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
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

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: 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:

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:

When:  Saturday, May 6, 2017
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:

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, or call her at 502.759.1288 or, call Patrick Votta at 718.797.2475, or via e-mail,

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.


Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

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


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