American Council of the Blind

Western New York Chapter

Our meeting opened at 6:00 PM The following members were present: Ian Foley, Karen Blachowicz, Douglas Whittford, John Spencer, Annita Williams, Karlene andRichard Fiorello, Kathy Lyons, Marie Lyons, Alex Meister, Paul Jerge, Linda and PatrickOlson, Karen Palau. Edna Rouse by telephone.

Karen B. welcomed everyone and gave announcements: She stated how proud she is to have her members elect her president. She thanked the other officers for being willing to be officers. Our chapter is at a crossroads. We need goals and need to decide how to reach them. Doug Whittford lost his dad late in December.

Secretary report was given. The November minutes were approved and accepted as summarized by the secretary. The treasurer gave his report. It was approved as presented. Patrick graciously Brailled the treasurer’s report. A motion was made by Kathy and seconded by Linda that the convention account be closed and the money moved to our general checking account.

Richard gave a report of the state board meeting: state is still attempting to get insurance which will cover all state chapters. State wants to work on the web site. The Legislative meeting is May 6-8. The state convention will be held in Utica October 19-22.The leadership seminar will be an evening meeting instead of a morning meeting. The Same convention committee will plan 2017 and 2018. The convention in 2018 will be in Rochester. The national convention will be in Rochester in 2019. Karen was asked to be on a national education committee and she is glad to serve on that committee. The committee is working to keep schools for the blind opened. We spent some time discussing this topic. Karen Palau stated that Teachers of the visually impaired often are general education teachers and do not even know Braille.

Committees: Paul is sergeant at arms, scholarship Karen Palau and Richard Fiorello,fund raising is Paul as chairman, Ian and Karen Palau, Pedestrian safety is co-chairmen Paul and Kathy no one else is on that committee, sunshine Alex and Peach, nfta committee Karen B. will attend meetings, but as yet there is no committee. Karen gave a fund raising report. We need the candy orders by Feb 28 so they must be in by next meeting. We still have candy bars which could be sold at a grocery store or someplace like that. Pedestrian safety report by Kathy: nationally the committee works on signals.Locally work is being done on Delaware Ave. Some signals are handled by the state and others are handled by the city. Some are installed by the state and repaired by the city. Linda stated that independent living in Batavia is working on 5 signals in Batavia.

New Business

Budget: Kathy took over this part of the meeting. The state does not give money to any first time attendance of the national ACB. Alex read the budget which is proposed by the board. The total is $3,650. Linda stated that this is not actually a budget because it is not showing income sources but just expenses. Richard moved that the budget be accepted and Paul seconded that motion. Ian suggested that there be an allowance for the president to also attend conventions because she is required to be there as vice-president of the state organization. Linda stated that she questions having an amount designated for the Christmas party. She also stated that the discretionary fund should not be $500.00. The reasons for that amount should be listed. Patrick wanted to vote on each individual item. There was a role call vote to do that. Patrick wants to delete the Christmas party and summer picnic. Alex took over for the raising of hands voting on each budget item. Each budget item passed as originally presented by the board. Alex Moved that the dollar amount in items 1 and 2 be divided by the number of representatives we are sending. That motion was seconded and passed.

Our next topic was on the new law that Cable Companies have to provide accessible cable boxes to the visually impaired. Patrick stated that he had an extensive discussion with his cable co to get the box to talk. Peach said that she got TWC to work through her iphone. The technicians brought her a laptop which did not work for her.

Marie Lyons talked about a talking pill reminder that Walgreens gave her and she was supposed to record her own information on it. Kathy will check with national office about what is available for blind persons. Paul moved for adjournment at 8:03 PM

Respectfully Submitted,
Karlene Fiorello, Secretary