Chartered by the United States Congress
FLORIDA REGIONAL GROUP
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
BVA-FRG web site: www.bvafrg.org
FRG Newsletter - June 2012
Editor's Note: For 30 years, the Talking Book Library in Daytona Beach has recorded, duplicated, and mailed our FRG Newsletter in cassette form. It is now being sent in the digital format. Some BV's do not want the recorded Newsletter and return the container to the TB Library requesting to be removed from the recorded list. The labels for both the print and recorded versions are prepared by the BVA Headquarters in Washington. The TB Library is not set up to delete a BV's name from the recorded list. This FRG Newsletter is available on line at www.bvafrg.org and for those on the list serve, it is distributed in that format. If you do not want the recorded version, please tear your name label off of the print envelope in which you received this Newsletter and write cancel recorded version on the back of the label. Then, send it to the BVA-FRG at 3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, FL 33133. In that way the BVA computer can be program not to print your name label for the TB Library's mailing. This will be most helpful. If you do not have a Talking Book Library digital player and would like to have one, you can contact your VIST Coordinator to have your name placed on the Talking Book list. You may also contact George Stocking at (305) 446-8008 or email email@example.com. We will be happy to get you set up for the Talking Book Program. If you have previously requested to be taken off of the recorded version when it was in the cassette format and would now like to receive it in the digital format call George Stocking as indicated above.
FRG President's Message: Greetings to the members of the Florida BVA. I am writing this message to first thank you for another year as your President. I also would like to thank the officers that were elected to go forth this new year. We have some slots to fill at the Northwest and Central West District Director position. We need your help if there is a void in your area. Feel free to step up and fill the position. We are planning some new things this year with our continuing theme of starting BVA offices in all of the VA medical facilities where support groups are meeting. Our former vice president Gigi Mathis is suffering with families medical problems and our prayers go out to her and her family. She is currently unable to fill FRG tables in the Tampa and Lakeland VA facilities. If you can volunteer just part time to fill these spaces contact her. The convention went well even though the attendance was lower than expected. It was a privilege to here from Tom Miller, outgoing BVA Executive Director. The talking book library chief was there to talk about all of the things dealing with talking books. The overwhelming best time of the convention was the hospitality suite. My Thanks and appreciation goes out to the Cassidy's.
Rick work with stocking the supplies while Phyllis was the ultimate host and bartender. Central East District director Charles Brooks will be planning a dinner dance in the coming months. We have a lot of work to do this year and we are going to work hard on your behalf. Please let us know what you want or need and we will try to get it done. I can't say enough how much the Regional Group needs your help. Don't just sit back and talk about what is not being done if you aren't doing anything. Ask yourself, what have I done and what can I do to help with my particular talents to help the Regional Group. I am planning on calling all of the vets on their birthdays in each month, it might not be on your birthday but I will try to reach you in your birth month. That is all for now.
Darryl Goldsmith, FRG President 850-554-7819 email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRG Auxiliary President's Message: On May 5, 2012, the auxiliary had its annual meeting.
We have a lot of work to accomplish this year and I will keep you up to date with each accomplishment. I would like to present to you our new board of directors for 2012-2013. Joanne King, President; Beverly Godfrey, Vice President; Pat Taylor, Secretary;
Maureen Kaminski, Treasurer/Membership Chair; John Cotton, By-laws Chair; Beverly Godfrey & Pat Holcomb, Co Scholarship Chairs; Nancy Geden, Raffle Chair. If any Auxiliary member is involved in an activity with our Blinded Veterans, Please send me a brief report so that the rest of our members can hear about it and perhaps do the same in their area. I can incorporate it into my President's Message in the Newsletter. My e-mail is email@example.com and my phone is (941) 505-7747. This would be a great way to support our fellow veterans and expand our membership at the same time. Joanne King, FRG Auxiliary President
New Miami Blind Rehab Outpatient Specialist (BROS): In April, Lisabeth (Liz) Causey took up her duties as the new BROS at the Miami VAMC. Although a native of Columbus, Georgia, Liz grew up in Tallahassee. After graduating from Leon High School in Tallahassee, she later entered Florida State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in Visual Education. She continued her education at FSU where she earned a Master's Degree in Orientation and Mobility (O & M). While in that program, she interned at the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts and the California School for the blind. Then, she worked 18 months at the private facility for the blind in Pensacola. Next, she moved to Honolulu where she taught in a public school with low vision students. Subsequently, she completed a technical Internship at the Hines VA Hospital in Chicago before being employed at the West Palm Beach VAMC Blind Rehabilitation Center. During the past 2 years, she has been a Computer Access instructor at the WPB BRA. Shortly, she will be moving into an apartment on Miami Beach directly across the bay from the Miami VAMC. She enjoys yoga and bicycle riding for exercise and has a Honda motor scooter. On behalf of the Florida Regional Group-Blinded Veterans Association, particularly those in the Miami area, we welcome Liz Causey to her new position as the BROS at the Miami VAMC. We wish her good luck in her new job and look forward to many years of cooperation between her and the FRG.
Wanda Browning Bequest: Recently, the FRG received notification of a bequest of $27,976.94 from Wanda Browning. Ms Browning was a single lady with no relatives who worked in the VA Prosthetics Service from 1951 to 1985 primarily in the Miami area. She became interested in Blinded Veterans through her duties as Prosthetics Representative on the Miami VAMC VIST Program. She was particularly interested in the FRG Miami meetings which she attended for many years. She was on the FRG Newsletter mailing list and was interested in the continuation of the FRG Newsletter. As she got older, she became legally blind and enjoyed reading the FRG Newsletter on her CCTV. She maintained contact with the FRG in Miami and upon her death, remembered the FRG by leaving this generous bequest.
FRG State Convention Business Meeting Minutes: The meeting was called to order at 9:04 AM on May 4th by FRG President Darryl Goldsmith. The pledge to the flag was led by Darryl goldsmith and the invocation was given by Charles Brooks. A motion was passed to waive the reading of the April 30, 2011 Annual Business Meeting Minutes and to accept them as published in the June 2011 FRG Newsletter. The Treasurer reported an opening balance of $19,332.44 in the FRG checking account in April 2011. During the year, income totaling $49,431.80 was received, making a total of $68,764.24 available in the checking account for FRG use. This income included a one time bequest of $27,976.94 from Wanda Browning. Expenditures during the year totaled $19,673.97, leaving a balance in the checking account, prior to the 2012 Convention, of $49090.97. During the year, two fund raising events occurred. Bob Walczak, Southwest District Director and Past President Terry King led a White Cane Walk-A-Thon in Ft. Myers raising $600 and Vice President Gigi Mathis raised $1737.15 from a boat cruise and other activities in the Lakeland area each of which went to the Convention bus transportation fund. The value of the CD's in the general fund, in April 2011 was $98480.36. Interest on all General Fund CD's was $802.54. The total funds in General account CD's as of April 2012 was $99282.90 in April 2012. The FRG Auxiliary Scholarships Fund CD , a restricted account, was valued at $11262.62. During the year $203.05 was received in Interest, leaving a balance of $11465.67 available for future FRG Auxiliary Scholarships. The total Certificates of Deposit, including the Scholarship fund were $110748.57. Total cash assets including the checking account and all certificates of deposit in April 2012 were $159839.54. The Convention accepted the Treasurer's report.
The District Directors provided information about activities in their Districts. Paul Kaminsky, FRG Representative on the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs veterans Council, reported on activities with the Council. The Membership Committee reported the Florida Regional Group had a total of 1444 Members and Associate Members as of April 2012. This is a decrease of 61 Members and Associate Members since the time of the 2011 FRG State Convention. The FRG continues to have the largest membership of any Regional Group in the BVA. In addition to those Blinded Veterans who actively support the BVA, there are a total of 902 BV's on the FRG - BVA mailing list who have not paid their dues for 2012. The FRG - BVA new mailing list contains a total of 2346 Blinded Veterans in the State of Florida. Over the past year, the FRG has had a decrease in its mailing list by 113. We need to contact our fellow BV's and try to get our membership list increased.
The Legislative Committee presented information regarding National legislation of interest to Blinded Veterans. All Blinded Veterans in attendance were encouraged to become actively involved in writing to their Senators and Representatives regarding legislation. All BV's with computer access were encouraged to add their name to the BVA-FRG List Serve so they can received information on legislation as it is being considered by Congress.
Old business: The format of the FRG Newsletter was reviewed. There were no recommendations regarding changes in the Newsletter. The FRG District meetings were discussed. The remaining activities at the 2012 FRG State Convention were reviewed.
The floor was opened for New Business with the election of Officers and District Directors as the first item of business. The following BV's were elected as Officers and District Directors: President - Darryl Goldsmith from Pensacola; Vice President - Terry King from Punta Gorda; Secretary-Treasurer - George Stocking from Miami; Northeast District Director - Joe Brack from Lake City; Central East District - Charles Brooks from Kissimmee; Southwest District - Bob Walczak from Port Charlotte; and Southeast District - James McCoy from Sunrise. There were no nominations for the position of Northwest and Central West District Directors. An election was held to select the Florida Regional Group Delegation to the BVA 67th National Convention , as follows: Delegate - Dr. George Stocking; Alternate Delegates: 1. Paul Kaminsky, 2. Darryl Goldsmith, 3. Terry King, 4. Jim McCoy, 5. William Geden, 6 Israel Chance, 7 Mike Nagelberg. Paul Kaminsky was elected as FRG Representative on the By-Laws and Resolutions Committee, with the Delegate and/or Alternate Delegates, in the order listed above, as Alternate Representatives on that Committee. The Delegation was instructed to vote for the By-Law Amendments to bring Article IX National Conventions up to date as has been followed for the past 10 years. With the exception of the instructions above, a motion was passed to send the Delegation uninstructed on other items to be considered at the BVA Convention.
After the election, the floor was open to other New Business. A Resolution was passed to maintain, on an on going basis, the FRG funds in the First National Bank of South Miami and to have the President and Secretary-Treasurer as co-signers on all accounts. Further, the Resolution, gave the President and Secretary-Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Directors, the responsibility to move the funds to another bank if more advantageous interest rates can be obtained.
A motion was passed to accept the Road Rules for the FRG List Serve. A copy of that motion was sent to all BV's who preregistered for the Convention. The List Serve was established to disseminate current information about legislation, veterans services, and topics regarding rehab of BV's. A number of VIST and BROS are on the List Serve and have answered question sent by BV's. Political and religious information is prohibited. No jokes are allowed. These Road Rules were previously approved by the FRG Board of Directors and were approved by the FRG membership.
The 2013 FRG State Convention was discussed. When the Convention Chairman George Stocking, met with the hotel management the hotel offered to maintain the same contract as in 2012. There was a brief discussion about moving the Convention around the state. The membership voted to accept the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel contract for the 2013 FRG State Convention.
A discussion was held regarding the new digital format used by the Talking Book Library. The March FRG Newsletter was the first Newsletter recorded and distributed by the Florida TB Library in the digital format. The discs are very expensive and need to be returned for reuse. A motion was passed to make a one time donation of $2500, from the Browning bequest to purchase digital discs by the TB Library. A motion was passed to donate 10% of the Browning bequest to the BVA National General Fund.
A motion was made to establish a nominating committee. After brief discussion, a motion was passed to table that motion. A motion was made to provide funding for District Directors to travel around their District. A motion was passed to table the motion.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:47 AM.
Respectfully submitted, George E. Stocking Secretary