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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/

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, November 16, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Hello again from GDUI. We hope you and your guide dogs are enjoying lovely fall weather and looking forward to Thanksgiving, which will be here before we know it. No matter what’s going on in the world, our guide dogs and the independence they allow us to experience provide bountiful reasons to be thankful.

GDUI Board Meeting Coming Right Up

Our November board meeting will take place on Saturday, November 19, beginning at 1:00 p.m., EST, 12:00 Noon Central Time, 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time, and 10:00 a.m. for those of you who live on the West Coast. We hope you will join us, to listen to our deliberations, and to share your opinions and concerns at the end of the meeting. Call 712.432.0075, Code 919245-Pound.

New GDUI Affiliate Forming to assist guide dog users and supporters in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC

Here’s a message from Capital Area Guide Dog Users Treasurer, Jane Sheehan:

I’m writing to announce the formation of Capital Area Guide Dog Users (CAGDU).  We held our first membership meeting on October 29, and resolved the following:

We’ll transfer all assets from the now defunct Maryland Area Guide Dog Users into the new group to be known as Capital Area Guide Dog Users (CAGDU).  This group will be of interest to anyone from Maryland, Virginia and the district of Columbia who is interested in joining, though people from other areas are certainly welcome to join us, as well.

We decided to set annual dues at $20.00 per person, and we’re accepting dues memberships for 2017.  We also decided to affiliate with Guide Dog Users, Inc., a special-interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind.

The officers of CAGDU are as follows:

Charlie Crawford, President, Silver Spring, MD

Denise Decker, Vice President, Washington, DC

Gary Legates, Secretary, Westminster, MD

Jane Sheehan, Treasurer, Silver Spring, MD

If you’d like more info about CAGDU, or would like to join us, please feel free to contact me.  We look forward to building our membership base over the next few months, and to making a positive difference in the lives of guide dog teams in the capital area.

Jane Sheehan, Treasurer

Capital Area Guide Dog Users

14311 Astrodome Drive

Silver Spring, MD  20906-2245

301.598.2131

Jcsheehan1@verizon.net

Congratulations to guide dog users in the Capital area. We look forward to receiving your application for affiliation as soon as all those paperwork I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed!

GDUI Affiliates to Meet on Thursday evening, November 17.

GDUI Affiliates Liaison, Pauline LaMontagne announced the next GDUI Affiliates Meeting by conference call tomorrow evening. At 9:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, GDUI Affiliate Leaders should call 641.715.0632. The Conference Code is: 688763. We encourage all affiliate leaders and any GDUI leaders who are interested to join the call.

The Deadline is getting close to register for Top Dog 2017!

Learn all about and register for this wonderful conference, sponsored by Dixieland Guide Dog Users, and scheduled for mid January 2017, here: http://topdog.technologyisawesome.com/

Here’s a message from Top Dog Conference Coordinator, Debbie Grubb:

To all who plan to join us in Orlando for Top Dog 2017, this is a friendly reminder that the deadline for event and hotel registration is December 12, 2016.  If you are interested in the wonderful Disney tickets that are being raffled, the deadline to purchase your raffle tickets is December 1, 2016.

All of us on the Top Dog 2017 Team are so looking forward to sharing this wonderful time of friendship, fellowship, fun and learning with you. Please join us!

Respectfully,

Debbie Grubb, Program Coordinator

If your travels to Orlando should take you through Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, you may want to know about new dog relief areas inside the Security Perimeter which recently opened there. We thank Georgia Guide Dog Users for sharing this information with us.

There are now dog relief areas inside concourses B and C. In concourse B, the relief area is near gate B33, on the right about 20 feet past the gate; in concourse C, it’s near C19, on the  left, across from Starbucks. There is braille signage both indoors and out. The relief areas consist of concrete and turf.

In December, EVERY concourse at Atlanta will have a relief area that can be accessed from inside the secure areas.

The Perfect Guide Dog?

All of us have experienced those days when our usually extraordinarily well-behaved dog guide decides to behave ummm … like a “regular dog!” To gain some perspective, check out this entertaining blog entry from GDUI First Vice President and long-time guide dog user, Deanna Noriega, from her recent contribution to the VisionAware blog:http://www.visionaware.org/blog/visually-impaired-now-what/the-perfect-guide-dog/12

A Video to Enjoy and Share

We are excited to share with you “Maine’s community of disabled asks relief from ‘comfort animals,” a video segment from Maine television’s Bill Green, who calls upon GDUI Treasurer, Lynn Merrill, and her guide dog, Libby, and GDUI Affiliates Liaison and President of Pine Tree Guide Dog Users, Pauline LaMontagne, to explain the differences between so-called ‘comfort animals’ and well-trained service and guide dogs. This is a lesson so many pet owners need to learn! Please download the video here and share it widely:

http://www.wcsh6.com/entertainment/television/bill-greens-maine/maines-community-of-disabled-asks-relief-from-comfort-animals/351799868

Are you looking for blindness resources? AFB’s app for IPhone and Android can help you locate the resources you or a family member or friend may need! Download VisionConnect™ from the App Store or GooglePlay store for Android. Use the app to Find services and support in your community through the searchable AFB Directory of Services.

Live independently with a visual impairment, using helpful resources and tips.

Research information about low vision products and technology.

Find inspiration and motivation from personal stories and employment advice.

Talk to family members about how they can be supportive.

The VisionConnect™ app provides hope, help and connection for adults encountering vision loss for the first time and for families supporting a child experiencing vision loss. Service providers can also use the app to help locate vision rehabilitation services for their clients. The app is FREE and completely accessible. Learn more at

www.afb.org/visionconnect

What kinds of experiences have you had renting vacation property through AirB&B? The California Council of the Blind wants to know!

The California Council of the Blind has retained Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP to investigate complaints from blind individuals, individuals who use service animals, including guide dogs, and individuals with mobility disabilities who have recently attempted to rent lodging through Airbnb.  Airbnb operates a website and mobile application where people can browse for and book lodging throughout the United States and around the world.

We would greatly appreciate speaking with you about your experiences using Airbnb if you have a disability, including if you are blind or low vision, you use a service animal, and/or you use an assistive device such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair.

To share your experiences, please contact paralegal Sara Long by phone at 415-433-6830  or at slong@rbgg.com.

Best laid plans …

Deanna and I were disappointed not to have been able to talk with our members from Guide Dog Users of Washington State and Guide Dog Users of Arizona on the first Saturday of November during scheduled phone calls at your mutual conventions. Unfortunately, Deanna’s IPhone chose that exact day and time to malfunction and forget to remind her of the agreed-upon time to call. And, in Arizona, the business meeting scheduled ahead of the call went on so long, there just wasn’t time for the GDUI conversation. Maybe we’ll see some of you at our convention in Reno next summer. Meanwhile, please remember, you can always call any of us to ask questions or for an update by calling GDUI’s toll-free number, 866.799.8436. Sarah will let us know you want to chat, and we will be happy to call you back!

I know, we’ve been promising the return of GDUI’s Juno Report on lists, and then, when you tuned in or checked your pod catcher, we were no where to be heard. We’re sorry. Here’s what happened. Nolan (who is hosting our November GDUI Juno Report) experienced a major computer melt-down – one so horrific, in fact, that he had to reconstruct the whole computer – nearly from scratch! So, although the GDUI Juno Report was ready to go, there was no way to upload it to the ACB Radio repository where all their shows reside until air time. The good news is – Now it’s there! Please tune in to ACB Radio Mainstream on Friday night at 8:00 p.m., EST, for the latest GDUI Juno Report! If you can’t catch it then, you’ll have another chance when you return from shopping on Black Friday to put your feet up and listen to a discussion of the Uber Settlement, which is scheduled to go into effect in December. Thanks, Nolan. We’re so lucky that you have so many varied talents – including technology guru – and we’re looking forward to the return of our GDUI Juno Report radio stream!

As always, thank you for your friendship and support. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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

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

 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 recordings of every announcement. 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 concurrently with each new online announcement.

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

GDUI Announcement, October 10, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

This morning – Thanksgiving Day for all of our friends in Canada – we awoke to temperatures in the 40s and the sure knowledge that leaves will be changing colors and landing on the ground – and all of the sidewalks we walk along with our dogs – quite soon. Since I have the day off from work, I (reluctantly) put away summer’s linen clothing and then cheered myself up by baking a pumpkin pie! Willow has an autumn-is-finally-here spring in her step and an extra wiggle in her waggely tail!

GDUI Board of Directors Update:

Now for some news from GDUI: We held the first meeting of our newly—elected board on September 24. You can listen to the meeting recordings here:

Drop Box:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4909668/September%2024%2C%202016%20GDUI%20Board%20

Send Space:

https://www.sendspace.com/file/jpixg1

Telephone Play back: 712-432-1085

Access: 919245.

Since that meeting, there have been two changes in the membership on GDUI’s Board. Debbie Grubb has resigned as GDUI Affiliates’ Liaison. We thank Debbie for getting so many good things started in meetings with all of the GDUI affiliates over the past two years. We know that the shared educational programming she launched as Affiliates’ Liaison and our collective movement toward meeting shared advocacy goals and improved public outreach will continue and blossom – thanks to her excellent motivating leadership.

We are so pleased to welcome Pauline Lamontagne as GDUI’s new Affiliates’ Liaison. Pauline is the president of Guide Dog Users of Maine and has played an active role in affiliate meetings over the past two years. Welcome, Pauline, we look forward to the cooperative spirit you bring to the role of liaison and to your participation in discussions at GDUI board meetings and online.

Annie Chiappetta resigned from her position as director on GDUI’s board, and as the chair of the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP). Annie was in the last year of her term of office. she had served on GDUI’s board during Becky Barnes-Davidson’s and our administration, and we thank her for her work on behalf of guide dog users.

We are delighted that Pat Hill has agreed to complete the remaining months in that term of office. Welcome, Pat. We look forward to taking advantage of all of your skills as a social worker and your long experience as an effective advocate and an excellent guide dog handler.

Will Burley is the new chairperson for the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program. He stepped in and stepped up just in time as Hurricane Matthew put lives and safety and property at risk for many guide dog users in the southeastern portion of the country. The storm was not nearly as devastating here in the United States as it was while it traveled north through the Caribbean, especially in Haiti and Cuba, but Matthew still managed to impact the lives of many who live in the South, leaving folks in North Carolina still coping with major flooding today, and causing property damage and the loss of at least five lives in its wake in the United States. Remember, if you are coping with a disaster-related emergency, GDUI can provide financial assistance to help you care for your working guide dog. Visit this page on our web site for details:http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/disaster-assistance-preparedness-program-dapp/.

GDUI Web Site News

GDUI’s web site is finally comfortably settled with our new web hosting service, and our e-mail discussion lists are up and running! We owe a huge amount of gratitude to our web master, Steve Zelaya, as well as Will Burley, Dixie Sanderson, Lynn Merrill, and Michael Malver. They all spent many hours moving the web site, restoring its contents, and getting our GDUI e-mail discussion lists up and running.

We now have 3 separate discussion lists: GDUI Chat, GDUI Business, and GDUI Leadership. The GDUI Chat list is open to any individual interested in topics relating to guide dogs and life with guide dogs.

There are two ways to subscribe. The first way is to send an e-mail to:

gduichatlist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org,

and Then to reply to the confirmation e-mail you will receive. Or, you can complete the form for subscription at the following link:

http://guidedogusersinc.org/mailman/listinfo/gduichatlist_guidedogusersinc.org.

GDUI Business is open to any current GDUI members and is for the discussion of programs and policies pertinent to GDUI. For the e-mail Subscription address, send a message to:

businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org,

and then reply to the confirmation e-mail message that will arrive quickly in your e-mail In Box. Alternatively, you may subscribe via the internet at the following link:

http://guidedogusersinc.org/mailman/listinfo/businesslist_guidedogusersinc.org.

Finally, the GDUI Leadership list is open to 3 appointed members from each GDUI affiliate:

To join this list please have a representative from your affiliate send the names and e-mail addresses of any individuals to be subscribed to the list moderator at the following address:

leadership-owner@guidedogusersinc.org.

The e-mail list through which members receive these announcements is meant to be a one-way list. Instructions for subscribing to GDUI-Announce are included at the end of this announcement.

And now for some news about GDUI’s social networking presence – from the two members of our board who have the most experience with Facebook and Twitter, IOS, and 21st Century public relations and outreach, Minh Ha and Brianna Murray. Minh writes:

Dear GDUI Members,

Brianna and I are working with some very capable young members to spruce up the visual appearance and appeal of the GDUI Facebook page, found here: https://www.facebook.com/gduinc. We intend to include pictures and stories from guide dog handlers going about their daily lives. If you have cool photos of you and your dog working, please do send them to me or Brianna with a little explanation attached so we can share them on Facebook.

Also, we are working on a little project to make a collage of guide dogs to put up as our cover photo. If you have pictures of your dog, by itself and in harness, that you want us to include in our welcoming collage, please send them to us as well. Bri and I are very excited about this new endeavor, and we hope that you will support us by sending us lots and lots of pictures and stories.

Best,

Minh.ha927@gmail.com

The GDUI Juno Report

is now being guided by a new production team, Marlaina Leiberg and Nolan Crabb. We are so grateful to Dan Kysor for getting the ACB Radio program off to such a great start. You set a standard for excellence and entertainment and sharing of information that we are proud to acknowledge and continue. Look for the GDUI Juno Report to come back to ACB Radio and ACB Radio Podcasts on the first Monday of November and December with programming currently under development by Nolan and Marlaina. In January, we expect to make some exciting announcements about new directions for the GDUI Juno Report and a new time slot as well. Thanks again to Dan, and welcome to Marlaina and Nolan! We know that our GDUI Juno Report will continue to thrive. We look forward to an expanded and worldwide audience and much excitement about our ACB Radio project in coming months.

Results from our Taxicab and Vehicles for Hire Survey

Have been collected and tabulated and preliminary analysis has revealed some interesting statistics. Nearly 600 of you completed our online survey. We are grateful and expect to make good use of the information we obtained when we advocate with governmental agencies at all levels for regulations that will improve our chances for procuring timely and affordable transportation that complies with the civil rights protections guaranteed to us – and too often ignored by taxicab and vehicles-for-hire drivers – under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tony Stephens spoke to members of the Council of U. S. Dog Guide Schools late last week. He shared highlights from the survey with them and he is also writing an article to summarize the results for the ACB Braille Forum and for PawTracks. Here are just a few tidbits of what we learned:

Sixty-eight percent of the respondents have been denied service by a taxicab or vehicle for hire. From those who report service denials, 17 percent report service denials at least half the time they order taxicab or vehicle-for-hire transportation. Most of the people (82 percent) who reported service denials live in urban areas.

Eighty-two percent of people who reported experiencing service denials reported that they were not refused service until a vehicle arrived. Most of the time in service denial situations, drivers didn’t bother to give a reason for driving away and leaving a consumer stranded (69 percent). Sometimes drivers claimed allergies to or fear of dogs(60 percent). Also, approximately 43 percent of denials were attributed by drivers to religious objections to dogs. Approximately 24 percent of people who experienced service denials attributed the discrimination to lack of understanding or knowledge about the laws that are meant to protect us from discrimination.

I know you will find the data we were able to collect as fascinating as we have, and we are looking forward to joining ACB in making use of what we have learned to advocate for better public education and better enforcement of laws that we count on to protect our civil rights.

We have Disappointing News on another advocacy front, the “RegNeg” process

via which the U. S. Department of Transportation sought our input as service animal users who fly, in advance of that agency’s promulgation later this year or early in 2017 of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the Air Carrier Access Act. Negotiations between the group of people with disabilities who use service animals and emotional support animals, representatives from the airline industry, and representatives from the Department of Transportation have been ongoing since May. Tony Stephens represented the interests of GDUI and ACB as a member of the 25-person committee who are seeking to negotiate language for anticipated revised regulations, and I served on the Service Animal Working Group which met via conference call and served to inform the committee. There were weeks when it looked like we might be making some important breakthroughs that would guarantee our civil rights and improve our comfort and safety as guide dog users who travel by air. Other calls left me shaking my head and wondering how in the world the three, very disparate groups, would ever come together in agreement. Unfortunately, as the REGNeg committee prepares for their final meetings next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the Service Animal Working Group and the Airline Industry have reached an impasse that could not be overcome. Apparently, the airlines cannot bring themselves to shed their reliance on the so-called medical model of disability. They continued to insist that all air travelers who fly with service dogs must carry and present letters from medical personnel verifying their disabilities and presumably their need for assistance from a service animal. Service animal users refused to buy into this discriminatory and outdated mindset, and so negotiations that aimed to develop reasonable regulations for people with disabilities who fly with their service and guide dogs ceased. The next step will be the DOT’s release of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Chances are good that we will be calling on our members to step up and make ourselves heard regarding the regulations that the Department proposes.

Regarding still more news on the advocacy front, GDUI wishes to congratulate our friends in colleagues in California on the Governor’s signature of SB 1331, a law which will make it possible for graduates from schools who have not been certified by the California State Guide Dog Board to receive follow-up services from their trainers from those schools. GDUI is pleased that our combined advocacy efforts resulted in a practical approach that will permit Californians to count on receiving post-graduate services from the school personnel who know them – and their dogs – the best! Arriving at this resolution of a serious problem for many guide dog users who live in California involved a long-term advocacy process that included resolutions from GDUI and ACB, a letter-writing campaign from both organizations, and in-person advocacy from many of our members in California as well as members of CCB and GDUC. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Finally, if you’re in the mood for some stimulating online video entertainment – involving people who are blind succeeding at one of the most important tasks any of us ever take on –- parenting – check out the newest video release from ACB. The video features Eric and Rebecca Bridges and their sweet toddler son, Tyler, as they manage the tasks associated with caring for an active two-year-old as parents who are blind. Congratulations to Eric and Rebecca and Tyler, and to ACB for demonstrating so effectively that people who are blind can function – normally – and without vision – as they lovingly care for their son’s needs and demonstrate that blindness – though sometimes inconvenient – is not a barrier to living the kinds of lives all of us want to lead I hope you will share the video, which is professionally described so effectively by Dr. Joel Snyder, with friends and family and anyone you may know who wonders about our abilities to manage the demands of daily living or caring for the people in our lives who depend on us.

Find the video here:

Both Eric and Rebecca are guide dog users and members of GDUI. We want to thank you, both, and to celebrate with your family the joys of living with and caring for your sweet Tyler.

Enjoy the beauty of the Fall, and look for another announcement from GDUI soon again. As always, 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 Homepage: 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, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

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

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 recordings of every announcement. 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 concurrently with each new online announcement.

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

GDUI Announcement, September 12, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

We’re sure you’ve noticed! Our web site and chat and leadership lists have been down for much longer than we, or our new host, predicted.

Our webmaster, Steve, explains it this way: Our transfer to a new web host was successful. However, along with the transfer, several obstacles materialized. We are working to resolve these issues and hope that the web site will be up and running, and even better than before, sometime during the coming week. We appreciate all of your patience.

Remember, patience is said to be a virtue. (I know, I know… Waiting is not my best skill either! But we will be back online and members of our chat list will be chatting again just as soon as we can make it happen). Meanwhile, if you need to reach us, contact Sarah at our toll-free number: 866.799.8436.

A Top Dog Raffle! Would you like to own a pair of Disney one-day only passes for all four of the Orlando theme parks?  These tickets will be good for two years with very few blackout dates.

The Top Dog 2017 team is raffling off two pairs of these passes to assist with funding the Top Dog conference, scheduled for January 12-15, 2017.  With each ticket that you purchase, you will have two chances to win, one for each pair of the one-day only passes for all four of the theme parks.  The cost per ticket is $5.00 or you may purchase three for $10.00.  Please feel free to purchase as many tickets as you like to better your opportunity for winning.  The drawings for the two winners will take place on Thursday, December 1,2016.  This raffle is open to all.

To purchase your tickets, please contact the Top Dog 2017 registrar, Kathleen Trutschel via phone at (386) 307-8275 , or via e-mail at ktrutschel@cfl.rr.com.

Registration is Now Open for Top Dog 2017: contact Top Dog 2017 Registrar, Kathleen Trutschel at 386.257.9337 if you wish to register via telephone.

To register online, visit this link: https://topdog.technologyisawesome.com

Top Dog Dates are Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15, 2017.

The Top Dog hotel is  The Holiday Inn And Suites across from Universal Orlando, 5905 Kirkman Road; Orlando, FL 32819. You may reach the hotel by telephone at
407.351.3333. or 800.216.0635.

Deadline for Top Dog 2017 registration is December 12, 2016.

The conference schedule, links and  phone numbers for hotel registrations, information about paratransit in Orlando, and all the details about Top Dog 2017 are available at the web site: https://topdog.technologyisawesome.com. Willow and I are looking forward to seeing you there!

Meetings and advocacy are Always ongoing for GDUI!

Despite the current status of our web site, GDUI board members and leaders continue to work hard on your behalf. Our committee chairs and co-chairs are all in place, Nolan is working on the Fall PawTracks, committees are holding their first meetings of the Fall, and everyone is gearing up for our first board meeting of the new administration, scheduled for September 24, at 1:00 p.m. Of course, all members are cordially invited to attend, via phone, at this number: 712.432.0075. The Participant Code is: 919245-pound. We haven’t met since our meeting in early July at the GDUI convention, and our agenda is growing. We hope you will attend.

Meanwhile, I continue to participate in the process which we hope will yield more sensible, less ambiguous regulations regarding the Air Carrier Access Act(ACAA),  to make all people with disabilities who fly – including those of us who fly with our guide and service animals – safer and more comfortable while addressing many ongoing concerns of the air carriers. Negotiations have been ongoing since May with conference calls involving the Service Animals Working Group, at which I represent GDUI, scheduled at least twice a month, and monthly meetings of the full committee, at which Tony Stephens represents ACB and GDUI, occurring for several days each month. I cannot predict the outcome of these negotiations, but I can assure you that GDUI is taking your needs and our collective experiences on planes and in airports very seriously as we participate in fact finding and proposing solutions to the problems we have all experienced and advocate for changes that make sense on your behalf.

The TSA’s 14th Annual Coalition Conference is coming right up on September 20. I want to thank GDUI member, Cindy Labon, who will be representing GDUI at the upcoming meeting. We are grateful to Cindy for offering to attend, and we know that she will serve the interests of GDUI members well.

Former GDUI affiliate, MAGDU, to Gain a New Focus – and a New Name! Maryland-Area Guide Dog Users, which has been inactive since 2010, is scheduled to cease its formal existence as a not-for-profit organization representing guide dog users in Maryland within the next several months, but MAGDU’s interim board, ably presided over by Charlie Crawford, met recently and voted to form a new GDUI affiliate, which will represent Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia guide dog users. The new affiliate will call itself CAGDU, which stands for Capital Area Guide Dog Users. If you were a member of MAGDU, expect to receive e-mail concerning the new organization, and if you would like to join, please get in touch with Charlie. Just leave a message at GDUI’s toll-free number, 866.799.8436, and Sarah will connect you with Charlie an CAGDU.

Speaking of GDUI affiliates, the next GDUI Affiliates’ teleconference meeting is coming right up. Here’s how GDUI Affiliates’ Liaison, Debbie Grubb, describes the meeting:

“It is now time for us to meet via teleconference in order to set the agenda toward the realization of our mission and goals for the next year. Toward that end, I have invited Charlie Crawford, Chair of the GDUI Advocacy and Legislative Committee and any members of that committee who wish to join us, to participate in a discussion with us regarding our state and local plans in terms of how this committee might assist us to carry them out. Working with us was one of the major agenda items of the GDUI Advocacy and Legislative Committee and it is one that they enthusiastically adopted.

Please place September 22 at 9:00 PM EST on your calendar.  As the time
approaches, I will provide the call in information in a meeting reminder
message.”

Congratulations to GDUI Board member, Annie Chiappetta on the publication of her book, called Upwelling. For more information and to purchase Annie’s book, visit this link: http://www.dvorkin.com/annchiappetta/.

Each year, it’s challenging to write these announcements for September – there’s such a range of emotions rising and all mixed up with one another for each of us. On the one hand, fall is definitely in the air – even though our temperatures were in the high 90s just a day or so ago. Children are catching school buses, butternut squash and brussels sprouts compete with tomatoes and sweet corn for space at the farmers’ markets, the end of the budgetary year is looming for many, meetings and conferences and events pick up in frequency – and this year we have the added drama of the coming elections in November. At the same time, we continue to be concerned about all those who lost everything in Baton Rouge, LA, and there’s news of more hurricanes heading toward the U.S. – from both directions! If you have been affected by a recent natural disaster, please remember that GDUI has a fund to help with disaster-related expenses for your guide dog. The new Chairperson for the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program is Annie Chiappetta. While we’re waiting for our web site to go live once again, you can reach her via Sarah at our toll-free number, 866.799.8436.

I am writing this as September 11, 2016 comes to a close. As this was the fifteenth anniversary of the catastrophes of September 11, 2001, the remembrances have been particularly poignant and sad. So much loss for so many. If you were one who lost a loved one on that terrible day, please know that we have not forgotten either. All of us, no matter how close or how far removed we were from the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA,– lost much that day fifteen years ago. Life was never the same again.

Yet, we continue, memorializing tragic anniversaries year after year, remembering our losses, and longing for the sense of well being and security that all but disappeared fifteen years ago. May we all find comfort and renewed strength within the communities that connect us one to another, and renew our commitment to one another and the ties that reaffirm our humanity and strengthen our hope and desire for peace.

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

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, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

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

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 recordings of every announcement. 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 concurrently with each new online announcement.

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

GDUI Announcement, August 18, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Turn to the GDUI Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Fund for help with disaster-related expenses for your guide dog:
http://guidedogusersinc.org/disaster-assistance-preparedness-program-dapp/

August! What a month of extremes this has been! Some intriguing, some not unexpected, others bringing concern about friends and colleagues and looking for ways to help! Day after day of relentless heat which has suffocated much of the East Coast and Mid-West in unyielding hundred-degree-plus temperatures and astonishing humidity was not unexpected – for August – but still hard on us and hard on our dogs!

Fortunately, here in the Mid-Atlantic, the worst of the heat wave seems to be dissipating, and we’re merely coping with weather that’s typically hot and bothersome in August. But, the fires in drought-suffering California are a frightening reality of this hotter-than-ever-in-history summer, and the flooding in Louisiana – the worst since Superstorm Sandy – are causing so much suffering for so many people who never even considered their homes in danger of
flooding. Please know that if you’re coping with the aftermath of fire or flood – or disaster of any kind – we care, we are sending prayers and looking for ways to help. If you’re a guide dog user, remember that the GDUI DAPP Fund is here for you. Call our toll-free number, 866.799.8436, to get in touch with GDUI’s Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, or Ken Metz, Chairperson of the DAPP Committee, for financial assistance with disaster-related expenses for your guide dog. Please
tell guide dog users whom you may know who live in California’s
fire-emergency vicinity, or so many Louisiana parishes now coping with flood damage, about our fund, and remember, too, that anyone can make a financial contribution to that fund. Disasters can affect any among us. It’s good to know that there are ways to help.

Heads Up: The ACB/CUSDGS/GDUI Taxicab Survey closes tomorrow! If you’re a guide dog user and you’ve ever been refused transportation by a taxicab or vehicle-for-hire (such as Uber or LYFT) driver, GDUI and ACB need your help! The American Council of the Blind has partnered with the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools (CUSDGS) and Guide Dog Users, Inc. to develop a survey to collect data from guide dog users around the country on this infuriating transportation issue. Results will be shared with the courts, legislators, the U.S. Department of Justice, the media and interested respondents to this survey. We encourage all U.S. guide dog users to fill out the survey. The more information we can gather, the more reliable our data will be, which will allow us to present a more complete and accurate picture of the current state of affairs to relevant agencies, companies and organizations. The survey will close at 11:59 PM Eastern
on Friday, August 19th 2016. To take the survey, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PBSRP89. Remember, answer every
question. The survey will stall if you leave out any of the questions, and you won’t be able to submit your data. Thank you for completing the survey, and for telling other guide dog users about it.

GuideDogUsersInc.org is moving to a new host! We are looking forward to the expanded space and better connectivity with members that our move to Host Gator will achieve. Our webmaster, Steve Zelaya, along with Will Burley and Dixie Sanderson will be taking care of all of the details over this coming week end. So, expect our GDUI e-mail discussion lists to be unavailable beginning on Friday, August 19, until Close of Business on Tuesday, August 23. We are grateful to Steve and Will and Dixie for doing all the hard work that will allow us to make the change.

We hope you are enjoying the recordings of our GDUI 2016 convention which are available here:
http://guidedogusersinc.org/2016-gdui-convention-presentations-audio/
We suggest that you use these last weeks of summer to imagine yourselves in the lovely summer climate of Minneapolis; catching up with friends and meeting new people and guide dogs; grabbing a long, cold drink; and taking advantage of the excellent convention recordings prepared for us by ACB Radio. Unfortunately we can’t provide one of Carla’s excellent canine massages for your dog or re-create the friendly atmosphere of the GDUI convention suite, but our convention recordings will be almost as good as being there in person, and whet your appetite for next summer’s convention in Reno!

If you were able to be with us at convention in Minneapolis, the GDUI Convention Program Committee is interested in hearing from you. Please tell us what you liked, what was missing, and how we might make the experience even better next summer! Send e-mail about your convention experiences to: mailto:programs@guidedogusersinc.org. Thank you.

We will be back in touch after Labor Day. Until then, take care of yourselves and your guide dogs and 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 : http://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, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.

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

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 recordings of every announcement. 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 concurrently with each new online announcement.

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

UBER Settlement Agreement Pending: All Guide Dog Users, Please Read and Share

NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
ATTENTION: ALL BLIND OR VISUALLY DISABLED INDIVIDUALS WHO USE SERVICE ANIMALS WHEN TRAVELING AND WHO HAVE USED, ATTEMPTED TO USE, OR HAVE BEEN DETERRED FROM USING TRANSPORTATION SERVICES ARRANGED THROUGH THE UBER RIDER APP. THE SETTLEMENT DESCRIBED BELOW MAY AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS. READ THIS NOTICE AND INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

This notice is to inform you about the proposed settlement that would resolve the class action lawsuit National Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.). The lawsuit alleges that Uber Technologies, Inc. and its subsidiary and affiliate entities (collectively, “Uber”), violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., by failing to take the necessary steps to ensure that transportation providers using the Uber mobile software application (“Drivers”) do not discriminate against blind or visually disabled riders who travel with service animals (“Riders”). Uber denies all liability in the case and asserts that its current practices do not violate applicable federal, state, and local law. The settlement, which must be approved by the Court, would resolve the lawsuit.

I. SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
Under the settlement, Uber agrees to take additional steps to inform Drivers of their obligations to transport all Riders. Uber will require that new and existing Drivers expressly confirm that they understand and agree to these obligations, through a pop-up interactive questionnaire in the Driver mobile software application and changes to the technology services agreement. In addition, Uber will send quarterly email reminders to Drivers.

Uber will also adopt a new enforcement practice. If, following a complaint from a Rider, Uber determines that a driver knowingly refused to transport a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, Uber will terminate that Driver’s contract and permanently remove the Driver from the Driver platform. In addition, if Uber receives plausible complaints on more than one occasion that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, Uber will terminate the Driver’s contract and the Driver will be permanently removed from the Driver platform. This second basis for contract termination will apply where Uber was unable to determine whether the first denial was a knowing violation.

Under the settlement, Uber will also enhance its response system for complaints that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, and will provide greater transparency to Riders regarding what action has been taken in response to a complaint about a Driver. Uber will also limit the circumstances in which a Rider can be charged for cleaning issues related to his or her service animal.

Additionally, Uber will record each allegation that a Driver is alleged to have denied service to a Rider, or otherwise discriminated against a Rider, because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, and will report aggregated data to Class Counsel. The National Federation of the Blind and its California affiliate will administer a testing program, through which blind individuals request and take trips to evaluate the effectiveness of the settlement. A third-party individual will monitor Uber’s compliance with the settlement as well.

The settlement also provides that the three named individual plaintiffs who served as class representatives will receive payments of $15,000 each in return for their release of their individual damage claims. In addition, the National Federation of the Blind will receive three annual payments of $75,000 during the term of the settlement, and a fourth payment of $75,000 if the term of the settlement is extended. These payments are intended to support the Federation’s testing program.

Finally, Disability Rights Advocates, Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, and TRE Legal Practice (collectively, “Class Counsel”), the attorneys who represent the class, will have the right to seek attorneys’ fees and costs for their work on the case. Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court to award reasonable fees and costs for work on the merits phase of this case. The Court must approve the amount awarded even if the parties reach an agreement on the amount. This motion for fees and costs will be available on www.nfb-serviceanimal-settlement.com on September 21, 2016. Class Counsel will also be entitled to seek reasonable fees and costs for their future work monitoring compliance with the settlement and enforcing the agreement. Uber retains the right to contest the amount of any attorneys’ fees requested by Class Counsel.

II. WHO IS IN THE CLASS?
All blind or visually disabled individuals nationwide who travel with the assistance of service animals and who have used, attempted to use, or been deterred from attempting to use transportation arranged through the Uber rider app.

III. THE EFFECT OF THE SETTLEMENT ON THE RIGHTS OF CLASS MEMBERS
All class members will be bound by the terms of the settlement relating to access to transportation services arranged using the Uber app for blind or visually disabled persons who use service animals, if the settlement agreement is approved by the Court. If the settlement is approved, all class members will release and forever discharge all claims for injunctive relief under all federal, state, and local laws related to alleged discrimination by Uber against blind or visually disabled persons who use service animals that arose before the Settlement Agreement becomes effective. Class members, other than the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, are not releasing any claims for monetary damages.

IV. OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
You can ask the Court to deny approval of this settlement by filing an objection with the Court. You cannot ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or deny this proposed settlement. If the Court denies approval, any settlement changes necessary for approval may not be made, and the lawsuit may continue. If this is what you want to happen, you must object.
If you wish to object to the proposed settlement you must object to the proposed settlement in writing. You may also appear at the fairness hearing for final approval of the settlement, either in person or through your own attorney. But if you wish to appear and present your objection orally at the fairness hearing, you must first submit a written objection and in your written objection you must indicate your intention to appear and be heard at the fairness hearing. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. All written objections and supporting papers must (a) clearly identify the case name and number, National Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.), (b) be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, or by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and (c) be received on or before October 13, 2016.

V. FURTHER INFORMATION
This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the settlement, please see the settlement agreement available at www.nfb-serviceanimal-settlement.com, contact Class Counsel using the information below, access the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov, or visit the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.
To obtain a copy of this notice in alternate accessible formats, contact Class Counsel using the information below.

VI. CONTACT INFORMATION
Please do not contact the Court, the Court clerk’s office, or Defense Counsel with questions about this settlement. Any questions must be directed to Class Counsel at the numbers and addresses below.

Class Counsel:

Laurence Paradis
Disability Rights Advocates
2001 Center Street, Fourth Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 665-8644

Timothy Elder, Esq.
TRE Legal Practice
4226 Castanos Street
Fremont, California 94536
(410) 415-3493

Michael Bien
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
50 Fremont Street, 19th Floor
San Francisco, California 94105-2235
(415) 433-6830

GDUI Announcement, August 2, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends, Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer! And, to the first months of our new GDUI administration. I received an e-mail message today from Jane Woods, one of our wonderful Louisville Ladies. I had written to Jane, asking if she and Connie Smith had recovered after so many days of such hard work selling products and answering questions and generally being helpful to anyone and everyone who visited our GDUI Suite. Jane speculated that it probably took me a whole month to recover my energy, and she wasn’t far from wrong!

Our convention in the lovely city of Minneapolis was so successful. Willow and I enjoyed meeting many of you there, and wasn’t our program fabulous? Thanks again to Lillian Scaife, and Connie Jacomini, the person who made our sales the most successful products sales enterprise there has ever been in the history of our having a GDUI Convention Suite! And to Sarah Calhoun and Jeff, who sold summer drawing tickets and ran the mike and did anything that needed to be done! It was wonderful to have Maria and Frisco there, and Vickie Curley, and Minh and Brianna and Deanna Noriega and Caitlin! I know that if you and your guide dog were lucky enough to spend some time with Carla Campbell who was providing canine massage in our suite and who also conducted a very successful program session, teaching attendees how to bring some of those massage skills home with them, your convention experiences were especially revitalizing. We have so many people to thank, including members like Ginger Kutsch, Joel Isaac, Audrey Gunther, and Lynn Merrill and others, who worked on the convention program committee from behind the scenes; the many guide dog trainers who gave directions, answered questions, walked members and their dogs to and from the breakfast club, helped with pick-up and clean-up, and were supportive in every possible way; all of our friends and members who purchased summer drawing tickets and donated prizes and items for sale to the drawing and our silent auction; and all of the presenters who educated us and entertained us and made our convention experiences so worthwhile. Putting on a convention is no small feat. It’s obvious that Lillian and the people who work so hard with her on the GDUI Convention Program Committee know what they’re doing, and we are grateful!

Our convention fund-raisers were successful, and we thank all of you who purchased summer drawing tickets, took a chance on bringing Viking home with you, and bid on our fabulous assortment of summer auction items. We appreciate all of your support. Beautiful hand-made and harnessed GSD Viking recently arrived in lovely southwest Missouri, where he’s happily keeping Melita Waters and her more active German Shepherd Lizzie company in style. The Viking raffle brought in$355. The summer auction, which raises funds to help GDUI pay for all those convention expenses, brought in $2,547.00. And, the Fund-Raising Committee’s Summer Drawing raised$1,870. The goal for the summer drawing was to fund one or more first-timers to attend GDUI’s convention next summer in Reno. The GDUI Board and members of the Fund-Raising Committee will be exploring ways to meet that goal and spend this welcomed resource fairly and efficiently.

Recordings of our convention program will become available soon on our web site, www.guidedogusersinc.org. We are so pleased to be able to make these excellent recordings available to all of our members, including those of you who couldn’t attend our convention. ACB’s board authorized ACB Radio to record our convention program on the 2nd of July, and Larry Turnbull and his staff worked very hard creating excellent recordings of many of our program segments. (We did not record hands-on sessions, believing that listening without an ability to handle items being demonstrated or audio description might be too confusing.) Larry and his staff received authorization to record GDUI’s convention program at the very last minute. We are so grateful and so awe-struck by their dedication and their skills and their willingness to provide terrific recordings, as well as on-site assistance with sound quality and assistive listening devices, even without much prior planning.

Watch our web site for the arrival of our GDUI Convention Recordings, and start saving your pennies for 2017 in Reno, NV.

The GDUI/ACB/CUSDGS Taxicab Survey is still online. If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please do, and encourage your friends who are guide dog users to do so as well. One tip for filling out the survey is to be sure to answer every single question. If you skip a question, the survey stalls and you can’t go forward or submit the completed survey. Even if your answer to a question like, “Do you allow your dog to ride on the seat in a taxicab,” is no, and the next question is a follow-up that asks about the circumstances under which you might allow your dog to sit on the car seat, it’s important for you to read all the choices available and to choose the one that says something like, “Not applicable, I never allow my dog to sit on the taxicab seat.”

The more guide dog users who complete the survey, the more comprehensive will be the data we collect, and the better (and bigger!) our data, the more attention agencies like the U. S. Department of Justice and the U. S. Department of Transportation are likely to pay to us when we advocate for stronger regulations to protect our civil right to ride in publicly available transportation vehicles just like other members of the public who do not have disabilities. You don’t have to be a GDUI member to add to our data, and I hope you will encourage everyone you know who has been frustrated trying to catch a cab or ride in a Uber or a LYFT vehicle to complete our survey. Find the survey here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PBSRP89.

Speaking of Uber, the terms of the proposed settlement agreement between the National Federation of the Blind of California and Uber were announced on August 1.A summary of that settlement agreement, which, if no one objects, should go into effect in December 2016 will be on our web site soon. You can also listen to the recording of the GDUI Convention program segment in which Julia Marks, of Disability Rights Advocates, discusses her participation in the law suit and proposed settlement agreement and answers specific questions regarding the settlement and its probable impact on access to Uber transportation for all of us who use guide dogs and access Uber with their smart phone app. You can find more information about the case and the settlement here: http://dralegal.org/case/national-federation-of-the-blind-of-california-et-al-v-uber-technologies-inc-et-al/

Top Dog is on the horizon! Are you thinking that July of 2017 is just too long to wait for more convention fun? Well, be of good cheer because Top Dog 2017 is scheduled to take place in sunny Orlando, FL, from Thursday, January 12 through Sunday, January 15, 2017! The event hotel will be The Holiday Inn And Suites, located across from Universal Orlando. The cost per standard room is $89.00 per night plus applicable tax. Prices for other hotel accommodation options will be available in the registration announcement. The pricing will be in effect for three days before and after Top Dog for your vacation pleasure.

Registration will be available online in late August or early September, at which time conference planners will provide complete descriptions of Top Dog events as well as specific registration instructions. Already being planned are seminars on airline safety and providing CPR for your dog. And, if you’ve attended a Top Dog conference in the past, you’re already looking forward to a guide dog schools update, a fabulous exhibits hall, and the always moving Blessing of the Guide Dogs.

Can’t wait? You can call the hotel right now to book your rooms. In order to reserve a room, call (800) 216-0635 and say that you are registering for Top Dog 2017. Be sure to provide the event code which is “Top.” You may also register online at www.hiuniversal.com where you will use the code “top” as well.

The cost per standard room is $89.00 per night plus applicable tax.

The cost for a one bedroom suite is $149.00 plus applicable tax and the cost of a two bedroom suite is $189.00 plus applicable tax. The pricing will be in effect for three days before and after Top Dog for your vacation pleasure.

Are you planning a Stay-cation this summer? Since you’ll probably be staying inside in the air conditioning during these next few end-of-summer scorching-hot days, how about learning some new skills that will serve you in good stead and allow you to improve your assistive technology abilities for the upcoming school year or work-related projects? The American Foundation for the Blind may have just the summer learning opportunity you’ve been waiting for – and it’s free of charge via their web site. AFB offers a set of free tutorials called “Learn NVDA,” for learning the free screen reader: http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/using-technology/assistive-technology-videos/learn-nvda/1234

The tutorials walk you through acquiring the open source free screen reader, installing it, and using it to accomplish what you need to do with your computer, including word processing, e-mail, and using the internet.

We suggest stocking up on a supply of tasty ice cubes, icy-cold baby carrots, and occasional Frostee Paws to keep your dogs busy inside while you’re learning a new skill and they’re relishing these August days named in their honor!

The August GDUI Juno Report aired on ACB Radio last night. Remember, you can subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report as a podcast on ITunes, and listen wherever and whenever you choose. Thanks to Dan Kysor and Ken Metz who spent quite a lot of time exploring the history of and providing their own unique perspective concerning the California State Guide Dog Board and controversies surrounding that board’s recent history, as well as legislation pending in California’s legislature which may portend changes in the regulatory environment for guide dog users in the state of California.

As we ease into getting to know our new First Vice President and board members better and evaluating which committee assignments are best suited for which GDUI members and leaders, we wish all of you a pleasant August, with lots of juicy tomatoes and sweet corn, maybe some ocean breezes, pleasant walks with your guides, and perhaps some recreational reading. Until next time, 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

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, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, the first Monday of every month, here: http://www.acbradio.org/mainstream.
Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here: http://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/.

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 recordings of every announcement. 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 concurrently with each new online announcement.

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