"Our goal is to encourage independent living for all blind and visually impaired persons. We are a support group ready to share resources and information"
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About the ACB
The Arkansas Council of the Blind, as an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, is the leading membership organization for the blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind citizens of the State of Arkansas. It is a non-profit charitable organization that was founded in 1961 and is incorporated in the District of Columbia.
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Arkansas Council of the
January - February
From the President’s
Pages 1 and 2
Pages 2 and
From the Ozarks
Pages 4, 5 and
Pages 6 –
Mary Ellen Johnson, Editor,
Trout Farm Road,
you would like to receive future editions of this newsletter by email or
Braille, in place of print, please send your request to:[email protected] or call 479-751-7830.The deadline to submit articles
for the next newsletter is March 10, 2016.
Regular contributors to
your newsletter are (in alphabetical order) Rachel Ames, Sandra Edwards,
Margaret Johnson, Nola McKinney, Theresa Petrey and Rita Reese-Whiting. You can
become a contributing writer by sending an article to the editor at the above
From the President’s
Hello everyone. I
hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season with lots of fun and good times
spent with family and friends. I am still trying to get used to the fact
that it is actually 2016. Let’s hope that it will be a good year for us
all, individually and collectively. If you have not paid your membership
dues for 2016, they are past due. We have 80 members so far which will be
turned into the national office. This gives us three votes at the national
convention. I do not know what it will take to encourage the rest of
you to get your dues in in a more timely manner. Just because we
have until March 1 to get everything turned in doesn’t mean people need to wait
until the last minute to get everything paid. Please send in your dues if
you haven’t already. Rachel Ames has taken over the treasury and the
membership list since Mary Ellen could no longer handle the workload due to
health reasons. Remember, for each 25 members who re-up for 2016,
the Arkansas affiliate gets one vote at the national level. Last year we
also time to get your letters to me if you are interested in being the alternate
delegate for the 2016 national convention in Minneapolis this summer. I
have extended the deadline until January 31 since my article did not make the
November newsletter. You may send your letter by email to
. The letters will be
forwarded to the screening committee. The alternate delegate must attend
all general sessions and possibly other events requested by the
president. You will be reimbursed for travel expenses and $140 per diem
for room and meals. If you have never been to a national convention it is
an invaluable experience.
will be going out soon regarding a board meeting on Sunday January 24 at
2:30. All board members must have their dues paid by then. If your
dues are not paid by the first board meeting of the year, you are technically
not a member and cannot participate in the business of ACB.
That’s all I have for this time. There will be more information later
about the state convention in April. Stay tuned for further details.
I will see you all in the March newsletter.
Sandra Edwards, President
Arkansas Council of the Blind
From the Quazar
Greetings from the Quazar
Happy New Year! I trust that everyone is staying warm to the best
of his/her abilities. What a reminder that no, Spring is not here yet,
after our spring like temperatures on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Before I proceed, I would
like to personally thank our president, Sandra Edwards for submitting on behalf
of the Quazar Chapter to the November-December newsletter, following the death
of my sister. I am back now, and am ready to share what our chapter has
Since the newsletter was
last put out, our chapter has met three times, although the December meeting was
our annual Christmas gathering at American Pie Pizza on December 12.
Eleven persons were present. There was a gift exchange for those who
wished to participate. A good time was had by all.
Our two business meetings
were on November 21 and January 9. At our November meeting, we had Sean
McIntosh of ICAN which stands for Increasing Capabilities Access Network.
Sean was very informative, telling us about what ICAN does, how they serve a
cross section of persons with disabilities, who is eligible and that no
financial background information is required. Sean said that persons who
come to their agency must present first a valid Arkansas ID and then, have a
statement from his/her doctor stating the nature of the disability, before a
piece of equipment is loaned. An equipment loan is for up to six weeks at
a time, Sean said. This is to determine if this is something that the
individual can either use or needs. Sean said that he has items for low
vision purposes such as magnifiers that take a picture of labels on cans,
medicine labels and fine print, which the consumer in turn, could take the
magnifier to his or her CCTV and enlarge the print in order to see it.
Everyone found Sean’s presentation very informative and he passed out brochures
and business cards. Sean gave the location of ICAN which is on the 900
block of West 7 Street between Izzard and Chester Streets and he
also shared their hours of business which are Monday through Friday from 8:00 to
Also, at our November
meeting, we made and passed a motion to allot Dolly and Harold Williams $250 to
purchase gifts for four needy children at the Arkansas School for the
Blind. This is an annual tradition of the chapter’s and we are all
grateful for the time and attention which Dolly and Harold give, to these
At our January meeting,
Dolly shared her report of what she and Harold had purchased for the four
children at the Arkansas School for the Blind.
Also, at our January
meeting, we had our election of officers. For the office of president,
Sandra Edwards was elected by acclamation; for the office of vice-president,
Harold Williams was elected by acclamation; for the office of secretary, Theresa
Petrey was elected by acclamation; and for the office of treasurer, Dolly
Williams was elected by acclamation.
Harold took suggestions as
to what types of speakers we would like to have during 2016. An idea
presented was to have someone talk about eldercare programs regarding the
ability for one to be able to remain in his or her home for as long as possible
without having to be placed in a nursing home.
Our next chapter meeting
will be on February 13 at 11:30 a.m.
Until the next time that I
write, may everyone stay warm but do venture out of doors if and when
possible. And one more thing, I am looking forward to seeing as many who
can, attend the state convention in April. The dates are April 22 and 23
at the Hilton Garden Inn, in North Little Rock.
Theresa Petrey, Quazar
From the Ozarks
Happy New Year to all our ACB
We hope everyone had a wonderful
holiday, filled with good things and good people. It is finally starting to feel like
winter here in Northwest Arkansas. With the high on Christmas Day almost 70
degrees, it felt more like April than December.
We held a holiday gathering on
December 13 at our usual meeting location, Denny’s Restaurant in
Springdale. Instead of a regular meeting, we played “Dirty Santa” until all the
gifts were gone. There were scarves, gloves, cookies, and some decorative items
that were swapped and stolen. A good time was had by all.
Although we did not hold an official
meeting in December, we did discuss some goals and ideas for the upcoming year.
We plan to continue working on making the public aware of the chapter, ACB, and
what help we can offer. Many people do not know there are services like the
National Library Service, or that the Vocational Rehabilitation office can help.
We discussed participating in other non-profit organizations’ events, like the
“Komen Race for the Cure” and the “St. Jude’s Walk.” By participating in
community events such as these, we hope to raise awareness of ACB and our
chapter, as well as support other non-profits who have helped some of our
members and their families.
We will be electing three Board
members and one Board Chair at our first meeting of 2016 on January
17. These positions are for two years, and are open to all chapter
members regardless of vision status
Wishing everyone the best in this
New Year, and we hope to see y’all in April, at the Hilton Garden Inn North
Little Rock for State Convention!
Submitted by Rita Reese-Whiting, Ozarks Chapter
Hello everyone Rachel here. As you know for many years Susie
Weatherford and I have held a raffle at the Arkansas Council of the Blind Annual
State Convention. We have purchased
prizes and sold tickets on them to raise money for ACB directly or other
blindness related programs like the Arkansas School for the Blind or the Elder
Blind Program of Arkansas.
Through the years we have raised thousands of dollars
with the help of our partner and secret weapon, Miss Imogene Johnson. We have sold an average of nearly
$500.00 a year for decades. We sold
some tickets before the convention and then during the convention holding the
drawing on Saturday afternoon.
This year Rita Reese-Whiting has joined with us in this
effort and at her suggestion we will be doing a 50/50 ACB Raffle in 2016. It’s a win/win situation for us because
we don’t have to buy prizes. Since
we do the raffle, we decide what the money will be donated to. We decided that the proceeds of our
efforts for the 2016 drawing will go into the ACB treasury for operating
expenses, beginning with the 2017 Arkansas State
The more tickets we sell the larger the prize for the
winning ticket holder and for ACB.
If you would like more information before the actual convention just send
me an email at . The
winner can take their cash and buy whatever they want with it. Tickets cost $1.00 a piece or 6
tickets for $5.00.
Ticket sales have just started and the pot is already at
$60.00. A winning ticket
drawn today would give ACB $30.00 and the winning ticket holder would get the
same. We have four months before
the drawing to sell tickets. For more information you may call 479-521-9676
Please join with Susie Weatherford, Imogene Johnson,
Rita Reese-Whiting and me to sell/buy tickets before the drawing at the 2016 ACB
Annual Convention. The buyer gets a
stub that can be used by those who itemize for taxes and the other side goes
into the official coffee can for the drawing in April. Be sure to get that side filled out and
bring those tickets to the convention to go in the can. The winner doesn’t have to be at the
convention to win, but we hope to see you all there.
Once again the Arkansas Council of the Blind Annual
State Convention will be at the Hilton Garden Inn at 4100 Glover Lane in North
Little Rock Arkansas. The direct
phone number for the hotel is 501-945-7444 and the deadline for convention rates
on your room is March 22, 2016. The
reserved block of rooms includes rooms with a king size bed or with two queen
size beds. You need to use the
promo code of ACOB to ensure the convention rate. If you need a handicapped room they are
the same rate. That rate is $91.00
for one or two people and an additional $10.00 per person up to a maximum of
four to a room. There are no suites
in the reserved block this year.
Unless the taxes change the cost per night $103.29 and up if more people
than two share the room.
I checked out the Hilton Garden Inn, NLR online and it
looks like you can expect the hotel to be basically the same as last year. The rooms still have a frig, microwave,
and coffee maker and for snacks there is a Food Pantry next to the hotel
registration desk with everything from chips and candy bars to beer and
even pizza that you can zap in your
room’s microwave if you need a snack after the restaurant closes. I am looking
forward to seeing you at the 45 Annual Arkansas Council of the
Blind Convention at the Hilton Garden Inn in NLR on April 22 and
News from the Greene County
Low Vision Support Group
The Greene County Low
Vision Support Group has had several good meetings this fall. Some of the
topics discussed included Disability Awareness Day, the Arkansas Information
Reading Services For The Blind, and courses from the Hadley School for the
Blind. Our group attended a wonderful Christmas Party held at the
Paragould Senior Center, complete with a nice dinner served on glass plates, and
the senior citizens band played and sang following the dinner. Everyone
who attended the Christmas party at the Senior Center received a box of canned
goods from the food bank in Jonesboro, Arkansas, that will come in handy this
winter when we have bad weather and cannot get to the grocery store. A few
of our people have been in the hospital, and we have lost some through
death. Several of our people have paid their dues and joined Arkansas
ACB. Hopefully, some will be able to come to the State convention in North
Little Rock this spring. Also, our group has acquired one new member who
has authored and published two books and is working on other books at this
The only practicing
ophthalmologist in Paragould retired, and gave the facilitator a wonderful model
of a right eyeball. We are very proud of it and will be happy to show it
to anyone who is interested.
The Greene County Low
Vision Support Group has been in existence in Paragould, Arkansas, for 12 years,
and during this time, we have been able to provide some much-needed help to the
adventitiously blind, especially senior citizens.
For over twenty years, Leroy Johnson
and me (as his wife) have taken care of the Arkansas Council of the Blind’s
needs as treasurer. Leroy passed away June 13, 2013 and my health has declined
to the point I can no longer do the job as well as it should be done. It is a
very important task with a lot of little details. Thankfully, Rachel Ames, a
longtime member of ACB, has agreed to assume the responsibilities. We are in the
process of training once a week. At this point the ACB computer, printer, files
and supplies have been moved into office space at Rachel’s home. I will
officially submit my resignation at the next Board of Director’s meeting asking
that Rachel be officially appointed to fill the post. She will be handling
registrations for the state convention as well as taking care of memberships. A
letter will be sent to each of you from me following the Board meeting thanking
you for your support and asking for your best wishes for me and my family in the
future. This does not mean I’m giving up ACB. I will serve on committees as
appointed and continue to edit our bi-monthly newsletters until such time as it
is fit to pass the job along to someone else or until our President asks me to
resign. We have a new email address for the newsletter articles. It is
Mary Ellen Johnson
For those of you who use
Internet sites, the Arkansas Council of the Blind Thrift Store in Springdale,
Arkansas, maintains a website that includes this newsletter. They also have a
For customers at the store,
brochures are available stating the goals and purposes of the Arkansas Council
of the Blind.