GDUI Announcement, August 8, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Welcome to August! Ordinarily, we might be chatting about those infamous “dog days of summer,” but for the past several days, our weather here in the mid-Atlantic has felt more like mid-September than early August, and   this year, the one thing we seem to be able to say about climate predictability is that our climate has been anything but predictable! There were tornados in Tulsa a couple of days ago, and here in normally hot, hazy, and humid  — but not very meteorologically exciting — Maryland, several localities experienced probable tornados just a few hours ago. The winds were strong enough to flip cars driving down highways where tornados were active. Over the week end, there was flooding in New Orleans when the city experienced ten inches of rain in a single day. Forest fires are raging all over the West, and a new tropical storm reportedly thinks about becoming a full-blown hurricane once it encounters land just about once each week. I bring all of this up just to remind you that, if you experience a natural disaster and that affects your ability to care for your guide dog, GDUI’s Disaster Assistance Preparedness Program is here to help. For more information, visit this link on our web site:

http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/disaster-assistance-preparedness-program-dapp/.

Heads’ Up: GDUI’s Membership Survey is online and ready for your input! As a membership-driven organization, we welcome opportunities to hear from you! That’s why the Membership Committee, in cooperation with the Advocacy and Legislative Committee, and the Public Relations Committee, has created a survey to ask all of you to prioritize the issues you would like us to be working on, what you like about the way we conduct GDUI business, and if and how you would like us to make changes. Don’t worry, the survey is totally accessible (We tested it with a variety of screen readers and browsers), your anonymity is guaranteed, and there are just a few questions. Find our membership survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CS2DPCR

Please complete the short membership survey and submit it by August 31. That’s our deadline. And, thank you!

A new GDUI Facebook Group! Thanks to GDUI Board Member and Social Networking Guru, Minh Ha for creating a new public group on Facebook for GDUI members, friends, and supporters — giving us all one more way to share information, discuss our organization, and compare notes on the guide dog lifestyle and community. You can join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/GDUInc/

An Exciting New Fund-Raising Opportunity for GDUI! PLEASE SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764

We’re partnering with Yankee Candle Fundraising to help achieve our fund-raising goal this year. They are the world’s Number-One  candle brand and they offer a variety of premium candles, fragrances and décor items at a wide range of prices. For GDUI, the most exciting aspect of this generous fund-raising opportunity is that 40 percent  of every sale goes to us!

To help support GDUI, you can click on the link below and order all kinds of beautiful sweet-smelling items online. Your purchases ship directly to your home and our group will automatically receive its 40 percent  on each and every sale. This promotion is good through January 10, 2018.

Ready to start shopping now? Just follow the link below and you’ll be on your way to helping GDUI reach our 2017 fundraising goals: https://www.yankeecandlefundraising.com/store.htm.

If the link fails to take you to the Guide Dog Users Inc. fund-raising site, don’t worry. Simply visit: www.yankeecandlefundraising.com and enter your Group Number 999969764 in the “Start Shopping” box you’ll find there. Then you can shop for all of the Yankee Candle Fundraising items and your purchases will still benefit GDUI.

Holiday shopping season will be here before we know it! We will be pleased and grateful if you begin your shopping with the Yankee Candle Store and help to support GDUI!

New List Moderators for GDUI Chat, Business, and Leadership E-mail Discussion Lists – We are grateful to Darla Rogers and Will Burley who stepped up to meet our need for members to help with moderating our e-mail discussion lists! Dixie and all of us are pleased and grateful. Thank you.

Great news: The GDUI 2017 Convention Recordings are now available at our web site! If you couldn’t attend this year’s GDUI convention, or you couldn’t attend every single program session, you can listen to the convention recordings, ably created and edited by ACB Radio. It will be almost as good as being there in person! Here’s the link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-convention-archives/2017-gdui-convention-program-recordings/

Returning briefly to our August theme, we want to share one more intriguing link with you! August is famous for the (apparently) breath-taking meteor showers which fill the night skies during this month each summer. I have often wished I could experience those showers of light. (After all, who doesn’t long to wish on a star?) And, this summer promises an even more extraordinary celestial event, the solar eclipse, which will be visible for a large number of people living in North America, on August 21. Now comes news that, even if you can’t see the eclipse with your eyes, there will be ways for you to experience the phenomenon using other senses!

On August 21, 2017, millions of people will view a total solar eclipse as it passes through the United States. However, for the visually impaired, or others who are unable to see the eclipse with their own eyes, the Eclipse Soundscapes Project delivers a multisensory experience of this exciting celestial event. The project, from NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium, will include audio descriptions of the eclipse in real time, recordings of the changing environmental sounds during the eclipse, and an interactive  “rumble map” app that will allow users to  visualize the eclipse through touch.

No matter which celestial or terrestrial events become the highlights of August 2017, for you and your guide dog, we wish you an enjoyable last month of summer, with lots of friends and family members to share in your enjoyment, and wagging tails everywhere you go! Thanks again 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: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

Like, visit us, and join our Facebook Group : 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.

SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here: https://www.yankeecandlefundraising.com/store.htm.

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 where 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, July 10, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Willow and I arrived home from the ACB and GDUI Conventions late on Friday night. After many hours of sleeping soundly under a table at Thursday’s ACB general session and a five-plus hour airplane ride the next day, Willow is all rested up after the many GDUI events we attended together and eager to play with her new favorite ball from the GDUI Suite! I, on the other hand, am still recovering! But with so many wonderful memories and so much gratitude for everyone in GDUI who shares responsibility for a fantastic convention, I am feeling fine.

I am writing tonight to remind all of you about a fund-raising opportunity that will be fun and appealing for you and good for GDUI, too! Amazon.com’s third-annual Prime Day is on Tuesday, July 11, and will feature more than 100,000 deals exclusively for Prime members, making it one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Because of GDUI’s ‘smiling relationship with Amazon.com, all of that shopping can be good for GDUI as well! Whenever you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate to Guide Dog Users Inc.

When you #StartWithaSmile on #PrimeDay, Amazon.com donates to Guide Dog Users Inc. Shop for great deals at smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1871119.

Advocacy is important, but advocacy doesn’t come free of charge! There are phone calls to make and to hear, meetings to attend, letters to write. Even though our Advocacy and Legislative Committee is led and staffed by dedicated volunteers, there are still expenses associated with helping guide dog users make their cases for equality and civil rights, and persuading business owners, government administrators, and legislators about the importance of those civil rights.

We strive to improve our web site all of the time. Recently, GuideDogUsersInc.org was an important source of information about our fantastic convention. None of those postings came free of charge! And, soon, we’ll be adding the recordings from our GDUI 2017 convention to our web site, as well!

PawTracks is a magazine that informs, entertains, and allows members and friends to discuss all of those guide dog-related issues that need attention. One of our most significant expenses during a year is for the production and distribution of our quarterly magazine!

And, of course you know already that our universally accessible voting system costs $5.00 for every member eligible to vote.

I am hoping to encourage all of you to use the Smile Shopping Portal tomorrow when you check out all of those amazing Prime Day deals! Have fun shopping, and thanks for allowing GDUI to benefit from your purchasing power as well!

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

GDUI 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, June 30, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Tomorrow is the day! Support GDUI’s actual and virtual Mushers’ Team  in the Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk, which will commence at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow at the Nugget Casino and Hotel in Sparks, NV! This event serves as an energetic fund-raiser for the American Council of the Blind and all ACB affiliates whose teams participate as well! Yes, GDUI has a team. We’re called the GDUI Mushers because – guess what!   Mushers’ Secret, makers of that wonderful waxy substance that protects our dogs’ paws in all kinds of weather conditions, is supporting our team!

Below is a message I have shared on Facebook (and will again, tonight, in one more effort to increase our funding!). Please share with your own family and friends, and please make a contribution! Every dollar counts!

Hello to Family and Friends,

I am writing today to tell you about a fund-raising event in which Guide Dog Users, Inc. – better known in the blindness community as GDUI – is participating this summer at the American Council of the Blind’s annual conference and convention. The event, the ninth annual Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk, will take place on the morning of Saturday, July 1, in Reno, Nevada, (site of this year’s convention), beginning at 7:00 a.m. GDUI is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and, for the first time, we are assembling a team of walkers – both human and canine, in-person and virtual! – to walk for the important cause of raising funds for ACB and GDUI!A magical aspect of this particular fund-raiser is that ACB and its affiliates split each team’s proceeds equally between us!  I am hoping that you will want to assist us in our fund-raising goal, either as a sponsor for one of our participating teams (Yes, My Seeing Eye Dog, Willow, and I have formed a team!), or if you’re a member of GDUI, as a walk participant yourself! If you decide to walk with the GDUI Mushers – either in-person and on-site, or virtually – then you can sign up on the web site that I will share with you below and then share the news with your own social networking groups of families and friends! (You can see how this effort can expand in a very meaningful and financially helpful way! If you’re one of our many members, let me encourage you to become a walker and spread the word! If you’re not into walking, your financial contributions will be equally appreciated, and both ACB and GDUI are organizations that will gratefully accept your donations and put them to good uses to improve support, opportunities, and advocacy on behalf of people who are blind and visually impaired in every region of the country!

Drawing on the experiences and varied knowledge

Of our members from every region of the USA, GDUI provides peer support, advocacy and information to the blind and visually impaired members of guide dog teams. In addition, GDUI works with public entities, private businesses and individuals to ensure that guide dog users enjoy the same rights to travel, employment, housing, and participation in all aspects of life that people without disabilities take for granted.

An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind since 1972, GDUI is the largest consumer-driven organization of its kind in the world. 

GDUI sponsors an informative web site http://www.guidedogusersinc.org, provides several venues for online discussion and communication, and publishes an award-winning quarterly magazine called “PawTracks,” to share information on matters that resonate with its members and friends.

GDUI maintains a Guide Dog School Survey to facilitate informed choice for everyone who seeks training with a guide dog.

GDUI publishes fact sheets and informational brochures which educate the public on a variety of topics, including the access rights of guide dog teams, and, considering the special danger that uncontrolled dogs can pose to working teams,   responsible pet ownership.

GDUI provides informed advice to local, state and federal governmental entities such as the U. S. Department of Justice, and the U. S. Department of Transportation, regarding the civil rights protections that permit people who are blind and visually impaired to rely on their guide dogs for safe and independent travel wherever people who do not experience disabilities take independent travel and unfettered access for granted.

 In conjunction with the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind, GDUI hosts an informative and entertaining convention each summer, where members and friends gather to hear from experts on blindness and canine-related topics, to share experiences, and to gather together for purposes of fun, friendship, and organizational governance. 

Recently, GDUI became the first blindness-related organization in the United States to develop a process and provide a means, online and by telephone, for universal accessible membership voting.

We welcome your exploration of our web site. And, we provide a fully-staffed toll-free telephone number where experienced guide dog users can answer questions, provide information, share stories, and extend empathetic support (866.799.8436).

To help sponsor the GDUI Mushers’ team or to walk with us on July 1 and reach out for support to your own network of family and friends, please visit this link, and thank you!

https://acb.donorpages.com/2017ACBWalk/GDUIMushers/

There’s more than one way to raise funds for GDUI during convention week!

Participate in our Sunday-night live and call-in auction!

If attending the ACB/GDUI Convention at the Nugget Hotel in Sparks, NV. (All are welcome)

When: Sunday July 2nd

Where: In the Bonanza A room (second floor)

Time: 8:00PM PST

There will be a no host bar.

Don’t miss out on the fun!

 Guide Dog Users Inc. invites you to join in all the fun and participate in the annual Auction, LIVE from the comfort of your own couch!

Toss your guide a “Nyla” Bone, Pick up the phone, and pour a glass of your own as we bid for some pawesome treats!!

 How to Participate:

 When: Sunday July 2nd

 Time: 8:00PM PST

 Call #:

1 (515) 739-1030

 Passcode: 877998

 As this is an event we won’t want you to miss, we insist you be on the line between 8:00-8:15pm! Once you arrive on the line, listen to a description of items from the auctioneers. You will then be greeted by your operator who will relay with phone attendees and the live auction in Reno. To place a bid, simply speak your name and bid request, and the operator will handle the rest!

Please don’t be late for this tail wagging date! Any participant who arrives on the line after 8:15pm will not be able to bid!

 We hope to see you all there!!

*If you encounter any problems, please call Toll Free:

1-866-799-8436

The GDUI 2017 Program Team!

Great news from New Jersey!

New Jersey guide dog handlers who want to keep their retired guides now have full and equal access to all housing!

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=S1359

This seems like such a worthwhile goal for all of us who may someday want to retire a faithful guide dog and keep him or her with us and our family even after we begin working with a successor guide dog. Congratulations, New Jersey, on advocacy well done!

If you are here at convention in Reno, Willow and I are looking forward to getting to know you better. If you couldn’t make it this year, we are pleased to let you know that nearly all of our program segments will be recorded and available online soon after convention. No matter where you and your guide dog are hanging out this week, have a happy Fourth of July! We all treasure our independence.

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: 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, June 6, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Congratulations to Our Winning Candidates! We want to congratulate Maria Kristic and Brianna Murray who were elected as members of the GDUI Board of Directors in last week’s election. And, we are pleased to also announce that all four proposed bylaws amendments have been adopted. New terms of office will begin for Maria and Brianna immediately following the conclusion of the 2017 GDUI convention, and newly adopted amendments are effective immediately.

Below is a summary of election results provided by this year’s Nominating Committee Chair, Dixie Sanderson. I know that all of you join me in thanking Dixie and members of her committee for making the 2017 GDUI election one of the smoothest and most inclusive election processes in our history. Thank you, Dixie, Nolan Crabb, Charlie Crawford, Pauline Lamontagne, and Deana Noriega.

Election Results Summary: 

In order for the election to have been valid we are required to have a minimum of 15 percent of the membership vote in the election.  We had a turnout of   33 percent of our membership.

Congratulations to Maria Kristic and Brianna Murray on their elections to the GDUI Board of Directors.

Our 4 proposed bylaw amendments have passed as they require a two-thirds or 66.667 percent vote in favor. 

Thank you to all of you who took time out of this holiday week to vote in this election.

Respectfully Submitted

Dixie Sanderson 2017 GDUI Nominations Committee Chair

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, May 25, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Voting Begins early on Saturday morning! The 2017 GDUI Elections will commence  on Saturday, May 27 at 12:00 A.M. EDT,  and run through Sunday, June 4, 2017 at  11:59 PM (EDT).If you joined GDUI as an at-large member, or a GDUI affiliate on or before April 7, 2017, which was the date of record for this election, and if you have paid your dues, you are eligible to vote! Last week, every GDUI eligible voter received a post card in your postal mailbox which shared your unique voter I.D. Number with you, and yesterday or today, if your e-mail address is on file with GDUI, you will have received that same information in your E-Mail In Box, along with further instructions about how to vote by telephone or online. So, you’re all set! Let the voting begin!

Still Wondering about the Proposed Bylaws Changes or Wishing You Knew Our Candidates Better? You can still access both Candidates Forums in the following ways:

Retrieve the April 29, 2017 Candidate forum at the following sources:

Drop Box:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/euudjz7bxprkwc0/April%2029%2C%202017%20GDUI%20Candidate%20Forum.mp3?dl=0

Or Send Space: https://www.sendspace.com/file/hevs36

Or you can catch the somewhat abridged recording via the GDUI Juno Report podcast for May, here:

http://acbradio.org/content/gdui-juno-report-may-2017guidedogs-blindness-community-advocacy

Note that there was a brief delay in the midst of the recording, lasting only about two minutes, which occurred because of a technical glitch. Just keep listening and the recording will resume playing at the point when everyone had a chance to come back on the free conference calling phone line.

And, here are two ways to access the recording of the May 11, 2017, candidates’ forum.  The recording lasts approximately 60 minutes. 

Drop Box: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4909668/May%2011%2C%202017%20GDUI%20Candidate%20Forum.mp3

Send Space: https://www.sendspace.com/file/gls18n 

Our candidates for the two open board seats are so capable and personable, and we know they appreciate your consideration, and the proposed bylaws changes were submitted by your friends and fellow members, in order to clarify our operating procedures and strengthen our democratic foundation. We appreciate your participation in our universally accessible election. In order for the results to be certified, we need participation by the percentage of voters which is required for a quorum.

Board Meeting Recording Available.

If you would like to listen to the recording of the GDUI board meeting held on Saturday, May 20, 2017, below are three ways to access the recording. The recording is 1 hour and 30 minutes long.

DROP BOX: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4909668/May%2020%2C%202017%20GDUI%20Board%20Meeting%20Recording.mp3

SEND SPACE: https://www.sendspace.com/file/qx5fwh

Telephonic Playback Number: (712) 432-1085

Access code:  919245 followed by the # key.

Medical Research That May Be of Special Interest to People with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy:

ClinEdge is working with GenSight Biologics on a phase III clinical trial named RESCUE that is actively seeking patients with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) in the United States and Canada. GenSight also plans to set up additional clinical trials in this rare population in the near future. The purpose of the RESCUE study is to evaluate an investigational gene therapy, GS010, as a potential treatment for the most common variant (ND4/G11778A gene mutation) of LHON. Three clinical sites have been selected to treat the patients: Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Travel costs and other appropriate expenses for taking part in the trial, including those for one accompanying companion, will be supported, in accordance with GenSight Biologics guidelines.

You may qualify if you meet the selection/inclusion criteria listed below:

Age 15 years or older;

Onset of vision loss based on medically documented history or subject testimony, in at least one eye for ≤180 days in duration;

Each eye of the subject maintaining visual ability to allow at least for counting of the examiner’s fingers at any distance; and

Documented results or pedigree evidence of genotyping showing the presence of the G11778A mutation in the ND4 gene and the absence of the other primary LHON-associated mutations (ND1 or ND6) in the subject’s mitochondrial DNA.

The RESCUE Study is being conducted by GenSight Biologics. For further information about the RESCUE Study, please visit: http://studies.clin-edge.com/gensight/

Still Seeking Nominations for the Ethel Bender award: Charlie Crawford, Chair of this year’s GDUI Awards Committee, wants you to know that the committee has received nominations for several GDUI awards, but none has come in for the Ethel Bender award, which honors a sighted person or persons who have made significant contributions to the well being of guide dog teams. Charlie reminds you that nominations are due by June 1, so please, think about all of those sighted people who have made our lives better, and submit their names and a summary of their contributions to Charlie ASAP! Send your nominations by e-mail to: mailto:ccrawford@rcn.com and put “Awards” in the subject field of your e-mail message. Or, call our Secretary and Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, at 866.795.8436, and Sarah will be pleased to pass along your nomination(s) to our Awards Committee. Thank you!

Convention News and Updates!    

Ruffwear Round table: How often have you thought to yourself, “This harness would be so much easier to put on, or take off, or hold onto, or for my guide dog to wear… if only …”? Or,” this collapsible water bowl would be perfect if only,” or “The perfect toy for my dog would include …”? Well, now you have an opportunity to share your ideas and your experiences with people who can put your good ideas to work!

A Message from Ruffwear:

Ruffwear, a leader in the design and manufacturing of gear for dogs will be present at the Guide Dog Users, Inc. conference in Sparks, Nevada, from July 2-5, 2017. We are seeking participants that want to be involved in a roundtable discussion about all available dog GEAR on the market today.

We would love to learn what products work well for guide dog users, what products need to be improved upon, and what ideas you may have for future product development.

The discussion will not be limited specifically to Ruffwear products, so come prepared to share all your products an ideas.

When: Sunday, July 2, 2017 – 2:00 PM

As space is limited, please reserve a spot by sending an email to mailto:Greg@ruffwear.com

Greg Freyberg • Specialty Product Line Manager

Visit  ruffwear.com

And Speaking of Products: Don’t miss the huge assortment of excellent products once again available in our GDUI Convention Suite! Maria Hansen, Chair of GDUI’s Products Committee says, “The Products Committee has been hard at work selecting merchandise that will appeal to our canine partners.  Such as:

  1. Lots of treats made in the U.S.A such as dental chews, nylabones, jerky, biscuits, cookies and antlers plus some canisters where they can be stored.
  2. Lots of toys! For both aggressive chewers and those with more self control. 
  3. Travel beds and mats, brushes, wipes, bowls and feeders, treat dispensers, drying towels and mits, cooling pads, Mushers Secret and an emergency bag.  And, of course, you can find GDUI harness signs and pouches, too.

The Suite will open at Noon on Sunday, July 2, and be open until the GDUI Luncheon on Wednesday, July 5th. The suite is, not only a great place to buy toys and treats, hang out with friends, take a break from convention stress, check in with trainers during Pawfice Hours each day during the hour proceeding GDUI convention programming, there will also be vet techs available for nail trimming and ear cleaning (on a schedule still being worked out), and those fabulous Carla Campbell canine massages that our guide dogs look forward to all year long! Best of all, of course, are our long-time friends, the Louisville Ladies! Stop by, take a break, say hello, and make yourselves at home for a while in the GDUI Suite!

Convention Registration Now Available Online, and via Phone as Well! Pre-Registration for all ACB Conference and Convention Activities, including all GDUI Convention activities, opened online on Wednesday, May 24, and will remain open until June 20.

To register online visit: https://acbconvention.org/

There will also be a link from the ACB website, http://www.acb.org; however, the convention link will take you directly to the registration form. Once there, you can download the form under the heading, 2017 ACB Conference and Convention Pre Registration Preview.

You can browse the form or begin your registration by logging in to your account.  The username and password you used for 2016 registration should be used for your 2017 registration. If you have forgotten your user information, there is a “forgot login or password” link on the log-in page. Your information will be sent to you via email.

If you’d like to register via telephone, call 800.866.3242. Leave your name, phone number, time zone and best time to reach you. Someone from ACB’s Minnesota office will return your call and assist you throughout the registration process.

To review the pre-registration form for the ACB Conference and convention on NFB Newsline call NFB Newsline at 888.882.1629. Enter your identification number and your security code.

From the NFB Newsline Main menu, press the number 5 on your telephone’s keypad to select Read newspapers in a different state. Then press the number 5 for National Meetings of interest to the Print-Disabled. Then press the number 1 for the ACB Pre-Registration Form 2017.And, press the number 1 again to select the ACB Pre-Registration Form dated Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Then you will have the following options:

  1. Instructions press 10.
  2. Friday, June 30. Press 11.
  3. Saturday, July 1. Press 12.
  4. Sunday, July 2. Press 13.
  5. Monday, July 3. Press 14.
  6. Tuesday, July 4. Press 15.
  7. Wednesday, July 5. Press 16.
  8. Thursday, July 6. Press 17.
  9. Friday, July 7. Press 18.
  10. Official Convention Merchandise. Press 19.

Thanks to the staff of NFB Newsline for providing this service.

Are you excited about the GDUI Convention? So are we! Remember, for convention news and updates, including the latest information about our program, and (coming soon!) all those intriguing items that will be available at GDUI’s Live Auction on Sunday evening, visit this page on our web site often: http://guidedogusersinc.org/2017-convention/.

A three-day week end is on the horizon for Willow and me, and we are excited – even though the weather forecast calls for multiple days of rain (to add to close to a week’s worth of wet and cloudy days and an increasingly muddy back yard! So, this three-day week end seems like the perfect opportunity for watching some streaming media, perhaps the new film adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” that everybody is talking about. Except … if I want to watch the series, I’ll need to get some help from sighted family members or friends.

Let’s help Disability Rights Advocates and ACB advocate for video description on Hulu!

Disability Rights Advocates is investigating complaints from blind individuals who report that the Hulu website and mobile applications are not accessible, and from blind individuals who want audio description tracks to be made available on Hulu.

They would greatly appreciate speaking with you if you are blind and you have chosen not to subscribe to Hulu because you have heard about access barriers or the lack of audio description. They would also like to speak with you if you have confronted access barriers yourself while using Hulu.

To share your experiences, please contact Kyle Ruiz, by phone at 510.665.8644 or by email at: mailto:kruiz@dralegal.org.

Meanwhile, whether you’re spending time registering for the ACB/GDUI convention, or listening to recordings of our two excellent Candidates’ Forums, or last Saturday’s GDUI board meeting, or seeking respite in all of the streaming media available these days, or walking in the rain, or indulging in the delicious springtime treats that are showing up at farmers’ markets and supermarkets alike, –no matter how you plan to fill your time during the coming week end or the following week —  remember to vote! A vibrant democracy is one in which voter participation is important to every citizen, and in our case, every member! GDUI pays VoteNow! $5.00 for every one of our members who is eligible to vote. We do this because we believe in the democratic principles that have sustained our organization for more than four decades, and because we are proud of our universally accessible elections. Your GDUI dues payment helps us pay for this privilege. Make our investment in you and your interest in GDUI count! Voting begins at Midnight on Saturday, May 27!

One more thing — Remember that GDUI is raising funds by participating in the ACB 2017 Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk and you and your families and friends can help! To help sponsor the GDUI Mushers’ team or to walk with us on July 1 and reach out for support to your own network of family and friends, please visit this link, and thank you!

https://acb.donorpages.com/2017ACBWalk/GDUIMushers/

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

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, May 10, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Second Candidates’ Forum Just Around the Corner!

The second scheduled GDUI Candidates’ Forum will take place tomorrow evening, Thursday, May 11, beginning at 8:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (That’s 5:00 p.m. on the West Coast). Again, the call-in number will be: 712.432.0075 and the Participant Code is 919245#.

During the first segment of the Forum, a representative from the GDUI Bylaws and Resolutions Committee will discuss the proposed amendments which will appear on the ballot as well as the process you can expect for receiving your individual Voter I.D. number.  

Then the candidates will each be given 2 minutes to introduce themselves to the membership.  After that, we will have a question and answer segment in which questions taken from those submitted by our members will be posed to the candidates.  Each candidate will be allotted 2 minutes to answer each question. At the end of the Forum, each candidate will be given 30 seconds for a concluding statement.

 If you missed the first Forum which was held on Saturday, April 29, it is still available for your listening pleasure. The recording of the first Forum can be retrieved from:

 Drop Box:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/euudjz7bxprkwc0/April%2029%2C%202017%20GDUI%20Candidate%20Forum.mp3?dl=0, or Send Space: https://www.sendspace.com/file/hevs36

The first Forum may also still be heard by phone at the following playback number: 712.432.1085. Access code: 919245 followed by the # key.

The recording of the first forum will be available only until the May 11 Candidates’ Forum takes place, at which time a new recording will replace the first one.

We hope that you will have an opportunity to join us on Thursday evening, or later via a recording, and get to know our excellent candidates, Maria Kristic and Brianna Murray, better. We look forward to your participation in our democracy!

For all news related to our up-coming elections, please visit this link on the GuideDogUsersInc.org web site: http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-election-news-2017/ and thanks again to our excellent Nominating Committee for all of your hard work putting these forums together and assuring us all of a secure and universally accessible way to participate in our GDUI democracy.

Spring’s PawTracks is here! If you’re the kind of person who lets things accumulate in your e-mail in-box without really paying much attention, you may want to do a little search for our magazine – because thanks to Dixie and Will, PawTracks popped up in our e-mail in-boxes late last week! We are so happy to find it there, along with links for listening to the narrated recording. (Of course, if you’re one of our audio cassette subscribers, you’ll find the Spring issue in your postal mailbox any day now, as well.) Thanks to our new editor, Will Burley, to Nolan, our narrator and techie guru, and to Dixie, our Membership Chairperson, for your combined efforts to keep us informed, entertained, and up-to-date! Remember, if you want to make a written contribution to PawTracks, just send your article, essay, letter or poem to will at mailto:editor@guidedogusersinc.org.

In Case You Didn’t Hear, Congratulations are in Order for the Two Recipients of our GDUI 2017 Convention First-Timers’ Awards! They are Sam Hoggle from Marietta, GA, and Karen Wood, from Columbia, MD. We are so looking forward to meeting Sam and Karen and their guide dogs, Flash and Dollie at the GDUI Suite on the first day of our GDUI convention. Again, we want to thank everyone who applied for the First-Timers’ Awards. We hope to be able to make these opportunities available to our members in years to come, and we look forward to your involvement in GDUI activities in the meantime.  We also want to thank Bob Acosta’s 2016 Fund-Raising Committee and all of you who purchased drawing tickets last summer, and  the hard-working members of our GDUI First-Timers’ Committee, Caitlin Mongillo, Chair, Brianna Murray, Minh Ha, Lynn Merrill, and me,(as president)  ex-officio.

Convention News and Reminders 

Want a fast and easy way to have your dog’s food delivered to your hotel room door?

ScoopMasters will be maintaining our dog relief areas at the Nugget. Once again they will offer the opportunity to order dog food delivered to your hotel room. To order your food visit ScoopMasters web site at: http://premiumpetfood.com/acb/.

Or call Tim at (800) 787-7667. The deadline for ordering food is June 20th, but Tim is hoping to receive your orders no later than June 15!

Preregistration for the ACB Conference and convention opens on May 24th. At that time, you will be able to register for all of the wonderful events associated with our GDUI Convention, which takes place coincidentally with ACB’s Conference and Convention. Our dates are (Sunday, July 2 through Wednesday, July 5. This year’s convention will take place near Reno, Nevada at the Nugget Casino Resort, 1100 Nugget Avenue, in Sparks, Nevada.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Make your hotel reservations today!  Room rates at the Nugget are $89 single or double; there is an additional $10.00 per night charge per person for up to four people per room.  Applicable state and local taxes are currently 13.4%.  When you make your reservation, one night’s stay will be charged to your credit card.

 To make reservations via telephone call 800.648.1177, and ask for Group Code GACB17.  You may also make reservations online by visiting the ACB web site here: http://acb.org/2017convention.

Pre-registration for the ACB Conference and Convention opens on May 24. At that time you will be able to register for all the ACB Convention -related events as well as all the special events on our own GDUI Convention Program (such as a Live Auction this year, a special Game Night involving Poker Chips and Pooches, a fabulous

GDUI luncheon where we will honor GDUI members and others who have improved our lives over the past year, and a hands-on class in Doggie Massage)!

Join and Support the GDUI Mushers’ Team at the Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk on Sunday morning, July 2!GDUI has already signed up several guide dog teams who will be participating in the 9th Annual Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk. We are calling our team the GDUI Mushers! The walk serves as a fund-raiser for ACB as well as affiliates who walk on behalf of our organizations. We can split the funds we raise, equally, with ACB. The more funds we raise – through donations in support of our team – the better for us, and for ACB!

If you are planning to come to the GDUI Convention and you will be there on Sunday morning, we encourage you and your pooch to sign up and take a stroll together with the group in support of our worthy cause! If you can’t attend, or you’re simply not into early-morning walks that don’t involve breakfast, please support our team’s efforts by making a donation and by sharing the opportunity to contribute to our worthy cause with friends and family!

To help sponsor the GDUI Mushers’ team or to walk with us on July 1 and reach out for support to your own network of family and friends, please visit this link, and thank you! https://acb.donorpages.com/2017ACBWalk/GDUIMushers/

If you haven’t yet checked out the intriguing conversations that have been heating up the mobile phone towers that connect so many GDUI guide dogs who chat incessantly on the Nyla-Phone, don’t miss those overheard tête-à-têtes on our GDUI Convention Web Pages, here:  http://guidedogusersinc.org/2017-convention/.

Learn there how to purchase a raffle ticket (Only $5 for 3 tickets!) for this year’s beautiful plush golden retriever guide dog pup in harness, and become acquainted with our convention program, as well as the menu from Rosie’s Café, this year’s GDUI Breakfast Club Destination! Coming soon: Our GDUI Convention Auction Catalog!

Heads’ Up: GDUI’s May Board Meeting will be coming right up – not this coming Saturday, which is, BTW (just in case you need a reminder), the day before Mothers’ Day! – but on the following Saturday, May 20! And, a week after that, the GDUI election will go live! Once again, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in our universally accessible election for two candidates for directors’ seats on the GDUI Board, and to make your voice heard on whether or not to approve four proposed amendments to the GDUI by-laws.

Until we meet again via GDUI Announcements or Facebook, or on our web site, enjoy the springtime weather and your dogs’ enthusiasm for this new season of sunshine and flowers and adventure!

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://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.

The Blind Side Podcast: A Guide Dog User’s Terrible Experience While Traveling by Air

Guide dog owner at airport posing in front of a commercial airliner.

This is what Discrimination against a guide dog user who is flying with her guide dog sounds like! Check out Jonathan Mosen’s weekly podcast, The Blind Side, for this week, in which Jonathan interviews Sue Martin about her horrendous experience on March 1, of being bullied, refused appropriate seating, and forced to leave a plane about to take off on a flight for which she had purchased a ticket. Also interviewed, Penny Reeder, President of Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Here’s the link: https://soundcloud.com/theblindsidepodcast/episode26
And, here’s a link to a helpful resource for knowing your rights as a person with disabilities when traveling by air in, to, or from the USA: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/passengers-disabilities

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

ACB Reaches Agreement with DC Taxi Companies

American Council of the Blind Reaches Agreement with DC Taxi Companies to Enhance Accessibility of Street-Hail Service for Blind Individuals with Service Dogs

Contact:

Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation, Washington Lawyers’ Committee
matthew_handley@washlaw.org; 202-319-1000

Eric Bridges, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind
ebridges@acb.org; 202-467-5081

Matthew MacLean, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, matthew.maclean@pillsburylaw.com; 202-663-8183

WASHINGTON, DC (June 21, 2016) – Four DC taxi companies: Yellow Cab Company of DC, Inc., Grand Cab Company, Elite Cab Association, and Pleasant Taxi Club LLC have reached an agreement with the American Council of the Blind (“ACB”), a civil rights advocacy organization for the blind, to carry out an Accessibility Initiative to ensure that blind and visually-impaired individuals accompanied by service animals have full and equal access to taxi services in the District of Columbia, including street-hailed taxicab services. Together, these four companies represent more than one-fifth of the taxicabs in DC.

The Accessibility Initiative, pioneered by these four companies, is available for any DC taxicab company or driver wishing to voluntarily promote equal access for a contribution of only $15 per cab. As part of this Accessibility Initiative, the taxi companies have agreed to collaborate with ACB and contribute to a testing fund overseen and administered by ACB. ACB will monitor learning, education effectiveness, and compliance by associated drivers with their legal obligations to provide street-hail taxicab services in DC. Contributions to the Accessibility Initiative will be used to fund this monitoring and a third-party testing program to ensure that blind and visually-impaired individuals with service animals are successfully able to hail taxis on DC streets. Those contributing to this testing fund and agreeing to the Accessibility Initiative will be notified of any complaints and given feedback on their drivers’ performance. The Accessibility Initiative also protects signatory drivers and taxicab companies with a commitment to resolve complaints against participating taxicabs without formal litigation.

As part of their mutual goal of promoting equal access to taxicab services in DC, all four companies have agreed to develop and implement a model Non-Discrimination Policy that accompanies the Accessibility Initiative. The Accessibility Initiative requires each signatory to incorporate such a policy into its association licensing agreements with its drivers when signing new drivers or renewing agreements, and to distribute the policy to all existing drivers. The Non-Discrimination Policy will make it clear that a driver may not assume that an animal accompanying a passenger is not a service animal. All drivers who do not have a valid medical exemption will be required to always stop to provide service to a passenger accompanied by a dog and hailing a taxi, or inquire whether the dog is a service animal where not obvious. The Non-Discrimination Policy also specifies that the taxicab company will promptly investigate any complaints it receives regarding any discriminatory conduct by its associated drivers, and discipline any associated driver who has proven to have engaged in a violation of the policy. Such discipline will include training of the driver on the Non-Discrimination Policy, suspension, reporting the driver to the DC Taxicab Commission (“DCTC”), and terminating the driver’s association with the company.

Additionally, in a joint letter, Grand Cab, Yellow Cab, Elite Cab, and Pleasant Taxi recommended needed changes to DCTC policies and rules to promote and safely provide street-hail taxi services in DC to the visually-impaired. DCTC will now provide disability sensitivity training to new and renewing licensed taxicab vehicle operators and has implemented a disability sensitivity training module.

Eric Bridges, Executive Director of the ACB, stated: “We are encouraged that these four taxi companies are willing to work with us to promote equal access to taxicab services in the District of Columbia. We hope that other cab companies in the District will join this Accessibility Initiative and contribute to the testing fund in order to become the gold standard for taxi service in DC, including street-hailed taxis.”

Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, said: “Public transportation, including taxi services, should be available and accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities who use service dogs. We are pleased that we were able to come together to implement this Accessibility Initiative in the District of Columbia. We are also pleased with the jointly recommended changes to the Taxi Commission’s policies and regulations, which will apply to all DC taxicab companies and set the standard for equal access.”

Matthew MacLean, Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, added: “Launching the Accessibility Initiative through the American Council of the Blind is a great accomplishment. This program has the tools to create meaningful change in the accessibility policies of taxicab providers in DC, and is an opportunity for companies to engage in a constructive program to ensure the rights of taxi passengers relying on service animals are understood and respected.”

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE: Since 1968, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has represented individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights, handling thousands of civil rights cases in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other aspects of urban life. The Committee represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran’s status. The Committee’s litigation efforts have become nationally known for landmark court victories, record judgments, and precedent-setting consent decrees. For more information, contact: Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 11 Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; phone (202) 319-1000; fax (202) 319-1010; or see:www.washlaw.org.

ABOUT AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND: The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates across the United States, the organization is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in all aspects of American society. For more information, visit www.acb.org; write to American Council of the Blind, 1703 N Beauregard Street, Suite 420, Alexandria, VA 22311; phone (202) 467-5081; or fax (703) 465-5085.

ABOUT PILLSBURY: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is a leading international law firm with offices around the world and a particular focus on the energy & natural resources, financial services, real estate & construction, and technology sectors. Recognized by Financial Times as one of the most innovative law firms, Pillsbury and its lawyers are highly regarded for their forward-thinking approach, their enthusiasm for collaborating across disciplines and their unsurpassed commercial awareness. For more information, visit www.pillsburylaw.com.

To read this press release on our website, please visit: www.acb.org/PR-Taxi-Agreement

People with Disabilities and LYFT

Problems with a LYFT driver refusing to transport you and your service dog? Here’s information concerning structured negotiations between advocates for people with disabilities and LYFT:

Statement to the Community Regarding Structured Negotiations With Lyft to read this announcement online, visit http://rbgg.com/statement-to-the-community-regarding-structured-negotiations-with-lyft/

October 15, 2015

Advocates for people with disabilities have entered into structured negotiations with Lyft, Inc. to ensure that disabled riders with service animals are ensured access to transportation services offered by Lyft drivers. These collaborative efforts are under way between Lyft, Inc. (Lyft), Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld (RBGG), and TRE Legal – attorneys for several blind persons who have raised concerns regarding access for service animal users.

DRA, RBGG, and TRE Legal contacted Lyft to present these concerns after certain community members reported difficulties obtaining rides from drivers on the Lyft platform. Lyft currently has a policy that drivers on their platform accept riders with service animals, but Lyft agreed to work with these advocates to ensure that disabled individuals are not denied rides or provided a lesser quality of service because they use service animals.

The parties are hopeful that they can agree on specific new initiatives to improve access to transportation available through the Lyft platform for all riders with disabilities who use service animals.

For more information, please contact:

Tim Elder, telder@trelegal.com, TRE Legal Practice, LLC, 4226 Castanos Street, Fremont, CA 94536, (410) 415-3493

Michael Nunez, mnunez@rbgg.com , Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, 50 Fremont Street, 19th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105, (415) 433-6830

Julia Marks, jmarks@dralegal.org , Disability Rights Advocates, 2001 Center Street, 4th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704, (510) 665-8644