3801 Coco Grove Avenue Miami, Florida 33133

NEWSLETTER - March 2005



FRG President’s Message: Here we are again, BVA members of the FRG, after having concluded our last informational luncheon meeting in Oakland Park. Now, we are planning our annual FRG State Convention. After having to cancel our Orlando meeting and low attendance at Jacksonville, Ft. Myers, and Clearwater meetings as a result of last year’s record breaking hurricanes, we finally had nearly record breaking attendance at our Ocala, MacDill AFB, and Oakland Park meetings. Hopefully, the weather will be kinder to Florida this year. Now as we prepare for our annual State Convention, we have already obtained some of our speakers for the informational meetings and Banquet. George Gray, VISN 8 Director, has accepted our invitation to be our Guest Speaker at the Installation Banquet. Donald Freyberger, VISN 8 Prosthetics Representative, will present information on prosthetics and sensory aids on Friday afternoon. This is your golden opportunity to come and ask long unanswered questions concerning aids for Blinded Veterans that help make it possible for us to deal with the daily obstacles that confront all of us. Don’t forget to join us in the Hospitality Room, as usual, for refreshments and socializing. In addition, there will be discussion regarding the 60 BVA National Convention which the FRG will co-sponsor at the Wyndham Hotel in Miami Beach in August Dr. George Stocking, National Convention Chairman, has already put into motion several of the items for which the FRG is responsible. We are still working on some new features to make the Convention more exciting. Before I conclude this final Newsletter of the season, I would like to reiterate something for which I have been advocating at every informational meeting.. To cite only one example, let’s say a BV who has completed a computer training program at Augusta, Birmingham, West Palm Beach, or at a local rehab facility paid for by the VA, needs additional training. The BV is also entitled to approximately 50 hours of computer training paid for by the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS). I would like to vigorously encourage any BV that has a problem when applying for such training to please contact me or a District Director in his or her area. My telephone number is (941) 505-7747 or email In concluding this Newsletter, I would like to encourage all BV’s to participate in our FRG State Convention. Remember, only you can continue to make the FRG the leading Group in the BVA. Terry King, FRG President


FRG Auxiliary President’s Message: Now that we have completed all of our District luncheon meetings for this season, we are looking forward to the FRG State Convention. The FRG Auxiliary will hold its Annual Business Meeting at 9 AM on Saturday morning. We will receive reports on the past year’s activities and plan activities for the coming year. In addition, we will elect Officers for the coming year. We will hold two raffles during the Convention. The first on Friday night will be to sponsor the music for the dinner dance and the one on Saturday evening will go to our Scholarship fund. The Auxiliary is open to all family members and friends of the BVA, so, come and join us.


Joanne King, FRG Auxiliary President


FRG District Director Honored: Dwight Sayer, FRG Central East District Director, was presented with the 2005 West Orange Community Champion Award for his efforts in the Community of Winter Gardens. In addition to being the FRG Central East District Director, Dwight is the President of the Orlando Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida and State Board Member, President of the Ocoee Lions Club, and is on the Missions Team at the St Paul’s Presbyterian Church. Further, he is a Consumer Advocate for MV Transportation, a member of the Lynx Advisory Council and member of the Coordinating Board for the Metro Planning for Orange County. Dwight also led the fight to keep the Orlando Talking Book Sub Regional Library open when the County Librarian wanted to close down the program. Dwight was honored to receive this award and pleased to know the sighted world realize that he could have an impact just as sighted people. Congratulations to Dwight Sayer for this wonderful honor. Keep up the good work.


FRG State Convention Reminder: This is your final notice that the 2005 Florida Regional Group State Convention will be held at the Holiday Inn South, 3209 South Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach Shores, Florida 32118, April 29- May 1. The Holiday Inn is located directly on the ocean and has its own beach, pool, patio area, snack bar, lounge, and restaurant Your Convention Committee has arranged the low rates of only $58 per day for standard room for 1 to 4 people and $65.50 per day, for rooms with kitchens for 1 to 4 people. These rates are in effect for reservations made on or before April 10th. Send your check for one day’s room rate plus 11.5% tax, or your credit card number to guarantee your reservation. Since time is short, you are urged to call the Holiday Inn South, toll free, at (800) 722-3297. Be sure to tell the reservation clerk you will be attending the Florida Blinded Veterans Association State Convention. The hotel has guaranteed these rates until April 10th. Consequently, you should secure your reservations at the guaranteed low Convention Tate as soon as possible. The hotel will accept reservations up to the day of the Convention, at the same rates, but only on a space available basis. However, if you wait, all of the rooms may be taken. These low Convention rates will be in effect 3 days before and/or 3 days after the Convention. So, you may come early and/or stay late for an extended vacation. If you make a reservation and are unable to attend, the hotel will refund your deposit if you cancel by 24 hours before the day you were to arrive.


The Convention Registration Desk will be located in the hotel lobby and will be open for late registration from 1 to 3 PM on Friday, April 29th. If you have not pre-registered, you may do so then. If you have pre-registered, please check in and pick up your Convention Program and name tags at that time. We need to have you check at the registration table so that we can give the proper count to the chef for the dinner-dance and banquet. The opening session will be held in the first floor Ball Room and will begin at 3PM on Friday, April 29th. The Informational Seminar will open with a presentation on Prosthetics and Sensory Aids

Donald Freyberger, VISN 8 Prosthetics Representative. Then, Philip Raistriclc From Vision America will demonstrate the ID Mate and the Script Talk. The Seminar will close with a presentation by Craig Kizer, Director of the Division of Blind Services on computer and independent living training. Dinner-Dance: The Dinner-Dance will begin with dinner at 7 PM followed by dancing from 8 to?. Again this year, the music will be provided by Marsha Summers. Those of you who have attended before will remember what a great job she does

playing music for good listening and good dancing. Those new conventioneers will be pleased with an enjoyable musical interlude. A cash bar will be available for liquid refreshments. This should be a fun evening, So join in the good times.


Saturday, April 30th: The annual Florida Regional Group Business Meeting will be held at 9 AM in the first floor Ball Room. In addition to reports on the past year’s activities and planning the FRG program for the coming year, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts and comments on future FRG programs. Elections for FRG Officers arid District Directors, for the coming year, will be held. The election of a Delegate and Alternate Delegates to the BVA’s 60th National Convention in Miami Beach in August, will also be held. Proposed resolutions for presentation to the BVA National Convention will be considered. Proposed Amendments to the FRG By-Laws, will be considered.


The FRG Auxiliary will also hold its meeting at 9 AM on Saturday in the 1st floor Manatee Room. The I3VA Auxiliary is not a “Ladies Auxiliary” but is open to all family members and friends of the BVA. The Auxiliary will receive reports on the past year and make plans for next year. It will also elect officers for the coming year.


At 2 PM on Saturday, a second Informational Seminar will be held in the Bail Room.

Brent Arronte, VA Regional Office Liaison Representative to the Florida VIST Coordinators,

will present information on veterans benefits. Mike Gunde Chief of the Bureau of Braille and

Talking Book Services will present information about new innovations in Talking Book

Services. The seminar will close with a presentation on the Computer Users group by Paul

Kaminsky and the 800 Informational Service by Dwight Sayer.


The Hospitality Room will be open from 5 to 7 PM. The Installation Banquet will be held in the Ball Room at 7 PM. Terry King, FRG President, will be Master of Ceremonies. VISN 8 Director George Gray, will be our Guest Speaker. Mr. Gray has had a distinguished career as an Administrator with the VA. Prior to his appointment as VISN 8 Director, he served as Director of the Little Rock, Arkansas VAMC. Funding for veterans health care is sent to the 21 VISN’s around the US. Mr. Gray is responsible for allocating these funds in VISN 8, which is composed of Florida and Puerto Rico. So, let’s make a good impression on him. He has a direct influence on funds for services for Blinded Veterans in Florida. Prior to the end of the Banquet, the FRG Auxiliary will hold the drawing for its raffle. The Banquet will close with the installation of Florida Regional Group Officers and District Directors and the FRG Auxiliary Officers for the coming year. Join us in the Hospitality Room, after the Banquet, for more socializing and refreshments. Sunday will be the time for goodbyes and travel home.


Convention Registration Fee: The Convention Registration Fee will be $35 per person (for each DV, family member, and/or friend attending). However, an early Registration Fee of only $30 per person will be in effect for registrations received on or before April 10th. The Registration Fee will cover general Convention activities, including the Dinner-Dance on Friday night, and 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, Florida 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. It takes a lot of volunteer work to put on this Convention and your help will be greatly appreciated. Remember, contact the Holiday Inn to make your hotel reservations and send your Convention registration fee to the BVA FRG in Miami.


West Palm Beach and Miami Convention Transportation: Paul Mimms, VIST Coordinator at the West Palm Beach VAMC and Roberta Goldstein, \TIST Coordinator at the Miami VAMC are attempting to arrange transportation to the State Convention, from Miami and West Palm Beach. If arrangements can be made, they will leave the Miami VAMC and West Palm Beach VAMC on Thursday Morning April 28 and return Sunday afternoon. For information call Paul at (561) 422-5260 or Roberta at (305) 3244455 ex 3607.


Directions: To get to the Holiday Inn South in Daytona Beach Shores, take I 95 to exit 256, Dunlawton Avenue, go East to Atlantic Avenue (Highway A 1 A) then North one half mile. The hotel will be on your right, directly on the ocean. From 1-4, go to I 95 then South one exit to exit 256 then repeat as above. Exit 256 is one exit South of the Daytona Beach exit.


Convention Transportation: Attention! To all of the BV’s in the Orlando area. We are planning an experiment for those in that area who would like to attend the FRG State Convention but do not have transportation. Orlando is the target area and if sufficient BV’s want to go, a bus can be chartered for about $25-$30 each. The bus will pickup BV’s at the Raymond Street VA Clinic. After picking up the BV’s and their guests, they will go to Daytona and drop everyone at the hotel on Thursday afternoon. After the conclusion of the Convention, the bus would return on Sunday morning and return everyone to the Raymond Street VA. In the event we do not get enough reservations, the trip would be cancelled and everyone notified and their deposit refunded. BV’s in the Orlando area who are interested in bus transportation to the FRG Convention, please call one of the following: Dwight Sayer, Winter Gardens (407) 877-1970; Harold Pritchett Orlando (407) 438-8955.


VIST Coordinators Meeting:  For a number of years, the Florida Regional Group has shared its Convention facilities with the VIST Coordinators and Blind Rehab Specialists in Florida for an inservice training meeting prior to the start of our Convention. This year, it will begin at 3 AM on Friday and continue until our opening meeting at 3 PM. We are happy to share our Convention facilities with VIST Coordinators and BROS and appreciate their taking part in our Convention. We greatly appreciate the dedicated service they provide to Blinded Veterans. Let’s express our appreciation for the wonderful work they do for us.


While you have this Newsletter in hand, make your arrangements to attend our FRG State Convention. Sometimes, when we put things off, we forget and they don’t get done. Please remember to send your Convention Registration Fee to the BVA FRG in Mjamj and your hotel reservation to the Holiday Inn South in Daytona Beach Shores, or better yet, call them at the toll free number (800) 722-3297. Remember, if you need to cancel your reservation, you will receive a full deposit refund, as long as you cancel 24 hours prior to your scheduled arrival date. Join with us and renew old friendships and make some new ones.