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.

GDUI Announcement, April 14, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Two Important Deadlines Rapidly Approaching This Coming Week End! The first is the last possible date for you to get your application in to be chosen as one of two to receive a substantial stipend to help you with expenses associated with attending the GDUI Convention. That deadline is Saturday, April 15! (This year, you won’t have to get your tax return in on April 15, but your application for the GDUI Convention First-Timers’ Award needs to be turned into the committee by the end of that day!) Find all of the details here:

http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-announcement-february-28-2017/,

and good luck! We can hardly wait to meet you in our GDUI Suite and hand you the money that so many generous GDUI members and friends raised to bring you to our convention!

The second deadline is the next day, April 16! That’s the last day for submitting questions for our GDUI Candidates’ Forums! You may email questions for the candidates, to the Nominating Committee Chairperson, Dixie Sanderson, by April 16, 2017, with the subject field, “candidate questions.” Her email is:

mailto:Director5@GuideDogUsersInc.org .

GDUI will hold two membership forums to interview the candidates running in this election, as well as hear about the proposed amendments to our bylaws. The first one will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, beginning at 1:00 P. M. (EDT) and the second will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2017, beginning at 8:00 P. M. (EDT). The call-in number for both forums will be 712.432.0075, Access code: 919245#.

Each forum will be recorded for playback via telephone, Drop Box or Send Space. The playback number is 712.432.1085. The April 29 forum recording will be available only until the May 11 forum is recorded.

Learn all about our two excellent candidates, Brianna Murray and Maria Kristic, and about the four proposed bylaws amendments at the Candidates Forums, and via e-mail and postal mail which has been distributed to all GDUI members eligible to vote in our May election, and on our web site, gdui-election-news-2017/. Congratulations to Brianna and Maria, and thank you both for stepping up to run for a Director’s seat and for working so hard for GDUI and all the issues that are so close to all of our hearts.

Handling those dreadful times when we’re denied services because we’re traveling with our guide dogs can certainly be challenging. Even though most of us know that dissolving in a river of tears won’t alleviate the problem or counter the discrimination, it’s still hard when we’re taken by surprise and shock at an unanticipated refusal of service to know exactly what to do, where to complain, how to help ourselves and educate the ignorant! Pick up some valuable tips from Jenine Stanley and Nolan Crabb when you listen to this month’s GDUI Juno Report! The program is available every month on Friday evening at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on ACB Radio, and thereafter as a podcast! Check it out. The next time a restaurant manager or an Uber driver gives you a hard time, you’ll be better prepared, and better able to cope! Find the GDUI Juno Report podcasts on ACB Radio, here: http://acbradio.org/gdr.xml.

The GDUI Program Committee is dotting the last of the I’s and crossing the last of the t’s as they ready the final GDUI Convention Program to share with you! Many of us are already scanning the internet for affordable air fares and making our hotel reservations at the Nugget. Here are dates and times and preliminary information:

Sunday, July 2, 2017 – Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at the Nugget Casino Resort 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

1.800.648.1177, and ask for Group Code GACB17.

The hotel shuttle provides complimentary ground transportation from the Reno airport to the Nugget, and the airport will be staffed, as usual, by Margarine Beaman and her cadre of helpful volunteers. To assist airline personnel and Margarine and her volunteers please provide the following information:

Your name, the name of the airline you will be arriving on, your departure city, arrival Flight number, arrival date and time, departure airline, departure date, departure time, and your Cell phone number.

Send Margarine an e-mail with “airline information” in the subject line at

 mailto:Oleo50@hotmail.com  or  call her at 512.921.1625.

Convention highlights include our famous GDUI Suite, a live auction this year, a game night that combines poker and pups in unique ways, the ACB-GDUI walk, a mock trial where attendees serve as jurors, the GDUI Breakfast Club at Rosie’s Café, Carla’s famous canine massages, a nearly life-size plush Golden guide dog to bring home with you if yours is the winning raffle ticket, the always popular guide dog schools updates, and so much more! Keep track of all the convention information, including lists of auction items coming soon here: http://guidedogusersinc.org/2017-convention/.

Remember, April is the month for scheduling a free eye exam for your guide dog! The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) will again be conducting free eye exams for qualifying service dogs during the month of May, 2017. Registration is open from April 1 through April 30, 2017 athttps://www.acvoeyeexam.org/.

Here’s an “inspiring” message from GDUI Board Member, Charlie Crawford, and his Seeing Eye Dog, Razen: Enjoy Charlie’s message, and then go to the web address he provides and either sign up as a GDUI Mushers Walker or donate in the name of Charlie or Deanna or Willow and me or anyone else who has joined the team! And thank you!

Hello GDUI!

Yup, it’s time to hup hup and make some money for GDUI to go forward on our activities and goals!  This time, Charlie Crawford, that’s me, registered as a virtual walker in the ACB Brenda Dillon memorial walk coming up this summer at the ACB convention.  We’ve created a team called the GDUI Mushers and I need to ask you huskies to join up on the sled team and let’s get moving on the trail to a much brighter future for both ACB and GDUI! 

I have set a hefty goal for fund raising since it will take some gold for the GDUI Mushers to bring home!  Yukon King and I were talking with Razen and we figure ten thousand for ACB and ten thousand for GDUI is what we will need to bring in a total of twenty thousand! Are you thinking I am going out of my mind and we can’t do that! Of course we can! Look at it this way: Bill Gates goes to the GDUI Mushers page and writes a donation of $40,000.  No big deal to him and we get twice what we wanted.  Now being serious, we could get a thousand people to donate $20 each or maybe two thousand people to donate ten bucks each, or even four thousand people to donate five dollars each and tada, we got it!!!

Lastly, let me say two things.  First, if a whole bunch of people check out the GDUI Mushers page and donate a whole bunch of loot, then we will go beyond the goal and wouldn’t that be cool!  Second, here’s what you need to do.

Bring up your favorite internet browser and go to:

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

and hit the donate button to make your donation!  That’s it!  No muss, no fuss.  Only one more thing: share this message with everyone you know because together we go places and alone it is a whole lot harder.

So big woof woofs from my little Razen in the sun and she says you get a million wags for every $20 you give!  Of course you are free to donate any amount and whether big or small, it comes from your heart and it is really appreciated! 

I’d ask you to get busy and go to the page, but naaah, that Ain’t right and your dogs would not understand it, big smile.  So I’ll just say see you at

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

and please give what you feel you can do for ACB and GDUI!

Charlie Crawford, GDUI Mushers Captain and my little Razen in the sun whose sending lots of wags and wiggles out to you and your pups!  

BookShare needs your help! If you, like me and so many others who are blind or visually impaired, rely on BookShare for an amazing, constantly updating selection of reading materials, please answer this call to action and contact your Congresspersons to tell them what a valuable service BookShare provides, not only to all of us grown-ups who love to read, but also to thousands and thousands of school-age print-disabled children who rely on BookShare for accessible textbooks. BookShare’s funding is in grave jeopardy. Please help by going to this web site and writing to your Representatives and Senators: http://cqrcengage.com/bookshare/.

Finally, we want to announce a Survey Request for which your input as guide dog users will be particularly helpful. researchers are studying the experiences of people who have had a vision impairment for at least 5 years and rely on technologies that provide sound output (e.g., GPS, talking watches, VoiceOver on iPhone, sonic canes, crosswalks with sounds) when they are out and about in their communities. We are most concerned with how easy or difficult it is to hear the sounds from these technologies. We are recruiting adults who:  are 18 years or older • have had vision impairment for at least 5 years • use sound output technologies to independently get around in their communities multiple times during a week; and • can understand and speak/read/write English without any difficulty. To complete our survey, please go to the following link:

http://sgiz.mobi/s3/cece772ce8d3 If you prefer an alternative to the electronic survey or have questions about participating in this research project, please contact Dr. Carrie Bruce at 404.385.6916 or mailto:carrie.bruce@gatech.edu

Carrie Bruce, PhD, CCC-SLP Senior Research Scientist, School of Interactive Computing Research Director, Master’s Program in Human-Computer Interaction Georgia Institute of Technology 85 Fifth St. NW – Room 346 | Atlanta, GA 30318 Office: 404.385.6916, Web: http://mshci.gatech.edu  

Until we arrive in your In Box again with more information about GDUI events and concerns, enjoy the beautiful springtime weather, and 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 0r 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, March 21, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Board Meeting Recording: If you missed our board meeting on Saturday, you can listen to the proceedings from beginning to end by using Dropbox or SendSpace or simply dialing your phone. Here’s the information you need from Sarah:

Hello GDUI members and friends,

Provided below are three ways to access the recording of the March 18, 2017 GDUI board meeting. The recording is 2 hours and 15 minutes long.

Drop Box:

Send Space:

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

Play back number: 712.432.1085
Access code: 919245 followed by the # key.

Best,

Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary & Office Manager

Town Hall Meeting Recording : Were you meaning to get around to listening to the recording of our February 18 town hall meeting, but life got in the way? Never mind! Although the phone recording of Saturday’s board meeting has replaced the town hall meeting recording that’s available on the free-conference-calling line, you can still access our Dropbox to listen. Here’s the link you need:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4909668/GDUI%20Town%20Hall%20Meeting%20Recording%2C%20February%2018%2C%202017.mp3

PawTracks News! Nolan has resigned as editor of PawTracks. He needs some time to deal with some health issues, and so, reluctantly we accepted his resignation. I don’t think I can find adequate words for thanking Nolan for his great work as editor of our magazine. When our administration began, the magazine had essentially disappeared. Issues of PawTracks were being published only sporadically at best and, although the small committee of former board members who had valiantly tried to keep it going were doing there best, its quality had declined. I was so excited when Nolan agreed to take on the job of bringing PawTracks back to life, and I know that all of us have appreciated all of the improvements he made, including bringing back in-person narration! Thank you, Nolan.

Nolan will continue to be involved with our publications as much as he can. He has indicated his willingness to continue narrating the magazine, and he will continue his involvement with the GDUI Juno Report. We are pleased and grateful.

At Saturday’s meeting, the GDUI Board unanimously approved the appointment of our new PawTracks editor, Will Burley! Welcome, Will, to your new GDUI role as editor! We are pleased and grateful to you for stepping into this role.

Wasting no time, Will plans an April 2017 Spring issue, so if you have contributions to make to PawTracks – and we hope you do! – please send them to Will by the publication deadline of March 31. Write “PawTracks” in the subject field, and send all PawTracks articles, poems, letters, or other submissions here: editor@guidedogusersinc.org  

Dues Increases: Another action that our board took at Saturday’s meeting was to increase GDUI’s annual and Life Members’ dues. I wish I hadn’t had to write that sentence, but GDUI’s financial predicament has truly left us no choice. GDUI’s dues have not been raised since 2002, when they increased from $12.00 annually to $15.00. At some time during those intervening years, Life Members’ dues also increased to $250 for a lifetime of membership. It is unfortunate that none of GDUI’s boards were willing to consider raising dues in the intervening fifteen years. If they had, the increase that we are making now might seem a little less dramatic. However, no one raised dues during all that time, and expenses mounted — for everything from the toll-free phone line, to administrative banking fees, to PawTracks production, to voting ($5 for each member!) — over that decade and a half, and we have found ourselves in a situation of having no choice other than to ask you to pay more. We hope and believe that the membership benefits you derive from being part of our organization justify our asking you to pay more. As of September 1, GDUI annual dues will increase to $25 per year, and if you want to become a life member of GDUI, your dues will be $400. We will continue to work out a way for life members to split their payments into timed installments. And, of course, if you would like to become a life member during the next few months, before the increase goes into effect in September, you’ll be benefitting from a significant discount. Please contact Sarah for all of the details and to set up your payment plan! Call 866.799.8436, toll free in the USA.

Your donations to GDUI are always welcomed and appreciated, and our fund-raising committee is pursuing several additional strategies for bringing in dollars, including GDUI’s participation in the 2017 ACB Convention Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk! We will be sharing the details about our GDUI team, how you and your guide dog can join as real-time or virtual walker(s), and how you can contact friends and family members to make ACB/GDUI donations grow, in a coming announcement.

Remember, the Record Date, by which time you need to be a paid-in-full member of GDUI for 2017, is rapidly approaching.

That date is April 7. All members who have joined by that date are eligible to vote in our May election. Election dates are May 27 through June 4. And, if you want to run for one of the two open board seats, you need to contact the Chairperson of our Membership Committee, Dixie Sanderson, by April 1. Here’s the link where you’ll find all the details about the coming election: http://guidedogusersinc.org/announcing-gdui-2017-elections/.

During coming weeks, the Nominations Committee will be eager to receive your questions for the two candidates’ forums which will take place in late April and early May, and the Bylaws Committee will be meeting to discuss the several amendments to GDUI bylaws that members have proposed. If you have submitted an amendment, expect to hear from Maria Hansen, who chairs our Bylaws and Resolutions Committee, to schedule a time when the committee can consult with you via telephone about your proposed constitutional change.

The First-Timers’ Contest: We hope that lots of you are working on your essays to apply to win one of two “First Timers’ Awards,” for attending our GDUI convention in Sparks, Nevada. The deadline for submitting your application is April 15. If you win, you’ll be one of two people to receive $955 when you arrive at the GDUI convention suite. Here’s the link where you’ll find all of the First-Timers’ details:

GDUI Announcement, February 28, 2017

 Speaking of Convention … and Awards …

It’s time to think about rewarding those people who have improved our lives as users of guide dogs over the past year or so. Here’s the announcement from Charlie Crawford who is chairing our 2017 GDUI Awards Committee:

Hi GDUI members and friends,

It’s that time of year again: Help GDUI Honor the People Who Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Guide Dog Handlers! Guide Dog Users, Inc. has a long tradition of honoring the people who have assisted us as guide dog handlers and improved our communities in positive ways.  

Again this year, we are seeking candidates for our Ethel Bender and Moffat-Gleitz awards.  In addition, we wish to honor the writers and communicators who make our quarterly magazine, PawTracks, and other productions such as the GDUI Juno Report, such informative and entertaining publications.

We encourage you to think about all the PawTracks and GDUI Juno contributors whose stories, articles, and poems have informed and entertained you in the last year. If someone moved you or made you smile or taught you something new about yourself or your dog or your experience as a person who is blind, we hope you will nominate that person for the GDUI PawTracks Excellence in media Award.

Next, our Ethel Bender award honors a sighted person who has made a significant contribution to the guide dog community.  Past winners included Ted Zubrycki, Lukas Frank and Michael Lilly.

Our third award, the Moffat-Gleitz Award honors a person who is blind and who has significantly improved the lives of guide dog users.

Awards will be presented at the GDUI annual luncheon on Wednesday, July 5, in Sparks, Nevada.

Please send us the name(s) of the person(S) an where or how to contact them and for which award they are being nominated and why?  Your nomination does not need to be long, but worded sufficiently to give us a clear understanding about why you choose to nominate that person or persons.  Please also include your contact information so we can follow up with you if we require more information. Send your nominations to Charlie Crawford at this address:

Director1@guidedogusersinc.org and Put the words:  “GDUI AWARD Nomination(s)” in your subject line.

No access to e-mail?  Call GDUI’s office manager, Sarah Calhoun at 866.799.8436. Please submit your nominations by June 1, 2017, and thank you for helping us honor the people who make life for guide dog teams better every day.

Charlie Crawford: Chair, GDUI Awards Committee.

That wraps up our latest announcements. As always, we appreciate your friendship and support.  

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
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, March 17, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

GDUI Board to Meet on Saturday, March 18, 2017! Don’t miss our board meeting this coming Saturday. Every member, and every one of our friends, is a welcomed guest at our GDUI Board meetings. The meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m., EDT – That’s 10:00 a.m. EDT on the West Coast. Call 712.432.0075. Use this Participant Access Code: 919245-Pound. We will look forward to finding many of you on the phone with us on Saturday afternoon!

GDUI Elections Coming Right Up! Announcing the GDUI 2017 Elections

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. GDUI is seeking candidates for two (2) positions in our May 2017 elections. We will be filling two Directors’ Seats, each having a 3-Year Term.

All GDUI members in good standing are eligible to run for a position on the GDUI Board. Interested candidates should submit an application, resume and cover letter to the Nominations Committee Chair, Dixie Sanderson Director5@GuideDogUsersInc.org by the deadline of April 1, 2017.

GDUI members who have paid their dues by this year’s record date of April 7, 2017 will be eligible to vote in the May elections.

If you have not renewed your membership, now is the time to do so. This will allow you to vote to fill the two open board seats, as well as to accept or reject any bylaw changes that members have recommended, in our universally accessible elections this coming May. GDUI is proud of our universally accessible voting system in which each member of GDUI is entitled to a voice.

A membership in GDUI costs just $15.00 per person per year, and includes an annual subscription to PawTracks, our quarterly magazine. Dues may be paid online by going to http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/ or by credit card by calling 1-866.799.8436; or by mailing your check made payable to GDUI to our postal mailing address:

GUIDE DOG USERS, INC.
C/O Sarah Calhoun
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial, MO 63052

Important dates to remember:

In order to be eligible to vote in the 2017 GDUI election, your 2017 GDUI dues must have been received on or before the record date of April 7, 2017.

We will hold 2 candidates’ Forums prior to the election.  Phone numbers for these calls will be publicized closer to the dates.

Candidates’ Forum 1:  Saturday, April 29, 2017, 1:00 PM EDT.

Candidates’ Forum 2:  Thursday May 11, 2017, 8:00 PM EDT

Between the dates of April 2, 2017, and April 16, 2017, we encourage members to submit questions for your candidates.  Please submit your questions to the Nominations Chair, Dixie Sanderson Director5@GuideDogUsersInc.org and include “Forum Question” in the subject line of your message.

Election dates: Saturday, May 27 12:00 A.M. Eastern through Sunday, June 4, 2017 11:59 PM.

Are you thinking of running for one of the directorships? We welcome your candidacy! Below, find the application for candidacy (also available here http://guidedogusersinc.org/announcing-gdui-2017-elections/

Application for Candidacy:

GDUI has three major responsibilities:

  1. To promote the acceptance of guide dog teams by all agencies, employers, educational institutions, commercial establishments, and the general public;
  2. To work for the expansion, standardization, and enforcement of legal provisions, both civil and criminal, governing the rights and responsibilities of guide dog users in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation; and
  3. To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers by contributing constructive input concerning selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and providing constructive suggestions that will improve the quality of the training experience.

With these goals in mind, please answer the following questions:

Date:

Position for which you wish to be a candidate:

Applicant’s Name:

Street Address:

City/State/zip code:

Phone number

E-mail Address:

Are you a guide dog user?

Describe your background (Educational, occupational and general experience.

Why do you WISH to serve on the GDUI Board?

Which of your skills and experiences would most support Board activities?

Please describe a time when a group of which you were a part accomplished its goal(s).

What caused the group to be successful?  How did you contribute to this success?

The GDUI Board of Directors uses e-mail to communicate with one another.  Are you able to communicate effectively using this medium and do you have access to e-mail?

The GDUI Board of Directors meets every other month by telephone. Meetings last from 2 to 3 hours.  Other ad hoc telephonic meetings are sometimes called as well. Board Members are often asked to chair and serve on committees and perform tasks on behalf of GDUI as directed by the officers and committee chairpersons. Will you be able to find time to perform the tasks described above?

Respectfully Submitted,

The GDUI Nominations Committee

Nolan Crab

Charlie Crawford

Pauline Lamontagne

Deanna Noriega

Dixie Sanderson (Chair)

Are you planning to attend Guide Dog Users of Washington State’s fabulous Spring Fling? The date has changed! Here’s the information you need from the Event Chairperson, Vivian Conger:

When:  Saturday, April 29, 2017

Who:  GUIDE DOG USERS OF WASHINGTON STATE (GDUWS)

What:  GDUWS 2017 Spring Fling

Where:  paralyzed veterans of America building, 616 SW 152nd St., Burien, WA.

Time:  9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Registration starts at 8:30 a.m.

Hotel for Participants:  coast gateway hotel, 18415 International Blvd., SeaTac, WA, 206. 248.8200.  Each participant is responsible for making and paying for hotel room reservations as we don’t have a conference discount this year.

Come join us for the day where we will have lots of fun, education, and a Remembrance of Animals; in addition to many other events.

If you have an idea for a presentation/panel, please let me know.

Look for more information to come as time gets closer.

Vivian Conger, Chair
Events Planning
509.200.0599
Blazie.girl@gmail.com

Many of us have found that flying with our guide dogs can be challenging, but we’ve never heard a more harrowing account of outright discrimination against a guide dog user than the one we heard this past week when Jonathan Mosen interviewed our member from Maine, Sue Martin, about the terrible discriminatory treatment she received at the hands of an American Airlines crew on a flight she attempted to take in early March. Here’s a link to Jonathan’s interview with Sue, which was featured on his excellent podcast, “TheBlindSide,” earlier this week. I also talked with Jonathan about these issues and GDUI’s advocacy on behalf of all of us who travel with our guide dogs.

And, to refresh your memory about your civil rights under the Air Carrier Access Act, visit this link, provided by the U. S. Department of Transportation: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/passengers-disabilities

In other news, 2017 Roeder Scholarship Applications Now Available! Applications for the 2017 Joseph Roeder Scholarship are now available on the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) website. The scholarship provides a one-time award of $2,500 for an individual who is blind to pursue education in a business related field.

The scholarship is named for Joe Roeder, senior accessible technology specialist at NIB from 1997 until his death in 2010. Roeder was instrumental in the development of the Section 508 electronic and information technology accessibility standards of the Rehabilitation Act, which require all federal government agencies to provide accessible data, EQUIPMENT,  and information for employees with disabilities.

Eligible candidates must be:

Legally blind;
A college student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in a business-related field;
Have a GPA of at least 3.0;

Applications and supporting documents must be submitted online no later than Friday, May 5, 2017, here: http://www.nib.org/content/roeder-scholarship-application.

For more information, contact Kathy Gallagher, 703.310.0343 or kgallagher@nib.org

Info for Vets: VA is introducing 1-844.MyVA311 (1-844.698.2311) as a go-to source for Veterans and their families who may be confused about what number to call for specific information or services. This new national toll-free number will help eliminate the feeling of frustration and confusion that Veterans and their families have sometimes experienced when navigating the 1000-plus phone numbers that currently exist within the VA system.

 With 1-844.MyVA311, Veterans, families, and caregivers can access information about VA services like disability, pension, healthcare eligibility, enrollment, and burial benefits, in addition to a self-service locator to find the nearest VA facility. And if they’re looking for immediate assistance with housing or are having a mental health crisis, MyVA311 will route callers to the Homeless Veteran help line and the Veterans Crisis Line.

If you already know which number to call, keep calling it. None of the existing VA numbers will go away. The future vision is that 1-844.MyVA311 will become a 24/7 one-stop information service platform for all VA services. [From: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/32858/myva311-one-number-call-reach-va/]

SCAM Alert! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently confirmed that the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country. The scammers represent themselves as HHS OIG Hotline employees and can alter the appearance of the caller ID to make it seem as if the call is coming from the HHS OIG Hotline, 1-800.HHS.TIPS (1-800.447.8477). The perpetrator may use various tactics to obtain or verify the victim’s personal information, which can then be used to steal money from an individual’s bank account or for other fraudulent activity.

HHS OIG takes this matter seriously. The agency is actively investigating this matter and intends to have the perpetrators prosecuted.

It is important to know that HHS OIG will not use the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number to make outgoing calls and individuals should not answer calls from 1-800.HHS.TIPS (1-800.447.8477). HHS encourages the public to remain vigilant, protect their personal information, and guard against providing personal information during calls that purport to be from the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number. HHS also reminds the public that it is still safe to call into the HHS OIG Hotline to report fraud, and particularly encourages those who believe they may have been a victim of the telephone spoofing scam to report that information to them through the HHS OIG Hotline 1-800.HHS.TIPS

(1-800.447.8477) or spoof@oig.hhs.gov. Individuals may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission 1-877.FTC.HELP (1-877.382.4357).

Are you working on your application to win the First-Timers’ Award which will help you attend the GDUI Convention in Sparks, Nevada, in early July? There will be two lucky winners! The only criteria for applying are that you have never before attended an ACB national convention and that you’re a member of GDUI! The deadline for submitting your application is April 15, so check out the First-Timers’ Application here, http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-announcement-february-28-2017/ and start thinking about those essay responses! We can hardly wait to meet you in our GDUI Suite and share the bounty of last summer’s fund-raiser which will support two lucky winners with a cash prize of $995 each.

Today is the day for the Wearin’ of the Green! Each of us – so my friends who are Irish-American tell me – is at least a little bit Irish! And, that’s a good thing indeed. No matter how you celebrate the day, we hope you and your dog experience some of that lovely Irish luck! We hope to find many of you at Saturday’s board meeting, and, until then, thank you for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
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.

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

GDUI Announcement, February 17, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Tomorrow’s the day! We will host a telephonic membership meeting for all GDUI members, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (11 a.m., Pacific Standard Time) and lasting until 4:00 p.m. Call this number: 712.432.0075, and use this Participant Code: 919245-Pound.

We will segment our discussion under three broad themes: Membership involvement in the governance of GDUI; Membership contributions to funding GDUI; and Members’ involvement in determining GDUI’s advocacy goals.

We know that many of you have good ideas, and we are eager to hear them and happy to have this opportunity to share with one another.

GDUI Bylaws And Resolutions Committee News
This year’s GDUI election will run from Saturday, May 27 through Sunday, June 4, 2017.  The Bylaws and Resolutions Committee will consider amendments to the GDUI 2015 Bylaws for inclusion on the ballot. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the Bylaws Committee no less than seventy-five (75) days prior to the election which means that if you have amendments to suggest, you need to get them in by

Monday, March 13, 2017.   Proposed amendments may be sent to bylaws@guidedogusersinc.org
If you don’t have computer access, call Maria Hansen, Committee Chair, at 212.929.5025.

GDUI Bylaws are available for review on our website at http://guidedogusersinc.org/resources/governing-documents-of-gdui/gdui-bylaws-2015/

One More Top Dog Update! If you weren’t able to attend Top Dog 2017, or you want to listen again to one of the conference presentations, you can now find all of the recordings on our web site here: http://guidedogusersinc.org/top-dog-2017/. Thanks to ACB Radio for making these excellent recordings available to us for posting.

Air Travel will be one of the Featured Topics at ACB’s Legislative Seminar. We’re all wondering about what next steps DOT may take with respect to updating regulations regarding guide and service dogs on planes. Is a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) coming, or will these – like other regulations currently are – fall by the wayside? What might DOT propose, and, if the Department does propose new regulations, will they have taken our input in the aborted “RegNeg” process of last year into account?

Tune in, via ACB Radio, on Monday, February 27, between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon, to hear from Blane Workie, Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Transportation, and Livaughn Chapman Jr., Chief, Aviation Civil Rights Compliance Branch, Office of the General Counsel,  U.S. Department of Transportation, who will be discussing, “Access in the Skies: A U.S. Transportation Update.”

Now for other news. There’s a new service, rolling out nationwide, that allows families to take advantage of ride-sharing services like Uber and LYFT for family members who may not be able to contact these services using the smart-phone apps so many of us have become familiar with.

GoGoGrandparent connects seniors to Uber to get to doctor’s appointments, social engagements or anywhere they want to go within 100 miles.  It sounds super easy and no smart phone is required.  You can try out their demo with a sample phone call right from their website. Operators are available 24-hours a day at this number: 855.464.6872.

When setting up the call, you can add an emergency contact who will be informed about the trip via e-mail or text message. Learn more about the service here: https://gogograndparent.com/faq

We hope that this next item is the kind of good news so many of us have been needing to hear. Uber has updated their official service dog policy presumably to recognize the civil rights protections available to us under the Americans with Disabilities Act (and the terms of last December’s settlement agreement). I will quote from their news release:

 “State and Federal law prohibits driver-partners using the Uber app from denying service to riders with service animals because of their service animals or otherwise discriminating against riders because of their service animals.”

“*Driver partners have a legal obligation to provide service to riders with service animals

*Driver partners cannot lawfully deny service to a rider with a service animal because of allergies, religious objections or a general fear of dogs.

*Each driver partner has been made aware of their obligation to transport riders with service animals through the technology services agreement they signed with Uber.

*If driver partners refuse a rider with a service animal, because of their service animal, that driver is in violation of the law and in breach of their agreement with Uber.”

“*If Uber determines that a driver denied service to a rider because of a service animal the driver will be permanently banned from the Uber Driver App.

*Uber will make the determination of whether service was denied because of a service animal in a review of the incident

*If Uber receives multiple complaints about a driver partner denying service to a rider because of a service animal, that partner will be permanently banned from driving with Uber, regardless of the justification the driver-partner offers.”

According to Uber, this is how you can and should report a denial of service complaint: You can get to the right place in your Uber app via either the trip details screen or the account menu button. navigate to “I want to file a service animal issue” complaint screen and leave your information. You can also file a complaint on Uber’s web site by clicking on the HELP link.

Let’s hope the company is serious about implementing and enforcing this newly announced policy.

Not relevant to this discussion of Uber’s updated service animal policies, but still useful information is this: You can file a denial of service complaint with LYFT by calling this Critical Response Line phone number: 855.865.9553.

Coming Events! Even though winter is still making its presence rather fiercely known in many parts of the country, we’re already more than halfway through February, and lots of us are getting excited about the coming of spring time events that will let us connect with other guide dog users and their dogs! Last week, Guide Dog Users of Washington State shared preliminary details about their annual GDUWS Spring Romp:

SAVE THE DATE!
When:  Saturday, May 6, 2017
Who:  GUIDE DOG USERS OF WASHINGTON STATE (GDUWS)
What:  GDUWS 2017 Spring Fling
Where:  Seattle area

The GDUWS Spring Fling will again be held in conjunction with the Washington Council of the Blind’s (WCB) 2017 Leadership Training Seminar and Spring Board meeting.

 Come join us for the day where we will have lots of fun, education, and a Remembrance of Animals, in addition to many other events.

You can contact Vivian Conger, who is the Chair of GDUWS’s Special Events Committee, for more information here: 509.200.0599, or by e-mail: Blazie.girl@gmail.com.

Candle in the Window is an annual mini-conference for participants who are blind which takes place toward the end of the summer or in early fall. That’s pretty far away, but registration, which is limited to only 20 participants, is occurring now. If you’ve been longing to acquire a particular skill and wondering just exactly who might be able to teach you how to do it, this event may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for! Here’s the announcement: CANDLE IN THE WINDOW PRESENTS ITS 2017 RETREAT! Our topic this year is How do you DO That?: Teaching each other skills we’ve always wanted to learn!

We’ll be meeting once again at the lovely and gracious Wooded Glen Retreat Center in Henryville, Indiana, located minutes away from Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a great opportunity to connect with friends and to enjoy conversations that explore the impact of internal and external factors on ourselves as people who are blind.

Our agenda? Well, that will be up to us as participants. Anyone who would like to teach something is invited to get together with those who would like to learn. Skills could range from things like How to Ask for Help, to What the Heck do I do with this iPhone, to perhaps how to whittle. The possibilities are limited by the imagination of those willing to teach or learn.

Retreat Dates: Wednesday, September 27 thru Sunday, October 1. The Conference Fee includes round trip transportation from the Louisville KY, Airport to the retreat center; all meals; and room accommodations (per person) as follows:
Double Occupancy: $550
Single Occupancy: $705

All registration fees must be paid in full by September 8th. A $40 deposit (non refundable) will reserve your spot. If payment is received before August 15, a $15 discount is offered. Registration closes September 15, 2017.

For more information contact: Kathy Szinnyey, joyfulrenegade@gmail.com or call her at 502.759.1288 or, call Patrick Votta at 718.797.2475, or via e-mail, pvotta@verizon.net

Until tomorrow, February 18, at 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, when we hope to connect with many of you, thanks for reading and for sharing information in these announcements with your friends who are blind and visually impaired. We’re looking forward to spending time with all of you tomorrow afternoon.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
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, February 8, 2017

Dear GDUI Members,

First, the big announcement and invitation! You are all invited to our first Membership/Town Hall Meeting of 2017! The meeting will take place via conference call on Saturday, February 18, beginning at 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (11:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time) at this number: 712.432.0075. Your Participant Code will be: 919245-Pound. We expect the conversation to last for at least 90 minutes, with a possible end-of-meeting time of 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time. We hope that many of you will come ready to participate in our conversation. Bring us your concerns. Tell us what you like, where we can improve, how you want to help, and how you see Guide Dog Users, Inc. meeting the needs of the 21st Century guide dog users’ community.

We anticipate that our meeting will incorporate several themes, including these:

1. Membership Involvement in the governance of GDUI: Since GDUI’s members voted to embrace universal, accessible voting, we have been proud to accept guidance from all of our members. With the advent of universal voting made available by phone and online to every GDUI member, GDUI was no longer guided by mandates from the relatively few members and GDUI affiliates’ representatives who could attend our annual conventions. Each of us can submit proposed amendments for the consideration of GDUI’s Bylaws and Resolutions Committee, and vote proposed bylaw amendments up or down via a universally accessible election ballot, as well as cast our votes for the candidates of our choosing. We believe that this system is a good one, especially since via telephone, e-mail and web site feedback, members have many opportunities during the course of the year’s day-to-day conversations to communicate with directors and officers, and our administration has tried hard to take your comments and suggestions into account, to add items you have submitted to us (often via e—mail or phone calls) to our meeting agendas, to welcome you as observers and participants at our board meetings, and to share information and concerns with you via these announcements, and in the pages of PawTracks.

Yet, some of our members are asking, can this representative kind of democracy respond effectively to members’ concerns and guidance? Are there other ways for members to participate more directly in decisions and discussions that influence GDUI’s operations and direction? Now that members don’t recommend and vote upon GDUI policies while participating in the annual GDUI business meetings at our summer conventions, what are effective ways for members to make their wishes known and direct the activities of the organization? How can resolutions be introduced, discussed, considered, and acted upon? Is there a danger that just a few who have the time and inclination to participate on GDUI e-mail discussion lists and bimonthly affiliates calls are the only members whose needs and concerns will or can be addressed? Is there a danger that the attention of directors and officers will be drawn toward those few members who don’t hesitate to find fault or express discontent while they may not find a way to hear from members who may want to share more positive suggestions, i.e., is it only the “squeaky wheels” who are capable of attracting board members’ attentions?   What role does or should PawTracks (or Facebook or Twitter or www.GuideDogUsersInc.org)  play in fostering forums for member involvement and feedback? What about members who either by personal choice or because of lack of opportunity don’t participate in online discussions?

We welcome your participation in this discussion. On our part, we will ask Maria Hansen, Chair of the GDUI Bylaws and Resolutions Committee, and other board members to explain how members can participate in crafting, understanding and voting upon bylaws and bylaws changes, and in the resolutions process, as well.

Dixie Sanderson, who chairs this year’s Nominating Committee, will outline plans for the coming elections, including the process for becoming involved as a candidate for office and also participating in our planned candidates forums.

2. What role should and can members play in funding the work that GDUI does on their behalf?

GDUI’s individual membership dues have not been increased for many years.(In an informal poll of board members, I couldn’t find anyone who remembers paying less than$15 annually – ever!) Yet, during that time, the costs for providing members’ services have increased dramatically.

 Online and telephonic voting do not come cheap! During last year’s election, we paid $5.00 for each member eligible to vote, and we just received a quote for this year’s services from VoteNow, which will cost the same. VoteNow which conducts our elections, assists members who encounter difficulties, tallies the results, and assures that our system is entirely secure provides good service to us, and theirs was the lowest bid among companies we surveyed in order to select the best service provider.

Of course, we have additional ongoing expenses as well, including those for PawTracks, for maintaining our web site, and for putting on an excellent GDUI national convention each summer. We provide a toll-free number for our members who reside in the USA, and there are expenses associated with advocacy as well as with our affiliation with ACB.

Dixie Sanderson, who serves with Maria Hansen, Lynn Merrill, Sarah Calhoun, and me on the GDUI Budget and Finance Committee, is gifted at explaining exactly how your membership dues figure into our overall budget – and the resulting shortfall that we are experiencing.

We want you to understand why we’re proposing an increase in members’ dues, and we want to hear about your ideas for other ways of finding the money to meet your needs.

Part of this discussion will also include the disposition of GDUI’s reserves, and Maria Hansen and Lynn Merrill will discuss our beliefs about how and when investment funds should be tapped, and when and how we might find other ways to raise funds.

3. GDUI exists to support our members, most of whom are guide dog users themselves, to advocate for our civil rights as people who are blind who choose to travel with guide dogs for independence and safety, and to educate the public about our dogs, our rights, and the many benefits of partnering with guide dogs. What directions should GDUI be pursuing in terms of support and advocacy?

Charlie Crawford, who chairs the GDUI Advocacy and Legislative Committee, will be eager to provide the latest info on what we’ve been doing to advocate for you and on your behalf, and to hear from you if or how our advocacy goals should be expanded.

So, there you have it! This is a lot to cover within just a short afternoon, and we promise to keep our remarks as brief as we can, to give all of you ample opportunity to tell us what you think and guide us in the directions you want us to go.

We propose a two-minute time limit for each member who wishes to speak on a given topic, and Sarah Calhoun, GDUI’s Secretary and Office Manager, will be using her IPhone to make sure we don’t stray from that limit.

Background noise has been a persistent problem on board meeting calls. We implore each of you to mute your phones when you are not speaking so that all of us can hear one another. Our conference calling service does include a feature by which all callers, except for a few, can be muted and a central authority can then allow individuals to speak – while everyone else’s line is kept quiet. As tempting as it is to utilize this feature, we hesitate to do so. Honestly, this exact feature has been used in less democratic times to silence members who wished to speak and to promote only one, favored point of view. We believe in open dialogue, and frankly we don’t want to even imply that those actions from a darker period in GDUI’s history could be adopted again. So, please, if you’re not speaking, mute your phones (Star6), and if you can’t make your smart phone fall in line, keep the background noise at a minimum! We appreciate your cooperation.

 In any meeting of this sort, it’s easy to fall into the mind-sets of complaining, criticizing, and accusation. We hope that this meeting can rise above that kind of negativity. Please share with us those things that you like about GDUI as well as those ways we can all listen and respond to one another’s needs and wishes and hopes effectively! We all joined GDUI for similar reasons. We whom you have elected to represent you hope that we’re measuring up to your expectations, and we’re eager to hear from you about the best ways to meet your needs and facilitate your participation in decision making.

We are looking forward to hearing from many of you on Saturday, February 18. We’ll be there at 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. We hope you will be too.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

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

Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436

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

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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

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

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

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

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

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

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

businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

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

GDUI Announcement, January 29, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

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

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

Welcome, CAGDU!

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

Hi fellow CAGDU members!

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

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

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

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

All my best to you,

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

CCrawford@RCN.com

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

Hello GDUI members and friends,

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

Drop Box:

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

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

Recording play back: Call: 712.432.1085

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

Best,

Sarah Calhoun

GDUI Secretary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Branco

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

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

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

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

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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

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

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

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

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

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

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

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

GDUI Announcement, January 20, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Membership Committee Update and Request:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IRS Services for People with Disabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

GDUI Website: guidedogusersinc.org

Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436

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

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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

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

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

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

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

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

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

GDUI Announcement, January 9, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 8, 2017
Dear Valued Guest,

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

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

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

Top Dog 2017 Program:

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

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

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

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

Saturday:

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

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

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

Sunday, January 15

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

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

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

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

Thank you all for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

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

Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436

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

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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

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

http://acbradio.org/gdr.xml

Or search for the GDUI Juno Report on ITunes.

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

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

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

http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/.

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

gduichatlist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

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

businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org