American Council of the Blind

Western New York Chapter

We began our monthly meeting at 6 PM. The following members were present: Karen Palau, Marie Lyons, Karen Blachowicz, Ian Foley, Anita Williams, Douglas Whitford, Sylvia Santos, Linda and Patrick Olsen, Paul Jerge, John Spencer, Alex Meister, Richard and Karlene Fiorello, and Kathy Lyons. Sylvie became a new member. Welcome, Sylvie!

Karen welcomed everyone and mentioned birthdays in May. Our picnic will be June 17 at Karen Blachowicz’s house. We will have chicken. The picnic will replace the June meeting. The minutes were summarized and accepted. Alex gave his treasurer’s report: $6,402.94 is in the checking account. It was accepted as presented.
Committee reports: Marie gave the pedestrian report. She wrote a letter concerning the status of signals in Buffalo. She wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper. Patrick read that letter. She finally got a reply from the traffic engineer. Less than 5% of accessible signals have been installed. They hope to reach 50% by the end of 2021. Linda stated that the DOT is working on similar problems in Batavia.

NFTA committee report was given by John. There is an increase of trips booked by telephone. Some trains are being repaired at south street station and they do not take passengers. May meeting will be in Niagara Falls. There are more no-shows.

Legislative committee report was given by Ian. He summarized the weekend and the actual visit to the legislature on Monday. State board meeting report was jointly given by Karen B. and Richard. The board talked about how we need to seek younger members. They formed a committee to see how social media could be used to increase state membership. The membership is down so we have 7 votes at national instead of 8 as we had in the past. Liability insurance was discussed. The state can get the insurance but if we have a fund raiser which needs insurance we have to give 20% of our profit from that fundraiser to the state as “payment”. Our chapter agreed that the state should purchase this insurance. Richard will propose that the required percentage be lower than 20%.

New Business: Linda attended the Lunch in the Dark at NYSSB. Our meeting adjourned at 7:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted
Karlene Fiorello