MCBVI Fall 2017 News


FALL 2017


Michigan Council of the Blind

and Visually Impaired

An Affiliate of the

American Council of the Blind

John Jarzyna, President


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chapters in Michigan include:





Highlights of This Issue Include:


President’s Update

John Jarzyna


At the time of this writing MCBVI has just completed the 2017 state convention at the 4 Points by Sheraton Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo Michigan from October 6-8. Everyone who attended seemed to enjoy themselves and we were able to conduct the business of MCBVI. As there will be updates later in the newsletter I will touch upon both the business meeting and the meeting on the future of MCBVI held on Sunday October 8.

The annual business meeting was conducted Saturday afternoon October 7.

We heard brief reports from each of the committees regarding their recent activity. Also, discussed was the ongoing development of a phone chapter which is open to anyone not currently part of a local chapter.

Another topic mentioned at the business meeting and discussed in greater detail on the 8, was the creation of a Marketing Committee and the future of MCBVI! Building our membership and encouraging existing members who are active to begin mentoring individuals who are willing to take a more active role in this affiliate! Being mentored will allow members to gain experience and learn more about the inner workings of MCBVI! If you wish to serve on the Marketing Committee contact me at 586-781-3646 by December 31, 2017.

Wishing everyone a good holiday season!


Convention Update

Kyle Austin, Chair


The 44th annual MCBVI Convention was a great success. A good time was had by all with 40 people in attendance.

Friday morning the Technology committee held a session regarding cell phones and different apps that you can use with them. In the afternoon, everyone had a chance to visit the exhibits.

Friday evening, we had the nominations report from Carla Fields, chair of the Nominations Committee. The slate of candidates for this year’s election was reelected by acclimation. Also, Mike Maynard from Vanda Pharmaceuticals gave an update on non-24. Joe Todd gave information regarding his business, helping with computers. Casey Dutmer gave us a review regarding how MCBVI started and where we are today.

The night ended with the annual auction. We raised $826. Thanks to all who contributed to this event, including the hotel.

Saturday morning, we had presentations from Brenda Johnson regarding the Red Cross of Kalamazoo followed by Tom Behler regarding disaster emergency preparedness. In the afternoon we conducted the business meeting.

Saturday night, we had are annual social hour with Tyrone Hamilton and friends. This was follow by the annual Banquet. Are speaker was William Robinson, Director of the Bureau of Services For Blind Persons. He spoke about a hunting accident that changed his life forever and how he and his family were able to move forward to where he is today.

A 50-50 raffle was held to raise money for the general fund for MCBVI which raised $200. The winner of the raffle was Phyllis Magbanua. She donated her winnings back to MCBVI. Thanks Phyllis. Also, during the Convention we raised $152 for Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) camp. This is added to $309 raised during other fund raising events.

Sunday morning, the annual memorial service was held to remember individuals we lost over the last year.

The convention rapped up with a session regarding reenergizing and marketing MCBVI. I am sure there will be other town hall meetings regarding this topic.

I would like to thank everyone for attending this year’s convention as well as the individuals who helped make it happen.

We will be holding the 45th MCBVI Convention again in Kalamazoo next year stay tuned!


Membership Update

Charis Austin, Chair


Blue Water League: 31

Capital Area: 12

MAL: 26

Northerners: 6

VIPP: 54

Total: 129 members


It is time to start collecting dues for 2018. All dues for renewing members must be in by February 15, 2018.

There is a group of members working on starting a Phone Chapter. There have been two meetings to discuss this idea. No decisions have been made at this time.


Tribute to Gary Wood

Donna Rose


The Capital Area chapter recently lost long-time member Gary Wood. Gary passed suddenly in August of a massive heart attack. The family had a private funeral, so friends planned a very nice memorial for him at the Delhi Café in Holt. It was a very well attended tribute to a man who was pure at heart, chose to forgive anyone who ever crossed him, and never seemed to miss any opportunity to share time with us all. Like all of us, Gary had some limitations, but he will always be remembered by those of us who knew him well as easy to talk with and always willing to try and help others struggling with sight loss. We will miss his presence and his sunny disposition. We feel comforted by the fact in his later years he seemed to really enjoy his life and the companionship of his friends and he is now in a better place. We still miss you Gary, and may God truly bless your soul!


MCBVI Committee Updates


Accessible Prescription Labeling Update

Malaina VanderWal, Chair


During the 2017 MCBVI convention I reported the Accessible Prescription Labeling (APL) committee completed our accessible prescription flyer! I am very pleased and proud of the work put forth by each committee member. The flyer went through several changes some big and some small, but we took our time to insure a quality product! At times going outside of the committee for assistance was required but it was truly a team effort and I want to thank here my committee and everyone who gave input and suggestions it was appreciated!

Next, we need to work on distributing the flyer. A copy of the flyer was given to the Executive Committee. However, the APL committee will discuss ideas on how to do this effectively. We will also be working on other items as they arise. If anyone wishes to obtain a copy of the APL flyer let me know and one can be emailed to you. If you are someone without a computer and printer I can be contacted and arrangements will be made. We will not be sending this to a printer but a copy is available upon request! I can be reached at 616-308-9644.


Nominations Update

Karla Fields, Chair


On Friday October 6, during the 2017, MCBVI convention the Nominations committee presented a slate of candidates running for the following positions:


The Nominations committee asked if there were any nominations from the floor which there were none. Everyone was elected by acclimation eliminating the need to hold elections on Saturday October 7, 2017.

Next year during the 2018 convention positions up for election will be President, Secretary and Assistant Treasurer. If you wish to run please contact me at 586-465-2338.


Publications Update

Donna Rose, Co-editor


Malaina and I take turns doing the newsletter. Here are the upcoming 2018 submission deadlines: March 15, June 15 and October 15. Please get items in on time, spell check and review them for grammar mistakes. Please try and keep your submission to a 250 word limit. If you need more space than this we would be happy to discuss your submission with you so your article isn’t cut short. Often with editing we can help you say the same thing with less wording. If you chair a committee, please make sure we receive your report. These reports can be informative about our organization and motivate our other members. We are grateful for the cooperation we have been receiving from everyone.

Soon we hope to have a newsletter survey on Survey Monkey which people can answer online or call someone to help them do it if they do not have a computer or need help. This will help us decide what you want to read in your newsletter, along with some formatting questions. We will keep you posted.


Resolutions Update

Malaina VanderWal, Chair


Shortly before the beginning of the 2017 MCBVI convention it was brought to my attention that resolutions needed to be addressed and by not giving a report this was a violation of our bylaws! Not wishing to violate the bylaws one resolution was drafted and adopted. Resolution 2017-01 resolution to the hotel thanking the hotel staff and management for the hospitality shown to the convention attendees and for going above and beyond to insure our convention was a success!

I have already begun working on reassembling a resolutions committee but if there is anyone who wants to serve please contact me. My goal is to have a committee formed by the end of December so that work can begin shortly after the New Year. If we could have at least one person from each chapter and a member at large this would be great! If you are someone who wishes to serve and take a more active role in MCBVI or have questions regarding the process contact me. My number is 616-308-9644. Or if there is an issue you want the Resolutions Committee to work on we can discuss that as well. I do ask however, if there is an issue brought forth that some research be done prior. Committee members may not be familiar with the issue. We can all have a voice and resolutions are a part of making our voices heard!


Technology Update

Dr. Joe Todd and Jackie Boomstra, Chair


The Technology Committee would like to announce some new initiatives that it plans to implement. The first is the forming of an email group or list serve. Members will be invited to join the group to discover such items as apps, techniques, devices and to have questions answered about their technology.

The second plan the committee would like to pursue is the posting of recordings on our website. The topics will cover various areas like reviews of devices and programs and effective practices when using access technology.

Another source for these postings can be interviews of members. It could be helpful to the younger community and others who might benefit from mentors who have successfully accommodated to a sighted world.

Finally, the Technology Committee would like to conduct live webinars. Examples of these types of webinars are the Hadley seminars and those produced by freedom Scientific. Again, the topics will be focused on technology. The seminars can be recorded for those unable to attend the scheduled times. The committee intends to conduct a survey to find what the interest of the membership might be.

Lastly, the Technology Committee presented a workshop session at the MCBVI convention again this year. I presented information on the Seeing AI application for the iPhone. Dr. Joe Todd presented information on the new features in iOS 11 and the new iPhones recently released. We chose these topics because they are timely and are of interest to MCBVI.

We are always interested in input from the MCBVI membership. If you have any ideas or comments for the Technology committee, please contact Jackie Boomstra at or call 616-455-6069.


Chapter Updates


Blue Water League of the Blind

Phyllis Magbanua, President


Over the last few months the members of the BWL have been out in the community to inform people of our existence and to talk about their loss of sight. It helps to let individuals know they are not alone and there are others who can be of assistance and support.

This fall we plan to have two open houses within the community. The open houses will allow the public to meet with us and we can share with them how we may benefit those in the Port Huron community who are coping with vision loss. Other activities will be planned over the next three months! More information will be in the spring newsletter!

From all of us in the BWL have a great holiday season!


Capital Area Council of the Blind

Donna Rose, President


Our chapter had a great time on a Michigan Princess Cruise up and down the Grand River in late September. We had a great bbq rib dinner and music from a 50, 60 and 70s cover band called the Sea Cruisers. For each meeting we have a speaker. In September it was the Michigan Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program. This is a statewide organization offering free help with your insurance if you are a senior and/or have a disability. In November we will discuss the ongoing business of our chapter and make a plan for our holiday fling. I can be reached at 517-489-2233 for more information about our chapter events.


Visually Impaired Persons for Progress

Malaina VanderWal, President


Over the summer VIPP was able to participate in the Greatlakes Eyecare conference held in Grand Rapids! Thanks to the assistance received by the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP). We shared a table with the BSBP and the Library for the Blind during the two day event. This was a learning experience four our group as we had not tried participating in this kind of activity before. One day had a little more traffic than the other but, we took a chance to get our name out there and VIPP is grateful to the BSBP and the Library for the Blind for allowing us to share the table with them. Later in the summer the VIPP Technology Committee met and discussed a variety of topics.

One topic we addressed was the possibility of making it possible for people to attend a VIPP meeting even if the person could not actually be present. We were able to put a plan into motion during the September meeting and there were three people who were able to listen to the meeting without being present. There are still some issues to work on but it was successful.

Finally, at the end of summer we had our picnic. It was filled with good food, friends, laughter and games! Thanks to all of the people who helped plan and execute the event. It was great fun! For more information about VIPP I can be reached at 616-308-9644.


Member Concerns

Malaina VanderWal, Coeditor


In July and August both the Northerners and the Capital Area chapters lost members. In the previous newsletter I wrote that I would not mention names. However, we thought you would want to know of the passing of two members, Carl Daily of the Northerners and Gary Wood of the Capital area. I am sure their loss is deeply felt by those who knew them best along with their chapter members! MCBVI is thinking of you! Please let us know if you would like to mention a member who has passed, or who is challenged by health or other issues. Just contact Donna Rose or me and we would be happy to list them in the newsletter.

For now thoughts and prayers go out to those who are grieving the loss of Carl and Gary, especially as we move toward the holidays! May God grant you peace!


Next MCBVI News Deadline

March 15, 2018

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



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