GDUI Announcement, January 29, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Yesterday’s GDUI board meeting was crammed with items on our collective “To Do List,” and we are pleased to say that we made it through our crowded meeting agenda with many positive outcomes! Thank you to all of our board members who attended and helped us to address some topics that are not all that pleasant to dwell upon (such as budgetary shortfalls and membership dues that haven’t begun to keep up with the expenses of providing members’ services and advocacy since 15 years or so ago when individual membership dues were last raised. It is good for all of us to begin thinking about and talking about these issues. Our conversations – with one another and with all of you who are members – will continue, within announcements like this one, within the pages of PawTracks, on our various discussion lists, and among affiliate and at-large members, and likely at a telephonic members’ meeting, tentatively planned for a February Saturday afternoon. We will keep you posted as details are finalized.

One of the very happy outcomes at yesterday’s meeting was the vote to welcome Capital Area Guide Dog Users (CAGDU) as the newest GDUI affiliate, and our first regional affiliate in recent memory!

Welcome, CAGDU!

Here is the celebratory message that GDUI Board member and CAGDU President, Charlie Crawford shared late yesterday afternoon, with guide dog users in the Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC metropolitan area:

Hi fellow CAGDU members!

Why all the hoop la?  Today, January 28, 2017, our Capital Area Guide Dog Users Inc. was formally voted on by the Board of Guide Dog Users Inc. to be accepted as an affiliate of GDUI Inc.  It is with a sense of joy and real gratitude to all the voting members of the GDUI Board able to vote at the meeting, that I let you know all of them voted to accept our application for affiliation! 

This represents much more than just another vote by GDUI to accept a new affiliate, but rather it signals a renewal of an organized effort on the part of guide dog users in our national capital area to improve the image and acceptance of our guide dogs within all public venues and to give us all a chance to share with each other and beyond, just what these wonderful dogs mean to us. 

We can all walk just a bit more proudly knowing we are joined by so many other guide dog users nationally!  I thank each and every one of you for your collective support of a better quality of life for each of us and our guides!  I invite and encourage you to join me now in calling for other guide dog users to come and join up with us in our Capital Area Guide Dog Users Incorporated as we now get more serious in setting up what we will be doing and how we will be doing it.  Folks interested in joining up with CAGDU, can send an e-mail  to me at CCrawford@RCN.com and put in the subject line, CAGDU information please.  I will review what everyone writes and forward it to the right person to follow up on.

You will be hearing more soon and again I welcome you as both a CAGDU and a GDUI member!

All my best to you,

Charlie Crawford: President, Capital Area Guide Dog Users Inc.

CCrawford@RCN.com

Listen to our GDUI Board Meeting. Here are Sarah’s instructions for accessing the recording of yesterday’s meeting. We hope that those of you who were unable to join us as guests will listen to the meeting recording.

Hello GDUI members and friends,

We have provided three ways for you to access the recording of the GDUI board meeting that took place on Saturday, January 28, 2017.  The meeting was 2 hours and 7 minutes long. 

Drop Box:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4909668/January%2028%2C%202017%20recording%20of%20GDUI%20board%20meeting.mp3 

Send Space: https://www.sendspace.com/file/8lvrv5

Recording play back: Call: 712.432.1085

Access code: 919245 followed by the Number (#) key. 

Best,

Sarah Calhoun

GDUI Secretary

One More Update from our hard-working GDUI Membership Committee!

The deadline for affiliates to submit rosters is on or before February 15, 2017.

We ask that individual members submit their memberships by February 28, 2017.

When paying for your membership online, please completely fill in the application.  This form holds important information we need to properly maintain your membership, and allows for the confirmation or correction of your information on our end. 

Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this important step in your membership renewal.

To renew, visit this link on our web site: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/join, or call our toll-free number: 866.799.8436. And, thank you!

Tomorrow Evening: A Chance for Us to Get to Know One Another better!

Here’s an announcement from Bob Branco, from the Branco Broadcast, which I hope some of you will find appealing:

Tomorrow evening, (Monday, January 30) at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, our featured guest on Branco Broadcast will be Penny Reeder. Branco Broadcast is not a radio show. It’s a Free Conference call on a chat line where participants call in and listen to inspirational speakers.  To participate, please call 712-832-8294, and then use pass code 514295. Please be sure to mute your phones at all times during the show unless you are asking Penny a question. When you are finished, please mute your phone again. We need to avoid background noise as much as possible because Branco Broadcast is recorded and archived for the general public. Also, please arrive on the call 10 minutes before our guest, so you won’t miss anything. Here is some information about Penny Reeder.  

Penny Reeder was elected president of Guide Dog Users, Inc. in July of 2014 and again in June 2016. She has been a guide dog user since 2001, and Willow, from the Seeing Eye, is her third guide dog. She and her husband live in Maryland near Washington, DC; she is the mother of six and the grandmother of five. She works as a curricula developer and trainer for a federal contractor on a Section 508-related project at the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She earned a master’s degree in special education from the George Washington University in 2000. In addition to volunteering for Guide Dog Users, Inc., she consults as an advocate for several children with disabilities who attend DC Public Schools. She enjoys cooking, writing, and reading and is a committed advocate on behalf of all people with disabilities.  

Join Penny on Monday evening, January 30 to learn about GDUI and the issues that are important to guide dog users as well as people with disabilities who use other kinds of service dogs. Guide Dog Users, Inc. is the largest membership organization of guide dog users in the United States. An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, GDUI has been supporting guide dog users, advocating for their civil rights, and educating the public about the benefits of independent travel with guide dogs for more than 40 years. Come and meet Penny and get to know GDUI better!  

Penny will give a brief presentation, and then take questions from our participants. We look forward to hearing from all of you on Monday evening?

Bob Branco

I personally don’t subscribe to the bit about being “inspirational” (although I imagine that Willow is more than happy to claim that title for herself (and deservedly so!), but I do hope you’ll call into Bob’s show and take advantage of this opportunity for talking about GDUI and for us to get to know one another better.

This has been a particularly turbulent week end. Deliberate discrimination against any group of people is unacceptable and upsetting, especially if its outcome is the denial of  civil rights and basic human rights, and if the stated rationale for actions like these involves national origin or religion. Earlier today, I found myself in tears reading an account of the brutal treatment of an elderly couple detained at Dulles Airport who had arrived anticipating a joyful reunion with their granddaughter who had come to welcome them to her home in Fairfax, VA. Wheelchair users, the gentleman is legally blind, and his wife had recently suffered a stroke. While detaining them for several hours, CBP officers had even confiscated their medications.

As we look to one another to reaffirm our support for basic human decency and the values we share as Americans, let us draw strength from all that unites us and inspiration from the example our dogs set for us so routinely in their completely unbiased acceptance of everyone they encounter as we travel with them on public transit, down busy sidewalks and across streets and to diverse public venues. Thank you for reading our announcements, for your involvement in our organization, and for being kind to one another.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Website: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST, every Friday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://acbradio.org/gdr.xml

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at Amazon.com: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1871119.

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/.

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link: gduichatlist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link: businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

A recording of each GDUI announcement is available here: 712.432.1281. Enter the Access Code 488062 followed by the number sign. When prompted, enter the Reference Code, No. 1. The recording will remain available until it is replaced by a recording of the next GDUI Announcement. Please share this information with friends who may not have access to the internet. Thank you. We look forward to sharing information with all of our GDUI members and friends.

GDUI Announcement, January 20, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Membership Committee Update and Request:

 Our Membership Chairperson, Dixie Sanderson reports that our drive to enroll more of you as GDUI members is going well. One of our affiliates has already turned in their membership roster – Thank you, Pine Tree Guide Dog Users, so much! – and the rest of you are working to meet our deadline for submitting your  rosters,  on or before February 15!

One “glitch” that has cropped up involves our online membership application form. Apparently some of you have figured out a way to bypass the step of completing the form, i.e., you’re skipping forward to PayPal and paying your dues – Thank you for that! – but bypassing the membership application altogether. You guys are pretty clever (Not even our web master has figured out how you are doing this…), but your action (or lack of it) is causing poor Dixie huge headaches and leaving her e-mail inbox bursting at its seams. Please complete the membership application form! The application includes important information that we need to maintain our membership database and allows us to confirm or correct the information we already have on file for you. Thank you for taking the time to complete this important step.

The deadline for renewing your membership for 2017 or joining us as a new member is February 28! Visit this web page, http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/, or call our Secretary and Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, at 866.799.8436, to join or renew your membership. We are excited about our growing membership, and we welcome each and every one of you!

Are you beginning to think about the summer conventions? All of us on GDUI’s board — and especially members of Lillian Scaife’s GDUI Programs Committee – are beginning to make plans in earnest, to think about topics and speakers, products and auctions, and luncheon menus and our Louisville Ladies! While we develop the criteria for utilizing the proceeds from the 2016 Summer Drawing Fundraiser with the goal of assisting at least one first-time convention attendee to attend the GDUI Convention in Sparks, Nevada, another ACB affiliate, the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL), has already developed guidelines for assisting an ACB member who has experienced recent vision loss and is 55 or older, to attend the ACB convention, which occurs concurrently with ours. 

The 2017 ACB Conference and Convention takes place from Friday, June 30, 2017, through Friday, July 7, 2017, at the Nugget Casino Resort, 1100 Nugget Avenue, in Sparks, Nevada. GDUI’s convention will begin, as usual, with the opening of our GDUI Suite, on July 2, and conclude with our caucus and business meeting following the GDUI Luncheon on July 5. 

To be considered for the AAVL stipend, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be age 55 or older.
  • You must have been diagnosed as legally blind or have experienced significant vision loss within the last five years.
  • You must complete an application and include a reference letter from your eye care specialist or a community professional who is aware of your vision loss.

The application and details are available here: https://www.acb.org/node/2994. Applications are due by March 15.  Current AAVL members are not eligible to receive the stipend.

If you are awarded the stipend, you must register to attend the ACB conference and convention (We would love to welcome you to our GDUI suite as well!).  The stipend will be applied to reimburse ACB convention expenses when you arrive at the convention. If selected to receive the stipend, you must register to attend all AAVL activities.

Plans for disseminating a GDUI stipend are underway and news about this year’s first-ever GDUI first-timer’s award will be shared via these announcements and PawTracks as soon as they are finalized.

April 15 is really not all that far away, and so we share the following information about assistance which the Internal Revenue Service makes available for people with disabilities, including those of us who are blind and visually impaired who may need help completing tax returns.

IRS Services for People with Disabilities

Hundreds of accessible federal tax forms and publications are available for download from the IRS Accessibility Web pages. Visit IRS.gov and select the Forms & Pubs tab to access the Accessible Forms and Pubs link.  You can choose from large-print, text, accessible PDFs, e-Braille, or HTML formats that are compatible when used with screen readers and refreshable Braille displays. 

People who are unable to complete their tax returns because of a physical disability or are age 60 or older may get assistance through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. You can find a nearby VITA or TCE location by using the available locator tools or calling 1-800-906-9887. Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities, explains the tax implications of certain disability benefits and other issues, and is available at www.IRS.gov.

If thinking about taxes – or anything else – leaves you feeling stressed, maybe you and your dog could use a break! The organization called Nature for All has created a useful online resource to help you connect with accessible parks and braille trails and sensory gardens that can provide meaningful respite and rejuvenation in The great outdoors! www.naturefortheblind.com provides a directory of all the existing Braille trails and sensory gardens in the world, listing them by state and by country. Evan Barnard, who founded the organization and created the online resource, estimates that there are 140 Braille trails and sensory gardens in 17 countries around the world, including 89 in the USA.

The website also provides information and links for schools and summer camps for people who are blind and other educational resources as well as organizations for blind sports. If you know of any additional Braille trails or sensory gardens that are not listed on the website, or if you have other outdoor and educational resources to share, please email Evan at evan.barnard@nature4all.org 

Remember, there’s a GDUI Board Meeting on Saturday, January 28, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (10:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time) at this conference call number: 712.432.0075, Conference Code 919245-Pound. We hope to find you there!

Until then, find comfort and strength in your relationship with your guide, and be kind to one another. Thank you for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

GDUI Website: guidedogusersinc.org

Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST, every Friday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://acbradio.org/gdr.xml

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at Amazon.com: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1871119

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link: gduichatlist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link:businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

GDUI Announcement, January 9, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

There are just a couple of announcements this week. We want to let you know that the date for our next GDUI Board Meeting has changed. The new meeting date is Saturday, January 28, 2017. We hope you will attend our meeting which will begin at 1:00 p.m. Call 712.432.0075, and dial the Code: 919245-Pound. All GDUI members and friends are welcomed guests at our meeting, and there’s always an opportunity for you to ask questions or share information and comments at the close of each meeting.

Weather-related news reflects the difficulties that so often arise in January for all of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere. Right now there are floods in Northern California and Nevada, blizzard conditions in the Midwest and New England, and snow and sleet and ice all over the South. Remember, if you need help affording care for your working guide dog as a result of an emergency, GDUI’s Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (called the DAPP) is here for you. Will Burley chairs the DAPP Committee, and you can call GDUI’s toll-free number to get in contact with Will, 866.799.8436. Also, find information about the DAPP on the home page of our website: http://guidedogusersinc.org/.

PawTracks is coming! We know you’ve been waiting for the Fall/Winter issue of PawTracks a little longer than usual. An accumulation of unfortunate events has plagued Nolan’s production of this issue, but he is optimistic that he will be sending the magazine’s sound files to Ray Fournier for file conversion to the audiocassette format for those of you who still receive our publication in that medium, and to Dixie Sanderson, who will be sharing the MP3 files via e-mail and attachment, hopefully, by the end of the week end. Remember, if you have an idea or an article or a poem or a letter to the editor to contribute to PawTracks, just send e-mail to Nolan with “PawTracks” in the subject line. He will be pleased to accept your contributions. E-Mail Nolan at: mailto:Nolan.Crabb@gmail.com 

Joining GDUI: If you haven’t yet renewed your membership, or if you’ve been thinking about joining us as a much valued new or returning member, now is the perfect time! If you have been struggling with an advocacy issue, or if you could use some advice from experienced guide dog users, GDUI is here for you! Membership dues are only $15, and we welcome participation from guide dog users of all ages and at all stages – whether you’re just wondering if the guide dog lifestyle is one that will work for you, or you’re in the process of applying for your fifth or eighth or tenth guide dog –or you’re at another stage of guide dog partnership altogether, we welcome your membership and your involvement in our community.  There’s strength in numbers, and GDUI’s advocacy is strengthened whenever we grow.  Annual dues are still only $15, and it’s easy to join by calling our Secretary and Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, at 866.799.8436, or online here: http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/. If you are a member of a local GDUI affiliate, you have probably already heard from your leadership about renewing. If not, give your affiliate president or your treasurer a call to make sure you’re included on the membership list!

And, now for Top Dog news!
The conference coordinators asked us to share these two items with all of you who will be winging your way toward Orlando later this week:

A Welcome Letter from the Hotel
Top Dog is almost here!
Event Dates:  Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15, 2017.
Event hotel: The Holiday Inn And Suites across from Universal Orlando5905 Kirkman Road,
Orlando, FL 32819
Phone:  (407) 351-3333 or (800) 216-0635

January 8, 2017
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for choosing the Fresh, Fun, and Affordable Holiday Inn & Suites Across from Universal Orlando. We are delighted to Host “Top Dog! “Our team looks forward to providing service beyond your expectations. Should you need further assistance, please contact our Guest Service Champions at our Front Desk for assistance by dialing our main number 407-313-3333 then pressing “0”. Our Internet access code for this month is HULK and additional computer usage is available at the Business Center if needed. On the first floor you will find our Laundry and Fitness Center right next to each other, you will need your room key for access. There are detergent machines where you can use quarters to Purchase, and quarters are available at the Front Desk.

We can make a printed internal map of the hotel available as well. The Top Dog Convention will be held completely on the first floor of the hotel. If you are standing in front of the front desk it will be located to your right as you step off from the tiled floor to the carpeted floor. Upon check-in we will punch hole the top left of the room keys so they are ready for you to insert to open your sleeping rooms. We have two (2) Elevator locations for your convenience. TGI Friday’s Restaurant is connected to our hotel just a couple feet to the right away from the arcade. You don’t have to exit the hotel to get to TGI Friday’s Restaurant. We also have a Gift Shop in the lobby where you could purchase gifts and snacks until 9pm.

Once again welcome and please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable! Warmest regards from our team to you, Holiday Inn & Suites across from Universal Orlando ™ Welcome to Top Dog 2017 from Dixieland Guide Dog Users, Georgia Guide Dog Users and from host chapter, Guide Dog Users of Florida and from your Top Dog 2017 team, Kathleen Trutschel, Registrar, Sue Harden, Exhibits  Coordinator and Debbie Grubb Program Coordinator.

Top Dog 2017 Program:

Thursday, January 12, Registration from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The Hospitality Suite (the Penthouse) will be open from 7:00 Pm to 10:00 PM.

Friday, January 13, Registration from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. As usual, the exhibit hall, located in the Junior Ballroom,  will be open on both Friday and Saturday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. The hospitality suite will open at 6:00 AM so visit often. Breakfast will be served from 7:00 AM to 8:15 AM in the Studio Room. The program includes four sessions of CPR training for your guide.  We are delighted to have the First Aid/CPR instructor from Southeastern Guide Dogs, Bonnie Knapp, to bring these sessions to us free of charge.  She will be ably assisted by veterinarian Dr. Amy Long and other volunteers.  The sessions are scheduled from 10:00 AM to 10:50 AM; 11:00 AM to 11:50 AM; 1:00 PM to 1:50 PM; 2:00 PM to 2:50 PM.  All sessions will be held in the E/P/D & Corridor Room.  You’re specific class times will be provided at registration. Lunch will be served in the Studio Room from 12:00 to 1:15 PM. Wayfinding devices are adding to freedom of movement and access to all sorts of information which is greatly enhancing the travel experience for guide dog users.  Jenine Stanley, co-host of ACB Radio’s Main Menu and Consumer Relations Coordinator, Guide Dog Foundation, will be available throughout the day to provide hands on demonstrations of some of the most accessible and versatile of these wayfinding apps and devices.  If you are interested in having time with Jenine to experience a hands on demonstration of these apps and devices, please ask at the registration desk about setting up an appointment with her when you pick up your materials.

If you have ever worried about an airline emergency, please come to the airline emergency preparedness presentation in the E/P/D & Corridor Room scheduled from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Candace Kolander Association of  Flight Attendants,(Afa); Coordinator of the International AFA Air Safety, Health and Security Department,  will bring us Interesting, surprising and crucially important information and insights that are specifically applicable to us as guide dog users.  There will be a time for your questions.

The Friday evening dinner will be served in the Studio Room at 6:00 PM.  Be sure to join us for good food, fellowship and great music provided by Asli Goncer & David & Brenda Hillebrandt and their Band. At the conclusion of the dinner, the hospitality suite will be open for more fun, food and fellowship.

Saturday:

Breakfast will be served in the Studio Room from 7:00 to 8:15 AM. The annual Top Dog Blessing of the Guide Dogs will take place in the Studio Room from 8:30 AM to 9:45 AM under the direction of a very spiritual retired United Methodist Pastor, Janice McLay. The exhibit hall will be open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the Junior Ballroom. The hospitality suite opens again at 6:00 AM so visit often.

Flying with Your Guide Dog will take place in the Studio Room from 9:45 AM to 10:45 AM.  This panel presentation will bring to us A Summary of the Effort to Update Air Carrier Access Act Regulations that Affect Accessibility for People with Disabilities who work service dogs and any necessary updates from the Department of Justice. The panelists will discuss how to ensure that your rights are appropriately implemented and discuss your personal responsibilities and present helpful hints about how best to prepare to have the most stress free trip possible for both you and your guide. The panelists are: Becky Davidson, Manager of Consumer Outreach and Graduate Support, Guiding Eyes for the Blind Penny Reeder, President Guide Dog Users, Inc. Jenine Stanley, Consumer Relations Coordinator, Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind Chelsea White, Outreach Specialist The Seeing Eye Moderator, Debbie Grubb, top Dog 2017  Program Coordinator., We  will remain in the Studio Room for the presentation concerning Allergies in Dogs from 10:45 AM to 11:45 AM.  Dawn Logas, DVM, will discuss this medical issue that has become more prevalent with the ever changing environment.  She will describe allergy symptoms and treatment and other important information that you need to know as you work with your veterinarian to combat allergy effects on your dog.

Lunch will be served in the Studio Room from 12:00 PM to 1:15 Pm. Guide Dog School Updates will take place in the Studio Room from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM.  Representatives from all guide dog schools present will have the opportunity to bring you the latest news on what is taking place at the schools they represent. The Studio Room will also be the location for the presentation on Wayfinding devices from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM.  a description of some of the most accessible and versatile of these apps and devices will be presented by Jenine Stanley, co-host ACB Radio Main Menu. There will be time for your questions. The Top Dog 2017 Banquet will be served in the Studio Room from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  Charlie Crawford, friend and mentor to many throughout his diverse and significant career and throughout his meaningful life will share with us his journeys with the guide dogs who have partnered with him throughout his life as he has grown, changed and triumphed over adversity to remain his best, true and strong self.

Sunday, January 15

Breakfast will be served in the Studio Room from 7:00 to 8:30 AM. As we partake of breakfast, we will once again participate in Guide Dog Tales, the sharing of personal anecdotes and experiences with our guides, moderated by Jenine Stanley, Guide Dog Foundation.  This program depends entirely on you and the stories that you bring to us.

This brings to an end Top Dog 2017.  It is our fervent hope that each one of you will return to your homes very glad that you came, better equipped to live your lives of freedom with your guide dogs and with very special memories that will bring light and joy to your lives.

For the security and well being of all who join us for Top Dog 2017, please understand that no volunteer will enter your sleeping room. Neither the Top Dog 2017 team, volunteers nor staff from the hotel can provide you with a dedicated personal guide nor personal assistance services.  If you require this sort of assistance, you are most welcome to join us and to bring someone with you who is equipped to make available to you the assistance that you require.

Wow, the Top Dog Conference sounds wonderful, doesn’t it! I know that all of you who can attend will thoroughly enjoy yourselves. I have personally been looking forward to Top Dog 2017 ever since my husband and I returned from Top Dog 2015 in Charleston. Unfortunately, I found out a couple of hours ago that Willow and I will not be there after all. I have been struggling with a respiratory infection for a couple of months. I thought I was coping pretty well with the assistance of some new meds, but my doctor does not agree, and she told me this afternoon that I should not fly. I am disappointed (but I’m doing my best to cope with the news like a grown-up!) Willow and I are sending all of you who can attend our best wishes for safe travels and happy reunions!

Thank you all for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Website: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/

Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436

Like and visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

Enjoy the GDUI Juno Report on ACB Radio Mainstream, at8:00 p.m., EST, every Friday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:

http://acbradio.org/gdr.xml

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at Amazon.com:

http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1871119.

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/.

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link:

gduichatlist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link:

businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

GDUI Annoucement, January 1, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

First things first, happy new year! As I prepare this announcement, the New Year’s arrival is just hours away. At our house, the holiday season was particularly busy, and lots of fun! Our house was filled-to-overflowing with family members, most of whom we don’t get to spend time with nearly often enough.

Willow was thrilled beyond calculation every time another family member arrived – and so were the rest of us. Preparing and enjoying all kinds of amazing food kept us occupied, along with gifts and conversation and anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus (who even made a brief in-person stop-over for the first time ever in our living room early on Christmas Eve! Our three-year-old granddaughter was amazed and excited; Willow was a little more cautious!) Now that everyone has gone back to their own homes and there are only three humans and one canine in residence again, I want to catch you up, briefly, on what’s happening and what’s coming in GDUI, and to thank each one of you for your friendship and support during this year that’s rapidly disappearing.

It’s time for Membership Renewals! If you haven’t renewed your membership in GDUI for 2017, we hope you will do so soon. Our web master recently installed a new membership plug-in on our web site, which, we believe, will make the job of our Treasurer and Membership Committee Chair a lot less complicated. To complete your membership application and pay your annual dues of just $15, visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/

Just a Few Days until Top Dog! Willow and I are looking forward to catching up with many of you and your dogs at Top Dog, which will be here before we know it! I will be participating on a panel discussion concerning possible new regulations that may affect those of us who fly with our guide dogs – and the failed attempt to achieve consensus with the airline industry during this past year’s RegNeg process.

Top Dog is such a wonderful conference. I feel very grateful to be able to attend and renew acquaintance with conference organizers and attendees. If you can come to Top Dog, please find us and say hello!

Several GDUI Committees are seeking new or additional members. Will Burley would like to invite any of you who would like to help with the Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP) Committee to get in touch with him. Will’s e-mail address is mailto:will.burley3@gmail.com

And, Deanna Noriega is still hoping that any of you with a passion for or experience in fund-raising will join the GDUI Fund-Raising Committee. Fund-raising is one of those activities where it’s impossible for too many cooks to spoil the broth! E-mail Deanna atmailto:VP1@guidedogusersinc.org

UberProblems with Uber and Lyft! GDUI was pleased to work with ACB and the Council of U. S. Dog Guide Schools (CUSDGS(to conduct a survey which verifies what most of us already knew – that catching a ride in a taxicab with a guide dog at our side is often quite problematic! If you didn’t get a chance to read the summary that Tony Stephens prepared for last month’s ACB E-Forum http://acb.org/node/2961, we encourage you to take a look. Although the data we collected may not be particularly surprising to those of us and our guide dogs who attempt to travel in taxicabs and Uber and Lyft cars, our hope is that this reliably collected data will help convince regulators at all governmental levels that discrimination is rampant, especially in cities and suburbs, and we need stronger regs and better enforcement of legislation that protects our civil rights!

GDUI was pleased to welcome Julia Marks, one of the attorneys who represented blind and visually impaired guide dog users in the class-action lawsuit which NFB and others brought against Uber for discrimination against guide dog users, to our convention last summer. If you missed her presentation, we featured it again in our November GDUI Juno Report show on ACB Radio (still available as a podcast), and the conference presentation is also still available on our web site.

We are mystified as to why services from Uber seem to have deteriorated dramatically during the past several weeks — since the settlement went into effect! Charlie Crawford and I are planning to speak with Ms. Marks as soon as possible, hopefully during these coming weeks, and we will report what we find out. Meanwhile, we are just as dismayed as all of you are by the outright discrimination which seems to be modus operandi for too many Uber and Lyft drivers, and for drivers of regular commercial taxicab services as well. This issue will remain a priority for our Advocacy Committee and for GDUI.

Next Board Meeting, January 21. 2017! We hope you will attend our next scheduled board meeting on January 21. Our agenda is rapidly filling with important issues and information. The meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. The number to call is: 712.432.0075, the passcode is 919245-Pound.

Since it’s almost time for the celebrated Waterford crystal ball to descend over Manhattan and summon the arrival of 2017, I am going to sign off now, with one more wish for a happy and peaceful 2017 for all of you and your pups, and our continuing gratitude for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Website: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/

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