Around the State

By Pat Munson, Associate Editor

Long-time Federationist George Blackstock has recently been elected president of the Napa Valley Chapter. He reports that chapter members are selling candy outside a store once a month. Of course, NFB literature is given out at the same time. George, like many seniors, lives in an apartment complex for seniors. Since he realizes that many are losing vision, he is trying to interest them in the Federation. As is the case with many communities, Napa has lost Greyhound bus service. Many older people need public transportation to other cities. Chapter members are working to find other ways for non-drivers to get where they want to go.

Esther Merrell is the new president of the Monterey County Chapter. Past-president Betty Hendricks was ill and hospitalized in recent months. We all thank Betty for her many years of service in the NFBC. She served as president of the Chapter on Aging and on the state board.

Members of the Shasta Cascade Chapter have hosted their second wine and cheese party. President Karen Steele is looking forward to retiring from her job as a teacher someday soon. She is yet another example of a very successful blind teacher working in the public schools. Member Diane Starin has been commuting to Sacramento for employment reasons. Could she be riding her horse to and from work? That mode would certainly be an energy saver!

The San Francisco Chapter has moved its meetings to the main branch of the library. This location is one block closer to BART. As we remember, in February NFBC president Nancy Burns traveled in the pouring rain to join the meeting. Those present were brought up-to-date on the business of this active affiliate. Chapter members will sell candy to raise funds for its work. At the last meeting, Jason Holloway, recent graduate of the NFB center in Minneapolis, BLIND Inc., told of his experiences and that he now has a better understanding of why we have the Federation. We wish him the best.

Mount Diablo Chapter members have been furthering the work of the NFB. The chapter has its candy sales and helps its members in true Federation fashion.

B.J. Sexton, president of the Tri-Valley Chapter, wants all to know that the meetings are moving to the Livermore Community Center. Chapter members sold so many 50/50 tickets at the last NFBC convention that they plan to sell them at the convention this October. Buy those tickets so the chapter can carry on the work of the NFB.

Orientation Center Alumni Association members are following the “rehab destruction process” with great care. The blind need the best services, not the bottom of the barrel. Members are writing letters and protesting rehabilitation services being drastically altered or dropped.

Geraldine Croom, president of the Guiding Lights Chapter, announces that they will hold the Heaven and Hell party this summer. For more details about time and location, call the president. For Mother’s Day, chapter members sold white and red flowers. This new fundraiser was very successful. This chapter has two new members. One even went with over 30 California Federationists to Washington, D.C. to protest massive changes in Rehab. This courageous newcomer is Lonzi Rose.

Maurine Barcelo, Greater Pasadena Area president, almost slipped away before I caught her. Just kidding! She is moving but will be settled-in to her new home by the time you read this (she hopes!). While moving, chapter members are still selling candy. Starting in September, members will be offering entertainment books. The latter fundraiser has worked out well for this chapter.

The Chapter on Aging members are also writing letters to preserve Rehab as the blind know it. Many older blind people have been greatly assisted by rehabilitation services in this state. Chapter members are very active in the National Organization of the Senior Blind, the division for seniors at the NFB level.

Juliet Cody, president of the Beach Cities Chapter, says that the chapter is always very busy. Members brought in a good deal of funds at a recent hot dog sale. Another interesting fundraiser was a bowl-a-thon, in which the Mayor of Oceanside took part. Chapter members have been talking to legislators about problems with Rehab. Chapter members often meet with families of blind children in order to educate them on the truth about blindness. After each meeting, members have lunch at a different restaurant in the community. This is a great way for the public to see the blind out and about. Members work on providing better public transit in their area. Finally, members host seminars for seniors losing vision; members of the North San Diego Chapter work on this as well.

The California Association of Blind Students hosted a seminar in April. This was an opportunity for students to learn and share their issues. A planned fundraiser will be the sale of key chains. One of the candy companies which sells candy and many other items will work with the students to interest them in selling a wider variety of their products.

Long-time Federationist Ken Volonte, president of the San Joaquin County Chapter, was thrilled to announce that four of their members journeyed to Washington, D.C. to assist with the Rehab issues. Barbara Toler is helping parents of blind children in the area to learn about the NFB and how the organization can be of help. Chapter members look forward to seeing us all at the state convention in Sacramento.

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chapter will host a barbecue as a fundraiser. Chapter members want us to know that long-time Federationist Joy Smith was recently ill and hospitalized. She is now home and doing much better.

As usual, the Diabetes Action Network will host a breakfast at the NFBC convention in Sacramento. All are welcome to attend; a breakfast ticket can be purchased in advance. If you, or someone you know, would like to hold an office in this division, come prepared to be nominated, for elections for all offices will be held.

Members of the San Fernando Valley Chapter have also been assisting with the Rehab problems. New member Kim Crawford went to D.C. and will be at the NFB convention. After the national convention members will begin selling entertainment books and NFB calendars. Members are looking into a fundraiser with a local restaurant.

Bay Area Chapter members have sold tons of candy to further the work of the NFB. In the fall NFB calendars will also be flying out the door. Many of us include calendars with holiday gifts to family and friends. After the business part of each meeting, members take turns hosting a session on NFB philosophy.

Nathanael Wales, president of the River City Chapter, says that 10 members helped out with the Rehab problems in D.C. He went on to say that members will celebrate the chapter’s tenth year by attending a local ball game. Many NFBC members were at the founding of this very active, hard-working group. Like many other chapters, River City finds candy sales to be a great fundraiser. As everyone knows, our next state convention will be in Sacramento in October. The River City Chapter will again host the convention and will also hold a riverboat cruise on Saturday evening. See the state convention agenda for time and place. Finally, agile members will assist at a blind Olympics to be held in the Sacramento area. Since this chapter is in our state capital, chapter members do more of their share of work at the Capitol. We all thank them for their positive efforts.

(Editor’s Note: This particular piece was obviously written prior to the death of Paul Price.) Since the writer of this report lives in the forest most of the time, she thought she was calling the North San Diego County Chapter president, Paul Price. As everyone else in the world knows, Paul is moving to Idaho. We thank him for all his work and know that it will continue in his new community. Thanks, Paul! The recently elected president, Dave Faiman, says that the chapter is carrying on in true Federation style. Candy is the hot moneymaker for them. Dave said that the chapter will host a leadership seminar for its members. Members are waiting for NFBC president Nancy Burns to let them know when she is free to attend. The chapter also plans to hold another seminar for seniors losing vision. All of us need to remember that there are many older people in our communities losing their vision who need NFB help.

Therese McCabe, president of the West Los Angeles Chapter, said that the chapter had just sent four of its members to Washington to assist with the Rehab matters. These energetic members will hold a bake sale on the UCLA campus. (How many students do not like to eat homemade goodies!) A number of its members will attend the NFB convention. All the best to this new chapter!

Besides hosting a lunch for parents of blind children at our state convention, members of the Parents of Blind Children Chapter assist each other either in person or by phone. Who knows better what blind children need than parents? Thanks for helping our blind children to continue changing what it means to be blind.

Chapter president Eric Clegg says that the Public Employees Division will meet at the next state convention. Check the agenda for time and place.

The Pathfinder Chapter holds its meetings at a senior center. President Ethell Brandon says that ticket drawings are a great fundraiser for them. Members hosted a tea for Bon Appetit Month. Some members have been ill. The chapter is always looking for new members. Lastly, the president said that the chapter will host a trip to Nevada as a fundraiser. Money for the chapter will be collected before the bus takes off!

The Orange County Chapter has a new president, Shelly Alongi. One of the first things the new president did was invite NFBC president Nancy Burns to a meeting. Members talked about the old days in this active chapter and plans for the future. Good luck to Shelly. The chapter also recently welcomed a new member, Annee Hartzell. The chapter is busy planning several fundraisers. In July a Pampered Chef party will be held at Annee’s home. Chapter members are hoping to have a cookbook sale at the state convention and are planning to again sell candy in November. The chapter is also busy planning several community outreach activities, including a career day at Braille Institute in March and possibly a Health Fair at St. Judes Medical Center. The chapter has already started planning for Meet the Blind Month activities in October. Former chapter president Patsy Ramlo has completed radiation treatment, and members are happy to report that she is recovering.

The High Desert Chapter also has a new president: Earl Boyko. We look forward to working with these folks and wish them the best.

The California Association of Guide Dog Users will also meet at our state convention. Anyone needing assistance between meetings should call president Juliet Cody.

Thanks to all you NFBCers for taking the time to answer all my questions for this report. You’re great! You are why the NFB is so successful!