November 2015




An Affiliate of the

American Council of the Blind


John Jarzyna, President

Donna Rose, Malaina VanderWal, Co-Editors

For General Inquiries

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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.


We Have Chapters In:


Grand Rapids



Port Huron


Highlights of this Issue Include:

President’s Message

Membership Campaign

Resolutions Passed at Convention

Social Security News

Committee and Chapter Reports

Recipe & More



By John Jarzyna


Upon the conclusion of our 42nd Annual Convention, I returned home eager to write this message to all our members. It was a very successful and rewarding experience for all attendees in Kalamazoo, MI at the Annual MCBVI Convention. Much was accomplished and new friendships were made as well as old ones renewed. Congratulations to Phyllis Magbanua she was elected as First Vice President on September 26th, 2015. A complete report of elections will follow later in this issue.

As you receive this message we are entering into a new season. Fall has just about wrapped up and we look forward to the holidays ahead. It is my hope that everyone has a very Happy Holiday Season.

Following the Convention the committees continue to work on many important tasks. Also, a new Chair Person was appointed as head of the Legislative Committee. Welcome to Gail Mancewicz!

The MCBVI accessible prescription Labeling committee gave a demonstration at the Convention regarding the AccessaMed and ScripTalk devices which are used to provide access to prescription labeling information.

Great Thanks to the Resolution Committee for drafting and presenting the resolutions at the Annual Convention!

Charis Austin did a great job obtaining exhibitors and sponsors for our Convention.

Furthermore, I would like to thank the Program Committee for setting up the Program as we learned many things about health, nutrition and other issues that are of concern to us.

On November 21st, 2015 at 10:00am there will be another Town Hall meeting with the President. This will be an informal meeting but I welcome all participants! The call-in number is 605-475-4700 and the participation code is 1026267#.

In closing, I am once again looking forward to attending the Mid-Year Legislative Seminar held in Washington DC. As I receive the dates, I will inform you of all of the particulars of this seminar. I would like to hear from you regarding what you would like to accomplish in the coming, 2016, year. Please do not hesitate to contact me as my door (email) is always open to hear your concerns.




It is time to start collecting MCBVI dues for 2016. Members join through their local chapters or by becoming a Member At Large. If you are a Member At Large you can renew on line by going to and clicking on the “Membership” link. There is a choice to print a form to complete and mail to me or complete an on-line form. We accept payments through PayPal. An extra dollar is added to cover the cost of processing. If you do not want to renew on line you may contact me directly. My contact information will be listed at the end of this article. We have not raised the cost for dues. The cost is $10, $5.00 stays in Michigan and $5.00 goes to the American Council of the Blind. All members of MCBVI are also members of the American Council of the Blind. If you are paying by check, please make checks payable to MCBVI.

All dues must be received by Monday, February 15, 2016. Any money received from renewing Members At Large or Chapter Officers after February 15, 2016 will be returned. New members may join at any time.

Priorities that are important to members reflected in Resolutions passed at our 2015 Convention include: Accessible Labeling on Prescription Bottles, Accessible On-Screen Menus provided by Cable Television, Satellite, and other On-Line Entertainment Providers, Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015, and Marrakesh Treaty (see Resolutions Report below).

If you would like more information regarding the priority list, please contact me and I will get you in contact with the person who can answer your questions. We are looking forward to another good year for MCBVI. Please get your renewal information in on time.


Charis Austin, Treasurer

2426 Thornwood, SW

Wyoming, MI 49519-2147

888-956-2284 extension 0



By Donna Rose, Co-Editor


I have been editing the MCBVI News for about ten years now. I have enjoyed participating in our organization in this way because I love to edit and I love to write. Most of all I love bringing you information that can be helpful to you! I want to let you know I believe you are missing out if you don’t read your newsletter, but if you really aren’t reading it you can opt out during the membership campaign or at any other time by letting Charis Austin know. In fact, you don’t have to receive the ACB Braille Forum either. When you pay this year’s dues just let your chapter’s treasurer know you don’t want either or both publications. If you currently use email and are receiving your newsletter in another format, consider changing your format preference to email. This will help us keep costs down.

We are planning an upcoming survey to assess what our members want from their newsletter. I hope you will all be willing to respond so we can get a handle on the most accurate data.

Here are the numbers of people subscribing to each format: Email 85, Large Print 45, CD 26, Braille 16, None 6.



By Joe Sibley


Another MCBVI convention is in the books! Believe in the dream, what’s next for you? Was the theme this year. Speakers included inspiring stories of achievement, and information on such topics as accessible prescriptions, update on the ADA, health and nutrition, and an update from the Michigan Commission for Blind Persons, the advisory board to the BSBP. Fun activities included the Thursday game night, a trip to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, and of course the auction. We enjoyed great music during the social hour and Sunday memorial service, and our banquet Saturday with our special guest Katie Frederick, executive director of ACB of Ohio and a member of the board of directors of ACB.

Hospitality at the Four Points by Sheraton in Kalamazoo was excellent, and the hotel was easy to navigate. We had a room full of exhibitors Friday including a lot of technology. New this year was the ability to register and pay on line through the MCBVI website, although phone registration was available too.

If you weren’t able to attend in person we hope you were able to listen to the broadcast on ACB Radio and MCBVI Radio. We plan to soon have some of these presentations available for listening on the MCBVI website (

Our sponsors helped us with the cost of the convention. They include:

Diamond Sponsors - Discover Kalamazoo, Vision Adapt

Gold Sponsors - Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Low Vision Solutions

Visually Impaired Persons for Progress, John Jarzyna

Silver Sponsors - Kyle and Charis Austin, MDE/LIO, E.M. Vitu, Inc.,

Port Huron Host Lions Club, Donna Rose, Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired


We also want to thank all of the members and friends who volunteered their time to help out during the convention.




2015 Convention Committee:

Joe Sibley, chair

Marla Neubaum, assistant chair

Charis Austin, sponsors, exhibitors, and finance

Kyle Austin, 2016 venue research

Faith Meadows, program committee

Anna Grace, program committee

Donna Rose, program committee

Mike & Sandy Smith, sound & streaming

Renee Baird, phone registration


The dates and location for the 2016 convention will be announced soon. Kyle Austin will be the chairman; Marla Neubaum will be the assistant chair. If you would like to be a part of the 2016 convention committee contact Kyle at 616-532-4737. Don’t miss it in 2016!






Charis Austin, Treasurer

(888-956-2284 extension 0


Below is a summary of the financial information presented at the MCBVI Convention in September. This information is as of August 31, 2015.

Checking Account Balance: $3,535.73

Total Investment Portfolio Balance: $39,073.94

Total Income from dues, donations, convention proceeds, interest earned: $3,439.79

Total Expenses include: Telephone; Donation; Taxes; ACB Convention Door Prize; PayPal Fees; Streaming Costs; Newsletter; Bank Fees; Accounting Fees: $3,540.71

Resulting Net Loss is -$100.92


Form 990-PF, our income tax return, has been filed with the IRS.  Our solicitor's license has been renewed with the State of Michigan.

Resource Development: My time this year has been spent recruiting sponsors and exhibitors for the MCBVI Convention. This is our third year of asking for sponsors and it is the best year yet. Although all money is not in, we have received a total of $1,437.40 for sponsors and exhibit fees. I want to acknowledge Discover Kalamazoo for covering the cost of production for Braille and large print menus. I also want to thank MCBVI members who made donations to help with the cost of the convention.

People have expressed interest in starting a fund for scholarships again and exploring other programs. If we are going to do this, we need a group of committed people with time to work on fundraising activities. If you are interested in doing this, please contact me.

There are a number of ways to make donations. Use the donation page on our website, contact me directly, and/or if you want to make a donation to both ACB and MCBVI, I have copies of the MMS form. Members think we should apply for grants but our level of support from members is very low. This needs to increase.

In January, we will be voting on next year’s budget. If you have expenses you want included, please let me know by December 15.



By Donna Rose


The Social Security Administration will not provide a Cost of Living increase for 2016 because price indexes during the third quarter of 2015 shoed no inflation since last year. However, some people will have an increase in their Medicare premium which is usually deducted from monthly checks. Most people will not.

In July of this year, the Social Security Trustees released their Annual Report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security trust funds with some very concerning information. According to the report the combined asset reserves of the Social Security Old Age Trust Fund and the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be depleted by 2034 with only 79% of benefits payable at that time.

The most important information about this, though, is that the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be depleted by November of next year 2016 and only be able to pay out 81% in benefits. If Congress fails to shore up this fund soon, people receiving SSDI could lose up to 19% of their benefit amount toward the end of next year. This will not include SSI. Like you, I can’t afford to lose any funds from my check. There is little information about whether Congress will pass any legislation to prop this trust fund back up. Speculation is that many administrations have borrowed from the funds throughout the years to balance our national budgets and the money hasn’t been returned. You should contact your Congressperson and US Senators right away to ask them to solve this dilemma quickly. In the meantime, I would be cautious of financial decisions you make in the next few months as you might not have the money next year you were expecting to have. You will receive this newsletter too late for this information to dictate your candidate choices in the November 3 election, so it is important to call or write them. If people lose money from their checks they will likely end up receiving benefits from other programs which may cost the government more to supply. It doesn’t make sense. I am certain this could catch a lot of people by surprise next year and it will be too late to expect a quick fix. If you need help contacting your US Congressperson or Senator please contact me and I will help you locate them.



By Donna Rose


Recently the Federal Transportation Administration FTA released an ADA Circular which more clearly outlines how they will assess transit authorities adherence with the American’s With Disabilities Act ADA. There have been some changes to the public transportation

regulations, so I would urge you to read about these changes. This circular has 298 pages with 12 chapters and is available as an accessible PDF document by visiting:


ACB Students Have Two New Email Lists


If you want to subscribe to these new email lists go to:


A read-only list for announcements from the ACBS board:


The student’s general discussion list:





Constitution and Bylaws

Wayne LePiors, Chair


There were five proposed changes which were printed in the July newsletter along with the text of the original language. What follows is a summary of action taken.

The first proposed change regarding the Board of Directors was adopted. The Board now has no ex-officio members. The section regarding defining a local chapter and chapter membership status was tabled because of conflicting language. We have four members who live out-of-state which conflicts with language in the original Article. After the convention Wayne contacted ACB and it was suggested that we remove the words “of the state of Michigan” from the Article. He was told that the Executive Committee would have the authority to take this action. At the October Executive Committee meeting, it was agreed to remove those words.

The change regarding dues and any member wishing to belong to more than one chapter was adopted. The change regarding membership renewal and paying dues was adopted.


Nomination Committee

Karla Fields, Chair


At the MCBVI Convention on Friday evening, the Nomination Committee presented a slate of candidates for the election. The slate was as follows: Assistant Secretary, Mary Sibley; Treasurer, Charis Austin; Second Vice-President, Sharmese Anderson; and First Vice-President, Phyllis Magbanua and Gail Mancewicz.

There were no nominations from the floor for the first three offices. Mary, Charis and Sharmese were elected by acclamation. On Saturday, an election was held for the office of First Vice-President between Phyllis and Gail. There were a total of 28 votes cast; our First Vice-President is Phyllis Magbanua, winning by a vote count of 15 to 13.

Offices up for elections next year are: President, Secretary, and Assistant Treasurer. Please be thinking about possible candidates. Thank you to those who ran this year.



Malaina VanderWal, Chair


Thanks again to everyone who assisted with the composing and reading of the 2015, MCBVI resolutions. During the convention in Kalamazoo Michigan, the Resolutions Committee presented seven resolutions for consideration, and all were adopted. Here is a brief summary of the resolutions.

The first three resolutions dealt with the hotel, volunteers and Discover Kalamazoo for their hospitality and assistance provided to the attendees of the 2015, MCBVI convention. Discover Kalamazoo also sponsored the MCBVI convention and paid for the transcription of the braille and large print menus for Potters restaurant.

The remaining resolutions concern Accessible Prescription Labeling, Medicare Demonstration of           Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015, the Marrakesh Treaty and a resolution to all paid TV and Entertainment Providers.

In the Accessible Prescription Labeling resolution the committee will continue to educate and advocate to MCBVI members and all interested individuals relating to the benefits and usage of accessible prescription labels. Also, encourage MCBVI members to continue educating their preferred pharmacy and urge them to provide accessible labels in audio, braille or large print.

The fifth resolution relates to All Paid TV and Entertainment Providers. This resolution commends Comcast for their efforts in making their services accessible for those who are blind and visually impaired. We urge all other providers of cable television, satellite TV and online entertainment services to take notice of Comcast’s accessibility features and to take steps necessary to make services available for their own valued customers. In Addition, MCBVI members should do their part and contact their TV or online entertainment service in order to work with the company on accessibility issues.

The sixth resolution is the Medicare Demonstration of           Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015. This resolution describes how Medicare recipients may benefit if passed by making it possible to receive Medicare reimbursement for some high powered low vision devices following a low vision examination by a qualified physician. Also, the MCBVI Executive Board and Legislative committee will work together to compose a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives chair of the Ways and Means Health subcommittee requesting support for this bill and to contact all of the U.S. House of Representatives of Michigan to cosponsor this bill who are not currently a cosponsor. Also, the MCBVI chapter officers and membership will contact their representatives in support of this bill and request that they become cosponsors.

The final resolution focuses on the Marrakesh Treaty. This treaty if ratified would make it easier to obtain printed materials published worldwide. In order for the treaty to be ratified a minimum of 20 countries must ratify it. The United States has signed the treaty but has not yet ratified it. The U.S. Senet has the power to reject or ratify treaties. The Executive Board and Legislative committee will compose a letter and send it to the U.S. Senators of Michigan emphasizing the importance of ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty. The MCBVI members can also do their part by contacting our Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and conveying the message that the Marrakesh treaty will provide a greater flexibility for those with print-reading disabilities and giving them equal access to printed materials.

If you would like the complete text of the resolutions please contact me at Here is our chance to make a difference. Need help finding your US Representative? Just let me know at the email address above.




Blue Water League of the Blind

Phyllis Magbanua


Well it’s  that time again for fall when it starts getting very busy. First of all there was 10 BWL members that when to the convention this year and had a wonderful and fun time as always. I would like at this time to Thank everybody who voted for me as first vice President.

The BWL will be going to the apple orchard on October 6th. Our Halloween party will take place on October 22. we will be giving thanks when we meet for a meal out on November 12 to celebrate Thanksgiving. On December third we will have our Lion's Christmas party. So, at this time we would like to wish all of our MCBVI family a wonderful and joyful Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year. God Bless from all the BWL members.



Capital Area Council of the Blind

Donna Rose, 517-489-2233


We moved our chapter’s meetings to the City Limits Bowling Lanes in Haslett, MI. Many of us bowl at this venue on the Lansing 300 Bowling League, and the food is quite good. We still meet on the first Tuesday of the month.

In October we had elections and re-elected Ruth as our president, and we re-elected Jane as our secretary and added treasurer to her title as well. Our new bylaws allow for this. Nancy was absent so we postponed the election for vice president for our Nov. meeting. We will collect dues in November.

At upcoming meetings we are planning to have speakers from Elder Law of Michigan, AARP, and others. In December we will likely have a holiday party and share a meal, possibly at a restaurant. We hope you enjoy a very nice season of love and thanksgiving! Make it a good day on purpose!



Kalamazoo Council of the Blind

Marla Neubaum


On Monday, October 5, 2015 KCBVI visited an apple orchard, Gull Meadow Farms, in Richland Michigan.  Although it was a small group in attendance we had a great time.  The owners of the farm took us on a descriptive wagon ride.  They also provided us with Cider and Donuts.  Two children who joined us received arm bands to participate in the farm’s corn maze, petting zoo and other activities.  There was additional staff available to assist anyone who needed help shopping in the gift shop. Michelle Jimenez is the new secretary for KCBVI. Enjoy your day!


The Northerners

By Carl and Cathy Daily


The Northerners have just finished another successful Stuff the Bus event. Each year we get a larger bus. This year we were brought the largest bus available and filled it three quarters full with food items for the homeless. There was bad weather and still people came out in support!

There will be an arts and crafts and bake show from 10:00am-4:00pm on October 24th, 2015. We will have crosses for bookmarks, dish towels shaped into different things such as rabbits and other items. There will also be an assortment of baked goods. This will hopefully increase our treasury.

We hope that everyone has a great holiday season from all of us up north.



Malaina VanderWal


At the end of September many of our members attended the 2015 MCBVI convention in Kalamazoo Michigan. Many of the speakers and activities were enjoyed by all.

On October 14th VIPP hosted an AutoMark voter assist terminal demonstration at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Rapids. The event was successful in educating individuals on how to use the AutoMark and demonstrating how to vote independently without assistance. Most individuals used speech when operating the AutoMark but some used the on board magnification features. The AutoMark has both audible and low vision features and it was great to see the reactions of those who used it for the first time! Hopefully this will encourage more voter participation and more people requesting to use the AutoMark in our community.

From all of us in VIPP have a happy and safe holiday season!



Ninety Minute Rolls Recipe

Taken From


2-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. or 1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. margarine

Mix 3/4 cup flour with sugar, yeast, and salt. Heat milk, water and margarine until very warm (120°-130°). Add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Add 1/4 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes on high. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Knead 2-3 minutes. Place in greased bowl and let rise 15 minutes. Divide dough into 12 pieces and shape into balls. Place in 8-inch round cake pan. Let rise 15 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes.

To make cinnamon rolls from this ninety minute rolls recipe: Roll dough out after rising the first time and spread with 2 tablespoons margarine. Combine 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar and sprinkle on dough. Roll jelly-roll style and cut into 1 inch pieces. Place in pan and bake as usual.


Next MCBVI News Deadline

March 15, 2016

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

To Contact the Editors:

Donna Rose (note there is a dash between wild and rose)


Malaina VanderWal, Asst. Editor


©Copyright 2015 Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired