NFB of Maine News Matters for March, 2012
Vol.1 Issue 3
March 27, 2012
editor: Patricia E. C. Estes, Affiliate President
Heads Up! New News & Announcements!
In this issue:
*Save the Date
*Meet Ron Gardner, our speaker in April-an audio interview
*Education, VR and BEP
*Gidgey-Gadgets for Sale and Non-Profit
SAVE THIS DATE: Saturday, April 21
On Saturday, the NFB of Maine will be meeting at Pat's Pizza on State Street in Augusta. We will begin at 10:00 a.m. (and they'll still have their breakfast menu open), break for lunch around noon(we will order for ourselves off their great menu) and, for those who can stay with us, take a short break around 2:30 p.m. for coffee/dessert. We have the room till four and Pat's has been very generous in not charging us for the use of a nice room, so we'll order from their great Italian menu, talk about the Federation in Maine, get to know one another in person (after eighteen months of conference calls!) and have fun! We urge all members and welcome all others to come and learn about the NFB-what we're up to in Maine as well as the purpose of our National movement. Walter Woitesek will have an explanation and demonstration of NFB Newsline for us. Information about the NFB and membership sign up will be available. We'll have a brief meeting of our new At Large Chapter (see next item) and after lunch, ron Gardner will conduct an informal Leadership Workshop that is open to everyone. (Many of you have met ron, as he travels to Maine as our National Representative to help and to train. He can also talk to individuals about the NFB Centers and is a graduate of the Louisiana Centr for the Blind.)
WE'VE MET A LONG TERM GOAL!
Our past president, Steve Sawczyn, and I have had a goal of an At Large Chapter for Maine for several years. We have been short on active members, so to keep all of us connected and to build friendships within the blindness community in Maine, we have hosted our NFB Open to All Calls each month for eighteen months. During these calls we had speakers, shared all sorts of announcements and stayed up to date on the state legislative issues. Although we now have to discontinue the regular Open Call, this does not mean that much is changing. Anyone is welcome to check us out at our meetings in person and on our monthly calls. (see next item) Some of these calls will have speakers and we will conduct some NFB business that NFB members can vote on and those who are not members can just sit out for a bit. We have replaced the "Open Call" with The Lighthouse At Large Chapter of the NFB of Maine monthly meetings by conference call. (except for April and October, when we get together)."At Large" means that, for the time being, there is no particular geographic location that the defines where the chapter is located. All blind people, their family and friends in Maine fit into this "at large" category. Eventually we will have local chapters as a result of this. But one thing at a time! Right now, our phone meetings will be on Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m. beginning in May. At our meeting at Pat's in April, paid and voting members will be able to choose which Saturday of the month we will meet. According to the chapter constitution, the executive officers of the Affiliate will also serve as the Executive Officers of this new chapter . We can add board members as needed. This is very exciting! We have not only met some important goals, we will better reach the blind of Maine, coordinate efforts and come together to share and learn. October is "Meet the Blind Month" and there are White Cane walks around the State as well as our annual NFB of Maine state convention at the end of October. The first week of October, the NFB of Maine will be participating in the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston-Auburn for "Meet the Blind Month." (more info to come)
TOLL FREE CALL IN CONFERENCE CALL NUMBER
Previously, our conference line was a toll call to call into. It cost the Affiliate nothing to use this line, but it excluded some who did not have extended long distance coverage. So, we now have an 800 number for all to use. This will be a bill for the Affiliate, but it is worth it to be able to reach everyone who wants to check us out. (can you say "fund raising"?) the new and Toll Free Number is: Dial in number: 1 800 582 3014 Participant code: 610 549 332# It will be available and announced for our chapter calls as well as the NFB Newsline ad hoc committee calls with Walter Woitesek.
OUR OWN WEBSITE!
The NFB of Maine just went "live" with our website. Many thanks to Robert Leslie Newman for helping us and to Roger Cusson, who will be our web master. We will be putting up more content soon, but for now what we have is at: www.nfb-me.org
Many of you will soon be receiving a mailing that will invite you to apply for NFB Newsline. Newsline is an NFB project for any who are print-impaired and offers hundreds of periodicals and books at the touch of a key pad (phone or computer). Applying for NFB Newsline does not make you a member of NFB, unless you choose to do this step, also. NFB Newsline requires annual funding and, right now, our VP, Walter Woitesek, is looking to see how many would be interested in such a free (to the user) service.
EDUCATION, VR AND BEP IN MAINE:
Funding is tight everywhere across the country and state politicians seem to be willing to try anything that seems, on the surface, would save money. But chopping up services to the blind from the blind student to the blind employed and taxpayer in Maine is on the appropriations agenda and chopping block. The voice of the blind consumer needs to be heard in the Maine legislature: don't mess any further with LD 765 and don't pit the blind student against the blind adult seeking services, beyond that! Our younger generation of blind people in Maine need services AND good adult blind role models who are independent, employed and engaged in the community as a whole. This happens through a seamless provision of services to the blind from childhood to adult years, and the research is there to back this up. Also, the Randolph-Shepherd Act (Business Enterprise Program) is also at risk in Maine. Politicians want to open the program to any disability, when this was created with the unique needs of the blind and the horrendous unemployment rate of the blind in mind. The State cannot change a Federal regulation and what seems to be happening in Maine is that the blind of any age in Maine is a target for funding cuts...because, after all, "what do the blind really think they can do, anyway?" The blind community in Maine is uniting to push back these archaic and illegal ideas. We appreciate all who are working on this and add our calls to the legislature for the next few weeks about LD 765.
GIDGEY-GADGETS for sale and "non-profit":
The members of the NFB of Maine are donating our old, but beloved, Computer Stuff to be sold as a fund raiser for the Affiliate. Your "purchase" will be a "donation" to the NFB and our non-profit organization and you will receive a receipt. Some items are: a Nokia cell phone loaded with Talks, a Sony seven inch reel-to-reel player/recorder (really) and the list is growing. Some things will be available at our April 21 meeting.
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS FAR!
Patricia C. Estes
"The Voice of the Blind-changing what it means to be blind in Maine!"