AFFILIATE NEWS

** Accomplishing change for blind Minnesotans

ACB of Minnesota will hold its convention Jan. 21-23, 2011, at the Holiday Inn-Minneapolis Metrodome, 1500 Washington Ave., Minneapolis, Minn. A block of rooms has been reserved for us at the rate of $99 (plus tax) for single or double occupancy. Rooms must be reserved by Dec. 15, 2010. You can call 1-800-448-3663 or (612) 333-4646 to reserve your room. Please mention ACBM when making your reservation to receive our convention rate.

The complete convention package costs $50, which includes breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning and the Saturday evening banquet.

The convention begins Friday evening. Come mingle and pick up your convention program between 4 and 7 p.m. At 7 p.m., activities begin. You can learn to play the piano with Shanta Hejmadi of Simply Music, or play audio darts with Sam Jasmine.

Both Saturday and Sunday will begin with breakfast at 8 a.m. Speakers include: Richard Strong, director of state services for the blind; John Davis, superintendent of the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind; Lane Waters; Stuart Holland, Manager, Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network; and Nancy Prusing, visually impaired services coordinator for the Veterans Administration. In addition, we will hold an employment seminar featuring Pam Brown, director of work force development for state services for the blind, and Walter Waranka, Life Track Resources. We also plan to host a legislative roundtable so you can hear what your state legislator has to say and ask questions.

And don't forget exhibits! From 4:00 until 6:00, come and visit our vendors. We'll have everything from the latest technology to jewelry, candles and dog treats. The banquet begins at 7 p.m. Meal choices are: roast turkey and dressing; grilled Atlantic salmon with mango relish; and grilled top sirloin with peppercorn sauce. All entrees include salad, rolls, potato, chef's choice vegetable, and chocolate amaretto or strawberry mousse. Our banquet entertainment will be readers from the radio reading service reading excerpts from their favorite books.

On Sunday after breakfast, we will hold our January quarterly membership meeting. The convention will end by noon on Sunday.

To register, send a check to our post office box. Please indicate your banquet choice when you register. Registrations or requests to register at the convention should be received no later than Jan. 10. If you have registered, or indicated that you plan to register at the convention and find you are unable to attend, contact us by Jan. 15.

Payment for the convention should be sent to: ACBM, P.O. Box 7341, Minneapolis, MN 55407. For more information, contact Janet Dickelman, phone (651) 428-5059, or e-mail [email protected]

** Mountain State Council Convention A Success

The Mountain State Council of the Blind (MSCB) held its annual convention Sept. 17-18 at the Wingate Hotel in Charleston, W.Va. The convention began with an informative student seminar, which was attended by four students and two teachers of the visually impaired. Discussions included the following topics: career research; identifying and resolving conflict in school and social situations; and the benefits of exercise for maintaining good health and relieving stress.

Friday afternoon and evening, convention attendees had the opportunity to browse exhibits. Exhibitors included Jack Wood from Win Tech, John Morretto from En-Vision America, and Linda Yost from the Job Accommodation Network.

A talented group of musicians from the Charleston area entertained us on Friday evening by playing bluegrass and Southern gospel music.

On Saturday morning four excellent speakers presented us with some valuable and timely information. Chuck Huss from WVDRS updated us on the low vision driving program. Darren Burton from AFB Tech informed us of the process used for evaluating mainstream products and working with the companies to make them more accessible. He also demonstrated some cell phones and electronic book readers. Marcia Springston, a blind potter, informed us of what is involved in making her own pottery and selling it.

The final speaker of the morning was ACB president Mitch Pomerantz. He addressed the issue of "Is it discrimination, or is it just life"?

During lunch Sheri Koch from WVDRS updated us on the programs offered by WVDRS for blind and visually impaired individuals; David Allen, principal of the state school for the blind, reported on the status and programs there; and Patrick Sheehan, Silver Spring, Md., told us about the upcoming mid-Atlantic convention.

We held our business meeting Saturday afternoon. Pomerantz addressed the group during the banquet, after which we held a fun and very successful auction.

** North Carolina Holds 42nd Annual Convention

The North Carolina Council of the Blind held its annual convention Sept. 24-26 at the Holiday Inn North in Raleigh. Guests for the convention were Brenda Dillon, ACB 2nd vice president, and Dan Dillon, Tennessee Council of the Blind president.

Speakers in the educational sessions addressed a number of issues relating to health, personal safety and services available to the blind. Kim Hanchette, founder of Diabetes Management Solutions, discussed living with and controlling the impact of diabetes on one's daily life. Brandon Madden, North Carolina Department of Justice, reviewed efforts by the attorney general's office to counter identity theft and telephone scams. Joyce Allen, Alliance of Disability Advocates, presented an overview of the Partnership for Breast Health, a project of the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Barbria Bacon, director of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, reported on legislative decisions affecting the future of the school.

Other topics dealt with understanding voting machine technology and the approaching November elections, North Carolina Radio Reading Services and the North Carolina Library for the Blind's expanding digital book program. From the national level, Brenda Dillon brought members up to date on ACB's legislative and regulatory efforts on behalf of the blind and visually impaired.

The Saturday evening banquet featured keynote speakers Brenda and Dan Dillon, recognition of NCCB scholarship winners and selection of two members for life memberships in ACB. The Dillons presented an informative dialogue on marketing the organization and its mission on the local and state levels. Recipients of the Marie Boring and Theodore Bryant scholarships, respectively, were Justin Salisbury, East Carolina University, and Vanessa Lennon, Benedictine College. One of the highlights of the annual convention was the announcement of the ACB life memberships awarded by NCCB to recognize service to the chapters and the state organization. The 2010 recipients were Barbara Lacy of Raleigh and Allena Eller of Troutman. The evening ended with a musical program by Brenda and Dan Dillon, who performed traditional and country favorites as well as several of their own musical compositions.

In the Sunday morning business session, Tamika Polk of Greensboro was elected as a board member-at-large.


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