email@example.com The CALIFORNIA CONNECTION is a weekly news service provided:
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by email subscription. Send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org;
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Submissions for the California Connection can be emailed to email@example.com. Non-members are requested and members are invited to pay a yearly subscription fee of $10 toward the production of THE BLIND CALIFORNIAN. In accepting material for THE BLIND CALIFORNIAN, priority will be given to articles concerning the activities and policies of the California Council of the Blind and to the experiences and concerns of blind persons. Recommended length is 1800 words. The deadline to submit material for the spring, 2017 issue of THE BLIND CALIFORNIAN is noon, February 15, 2017. Please send all address changes to the Executive Office.
$1000 Grant Available Through the Barbara Rhodes Adaptive Technology Fund
by Alice Turner 45
Historic Accessible Book Treaty Takes Effect
edited from the ACB Leadership List 49
First Artificial Pancreas Approved 52
CCB Membership Awards
by Vivian Younger, Membership Committee Chair 55
from Walter Raineri 57
California Council of the Blind
Officers and Board as of July 1, 2016 60
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From the Editor
by Mike Keithley
It's raining while I'm writing, and I'm thinking of a Redwood tree in Cuesta Park in Mountain View that I often visit with Star on morning walks. It's not much more than a sapling ("I hope to have a bass voice soon!") so it hasn't been around much; but it's fun saying hello, putting my arms around the rather spongy bark and noting the morning moisture. And in the summer time there's that wonderful resinous smell as the sun shines on the greenery. I believe there really is more oxygen under that tree at that time.
Anyway, welcome to the winter, 2017 BC. Much of the music in this issue is remembrance: Susan Glass tells us about Teddie-Joy Remhild, Roger Petersen remembers Greg Fowler, and Cathie Skivers writes fond, appreciative memories of George Fogarty. But we also have an amazing profile of CCB's Humboldt chapter, two fundraising articles, interesting letters, Judy Wilkinson's ominous President's Message, and Jeff Thom's governmental Affairs report. Enjoy!
On this beautiful mid November autumn day sitting on my deck, I am reminded of the famous poem by Robert Frost about "The Road Not Taken". No one will dispute that our organization is at a crossroads, and it should come as no surprise that our very survival hangs in the balance. What road shall we take? On the road we have traveled for the 82 years of our existence, there have been tremendous accomplishments and incalculable contributions to the lives of Californians who are blind or have low vision. But of late, the terrain has changed, and our road is becoming more and more treacherous. However much we revere the organizational model which has brought us so far, real danger exists that without significant modernization, this road can lead us no further.Put starkly, the volunteerism, self-financing and slow-moving governance processes on which we have relied leave us without the expertise or resources necessary to comply with the increasingly complex web of legal regulations within which nonprofit organizations must operate. This model also leaves us unable to effectively compete for funds in today's highly-competitive and professionalized corporate and foundation funding environment.
We struggle every year just to keep our door open. Because we are forced to operate at a huge deficit, we will soon exhaust our dwindling reserves. Too many members finance CCB activities out of their own pockets. Support for growing membership: afraid not! Support for advocacy efforts: just ask Jeff Thom, our chief unpaid legislative advocate, how little he has been reimbursed lately! Support for my legitimate expenses are minimal and paid from reserves which I hesitate to further deplete. Funds for new projects: I don't think so! Now let's travel the other road on which CCB embarked when we hired our full-time chief executive officer (CEO) Paul Shane, and Jennifer Caldeira, our now full-time Administrative Services Officer (ASO)).
This road has already had unexpected bumps: the demise and crash of several office computers necessitating an expenditure of $5,000 for new computers, a server, yes even new chairs. Our Technical Operations Group as well as their computer consultant have been warning us for several years that this day would come. Our stalwart van (bought over 15 years ago when the organization had more money) has died, leading us to develop a procedure for operating without it, which the new CEO and the Board have done. Things we previously did by the seat of our pants as it were, Paul is creating policies for: such as developing guidelines under which CCB can accept donations; such as a pay and reimbursement policy to cover employees or members when they travel on CCB business; such as a streamlined budget process. Paul is currently hard at work on a "Case Statement," a document about the organization, its history, its activities, its future plans. Such a document is necessary to seek funding opportunities for the organization. Depending where we are in the process when you read this, members and chapters will be seeing various surveys and questions to assist in gathering information for this critical document. We have launched our first fundraising activity for 2017: a comedy night at Tommy t's in Sacramento on January 21. None of these things would have been handled as effectively or quickly without professional full-time attention and expertise.
The wise poet knew we would sometimes pine for the other road, the one not taken. And there is no guarantee that either road will lead us where we want to go, but we must take bold action. In choosing this road, I assure you that the values we have held dear for 82 years will continue to guide and define CCB. Let me conclude by wishing you a joyous holiday season. As we begin the new year, I ask you to join me as we travel this challenging new road together.