MCB Annual Convention

September 21, 2010

MCB News Wire

by Denny Huff

Missouri Council of the Blind
Annual Convention
October 14 - 17, 2010

Capitol Plaza Hotel
Jefferson City, Missouri

Hosted by: Blind of Central Missouri

The 2010 MCB convention is shaping up to be one of the best that we have ever experienced. My thanks to Linda Gerkens, president of the Blind of Central Missouri host affiliate and to Susan Sanderson, convention coordinator for all of the work they have put into planning this convention. Of course they were assisted by many other members to help pull this off and my thanks goes out to all of them also. I can't leave out the office staff of MCB for the work they have done in coordinating all of the information that has flooded into the office over the past several weeks. Virginia and Eleanor have made good use of the data base program we now use to give us any data we need about not only the convention, but membership in general. My hat is off to all of you!

Several new additions have been implemented to this year's convention and hopefully you will find them both entertaining and informative. We have only two full days to squeeze in a jammed packed agenda and if you take advantage of everything offered, you might have a problem finding time to sleep. But you can always do that at home so hopefully you will take in as much of what is being offered as possible.

We begin on Thursday, October 14 at 1:00 PM with the pre-convention board meeting. At the same time the craft room and the exhibit hall will be open for visitors. The exhibit hall will have many of the familiar vendors and a couple of new ones this year. To encourage more visitors to the exhibit hall, you will have in your packet given to you at the time of registration, a card that you can have initialed by the vendors you visit in the exhibit hall. Once the card has been completed by all of the vendors, you will deposit the card into a box available in the exhibit hall. One card will be drawn on Saturday and that person will win a PenFriend, a neat little labeling device that will surely come in handy.

Also in your packet will be a sheet of coupons provided by the Capitol City Council. The coupons include several businesses near the hotel and give you discounts on food purchases at those locations.

At 2:00 on Thursday, tours of the Wolfner Library will begin. Pickup for the tours will take place every 30 minutes from the hotel lobby and will end at 4:00 PM.

Registration for the convention will begin at 3:00 PM and run until 7:00 PM. The packet you will receive at the time of registration will have a copy of the agenda, the proposed amendments, a copy of the 2011 MCB proposed budget, your badge and if you paid for the hospitality and or banquet, you will have your tickets for those events also. The hospitality ticket is a bright pink and is smaller than the banquet ticket which is bright yellow. The banquet ticket will also have one corner cut off. Both tickets will have your name printed on it. Please give these tickets to the person collecting them at the appropriate event so you will be eligible for the door prizes to be given away.

At 5:00 PM, the Social Outreach Council, which will be presented for approval as a new special interest affiliate during this year's convention, will host an open hospitality. This will run until 7:00 PM and is open to anyone that would like to stop by. Then at 7:00 PM the SOC affiliate will have their business meeting and anyone is welcome to attend.

At 9:00 until whenever, the SOC affiliate will host hospitality with chili with condiments, soft drinks, and games. The cost for this event is $10.00. They are planning on having this all three nights. If you prefer, you can pay $25.00 for all three nights. For those interested, alcoholic beverages will also be available during the 9:00 hospitality all three evenings..

We begin bright and early on Friday morning with the Guide Dogs Users breakfast at 7:00 AM. GDU will be electing new officers this year and also approving amendments to their by-laws.

The craft room and the exhibit hall will open at 8:00 AM on Friday and will remain open until the beginning of the general session..

Registration for the convention will begin at 9:00 and will be open until 12:00 PM. They will also be open from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM.

At 9:00 AM the Education and Welfare committee will be meeting to discuss some changes to the way we do the legislative days in February. Even if you aren't a representative for your affiliate but have a desire to work with legislative issues, you are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Also at 9:00 AM, the Wolfner Library tour will once again be given. The tours will be in 30 minute increments until 12:00 PM.

At 10:00 the Resolutions and By-Laws committee will meet to discuss the proposed amendments to the MCB by-laws. There are some controversial amendments submitted this year, so please be familiar with all of them as we vote during the convention.

At 11:30 AM the president's luncheon will be held. All affiliate and special interest affiliate presidents are encouraged to attend. Besides a nice meal, a small token of appreciation will be given to each attendee. We will also be hearing from the ACB president, Mitch Pomerantz.

In July 2007, Mitchell Pomerantz was elected as the 10th President of the American Council of the Blind, and elected to a second term at the 2009 convention. As President, Mr. Pomerantz oversees the Board of Directors and the activities of 25 committees and taskforces charged with carrying out the work of the organization.

Mitch has been an active member of ACB since 1984 having been appointed to several important committees including Resolutions, Constitution and Bylaws and the Rehabilitation Issues Taskforce. Prior to his election, Mr. Pomerantz previously served as ACB's Second Vice President and as a member of the Board of Directors.

>From February 1975 through December 2008, Mr. Pomerantz was employed by the City of Los Angeles in a variety of human resource and disability-related positions. He was the first totally blind person to be hired in a professional capacity by the City. In August 1995, Mr. Pomerantz became the City's ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliance Officer. His responsibilities included overseeing and coordinating City-wide compliance with the ADA, as well as conducting training and providing technical assistance to City departments.

Now retired, Mr. Pomerantz works as a private consultant specializing in the areas of disability awareness and reasonable accommodation in the workplace.

Mr. Pomerantz holds both a Bachellor's and a Master's Degree in Political Science from the University of Southern California. He resides with his wife, Donna, in Pasadena, California.

The general session will begin at 1:00 PM on Friday afternoon. As we have for the past couple of years, we will be streaming the MCB convention via the internet. To listen just go to: Along with the general sessions being streamed, the breakout session on Advocacy for the Blind with Mitch Pomerantz, the Adaptive Technology meeting, the Braille Revival League luncheon and the MCB banquet will also be streamed.

We will be honored by the presence of and hear a welcome message from the mayors of Sedalia and Jefferson City, Elaine Horn and John Landwehr Respectively.

In the afternoon we will be presenting one new regular affiliate and one special interest affiliate to the membership for approval. The regular affiliate is the Capitol City Council of the Blind located in Jefferson City. The special interest affiliate is the Social Outreach Council, (SOC).

One new addition will be the reading of names of those that have passed away during the past year. These may be members of MCB or someone that has played a role in supporting MCB.

In addition to the reading of the minutes of last year's convention and the welcoming of guests, we will hear several committee reports in the afternoon session.

Mark Laird of Rehab Services For the Blind will be our guest speaker on Friday afternoon. Mark will also be introducing the new assistant deputy director of RSB, Michael St. Julien. Michael has an earned M.A. in Educational Psychology with Concentration in Orientation and Mobility from Louisiana Tech University. He has most recently been the Randolph Sheppard Program Manager with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services. Michael's additional work experience has been as an Orientation and Mobility Instructor with a variety of organizations; including private rehabilitation, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, New Mexico Commission for the Blind, and Texas Lighthouse for the Blind.

I have been assured that there will be plenty of door prizes to go around this year and from what I hear, some of them are really nice prizes.

We will adjourn the afternoon session at approximately 3:45 PM to allow preparation for the breakout sessions which begin at 4:00 PM.

The breakout sessions include Advocacy for the Blind hosted by ACB president, Mitch Pomerantz.

Becky Pfenenger and Amy Mason will be conducting the Fitness and Relaxation breakout session hosted by the Jefferson City YMCA. Becky is currently the Health and Fitness Director of the Jefferson City YMCA. She has held this position for two years. Prior to being the Director Becky served at the YMCA as a Personal Trainer for three years.

Becky holds a B.S. Degree in Sports Medicine from William Woods University. She is a certified Personal Trainer through ACE, and she is a certified Nutrition Specialist through the American Academy of Sports Dietitians and Nutritionists.

Before entering the Health and Fitness Industry she was a basketball coach for 7 years at Helias High School, and one year at Tipton High School. She also worked at St. Peter Elementary School as their Athletic Director for two years.

She has been happily married to Dan Pfenenger for 15 years. They have four children, Jordan (20), Logan (10), Hayden (6), and Emma (2). They have lived in Jefferson City for the past 14 years. They attend St. Peter Church in Jefferson City and their children attend school there as well.

The fashion and Etiquette session will be hosted by our very own Brandi Jones and Melvin Smith. They will be sharing what's hot and what's not in fashion and also proper etiquette.

4:00 PM finds the Craft Room and the Exhibit Hall open until 7:00 PM.

At 5:00 PM the SOC will once again host an open hospitality open to everyone. This will run until 7:00 PM when the MCB hospitality begins. More about the MCB hospitality in a minute.

At 5:15 PM the Adaptive Technology special interest group will be meeting. Besides the election of officers and the giving away of some really great door prizes, we will have the privilege of hearing from Ray Campbell from the Chicago Lighthouse. In order to avoid the confusion and problem of getting everyone registered for membership in ATI, Rhonda Dycus will be available at the MCB registration table to take your $5.00 membership dues and pertinent information. You may also go online at: to pay your dues via PayPal.

The MCB hospitality costs only $5.00 and on the menu this year is hamburger, potato salad, fruit and cookie, coffee and iced tea. In addition there will be door prizes drawn for the attendees.

The Youth Services banquet will also be held at 7:00 PM. All youth 35 and younger are encouraged to attend. It seems as though they always have a lot of fun during that time.

After the MCB hospitality, SOC will host their nightly hospitality at 9:00 PM which includes hors d'oeuvres, soft drinks, and games for $10.00.

On Saturday morning we begin once again at 7:00 AM with the Library Users breakfast.

Beginning at 9:00 AM those with children 12 and under are able to drop them off for the Kids Club. Your children will be taken care of until 5:00 PM so you can enjoy a full day of activity without worrying about your children.

The general session will begin at 9:00 AM on Saturday morning. Besides the amendment proposal voting and other typical business that always needs to be taken care of, we will be honored to hear from our keynote speaker, Mitch Pomerantz.

We will also hear from Ray Campbell who will speak to us about the ACB MNS program and he will give you the opportunity to sign up for it.

Before we break for lunch on Saturday we will hear from Roselie Backer Thompson about the popular TAP-I program and also from Dr. Richard Smith about the Wolfner Library..

At noon we will break for lunch and many will be joining the Braille Revival League for a luncheon.

We will reconvene the general session at 1:30 PM with guest speakers from the St. Louis Lighthouse and AlphaPointe. We will also hear from Marti Exline about some legislative issues.

The afternoon session will also include a presentation of the 2011 budget approved by the MCB board. Questions and suggestions will be welcome from the membership.

This being election year, we will have a time of questioning for the candidates that are running for office. This year we will be electing a president, a first and second vice president and a secretary. We will have nominations for the president's office during this time with nominations for the other officers on Sunday morning.

Another new addition to the convention is a pie throwing event. This will begin after the general session on Saturday afternoon. The targets for this event include Gregg Hollins, Denny Huff, Chip Hailey, Melvin Smith and Linda Coccovizzo. The proceeds from this event will go to MCB.

The Catholic service will be held at 5:00 PM with the guest priest to be announced.

Another open hospitality will be hosted by the SOC affiliate at 5:00 PM.

The annual MCB banquet will be held at 7:00 PM. Attendance this year exceeds any previous year ever with over 190 already registered.

The cost for the banquet is $20.00 and there are two dinner entrees to choose from: Marinated Pork Chop with a Peach Dijon Mustard Sauce, or Chicken Boursin, a lightly breaded breast of chicken smothered in a Boursin cheese sauce. Entrees include house salad with choice of dressing, baked potato, and warm rolls with butter. Dessert is Turtle Cheesecake or German Chocolate Cake. Coffee and iced tea will also be served. If needed, you may also request an diabetic or vegetarian dinner.

The agenda for the banquet is as follows.









GUEST SPEAKER - Dr. DeAnna Nelson

My name is Deanna Nelson, and I am proud to say I have been an Optometrist with Pearle Vision in Sedalia, Missouri since 1989. I graduated from the University of Missouri, St. Louis School of Optometry in 1987. While in school, I assisted one of the top clinical contact lens researchers in the country my last two years of school and won the distinguished award for student contact lens clinical research in the area of extended wear contacts. I then worked in a large medical center in St. Louis with all types of medical specialties. It was here that I did much first line trauma and ocular emergency treatment. I have carried both of these areas into my practice in Sedalia for the past twenty years. Pearle Vision and the exceptional staff here have enabled me to practice at the highest quality of care. We specialize in vision correction; however, do many contacts and even specialty contacts for astigmatism, bifocal correction and even medical treatment. I have partnered with several surgeons in Kansas City and Columbia on Lasik, Cataract, Retinal and Specialty Cataract surgery for pre-and post-operative care so our patients have the latest in medical care but not the burden of long trips for follow-up care. I have been married to Richard Nelson for 18 years and we have two sons, Robbie and Reed. Our family is active in leading worship in music at our church, Mount Herman Baptist and working with the youth and children and nursing home ministry in the area with the First Baptist Church in Sedalia. I am a Christian speaker for social groups and a Sunday School Teacher as well as soloist at several churches and community events in our area. I am also active in Applewood Christian School as Room Mother, Music and Academic Competition Coordinator and other school support projects. Our family is active in the Noonday Optimist and Model A Clubs in Sedalia. I love our community and am so thankful to have such a wonderful profession where I can serve so many friends, neighbors and family in conjunction with the great staff here in Sedalia and the state-of-the-art office and optical materials Pearl Vision provides.



After the banquet you will have a couple of choices of something else to do. The Braille Revival League will be sponsoring a Braille reading contest open to anyone that would like to participate and from what Bill Benson has told me, the cash prize is a very nice sum.

The SOC will host another hospitality including hors d'oeuvres, soft drinks, and games for a fee of $10.00.

Sunday morning begins with the protestant service at 7:00 AM. The pastor that will be officiating this service will be announced later.

The general session will begin at 9:00 AM. The first item of business will be the election of the president. This will be followed by the nominations and elections of the other officers.

The rest of time Sunday morning will be spent taking care of unfinished business and a report from our convention coordinator Susan Sanderson. The location of next year's convention was selected at last year's convention and that will be Joplin MO.

There are several raffles available this year and they include.


Hand Made Quilt

Raffle, $1.00 per ticket or 6 for $5.00.


50 / 50 tickets.

$1.00 each or 6 for $5.00

Candy Bars for $1.00


50 / 50 tickets.

$1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.


White Cane Candy Canes

$1.00 each.

Professionally produced CD of MSB memories. Anyone who attended MSB between 1935 and 1975 will find this a treasure trove of audible memories. $10.00 each.


The PenFriend Labeling Device

Retail: $149.00

Raffle: 1 ticket $3.00, 2 for $5.00



$12.00 each

Serotek is donating a complete access system for your computer valued at over $600.00.

These raffle tickets will sell for $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.

All ticket sales will be donated to MCB.

As technology changes, so do the ways in which we use it. While the use of assistive technology was once restricted to specific, preconfigured devices in specific places, it has now become an integral part of our daily lives. We'll explore a variety of products and services from Serotek which ensure that no matter where you are and no matter which devices you carry with you, you'll experience the power of accessibility anywhere. We'll look at the System Access screen reader, which gives quick and easy access to any computer, and the SA Mobile Network which provides useful and entertaining content on computers and portable devices. With these portable and affordable tools, you'll be able to stay connected and productive at home, on the road or wherever life takes you.

As you can see, this year's convention is full of activities and information. We hope to see you there this year and that you will walk away knowing that it was time well spent.

Denny Huff - President
Missouri Council of the Blind
Toll Free: (888) 362-1383
Cell: (636) 262-1383
MCB Phonecast: (816) 298-8969