CCB FALL 1997 CONVENTION SUMMARY
Friday, October 24 through Sunday, October 26
The fall, 1997 convention of the Connecticut Council of the Blind was
held at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Hamden.
The game night, run by Shirley Phelon, began at 8:00 P.M. on Friday,
and was a great success. There were about twenty people involved in Bingo,
Uno, and Scrabble. Kathie Mills provided snacks and drinks, and everyone
appeared to be enjoying themselves.
On Saturday, President Marcia Dresser called the convention to order
at 9:15 A.M. After some brief remarks, she introduced Ken Tripp, Executive
Director of BESB.
Among the issues discussed by Mr. Tripp and CCB members were
transportation, the Braille Bill and its relationship to the education of
Connecticut's blind children, the relocation of BESB, and the provision of
laptop computers to BESB staff.
Following Mr. Tripp's presentation, the roll was called. Sixteen
members were present.
Following the roll call, Mary Clare Quirk, Executive Director of CRIS
Radio, presented an overview of CRIS's service, reporting that CRIS can now
be heard in all parts of Connecticut. She said that Cris's activities are
being publicized through a speakers bureau, brochures, and messages on
cable access channels.
Ms. Quirk encouraged CCB members to tell others about CRIS, and to
call with suggestions for programming changes. CRIS's toll-free number is
Next, Carol Taylor, a CCB member, and Director of LBPH, updated us on
the library's services. Ms. Taylor reported that she and other staff
members have been speaking at technology fairs, and that brochures are
available. She hopes to form a speakers bureau of volunteers, and says
there is also a need for more volunteers for the library's book inspection
program. Anyone interested in joining the library's advisory committee
should contact either Carol Taylor, or Carol Gillispie.
At noon, we broke for lunch, which was generously prepared by Kathie
Mills. During lunch, Ann Morris, of Ann Morris Enterprises, sold products
from her catalog.
We reconvened at 1:30, at which time three more members had arrived,
bringing the total present to 19. Marcia welcomed Roland and Kim Soucy,
and Donna Balaski.
The minutes from the spring, 1997 convention were approved as
presented in the last newsletter.
Dan Mills reported that new CCB member Roland Soucy, an East Hartford
resident who has been a self-employed contractor for the past five years,
expressed interest in becoming CCB's treasurer.
Regarding publicity, John Mattioli reported that PSAs were sent to
Connecticut radio and TV stations, and that press releases were sent to
state newspapers to publicize the convention. He said follow-up needed to
be done to see whether or not any of them had been run.
John reported that 1000 brochures were printed free of charge by Dave
Sullivan of Classic Images, and thanked April Hutchins, Dan and Kathie
Mills, and Norm and Cindy Banta for folding them. He then presented April
Hutchins with a certificate of appreciation from CCB to be mailed to Dave
Sullivan, who had been invited to the convention, but was unable to attend.
John talked about distribution of the brochures, and encouraged CCB
members to take some of the ones available at the convention.
As Membership Chairman, John Mattioli emphasized the need to attract
new members to CCB. He reported that packets of information about CCB had
been mailed to former members of ACB's recently dissolved Rhode Island
chapter, as well as to Connecticut residents who are not members of CCB.
John said about five people from Connecticut responded to the mailing and
became new members. He said anyone with ideas about how to increase CCB's
membership should contact him.
Steve Dresser, editor of the CCB _Outlook, reported that the names,
addresses, and phone numbers of the CCB standing committee chairmen are
listed in each newsletter. He said that each committee has its own mailbox
on the CCB voice mail, which is now hooked up to CCB's toll-free number.
People can get the mailbox number of any committee chairman by pressing 88
once they enter the voice mail system.
At that point, our speaker, Nolan Crabb, editor of the _Braille
_Forum, arrived from Washington, and was welcomed by the membership.
Elections: After Roland Soucy's name was put forth as a nominee for
Treasurer, a call was made for nominations from the floor. When none was
heard, Roland was asked to give a short speech about himself, in which he
mentioned having been treasurer of his condo association, as well as his
experience in running a business for the last five years. Subsequently,
Roland Soucy was elected CCB's new treasurer by acclamation.
During a panel discussion, both Ann Morris, of Ann Morris Enterprises,
and Ellen Telker, a lawyer and CCB member from Milford, gave interesting
presentations and answered questions about their experiences in starting
their own businesses.
The convention recessed at about 3:30 so that GDUCT could meet in a
At 4:30, we reconvened for an open forum, run by John Mattioli. Issues
under discussion were: membership and financial concerns, CCB's direction,
what issues the organization should address, projects to be undertaken by
CCB, CCB's tax exempt status, and revision of the membership application.
At the direction of the membership, Marcia will appoint a long-range
planning committee. She asked that interested people, committed to the
hard work involved, contact her as soon as possible.
We adjourned at 5:30 P.M. for the banquet at the Town House
The convention reconvened at 9:30 A.M. Sunday morning. In Dave Bates'
absence, Dan Mills read the Treasurer's Report as follows:
CD account: $1,901.66
Savings account: $2,883.85
Checking account: $811.96
Marcia announced the Board's decision not to award a scholarship this
year unless the scholarship fund contains $3000 by February 1st, when the
notice goes out. She urged the membership to pursue several small
fundraising projects. During the lengthy brainstorming session that
followed, we discussed the idea of candy sales, and a possible Bingo night.
Dan Mills and Cheree Heppe reported that Connecticut Transit shows
little interest in transportation issues important to blind people. We
decided to send a letter inviting a Connecticut Transit representative to
our spring convention to discuss our concerns. Dan also said that he has a
copy of the text of ADA transportation regulations, and the necessary forms
for filing a complaint if the need arises.
Marcia said that CCB standing committees will be readjusted at the
next Board meeting. John Mattioli invited members to attend our open Board
meetings to express their concerns.
Dan Mills read a letter from the Mid Tennessee Council of the Blind
regarding a quilt they are creating as a fundraiser. The membership voted
that Marcia call the president of MTCB to investigate the project further.
Jane French, from the Connecticut Institute for the Blind (Oak Hill
School), spoke about the Institute's outreach program. She said that CIB
would assist CCB with various projects as needed.
Nolan Crabb, editor of the _Braille _Forum, gave an inspirational talk
on how just a small effort, and the willingness to take risks, can make a
big difference. To illustrate, he told us how volunteering to write a
small column for a local newspaper when he was in high school eventually
led to his job as editor of a national magazine.
The CCB fall, 1997 convention adjourned at 12:00 noon.
* * *
Editor's note: Tapes of Ken Tripp, Mary Clare Quirk, Carol Taylor,
the panel discussion, Jane French, and Nolan Crabb are available upon
request. To receive your copy, call toll-free (800) 231-3349, or (860)
521-6749 if you live in the Hartford area.
* * *
At a meeting on January 10, the CCB Board of Directors voted to extend
the deadline for receipt of money from candy sales to the end of February.
In order to award our 1998 scholarship, it is imperative that Treasurer
Roland Soucy receive _all candy money no later than February 28. With your
cooperation, we can make a difference in the life of another blind or
visually impaired high school student in Connecticut.
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