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FALL 2018


Official Newsletter of the

Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

Affiliate of the

American Council of the Blind

Rosemarie Facilla, President


For General Inquiries

Phone: Toll-Free (888)956-2284

By Email: mailto:info@blindmi.org

On the web: http://www.blindmi.org

Facebook: Search for Michigan Council of the Blind

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Chapters in Michigan:

Highlights in this issue include:

President’s Message

By Rosemarie Facilla


Hello MCBVI Members:

I want to say thank you to everyone who belongs to this organization for choosing to be a member as we all have choices of where we want to use our talents and with whom we want to share them. The members are the driving force of this organization.

The officers who guide this organization need your help to make this organization the great one that it is! I appreciate each and every one of you.

In the upcoming months, I would like to see MCBVI move forward and become more active in all areas. Some suggestions have already been made. After hearing of the Capital Area Chapter’s struggles and eventual decision to dissolve at the end of the year, which seemed to be related to MCBVI’s status as an individual 501(c)(3) organization, I plan to work toward a solution.

I plan to contact the president of each chapter and listen to their concerns and attempt to create a plan of action that can be used to assist that chapter in its growth.

I also would like to work on formalizing committee responsibilities so each committee in MCBVI will know just what their purpose is and the direction they need to take.

Another goal is the exploration of an effective voting system that is all inclusive, allowing everyone who is a member to cast their votes if they attend convention or not. Many of our members have circumstances that may prevent them from being able to attend, and in all fairness, being able to vote as a member is important to our organization. People need to feel included, not excluded.

I plan to work closely with our Past President, John Jarzyna, in regard to various ideas and concerns as well.

I would like to wish all our chapters and officers success, growth and the ability to use their talents for the good of everyone in MCBVI!

My contact information is H: 231-759-8734

C: 231-286-4439

Email: mailto:rosemarie.facilla@frontier.com

Everyone have a wonderful Holiday Season!


Immediate Past President’s Update

By John Jarzyna


The 2018 MCBVI State Convention was well attended this year and we saw many first time participants from across the state. Many of the members who arrived Thursday night were able to attend the Friday morning sessions which included an interactive presentation and discussion on the benefits of yoga and movement. Laura Armenta was our guest speaker who led us through some basic yoga exercises one can do from a sitting or standing position. Laura answered questions by the group and took suggestions from members for possible instructional material that would be described for visually impaired individuals. The session was well attended and received. Laura Armenta’s contact information will be later in this issue.

Following the yoga presentation the Technology and MCBVI Radio committees also did presentations to the group which will be talked more about under committee updates. Rounding out the morning sessions was an update on the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) given by Shannon McVoy, Regional Manager. Thank you to the BSBP for being a Diamond Sponsor of the 2018, MCBVI State Convention.

Saturday afternoon was the annual business meeting. We heard from each of the committee chairs, for more information read their articles below.

In closing, I want to congratulate our newly elected President Rosemarie Facilla and I ask that all of our members support Rosemarie in her new role just as I will be supportive! I want to say thank you to MCBVI for giving me the opportunity to serve as President over the last four years. It has been an honor and privilege serving all of you!


MCBVI 2018 State Convention

By Kyle Austin, Chair


Another year has come and gone and another convention is in the books. First I would like to thank everyone involved who made this convention a success. Also, thank you to all who made contributions for auction items and door prizes. Finally, thanks to the Blue Water League for running the 50/50 raffle Saturday night. We raised $200 from this raffle. MCBVI Radio received $100 and $100 went to Kristen Kelling who had the winning ticket.

The auction raised $602.00. Thanks again for a successful raffle and auction.

The meet and greet Thursday night was well attended. Old friends were able to visit and new friends were made.

Friday morning the session was devoted to the following: what is yoga and how does it help, three ways to shop online, and information about MCBVI Radio. The afternoon was spent looking at the exhibits, which included the three accessible voting machines being used in the state of Michigan.

Friday night was the opening session that included the following: opening and welcoming remarks, nomination report, resolutions, an overview of MCBVI by Casey Dutmer, and finally the annual auction.

Saturday the morning session dealt with the following topics: how to react in an active shooter situation, a presentation regarding how a medical condition can change your life, an update from the department of education regarding low incidence outreach, and finally update on library services.

Saturday afternoon was the elections for president and Assistant Treasurer, and the business meeting.

Saturday evening included the reception hour with Tyrone Hamilton and friends followed by the annual banquet. The speaker this year was Don Holloway from the Gerald R ford Museum. He talked about different exhibits the museum has had over the years.

Sunday morning was the annual memorial service conducted by Tyrone Hamilton. Following that was a presentation regarding the importance of advocacy to MCBVI.

That is a wrap-up of the 45th Annual MCBVI Convention for this year. Thanks again for a great Convention.


Benefits of Yoga Recap

By Malaina VanderWal


As already mentioned earlier in this newsletter, during the 2018 MCBVI State Convention, Friday morning we had Laura Armenta talk with us on the importance of movement and how yoga can help in many ways. One aspect I was pleased to see was the interaction between Laura and those who attended! Laura and those in attendance both asked and answered questions in order to learn from one another!

The topic of Laura creating yoga instructional material was discussed and how best to approach this. Suggestions were made and welcomed, to visit Laura Armenta’s website, go to www.armentality.com. Links to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are available from the website. Laura can also be reached at 616-550-8244, or by Email: laura@armentality.com.


MCBVI Fundraiser, Pure Haven April 2019

By Jennifer Bolling


From April 1st through May 4th, MCBVI will hold a fundraiser sponsored by Jennifer Bolling.  Jennifer is an Independent Consultant with Pure Haven, a company which sells a variety of products free from toxic chemicals. All of the proceeds will be donated to MCBVI.  Specifically, the funds raised from this event will be used to assist an MCBVI member to attend the 2019 MCBVI State Convention. This will be provided as a subsidy for the MCBVI member. More information about applying for this opportunity will be announced after funds are collected.

Here are some of the different categories offered by Pure Haven: body and hair products, skin products, cleaning products, pet products, wellness products and more.

The members of MCBVI are encouraged to share this fundraiser with family and friends in supporting our goal.

There will be a conference call in March to be announced closer to the beginning of the fundraiser. The conference call number is: 712-451-0979 and access code is  147195#

Here is more information about Pure Haven from Jennifer’s website.

All of our energy and passion goes into formulating and creating fresh products, made in small batches with certified organic ingredients when possible, free of toxins, environmentally sustainable and cruelty-free in our very own manufacturing facility.

We adhere to a strict, six-step ingredients sourcing procedure and manufacture our products in our very own USDA Certified Organic facility in small batches so they are always fresh.

We do it ourselves from start to finish because we believe that this is the only way we can keep our “no compromise” commitment to Customers.

The website to shop and place an order is http://www.purehaven.com/jenniferbolling.

The party number will be announced later.

If there are questions, or if assistance is required in placing an order contact Jennifer Bolling

Phone: 715-573-0443

Email: mailto:jennifer4pureliving@gmail.com

Malaina VanderWal

Phone: 616-308-9644

Email: mailto:mvanderwal78@gmail.com


MCBVI Radio, It is Not Just a Radio Station

By Dave Gordon


At the MCBVI convention I spoke at the Tech Committee seminar about how MCBVI Radio is not just a radio station. The following are my remarks as expanded in the hopes of convincing you to listen to MCBVI Radio. It is also my hope that you will also help to make us a better and more responsive station.

Last March, Mike Smith approached the Tech Committee with the suggestion we put our server that is paid for year round, but at that point was only used three days a year, to broadcast the MCBVI Convention. The committee agreed, and with the executive board’s permission, within a few days we had a shell of what is now MCBVI Radio. Since that time MCBVI Radio has grown beyond my wildest dreams, and it is not just because of our management team, which includes Joe Sibley, Mike Smith, Rebecca Kooistra, and I; it is because of our listeners and their interest in the station and in making it more of a family approach to radio. In just a few months, we have surpassed a lot of internet radio stations in several big and important ways, both in listener numbers and in content. Here is why you should listen.

Of course, we have the music you want to hear, and if you are not hearing something, we will do our best to provide it for you; but if we did not go beyond that, we would be little more than ninety percent of the internet radio stations out there. We have expanded our music at the request of listeners by including two hour blocks of Country music, blocks of music from the 80s and 90s, and two hours a week of Beatles music.

Still, I hear you saying, “Oh, it is music; I can get that on my smart speaker from tuneIn, Spotify, or Pandora.”

If that were all we had to offer, why listen?

In addition to the music our listeners have requested, we are doing our best to offer all types of programming, by offering shows that focus on everything from Christian, to JAZZ, to Motown, to progressive rock, and much more. Many of our programs are presented by people who are blind or visually impaired. This is not by design, it just worked out that way and we are proud of it.

But wait, do not touch that dial, there is more! We also offer programming by our own members, here is your chance to hear and interact with some of the people you know live on the radio.

Mike Smith has been broadcasting since he was a kid, and has worked on commercial radio stations. Now he has brought his talent to MCBVI Radio with two shows titled 45’s Alive. Mike presents a country show on Tuesday and an oldies show on Thursday. With Mike’s professional and competent hands on the controls, you will find his creative topics for each show to be intriguing and a must listen.

Just recently, we undertook the boldest step yet in attempting to differentiate from the thousands of internet radio stations out there by offering a brand new show. Becky and I could not think of a name for the show, so it is currently called The No Name Show With Him & Her. Him & Her are myself, Dave Gordon, and Becky Kooistra. Of course, we play the music you want to hear, but we also talk about blindness issues. By the time this is published, this will have included: independence, Abandonment as a young child when sent away to a residential school, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and much more. We also have introduced a “Getting to Know Each Other” segment” where Becky and I talk with members of MCBVI in the hopes of all of us getting to know each other a little better.

We started the show by offering a several part series, which was sort of a modern-day soap opera. This ongoing saga went on for several shows, which ended with Becky and yours truly being pardoned by MCBVI President John Jarzyna, so we could get out of prison to attend the MCBVI Convention. To the best of my knowledge, this kind of thing has never been done on internet radio.

I am excited about these shows because I know they have set us apart from some of the other offerings out there, but we hope to add to that by including more and more of you as we move forward. Still, with all of this, there is even another reason to listen to MCBVI Radio. A couple of months ago, someone came up with the idea of encouraging people to participate in the station by offering audio clips in the listener’s own voice, saying what they want to say. This was met with a huge response from our listeners and many have provided us with informational segments in their own voices that we play every day on MCBVI Radio. This really differentiates us from the competition, and it prompted me to want to say we are really a family and a much closer-nit family because we all work together.

I was quite surprised, and more than pleased, when I heard exactly the same thoughts expressed, totally unsolicited, from several people while at the convention. It was then I knew we were on the right track.

With adding the ability to receive the station on your Echo, we have increased our listener base, which is now about half of some internet stations who have been on the air for years. In just a few short months, our station truly has grown to be more successful than much of our competition.

I encourage you to listen to MCBVI Radio, and to join our Email list. Send a blank message to mailto:mcbviradio+subscribe@groups.io. Here you can participate in ongoing discussions and you always have the opportunity to express your concerns and to talk about what you want to hear.




Accessible Prescription Labeling

by Malaina VanderWal, Chair


During the 2018, MCBVI Convention a resolution was passed which dealt with the Henry Ford Health System and how patients receiving prescriptions for themselves or someone to whom care is provided do not have access to accessible prescription labels. This resolution dealt with many issues about why accessible labels are so important to have available to anyone who is unable to read a standard prescription label.  Members of MCBVI who utilize the Henry Ford Health System are encouraged to contact me to receive a copy of the Accessible Prescription Labeling Flyer and a copy of the resolution passed to begin dialoguing with doctors and pharmacies within the network.

En-vision America informed me on October 25, 2018, Meijer does not plan to implement accessible labels at this time. During our convention, I mentioned En-Vision America wanted to hear from people in Michigan who use Meijer Pharmacy. Obviously this is disappointing, but not at all surprising! Those who use Meijer Pharmacy are strongly encouraged to contact Meijer Corporate and tell them why accessible labels are important! The more people they hear from the more likely Accessible labels may be available in the future. You can still contact En-Vision America by dialing 1800-890-1180 with any questions.

Perhaps Meijer and other pharmacies not providing accessible labels need to hear what it would be like if print labels were not available! What would happen then? Whether an accessible label is in large Print, braille or audio those labels are our versions of print! This is where an accessible prescription labeling law can and would be beneficial. I hope to have more discussions on this next year.

I fully realize there are those of us receiving accessible labels still experiencing issues, especially when a Walmart or a mail order service is not an option for a variety of reasons. I myself experienced many issues this year. It can take many conversations with the pharmacy and the provider of the accessible labels, but things can improve. I can be contacted at 616-308-9644 if anyone wishes to discuss an issue with learning about accessible labels, a barrier to receiving an accessible label, or help finding a pharmacy.





By Casey Dutmer, Chair


In my last report, I spoke of the Legislative Committee's priority to resolve the issues pertaining to the lack of accessibility of the Dominion Voting System, the machine that was selected by most of the counties in Michigan as the Voter Assist Terminal (VAT) for people with disabilities.

At our 45th Annual Convention, participants had an opportunity to test and give feedback to the BUREAU OF ELECTIONS STAFF WHO WERE PRESENT. All three machines were available to try. One thing participants complained about was that they could not independently access the Dominion Voting System without help from a precinct worker. This is a problem in varying degrees with all three voting machines.

I spoke with staff from Bureau of Elections at length and proposed the following position: If MCBVI is unable to play a major role in the software upgrades pertaining to the Dominion System Machine, than I believe they are in violation of their contract with the state of Michigan.

I made this proposal at our business meeting and the motion passed.

About sixty of the 83 counties in Michigan use the Dominion System voting machines. The other two machines members could use reasonably well.

The members also gave the legislative committee the ability to make decisions pertaining to the next steps in this process.

I will communicate the organization’s position to the Bureau of Elections.

On October 10, President Trump signed the Marrakesh Treaty. This Treaty is something ACB has been working on for quite a few years. The Treaty makes it easier for books and other copyright material to be shared around the world. It also means more materials will be available in accessible formats.

ACB is also involved with legislation pertaining to quiet cars as well as being deeply involved in making certain that self-driving vehicles have accessibility features in place at ground level when building these vehicles.

Our committee will determine its priorities for the upcoming year which will be published in the next newsletter.

I wish all members a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!



By Becky Kooistra, Chair


During the 2018 MCBVI State Convention, the Marketing Committee was pleased to present a Certificate of Achievement to the Capital Area Chapter for achieving the recruitment challenge goal of increasing their membership by at least ten percent. Congratulations, Capital Area! The Marketing Committee also gave an honorable mention to the Mitten Phone Chapter for their increase in membership. Good job! If everyone continues doing their part, MCBVI can reach its goal of 175 members by the end of 2019! It is not up to one committee or the other to increase membership, it is up to each individual member.










By Dave Gordon, Chair


I was remiss in not thanking the Blue Water League of the Blind for the 50/50 raffle to support MCBVI Radio. This was totally unsolicited and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

In our attempt to adhere to the board’s request we do everything we can to support MCBVI we have put together a singing promo that runs throughout the day during automation. Thanks to Joe Sibley for making this happen.

Also, Rebecca’s and my show, The No Name Show With Him & Her is new and innovative. Along with playing the music that you want to hear we discuss a different and relevant blindness issue on each show. Additionally we interview MCBVI members in the hopes of getting to know each other a little better.

Doctor Joe Todd is going to offer tech tips from time to time on our show and Mike, from  

Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will be appearing on the show within a couple of weeks.

Please note MCBVI Radio has a new call-in number for those who listen via landline. The new number is 605-813-0850.



By Charis Austin, Chair


The following information was presented at our last Convention.

At last year’s Convention, I announced that we had 128 members which was a decrease in our membership.  I announced a very lofty goal of bringing our membership up to 175 members by the 2018, MCBVI Convention. As of this date, we have brought our membership up to 154 members. We have members who live in the following states: Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Tennessee. The current chapter breakdown is as follows:


Blue Water League: Began with 30 members; remains the same;

Capital Area: Began with 14 members; increased to 17 members;

Northerners: Began with 6 members; remained the same;

Members at Large: Began with 13; remained the same;

Mitten Phone Chapter: Began with 16; increased to 26;

VIPP: 60; increased to 61 members.


Although we did not increase our membership to my goal of 175 members, I am very pleased with the increase of members. I am keeping the goal of reaching 175 members by the 2019 Convention.

Another goal was to start an Email list to allow members to be in better communication with each other. The purpose is to share activities and discuss topics of importance related to blindness to members and friends of MCBVI. As of this date, we have 48 members subscribed to the list. I hope that more members will wish to subscribe. If you are now interested in subscribing to the list, please feel free to contact me directly or send a blank Email to mailto:main@mcbvi-l+subscribe@groups.io.

With the beginning of the MCBVI Radio station, the MCBVI Radio Email List was started. The purpose of this list is to share information and discussion regarding the radio station. This list has 25 members. It actually has more discussion than the MCBVI-L list.

Thank you to Malaina VanderWal who helps with moderation of both lists and Joe Todd who assists with moderating the MCBVI-l list.

The other goal was to start a phone chapter to meet the needs of the people who are unable to get to a meeting. The Mitten Phone Chapter has submitted their Bylaws and has indicated who their officers will be. Their charter will be presented to them at this convention.

It is now time to start taking memberships for 2019. If you are a renewing member of a chapter, you will pay dues to that chapter. If you wish to be a Member At Large, you will pay dues to me. All dues and membership information must be received by February 15, 2019. No extensions! Checks and information related to renewing members received after that date will be returned.

Looking forward to a good year with MCBVI!



by Karla Fields, Chair

The officers that were up for election at the 2018 MCBVI Convention were President, Secretary and Assistant Treasurer. On Friday night at the convention, the nomination committee presented the following candidates:

Running for President was John Jarzyna and Rosemarie Facilla

Running for Secretary was Lindsey LaVere

Running for Assistant Treasurer was Wayne Lepiors

There was one nomination from the floor and that was Jennifer Bolling.

During this session Lindsey LaVere was elected by acclimation as the next Secretary! Saturday afternoon we had elections for President and Assistant Treasurer. The voting results are as follows:

The winner for President was Rosemarie Facilla and the winner for Assistant Treasurer was Wayne Lepiors! Thank you to all of the candidates for running for the respected positions.


by Malaina VanderWal, Editor


I first want to Thank Donna Rose one more time for all her years of being Editor of the MCBVI Newsletter and then mentoring me over the last six years. We had a great partnership my friend. I hope I can do as good of a job with my new team!

I am pleased to officially announce that I will now be joined by Becky Kooistra and Mary Beth Ridder who have both stepped up and offered to be coeditors. I look forward to foraging this new partnership with both of them! I thank you both for taking this step with me!

Here are a few things which help the editing process for anyone new to writing articles for the newsletter. Please spell check your work, if you are not able that is part of our job, but it makes the process faster. If, using a word processor such as Microsoft Word we use 14 point font and Aerial for the font type. Also use single spacing other formatting things we will take care of as editors. These are just some suggestions to help the writer and the editors.

The next deadline for the spring 2019, MCBVI Newsletter will be March 15, 2019, by 11:59pm Eastern time. Submissions after this date will be held until the summer edition. The MCBVI newsletter is published three times a year. Questions or suggestions on how we can improve the newsletter, contact the editors. Their contact information will be on the last page of this publication.







by Malaina VanderWal, Chair


During the 2018, MCBVI Convention business meeting, October 6, 2018, I reported on how the Resolutions committee worked diligently throughout the summer, in order to create quality resolutions which we hoped would pass. The Resolutions Committee presented six resolutions to the MCBVI membership.

We broke up the reading of the resolutions between Friday night and Saturday morning of the 2018, MCBVI Convention. All six resolutions were adopted.

The first three resolutions were read Friday night and they were about thanking the hotel and volunteers. The next one dealt with issues MCBVI members have encountered at their polling places and what action can and should be taken. The last resolution Friday night dealt with the issue of absentee voting in Michigan. The resolutions read Saturday morning were concerning Unmanned Amtrak Stations, Amtrak Safety and one about the Hennery Ford Health System and lack of accessible prescription labels.

Each member of the Resolutions Committee worked tirelessly this year to put forth quality resolutions, which we hope will encourage members to take action when necessary! Members wishing to receive a copy of the 2018, Resolutions contact me at 616-308-9644 or by Email at mvanderwal78@gmail.com.

I want to once again acknowledge my committee members for all their hard work this year! They are Becky Kooistra, Christy Witte, Erin Moore, John Jarzyna, Laura Pappas, Lindsey LaVere and Merisa Musemic! It was an honor working with all of you! Our team work is what made everything possible!


Resource Development

By Charis Austin, Chair


Most of my time this year was spent on Convention Sponsors and exhibitors.

Preliminary figures for Convention Sponsors and Exhibitors: $2,128.60

Auction: $602

Rata Cutlery: $22.90

Pure Haven Fundraiser Assistive Listening Devices: $365

Donations for Assistive Listening Devices: $95

There is discussion regarding holding an on-line auction. More details later.

Fundraising needs to become a big focus for this organization. I am excited to see interest and ideas regarding future projects. It is clear that everyone here loves MCBVI. It is hard to take that first step and ask others to help support our organization. You may get no right now, but maybe later you will get the yes response that we want.



By Jackie Boomstra, Chair


The Technology Committee presented a workshop on online shopping at this year's convention moderated by Malaina VanderWal. Marcia Moses presented information about Schwans, Merisa Musemic discussed Amazon and I talked about the Shipt App for Meijer. The one hour workshop was well attended by MCBVI members.

We now have a link to MCBVI Radio on our webpage and a link to MCBVI on the MCBVI Radio webpage. You can also find MCBVI Radio and the program schedule at www.mcbviradio.com.

Joe Todd will present a workshop on the NVDA screen reader early next year on the teleconference line. The exact date will be announced at a later time.

The current assistive listening devices we purchased do not work for all people with hearing impairments. Therefore, a Hearing Device Committee has been formed to evaluate the assistive listening devices we currently have and make recommendations on hearing devices for MCBVI to purchase.




Blue Water League of the Blind

By Phillis Magbanua


The BWL had another busy summer. We had two or three activities each month and most of the activities were outside. Thankfully the weather cooperated!

I would like to take this time and say Thank You to Lindsey LaVere, her brother and his fiancé along with everyone else who helped make the float we rode-in on at the International Day Parade! They did a great job making the float shimmer and sparkle! The theme for the parade this year was holidays and the BWL chose the fourth of July. I also would like to say Thank You to Bob Furtado and Judy Duckworth for all their hard work this year! They both worked on our two fundraisers, the Murder Mystery Dinner and the sale trail. The money raised will help us to put on next year’s convention.

The members of the BWL are already hard at work planning the convention. In 2019, it will be held at the Blue Water Convention Center and the Double Tree By Hilton. The convention center is right next to the Blue Water Bridges and right next to the mouth of the Saint Clair river and Lake Huron. We already booked the Hotel rooms they will be $75per night and 11 percent tax. We are working on Freighter's Eatery and Taproom for braille menus. The theme for the convention will be “Disability in the 21st Century.” We are also discussing different programs and speakers. So, get ready for next year's convention on October 25th thru 27, but if you plan to come on Thursday October 24, the price will still be $75 with 11 percent tax.

We are planning an activity for that night. We will keep you updated.

We wish everyone very Happy Holidays.


Capital Area

By Donna Rose


This will be our last newsletter article. The Capital Area chapter met in October and since no one was willing to take on the leadership roles, it was determined we would have to fold at the end of this calendar year. We will hold a holiday party in December. Members decided to donate some of our small remaining funds to a couple of Christmas charities toward the end of the year such as Toys for Tots. Members were given information about how to rejoin MCBVI as a Member at Large, or as a part of the newly formed Mitten phone chapter.

We were not able to gather enough interest to attend the Michigan Princess River cruise, but we did hold a well-attended picnic at Cotton Wood Camp Ground in early August where we had boxed lunches from the Honey Baked Ham Company in Lansing. From all of us here, we wish you a blessed holiday season and a very happy New Year!


Mitten Phone Chapter

By Rosemarie Facilla


Great news! The Mitten Phone Chapter received our charter at the banquet at this year’s convention. It was presented to our president, Frank Cunningham. We began to collect dues from those who attended the convention and are in the process of setting up a bank account so when members send in their dues we may deposit them and a web site where members may pay on line if they choose.

The Mittens held an election via Email, chapter list, and phone; it was successful, although there were a few glitches. The voting committee, Dave Gordon, Laura Pappas, and Rosemarie Facilla will review the process and make improvements and recommendations for changes.

We thank our calling committee Karla Fields and Marcia Moses for contacting those members who do not have Email or access to the internet for reading the introductions written by the candidates running for the office of secretary and giving them the phone in number so they may vote.

Our candidates running were Janet Gardner, Merisa Musemic, and Rhonda Stogner. We thank all of you for stepping out of the box and being brave enough to run for an office.

The Mittens have created a listserv for our chapter through Groups.io and if you contact David Gordon or Rosemarie Facilla we can make sure you get signed up for the list.

Dave Gordon and Rosemarie Facilla are the website committee for our chapter and are working hard to get the website running.

We had our first face-to face meeting at convention and it was announced at the meeting that Merisa Musemic had won the election for secretary of our chapter.

Our officers now are as follows:

Frank Cunningham, President

Tyrone Hamilton, Vice President

Merisa Musemic, Secretary

Rosemarie Facilla, Treasurer

We have added two new members since convention and becoming Chartered, Libby Magee and Denise Thompson. Welcome to our new members!

Thank you to everyone who worked hard to help us to become an active chartered chapter of MCBVI!



By Cathy Daily


During the month of November, the Northerners will be collecting food for Thanks Giving baskets to be given to those in need! DHs will be passing out the baskets. We will also be collecting books and dvds to donate to a nursing home after the library has their book sale!

From all of us up north we hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!


Visually Impaired Persons for Progress

by Malaina VanderWal


In late August, VIPP held its annual summer picnic at Wedgewood Park in Grandville! Thankfully, the weather was good that day and all who went seemed to enjoy themselves! Unfortunately I was unable to attend this year.

In September, we had Linda Zizos from the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) as our guest speaker! Linda gave an overview of the various services ABVI provides.  She welcomed everyone to visit the facility, and to consult with ABVI staff as various needs arise.  We thank her for talking with us about what ABVI has to offer.

From October 5-7, many VIPP members attended the 2018 MCBVI Convention in Kalamazoo Michigan. We also had four first time attendees from VIPP this year which was great to see! It is always fun and interesting meeting all of the members from across MCBVI!

By the time this newsletter is published, VIPP will have a new President elected as I am term limited! I want to take a moment to reflect back upon the last four years.

In 2014, I was elected to my first term as VIPP President.  Prior to this, I served one year as Vice President.

Over the last four years our membership has grown, and a number of our members are now taking an active role in VIPP and MCBVI.  We have a phone conference line which is available to VIPP members to use if they are unable to attend our meetings in person.  In fact, three or four VIPP members typically attend our meetings in this manner.

Finally, over the last four years, I have learned many things and I will continue to learn and grow in my leadership skills. I thank the VIPP membership and my fellow officers for allowing me the honor of serving as VIPP President.  Your support was invaluable!  I hope to provide the same level of support and encouragement to VIPP members who take on new rolls within our chapter.  Even though my Presidency is coming to a close, I am sure I will find other areas of which I can be of help to the next President of Visually Impaired Persons for Progress!


Next MCBVI News Deadline

March 15, 2019

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


To Contact the Editors:

Malaina VanderWal



Becky Kooistra



Mary Beth Ridder




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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