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FRG President’s Message: Thanks to the conscientious efforts and hard work of the dedicated District Directors, their family members, and in some instances, their friends, we have had some wonderful Informational Luncheons since the 2014 FRG Convention. There were opportunities for blinded veterans, (BV’s), to get meaningful benefits from attending one or more of the seven luncheons. However, it is the FRG Convention where all members of the Florida Regional Group are encouraged to help set the future direction and choose the leaders for the coming year. This issue of the Newsletter provides specifics on proposed changes that are too be voted upon by members at our 2015 FRG Convention. The FRG Board of Directors is advancing these changes to make our business meetings both more efficient and effective. By being efficient we use the time and resources available to get things done. When we are effective we take care of business that is most important to the organization. With limited resources, we need to be both efficient and effective for the good of BV’s in Florida. The FRG needs your support and participation to serve BV’s better. We are BV’s helping BV’s. The greater the support of BV’s the greater maybe the benefits for BV’s. If you have previously attended a FRG Convention you will know the wonderful opportunity it can provide. If you haven’t attended before, consider joining us this year and help yourself and help other BV’s. If you have question or need information about the FRG activities, the following is a list of the FRG Board of Directors: President - Mike Taylor Fleming Island (904) 264-0884 email met8@comcast.nett; Vice President Gilda (Gigi) Mathis - Lakeland (863) 255-9275 e mail; Secretary-Treasurer George Stocking - Miami (305) 446-8008 email; Past President Terry King - Punta Gorda (941) 505-7747 email; Northwest District - David Bigoney, Tallahassee (850)554-7819 email; Northeast Curtis Smith - Wellborn (386) 963-3658 e mail; Central West District Earl Bessent- Tampa (813) 286-1708 email; Central East District James Carr - Lady Lake (352) 259-1702 e mail; Southwest District James Duda - Naples (239) 450-6007 e mail; Southeast District Jim McCoy - Sunrise (954) 748-9428 email

State Convention Reminder: This is your final reminder that The FRG State Convention will be held at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel, 640 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32118 April 30-May 3. Your Convention Committee secured the low guaranteed group rates of only $80 per day, for 1 to 4 persons per room. In the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel, many rooms are equipped with refrigerators and microwaves and all rooms have ocean view balconies. These low convention rates will be in effect 3 days before and/or 3 days after the Convention. You may come early or stay late for an extended vacation. The low Convention rates are guaranteed for reservations made on or before April 15th. Reservations made after April 15th, will be at the low Convention rate but only on a space available basis. We encourage you to make your reservations immediately to insure your accommodations as another group is at the hotel that weekend. 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. Send your reservation to the Hotel along with your check for one night's room rate and 12.5% tax 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. Better yet, as time is short, you should make your reservation by calling the toll free reservation number at: (855) 212-3224. Be sure to specify that you want the guaranteed group rate for the Florida Regional Group Blinded Veterans Association Convention. If you have any problem, call George Stocking at (305) 446-8008.

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 15th. The registration fee will cover general Convention activities, including the Pizza Party on Thursday evening, the dinner-dance on Friday night, Hospitality Room, and the Banquet on Saturday night. Please make your check payable to the FRG-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 is important for you to send your registration fee in advance to speed up the registration at the Convention. For those who get to Daytona Beach on Thursday, April 30, the FRG Hospitality Room will be open from 6 to 10 PM. The FRG will host a Pizza Party from 6-8. If you plan to take part in the Pizza Party add that information to your early registration information so that we can plan properly and have enough pizza for everyone.

The Convention Late Registration Desk will open at 1 PM on Friday, May 1, in the hotel lobby. If you have not pre-registered, you may pay your late Registration at that time. If you have pre-registered, please pick up your name tags and Convention Program. We need everyone to check in so that we can give the chef the proper count for the dinner dance on Friday evening and Banquet on Saturday evening. The opening session will be held in the second floor Ball room at 3 PM on Friday, May 1. The Informational Seminar will be open with a presentation on Prosthetics and Sensory Aids for the Blind by VISN 8 Prosthetics Representative. That will be followed by presentations presenting information about specific low vision and sensory aid devices for the blind. Lisa Kretschmer from Florida Reading and Vision technology will make a presentation of the Victor Reader Stream. The Dinner dance will begin with dinner at 7 PM followed by dancing. Again, this year, Marsha Summers will provide the music. A cash bar will be available for liquid refreshment.

Saturday, May 2, The Annual Florida Regional Group Business Meeting will be held at 9 AM in the first floor Osprey Room. In addition to reports on the past year and planning the FRG Program for the coming year, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts and comments on future FRG activities. Elections for FRG Officers and District Directors, for the coming year, will be held. According to the BVA and the FRG By laws, the election and instruction of a Delegate and Alternate Delegates to the 70 BVA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky in August will also be held. At times, in the past, BV's who were not active Members (M), Associate Members (AM), Life or Associate Life Members (LM) or (ALM) have attended and voted at the FRG Convention Business Meeting. This is contrary to the BVA and FRG By-Laws. Consequently, we are requiring that all BV's who think that they might attend the FRG Business Meeting contact the BVA-FRG in Miami at least 10 days in advance of the Convention, so that their active M, AM, LM, or ALM status can be verified. BV's whose Life (LM) or Associate Life Members (ALM) or who are annual Members or Associate Members for 2015 whose status is verified in advance will be able to participate in the roll call vote. A number of FRG By-Law Amendments will be considered. You will find those proposed Amendments later in this Newsletter. Join us at the FRG Annual Business meeting 9 AM Saturday morning, May 2.

At 2 PM on Saturday, the second Informational Seminar will be held. It will open with an update on the Talking Book Library Program. Michael Healer the VA Regional Office Liaison for the Florida VIST Program will provide information on survivor benefits. Then, a BVA Field Service Officer, will describe the BVA Field Service Program and join Mike Healer in answering general questions.

The Hospitality Room will be open from 5 to 7 PM. At 7 PM, the Installation Banquet will be held in the Ball Room. A Member of the Army Aviation Hall of Fame will be Guest Speaker. The Banquet will close with the Installation of FRG Officers and District Directors. Join us in the hospitality Room, after the Banquet, for more socializing and refreshments. You will have a great time renewing old friendships and making new ones. You will have access to new technology, and information of interest to Blinded Veterans.

Since time is short, call (855) 212-3224 to make your reservations at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel. It is best to call during the week as weekends are quite busy. Please send your BVA Convention registration fee to the BVA-FRG at: 3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, Florida 33133. Also, let us know if you plan to be at the Pizza Party on Thursday evening in the 2nd floor Hospitality Room, so we n have enough pizza for everyone. Come join us in Daytona Beach for a wonderful weekend.

VIST and BROS Training: For many years the FRG has shared its Convention facilities and speakers with the VIST Coordinators and BROS in Florida for their in-service training. A VIST-BROS planning committee has been established and is working on the program for their training. This year, that in-service training is scheduled to begin at 8 AM on Friday and continue until the opening session. This will give you the opportunity to meet your VIST and BROS in an informal setting.

Proposed By Law Amendments: Below you will find 5 proposed By-Law amendments to be considered at the FRG State Convention at the May 2 Annual FRG Business Meeting 1. Add a new Article X which will require a Member or Associate Member to notify the FRG Secretary before 3 pm the day before the Annual Business Meeting if they plan to vote on issues and elections at the Business Meeting. 2.Change a section regarding notification of By-Law amendments to require more detailed information on changes or additions to the FRG By-Laws. 3. Move the section in the present Article X regarding the Robert’s Rules to be a separate Article4.4 Add a requirement that BV’s who are unable to attend the FRG Convention and desire to run for office notify the FRG Secretary before 3 PM the day before the Annual FRG Business meeting that he/she will accept nominations and will serve if elected.

5Add a Sub Section G to Section 4 in Article VII Duties of District Directors.

The first will set up a new Article X entitled Voting Procedures and move the present Article X to become Article XI etc. If passed, it will make the FRG By-Laws consistent with the BVA National Convention rules as follows: Next is an excerpt from the Report of the Rules Committee which has been adopted by the membership at the BVA National Convention assembled for the last 40 years. Except as provided in these rules, only those Members, Associate Members, Delegates and Alternates who have registered and have been recognized by the Credentials Committee shall be eligible to vote.

Proposed Amendment 1. Article X Florida Regional Group Voting Procedures:

1. All members in good standing that desire to cast their vote at the annual state convention, must register no later than 3:00 PM the day prior to the opening business meeting. 2. Following registration, a roll call voting list will be prepared from those who have registered and only those Blinded veterans whose names are on the roll call voting list will be eligible to vote.

FYI Below is the present Article X for the procedures to amend the FRG By Laws.

ARTICLE X Procedures for Amending By Laws: Section 1. These By Laws may be amended by the two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the Members and Associate Members of the Regional Group in meeting assembled, provided that written notice has been given to each Member and Associate Member of the Regional Group, in good standing, not less than thirty (30) days in advance of the convocation of the meeting for the purpose stated.

2. Anything not covered by these By Laws or the Blinded Veterans Association By Laws, shall be covered by Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

Section 3. A copy of any Amendments to these By Laws shall be forwarded to The National Headquarters of the Blinded Veterans Association for review and approval before the next regular meeting of the Florida Regional Group.

Proposed new Article X or XI

ARTICLE X Procedures for Amending By-Laws Section 1. These By Laws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the Members and Associate Members of the Regional Group in conventionmeeting assembled.

Section 2. Proposed amendments to these Bylaws shall be submitted in writing to the FRG Secretary at his or her mailing address, postmarked no later than ninety (90) days before the

FRG Convention.

Section 3. A copy of all such proposed amendments shall be made and distributed to the Members and Associate Members no earlier than ninety (90) Days, and no later than thirty (30) days before the FRG Convention.

Section 4. A copy of any Amendments to these By Laws shall be forwarded to The National Headquarters of the Blinded Veterans Association for review and approval before the next regular meeting of the Florida Regional Group.

Proposed Amendment 3. Proposed Article XI, XII, or XIII Robert’s Rules. Anything not covered by

these By Laws or the Blinded Veterans Association By Laws, shall be covered by Robert's Rules of

Order, Newly Revised

Proposed Amendment 4, if passed, will be added to Article V at the end of Section 2 and will read:

Any Member or Associate Member who is unable to attend the FRG State Convention due to illness or Previous engagement must produce a signed statement to the currently acting Secretary on or before 3 PM the day before the Annual FRG Business Meeting. The letter must indicate that he or she will serve if elected.

By-Law amendment 5 will add a Sub-section G. to Section 4 Article VII Duties of Officers and

District Directors as follows:

Article VII Section 4 SS G. A least once each calendar year, be responsible for contacting all Blinded

Veterans who reside in his/her District, paying special attention to incorrect mailing addresses,

telephone numbers, e mail addresses and problems that the BV may be having.

Remember to make your reservations for the FRG State Convention at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel in Daytona Beach, April 30-May 3. We dlook forward to meeting you there.

BVA-FRG Meeting Schedule
April 30-May 3 FRG State Convention Plaza Ocean Club Hotel

August 17-21 BVA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky

FRG Newslettter Staff

Mike Taylor FRG President
George Stocking FRG Newsletter EditorType your paragraph here.