CCB SPRING CONVENTION MINUTES
Saturday, April 26, 1997
[Editor's note: In order to shorten the business meeting at our fall
convention, we will dispense with the reading of the minutes of our last
convention. Therefore, instead of printing a summary as we usually do,
we'll print the full text as it was submitted by the Recording Secretary.
Please study it carefully, and be prepared to discuss any additions or
corrections during the business meeting. If there is no discussion, the
minutes will be accepted as they appear here.]
* * *
The 1997 spring convention of the Connecticut Council of the Blind was
held at the Oak Hill School for the Blind. President Marcia Nigro called
the business meeting to order at 10:00 A.M. After a moment of silence, the
roll was called. 24 members were present.
The minutes from the fall, 1996 convention were read and accepted with
the following corrections:
1. Pam Garde is in charge of the CCB Newsmakers, and April Hutchins is in
charge of the Bulletin Board.
2. Dan Mills and Dave Bates were also on the ad hoc convention committee.
President Nigro then introduced several guests: Laurie Doyle, Carol
and Tom Lemieu, Bernie Frost, Mike Neeley, who had recently moved to
Connecticut from California, and Carol Gillispie's driver, Oliver.
President Nigro also announced that Acting Treasurer Dave Bates could
not attend the convention because of a conflict in his schedule, and that
First Vice President Steve Dresser was absent due to illness. Regrettably,
Ken Tripp, Executive Director of BESB, who was scheduled to speak during
the luncheon, could not be at the convention because of a back injury.
President Nigro, who was unable to obtain an updated treasurer's
report, read the report as of March 1 as follows: the checking account
contained $494.66; the savings account contained $2,845.10; and the
scholarship fund contained $2,710.01. Marcia said there would be an
updated report in the newsletter.
* * *
Alice Jackson voiced the need for people interested in joining the
Convention Committee to help plan the fall convention, which will be a two-
day convention. She said she would be happy to turn the committee
chairmanship over to someone else after the fall. Cheree Heppe graciously
agreed to cochair with Alice during the planning of the next convention.
Marcia commended the Convention Committee, Alice Jackson, Bryan
McGucken, and April Hutchins, for their work on the spring convention. She
urged anyone interested in joining the committee to contact her, Alice, or
On behalf of Steve Dresser, editor of the newsletter, Marcia reminded
the membership that the deadline for submissions for the next issue was May
1. She said Steve had received a couple of submissions as of the
convention. Marcia also stated that beginning this summer, the CCB toll-
free number will be attached to the voice-mail system at Steve's house so
members can leave messages for CCB officers and committee chairs.
Publicity and Membership:
President Nigro reported that April Hutchins' father, Phil Hutchins,
has found a printer who has agreed to print at least 1000 CCB brochures
free of charge. The printer will write this project off as a tax
John Mattioli read the brochure, and explained its formatting to the
membership. The content of the brochure was accepted as amended. A motion
was made, seconded, and carried, authorizing the CCB Board of Directors to
make any formatting changes in the brochure which are necessary to ensure
its adherance to postal regulations.
Both Norm Banta and Marcia commended John for his hard work on the
brochure. Marcia said that getting the brochure out would be a real shot
in the arm for CCB.
Dan Mills reported that the paratransit system has been having some
problems with reservations for rides. However, he said there are some
rollover lines being added to accommodate more callers. A few more towns,
including Manchester, have been added to the computerized reservation
network. A sensitivity training program for the ADA reservationists has
also been started.
Carol Gillispie reported possible funding problems for the New Haven
Paratransit System. Marcia asked her and Alicia Ferraiuolo to keep CCB
informed on this matter.
Cheree Heppe reported that she has joined the ADA Advisory Committee.
She encouraged anyone having problems with the paratransit system to write
to the state Department of Transportation.
Cheree said she is tabulating the results of the bus survey published
in the last newsletter, and that anyone else interested in participating in
the survey may contact her. She hopes to have the results of the survey to
be published in the next newsletter. She and Jan Frost both reported
problems with drivers not calling out stops, and ostracizing them when they
Marcia reported that $145.38 was raised from the Pick-a-Pearl party
held at Shirley Phelon's house. This will benefit the scholarship fund.
Also, Pam Garde turned in $70 from cookbook sales. Marcia stressed that
while we are making progress, there is a need to do some more fundraising
to replenish the scholarship fund for next year.
One project that is being pursued is the idea of having a concert
featuring Sally Rogers, a local folk singer. This concert would be open to
the public, and held this summer to raise money for CCB. Cheree Heppe
reported that while Sally is interested in doing the concert, many details,
including those regarding the contract, are still being worked out.
April Hutchins said she is willing to have a Tupperware party at her
home this fall to raise money for the scholarship fund. Marcia said there
are still more T-shirts and cookbooks to be sold.
Marcia said she had spoken to Janine Stanley, President of GDUI, who
said that anyone who is both a member of CCB and GDUI is eligible to be a
member of GDUCT this year. However, in 1998, the dues structure stated in
the GDUCT constitution will take effect. Marcia said the CCB Board of
Directors hopes to approve the GDUCT constitution at its next meeting on
There was no news to report either from the Southern Connecticut or
Carol Gillispie reported that on Saturday, June 21, there will be an
open house which will include tours of the library, a speaker, and
Carol said CRIS is being transmitted to almost the entire state. She
said a survey will be mailed out to listeners, and will be followed up by
Dan Mills reported that when he contacted the two people who had
previously expressed interest in becoming the new treasurer, they said they
couldn't do it at this time. Dan said Dave Bates has agreed to stay on as
treasurer, providing that the chairman of the Convention Committee be in
charge of all money matters related directly to the convention. Marcia
urged anyone interested in taking on the position of treasurer in the
future to please let her know.
April Hutchins, Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, introduced this
year's scholarship recipient, Christy Killion, a sophomore at Wolcott High
School. April presented Christy with a print certificate in a silver
frame. While Marcia presented Christy with a braille copy of the
certificate, April thanked her committee, Dan and Kathie Mills, Pam Garde,
and Bryan McGucken, for their enthusiasm and willingness to serve with her.
Congratulations and best wishes were extended to Christy, who thanked
the Scholarship Committee profusely for selecting her, and said she felt
honored to be at the convention. She said she will use part of the money
for flute lessons, and part of it for college.
* * *
Dave McLean reported that the CCB Web site now has a new address. It
has also been connected to the ACB Web site.
* * *
Ellen Telker will be CCB's delegate to this year's ACB convention.
Marcia Nigro will be the alternate.
Mike Neeley, who had just moved to Connecticut from California,
offered to be responsible for a post office box for CCB's mail. This would
provide for a more permanent address to put on the brochures, and for any
other correspondence sent to CCB. After some discussion, a motion was
made, seconded, and carried to accept Mike's offer.
* * *
Carol Gillispie suggested that we invite Dave Sullivan, the printer
who has agreed to do the brochures, to the fall convention.
Alice Jackson publicly thanked Kathie Mills for all of her hard work
in preparing the convention luncheon.
The business meeting adjourned at approximately 12 noon. Kathie Mills
thanked her husband Dan, her friend Jan, and her niece for their assistance
in preparing and serving the food.
We reconveened at about 1:30. Kathie Mills presented Christy Killion
with a basket of flowers on behalf of CCB.
The membership was then divided into five small groups to discuss
CCB's future. Each group was asked to pick a spokesperson who would report
on each group's discussion of two questions.
The first question was given to all the groups: "In what way or ways
has CCB made a difference in your life?" The second question was specific
to each group. Each group was to discuss how they would be willing to
contribute to CCB in one of five areas: (1) legislative, (2) fundraising,
(3) membership, (4) publicity, and (5) conventions.
After the small groups had time to discuss these questions, the
membership came back together for the summaries of each discussion. In all
of the groups, the question regarding the difference CCB has made in
people's lives generated similar responses. People spoke of camaraderie,
friendship, a sense of belonging, learning from each other, mutual support,
exchanging information, confidence, etc.
For the second question, some of the suggestions in each group were:
1. Legislative: writing congressmen, working in cooperation with
other organizations for the blind on issues such as the Braille Bill,
transportation, unemployment, and underemployment.
2. Fundraising: selling a product by which CCB would become known.
Gift wrapping books during the holidays.
3. Membership: distributing brochures to eye doctors' offices.
Talking on local cable access channels and radio talk shows. Public
4. Publicity: It was suggested that fundraising could be a vehicle
for publicity. Some suggestions were a dance, white elephant sales,
distributing brochures to supermarkets and malls, and public service
5. Conventions: information on technology. More speakers. Detailed
directions to convention sites. Agendas. Recreational expos. Volunteers
After all of these summaries were discussed, and received much
positive feedback from the membership, Alice posed a third question
regarding what special interest groups people would join. Cheree Heppe
talked about Guide Dog Users of Connecticut, and asked anyone interested in
joining to talk to her. John Mattioli suggested a computer users group.
Mike Neeley expressed an idea about having a service interest group that
might help those with other disabilities. April Hutchins said she'd like
to see a speakers bureau formed for public education and awareness about
blindness. Barbara Blejewski was interested in having a recreational
special interest group.
Alice thanked the members for their participation in the breakout
sessions as well as the general discussion. She urged us all to think
about what we discussed, and be willing to participate in CCB's activities,
since it is our organization.
Marcia said she was impressed by what she heard of the discussions.
She said we will have the descriptive video scheduled for this convention
at the next convention.
In Mr. Tripp's absence, Marcia discussed the BESB Bill, which included
the Braille Bill. She said people could request a copy of the bill from
BESB. She also stated that Mr. Tripp was planning to relocate BESB
because it would take $4.5 million to renovate the Ridge Road building.
Also, Dan Mills said that the possibility of relocating the Shield Street
workshop to East Hartford is being explored.
The next convention, which will be an overnight, will be on Friday and
Saturday, October 24th and 25th, at a site to be determined by the
Convention Committee. The CCB 1997 spring convention adjourned at 3:00
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