Board Meeting

April 23, 2017

Meeting called to order at 8:02 PM


Present:  President - Denise Valkema, 1st Vice President - Paul Martinez, 2nd Vice President - Miranda Kilby, Secretary - Sylvia Young, Treasurer - Gloria Mills-Hicks, Board members: 2 Jorge Hernandez, and 3 Tekesha Saffold

President report:  I wrote 15 president letters for national student scholarship applicants and seven president letters for Kenneth Jernigan convention scholarship applicants after interviewing each individual. I enjoyed speaking briefly on philosophy and organizational structure during the Jacksonville Chapter meeting and enjoyed attending the Tallahassee Chapter meeting. It was nice uniting with old and new federationists. I attended our President’s committee call, agenda call, a national legislative call with Hernandez, and my local chapter meeting in Miami.  Martinez attended the elections meeting with the Daytona Beach Chapter and Scott will assist the new president.  The Pinellas Chapter had recent elections with Janice Snow as their new president.  A motion was made by Hernandez to reimburse Martinez for travel expenses to Daytona for their chapter’s meeting and elections; second by Young. Motion approved by all and passed. 


Secretary Report:  A motion was made by Martinez to accept the March minutes as sent via email; second by Mills-Hicks approved by all and passed. 


Treasurer Report:  Gloria reported the end of March bank balances:  Newsline -  $44,591.16; Operations -  $6,488.93A motion was made by Kilby to accept treasurer’s report; second by Hernandez.  Motion approved by all and passed. 


Division/committee/chapter reports:

Saffold reported the Palm Beach Chapter will have 5 members attending the state convention and I have emailed Gloria with the info on who will be staying in the room given to our chapter

I will email the information on person for the convention award.  We are selling raffle tickets for a Mother’s Day basket and will be having a spaghetti luncheon fundraiser.  We may relocate to a different meeting place because of Duffy's renovations.  The Empowerment committee will be meeting on April 24th to plan for state convention.


Hernandez reported the Miami-Dade Chapter has finalized the travel logistics for our State Convention.  The chapter is taking a total of 9 members in a van which has been donated.  Other members will be making arrangements to travel to Orlando on their own. The chapter completed the fundraiser of the Worlds Famous Chocolates and the members participated greatly in this fundraiser.  For the Month of May, we are planning to invite a county official to speak on hurricane preparedness as hurricane season is nearing.  For the month of June, specifically June 10th, the chapter is having a community event called “A walk in the park”.  City officials will be participating, the food will be donated by Pic-a-deli, music by our own Ricky Williams, tickets for the event are $10.00.  The chapter filled a vacant board position with Alice Smith as our newest board member.  The chapter has gained 7 new members during our last two chapter meetings and we are looking to keep growing.  A member has been submitted for the convention award.  Melbourne-Space Coast is planning for their annual car show event in October.  A nominating committee is in the works to start the process for the upcoming elections in August.   An open board meeting is planned for the month of May.  Several members are seeking assistance to travel to our National Convention – I advised them to apply for the state scholarship. The chapter is looking for a new location to meet for the beginning of next year. The Treasure Coast Chapter is planning their white cane event for October.  Two of the members will be attending the State Convention.   The chapter is growing with younger and vibrant talent.  The President will be submitting the name for the award during the State Convention.  Members will be applying for State Affiliate scholarship to attend the National Convention.  The Fundraising committee has mailed all chapters tickets for the Lucky 7’s raffle. The lapel pins have been selling, but not as expected. The NFB Cash Frenzy for the State Convention is already in the works. The 600 envelopes as well as the index cards have been purchased.   The trophies for the top chapters have been researched.  A link to the items will be submitted to the board during next week for review.   The orange for the second-place winner is also in the works – Joe King is working on it.   The Fundraising committee will present the board with the proposal shortly for a potential fundraiser for the National Convention.   A Legislative call was held on Wednesday, April 19th to update affiliate presidents and legislative chairs.  The AIM High bill is gaining strength and more co-sponsors are needed. – New language was presented to re-word the T.I.M.E bill and accommodate the new administration.  A 6 year faze out is now in the language instead of the 3 year faze out.  It seems that the new administration is cutting funds to the agency that fund the NLS.  Refreshable braille displays will be for the 2019 calendar year instead of the 2018 proposal.  A.T.A.A. – Access Technology Availability Act - $2,500 tax refund for single file, $5,000 for couple tax file.  A $75,000 threshold is the combined tax income before the refund begins to dissipate. A $150,000 is for jointed filing.  The Florida Affiliate and members need to contact their representatives in the Ways and Means committee to encourage support for the NLS Appropriation.  The Marrakesh Treaty will be on the docket for this upcoming week. The 115th Congress will be back at the capital starting this Tuesday, April 25th for the next six weeks.   The notes for the legislative call can be shared if anyone is interested in the bills that are in the house and senate.


Mills-Hicks reported regarding FLAGDU; that Uber testing will begin in May.  NFB will be checking to see if drivers are complying with the new agreement.  Joe and Kitty King are doing okay and planning to attend the convention.


Young reported The Tallahassee Chapter donated $100 to the Lighthouse of the Big Bend as part of our community service project last month.  They have allowed us to use their facility for many years and we wanted to let them know how grateful we are.   We appreciated having our affiliate President Valkema attend our April meeting.  We will be celebrating Mother's Day next month with a dinner.  We participated in the North Florida Veterans Stand Down as part of our community service April 22nd.  The newsletter went out last month without hitch and I'm looking forward to publishing the May/June issue. I will be sending out reminders for submissions soon. The Awards committee met and solidified the awards that we will be giving out and I have received six submissions so far from chapters and divisions.


Kilby reported the Communications Committee met last month and set a one month goal of having Newsline and our webpage corrected and updated. We created groups to help motivate and move this goal along. The committee looks forward to working together to help build communication across the state of Florida.  The Parent’s committee is excited about the upcoming workshop at state convention. They have created a flyer to advertise their workshop and hope to have many in attendance. I have forwarded Carlton Walker's flight information to President Valkema. Carlton Walker has informed me that she will be attending our entire convention.  The Tampa Chapter met yesterday and is excited and eager about our Lucky sevens raffle. We discussed many things in the chapter and look forward to several different upcoming events. We plan on collaborating with engineer students at the University of South Florida on a project that they're working on, viewing the documentary, “Dreaming and colors”, and preparing for meet the blind month. We also will be planning a special event in October to celebrate that the chapter has been established for 30 years.  The next NFB411 call will be on how to prepare for our upcoming state convention. This will be on Sunday, May 7 at 8 PM. We will be holding our meeting one week earlier due to the second Tuesday being Mother's Day.  The agenda is in the process of wrapping up, and we have great intentions on meeting the deadline of May 1. The Agenda committee will be meeting next week to discuss any last-minute additions or changes. We are still in need of some names of guest speakers from divisions, committees, and anyone else who has provided a guest speaker. We are looking forward to having this agenda in large print, braille, and electronic format. We also will be trying to get this agenda translated into Spanish. 


Martinez reported the Newsline team is working with the communications committee to enhance and update the Newsline services. The Newsline chair will be requesting a meeting before state convention with a representative from each chapter in division.  Statewide chapter continues to work on membership by sending a letter to the Talking Book Library to be distributed throughout the state. Also, the chapter is selling a chance to win a gift card to Omaha Steaks; for just five dollars you will have two chances to win. The first prize will be a $100 gift card and the second prize is a $50 gift card!  Central Florida met briefly in the month of April at the Doubletree hotel where we will be hosting our 2017 convention. This was to help their members get familiar with the hotel to help other members at the state convention. We congratulate Sherri Brun, as she recently became a grandmother of two twin boys.  The Scholarship committee will be meeting soon to discuss and finalize our 2017 student scholarship winners. Please continue to visit our webpage for the release of our 2017 national state scholarship.  Pinellas chapter will be discussed on call.  I just returned from a great gathering of Federation members with the Greater Daytona beach chapter. During this meeting, the chapter had a guest speaker on Non-24 and hosted their elections. The board changed slightly, and we look forward and seeing what this new board will do in the next two years. The chapter congratulated Scott Larson for his dedication and loyalty to the chapter. The chapter also congratulated Joshua Espinal and becoming a father. This chapter illustrated how we continue to grow the Federation.


State Convention

Miranda will need to get the names of the rooms to put in the agenda.  Gloria will get that for her.  We discussed if we will show the movie “Bottom Dollar”.  President Valkema suggested that we get some of our Washington seminar attendees to speak after the showing.  We also discussed parking for members and guests.  Gloria will check with the hotel about guests who will only be at the convention for brief periods. 


New Business

We discussed which comedian to hire for the convention.  Martinez motioned that we contract Juanita Lolita, comedian and pay her one night room expense; second by Hernandez.  Motion approved by all and passed.  We will keep the cash bar open during her show.  The show will be free for NFB members.

We discussed possible ways to do the auction and possibly opening the doors early for people to look at the items.

We discussed the Memorial Day observance. It’s still in the planning stage.


We have received a contract from the Hilton hotel in Tampa to hold the 2018 convention.  We will have a special called meeting to discuss the contract for 2018 convention Wednesday, 5/3/17 at 8pm and open board meeting at convention.


Martinez made a motion that the meeting be adjourned; second by Young.  All approved.  Meeting adjourned at 9:51pm.


Respectfully submitted by Sylvia Young, NFBF Secretary