3801 Coco Grove Avenue  
Miami, Florida 33133
FRG NEWSLETTER, 2009 FRG State Convention Issue


     FRG President's Message:  The FRG State Convention is right around the corner (May 1-3).  Because of all of the activities, please make your hotel reservations early to insure availability of a room.  Again, we plan to have a full schedule of events that will be explained elsewhere in the newsletter.  We have invited Dr. Norman Jones, the President of the National BVA, to be our Guest Speaker for the Installation Banquet.  This year, like every year, is going to be very enjoyable.  Remember, our VIST Coordinators and BROS are holding training meetings during our Convention.  This is a very welcome opportunity to meet with your VIST or BROS in a more relaxed and comfortable environment.  Of course we will be having our third annual horseshoe pitching tournament.  I believe all defending champs from last year intend on participating.  Lines will be drawn, stakes planted, and the plan is to have the first horseshoe airborne by 9 AM, Friday.  It will be on the beach in back of the hotel, just like last year.  If you would like to participate, call Bill Burgess at (386) 445-4987 and sign up for the tournament.  Be sure to be there on the morning of the 1st of May (Friday) by 9 AM on the beach in back of the hotel.  Lesson learned from last year is not to have the stake so far away from the shot line.  Seems every year we find another thing needed to be done to tweak the tournament.  Reminder, the morning horseshoe event on Friday needs to be wrapped up in time, so that everyone can make sure they can pick up their Convention registration packet, between 1 and 3 PM.  Following late registration, at 3 PM, the opening Informational Seminar will be held.  Later Friday evening during the Dinner Dance, we'll have the award presentation for the different classes of winners of the horseshoe pitching tournament.  Remember some of our members want to attend the state convention but are not able to attend because of a lack of transportation.  If you have an empty back seat and would like to give a fellow member a ride call your District Director.  The State Convention is truly the most important event of the year.  Please plan on attending.  Another item, we need volunteers to work in the Hospitality Room before and after the Installation Banquet, Saturday evening.  Also, we are looking for a volunteer to store the left over Hospitality Room supplies until the next Convention.  If you wish to volunteer, call Bill Burgess or me at the number listed.  One last note, Kirk Harmon wanted to pass to all of us that the Newspaper reading service “Newsline” is a free service that reads newspapers over any phone line.  It also makes available TV-Guide.  The “Newsline” service now can be sent directly to our computers.  It is sent to your email address.  This makes the “Newsline” service even more convenient to use.  To find out more or to subscribe to this service please call Kirk Harmon  ,number below.  Kirk will be at the FRG Convention to provide additional information.  again, telephone numbers of our District Directors: Northwest District Darryl Goldsmith - Pensacola (850) 554-7819, email; Northeast District Bill Burgess -Palm Coast (386) 445-4987 email; Central West District Gigi Mathis - Lakeland (863-255-9275 email; Central East District Kirk Harmon -Orlando (407) 380-3371 email; Southwest District John Thomas - St. James City (239) 283-1708 email Southeast District Jerry Abney Miami (305) 270-1739 email  Again, as  always, keep the mission alive and help one another to help each other.  Paul W. Kaminsky, FRG President.  (904) 291-0576, email


    FRG State Convention:  Again, this year, the Florida Regional Group State Convention will be held at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel , 640 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida  32118, May 1-3.  The Plaza Ocean Club is a 190 room hotel directly on the Atlantic Ocean.  Your Convention Committee secured the low rates of only $79 per day, for 1 to 4 persons per room.  All rooms have refrigerators and micro waves.  In addition all rooms have ocean view balconies.  These  low convention rates will be in effect, on a space available basis,3 days before and/or 3 days after the Convention.  So, you may come early or stay late for an extended vacation.  The low Convention rates are guaranteed for reservations made on or before April 13th.  Reservations made after April 13th, will be at the low Convention rate but on a space available basis.  There will be another group at the hotel that weekend, so rooms will be at a premium.  We urge you to make your reservations soon to insure your accommodations.  You may cancel your reservation and  receive a full refund of your deposit, if you cancel at least 24 hours before noon on the day you were scheduled to arrive.  You will find a Hotel Reservation Slip at the end of this Newsletter.  Please clip it off and send it to the Hotel along with your check for one night's room rate and tax, the Tourist Development Tax is presently 12.5% (a total of $88.88) or you may use your credit card number to guarantee your reservation.  Other than your deposit,  the hotel will not accept checks for your remaining charges.  You must have a credit card or cash.  The Hotel toll free reservation number  is (800) 874-7420.  There are 24 Hotels using that reservation number, so  be sure to specify the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel.  In addition, refer to the Blinded Veterans Association-Florida Regional Group as the group which arranged the above indicated rates.    


     Convention Registration Fee:  The Convention Registration Fee will be $35 per person (for each BV, family member, or friend attending).  However, an early registration fee of only $30

per person will be in effect for registration received on or before April 13th.  The registration fee will cover general Convention activities, including the dinner-dance on Friday night, the Hospitality Room, and Banquet on Saturday night.  Please make your check payable to the BVA and send it to:  3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, FL 33133.  Please include the first and last name of each person registering, so that we will be able to make name tags prior to the start of the Convention.  It will be helpful if you will send your registration fee in advance.

This will greatly speed up the late registration at the Convention.  Remember to send your hotel reservation slip and deposit to the Plaza Ocean Club in Daytona Beach and your Convention Registration Fee to the BVA in Miami.


     Convention Schedule:  The Convention Late Registration Desk will open at 1 PM on Friday, May 1.  If you have not pre-registered, you may pay your late Registration at that time.  If you have pre-registered, stop by the Registration table in the Hotel Lobby and pick up your name tags and Convention Program.  As indicated in the President's Message, the third annual horse shoe pitching contest will be held at 9 AM on Friday.  Check that message for more information.   


     The Convention will begin at 3 PM on Friday, May 1 with an Informational Seminar for Blinded Veterans and their families.  At 7 PM on Friday evening, a Dinner-Dance will be held in the Ballroom.  This will be an evening for  good food, good times, good fun, and good music. 

     The Annual Florida Regional Group Business Meeting will be held at 9 AM on Saturday, May 2, in the Ballroom.  At that meeting, reports regarding FRG activities for the past year will be made.  A legislative up-date will be presented.  Plans for FRG activities for the coming year will be discussed.  Any  proposed amendments to the FRG By-Laws, will be considered.  The elections for FRG Officers and  District Directors for the coming year will be held.  The election and instruction of a Delegate and Alternate Delegates to the BVA National Convention in Portland, Oregon, will also be held.  Proposed resolutions for presentation to the BVA National Convention will be considered.  All BV's in Florida are encouraged to attend this Business Meeting and assist in planning the direction the FRG will take in the coming year.


     The FRG Auxiliary will hold its annual meeting at 9 AM on Saturday.  The Auxiliary is planning their meeting for the State Convention.   Spouses, family

members, and friends, both men and women,  of the  BVA should plan to attend this FRG Auxiliary meeting.  At that time, the Auxiliary will plan their activities and elect Officers.


     At 2 PM on Saturday, a second Informational Seminar will be held.  The Convention will

close with the Installation Banquet on Saturday evening.  There will be a period of socializing in the Hospitality Room before and after the Banquet. 








          (Clip off the hotel reservation slip on the other side and send it to the Plaza Ocean Club)





     FRG District Meeting:  Prior to the FRG State Convention, a FRG meeting will be held at the Flaming Pit Restaurant, 1150 North Federal Highway in Pompano Beach on Saturday, February 28.  The meeting will begin at 11:30 AM with a period of Socializing followed by lunch at noon.  For lunch you may have either Ground Sirloin of Beef or Broasted Chicken and salad, potatoes, vegetable, rolls and butter, iced tea or coffee and dessert.  The price of the lunch will be $5 per person, including tax and tip.  FRG Vice President Paul Mimms will preside at the Informational Meeting following lunch.  Come join us.  For information or to make reservations, write  to George Stocking, 3801 Coco Grove Ave, Miami, FL 33133 or call evenings,(305) 446-8008.  You may also call FRG Vice President Paul Mimms, West Palm Beach VAMC VIST Coordinator  at:  (561) 422-5260 or FRG Southeast District Director Jerry Abney at: (305) 270-1739. In addition, you may call Roberta Goldstein, Miami VAMC VIST Coordinator, at (305) 575-7000 ex 3607 or April Barnes , Broward VA Outpatient Clinic VIST Coordinator, at:  (954) 625-8730.  Please be sure to make your reservations before February 25, as the restaurant needs the number and choice of meal Desired, in order to prepare properly for our meeting.  Paul Mimms and Roberta Goldstein are attempting to arrange transportation to the meeting from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties, respectively.  Generally, the transportation leaves and returns to the West Palm Beach VAMC and Miami VAMC.  If you need such transportation, contact Paul or Roberta. 


     Florida Homestead Tax Up-Date:  Information about FS 196.081 and FS 196.101 , the two total Florida Homestead Tax Exemption Statutes were provided in the January FRG Newsletter.  FS 196.081 provides total Homestead Tax Exemption to 100% S.C. Veterans, without an income limitation.  FS 196.101 provides total Homestead Tax Exemption to individuals who are restricted to a wheelchair for 25,Feb.mobility or who are legally blind.  FS 196.101 has a total household income restriction.  at the time the January Newsletter was written, the 2009 household income limitation was not yet available.  The 2009 income limitation for FS 196.101 is $25,221.  If you are eligible and have not yet filed for the exemption, do so now.  The cut off date is March 1, and may not be extended.



Hotel Reservation Slip

Blinded Veterans Association                                      Plaza Ocean Club Hotel

Florida Regional Group                                                 640 North Atlantic Avenue

State Convention                                                            Daytona Beach, Florida  32118  


Name____________________________________ Telephone no. ___________________________

Street                                                                                            Date of            Date of

Address__________________________________________Arrival_______  depart__________

City______________________________________________ State______Zip__________

Complete this Reservation Slip and send it with your check in the amount of $79  plus 12.5% tax or your credit card number to the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel before April 13th to guarantee your reservation.  Or call, Toll Free (800) 874-7420.  Be sure to notify the hotel you will attend the BVA FRG Convention at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel, to insure the low Convention rates.