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: 1 206 666 3696

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Chapters in Michigan:


Highlights in this issue include:


President's Update

Rosemarie Facilla, President


Hello, MCBVI Members:

I would like everyone to know we all have been working hard over the past few months. Our convention plans are falling into place thanks to the efforts of the Blue Water League and their dedicated commitment to making this a great convention.

We attended two transitional seminars the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) conducted:

1.          This past November, a seminar was held in Ann Arbor regarding employment in the automotive industry for our blind youth to consider. We had an opportunity to visit M City and ride the autonomous shuttle, which was exciting. There was also a visit to the University of Michigan 3D lab where we were each presented with a mini model of the shuttle.

2.          This past December, we went to Lansing for a one-day seminar where we represented our organization. The transitional seminar was for parents of students entering college. We shared information about our affiliate, our accessible prescription efforts, and informed interested persons about our internet radio station.

We recently returned from Washington D.C., where we took three imperatives to our representatives and senators on Capitol Hill. Our efforts were successful, having an opportunity to meet with some staff, and sharing our views and information with thirteen of the fourteen Michigan Michigan Representatives. We were able to meet with both our Senator Staff persons, and, overall, it was a successful endeavor.

I would like to wish our MCBVI Radio station a happy anniversary. It is hard to believe we've been broadcasting a year already. I also send special thanks to our engineer, Dave Gordon, as well as our management team, Joe Sibley, Michael Smith, and Radio Committee Chair, Rebecca Kooistra.

Special thanks also goes out to all our live show presenters, who help to make MCBVI Radio a wonderful listening experience with their talents.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season.

Phone: 231-759-8734

Cell: 231-286-4439



Convention Update

Phillis Magbanua, Chair


The time is coming closer for our 46th annual MCBVI State Convention. It will be held from October 24th to 27th at The Blue Water Convention Center and Double-Tree by Hilton. The address is 800 Harker St. Port Huron, MI 48060. Reservations can be made any time before September third. You can call in your reservation at 810-984-8000, or call the reservation line at 1-855-610-8733 and use the code word (LOB.).

The Hotel and Convention center are all in one building. Freighter Restaurant and a gift shop selling Michigan products are also available. A guide dog relief area will be provided to those with guide dogs.

I have been working with the restaurant to make up braille menus. Prior to convention, menus will be sent out by email.

This year's theme is "Disability in the 21st Century: Reflecting Back and Looking Forward."

Programs for Friday and Saturday are coming along. Here are a few of the speakers and topics we are planning:

Kelly Blackwell from Assisted Tech, Anne McPherson from Saint Clare County Community College (SC4), Coordinator of Academic Success of Disability Services Education, Karen from MUS Exaction Service Cooking, and Beth from Legal Aid Service from Lakeshore Road.

When we have more information, we will pass it along as it becomes available.

Currently, there is a Greyhound bus that comes into Port Huron twice a day. There is a bus leaving Kalamazoo and one leaving from Detroit, but it is important to check schedules for arrival and departure times as convention approaches. The Greyhound schedule often changes. The train is also an option to get to Port Huron. However, the train does not arrive until 11 p.m. Regardless of whether someone takes the Greyhound or the train, please let us know and we will make arrangements to pick you up.

If you wish to see a program at the convention, please contact me:

Phone: 810-966-9185


For more updates, visit our website at, or visit


MCBVI Pure Haven Fundraiser


From April 1st to May 4th, MCBVI will hold a fundraiser sponsored by Pure Haven Independent Consultant Jennifer Bolling. Pure Haven is a company which sells a variety of products free from toxic chemicals. All of the proceeds will be donated to MCBVI.

The members of MCBVI are encouraged to share this fundraiser with family and friends in supporting our goal to raise money to help to cover the cost for a first timer to go to the 2019 MCBVI State Convention.

The following are some of the product categories Pure Haven offers: body and hair, skin, cleaning, pet, and more.

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.

The website to shop and place an order is:

When placing your order, enter in the party number to insure the purchase is credited to the MCBVI fundraiser. The party number is: 241394

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

Phone: 715-573-0443


Malaina VanderWal

Phone: 616-308-9644









Legislative And Accessible Prescription Update

Casey Dutmer and Malaina VanderWal, Chairs


This is a combined report between our two committees, since they are working together on issues of accessibility which pertain to both.

First, as mentioned at the January MCBVI business meeting during the Legislative update, there were issues at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans specifically dealing with vending machines. The machines were not kept clean, did not work, and were not accessible for the people who lived there. This falls under the BSBP Vending Program, which prompted the bill SB 6311 GR Home for Veterans. This bill, if proposed, would have asked the Grand Rapids Home for veterans be exempted from Public Act 260. This is an exemption from the Randolph Sheppard Program, which the BSBP Vending program operates under. Many of the issues are actively being worked on. There is a new operator and it does not appear SB 6311 GR Home for Veterans will be moving forward as of this writing.

The legislative committee met on March second and discussed the three ACB imperatives. Also, we talked about whether or not we should work on making accessible prescription labeling a state law.

On February 16, 2019, we held a town hall meeting by conference call with guest Sharla Glass, Public Policy and Community Outreach Liaison with En-Vision America, a company providing audio, large print, and braille prescription labels solutions to pharmacies for a cost. The ScripTalk Station used to read the audio labels are loaned to consumers free of charge. Many of us use audio labels through En-Vision America through a local or mail order pharmacy that offers accessible labels. Sharla Glass was available to answer questions on how other states are working towards creating state legislation regarding accessible labels. Based on the response provided from the participants on the conference call, this is something members of MCBVI want to work towards. Currently, in Michigan, many people who would benefit from an accessible label are unable to get them because their pharmacy does not offer an accessible labeling solution. As stated in the past, not everyone is able to switch to a pharmacy where accessible labels are provided. The reasons are vast and the goal of our two committees will be to work together and identify key areas of concern to our members. In order for MCBVI to move forward, every person working on this must be on the same page and understand the goals we hope to achieve!

Also, we will be working on identifying state legislators with whom we will be able to forge a mutually positive and constructive relationship in order to move forward. After all, pharmacies do not dispense prescriptions without a print label to their consumers with vision! We deserve the same considerations to have equal access to prescription labels as anyone!


MCBVI Radio Update

Rebecca Kooistra, Chair


On March 16th, MCBVI Radio celebrated its one-year anniversary with an Anniversary Celebration which featured three of our six live presenters. Mike Smith, Joe Sibley, and Dave & Becky put on special shows which highlighted what makes each of their shows unique. A contest was held in which $50 and $100 were given away. Congratulations to the winners!

When MCBVI Radio launched on March 3rd, 2018, it was primarily automation and had none of its own live presenters. In one short year, we went from no live presenters to call our own to six:

1.          Mike Smith, host of 45's Alive on Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern, and 45's Alive Tuesday Country Show Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern.

2.          Dave and Becky, co-hosts of The No Name Show With Him & Her which airs on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Eastern.

3.          Alex Banwell, host of Worship Unlimited on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. Even though she is not technically an MCBVI Radio broadcaster, we have adopted her into our family.

4.          Joe Sibley, who broadcasts from The Basement on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Eastern.

5.          Thad Zaremba, who finally agreed to do a live show for MCBVI Radio, tune into 70sish on Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern.

6.          Denise Thompson is the latest live broadcaster on MCBVI Radio with Watchin' on the Radio, which is a program all about modern day radio shows. It airs on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m. Eastern.

As one of the promos states, "You never know what you are going to hear on MCBVI Radio." Also, you never know when the schedule will change as new programming becomes available, so be sure to frequently check out the schedule page on

Also, there are a variety of listening options at the link above, click on the listen link for the available options.

Finally, MCBVI Radio would not be where it is today, if it were not for you, our loyal and supportive listeners! We at MCBVI Radio thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!


Membership Update

Charis Austin, Treasurer


At the time of this writing, the annual membership activities are almost complete. All information has been entered in the ACB database. We are still looking to add members. Remember that last year I announced a goal of getting a total of 175 members. At last year's convention we had 154 members. We lost some members because of the Capital Area Chapter dissolving and some other members making the decision not to renew. As of this writing, MCBVI has 141 members.

We have members from 10 states: Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Unduplicated chapter breakdown is as follows:

Blue Water League (BWL): 33

Members At Large: 10

Mitten Phone Chapter: 32

Northerners: 5

Visually Impaired Persons for Progress (VIPP): 61

Total: 141


Please continue to recruit new members. Remember there is still a goal of reaching 175 members.

If you change your contact information or need a change of material format, please contact me.

Phone: 616-532-4737






Nominations Update

Karla Fields, Chair


In October, during the 2019 MCBVI State Convention, we will be having elections for the following offices: First Vice President, Second Vice President, Treasurer, and Assistant Secretary.

As of March 2019, there is a candidate for First Vice President, and Treasurer. The candidate for First Vice President is Phyllis Magbanua, and for Treasurer the Candidate is Charis Austin.

Please notify any member of the Nominating Committee if you know of someone who would want to run for office, or you yourself wish to run. The members of the Nominations Committee are:

Karla Fields, Chair

Phone: 586-465-2338

Debbie Robinson

Phone: 616-235-8189


Arlene Moore

Phone: 517-374-8681.

Please contact us with candidate suggestions for any of the offices mentioned above.


Publications Update

Malaina VanderWal, Coeditor


June 15, 2019, will be the next deadline for Newsletter submissions. Anything sent after the 15th, will be held until the fall edition. If you have any suggestions on what you may want to read about in the MCBVI News, please send them to Rebecca Kooistra, Mary Beth Ridder and I, want to make our newsletter informative and interesting for our readers! As coeditors, we work tirelessly to make sure our newsletter is something MCBVI members will want to read! We will take suggestions under advisement, as there are certain items we include in each issue when available.


Resolutions Update

Malaina VanderWal, Chair


At the beginning of 2019, a copy of the resolution we passed during the 2018 MCBVI Convention concerning Equal Access to Absentee Voting was sent to the Bureau of Elections and the Secretary of State. Conversations with the Bureau of Elections will continue as we work together to navigate the different obstacles with regards to equal access to absentee voting. Obviously, a solution needs to be secure and accessible for our members and other disability groups. It may also require changes in legislation. Conversations have been constructive and are moving along in a meaningful direction.

In addition to the voting resolution, copies of both the Unmanned Amtrak Stations and Amtrak Safety Resolutions were sent to the American Council of the Blind, (ACB) and to Amtrak. While in Washington D.C., the opportunity presented itself to once again bring our concerns to the attention of ACB and remind them of our concerns and issues raised in our two resolutions.

Please contact me to submit a suggestion for a resolution topic for 2019. The Resolutions Committee will explore suggestions. When possible supply us with background information. This will help us create a quality resolution for MCBVI. Resolutions are important to help us establish priorities for our organization.

I can be reached at the following:

Phone: 616-308-9644



Technology Update

Jackie Boomstra, Chair


The Assistive Listening Device Committee has recommended purchasing four new headsets and four new adapters to be used by individuals with a hearing loss at MCBVI conventions and events. We recommend that people who utilize assistive listening devices bring their own headsets if they have one that works for them.

We will be offering a technology workshop later this year. The date and topic will be announced when details have been finalized.


Chapter Updates From Around Michigan


Blue Water League (BWL) Update

Phyllis Magbanua, President


It has been a very busy year, so far, for the BWL members. In January, we held elections for Vice President, Treasurer, and Delegate. Bob Furtado is still our Vice President and Wayne LePiors is still our Treasurer. Since nobody stepped-up to take the Delegate position, Bob Furtado said he would fill the job.

After the elections, we discussed our upcoming fundraiser for the convention. We will be doing a 1950s Murder Mystery Dinner to raise money for the convention. We will be very busy for the next two months getting ready for our fundraiser.

In February, the BWL members met at the Pioneer Restaurant for our annual Valentine's Dinner. We had a great time with friends and good food. There were 16 of us in attendance.

I hope everybody has a very nice spring and a very Happy Easter!


Mitten Phone Update

Frank Cunningham, President


The Mitten Phone Chapter meets the fourth Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. Eastern. It is designed to connect members, who, for various reasons, are not able to attend meetings at a local chapter. We currently have 33 members and growing as the word is getting out. We welcome our newest member Marcie Brink-Chaney from Royal Oak.

The chapter would like to thank the MCBVI Board for the $200 donation of startup money. It has surely helped us get off the ground and running.

The group has explored the options of having different groups or speakers on our conference calls, as well as, the idea of a social night where games like "Family Feud" or "Trivia," could be played or a movie shown. Another idea was a short bio to better know our members. If interested, anyone may call in. To obtain the conference call number, contact either of the following:

Rosemarie Facilla

Phone: 231-759-8734

Dave Gordon

Phone: 928-852-4101.

Check out our website:




The Northerner's Update

Cathy Daily, President


This winter was extremely cold in the Cadillac area and our members were not able to be as productive as we would have hoped. We were able to donate afghan blankets to our local hospital and a bake sale is planned for the near future. We will also be helping our local Lions Club with the White Cane week during the first part of May.

Best wishes to everyone in MCBVI from all of us in The Northerner's.


Next MCBVI News Deadline

June 15, 2019

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


To Contact the Editors:

Malaina VanderWal


Rebecca 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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