National Federation of the Blind of Florida

Board Meeting Minutes

March 6, 2011


President Dan Hicks called the meeting to order at 8:09 PM.

Present were:

Dan Hicks - President

Dwight Sayer - First Vice President

Joe Minichiello - Second Vice President

Sherri Brun - Secretary

Gloria Hicks - Treasurer

Kathy Davis - Board Member

Carlos Montas - Board Member

Sherrill O'Brien - Board Member

Denise Valkema - Board Member


A motion was made to approve the minutes as corrected. The minutes were approved as corrected.


Gloria gave the treasurer’s report. Operations $19.122.47, Newsline® 11,199.49, but has requested our grant which should arrive soon. No statement of our investments from Wachovia is available at this time. The Fedex bill to ship the duplicators to Tampa was 66.24. Blind Driver Challenge: We received $10,000 as a grant from the National Office and we spent a total of $11,384.78. This does not include about another $400. We spent less for Washington Seminar this year than last year, because we did not send as many people. We spent $2,919.20 and $44.35 for Washington Seminar. In December a few checks were sent out. We have spent $15,917.79 under travel. A grant for $803 came from University of Virginia and was put accidentally into our account, but was meant for Florida Organization of Parents of Blind Children, so it was sent to them. The treasurer’s report was approved as read.


Dan presented the presidents report. The agenda letter is out, but we have no commitment from the library to send the letter. We have not heard from Susan Roberts, the director of the Florida Talking Books Library with a positive response. The library personnel told the Jacksonville chapter which is trying to get a flier out about its up-coming picnic that the printer is broken. They are not going to get it fixed. Their chapter picnic is for 04/16. This item will be dealt with in New Business. There was a report on the Blind Driver Challenge on the Today Show this morning. We are trying to get Martha Harmon-Pardee for our Talking Book reader. Anil Lewis is our National Rep for this year. Dan also talked with Anil about hosting a convention since the Georgia affiliate has hosted several. We could make about $10 per ticket off of a beach party. This event must be arranged through Mrs. Jernigan and the hotel. T-shirts was the biggest fund-raiser. It was suggested that we sell a T-shirt with an orange on the front saying “Orange you glad you’re in Florida?” This item will be deferred for later discussion. Kitty King has candy available from a company called Davidson-Dundee. It could work as a sort of keepsake in a goodie bag. This is available for 63 cents each. The down-side is that it is not a permanent keepsake.


The Newsline® report was given. After much discussion, the motion to order 1,000 of each of the two brochures, the how to use the service and the introduction to the service was passed. We have not yet received our contract. Sherri Brun will draft a letter requesting an explanation of services from Scott White and an explicit contract, which is due in March.


The scholarship report was given by Sherrill O’Brien, as Kathy Davis our scholarship chair could not participate in the board meeting. . We have $4500 to hand out. We will have three $1500 scholarships. Joe asked how scholarship issue is being handled for honoring people. We will name those for whom the scholarship is being given. Each honoree from each chapter donating scholarship funds will be mentioned. The deadline for applications is April 25. Committee members are contacting the various high schools, colleges and other organizations to distribute these applications. We have received the funds from the Daytona chapter, the Pinellas chapter and the Orlando chapter, but not the Miami Dade chapter. All agree that the way money is distributed is a good thing. Kathy is very concerned about the existence of a student division. Denise Valkema said that Nallym Bravo, the NFBF student division secretary came to the chapter meeting last month and brought two students with her.


Gloria gave the events committee report. The first part of the agenda dealt with the 15 sub-committees reporting. We will have to meet once a month to keep progressing with the momentum of planning this convention since we signed the contract before we knew that the national convention would be in Orlando. Gloria asked Dan to comment on the agenda development. The agenda committee has gotten together an agenda that is mostly complete. The parents’ division information still needs to be filled in. We need to soon find out about our break-out rooms. The students want a student break-out seminar. Joe asked why we need both, a student meeting and a student luncheon. This is to generate interest in the student division. This is motivational as much as for any other reason. Alicia has speakers she wants to invite. The elections should be held in the break-out session. The Pinellas people are getting people to work on invocations. Gloria as events committee chair is watching convention developments closely and is in contact with several Pinellas chapter members. Communication between the Pinellas chapter and the state affiliate needs to be encouraged. Debbie will also have a hospitality room and she is furnishing the snack items and the drinks. For those people who preregister, we are giving them a coupon for a free drink. We need to ask the library what we need to do to make sure the convention announcements are printed. Joe is concerned about the legal ramifications selling beer and wine in the hospitality suite. Alcohol was sold at a convention several years ago when Donna and Charles Hackney hosted a hospitality event. Gloria feels we are okay but will check on this.


Gloria asked if we could get a speaker to talk about guide dog users being thrown out of restaurants. Sherrill says this is an on-going educational process which she is doing through FLAGDU. The information is in the police handbooks. Marion also has created a Mandarin flier. As a member of FLAGDU and NAGDU, the blind person is educated as to the steps he can take. We have several access examples which will be discussed at the convention. At our FLAGDU meeting, a flight attendant will be there to discuss airline safety and dogs. Sherrill did reach South-Eastern about the donation from David Wermuth’s chapter. They did find the entry that shows that a check had been written by the Hernando-East Pasco chapter on 09/22 to south-Eastern Dog Guide School. The person’s name was Jennifer from the financial department. We thanked Sherrill for finding out the information.


Joe reported for the fund-raising committee. Gina is working on getting an e-mail with ideas for fund-raising out to the Board.


The state convention was further discussed as an agenda item. Gloria feels like the development of a deaf-blind breakout group is not workable, because she has not found a source for interpreters. Dan put out an e-mail several weeks ago that there was interest in developing a division. Joe recommended establishing a deaf-blind committee first. They can still be responsible for getting their own speakers, interpreters, etc. here is already an association that deals with issues of the deaf-blind. Could not Tracy and others get involved with that one? Joe recommends forming a deaf-blind committee butt they should attend convention this year and possibly form it next year. Dwight suggested inviting the Florida Association for Deaf-Blind to our convention. They might have resources for interpretation. Someone will call the association to see if they can be of any help. DBS out of their budget helped Joe Nulty in starting an organization for Deaf-Blind several years ago. Gloria helped to incorporate that entity. They meet once a year. Gloria wondered if Tracy knows about the existence of the Florida Association for the Deaf-Blind. Gloria made a motion that a deaf-blind committee be formed. It was seconded by Joe. Joe suggested a friendly amendment to the motion that an exploratory committee be established with Tracy Innman as chair to assist in the viability of forming of this committee. After discussion, the motion carried.


The issue of Robert Kinget speaking about overcoming his childhood traumas and coping with his blindness was brought up. The motion was made by Dwight and seconded by Sherri that he not speak at this particular state convention due to circumstances of time and other factors. During discussion, Joe Minichiello suggested if there were an appropriate break-out seminar, he could possibly speak to that group. The stated motion passed.


Dwight is coming off the rehab council in August. Dan will get started with his recommendation right away since it takes quite awhile to process. Dan will contact Phyllis Dill so she can walk him through the process.


There were conflicting conversations about the mail-out going from the library. Dan will call the director and then possibly Joyce Hildreth.


It was suggested that we encourage Pinellas chapter board members to send out announcements about the convention to the email list. These could be trivia about the eighties, announcements of fun events at the convention, etc. Larry Ball is sending out fliers and talking to people about the upcoming state convention. Dan suggested a panel on senior issues in addition to the senior’s seminar. Jose suggested we have someone come in to discuss senior rights. We could check with someone from elder affairs from the state level. Carlos says he has a contact with elder affairs, the director of the consumer-directed care program for seniors and he will contact her and get back to us.


At national convention the possibility of producing and handing out mugs was discussed. Lots of logistics of arranging and setting them out makes it complicated. It was suggested to hand out the fruit candy at the door. That could get complicated. The cost of purchasing this candy for $3,000 people is $1890. We could consider selling the candy for $1.50 a package. Gloria will discuss with Kitty ordering a smaller quantity, perhaps 1500 to sell at our table. We also discussed the possibility of having a beach party. Anil Lewis said that the affiliate makes about $10 a ticket. Money can also be made on the sale of t-shirts. Several designs for a t-shirt were discussed. Dan said that at a past state convention, envelopeners were handed out. We could give these away, but again, the cost for purchase might be prohibitive. Several of us have contacts with people who do t-shirts. Dan suggested selling them in different colors. We need to come up with a proposal. A committee was performed to write a proposal for t-shirts. The committee members will consist of Dan Hicks, Gloria Hicks,
Denise Valkema, Joe Minichiello and Gina Minichiello if she is agreeable. We also planned a meeting for the budget committee. The budget committee will meet 3/23 at 8 PM. The t-shirt committee will meet 03/09 at 8 PM. Storing them will be a problem so hopefully, they can be produced in Orlando.


Giving the tape duplicating equipment to the Connecticut affiliate was again discussed. Gloria will find out the cost. She needs the number of miles. Connecticut said that they will pay up to $150 for shipping to acquire the equipment.


It was discussed in passing that the Mid-Florida Council of the Blind introduced in their meeting an amendment to their chapter bylaws to change the name of there group to Greater Orlando council of the Blind. This will be voted on at the next meeting. Dwight stated that this can be confusing in involving people and in fund-raising efforts. Holly Idler will probably have a problem with this. It was stated that Holly is doing a good job at president. Holly has also agreed to do a walk-through of the hotel. The chapter will also do a walk-through.


Our final door prize for the close of national convention was discussed. It was suggested we give out $2,011 in the mouth of a stuffed alligator. Joe suggested calling it the great gator grab. Joe Minichiello made the motion that we give out a stuffed alligator with $2,011 as our final prize. The motion carried.


Our next NFBF board meeting will be April 3. Gloria [pointed out that we will not have all our bank statements at that time. The second Sunday is our presidents meeting. The meeting adjourned at 11:13 PM.


Sherri Hicks, Secretary

National Federation of the Blind of Florida


[Click Here to Return to NFBF Minutes Page.]