BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION
Chartered by the United States Congress
FLORIDA REGIONAL GROUP
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
FRG/BVA web site www.bvafrg.org
FRG NEWSLETTER - DECEMBER 2013
On behalf of the Officers, Directors, and members of the Florida Regional Group, let me take this
opportunity to wish you and your families, a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Joyous, Happy,
and Prosperous New Year. As we enter 2014, let us be thankful for our blessings and work
cooperatively together through out the New Year.
FRG President's Message: Prior to the writing of this Newsletter (mid November), we just
concluded our third informational luncheon meeting in Fort Myers at the captains fish bone
restaurant. The first two luncheons were down in attendance, but the third one held in fort Myers
was somewhat more than last year. The southwestern district has approximately 250 veterans to
whom we send out newsletters, and each year our assistants call each and every one of the 250
veterans. I contribute the better attendance to all of the calls that the assistants make. These
informational luncheon meetings are very important, as they not only demonstrate your support of
the BVA, but also show your elected officers that you are in support of the work that they do, and
you are also getting an excellent meal for only $5. In addition, you have the opportunity to socialize
with other Blinded Veterans.
Bill Stockslager and Jim McCoy have found a way for our veterans to join the list serve much easier
than before and hopefully stopped veterans from being bumped off. Just follow these easy steps:
This is how easy it is to Subscribe to the FRG-BVA List Serve. If you click on the link below, it will
create a new e-mail to the Yahoo Groups which will initiate your subscription. Once the new e-mail
opens up, just go up to the send button and send the e-mail. There is no need to add anything to this
e-mail. That is all there is to it. The moderator will be notified of your request to join and will
approve it, making you a member of the FRG-BVA List Serve. Here is the link that will open up a
new e-mailto initiate your subscription to the FRG-BVA List Serve:
Once you become a member, you will start receiving e-mails that are posted on the list serve. You
may respond to these e-mails with your comments or questions. Please read the road rules and
comply with them. If you wish, you can call me at (941) 505 7747, or Bill Stockslager at (941) 276
1561 and either Bill or I will walk you through the process. For the veterans that are not on the FRG,
BVA list serve, I have decided to publish the road rules for all to study. The Purpose of this Group is
to provide a means for Florida Blinded Veterans to receive information of interest to all Blinded
Veterans and to provide a means of two-way communications. The goal is to limit group messages
to those that are meaningful to all Florida Blinded Veterans. Too many messages dilute the
effectiveness of the group to support its members.
Road rules for use of the site:
A. Membership is limited to blinded veterans, VIST, and BROS residing in the state of
Florida. Veterans that are not computer users, but have availability to someone that can inform
them of messages on their computers are also eligible.
Topics are to be limited to BVA-FRG and VA related information. This includes the veterans
family. BVA-FRG individuals needs for support or questions that they may have may be shared
A. There are to be absolutely No political or religious comments and or agendas. Jokes or chain
messages of any kind are forbidden.
B. When possible avoids entering into controversial topics with other veterans.
Specifically, under no circumstances shall any user of this site undermine, or brutally
criticize any other user of this list serve. EXCEPTION: Opinions about the
performance of certain visual aids are a good example where differences of opinions
are appropriate. Any user Violating the forgoing FRG, BVA Road Rules shall be
handled in the following manor.
A. The first time a user of the site violates a rule, they shall be given a warning, via a personal
email by the moderator.
B. The second time the user of the site violates the rules he or she shall no longer be allowed
to post) send out messages for a period of six months, but shall still be able to receive
information. If it appears by the moderator to be a mistake by the user of the site, then they
shall be given another opportunity to post messages on the list serve.
C. If a person who has had their posting ability removed in accordance with B. above again
violates the road rules, he/she may have his/her posting ability permanently removed.
A. Not with standing a violation of the ground rules, the moderator may remove a members
ability to post messages if in his opinion it is necessary to do so to protect the integrity of the list
B. Any person who has had their posting ability removed may appeal to the Board of
Use of this site: Any member may post a message to all members of this site by sending an email
to: FRG-BVA@YahooGroups.com Note: When you respond to a message from the group, consider
whether your response is appropriate for the entire group or only to the sender of the message. You
have the option for this provided at the bottom of each message.
Before I close this Presidents message, I would like to reiterate once again, that we still do not
have a district director for the Northeastern area of Florida. I am still in hopes that a veteran will step
forward and fill this position. We also are in need of some assistant directors in the same area.
If anyone would like some more information concerning the responsibilities of the positions
mentioned above, please give me a call, and I'll be glad to fill you in. Terry King, FRG President.
FRG Meeting Notice: The next meeting of the Florida Regional Group will be held on Saturday,
January 4, 2014 at the Hilton Hotel 3600 S.W. 36 Avenue in Ocala. Bruce Davis, VIST Coordinator
at the Gainesville VAMC, has assisted in making the arrangements for this meeting. The meeting
willbegin at 11:30 AM with a period of socializing, followed by lunch at noon. For lunch, you may
select between: London Broil Marinated Flank Steak Sliced Thin with Sherry Mushroom Sauce
Served with Roasted Potatoes or Chicken Cordon Bleu Chicken Breast Stuffed with Ham and Swiss
Cheese Served with Wild Rice, All Above Served Lunches Include: Fresh Garden Salad, Green Bean
Almandine, rolls & butter, Freshly Brewed Colombian Coffee, Iced Tea, and Chocolate Cake. The
price of the lunch will be $5 per person including tax & tip.
FRG President Terry King will preside at an Informational Meeting following lunch. A National
Legislative Up-Date will be presented. A discussion will be held regarding FRG activities for the
coming months. Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be on hand to provide
information about services and benefits for Blinded Veterans and their families. Take this opportunity
to come to Ocala and meet with your fellow Blinded Veterans and have an informative and enjoyable
The hotel has asked us to notify them as to the number who will be attending and the choice of
lunch desired by January 1st. Please make your reservations prior to that date by writing to Bruce
Davis, VIST Coordinator, VAMC, 1601 S.W. Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32608, or call Bruce at
(800) 324-8387 ex. 5560. You may also call Central East District Director Don Overton at: (321) 505-
Email email@example.com. You may also call Judy Hayes, Lake City VAMC VIST
Coordinator at (386) 755-3016 ex. 2088. Judy will try to provide limited transportation from the Lake
City VAMC to the meeting in Ocala, for BV's in that area. If you need transportation from Lake City,
To get to the hotel, take I75 North or South to exit 350. Go East off of I 75 on State road 200 to the
first traffic Light and turn right on S.W. 36 Avenue. The Hilton hotel will be on your right. Free
parking is available at the hotel. If you need directions call the Hilton at (352) 854-1400. Do not call
the hotel to make or cancel reservations, call one of those listed above.
National Legislative Up-Date: On November 13, congress passed a 1.5% cost of living Adjustment
(COLA) for service connected disability compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
(DIC), and clothing allowance). The COLA is determined by the increase in the Consumer Price Index
(CPI) for the past fiscal year. This brings S.C. Compensation, DIC, and clothing allowance in line
with the COLA increase in Social Security and NSC Pension benefits which are automatically
increased according to the increase in the CPI. As a result, a 1.5% increase in Service Connected
disability Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), VA Non Service
Connected Pension, and Social Security benefits will be effective December 1st and will appear in your
As you have all heard, Congress has spent most of its time, in recent months, in controversy over
the fiscal year 2014 appropriations. A Continuing Resolution (CR was passed in October to reopen
much of the government which had been shut down on October 1st. The appropriations controversy
must be revisited in January. It is hoped that Congress will pass the appropriations for the remainder
of the FY 2014 year and return to providing the other legislation necessary to operate the government.
Dr. Thomas Zampieri, BVA Director of Government Affairs, has announced his retirement
effective November 22. Dr. Tom has worked tirelessly to improve services and benefits for Blinded
Veterans for many years. He will be returning to Houston, Texas to be with his family. He has been a
most positive image for the BVA with Congress and the many government agencies in Washington.
He will be greatly missed. His vacant position was announced and the application period closed on
November 10th. Screening for his successor is underway and an announcement is anticipated shortly.
FRG Scholarship Program: Two one-thousand dollar ($1000) scholarships are being offered for the
spouse or children of Florida Blinded veterans. In January, letters will go out to all Members and
Associate Members of the Florida Regional Group asking for applicants for the 2014-2015 Florida
Regional Group Scholarship Program. This year the two FRG Scholarships will be for the 2014-2015
academic year. These scholarships will be available to the spouses and/or children of Blinded
Veterans residing in Florida. The guidelines will be similar to those of the Kathern Gruber National
BVA Scholarship Program. College, business, trade, and vocational schools are opportunities to apply
for these scholarships. The scholarships will be paid directly to the school in the student's name, to
cover tuition, books, and academic fees. If you are interested in making application for the 2014-2015
FRG Scholarship, contact FRG Secretary-Treasurer George Stocking at 3801 Coco Grove Avenue,
Miami, FL 33133, telephone (305) 446-8008 email firstname.lastname@example.org. The application packet
must be completed in its entirety to qualify and must be received by the FRG by April 15, 2014.
FRG Newsletter Recorded Version: For over 30 years, the FRG Newsletter has been recorded and
distributed to BV's in Florida by the Florida Talking Book (TB) Library in Daytona Beach. Up until
March 2012, that version of the FRG Newsletter was recorded on cassette tapes. Approximately 3
years ago, the Library of Congress' National Library Service for the Blind and physically handicapped
changed from a cassette format to a digital format. The new digital format is an excellent process and
those who have used it are very happy with the new format. Since the general public, as well as, the
TB service are no longer using cassette tapes to record material, the last company to produce cassettes
has gone out of business. Consequently, the TB Library has had to switch to the digital format. The
FRG Newsletter was the first Newsletter produced in the digital format by the TB Library in Daytona
Beach. The cost of a digital cartridge is almost 20 times the cost of a cassette tape. The TB Library
needs for BV's to return the cartridge in order to continue the service. Since the digital cartridge has
significant space, numerous copies of the FRG Newsletter may be recorded on each cartridge, so you
may listen to old issues if you choose. If you do not have a TB digital player and are interested in
Talking Book services, ask your VIST Coordinator to refer you to the TB Library for this service. If
you have any difficulty in getting the service, call George Stocking at (305) 446-8008 email
Remember to make your reservations for the January 5 FRG meeting in Ocala by calling Bruce
Davis or one of the others listed above before January 1. Although the cost of the meal to you is only
$5, each meal guaranteed will cost your Regional Group over $17. So if you make a reservation and
can't come please call Bruce Davis before January 1 and cancel. In that way we won't have to pay for
Please join us for an informative and enjoyable afternoon in Ocala on Saturday, January 4th.
FRG-BVA Meeting Schedule
January 4 FRG Meeting Hilton Hotel in Ocala
February ? Proposed FRG meeting in Tampa
March ? Proposed FRG Southeast District Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale
May 1-4 FRG State Convention Plaza Ocean Club Hotel Daytona
August 18-22 BVA National Convention in Reno, Nevada
Terry King FRG President
George Stocking Newsletter Editor