Official Newsletter of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

John Jarzyna, President

For General Inquiries


Chapters in Michigan Include:

Highlights in this Issue:


John Jarzyna

I first want to take a moment to inform all our members of the great programming available on MCBVI Radio. Thank you to our dedicated team, who operate our radio station. Our sincere appreciation goes out to Dave Gordon, Joe Sibley and Michael Smith for providing on air music and other interesting programming to our listeners. None of this would be possible without their hard work and willingness to give freely of their time! Those who have not yet tuned into MCBVI Radio should give it a try. Feedback and participation from our members is essential for the growth and success of MCBVI Radio. For more information, see the article highlighting our station later in this newsletter.

During the month of April and the first few days of May, MCBVI held a fundraiser to raise money for the purchase of assistive listening devices for the use by the organization at our state convention for those with hearing loss. The fundraiser was sponsored by Jennifer Bolling an Independent Consulted with Pure Haven a company which sells non-toxic products. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make it successful.

By the time, this publication is sent out the next MCBVI board meeting will be approaching. It will be held on July 21, at 10:00am. Anyone is welcome to attend and participate. The dial in number is 515-739-1256 and the access code is 383125#. Hear about what is taking place within MCBVI.

Finally, consider subscribing to the MCBVI-l listserv. Send a blank message to The MCBVI-l listserv is a place for sharing information asking questions and more. For more information on the MCBVI-l listserv go to

I want to wish everyone a great summer!


Kyle Austin, Chair

Make your plans now to attend the MCBVI Convention to be held in Kalamazoo Michigan, October 5-7. We will be at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, 3600 E Cork ST, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49001.

Make your reservations now by calling 269-385-3922 or 866-961-3003. Anyone encountering a problem making reservations with the hotel contact me for assistance! My phone number is further down in this article. Reservations must be made by September 4, 2018. The room rate is $75.00 per night with 11% tax.

The theme for this year’s convention is: Your Health and Safety Part Two. More information about the program will be in your convention packet.

If you wish to be a contributing sponsor or exhibiter please call Charis Austin at 616-532-4737. Also, if you know of someone who would like to be a sponsor or exhibit, let Charis know.

Any questions please call me at 616-532-4737.


Joe Sibley, station manager

After being inspired by ACB Radio, the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired has launched MCBVI Radio! MCBVI Radio offers a great assortment of musical memories plus many specialized music and talk programs including but not limited to:

The MCBVI Radio team includes Dave Gordon, Operations Manager and Program Director. He operates the station and has set up most of the programming. Michael Smith, is assistant Operations manager, who does a live show, 45's Alive every Thursday, and Joe Sibley, station manager. You will hear the voices of all three, but we would like to add your voice.

Members who are interested in doing their own live show should contact us at The MCBVI Radio request number to make requests and specify the time you are most likely to be listening is 206-666-3696

We love our listeners and have adjusted programming from listener suggestions. We are grateful to our loyal listener family. Consider joining the MCBVI Radio listserv for lots of discussion about the station. Send a blank message to to subscribe.

You can visit the MCBVI Radio page by visiting

Then, tab to the radio page! Once there you can find a web player and other methods of listening.

Also, MCBVI Radio is available on the Sero app for IOS and Android under community radio.

MCBVI Radio can also be heard by calling AudioNow. Dial 701-801-1098, long-distance and cellular charges may apply.

We are always under development and more programming is coming!

Give us a try and give us your feedback. MCBVI Radio is an outreach of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, a proud affiliate of the American Council of the Blind!


Mary Sibley

Having trouble with your trusty Perkins Brailler? In West Michigan you can contact Phil Banner. Phil is in Shelbyville, just off US 131 between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Phil recently repaired my Braille writer which is over 40 years old and it works perfectly. His rates are quite reasonable, and he can get whatever parts you might need too.

You can email Phil at:

Keep on Brailling!



Malaina VanderWal, Chair

On May 16, an announcement was made on the ACB Leadership List concerning accessible labels and controlled substances through CVS pharmacy. It is now possible to receive an accessible audio label for controlled substances from a local CVS Pharmacy which will use a label from AccessaMed. This label will attach to the prescription container. It is different from the ScripTalk labels which CVS customers can receive for non-controlled substances. In either case it may take a day or more to receive the labels. In order to sign-up for accessible labels for a controlled substance contact a local CVS Pharmacy and they will do the rest.

If one wishes to sign-up for accessible labels through CVS Pharmacy for non-controlled substances contact at 888-861-4363. Those who prefer to pick-up their prescriptions at their local CVS Pharmacy can make the request at the time of sign-up and the prescription will be sent to the pharmacy specified. Otherwise the prescription will be mailed to them as is a mail order pharmacy.

As with any new service problems may occur, but it is important to report both the good and the bad. MCBVI members may contact me to report issues they experience and I will send them to ACB. If someone wishes to contact ACB directly let me know and I will be glad to provide the information.

As always I can be reached at 616-308-9644 to help answer questions, provide information about accessible labels and more.


Becky Kooistra, Chair

The recruitment challenge, which began March 15, continues until September 15. The goal of this challenge is for each MCBVI chapter to increase their membership by at least ten percent during this timeframe. The chapters who achieve this goal will receive an award at the MCBVI State Convention in October.


Malaina VanderWal, Coeditor

After 13 years of working on the MCBVI News, Donna Rose will be stepping down as Coeditor once the summer issue is completed. We had a long talk. She has gone back to work and other obligations which she needs to make priority now. She is unable to devote the time necessary for working on the newsletter. I fully support Donna in her decision, although I will miss working together!

Donna worked on the MCBVI News for seven years before I was approached to work with her and learn the ropes. Donna I want to thank you for being my mentor on the MCBVI News and working with me. It was not always easy for us, but I gained so much more than editing skills. I gained a great friend! My thanks go out to Joe Sibley too for making the suggestion for me to work with Donna! Also, I want to thank Donna for all of her years of service to the MCBVI News and her willingness to take me under her wing!

In October, all submissions will go to me for the fall edition of the newsletter. The deadline will be October 15. From now until then, if anyone wishes to work with me on learning how to be an editor for the MCBVI News contact me at

Donna was a great mentor and I could not have asked for more! Anyone wanting to know more specifics of what it takes to be an editor contact me at 616-308-9644 or email me at the address above!


Malaina VanderWal, Chair

The Resolutions committee continues to meet to discuss possible Resolutions. We invite you to give us your suggestions. This will help us to craft resolutions which will be meaningful to our organization. Send suggestions to with ideas and information which we will use to write a resolution.


Jackie Boomstra, Chair

The Technology committee had tentatively planned to host a workshop on "Ways to listen to MCBVI Radio" in May or June. The committee decided that this was not necessary as many people were already posting to the MCBVI Radio Listserv.

We discussed putting links to MCBVI Radio on TuneIn Radio, but they are not accepting any new applications at this time. We will pursue this again at a later Date.

The MCBVI Technology Committee is hosting a workshop again this year at our convention in October. The topic will be Accessible Internet Shopping.

We are looking at assistive Listening Device options so that our hearing impaired members will be able to fully participate in all meetings and workshops at our State conventions.  We are still reviewing our options and should have a recommendation for the board soon.

Please contact me with any questions or comments by phone at 616-455-6069, or by email at




Phyllis Magbanua

The BWL has been active and will continue to be over the next few months. In April we put on a Mystery Dinner set in the 1920’s. It turned out well and everyone who attended had a great time. People keep asking us when the next one will take place.

In May we participated at the resource fair at ST. Clare Community College (SC4) with other organizations. On June 21, we are planning an open House. We invited the Coordinator of Disability Service from SC4 to speak to parents of children transitioning from high school to college. Also, The BWL will be available to help answer questions and to be a source of support to our community. We have some great activities planned for July and August.

Also, I want to let you know the BWL is working on the next Convention for 2019. We will give you more details later on this fall.

Have a wonderful summer!


Donna Rose,

The Capital Area Council of the Blind will be taking a river boat cruise on the Michigan Princess on the evening of Saturday August 11. The Sea Cruisers will be the band playing 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s music. If you would like to attend, the cost is $42 and includes the cruise, band and a full turkey dinner buffet. There is a cash bar on board. Reservations can be made by calling me by Aug. 1 at 517-489-2233. We will hold our annual club picnic on July 21 at Cottonwood Camp Ground in Lansing. In the past few months we have had interesting speakers at our meetings, including those from the Michigan Library for the Blind. We have several new members. The future of our chapter is at risk, as we don’t have members willing to be officers, and we cannot raise money because we have not been organized enough to apply for nonprofit status. I have given a lot of time and attention over the years to our chapter, but I have other obligations and will be stepping down as president at the end of this year.


Rosemarie Facilla

The Mitten Phone Chapter has been meeting monthly. At the last meeting on May 19, 2018 our Constitution and Bylaws were submitted to the board and will be brought up for approval at the July State Board Meeting. Should these be approved the Chapter may then be considered for charter and if approved, the charter would be presented at the State Convention in October 2018.

We have collected a few new members since our last report and the official count may be given once the phone chapter is actually chartered and dues collected. As of now we have approximately 27 members and two more we are awaiting joining MCBVI first. We have people from all over the state, as well as others who live out of state, but who belong to MCBVI.

At our next meeting Tyrone Hamilton our Vice President is having Great Choice Transportation present to us as they provide transportation all over the state and out of state to our knowledge. We will know more once they make their presentation and answer questions pertaining to rates and charges along with how much the charge would be to stay with a person who is blind or visually impaired. Anyone is welcome to call into our meeting to listen and observe. Then, if they want to become a member they may.

A member may belong to more than one chapter; they only need to pay that chapter’s dues. The dues for the Mitten Phone Chapter will be $10 per year for a total of $20 a year as we pay five dollars each to the state and National organizations.

We use MCBVI’s conference line for our meetings and meetings are on the fourth Saturday of the month at 10:00am.

We have a great group of people and enjoy having our phone chapter.


Malaina VanderWal

On April 18, several members of VIPP participated in a demonstration of the Dominion voting machine which replaced the AutoMARK in Kent County and many other counties throughout Michigan. The event was held at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI), and it was well attended. Thank you to ABVI and to Casey Dutmer and Charis Austin for arranging the demonstration. Also, the demonstration was an opportunity to provide feedback regarding accessibility issues to the Director of Elections in Kent County, and the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

In May Jenny Doane from the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) was our guest speaker at our meeting. She gave our members information about the BSBP’s Independent Living Program. This program is for anyone 55 or older.

Finally, in August VIPP will be having their annual picnic at Wedgewood Park. This is a time for fun, laughs and an overall great time! From all of us at VIPP have a great summer!

Next MCBVI News Deadline
October 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


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.

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