Announcements for the Week Of June 22, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
It’s official! Yesterday was the longest day of the year, and summer is here! Welcome summer! Welcome sunshine and flowers, juicy tomatoes and peaches, ladybugs and lightning bugs, welcome swimming pools and beaches, barbecues and boardwalk fries, and welcome – just a week from this coming Sunday – GDUI’s Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Convention in Dallas, TX!
Convention News!
If you haven’t pre-registered yet, you have only until June 25. That’s when online pre-registration will close. (After that, you’ll have to wait until you get to Dallas, and stand in line to buy tickets for events that could be already sold out by then.) So, visit ACB’s web site, and sign up for all the convention events that await you and your guide dog. The convention program committee is busy wrapping up all the loose ends and making arrangements to put on the best GDUI convention ever!

To pre-register for ticketed events at the ACB/GDUI Conference and Convention, go here:https://www.acbconvention.org/Attendees/.

To make life easier for yourself and your dog, you can still pre-order your dog food through Scoop Masters, but only through the end of the day on Wednesday, June 24. Food will be delivered directly to your hotel room beginning July 2nd. Scoop Master’s website has a list of the most popular brands that are still available for pre-order. Visit Tim Stone online at http://premiumpetfood.com/acb or call him at (800) 787-7667. When placing your order make sure to give ScoopMasters your mobile phone number so they can contact you in Dallas.

For more detailed information about both the ACB and the GDUI conference and convention, download the ACB Conference and Convention Program here: http://acb.org/2015program.

The GDUI Program Committee Seeks Volunteers Our Ambassadors and Volunteers are an invaluable part of convention staff and, if not for them, we would be without a means of providing instructions to our guests for getting from one room to another, one floor to another, elevator to program, Breakfast Club, and anywhere else guests wish to visit. Our Ambassadors are members of GDUI who will provide instructions for our guests to go from one point to another; for example, they might be stationed at an elevator and will tell guests how to get from the elevator to the program room or GDUI suite while another will be stationed at the door to that event and will alert the guests when they arrive. Our volunteers are sighted, and many are guide dog school staff who help our guests find seats in the program rooms, pass the microphone when needed, and help to guide guests to the Breakfast Club restaurant. Truly, we wouldn’t function very well during convention week without the valued assistance of our GDUI member ambassadors our Louisville Ladies, or all the guide dog schools’ staff volunteers who give so generously of their time and energy.

We are looking for several kinds of volunteers, and we hope that one of these job categories will appeal to you.

We are looking for people who want to tweet for us, so that people who follow @GDUINC on Twitter will know about upcoming GDUI program events, can congratulate prize winners, or will be reminded of those particular speakers they didn’t want to forget (It gets busy and hectic at convention!) If you would like to volunteer to tweet for GDUI (And, really, all you’ll need is an easily supplied convention program and an internet connection), please contact Lilian Scaife here mailto:lmscaife@verizon.net, or Michael Malver here:
mailto:malver@gmail.com.

We need volunteers to serve as GDUI Ambassadors. We will help you get oriented, and then you can return the favor for others from strategic locations in the hotel. If you would like to serve as one of our Ambassadors, please contact Lynn Merrill here:
mailto:treasurer@guidedogusersinc.org.

And if you would like to help us keep the heart of guide dogs as clean and tidy as possible, please contact Jenine Stanley, who is assembling a cadre of volunteers to help point people and dogs toward the closest relief areas, to answer questions and provide instructions with respect to picking up, and to provide a friendly supportive presence when matters associated with relieving and picking up are up for discussion. If you want to join Jenine’s Warriors, please contact her
here: mailto:jeninems@wowway.com.

It will be helpful for all of these volunteer coordinators if you identify the purpose for your e-mail in the subject field of your e-mail message, and, of course, if e-mail isn’t your thing but you would still like to serve as an ambassador or one of the Warriors, just give Office Manager, Jane Sheehan, a call at 866.799.8436, and she will gladly pass along your message to the person or people who need to know.

The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception received many wonderful sponsorships, and we appreciate all of your kind contributions and donations. If you missed the opportunity to share a message with your school in our tribute booklet, we hope that you will plan to attend the reception anyway. We know that staff and trainers who will be attending from your schools will enjoy being reacquainted with you and your dog, and, as you know, we in GDUI believe the more the merrier is always best! The reception will begin at 7:15 p.m. on Monday evening, July 6, and continue until
10:00 p.m., so even if you need to be at Nominating early in the evening or Resolutions later on, we hope you’ll find time to attend for a while and express your appreciation to your school or training program.

Many Ways to Contribute to the Convention and to GDUI GDUI’s Silent Auction is a major summer fund-raising event. The GDUI Silent Auction Catalog will be available online, with links to donors’
web sites and photos of many donated items, by the end of the coming week end. Print and braille copies will be available in the GDUI Suite, and digital copies will be distributed via e-mail. Bidding will begin on the first day of convention, July 5, and continue until 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 8. You do not need to be present to bid on auction items, or even to be a member of GDUI (Again, the more the merrier!), and you will be able to keep up with the bidding via our web site, and via phone as the competition heats up! There are some wonderful items up for bid, including a Trekker Breeze Plus (valued at $799), the VIP 3000 Talking Thermostat (valued at $199), the ProxTalker.com, LLC 6Dot Braille Label-Maker (valued at $500), two JAWS Training Bundles, each including a PlexTalk Pocket DAISY Player, for self-paced training (each valued at $900), a complete ZoomText software package from AI-Squared (valued at $599), as well as all kinds of delicious goodies for discerning doggies, enticing treats for humans and canines, household items, beautiful jewelry, an assortment of gift cards, and so much more! – You will love browsing the GDUI Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Auction Catalogs, and the only hard part will be narrowing your product choices for placing bids! Keep in touch with all things auction-related at our web site, http://guidedogusersinc.org/2015-convention/silent-auction/.

It’s still not too late to purchase tickets for our summer drawing which will take place on Wednesday, July 8. You needn’t be present to win , the prizes are wonderful, and every purchased ticket helps GDUI provide all the services we make available for you, including PawTracks, hosting our convention, advocating on your behalf with state and federal legislators, making universally accessible voting available to every member, providing advice and empathy when you most need them, and more. For only $10.00 you could win the grand prize of
$1,000 cash, first prize, a $500 gift card, second prize, a $500 card for purchasing beautiful Silpada Jewelry, third prize, a Keurig Coffee Machine, and several more very appealing items. In addition, chances are still available (three for $5.00) for bringing our plush black labbie-in-harness named Dallas home with you (She will improve the atmosphere of any humble abode!). Chances to win Dallas, and tickets for our summer drawing continue to be available at http://guidedogusersinc.org/2015-convention/. Or call Jane, you know
where: 866.799.8436.
A Mini-Survey About a Possible Cruise
The Fund-Raising Committee is researching a possible one-week cruise for late in 2016. We wish to hear from our members about where you would like to go along with preferred dates so we can properly advise the Board of Directors and the Travel Agency which is eager to assist us.
Please feel free to call 818.998.0044 or write to:
mailto:boacosta@pacbell.net .
Speaking of Vacations, Have You Ever Used AirB&B?
If you have experienced any difficulty making reservations for lodging through Airbnb, and your plans involved traveling with a guide dog, GDUI and ACB are interested in hearing from you. Please call Sheila Styron at 816.896.6552, or send email to mailto:sheilastyron@gmail.com .

Our Sorrow and Shared Condolence
Like Americans everywhere, we are so shocked and so sad about the horrific act of a very misguided young man that took the lives of nine Charlestonians who were participating in a Bible Study last Thursday evening. We want to share with Audrey Gunter and all of our friends in Dixieland Guide Dog Users, and the many kind people whom we met in January in Charleston how stricken with outrage and grief we all are.
We know that many of you will rely on your amazing strength of character and faith as you cope with your own grief during coming days and months and years, and we just want all of you to know that we care.

Until next week, we wish all of our members and friends safe travels and cooling shade during coming days, and we thank you for your friendship and support.
Sincerely,
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org
Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like and visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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://www.acblists.org/mailman/listinfo/gdui-announce

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.
We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

Announcements for the Week of June 15, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends
The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception Sponsorships are in for the GDUI Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception, and we are very grateful to everyone of you who honored your schools and your dogs by contributing to this event. If you will be at the ACB/GDUI convention, we hope you’ll be able to attend the reception to say hello to trainers from your schools who will be there – thanks to your sponsorship dollars – and to meet other grads and their guides as well. The event will be held in the Houston Ballroom #3, beginning at 7:15 p.m. on July 6, and continuing until 10:00 p.m.
One thing we can be pretty sure of is our guides will be on their best behavior with all of those trainers around! It will be fun to hang out with so many wonderful people and dogs, and we hope you will be able to be there.

If you can’t attend our convention and you helped to sponsor our appreciation event anyway, thank you so much! After convention, we will re-publish our keepsake booklet in accessible digital text online, so that everyone can read the many nice messages that were shared.

Convention News
Remember, registration for the ACB Conference and Convention, including GDUI convention events, remains open, online, until June 25.
Visit this link to register: https://www.acbconvention.org/Attendees/.
If you prefer, you can request a paper form or register by telephone by calling 800.866.3242.

The Sheraton Dallas is the home of the 2015 Conference and Convention.
General sessions and the Exhibit Hall will be in the Lone Star Ballroom on the seconds floor. The ACB Café and ACB Marketplace are also on the second floor, near the Lone Star Ballroom. Meeting space will be on the second, third and fourth floors. The Sheraton Dallas features three restaurants with various cuisines and pricing. There is a food court in the Avenue of the America Mall connected to the hotel by a skyway. Many other restaurants are conveniently located near the hotel. We can expect to see a list of restaurants and other conveniences on ACB’s information lists as we get closer to convention week.

Room rates are $89 plus tax per night (single, double, triple or quad). Make telephone reservations by calling 888.627.8191. Make sure you mention that you are with the ACB convention. You can also make reservations online at:
https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/StarGroupsWeb/res?id=1409082218&key=49CADA9.

GDUI will host two hotel orientations to help you learn your way around the Sheraton in advance of most convention events. The first will occur on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., and the second will occur on Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. Several guide dog trainers will accompany us and provide orientation advice that will be particularly useful to those of us who use guide dogs. Both tours will leave from the GDUI Suite, and as soon as we have that room number (probably much closer to convention week), we will share it with you. Hotel orientations are free and a much appreciated GDUI tradition, for which we owe our guide dog trainers who assist a huge amount of gratitude.

Remember, an innovative and accessible way-finding system will also be available at this year’s ACB conference and convention. Thanks to a donation from MD Support and MD foundation there will be audible directional beacons at the Sheraton to assist convention attendees with locating meeting rooms, restrooms and elevators. Dan Roberts has provided the following information.

First, realize that the way-finding system is accessible only through I Devices at this time. Those include iPhone 4S or later and iPad 4 or later.

Second, it is important that you know your Apple Store ID and password in order to download the LowViz Guide. You may download it ahead of time if you wish, but remember, it will operate only in the convention environment. Here is where you can find the free download link, along with more information and step-by-step instructions for using the app:

www.mdsupport.org/audioguide

Finally, with so many people expected to use this audio technology, MD Support highly recommends that you bring earbuds. The app can be quite a chatterbox as it provides directions and information, so let’s be kind to the ears of those around us.

Download the app free from iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lowviz-guide-indoor-navigation/id987917857?mt=8&uo=6&at=&ct=

Read what you need to know ahead of time:
http://www.mdsupport.org/what-you-need-to-know/.

Accessible World interviewed Dan Roberts on the TechTalk program on June 1. You can download an MP3 copy of that interview here:

To acquaint yourself with all the latest GDUI convention-related news and information, be sure to visit our web site here:
http://guidedogusersinc.org/2015-convention/. While you’re there, take a chance (or two or three) on winning Dallas, our beautiful plush black labbie in harness, who’s the mascot of this year’s convention, and who (btw) wants to come home with you to spruce up your home! You can also participate in our summer drawing for $1,000 cash, as well as an assortment of prizes to appeal to a variety of interests and tastes. Tickets for the Dallas raffle and the GDUI fund-raising summer drawing are available on our 2015 Convention Information Page, or by calling our office manager, Jane Sheehan, at 866.799.8436. And – coming soon – you’ll find the catalog for our summer auction! The silent auction will run from July 5-8, you can bid by phone or by coming to the GDUI Suite, and there are so many appealing items, you’ll be hard pressed to curb your bidding appetite! (Not that we are recommending restraint!)

Help Researchers Identify Problems Computer Users Who Are Blind Can Encounter When Web Sites Are Updated Without Keeping Accessibility In Mind

Recently, members of the GDUI Convention Products Committee have been spending many hours researching and purchasing products to stock in the GDUI convention suite. We found a number of wonderful items, but I have to tell you, our progress was dramatically impeded when we discovered several web sites, previously tried and true and easily accessible, that have updated in ways that our screen readers simply can’t translate into spoken language. That is why I found the announcement about an online survey (below) particularly intriguing and appealing. I hope that many of you will answer the professors’
call. The survey shouldn’t take any longer than 15 or 20 minutes.

Dr. Brian Wentz, an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at Shippensburg University, and Dr. Jonathan Lazar, a Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University, are conducting a web-based survey with users who are blind to learn more about the impact that website, software, and mobile app updates can have on accessibility and use. The goal of this research is to compile data regarding the experiences and problems that blind users encounter that are related to new versions and updates of apps, software and websites.

The survey will be available at this link during June and July. We encourage all of you who are at least 18 years old to participate in this research project.
http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2162778/Survey-of-Versions-and-Upda
tes-and-The
ir-Impact-on-Accessibility.

We will be back again next week with more news and information from GDUI. As always, thank you for your friendship and support.
Sincerely,
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org
Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like and visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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://www.acblists.org/mailman/listinfo/gdui-announce

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.
We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

Election Results and More News

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
Election Results Are In!
We have lots of good news to report this week. First, the GDUI 2015 election to fill two vacancies on GDUI’s board and to accept the proposed 2015 bylaws ended at 12:59 p.m. last night with great results and – especially for a non-profit organization like GDUI – good voter turn-out statistics as well. We want to welcome Dixie Sanderson and Vickie Curley as the newest elected directors on GDUI’s board. We are so pleased to congratulate you both and to be able to count on your excellent contributions to GDUI during the coming two years. We are proud of the campaign mounted by our three candidates for office.
Everyone achieved great recognition by GDUI’s voters, and the only thing to be a little sad about is that all three candidates couldn’t have squeezed into the two available board seats. Ken, we so appreciate all that you do for GDUI as a member of several committees and a hard-working moderator for several of our e-mail discussion lists. There will be new opportunities to run for national office in GDUI in coming years, and we hope to see you on our ballot again!

Our proposed bylaws for 2015 were adopted by a resounding margin, and we are proud to say that our newly revised constitution has strengthened GDUI’s democracy, recognized the importance of our GDUI affiliates, further empowered our members, and now conforms seamlessly with the DC Not-for-Profit Code. I want to thank all the members of GDUI’s Constitution and Bylaws Committee who spent many hours preparing these excellent bylaws to assure their conformance with requirements in the DC Code and with the principles that have always governed our member-driven organization, as well as participating on our GDUI-Bylaws discussion list, and answering members questions and providing easy to understand information during our two GDUI Candidates’ Forums. Maria Hansen, John McCann, Ellen Telkor, Lynn Merrill, and Rick Roderick, a simple thank you hardly seems enough, but we all mean it, sincerely, from our hearts.

The other very heartening aspect of our 2015 election was the successful implementation of an even more universally accessible voting system, provided by VoteNow!, http://www.vote-now.com/. James Claiborne who managed GDUI’s election and account for the company went further above and beyond the call of duty than we have ever known any contractor to do, and we are so grateful. James and his colleagues at VoteNow! spent a great deal of time making sure that the telephonic and online ballot were exact matches for our needs (and those of the DC Code – providing an ability to abstain, for example), and James was on the telephonic scene late into the nights during both of the week ends during which voting was open. He solved problems for voters and made sure that anyone who contacted us, and thus the company, to report a difficulty could cast his or her votes. Many of you shared very positive comments on our online ballot, on lists and via telephone, and we are extremely pleased with the services that VoteNow! provided. We are hopeful that other ACB affiliates, and eventually the American Council of the Blind itself, will follow our lead and make universally accessible voting available for all members.
And, thank you, Will, for finding us such an excellent company to conduct our 2015 election!

I want to share one more thank you to all of you who participated in our election as voters. I can remember years when GDUI’s board worried if we would even make our quorum requirement of 15 percent. Last week, voter turn out was at 40.7% of 472 total members eligible to vote as of the record date. If you were one of those who voted in our 2015 election, please pat yourself on the back, and thank you.

Number of Guide Dog School Surveys Online Increases!
Dixie Sanderson, who took on the responsibility for creating our survey forms, retrieving the information from the guide dog schools, and compiling the information, reported last week that three more schools have submitted completed surveys. Dixie and Will and our web master, Ted Rodifer, were able to add the three newly completed surveys to our online collection in record time. Thank you, everyone.
If you are wondering which guide dog training program might be the best match for your individual needs, our guide dog schools surveys will make your comparison a lot easier than otherwise might be the case. If you are wrestling with such a decision or know others who are, please don’t hesitate to refer them to this valuable resource at http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/gdui-school-survey/.

Summer PawTracks to Arrive in Your In Boxes Tomorrow!
When I spoke with Nolan earlier today, he told me that – barring unforeseen complications (which as all of us who use computers understand can certainly occur), PawTracks should arrive in your e-mail in-boxes by tomorrow evening. This issue will be filled with all kinds of information about our coming Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs GDUI Convention, which will be held in Dallas, TX, at the downtown Sheraton hotel July 5-8. If you’re planning to come, we know you won’t want to miss this issue of PawTracks.

Final Date to Share Your Gratitude with Your Guide Dog School is Just Around the Corner!
As dog guide users, we all know how important our schools’ investments in personnel, breeding and acquisition of dogs, training time, and money are for creating excellent matches for each of us. Because they pour so much time and energy and so many dollars into our partnerships, and for many other reasons as well, we in GDUI want to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools. As our way of saying thanks, The 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception, which will be held on Monday evening, July 6, at the ACB/GDUI conference and convention in Dallas, TX. To honor our schools and those who will be representing them at our convention, we are preparing a tribute booklet, which will be presented as a keepsake to all the trainers and staff-persons representing our schools who attend. The tribute booklet provides a tangible way to thank our schools for the guide dogs who mean so much to us. We want to convey, from deep in our hearts, a respectful regard that resides within the heart of every dog guide partnership.
Even if you are not planning to attend the convention, you can participate in this special Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception as a sponsor of the Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs tribute booklet.
We are offering three sponsorship levels. We hope one of the following levels will appeal to you.
Silver Sponsorship – $10
As a Silver-level sponsor, your name, your dog’s name, and the name of your school will be listed in the tribute booklet.
Gold sponsorship – $25
As a Gold-level sponsor, your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school will be listed in the booklet. You will also be able to include a brief message of no more than 35 characters.
Platinum sponsorship – $50
As a Platinum-level Sponsor, your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school will be listed prominently in the booklet. You will also be able to include a personalized message of no more than 70 characters.
The deadline for sharing your information and your chosen level of sponsorship is June 12, 2015.
There are several ways to share your information and your sponsoring contribution with us: You can send us your name, the name of your dog and school, along with your chosen message(s) via regular postal mail with payment by check, via our web site with a PayPal payment option at this page, http://guidedogusersinc.org/2015-convention/guide-dog-school-reception-sponsorship/,
or via phone.
Phone
To pay by credit card via phone, contact Jane Sheehan at [toll-free]:866.799.8436.
Check
To pay by check via mail, make checks payable to GDUI. Be sure to include a clear print or Braille copy of the message you want us to include. Mail to: GDUI, c/o Office Manager, 14311 Astrodome Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20906.
Sponsorships postmarked later than the deadline date of June 12cannot be included. Please note, messages should not contain the name(s) of specific individuals associated with your guide dog school. We will do our best to keep the messages as close to the original as possible, however, we reserve the right to make final editorial decisions.

Until next week, thank you all for your friendship and support.
Sincerely,
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org
Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
Like and visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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://www.acblists.org/mailman/listinfo/gdui-announce

For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.
We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.

ACB Lawsuit Against D.C. Taxi Companies

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

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