Open Board Meeting

Held at 2017 State Convention

May 26, 2017

Meeting called to order at 8:15 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, 3 Tekesha Saffold and 4 Rafael Fernandez.


Secretary Report:  A motion was made by Saffold to accept the 4/23/17 minutes which were distributed via email; second by Jorge; approved by all and passed. A motion was made by Saffold to accept the 5/3/17 minutes which were distributed via email; second by Martinez; approved by all and passed. 


President report:  I spent the last month helping to finalize plans for the state convention. The board has been working very hard.  It’s great to be here with our federation family sharing our hope, love and energy.  We look forward to a great successful convention.  


Treasurer Report:  Gloria will give the financial report on Monday.  She reported that we have between 60 to 70 people registered for the convention now.  We still have some that have not checked in yet. 


Division/committee/chapter reports:

Valkema reported the Broward Chapter’s membership is growing and the president has given each member something to do which this makes everyone feel included.


Martinez thanked Scott Lawson for all the love, energy and commitment he gave the Daytona Beach Chapter as president and congratulated the newly elected president, Joshua Espinal.  He also congratulated them on their 2nd successful fish fry.  Thank you to the Central Florida Chapter for stepping up and working hard to help prepare for this convention.  The Scholarship committee has a sponsorship to assist members with expenses for the national convention and so please apply.


Kilby reported the Deaf/Blind Division has had quite a few changes over the year but are continuing to build and grow strong and overcome barriers.  We have a new Communication Committee which is working on NFB relationships.  I will report more on that tomorrow.  We have 576 likes on our Facebook page.  We started a Twitter account @NFBFlorida. The Tampa Chapter has been working very hard for the past year and Merry Schoch started a “build it stronger” program. We brought 10 members to the convention.  The Parents Committee will have a 4-hour workshop this weekend on IEP.


Young reported the Tallahassee Chapter is doing well.  Our membership is growing and fundraising is profitable.  They have sponsored several community service projects this year.  The Jacksonville Chapter is also doing very well and have had multiple activities throughout the year.  The Newsletter is about a year old now and it is doing well.  We are getting more submissions each issue.  Please continue to send them in.


Mills-Hicks reported the Events Committee met once a month to discuss the convention plans and stay on one accord to get the convention organized.  The Senior Concerns will have a workshop during the convention, so please join us for this very informative workshop.  Joe and Kitty King form Polk Chapter are here and we are excited to have them.  FLAGDU are involved with the resolutions committee and have a special workshop this weekend.   


Hernandez reported the Melbourne-Space Coast Chapter are in their 2nd year and are growing strong.  Their car show fundraiser was a great success.  The Treasure Coast Chapter moved their meeting date and have grown by 14 members.  The Miami-Dade Chapter have a Fun Day at the Park with music and food scheduled for June 10th.  The Fundraising Committee has the Lucky 7’s-raffle going and the winner will be drawn in July at the National.  The Cash Frenzy is going on here at convention, so please come by the table and get your envelopes.  Joe King presented the “Orange” which he carved and will be given to the chapter that sells the most Raffle tickets.


Saffold reported the Suncoast Chapter has 6 members here and are doing a great job with their fundraising.  The Empowerment Committee has an employment workshop Sunday at 3pm.  The Palm Beach Chapter had a Mother’s Day raffle to help send 5 of our members to convention.  Next month we will have a jewelry show luncheon to assist us to get to the national convention.


Fernandez reported FABS will donate $140 for door prizes and they will make a pledge to the affiliate on Sunday at the banquet.  The Gainesville Chapter started out rocky but have an amazing leader in Judy Hamilton.  They have worked hard and have a new meeting place and membership is up. 


Hernandez lead the members in the NFB pledge.


State Convention Announcements: 

Martinez reminded the scholarship committee members to meet at 7am tomorrow for breakfast.

The hospitality suite room #1110 will be open 12-5pm Saturday and Sunday.

Registration will continue at 8am and again at 12pm tomorrow.

Thanks to Scott Lawson for picking up our agendas from the Talking Book Library who printed them.

Our National Rep Adelmo Vigil, president of New Mexico affiliate was introduced.


Merry Schoch announced that we are trying to increase Florida’s PAC plan donation.  These funds help the movement grow.  We are now #19 in the nation.  If you start a new PAC plan or increase your contribution; your name will be placed in a drawing to win $50.


Mike Hingson representing ARIA announced there will be demonstrations this weekend on the ARIA glasses in the exhibit hall.

Paul introduced the Scholarship winners:  Two of the 3 scholarship winners were present; Joan Wade and Joseph Chica.



Martinez made a motion that the meeting be adjourned; second by Saffold.  All approved.  Meeting adjourned at 9:00pm.


Respectfully submitted by Sylvia Young, NFBF Secretary



Convention Reports:

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Roll Call of Chapters and delegates for nominating committee

President/Rep                             Chapter                                          Alternate                        Members

Sherri Brum                    Central Florida                            Marylin Baldwin                         8

Lauren Blum                  Suncoast                                        Alicia Kilby                                    6

Judith Hamilton            Gainesville                                    Kathy Roskos                               5

Marita Winston            Jacksonville                                  Russell Davis                                8

Temika Butts                 Treasurer Coast                           none                                               1

Allen Kessler                  Space Coast                                  Camille Tate                                 7

Janice Snow                   Pinellas                                          Tom Rickson                                4

Jada Christie                  Tallahassee                                   James E Young                                          5

Tekesha Saffold            Palm Beach                                   John Crossley                               6

Jorge Hernandez          Miami-Dade                                 John Johnson                              15

Maranda Kilby                            Tampa                                            Gloria Mills Hicks                             10

Paul Martinez               Statewide                                      Juany Gomez                               11

Joe King                           Polk                                                 Kitty King                                       2

Tom Ryan                        Broward                                         Deb Ryan                                      4

Joshua Espinal                            Greater Daytona                         Peter Cerullo                               22


President Valkema gave her annual report.  Martinez motioned that the president’s report be accepted.  It was 2nd by Hernandez.  Motion approved by all.

National Rep Vigil gave us an update on legislative issues and encouraged us to support national by contributing to the PAC Plan.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Total registered and checked in 145

FLADU reported that Sherrill O’Brien was re-elected as president.

The Deaf/Blind Division reported Darlene Crow was elected as president.

At the banquet, the following persons were recognized as Outstanding Members of their chapters: Lessie Anderson - Greater Broward Chapter; Cindy Bishop - Central Florida Chapter;

Nancy Epps - Greater Daytona Beach; Judith Hamilton - Gainesville Chapter; Joe Minichiello -  Greater Jacksonville Chapter; Camille Tate - Melbourne-Space Coast Chapter; Carmen Davis - Miami-Dade Chapter; John Crossley - Palm Beach Chapter; Juany Gomez- Florida Statewide Chapter; Alicia Kilby – Sun Coast Chapter; James E Young - Tallahassee Chapter; Gloria Mills Hicks - Tampa Chapter; Mary Hanna-Morris - Treasure Coast Chapter; Joe Naulty - Deaf /Blind Division; David Bearden - Florida Association of Guide Dog Users, Paul Martinez - Florida Association of Blind Students.  Two special awards were given, one to Joe King for the Legacy Award and the other tobJudith Hamilton for the Leadership Award.

$3440 were collected in pledges from chapters, divisions and individuals.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Mills-Hicks gave the treasurer’s report for the pass year.  The current balance of the operations account is $9,426.02, Newsline account $41,839.32 and Investment account $183,194.78.  Martinez motioned that the treasurer’s report be accepted.  It was 2nd by Sherri Brun.  Motion approved by all.

Elections were held and the following is the new state board:

President Denise Valkema, elected by acclamation

1st Vice President Paul Martinez (not up for election)

2nd Vice President Miranda Kilby, elected by acclamation

Secretary Sylvia Young, elected by acclamation

Treasurer Gloria Mill-Hicks (not up for election)

1st Board position Tekesha Saffold by majority vote

2nd Board position Jorge Hernandez by majority vote

3rd Board position Camille Tate by majority vote

4th Board position Rafael Fernandez (not up for election)


Two resolutions were presented and adopted; one with an amendment.  See complete resolutions at bottom of report.


FABS reported that they elected new president Joseph Chica.


Convention adjourned at Monday, May 29, 2017 at 10:45 am.


Resolution 2017-01

Resolution Regarding Unified English Braille and the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation

WHEREAS, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) voted in 2012 that as of 2016 the official codes to be used in the United States are Unified English Braille (UEB), the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, the music Braille code, and the International Phonetic Alphabet code; and

WHEREAS, "BANA is providing guidance on how to incorporate the Nemeth Code into UEB context with the intent that the Nemeth Code will continue to be integral to Braille in the United States"; and

WHEREAS, the strong support for the use of Nemeth Code for mathematics is based in Nemeth Code being a known quantity, used successfully for decades, and found to be efficient and agile for reading and working mathematics problems; and

WHEREAS, some states, acting under an impression that part of the implementation process involves setting, at the state level, the standard for how mathematics Braille will be produced and taught in that state, have indicated an intent to move to the use of only UEB symbols for the teaching and production of Braille math in their state; and

WHEREAS, theories that abandoning the Nemeth Code in favor of the use of UEB symbols for technical contexts will improve Braille readers' access to and performance in math are unproven; and

WHEREAS, Braille production does not occur in isolation within each state, but rather is done to a great extent by a nationally connected network of Braille transcribers and producers; and

WHEREAS, there exists in the US a well-established network of certified Nemeth code transcribers, but there is no training or credential to ensure the qualification of transcribers producing technical materials using UEB symbols only; and

WHEREAS, the differences between the presentation of mathematics in Nemeth Code and math using UEB symbols are so fundamental that a blind child moving to a state with a different math standard could find his or her math books and tests inaccessible even though they are in Braille; and

WHEREAS, each state must create a customized plan for implementation of UEB; Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida in Convention assembled this Twenty-ninth day of May 2017, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the Committee responsible for planning UEB implementation in Florida to ensure that blind students have effective access to math instruction while eliminating needless confusion and unnecessary cost by using the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation as the standard for math Braille.


NFBF Resolution 2017-02

Resolution Regarding Enforcement of Florida Statute 413.08 Rights of An Individual with a Disability; Use of a Service Animal

Whereas Florida Statute 413.08(1), states the right of an individual with a disability who uses a service animal to receive relief from intimidation, injury or death from a person(s), who with reckless disregard, interferes or allows a dog he or she owns or has immediate control to obstruct, intimidate or jeopardize the safety of a service animal or its user commits a misdemeanor of the second degree for the first offense and of the first degree for subsequent offenses; and

Whereas under Florida Statute 413.08(2), a person who, with reckless disregard, injures or kills a service animal, or allows a dog he or she owns or has immediate control of, to injure or kill a service animal, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree; and

Whereas law enforcement and/or animal control has jurisdiction to write a citation(s) to persons who own or are in immediate control of a dog who injure or kill a service animal, refuses or neglects to write the citation(s) to these persons; and

Whereas, refusing to write the citation(s) results in the service animal user’s inability to gain satisfaction from due process under the Statute; and

Whereas the District Attorney refuses to prosecute such violations of the Statute when there has been no previous citation(s) written; therefore

Be it resolved, by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida in Convention assembled this 29th day of May, 2017, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that  this organization call upon the State Attorney’s Office to ensure enforcement of this statute so service animals and their  users are given equal protection under the law for violations of Florida Statute 413.08 and protect service animals and users from intimidation, injury and/or death by owners or persons in immediate control of dogs that intimidate, injure or kill service animals.