Arkansas Council of the Blind - an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind
"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 Blind
January - February 2016
Let’s Just Talk
From the President’s Desk                         Pages 1 and 2
 From the Quazar Chapter                          Pages 2 and 3
From the Ozarks Chapter                           Page 4
2016 Raffle                                                 Pages 4, 5 and 6
Greene County                                           Page 6
Treasurer’s Position                                   Pages 6 – 7
Send all articles via email ([email protected]) or in print to:
Mary Ellen Johnson, Editor, 4912 Trout Farm Road, Springdale, AR 72762. If 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 location.

From the President’s Desk
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 had five.
    It is 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. 
    A notice 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 Chapter
Greetings from the Quazar Chapter: 
          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 been doing.
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 4:30. 
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 children. 
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. 
Respectfully submitted,
Theresa Petrey, Quazar Chapter Secretary  
From the Ozarks Chapter
Happy New Year to all our ACB family!
     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 Secretary
2016 ACB Raffle
     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 Convention.
     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 after noon.
     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 23, 2016.
          Rachel Ames
News from the Greene County Low Vision Support Group
By Margaret Johnson
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 time. 
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. 
Treasurer’s Position
          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 .
Respectively submitted, 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 Facebook account: http:/
For customers at the store, brochures are available stating the goals and purposes of the Arkansas Council of the Blind.


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