ACB Lawsuit Against D.C. Taxi Companies

Guide Dog Users, Inc., a proud special-affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB(, Applauds ACB and others for taking a stand against discrimination, and on behalf of all people who are blind, especially those of us who choose to partner with guide dogs! GDUI stands ready, and eager to support this action in any way, since the issues of access and civil rights brought forward by this law suit provide the context within which most of our members live our daily lives. Bravo, ACB! For more information, visit http://acb.org/cab-PR

Sincerely, Penny Reeder, President Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Congratulations to the Successful Advocates for the Civil Rights of Guide and Service Dog Users in Arizona

This morning the Arizona House of Representatives held a hearing on a proposed amendment to a bill which was expected to have widespread and bipartisan support, as it dealt with amusement park safety and replaced an older law which needed to be updated. Unlike the bill, the proposed amendment would have had disastrous consequences for guide and service dog users in Arizona — requiring them to register annually as people with disabilities who needed to use service dogs, requiring their dogs to wear garments identifying themselves and their owners with photo IDs, requiring guide and service dog users to have annual medical appointments to verify their disabilities, and barring service dogs from restaurants and virtually anywhere else owners could claim health code violations. In addition, the proposed amendment would have disavowed the state’s obligation to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

Notice of the proposed amendment and the hearing concerning it was released only yesterday, and you can imagine how the blindness and disability communities must have had to scramble to arrive at the hearing this morning and to sign up to testify.

 

GDUI received great news from Liz Whitlock, president of Guide Dog Users of Arizona, who was able to attend the hearing and to share the good news with all of us that advocacy worked extremely well to defeat the amendment. It went down “in flames,” by an 8 to 0 vote against its  inclusion in the bill.

 

GDUI wants to congratulate Liz and all of the members of GDUAZ on successfully defeating this proposed draconian legislation.

 

In addition to showing up at the hearing and signing up to testify, many members of GDUAZ wrote compelling letters to their representatives and to the chair of the committee who had introduced the amendment. Ron Brooks wrote one of the most effective letters related to advocacy for civil rights and against restricting those rights any of us has ever seen.

 

I am sharing Liz’s message to me concerning today’s outcome, and I know that all of you join me in congratulating GDUAZ, and the blindness and disability communities — even as we remind ourselves that we must remain ever vigilant to preserve and defend our hard-won civil rights!

 

Here is Liz’s message:

 

Hi Penny,

Good News from Arizona.   The amendment failed to the proposal, 8-0.  The

room was filled with guide dog users, service dog users, trainers, attorneys

(speaking on behalf of illegalities), agencies representing the blind and

visually impaired community, and even one person from the restaurant

industry.  I was slotted to speak, but a ways down the list.  After 16 or 17

people has spoken in opposition of the amendment, the committee recessed and

took a vote.

We are thankful that the proposition did not go through, and will keep a

close eye to ensure it does not pop up again.

 

Thanks for the support,

Liz Whitlock

 

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

While 93 guide dogs and around 150 of us women and men were enjoying ourselves at Top Dog-Charleston, February arrived! Before you know it, we’ll be thinking about daffodils and asparagus and trying to persuade our dogs to steer clear of the March mud. Meanwhile, staying warm is still a priority for most of us as the snows of 2015 just keep on coming.

 

Top Dog-Charleston was absolutely fabulous! We’re still basking in the warmth of all those Southern hugs and the great hospitality that was extended to every guest — canine and human — at the Top Dog event! GDUI even received a beautiful plaque to thank us for our support of Top Dog. It is really we who should be giving all of you a plaque of appreciation. We are grateful that you didn’t give up on GDUI and that you, like so many of our affiliates and at-large members, have joined new leadership in GDUI to restore democracy and renew our shared commitment to one another and to the guide dog community.

 

There were nine schools represented at Top Dog. Their updates were interesting and reassuring. Although raising funds is a never-ending obligation for every guide dog training program, all of the schools remain committed primarily to the priority of providing the kinds of dogs who will be healthy, reliable guides, and matching their training programs to the needs of blind and visually impaired people living in the 21st Century.

 

There was an informational session on the topic of misrepresentation of pets as service animals, and an informative presentation concerning medical interventions that we can provide at home for injuries or minor illnesses that can affect our dogs. There was an interesting presentation from a canine massage therapist, and he even stayed for an extra hour to provide massages for some of the Top Dogs in attendance. Puppy raisers for several schools shared their stories — all of which made us love puppy raisers even more than we already did! That Frogmore Stew is one delicious dish (no, there are no frogs in Frogmore Stew!), as was every other Southern specialty we were lucky enough to sample. Gullah Geechee gospel music was a new — and wonderful– experience for many of us, and we thank Audrey and the other Top Dog planners for allowing us to enjoy the talented women and men who entertained us during the Saturday evening banquet, and Laurel Jean whose many talents continue to amaze us, as well.

 

I want to congratulate Ann Marie Medlar from Florida, the lucky winner of sweet hand-made and harnessed Ashley Cooper. I’m sure he will enjoy a happy future with you or whomever you choose to share him with. Thank you to Top Dog for sharing all of the proceeds from the Ashley Cooper drawing with GDUI. The drawing raised $625.00, and with GDUI elections for revised bylaws and directors coming up, as well as new issues of PawTracks, and the summer convention, we promise to put that donation to good and productive uses.

 

I could go on and on, but there are a few more announcements I need to get to — so, start saving your pennies. You won’t want to miss Top Dog-Florida in 2017. And for more informative presentations, updates from the guide dog training programs, and shared stories and camaraderie, remember the Guide Dog Users, Inc. convention will be coming right up, on July 5, in Dallas!

 

Debbie Grub, GDUI’s Affiliates’ Liaison, and I want to thank Frank Welte and the GDUC board of directors for the very productive telephonic conversation we had last Sunday. We look forward to the day when GDUC joins GDUI once again as an affiliate, and meanwhile, we continue to treasure the friendships we share with one another and the mutual commitment we have toward our shared mission and goals.

 

Finally, I want to announce a new — and painless — way for you to contribute to Guide Dog Users, Inc. Now you can support GDUI when you shop at Amazon.com (And who doesn’t spend at least a few minutes and a few dollars online at Amazon at least a couple of times each week?) Amazon.com contributes 0.5 percent of the price of each purchase to not-for-profit corporations registered with their SMILE program, and now GDUI will benefit through this program as well. Follow this link to designate GDUI as the recipient of 0.5 percent of the cost of your purchases whenever you shop at Amazon.com:

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

 

Thank you all for your friendship and support. We will be back next week with announcements and a reminder about our up-coming Town Hall Meeting for GDUI Members and Friends, scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, on St. Valentine’s Day, February 14.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@guidedogusersinc.org

 

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:VP1@guidedogusersinc.org

 

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

 

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

 

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.

We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

Announcements for the Week of January 26, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

 

On Saturday, the GDUI Board of Directors met for our first scheduled meeting of 2015. We had a terrific meeting. Everyone but Nolan was able to be with us (Poor Nolan was coping with the after-effects of dental work the previous day), every committee chairperson was able to provide an update on all his or her committee has been accomplishing, several motions were made and adopted, and some of our members even had the fortitude to stay on their phone lines for the nearly three hours we spent on the call, and to introduce themselves and provide commentary at the end of the meeting. We are fortunate indeed to have such a hard-working board, and to welcome such dedicated members to our meetings. If you couldn’t attend, or you had to exit before we were finished with our business, you can listen to the meeting recording in these ways:

 

To access the 2 hour and 50 minute long recording of the GDUI board meeting recording

that was held on Saturday, January 24, 2015, please use one of the options below.

Drop Box:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/sc651xb02csb1lz/January%2024%2C%202015%20GDUI%20Board%20Meeting%20Recording.mp3?dl=0

Send Space:

https://www.sendspace.com/file/w0v0ui

Play back number:

712.432.1085

Access code: 919245 followed by the pound key.

 

Thanks to Sarah, for making the recordings available within an hour of the close of our meeting. If you can’t find an extra three hours in your current schedule to listen to the meeting recording, be assured that meeting minutes, including all committee reports, will be included in the Spring PawTracks.

 

One announcement that we made at Saturday’s meeting to which I want to draw your attention is our planned Town Hall Meeting for GDUI members and friends. As a membership organization, GDUI officers, directors, and committee chairs rely on your direction and feedback to let us know what we’re doing well and what else you might like us to be concentrating on. We held a GDUI Town Hall meeting last fall shortly after this board took office. Now, we’re eager to hear from you again. We plan a Winter Town Hall Meeting for Valentine’s Day, February 14, from 1:00 p.m. until all our members and friends have asked their questions and had their say.

 

One focus of this meeting will be an update concerning the bylaws which our Constitution and Bylaws Committee is proposing to recommend, first to the board for preliminary approval, and then to our membership for final adoption, during the end-of-May election. We believe that GDUI’s constitution — and our members’ failure to adopt bylaws changes which would  have dramatically altered the character of our organization — were largely responsible, last year,  for restoring GDUI’s democratic character. Our members resoundingly defeated proposed bylaws which would have eliminated affiliates and consolidated governance within the confines of a much smaller board and cadre of officers. Having defeated those proposed bylaws and voted for new leadership, we call on you, our members, again — to become informed about the revisions our Constitution and Bylaws Committee suggests, in order for GDUI to be in compliance with the District of Columbia Code for Not-for-Profit Organizations and to streamline the document to conform with best practices. The Town Hall meeting will provide a first opportunity for members to become informed about the work of our Constitution and Bylaws Committee.  We are sure that follow-up e-mail discussions will also be encouraged. For a preliminary discussion of the bylaws that will be on the ballot in May, please make plans to attend the February 14 Town Hall Meeting. We believe you — like all of us — will be very pleased and grateful to our committee for working so hard to preserve the fundamental character of GDUI. Please tell your friends who are guide dog users about our coming Town Hall Meeting. The call-in number and pass code will be identical to the numbers you dial for board meetings: 712.432.0075, 919245-Pound.

 

It’s finally almost time for Top Dog! We’ve been waiting and ready for months! Audrey Gunter sent an announcement to the GDUI-Chat list while she was packing a bag for her and her guide dog, Jessie. They will arrive at the hotel early on Monday morning, to make everything ready for those of us who are lucky enough to attend, and to provide training for hotel staff and convention volunteers. Audrey says, “I’d like to seize this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who will be attending Top Dog-Charleston and also to those of you who could not come but extended so much encouragement.

 

We have 150 guests coming from the 4 corners of the USA and all parts in

between.  We’re also expecting another 20-30 special invited guests to

recognize at our opening ceremony as well as dozens of volunteers.

 

Of course, none of this would have been possible if it were not for the

puppy raisers and we have 20 puppy raisers coming!

 

I am still amazed at the products companies have so generously

donated.  I do believe each attendee will be delighted at the goodies in

his/her registration packet.

 

Top Dog-Charleston has been a joint effort between many: Guide Dog Users of

Florida; Georgia Guide Dog Users; GDUI; the Association for the Blind and

Visually Impaired, Charleston and, of course-all of you.   We have

been and continue to pray for a beautiful, warm, sunny weekend so that we can

all enjoy each other and the environment.  I, personally find God to be a

true gentleman and, when invited to an event He will always show up and show out

with all of His Glorious Blessings.

 

Each one of you is a blessing and Jessie and I just wanted to say,

‘thanks!’”

 

If you’re planning to be at Top Dog, I hope you’ll find me and my husband, Carl, and Willow and say hello! (Willow won’t be hard to find. She will, no doubt, be one of the most talkative dogs in the room!) Bob Acosta and his wife, Ruth; Sarah Calhoun and her Jeff; Betsy Grenevitch and her daughters; and Jane and Pat Sheehan will also be there, representing GDUI’s Board of Directors, and we’re all looking forward to the conference and to meeting many of you. Betsy will have membership forms, in case you still need to join or renew your membership in GDUI, and Jane will be selling all kinds of GDUI products and toys.

 

Until next Monday, when Top Dog will be a pleasant memory for many of us, and many of you will have likely weathered the huge snow storm that currently threatens much of the East Coast, we thank you for your friendship and support and wish you and your dogs safe travels.

 

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc

mailto:president@guidedogusersinc.org

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:VP1@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

 

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit homepage and complete the sign up form..

 

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.

We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

 

GDUI Announcement, January 12, 2015

http://guidedogusersinc.org/wp-login.php

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

GDUI’s committees are all busy holding their first meetings of 2015, handling their responsibilities, and preparing reports to share with the GDUI Board of Directors and members during the first scheduled board meeting of 2015, which will take place a week from this coming Saturday, on January 24. Meanwhile, GDUI affiliate leaders will be meeting this coming Thursday, January 15, at 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. At the meeting, Annie Chiappetta and Michael Malver, who co-chair the GDUI Publications Committee, will introduce GDUI’s new Leadership e-mail discussion list and explain how to subscribe and post to that communications medium. We are grateful to the Publications Committee; our web master, Ted Rodifer; and the Public Relations Committee for setting up the list and creating an efficient means for GDUI’s affiliates’ and national leaders to discuss administrative, governmental, and policy matters related to our missions and goals.

 

While I’m complimenting the Publications Committee, I especially want to thank Denise Decker who joined the group of writers which convened last fall to update GDUI’s brochures and other online publications. Denise updated two very useful hand-outs, both in English and Spanish. Look for ” TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY WITH YOUR GUIDE DOG,” and ” Attention: Law Enforcement Officers: Interacting with People Who Use Guide Dogs,” soon at http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/, and share the documents with anyone who might benefit from the useful information they contain.

 

If you have been thinking about GDUI’s summer convention in Dallas — and remembering with some trepidation how it felt the last time when you came to a national convention and you couldn’t really figure out how to get from one meeting to the next until well into the week, when your guide had finally had enough experience at the convention hotel to bring you where you needed to be — you will be intrigued, as we were, by the announcement that Janet Dickelman, ACB’s Convention Co-Coordinator, shared with likely convention attendees earlier this week. Janet explained,” MD Support and their partner, MD Foundation, are donating indoor navigation technology to ACB’s 2015 conference and convention in Dallas. The guidance system works by sending audible instructions and location descriptions to an iOS device or Android phone. The information is electronically transmitted by beacons placed at meeting  rooms, restrooms, elevators, and other venues.”

 

GDUI’s convention will take place, concurrently with ACB’s conference and convention, from Sunday, July 5 through Wednesday, July 8. We guarantee good times for you and your dogs, and we’re all feeling reassured about finding our way around the hotel in Dallas! There will be two guided tours with in-person descriptions and navigation advice provided by our trusted guide dog school trainers, as well as this super 21st Century navigational aid for those of us who have IPhones and Android phones. Spending less time being lost means spending even more time having fun with friends!

 

Make your reservations today!

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 single, double, triple or quad) plus

applicable state and local taxes (currently 13 %( and Tourism District Fees (2

%(. For reservations by telephone call

888.627.8191.

 

Congratulations to the enthusiastic group of guide dog users who live in the mid-Atlantic states who will be creating a new GDUI affiliate called MAGDU — which stands for Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users! Charlie Crawford who chaired the MAGDU steering committee heard from a number of people from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and the group decided to go ahead and form a new regional GDUI affiliate. Interim officers, until the group becomes official, adopts a set of bylaws, files the necessary paperwork, holds some meetings, and plans for its first election, are President Charlie Crawford from Silver Spring, MD, First Vice President Denise Decker from the District of Columbia, Second Vice President Vickie Curley from Stockton, NJ, Secretary Gary LeGates from Westminster, MD, and Treasurer Jane Sheehan from Silver Spring, MD. Welcome MAGDU, and thank you to everyone who is participating in the planning and helping to move the organization forward.

 

One more intriguing announcement I want to share involves raising a puppy who may be destined to become a guide dog. I think it’s intriguing that “The Today Show on the NBC network is going to televise the whole process that involves adopting a puppy, helping him or her to become socialized, and preparing him or her for the working life!” To learn more about the Today Show’s partnership with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, visit this link:http://www.today.com/pets/today-getting-puppy-helping-change-persons-life-1D80412712?__source=xfinity|mod&par=xfinity .

 

It’s even cold and icy in the deep South this week. No matter where you and your guide dogs live, stay warm and safe. We’ll be back to share more news about Guide Dog Users, Inc. early next week.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder

President, Guide Dog Users, Inc.

 

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

 

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

 

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.

We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

GDUI’s committees are all busy holding their first meetings of 2015, handling their responsibilities, and preparing reports to share with the GDUI Board of Directors and members during the first scheduled board meeting of 2015, which will take place a week from this coming Saturday, on January 24. Meanwhile, GDUI affiliate leaders will be meeting this coming Thursday, January 15, at 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. At the meeting, Annie Chiappetta and Michael Malver, who co-chair the GDUI Publications Committee, will introduce GDUI’s new Leadership e-mail discussion list and explain how to subscribe and post to that communications medium. We are grateful to the Publications Committee; our web master, Ted Rodifer; and the Public Relations Committee for setting up the list and creating an efficient means for GDUI’s affiliates’ and national leaders to discuss administrative, governmental, and policy matters related to our missions and goals.

 

While I’m complimenting the Publications Committee, I especially want to thank Denise Decker who joined the group of writers which convened last fall to update GDUI’s brochures and other online publications. Denise updated two very useful hand-outs, both in English and Spanish. Look for ” TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY WITH YOUR GUIDE DOG,” and ” Attention: Law Enforcement Officers: Interacting with People Who Use Guide Dogs,” soon at http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/, and share the documents with anyone who might benefit from the useful information they contain.

 

If you have been thinking about GDUI’s summer convention in Dallas — and remembering with some trepidation how it felt the last time when you came to a national convention and you couldn’t really figure out how to get from one meeting to the next until well into the week, when your guide had finally had enough experience at the convention hotel to bring you where you needed to be — you will be intrigued, as we were, by the announcement that Janet Dickelman, ACB’s Convention Co-Coordinator, shared with likely convention attendees earlier this week. Janet explained,” MD Support and their partner, MD Foundation, are donating indoor navigation technology to ACB’s 2015 conference and convention in Dallas. The guidance system works by sending audible instructions and location descriptions to an iOS device or Android phone. The information is electronically transmitted by beacons placed at meeting  rooms, restrooms, elevators, and other venues.”

 

GDUI’s convention will take place, concurrently with ACB’s conference and convention, from Sunday, July 5 through Wednesday, July 8. We guarantee good times for you and your dogs, and we’re all feeling reassured about finding our way around the hotel in Dallas! There will be two guided tours with in-person descriptions and navigation advice provided by our trusted guide dog school trainers, as well as this super 21st Century navigational aid for those of us who have IPhones and Android phones. Spending less time being lost means spending even more time having fun with friends!

 

Make your reservations today!

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 single, double, triple or quad) plus

applicable state and local taxes (currently 13 %( and Tourism District Fees (2

%(. For reservations by telephone call

888.627.8191.

 

Congratulations to the enthusiastic group of guide dog users who live in the mid-Atlantic states who will be creating a new GDUI affiliate called MAGDU — which stands for Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users! Charlie Crawford who chaired the MAGDU steering committee heard from a number of people from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and the group decided to go ahead and form a new regional GDUI affiliate. Interim officers, until the group becomes official, adopts a set of bylaws, files the necessary paperwork, holds some meetings, and plans for its first election, are President Charlie Crawford from Silver Spring, MD, First Vice President Denise Decker from the District of Columbia, Second Vice President Vickie Curley from Stockton, NJ, Secretary Gary LeGates from Westminster, MD, and Treasurer Jane Sheehan from Silver Spring, MD. Welcome MAGDU, and thank you to everyone who is participating in the planning and helping to move the organization forward.

 

One more intriguing announcement I want to share involves raising a puppy who may be destined to become a guide dog. I think it’s intriguing that “The Today Show on the NBC network is going to televise the whole process that involves adopting a puppy, helping him or her to become socialized, and preparing him or her for the working life!” To learn more about the Today Show’s partnership with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, visit this link:http://www.today.com/pets/today-getting-puppy-helping-change-persons-life-1D80412712?__source=xfinity|mod&par=xfinity .

 

It’s even cold and icy in the deep South this week. No matter where you and your guide dogs live, stay warm and safe. We’ll be back to share more news about Guide Dog Users, Inc. early next week.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder

President, Guide Dog Users, Inc.

 

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

 

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

 

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.

We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

GDUI’s committees are all busy holding their first meetings of 2015, handling their responsibilities, and preparing reports to share with the GDUI Board of Directors and members during the first scheduled board meeting of 2015, which will take place a week from this coming Saturday, on January 24. Meanwhile, GDUI affiliate leaders will be meeting this coming Thursday, January 15, at 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. At the meeting, Annie Chiappetta and Michael Malver, who co-chair the GDUI Publications Committee, will introduce GDUI’s new Leadership e-mail discussion list and explain how to subscribe and post to that communications medium. We are grateful to the Publications Committee; our web master, Ted Rodifer; and the Public Relations Committee for setting up the list and creating an efficient means for GDUI’s affiliates’ and national leaders to discuss administrative, governmental, and policy matters related to our missions and goals.

 

While I’m complimenting the Publications Committee, I especially want to thank Denise Decker who joined the group of writers which convened last fall to update GDUI’s brochures and other online publications. Denise updated two very useful hand-outs, both in English and Spanish. Look for ” TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY WITH YOUR GUIDE DOG,” and ” Attention: Law Enforcement Officers: Interacting with People Who Use Guide Dogs,” soon at http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/, and share the documents with anyone who might benefit from the useful information they contain.

 

If you have been thinking about GDUI’s summer convention in Dallas — and remembering with some trepidation how it felt the last time when you came to a national convention and you couldn’t really figure out how to get from one meeting to the next until well into the week, when your guide had finally had enough experience at the convention hotel to bring you where you needed to be — you will be intrigued, as we were, by the announcement that Janet Dickelman, ACB’s Convention Co-Coordinator, shared with likely convention attendees earlier this week. Janet explained,” MD Support and their partner, MD Foundation, are donating indoor navigation technology to ACB’s 2015 conference and convention in Dallas. The guidance system works by sending audible instructions and location descriptions to an iOS device or Android phone. The information is electronically transmitted by beacons placed at meeting  rooms, restrooms, elevators, and other venues.”

 

GDUI’s convention will take place, concurrently with ACB’s conference and convention, from Sunday, July 5 through Wednesday, July 8. We guarantee good times for you and your dogs, and we’re all feeling reassured about finding our way around the hotel in Dallas! There will be two guided tours with in-person descriptions and navigation advice provided by our trusted guide dog school trainers, as well as this super 21st Century navigational aid for those of us who have IPhones and Android phones. Spending less time being lost means spending even more time having fun with friends!

 

Make your reservations today!

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 single, double, triple or quad) plus

applicable state and local taxes (currently 13 %( and Tourism District Fees (2

%(. For reservations by telephone call

888.627.8191.

 

Congratulations to the enthusiastic group of guide dog users who live in the mid-Atlantic states who will be creating a new GDUI affiliate called MAGDU — which stands for Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users! Charlie Crawford who chaired the MAGDU steering committee heard from a number of people from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and the group decided to go ahead and form a new regional GDUI affiliate. Interim officers, until the group becomes official, adopts a set of bylaws, files the necessary paperwork, holds some meetings, and plans for its first election, are President Charlie Crawford from Silver Spring, MD, First Vice President Denise Decker from the District of Columbia, Second Vice President Vickie Curley from Stockton, NJ, Secretary Gary LeGates from Westminster, MD, and Treasurer Jane Sheehan from Silver Spring, MD. Welcome MAGDU, and thank you to everyone who is participating in the planning and helping to move the organization forward.

 

One more intriguing announcement I want to share involves raising a puppy who may be destined to become a guide dog. I think it’s intriguing that “The Today Show on the NBC network is going to televise the whole process that involves adopting a puppy, helping him or her to become socialized, and preparing him or her for the working life!” To learn more about the Today Show’s partnership with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, visit this link:http://www.today.com/pets/today-getting-puppy-helping-change-persons-life-1D80412712?__source=xfinity|mod&par=xfinity .

 

It’s even cold and icy in the deep South this week. No matter where you and your guide dogs live, stay warm and safe. We’ll be back to share more news about Guide Dog Users, Inc. early next week.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder

President, Guide Dog Users, Inc.

 

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

 

To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit home page: http://guidedogusersinc.org/.

 

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.

We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users Organizational Meeting, January 11, 2015 at 1:00 EST! Come One, Come All!

A telephonic conference call to discuss forming a new affiliate of GDUI for guide dog users and their friends who live in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA will convene on Sunday, January 11, at 1:00 p.m.,  Eastern Standard Time. We welcome participants from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. We look forward to lively discussion and making preliminary organizational decisions.

 

The call will be hosted  by Charlie Crawford, who heads the MAGDU Steering Committee which was formed at the state convention of the American Council of the Blind of Maryland during the first week end of November, 2014.

 

Dial this number: 1-712.432.5620 and enter pass Code 446 followed by  the pound sign.

 

While on the call, you can mute your phone by pressing the number 5, and un-mute by pressing the number 4. You can find out how many participants are on the call by pressing the pound key.

 

What? Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users Teleconference Call!

When? Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Where? 1-712.432.5620, Pass Code 446-pound.

Announcements for the Week of January 5, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

This morning, many of us came abruptly to the startling reality that the first work week of the new year was cutting us no breaks as we and our guide dogs braved challengingly low temperatures and other wintry weather conditions on our treks to the obligations of the first work week of 2015! Thank goodness our dogs are a lot more enthusiastic about wintery weather than many of us seem to be! No matter where you live and what your daily obligations, be safe and warm out there and grateful to your dogs for getting you through challenging conditions and warming your feet once you’re safely inside again!

Perhaps thinking about summer and GDUI’s 2015 convention can take our minds off the freezing temperatures and icy precipitation of January. GDUI’s 2015 convention will take place concurrently with the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind from July 5-8, at the Sheraton Dallas, located at 400 N. Olive St. in downtown Dallas, TX. It’s not too soon to think about making travel reservations and booking hotel rooms, so here are some details to help.

Dallas is served by two airports, DFW and Love Field.
Love Field is serviced by Southwest Airlines and, effective April 2015, by Virgin
America. DFW is served by a number of airlines, including American, Delta, Frontier,
Jet Blue, Sun Country and United. For a list of airlines serving DFW, visit
http://www.dfwairport.com/airlines/index.php
Amtrak comes to Dallas’ Union Station, approximately 1 mile from
the hotel. Union Station is served by the city’s light rail’s red or blue line, or one can take a short cab ride to the hotel.
There is a Megabus stop in Dallas as well as a Greyhound station; both are located
within easy traveling distance of the Sheraton.
For additional information on Greyhound, visit
http://www.greyhound.com/en/locations/terminal.aspx? city=680780
Megabus information can be obtained at
https://us.megabus.com/Megabus adds downtown Dallas service.aspx

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 (single, double,
triple or quad) plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 13 percent) and
tourism district fees (2 percent).
To reserve a room, call
888.627.8191, and be sure to mention that you are attending the ACB convention.
To make reservations online, visit
http://www.acb.org/and follow the 2015 convention link.

We will be sharing details about our convention program, this year’s fabulous auction, a super drawing for cash prizes and jewelry at the GDUI luncheon, fabulous speakers, important discussions, upgrading relief areas, product sales, the GDUI Suite, and more convention-related news in these weekly announcements as well as PawTracks over coming months. Lillian Scaife’s Convention Program Committee is already working hard to plan for every aspect of the 2015 GDUI convention — including soliciting fabulous items for this summer’s auction — and we are excited!

Here’s some helpful information from one of our members who is working with her first guide dog.

“I just learned that Ruffwear provides a fifty percent discount on all items for guide
dogs. For GDB grads, that is the company that our dogs booties come from. If you
need replacement shoes, a winter coat, or life jacket, they are a great resource!
You can check out their web page or call them to sign up.
I just ordered snow boots for my guide, and the customer
support service via phone was fantastic! My dog also loves his winter coat made by
Ruffwear.”

If your guide lost one or two of his boots in a snow drift or she needs a winter coat or any number of excellent items for doggie “weatherization,” check out Ruffwear here: http://www.ruffwear.com/. Or call them here: 888.783.3932. And, thanks, Mary, for sharing that great endorsement with us.

In case the wintery weather has brought on an unwelcome bout with the flu or other unpleasantness, or you just want to assure your personal health and well-being by keeping informed about your prescription medications and how to take them, here’s welcome news from ACB and CVS Health, who are expanding the availability of talking, braille and large print prescription labels through their mail-service pharmacy for customers who are visually impaired. According to their announcement of January 5, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) now offers the ScripAbility prescription accessibility system through its mail service pharmacy to CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired. The system includes ScripTalk talking prescription labels as well as braille and large print labels. The ScripTalk talking labels, which are made available free of charge by CVS, provide a safe and convenient way for people who cannot read the standard print on prescription labels to access information relevant to each of their prescribed medications. CVS/caremark members who are blind or visually impaired can obtain a free ScripTalk reader from Envision America that will enable them to listen to the information on each ScripTalk label. Members can request a product from the ScripAbility suite by contacting Caremark’s call center. Learn more about CVS Health here: http://www.cvshealth.com/. Learn more about En-Vision America’s ScripAbility Prescription Accessibility System here: http://www.envisionamerica.com/products/scripability/. Thank you to ACB for your continued advocacy on our behalf, and to CVS health for adopting best practices with respect to making information accessible to people like us who are blind and visually impaired.

If you live in the Mid–Atlantic region (i.e., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or the District of Columbia), we hope you are making plans to attend the organizational conference-call meeting for a new GDUI affiliate, Mid-Atlantic Guide Dog Users, which is scheduled to take place at 1:00 p.m. next Sunday, January 11, at this number: 712.432.5620. Use the
pass code of 446 followed by the pound sign. If you are thinking about running or nominating someone for an office in MAGDU, or a position on the board, or you just want to chat about organizational matters or recruitment or ideas related to future programming, contact Charlie Crawford who is leading the task force with the goal of turning the MAGDU dream into tangible reality. Charlie can be reached at 301.562.2057, or via e-mail at mailto:ccrawford@rcn.com. Or, call GDUI’s office manager and interim MAGDU treasurer, Jane Sheehan, at 866.799.8436.

If you’re attempting to cope with winter weather by spending as much time as possible inside by the fire and you want to enliven your winter reading list, check out GDUI’s blog which features updates from board members and committee chairs. Find our blog here: http://guidedogusersinc.org/blog/. Our blog provides an easy way to keep up with what’s happening in GDUI between weekly announcements and issues of PawTracks, and we encourage all of you to share blog entries with your friends who partner with guide dogs and to add your own comments on the blog. If you’re interested in lively daily conversations about all things guide-dog-related, remember it’s easy to join GDUI’s Chat list. Just send a message to:
mailto:GDUI-Chat-subscribe@lists.guidedogusersinc.org and follow the instructions provided in the confirmation e-mail that you will receive in reply.

Our PawTracks editor, Nolan Crabb, tells us to expect our copies of the Winter issue of PawTracks in the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, Nolan has been dealing with intermittent hard-drive-related computer problems, and so our winter issue is later than he or we anticipated. Computers: We love them or we hate them, and sometimes we experience both emotions simultaneously! All of us understand way too well what Nolan has been experiencing, and we wish him good fortune as he manages the computer issues and gets the current issue of PawTracks off to Ray Fournier for recording and distribution to audiocassette readers and Jane for distribution to e-mail attachment subscribers.

If you haven’t yet renewed your membership in GDUI, please visit our web site and complete our easy-to-use online application available here: http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/. Or, you can call our office manager, Jane Sheehan, who will be happy to answer any questions you have about membership in GDUI or GDUI affiliates in your area of the country, and to assist you with the application process. Call Jane at 866.799.8436.

GDUI’s committee chairs are ramping up for the demands of a new year this week. There are scheduled meetings of the fund-raising committee and the membership committee, the Budget and Finance Committee met on Sunday afternoon, and the Convention Program Auction Subcommittee met on Sunday night, and members of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee are busily exchanging information about language in the DC Not-for-Profit Code and proposed language for the constitutional refresh which will occur in May. There will be a GDUI board meeting later this month, on January 24th, and Debbie Grub and I are eagerly anticipating meeting with the board of Guide Dog Users of California on January 25. Of course, Top Dog is coming right up at the end of the month. Remember, you can still purchase tickets for the drawing for a plush life-size yellow labbie puppy, dressed for work in his hand-made harness, the proceeds from which will benefit GDUI. Tickets are three for $5.00, and the winning ticket will be drawn at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 30. You don’t have to be present at Top Dog to win. To purchase your tickets, contact Audrey Gunter at mailto:dixielandguides@gmail.com. To learn more about Top dog, visit this web site: http://www.dixielandguidedogs.org/2014/08/announcing-top-dog-2015.html. We are very grateful to our Dixieland GDUI affiliate for their generosity, and those of us who will be lucky enough to attend Top Dog are getting very excited about the conference!

If we can suggest one more flight of fantasy to help get you through this cold and dark time of year, remember GDUI’s Caribbean cruise, which will launch on December 5! Ports of call for the Carnival cruise will include Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and
Grand Turk. One of the many nice benefits of this
particular package is that should a traveler wish, he or she may make
monthly payments throughout this coming year.
Prices are as follows: interior cabin, $866.53; private balcony cabin,
$1,116.53. All rates include 7-day cruise, port charges, taxes and
gratuities. To book your vacation and help GDUI, call Dave Kronk at 618.409.0143, or e-mail him at mailto:dkronk@htc.net.

Until next week’s announcements, we wish all of you safe travels through fact and fantasy alike, and lots of waggily doggie kisses during this first week of 2015.
Sincerely,
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:president@guidedogusersinc.org

Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:vp1@guidedogusersinc.org

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc
Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436

To subscribe to GDUI-Announce, visit this link:
http://acb.org/mailman/listinfo/gdui-announce.
You will receive an automatically-generated e-mail message which will
include instructions for confirming your subscription. For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.
We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.