was distributed free of charge to those who wanted one. Those in the NLS program will be able to sign up for one in September, and iBills will be distributed beginning in January of 2015 free of charge. Call your local talking book library to register for one.

Charis gave the financial report prepared by Matthew Livingston. As of 07/25/14, our reconciled checking account balance was $2,750.88.

Total Income from 01/01/14 to 07/25/14: $2,751.02.

Total Expenses from same time period: $5,144.39
Resulting Net Loss: -$2,393.37.

Casey gave an MCBVI convention report. The theme is “Living Without Limits.” Refer to your summer newsletter for information.

Regarding legislation, Casey reported at the state level there is a proposal that may be put on the ballot concerning changing the tax system. If it passes, it would replace the property tax. It is uncertain how that might affect the state funding for services like the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons. This may limit the sales tax cap at 6%. It would not allow voters to raise the sale’s tax by 1-2% for transportation or funding of roads. On the federal level, there is an ADA amendment concerning a proposed rule to increase audio description in movie theaters. A Bill was passed helping to modernize the Randolph-Shepard Program.

Regarding membership, if you would like to change your format, if you move or if you change your e-mail address, let Charis know. Establishing an MCBVI listserv for newsletters and announcements was discussed. We have about 177 members.

The next newsletter deadline is 10/15/14. It will be sent out no later than 11/15/14. Receiving it by e-mail was encouraged. We had 3 newsletters this year. This will be re-evaluated next year.

Regarding constitution and bylaws, See your summer newsletter and the MCBVI website for the text of the proposed changes. This would make the assistant secretary and the assistant treasurer voting members of the executive committee, and the committee would have 7 voting members.

Regarding resolutions, there are two concerning the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP). There is a position statement regarding the Michigan Council for Rehab Services requesting an orderly mechanism for committees to submit reports. Legal remedies May be considered in both resolutions.

Karla reported John Jarzyna is running for president. Debbie Robinson is running for secretary. Wayne Lepiors is running for assistant treasurer. John is currently first vice president. If he wins, he will automatically relinquish this office, and someone else will need to be appointed to serve the rest of his term. This appointment also needs to be approved by the board.

Jackie reported for technology that our convention Will be streamed on ACB radio live events. The Sunday morning MCBVI business meeting will be streamed on MCBVI radio.

Charis reported fund development was given the new name of resource development. We have two sponsors for the MCBVI convention. See her newsletter article on fundraising.

We made a donation to Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) of $600.00. It was a very good summer at Indian Trails.

The executive committee is exploring liability insurance for the MCBVI board of directors. Some of the committee attended an ACB conference call regarding liability insurance for events.


Submitted by Debbie Robinson

Our annual business meeting was held at the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel, in Kalamazoo, MI on 09/28/14. It began at 9:23 a.m. and ended at 11:25 a.m. All but two officers were present; 31 members were present. The meeting agenda and minutes from last year’s business meeting were approved as submitted.

Charis read the financial report prepared by Matthew Livingston.

As of 09/16/14, the reconciled checking account balance was $3,172.68.

Total Income from 01/01/14 to 09/16/14: $3,428.44

Total expenses for same time period: $5,400.01.

Resulting net loss: -$1,971.57.

President Sibley stated serving as MCBVI’s president has been very humbling. Goals were for fundraising, seating new chapters, updating the web site and increasing membership. He discussed the executive order regarding the Commission for the Blind. He described the new logo on the MCBVI brochure. MCBVI has a new mission statement.

Karla Fields reported Debbie Robinson was elected by acclamation for secretary. Wayne Lepiors was elected by acclamation for assistant treasurer. John Jarzyna was running as a candidate for president. Faith Meadows was nominated from the floor. After Saturday’s voting, John was elected as president. After meeting adjournment, he submitted a written resignation statement regarding his office of first vice president to President Sibley.

John must appoint someone to finish his term as first vice president. This appointment must be approved by the board.

Charis reported Dues are due on 02/15/15. We have about 170 members. She received information for 4 new members this weekend.

Donna reported publications was over budget this year. The fall newsletter from 2013 charges carried into 2014. The Next deadline is 10/15/14. It was decided to keep the next newsletter as brief as possible. Use of the e-mail format was encouraged. It was suggested/accepted the deadline for brochure completion be 12/01/14.

The new mission statement was read, is in the newsletter and is on the web site.

All eight proposed resolutions were adopted as submitted.

They will be on the web site. A brief synopsis of each will be in the next newsletter.

The numbers were down regarding convention. There were a number of problems. Starwood Hotels, a corporation of the Four Points by Sheraton, refused to pay for Braille menus. A wired internet connection cost $75.00 plus a 20% surcharge per day. Technology used wireless instead.

It was decided to come back here next year. The convention account was turned over to Charis. The Friday night auction raised about $1,310.00. Kyle will continue as auctioneer.

John will have to appoint a new legislation chair to replace Casey.

Jackie Boomstra reported for technology that they switched from using Skype for meetings to using teleconference due to too many cutoffs. Station playlist software was used for streaming and worked very well. Options are being explored for MCBVI radio.

There was no activity for grants or scholarships.

Charis worked on getting sponsors for this year’s convention. We have a deficit and need to raise money.

Regarding constitution and bylaws, all proposed amendments were adopted. The assistant secretary and assistant treasurer will now be voting members on the executive committee.

The 2015 board meeting dates were tabled/referred to the executive committee. There was no opposition to having three board meetings by teleconference in 2015. President Jarzyna wants to continue the progress Joe has made. He would like to see more attendance at convention and would like to get the brochure done. Next year’s MCBVI convention dates tentatively are 09/24-09/27/15.

Next MCBVI News Deadline

March 15, 2015

Submissions received after this date will be saved for the next newsletter

To Contact the Editors:

Donna Rose, Editor (note that there is a hyphen between wild and rose)


Malaina VanderWal, Co-Editor


Our Mission:

To act as a catalyst in changing the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired and their families through education, advocacy, and camaraderie.

©Copyright 2014 Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired