BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION
Chartered by the United States Congress
FLORIDA REGIONAL GROUP
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
FRG Web Site: www.bvafrg.org
2012 FRG State Convention Issue
FRG President's Message: Hello members, family and friends of the Florida Blinded Veterans Association. Time is moving along and before you know it The state convention will be upon us. The city of Daytona Beach is waiting for the blinded veterans to invade the local shops and the beech area.
The pizza party and the horse shoe pitching contest are sure to be a whole lot of fun. I am hoping to have a guide dog, white cane blind awareness walk. this may put a spot light on our being in Daytona Beach for the FRG BVA State Convention. The dinner dance is on Friday night We will also have some prosthetic venders with the latest gadgets to explore. they will be on hand to give you a hands on experience with the device. The speakers will have an extensive wealth of information concerning your benefits, and other topics of interest. We are hoping for a strong showing of our VIST and BROS, because they are so important to our lives as Blinded Veterans. The annual business meeting, the main reason for the convention, to elect officers and to select and instruct the delegates to the National Convention. If it is at all possible for you to attend I strongly encourage you not to miss this opportunity to spend time with your fellow Blinded Veterans. Darryl Goldsmith, FRG President (850) 554-7819 email firstname.lastname@example.org
FRG Auxiliary President's Message: February is National Heart Month. It is a month to think about love, but also one to think about self-care. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," it affects many women, too. It is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older, the third leading cause of death among women aged 25-44 years, and the second leading cause of death among women aged 45-64 years. So, ladies, take some time for yourselves and your health. At the Florida Regional Group state convention, we spouses plan to do just that. Besides the annual business meeting that takes place on Saturday morning, we have had a coffee hour on Friday morning while the men folk are pitching horseshoes. This year, the officers are thinking about having a time for crafts instead of just coffee and conversation. We can meet in the hospitality room or perhaps in the porch area outside the restaurant, or by the pool. Is this something that you would be interested in? Please call or email me any comments or suggestions. Fran Thomas, FRG Auxiliary President 239-283-1708 email PghFran9@aol.com
FRG State Convention: The Florida Regional Group State Convention will be held at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel , 640 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118, May 3-6. The Plaza Ocean Club is a 190 room hotel directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Your Convention Committee secured the low rates of only $80 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 only 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 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%) 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 22 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, April 30. 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.
The Convention will begin at 3 PM on Friday, April 30 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 1, 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 Galveston, Texas , will also be held. Proposed resolutions for presentation to the BVA National Convention will be considered. All Members (M) and Associate Members (AM) in Florida are encouraged to attend this Business Meeting and assist in planning the direction the FRG will take in the coming year. At times, in the past, BV's who were not active Members or Associate Members have attended and voted at the FRG Convention Business Meeting. This is contrary to the BVA and FRG By-Laws. Consequently, we are requesting that all BV's who think that they might attend the FRG Business Meeting contact the BVA-FRG in Miami 10 days in advance of the Convention, so that their active M and AM status can be verified. BV's who are Life (LM) or Associate Life Members (ALM) or who are annual Members or Associate Members for 2012 and have their BVA membership cards with them will be able to vote.
The FRG Auxiliary will hold its annual meeting in the Osprey Room at 9 AM on Saturday. FRG members, and friends of the BVA should plan to attend this FRG Auxiliary meeting. At that time, the Auxiliary will plan their activities and elect Officers for the coming year.
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.
US Legislative Up-Date: Tom Zampieri, BVA Director of Government Affairs, has secured the introduction of S 1751 and HR 3687 an amendment to the Beneficiary Travel section of VA Regulations. If passed, it would provide travel costs for Blinded Veterans, whose income is above the income limitation, to inpatient rehabilitation training at a Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC). The cost of this change would probably not exceed $250,000 annually. The cost of the BV's home expenses continue while he/she is receiving rehabilitation training at a BRC. This can be a deterrent to participation in a program of rehabilitation training. The increased independence such training would provide probably result in improved medical awareness by the Blinded Veteran and thus result in a reduction of medical costs to the VA for that BV's care, equal to the cost of the travel. It appears that a majority of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee are supportive of S 1751. However the same is not the case in the House of Representatives. Tom Z. is requesting that all BV's contact their US Representatives and urge them to join as co-signers for HR 3687.
(Clip off the Hotel Reservation Slip on the reverse of this page)
FRG District Meeting: Prior to the FRG State Convention, a FRG Southeast District meeting will be held at the Tropical Acres Steakhouse 2500 Griffin road in Ft. Lauderdale, on Saturday, March 31. The meeting will begin at 11:30 AM with a period of Socializing followed by lunch at noon. For lunch you may have either Sliced Sirloin of Beef or Breast of 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. There will be an Informational Meeting following lunch. Come join us. For information or to make reservations, write to George Stocking, 3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, FL 33133 or call (305) 446-8008. In addition, you may call: Roberta Goldstein, Miami VAMC VIST Coordinator, at (305) 575-7000 ex 3607, April Barnes , Broward VA Outpatient Clinic VIST Coordinator, at: (954) 625-8730, or Jackie Yoshimura West Palm Beach VAMC VIST Coordinator, at: (561) 422-5260. Please be sure to make your reservations before March 28th, as the restaurant needs this information in order to plan properly for our meeting. Jackie Yoshimura and Roberta Goldstein are attempting to arrange transportation to the meeting from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties, respectively. This transportation will leave from the West Palm Beach and Miami VAMC. If you need such transportation, contact Jackie or Roberta at the numbers listed above.
Total Homestead Tax Exemption: In the January FRG Newsletter, the Total Homestead Tax Exemption available under FS 196.081 and 196.101 were described. FS 196.081 provides Total Homestead Tax Exemption to 100% service connected disabled veterans and has no income limitation. FS 196.101 provides Total Homestead Tax Exemption to individuals who are restricted to a wheelchair or who are legally blind. This statute has a total household income limitation for eligibility. For 2012, that income limitation has been increased to $26,350. If you qualify, take the necessary documentation to verify your eligibility to your County Tax Appraiser's office before March 1st
BVA-FRG Meeting Schedule
March 31 FRG Meeting Tropical Acres Steakhouse in Ft. Lauderdale
May 3-6 FRG State Convention Plaza Ocean Club Hotel Daytona
August 20-24 BVA National Convention in Galveston, Texas
. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------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
Complete this Reservation Slip and send it with your check in the amount of $80 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. We look forward to meeting you at the FRG State Convention in May for an informative and enjoyable weekend.