NFB logo and tagline - voice of the Nation's Blind. 'Whozit' is a stylized figure of a person using a long cane. The head of the figure is a yellow-orange crescent-shape, the right arm is red and holds a light gray cane, the left shoulder and right leg are violet, and the left leg is light blue.

NFB Open to All Conference Call

February 2012

We had over fifteen people on this month's NFB Open Call and we got lots of information about legislation nationally and regarding LD 765 on the state level. But since not everyone on our Open Call mailing list was able to be with us, here are the highlights.

Our speakers were Roger Cusson and Leon Proctor, Jr., who had just returned from the annual National Federation of the Blind Washington Seminar. They joined with over six hundred blind consumer advocates to learn the major points on three pieces of legislation. Then they met with the congressional Delegations of their own States. Attached are pictures of Leon and Roger with Snowe and Michaud, but they were able to meet with all four. Roger reported that the response to the "Fair Wages Act" or the Unfair Wages Act", was quite positive. For more information and fact sheets on each piece of legislation go to
www.nfb.org/nfb/Washington_Seminar.asp

There is a conference call this week and our team will hear about the folow-up strategies and we'll let you know what you can do to assist in the effort. Be sure to read the attached article about the Washington Seminar from Leon Proctor.

Our guest speaker was John McMahon, director of DBVI. He spoke of where LD 765 stands now: before the Appropriations Committee...again. He is doing some work with Jim Phipps to try to get a hearing, but they feel this is unlikely. We'll get the word out if they do come up with a date. Thank you to the thirty-plus blind consumers who made it to the work session on February 17. It sure makes an impression when that many people with canes and dogs go to a meeting that will not be taking testimony. And we thank John for joining us. He frames the problem for blind consumers of all ages in a very compelling way, as a blind person, himself. Plus with his experience and research into programs for the blind, he suggested what might be happening in the near future. The trend is for politicians to want to consolidate programs for the blind under Education, usually. Research, and our personal experience, show that is not effective for a population that is effected by blindness and whose rehabilitation needs are complex and involve all aspects of life and not just a few weeks of physical therapy and it's done.

As a practitioner of holistic healthcare services, it is my hope and prayer that services for the blind will become more "holistic" and involve the "whole person": adjustment mentally and physically at home, at school and/or work and beyond. The medical model has become more about the "whole person", maybe it is an idea that can catch on. We can make it happen, together!

Thank you,
Patricia C. Estes
President, NFB of Maine
207 344 8292

Next Month: March 15: Joanne Wilson from NFB speaking on and taking questions about the NFB Rehabilitation Centers.

"The Voice of the Blind-Changing what it means to be blind in Maine!"


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