PawTracks Spring 2015

PawTracks
Spring 2015
Volume XLII, No. 1
Editor: Nolan Crabb
Technical Assistant: Jane Sheehan
PawTracks is the quarterly magazine of Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI)
An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Visit GDUI Online at: www.guidedogusersinc.org
Toll-Free: (866) 799-8436

April 11, 2015
Table of Contents
President’s Message: A Morning Update On a Snowy Day by Penny Reeder
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch compiled by Nolan Crabb
GDUI 2015 Convention News by Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair
Nominating Committee News
Help GDUI Honor People Who Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Guide Dog Handlers
2015 Candidate Information
Be Informed and Ready for the Summer Traveling Season by Ginger Kutsch, GDUI Legislative Committee Chair
Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Guide Dog
Gallantry in Action by Ann Chiappetta, GDUI Publications Committee Chair
Preaching to the Choir: Acting Beyond What Is Asked of Them by Rebecca Kragnes
The Seeing Eye On the Silver Screen Reprinted With Permission of the Seeing Eye
Service Animals and Allergies in the Workplace by Linda Carter Batiste, J.D. and Tracie Saab, M.S.
An Opportunity for You to Assist Guide Dog Users, Inc. by Robert Acosta, GDUI Fundraising Committee Chair
Top Dog Roundup: A Volunteer’s Perspective by Michelle Grenevitch and Danielle McIntyre
GDUI Treasurer’s Report January 1 Through March 23, 2015 by Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer
GDUI Board Minutes compiled by Sarah Calhoun
Proposed Bylaws Draft for Submission to the Membership, April 6, 2015
Leader Dogs for the Blind Earns National Accreditation for O&M Service Offerings by Rachelle Kniffen, Director of Communications and Marketing

(Note that asterisks (*) separate each article and plus signs (+) separate sections within articles.
*****
President’s Message: A Morning Update on a Snowy Day
Penny Reeder
Good morning! It’s a lovely snowy morning from a Washington, DC suburb where Willow and I live and work and enjoy our family and friends. The sparkly, crunchy snow makes this a morning of promise! Certainly New Englanders, with so much snow they’ve run out of places to put it all, don’t agree with the wonder Willow and I are experiencing–but for us, on this first real snow day of the winter, there is the pleasure of turning off the alarm clock before it can awaken us with that jarring sound of obligation and burrowing back under the covers to catch a few more winks, with no need to rush to school or work or even yet to the snow shovels, and the promised sounds of happy laughter when sleds glide down snowy hills and toddlers learn to make angels in the snow.

By the time you read this message, thoughts of spring will be on your minds and the precautions of winter may gradually be becoming a memory. GDUI has experienced a good and productive winter. Our membership rolls have continued to grow, and our committees have been working hard. Our developing policy with respect to misrepresentation of pets as service animals has garnered some publicity and much approval within the community of people with disabilities, and soon our affiliates will be working to translate our policy statement into legislation which, all of us hope, will decrease the many incidences of these assaults on our civil rights. More and more of our members have expressed an interest in helping out with the work of GDUI, with advocacy, with updating our publications, and improving our web site, and offering empathetic advice, and working to amend our bylaws to simplify the language while preserving our way of governance and assuring conformance with the not-for-profit code. Our chat list has been busy, our empathizers continue to provide listening ears and to offer reassurances and advice. Our budget and finance committee continues to husband our resources while honoring our mission, and enthusiastic fund-raisers offer a variety of opportunities to support the work that is so important to us all. And, GDUI continues to anticipate a promising future of supporting our members and serving our shared community.

Around a hundred and fifty of us — and 93 dogs — attended the fantastic Top Dog conference which our Dixieland, Florida, and Georgia affiliates put together for us. What a wonderful week end! There were informative programs — including a panel on misrepresentation of pets as service dogs, an update from eight of the nine schools who were present, reassurance from a vet tech who told us not to panic if our dogs ate a chocolate chip or an Oreo cookie as he explained the dangers of a chocolate — or a grape — or a raisin — overdose and offered advice on ways to handle those inevitable doggie-related emergencies that occur at home. There was beautiful, inspiring music from Laurel Jean and others. Puppy raisers shared stories some of which brought tears to our eyes and others of which made us laugh as we identified — too well — with the challenges of coping with canine curiosity and willpower. There were awards — GDUI thanks you for ours! There were kind blessings and fantastic Gullah/Geechee gospel music. Charleston outdid its already amazing reputation for deliciousness with Frogmore Stew and incredible fried chicken! And, best of all were the friendship and the camaraderie, and the hugs! Thank you Audrey Gunter, and everyone associated with Top Dog. You all know how to put on a truly top-of-the-mark conference!

Spring brings discussions of those amended bylaws, online via e-mail and in other venues, and elections in May, where we will ask you to approve or reject the 11 bylaws, one at a time, and via a new election system which will guarantee even more universal access to the process of voting, via the internet or the telephone depending on your preferences. Universal voting is an aspect of GDUI’s democracy that makes us proud. It is also expensive. WE pay for every member who is eligible to vote, so please honor our faith in you and our belief in real democracy by participating in the voting in May. Two directorships will be up for election as well as the 11 bylaws. We will send out notices, and they will include detailed explanations and instructions for voting via the updated system. We will make online avenues for discussion available, and hold candidates’ forums as always. All we ask of you is your participation!

I will wrap up this president’s message now and let you get on to the many reading pleasures the pages of every issue of PawTracks contain. The next time I write a president’s message, the Dallas convention will be right around the corner — with a great program that the convention program committee is already putting together, and more promises of shared information, friendship, and reunion! Until then, stay warm, enjoy the pleasures of spring with your pups, and thank you for your friendship and support.
*****
News Kibble From the Announcement Pouch
Compiled by Nolan Crabb
(It is with regret that we inform you that the GDUI fundraising cruise slated for later this year has been cancelled.)
A news item from a New Jersey newspaper had high praise for Elementary-school Nurse Bonnie DiCola, a puppy raiser for the Seeing Eye, citing her efforts in bringing guide dog puppies into the school and making them part of the school’s daily activities. The pups provide comfort to ill and injured students who stop by DiCola’s office, and the dogs get the added experience of being in a high-energy sometimes noisy school environment.

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Apple’s iBeacon technology Could Soon Make a Difference in London

A news item in a London paper says transit officials there are working with Apple iBeacon Bluetooth technology to provide verbal announcements designed to help blind travelers navigate the city’s transit network. The system is still in its early formative stages; deployment of iBeacons is as yet uncompleted. But those who have tested it say it offers promise as a supplemental navigation aid.

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Guide Dog Assists Former Baseball Professional
Bill Denehy was once listed as one of baseball’s promising rookies. His picture appeared on baseball cards alongside that of Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver. But these days, Denehy is most often found alongside Kane, a Fidelco German Shepherd. Denehy began to lose his sight in 2005; the blindness was caused by cortisone injections he received while playing pro ball pitching his way through the season with a sore arm.

He said getting his first dog, Kane, reminded him of the baseball season of 1964 when he made enough money to buy an Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible. Kane has given Denehy the confidence boost he needed to go places and do things he would not likely have attempted otherwise.

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GDUI to Host May Board Meeting
The next board meeting of Guide Dog Users, Inc. is slated for May 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. GDUI members are welcome to listen in on the calls and will be given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. To join the meeting, call (712) 432-0075. The access code is 919245 followed by the pound sign.

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Stay informed about GDUI activities and announcements via telephone. It’s the perfect way for those without a computer to get up-to-the-minute information about the affiliate. Call (646) 653-1900, and check back often. The phone announcements are changed every Tuesday.

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GDUI Advocacy Resource
Looking for guidance for those times when you need advocacy help? Check out the Advocacy Resources section of the GDUI web site at www.guidedogusersinc.org
for information about laws and regulations that define our rights as guide dog handlers as well as tips on self-advocacy. We welcome both your requests for assistance and your feedback. Contact us at
advocacy@guidedogusersinc.org.

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Cabbie Loses ADA Suit After Refusing Ride to Service Dog
Jay Stapleton, The Connecticut Law Tribune
February 20, 2015

As a taxi driver recently learned, being afraid of dogs is not a legally valid excuse for refusing to pick up a disabled person with a service animal.

Mansoor Ahmad was fired from his job in 2011 for doing just that. In response, in a pair of lawsuits in both state and federal court, Ahmad claimed he was discriminated against because of his own disability: a fear of dogs.

On June 10, 2011, Ahmad was in his taxi waiting in line to pick up passengers at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. When it was his turn to pick up a fare, Ahmad pulled up to the curb and saw the passenger was a person with a service dog. As he had previously been bitten by a dog, he refused to allow the passenger into his cab.
An airport taxi dispatcher who worked for the Connecticut Department of Transportation called the police. Ahmad and his father, who was driving a separate taxi for the company and who had come to his son’s defense, were both detained by police and subsequently fired.

In 2012, Ahmad filed separate lawsuits against the Yellow Cab Co. of New London Inc. and the Department of Transportation, which took Ahmad’s taxi license. Judges who were called on to review those lawsuits–one in state and the other in federal court came to the same conclusions and dismissed all claims.

On Feb. 6, Superior Court Judge Nina Elgo agreed that a fear of dogs is a recognized mental disability under the DSM-5 diagnostic manual of standards used by the courts. However, she stated, it does not protect someone who refuses services to or who denies access to another person with a disability. Under state and federal law, the judge wrote, Ahmad’s employment prohibited him from refusing to provide taxi service to individuals with service dogs.

Ahmad’s lawyer, John Williams of New Haven, said he was not surprised at the ruling. “I saw it coming,” he said, referring to a series of court decisions that have found that workers cannot claim employment discrimination if their disability stops them from performing the “essential functions of the job.”

In 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Siederbaum v. New York, found that a man with bipolar disorder could not sue the city for discrimination after it rejected his application to be a transit bus driver. The panel concluded that “a lack of bipolar disorder was an essential part of the job.”

In the Ahmad case, Elgo wrote, “under state and federal law, taxicab drivers are required to provide transportation to disabled individuals and their service animals, which constitutes an essential function of their job.” The plaintiff, she said, provided no authority to support “his ultimate claim, that in order to accommodate his disability, the defendant should be forced to violate state and federal laws which prohibit discrimination of another individual based on disability.”

Late last year, U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson made a similar ruling in the federal lawsuit, which alleged Ahmad’s rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While neither outcome was surprising, it did appear to be the first time that a fear of dogs came up in an employment discrimination lawsuit in Connecticut. Because of that novelty, Williams said he thinks the decision will be of interest to employers who hire employment lawyers to draft policies about adhering to ADA regulations.
Similar issues have arisen from time to time, he said. For instance, he handled a case matter many years ago where a man claimed he could not provide a urine sample for employment drug testing because he had “lazy bladder syndrome.”

Daniel Schwartz, a Shipman & Goodwin employment law partner, has been following the case since 2012. He even wrote about the legal issues in his Connecticut Employment Law Blog. Of particular interest to Schwartz is the idea that a growing list of phobias that are recognized as disabilities could give rise to claims from workers seeking protection from discrimination.

The taxi driver, he noted, was successful in showing that fear of dogs was a disability. “Under the ADA, the definition of a disability is much broader than it was before,” he said. For instance, he said, many anxiety disorders are now recognized disabilities. Schwartz said this is one of the first cases, if not the first case, in which a Connecticut court held that “a phobia is a mental disorder in Connecticut.”
But, Schwartz said, in the taxi case, the public interest in making sure those with disabilities are treated fairly in the workplace ran up against the public interest in making sure people with disabilities who use service dogs have access to reliable transportation. The decision “came down to the fact that the government has a rule that cabbies need to pick up service animals,” he said. “I think it’s interesting from that perspective.”

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Candle in the Window Announces 2015 Retreat
The topic for this year’s Candle in the Window retreat is Blindness and Self-Esteem. The conference will again meet at the Wooded Glen Retreat Center in Henryville, In., minutes from Louisville, Ky.

Slated for August 5 through 9, the conference costs $550 for double-occupancy rooms and $530 for triple-occupancy. The fee includes roundtrip transportation between the Louisville airport and the retreat center, all meals during the conference, and your room. Participant slots are limited, and $40 will hold your place.

Conferees will look at such questions as how did our parents or those closest to us feel about having a blind child/adult in their lives? How did they make us feel inferior to/or as capable as our sighted piers? How did the sighted people with whom we interacted treat us and how did that affect our feelings about our self-esteem?

Participants should plan to arrive at the Louisville airport prior to 1:30 p.m. in order to take advantage of the group transportation offered. Those attending should book return flights no earlier than noon on Sunday.

Registration deadline is August 1. PayPal payments should be sent via email to: candleinthewindow1@gmail.com. If paying by check, send payment to Carlos Taylor, 925 S. Luick Ave., Muncie, IN 47302. Make checks payable to Candle in the Window.

For more information, contact Kathy Szinnyey, via email: joyfulrenegade@gmail.com or by phone: (502) 759-1288. You may also contact Patrick Votta, via email at pvotta@verizon.net or by phone: (718) 797-2475.

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Carroll Center Extends Partnership with Samsung Electronics to Test New Smart TV

The Carroll Center for the Blind is continuing its partnership with Samsung Electronics, which began in 2013, by conducting user testing of the new Smart TV portfolio with blind and visually impaired consumers.

The Carroll Center for the Blind, a vision rehabilitation center with more than 75 years of experience in training individuals to live more fully with vision loss, also provides accessibility services through its
Accessibility Services team
. “We evaluate web content for accessibility, perform user testing on consumer products to provide feedback about use by consumers with little or no vision and work with educational institutions to ensure their online courses are accessible to blind and low vision students,” explained Brian Charlson, Director of Technology at the Carroll Center.

Globally recognized for championing product usability among blind and visually impaired consumers, the Carroll Center is Samsung’s primary U.S. partner for accessibility testing. The ability to master technologies that provide equal access to information is critical for blind and visually impaired individuals to successfully compete for employment.

“We are thrilled to partner with companies like Samsung who are committed to providing equal access to their products and technology for all consumers, including those who are blind and visually impaired,” said Carroll Center President, Joseph Abely. “The Carroll Center teaches consumers with vision loss to live independent and productive lives, including how to seek opportunities for gainful employment. Knowing that manufacturers of mainstream consumer products are doing what they can to provide equal access for our clients is extremely important to our mission.”

In developing Samsung’s new Smart TVs–which are expected to hit U.S. retail locations in March–the Carroll Center’s blind testers were asked to provide feedback on a variety of Smart TV features and product specifications including:

The “Voice Guide,” which converts text to an audible voice output. Samsung continues to expand the quantity of menus and program guide features which can be read aloud by the Smart TV.

Visual accessibility enhancements such as contrast, color and magnification.

Tactile construction and layout of the TV remote.

Samsung also asked the Carroll Center’s Accessibility Services team to review their FCC Compliance Checklist. The CVAA requires manufacturers of Smart TVs to maintain records and report their efforts to improve the accessibility of their products.

As a result of the testing and evaluation, Samsung engineers made several adjustments to the Smart TVs and additional recommendations were noted for future innovation and enhancements. All of these adjustments are in accordance with the new U.S. government requirements for access to televised content, as outlined in the
21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
. Samsung’s thorough accessibility solutions make its Smart TVs easy to use and more enjoyable for all consumers, including those who are visually impaired.

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ACB Files Lawsuit in Behalf of Service Dog Users
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, American Council of the Blind and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP File Lawsuit Against D.C. Taxicab Companies for Refusing to Pick Up Blind Passengers with Service Animals

Contact: Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation, Washington Lawyers’ Committee, matthew_handley@washlaw.org; 202-319-1000
Melanie Brunson, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind, mbrunson@acb.org; 202-467-5081
Matthew MacLean, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, matthew.maclean@pillsburylaw.com; 202-663-8183

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2015) – The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP announced today that they have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Eric Bridges and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) against four taxicab companies in the District of Columbia for discriminatory practices against visually impaired individuals accompanied by service animals.

The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, alleges that Yellow Cab of DC, Grand Cab, Elite Cab, and Pleasant Taxi all engaged in discriminatory practices when their drivers failed to pick up Eric Bridges, an ACB employee and member, who was hailing a cab with his service dog, General. This discriminatory treatment is all too common for blind and low-vision passengers who use service animals. As soon as taxi drivers see the service animal, they frequently drive by or refuse to pick up the passenger outright.

Matthew Handley, Director of Litigation at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, commented, “The incidents alleged in the complaint are just a few examples of the systemic discrimination that blind individuals with service animals face on a daily basis. Like anyone else, the blind depend on taxis and public transportation to get to work, meetings, and other daily activities. Equal access to public transportation and transportation services is a fundamental right under the DC Human Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. The Cab Company Defendants have all contributed to this systemic discrimination and illegal activity by engaging in, and allowing their drivers to engage in, a pattern and practice of discrimination. This is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Said Plaintiff Eric Bridges, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs at the American Council of the Blind: “I often use taxis for business and personal travel. It is upsetting to have to stand outside on a cold, hot, or wet day and wait 40 minutes for a cab to stop for you simply because they don’t like your professionally trained dog, which is a mobility aid for the blind. Furthermore, not being able to see who is deliberately passing you by and report the incident because you can’t see the cab number or driver is frustrating. I am so glad that the filming done by WUSA9 has brought this issue into the public eye.”

Added ACB Executive Director Melanie Brunson, “The American Council of the Blind is glad to be a part of this lawsuit on behalf of the blind in the District. People come to DC from all over the country to attend conferences, advocate on the Hill, and as tourists. DC should be the gold standard for equal treatment and opportunity, including access to transportation services for the blind.”

In 2010, the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national non-profit civil rights organization in DC, completed a study of taxicab hauling practices for blind individuals entitled, The Equal Rights Center, No Dogs Allowed: Discrimination by D.C. Taxicabs against People who use Service Dogs (2010) (http://www.equalrightscenter.org/site/DocServer/Taxicab_Report.pdf?docID=242). The ERC report concluded that there is a 50% rate of refusal of service for blind individuals with service dogs in DC. The ERC report further concluded that this discriminatory conduct requires a three-pronged response: periodic testing to ensure compliance by drivers, training of drivers and certifications that they will comply with the law, and enforcement of penalties against drivers and their taxicab companies for violations.

Taxicab companies are prohibited under federal and state law from discriminating on the basis of a disability such as blindness. Drivers are explicitly prohibited from refusing to pick up passengers with service animals. The complaint is based on only four incidents caught on camera by WUSA Channel 9 in a report on discrimination by taxicabs in the District of Columbia. The drivers at issue were videotaped passing Mr. Bridges and his service animal and stopping for an adjacent passenger who was sighted and did not have a dog accompanying him. The blatant discrimination seen on these videos is particularly shocking because blind individuals cannot see it themselves, nor can they identify the drivers or cabs that are passing them by.

Among other remedies, the lawsuit seeks to establish an annual random testing protocol for taxicabs in the District of Columbia. It cites recent operations run by the DC Taxicab Commission, the Anonymous Riders Program, which revealed systemic discrimination against blind individuals with service animals in the District.

Pillsbury became involved in the case through the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. The Committee became aware of the case when Mr. Bridges contacted the Committee after initially filing administrative complaints with the DC Office of Human Rights.

Copies of the complaint are available online at: www.washlaw.org

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE: The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for over 45 years has represented both individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights. It has handled over 5,000 civil rights cases in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other aspects of urban life. It represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, and sexual orientation. Leveraging its own broad expertise in discrimination litigation with the resources of Washington, D.C.’s private bar, the Committee’s litigation efforts have become nationally known for landmark court victories, record judgments, and precedent-setting consent decrees. Its capacity to mobilize the private bar has made it possible for the Committee to provide its clients with more than 50,000 hours of quality legal representation every year. For more information, visit www.washlaw.org; write to: Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 11 DuPont Circle, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; phone (202) 319-1000; or fax (202) 319-1010.

ABOUT AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND: The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates across the United States, the organization is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in all aspects of American society. For more information, visit www.acb.org; write to American Council of the Blind, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201; phone (202) 467-5081; or fax (703) 465-5085.

ABOUT PILLSBURY WINTHROP SHAW PITTMAN, LLP: Pillsbury is a full-service law firm with an industry focus on energy & natural resources, financial services including financial institutions, real estate & construction, and technology. Based in the world’s major financial, technology and energy centers, Pillsbury counsels clients on global business, regulatory and litigation matters. We work in multidisciplinary teams that allow us to understand our clients’ objectives, anticipate trends and bring a 360-degree perspective to complex business and legal issues—helping clients to take greater advantage of new opportunities, meet and exceed their objectives and better mitigate risk. This collaborative work style helps produce the results our clients seek.
*****
GDUI 2015 Convention News
by Lillian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair

The theme of our 2015 Guide Dog Users, Inc. Convention is “Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs.” Congratulations to Annie Chiappetta, whose theme was the hands-down winner in our Choose-a-Theme competition!

The GDUI convention will once again be held in conjunction with the American Council of the Blind’s annual Conference and Convention. The 2015 annual ACB convention will be held at
the Sheraton Dallas, located at 400 N. Olive St. in downtown Dallas.
Pre-registration pickup will be on Thursday evening, July 2nd.
Convention activities and tours will be held from Friday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 11th.
The exhibit hall will be open from Saturday, July 4th through Wednesday, July 8.
The opening general session will be held Sunday, July 5, with daily sessions Monday through Thursday mornings, and all day Friday.
Tech sessions, committee and affiliate programming begin on Saturday and run through Thursday.

All GDUI convention meetings (with the exception of Sunday preliminary get-togethers, hotel orientations, and Helping you and Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Life Session, will be held each weekday after ACB general sessions have concluded, Monday, July 6 through Wednesday, July 8. In addition, GDUI will host Breakfast Club events each morning of convention, beginning on Monday, July 6, and ending on Wednesday, July 8. More details will be made available as we finalize events and hear back from our invited speakers.

• Traveling by Air Dallas is served by two airports, DFW and Love Field.
Love Field is serviced by Southwest Airlines and, effective April 2015, by Virgin America.
DFW features flights from numerous airlines including American, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue, Sun Country and United.
For a list of airlines serving DFW, visit www.dfwairport.com/airlines/index.php

• Go Yellowchecker shuttle is offering ACB a roundtrip fare from either airport of $30.
Information regarding booking this service will be available closer to the convention.
You can also take the light rail from both airports. Light rail stops at Terminal One at DFW; from Love Field you can catch a shuttle to the light rail station. The Pearl Street light rail station is outside the Sheraton.

Amtrak comes to Dallas’ Union Station, approximately 1 mile from the hotel. Union Station is served by the light rail’s red or blue line or a very short cab ride to the hotel.

There is a Megabus stop in Dallas as well as a Greyhound station; both are located within easy traveling distance from the Sheraton.
For additional information on Greyhound, visit www.greyhound.com/en/locations/terminal.aspx? city=680780
Megabus information can be obtained at https://us.megabus.com/Megabus%20adds%20downtown%20Dallas%20service.aspx

We urge you to begin making your travel plans early so as to be able to procure the most reasonable rates and to make plans that can best suit your needs and situation.

• Hotel Details Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 (single, double, triple or quad) plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 13 percent) and tourism district fees (2 percent).
To reserve a room, call (888) 627-8191, and be sure to mention that you are attending the ACB convention.
To make reservations online, visit www.acb.org and follow the 2015 convention link.
For any questions or suggestions contact Lillian GDUI Programs Chair
programs@GuideDogUsersInc.org

For any additional information about the convention, visit http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-2015-convention/

Once again this year Tim and Maria Stone of Scoop Masters will be handling the dog relief areas at the ACB conference and convention. You can pre-order your dog food through Scoop Masters. Food will be delivered directly to your hotel room beginning July 2.

Scoop Masters’ website has a list of the most popular brands; if your preferred dog food is not on the list, Tim will try to obtain it for you. Please make any special requests prior to June 15. All other orders should be to Tim by Wednesday, June 24. Visit Tim online at: http://premiumpetfood.com/acb or call him at (800) 787-7667. When placing your order make sure to give ScoopMasters staffers your cell phone number so they can contact you in Dallas.
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Nominating Committee News

Hello from the GDUI 2015 Nominating Committee!
It won’t be long until GDUI members have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming May 2015 election, as well as voting on the proposed bylaws.

In July 2015, we will have two Director Positions become vacant. The nominating committee will open the application process very soon. Anyone interested in applying as a candidate for one of the two director positions is encouraged to do so. We hope you will consider joining the GDUI Board of Directors and volunteering your assistance to this wonderful guide dog organization!

The nominating committee will be sending out the application process information by way of the GDUI’s announce, chat and leadership list as well as posting it on GDUI’s web site. All candidate information will be shared with all members via Email, postal mailings and by holding two telephonic candidate forums. This will give GDUI members the opportunity to get to know each candidate and ask questions during the telephonic forums.

The members of the nominating committee are: Jane Sheehan, Betsy Grenevitch, Margie Donovan and Sarah Calhoun, chair. Lynn Merrill has volunteered her assistance in an advisory position. I want to thank everyone on the committee!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact: Sarah Calhoun, chair at secretary@guidedogusersinc.org. Or give Jane Sheehan, Office Manager a call at: (866) 799-8436.

On behalf of the GDUI nominating committee, we wish you and your guide dog a beautiful springtime!
Sarah Calhoun, chair
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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 who make our quarterly magazine, PawTracks, such an informative and entertaining publication.
To that end, we encourage you to think about all the PawTracks contributors whose stories, articles, and poems have informed and entertained you in the last year (including the Fall and Winter 2014 and Spring 2015 issues). 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 writer for the PawTracks Excellence in Writing Award.

The 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.

The Moffat-Gleitz Award honors a person who is blind who has improved the lives of guide dog users.

Awards will be presented at the GDUI annual luncheon on Wednesday, July 8 in Dallas. Send your nominations to Becky Barnes Davidson at this address:
Beckyb1120@gmail.com
Put the words: “GDUI AWARD Nomination(s)” in your subject line.

No access to e-mail? Call GDUI’s office manager, Jane Sheehan at (866) 799-8436. Please submit your nominations by June 1, 2015, and thank you for helping us honor the people who make life for guide dog teams better every day.
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2015 Candidate Information
(The following information was provided to PawTracks by those seeking office in the upcoming election. After thoughtful deliberation, the editor determined that the information should be presented to you exactly as it was presented to the publication. To that end, none of this information has been edited prior to publication.)

To the nomination committee. I want to thank you for your willingness to consider my application for a director seat on the board of guide dog users. I will be providing my information in three emails as I have found this to work out well for me. This will be my cover letter and I will then send in the Application and resume next.
Hello, my name is Vickie Curley and I have been a dog guide handler since June of 1978 I have always had a love and deep appreciation for dogs and dreamed that one day I would have the opportunity to work with them. Even as a visually impaired child I seemed to have a knack when it came to working with dogs in teaching basic obedience exercises such as sit, down, and stay. As I got older I really wanted to train with a guide dog, but I believed that I had too much vision to do so. I lost the remainder of my vision during my high school years. I Applied to the Seeing Eye for my first dog during my last year of High school and was excepted in the Late June 1978 class. It was in that first class at the Seeing Eye that I learned that one could apply for a dog even if he or she did have some usable vision. My early dog guide handler life was a rough one, no pun intended. I had several dogs that did not work out for various reasons and I wondered if I was ever going to have a long lasting working relationship with a guide. The great news is that I did eventually get a wonderful match and I have to believe that my difficult path to this grate match taught me so much and gave me a very deep appreciation for a successful match. I have been fortunate to have several fantastic matches after that first one. I have learned never to take my dog guide for granted, but to appreciate each and every day we have together as a team. I became a member of Guide Dog Users many years ago and was so glad to learn of an Organization that truly cared for the needs of dog guide handlers in all walks of life. I was still hopeful that one day I might find a way to actually get a chance to work with dogs in some capacity. I was blessed with a fantastic opportunity in 1986. I was excepted for class at West Virginia canine college training school. I was the first blind person to go through this training curriculum. The program was designed to give me a foundation with regard to quite a few different training areas. This school did not deal with Service dog training at all. The course itself was eight weeks long. I was taught skills in obedience, both basic and advanced, problem-solving, dog evaluation, tracking, personal protection, search and rescue, and other forms of police work. To tell you that I was living my dream would be an understatement. haha! The hours were long, the work was quite dirty at times, but I felt like I had died and gone to doggy heaven. I had around 40 dogs at any given time to work with. I was also responsible for their feeding and care each day. The one area where my instructor did deviate from the kennel protocol was that he did not expect me to clean the entire kennel every day. I would feed, and he would clean. I did want to give it a try. Yes, I was successful at cleaning the entire kennel, but it did take me quite a while. Ha ha! At least I knew I could do it. I am pleased to say that I graduated from the West Virginia canine college program with a 96% grade. In other words, I got an A! haha! Graduating with an A grade from this program meant the world to me. This training program gave me a strong foundation to begin training on my own as a private instructor. I did return to West Virginia canine college to teach while they were going through a time of transition. My training education has helped me in so many ways. I was able to work with many different kinds of dogs as well as many different kinds of people. I love dog evaluation as this skill is so important when it comes to finding the right dog for the right job. Our dog guide schools face this every day.
While I was still living in Cleveland I put together a support group for dog guide handlers called Tail Talk. The group was a place for dog guide handlers and there friends to come and talk with others about the ups and downs of dog guide life. We had quite a few members from several different schools who would come and share the good times and the hard times with other handlers who truly did understand just how complex the dog guide relationship can be. It was at this point that I came to realize just how important it is to have support from other dog guide handlers. My family and I moved to a small town in New Jersey in 2005. Not long after our move we began raising puppies for the Seeing Eye. initially, my daughter was the primary razor and I was the secondary. I am now the primary razor and have been for our last two puppies. I have a nearly 15 month old shepherd who will be returning very soon to the Seeing Eye for his formal training. My prayer for him is that he becomes someones wonderful guide.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I was able to attend my first Guide Dog Users convention. It was wonderful and it was at that time that I decided to do all I could for this grate organization. I had been a member for a while, but I really wanted to do more. I was able to contribute financially to Dog Club radio and also become a life member of GDUI as well. I was appointed to the guide dog users board last June. I am very appreciative of the immediate past president’s confidence in me to be able to contribute to GDUI in this way. Through out these last 9 months of working on the Convention committee and the Fund raisers committee as well as chairing the Special concerns committee I have grown to have even more of a deep appreciation for this wonderful organization. As Chair of the Special concerns committee we have put together a very strong Empathizers team who stands ready to provide a listening ear to any of our members and friends may want to talk with someone who truly understands the ups and downs of dog guide handler life. No matter what the outcome of this election is I plan to continue to do all I can for GDUI.
###
Date, March 11th 2015Vickie Curley
16 Green Farm ln. Stockton NJ. 08559
Home number, 908-500-4849 Cell number, 908-329-5135 Email address, njtribefan@yahoo.com I have been a dog guide handler since 1978.
1. I would love to continue working on the GDUI board as I have already made grate strides in getting our Empathizer team in place, but there is more to be done. I would like to work to make all GDUI members aware of it’s existence so they will know where they can go for understanding that only other dog guide handlers can truly give. I also have an idea for another project that will take some time to put together, but will upon it’s completion provide interested dog guide handlers as well as potential dog guide handlers a place to go to find answers to questions about particular schools without dealing with any kind of emotional involvement. This will take some time, but with the help of the dog guide school liaison along with a very capable committee I believe this goal can be achieved.
2. My strong suit seems to be the more personal side of things. Is where I am very interested in the legislative side of things, and am very willing to help in that area as that benefits all of us, I seem to do my best work on the personal needs of dog guide handlers. I do enjoy advocacy both on the larger side as well as the individual, but the individual seems to be where I feel most at home. I do have facilitation skills with regard to running a phone conference. I have shared the special concerns committee and held phone conferences and have them work very well. This is an area that I am definitely willing to work with if it should be needed.
3.Starting in September of 2012 I was part of a group called the Seeing Eye work group. We were unhappy with the recent layoffs and wanted to band together to try and encourage the Seeing Eye management to hear our ideas for hopefully improving things in the future. It was a tough road to go, but we believe that we were instrumental in several things. Unfortunately I do not have 100% proof of these things. It was not until after our group us to have List contact with the schools administration and engaged in dialogue encouraging the schools administration to except graduate input with regard to several areas that the school put in place several update calls throughout the year. I want to be very upfront about the fact that we do not have proof that it was, indeed, the Seeing Eye work group that prompted the school to hold these update calls, but the timing is such that we feel that we were at least part of the reason for putting these calls in place. I have been a member of American Council of the blind for many years! Our Cleveland chapter was able to establish a working relationship with several local television shows to make audible the creepers the go along the bottom of the television screen in weather alerts and other areas.

4. Yes, I am proof that an old dog can learn new tricks. I have only been a part of the computer world for around 6 years and I am learning new things every day.
5. Yes, I have already been attending most of the board meetings for this past year and for part of this time, the meetings were happening every month. I did miss one special meeting due to sickness, but will only miss if I really have no choice.
6. I have already sent in the other two parts to this application. Again, I want to sincerely thank the nominating committee for it’s consideration of my application to run for a board of directors seat.

All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor.Join us on our adventures at underdogblog.livejournal.com =
###

To the nominating committee. I want to thank you for your consideration for my candidacy for the board of directors of guide dog users Inc.
Resume

While I was in secondary school I volunteered with the Red Cross as an assistant for and elderly blind woman who lived alone and needed help with reading mail and other things around her home. I did have some vision at that time, but not enough to help with the mail reading. I was able to help with other kinds of Organizational tasks around her home.
My first paying Jjob was a counselor position at Camp High Brook lodge which was and still is run by the Cleveland society for the Blind located in Cleveland Ohio. I worked there from June till September of 1980. For the next several summers after I volunteered at that camp as I really enjoyed that kind of work.
I also volunteered quite often at the Cleveland society for the blind giving tours and talking with school groups about blindness and working with a dog guide.
I was featured at the ripe old age of 19 in a short United Way film in 1979.
I worked for several years with the state of Ohio food service program.
I was a floater. I would work the food stands of those who were on vacation. I started with this in early 1977 till I moved to Dayton Ohio to attend right state University in 1978. Upon returning to Cleveland, I resumed my floater job with the state food service program until the mid-80s.
I attended West Virginia canine college in the winter of 1986. I subsequently taught there the next year for several months. The program was going through a time of transition and I was given the opportunity to teach while this was going on.
I was then self employed as a dog trainer from 1986 until I relocated to New Jersey in 2005.
Upon my move to New Jersey I volunteered for the Seeing Eye in two areas. The first was as a public speaker for the school. Secondly, my Family and I became a part of the Seeing Eye puppy raiser project. At this time I am on my fifth puppy for the Seeing Eye.
All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor.Join us on our adventures at underdogblog.livejournal.com =

***
FEBRUARY 22, 2015

My name is Ken Metz, and I am seeking the opportunity to run as a candidate for the Board of Directors for Guide Dog Users, Inc.

As you can see by my application, I have had many years of experience as a guide dog handler using guide dogs through all of my education and throughout my employment period of over 40 years.

I believe that the work I have done in regards to numerous aspects of constantly working for the improvement, access and advocacy for guide dogs and their handlers has been almost a lifelong part of my life and will always continue to be in the forefront.

For almost 52 years of being a guide dog handler, I have without question fought for our rights to have our guide dogs as our wonderful mobility tools and beings that they are. I constantly think of improvements we as handlers as well as the guide dog schools might consider making to further improve our dogs abilities if that were even possible.

I would very much appreciate being on the Board of directors of GDUI in order to continue my abilities of working for the betterment of our use of guide dogs on the national level as much or more than I have done on the State level.

Please allow me to have that opportunity, and I will do everything possible to put my full energy into this position if I am to win the election. I am also interested in being a part of seeing GDUI reach a new peak in membership.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing from the Nominating Committee.

Best Regards,

Ken Metz and Guide Dog Cari
Attached: Ken Metz Resume and Board Candidate Application
###
GDUI Board of Directors Application
Date: 02-22-2015

Applicant’s Name: Ken Metz
Address: 21500 Lassen Street, Space 57
City: Chatsworth
State: CA
Zip Code: 91311
Home telephone: (818) 882-3610
Cell phone: (323) 793-1805
Email address: kenmetz1946@gmail.com
Are you a guide dog user? XXXYes/No

GDUI has three major responsibilities:
To promote the acceptance of guide dog teams by all agencies, employers, educational institutions, commercial establishments, and the general public.
To work for the expansion, standardization, and enforcement of legal provisions, both civil and criminal, governing the rights and responsibilities in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation.
To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers in contributing input in the areas of selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and to provide constructive input to improve the quality of the training experience. With this in mind, please answer the following questions.

Why do you want to serve on the GDUI Board?

I am interested in serving on the GDUI Board because I have been a member for close to 25 years. I have also been a member of Guide Dog Users of California serving in almost every position on the Board including being a Past President in the early 1990’s.

I have been a guide dog advocate ever since getting my first guide dog in 1963 from GDB and have continued that role today.

I served on the Board of Directors for Guide Dogs of America in the mid-90’s and have also testified for guide dog legislation in Sacramento. For those reasons and many more, I believe that I would have a lot to offer the GDUI Board of Directors.

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

I would say that I have reasonably good written and great oral communications skills. Before my retirement after working over 40 years, I held various job positions which I would say demonstrated my good leadership qualities of which the best would have been my people skills. I have always had a good rapport with the numerous guide dog trainers I have met in my almost 52 years of using guide dogs as well as speaking to several puppy raiser clubs in my local area. I also have spoken to school children and will be participating for the fourth year at the Center for the Partially Sighted in the Los Angeles Area speaking to five or six groups of second-grade students that they bring in annually to go through various aspects of blindness in a round-about.

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?

In 1978, I was President of a California guide dog group called “Friends of Guide Dogs” in the San Francisco Chapter. When two of us with guide dogs got on a local San Francisco bus, we were told that the rule stated that only one person could ride the bus with a dog at a time. This was due to the fact that at that time, pet dogs could ride the buses. The person I was with was my ex-wife who also had a guide dog. I organized our group to meet at the beginning of a bus line with eight folks and eight guide dogs. They were not going to take us, and I kept the group together on the bus arguing that they could not take our right to travel away as California was under the White Cane Law at that time which allowed access to public transportation. A supervisor came out and told us that we had to get off, and we still refused. The supervisor then told the driver to take us directly to our destination and not pick any other passengers up. I told him that if they did that we’d have to consider that kidnapping, and that was illegal. We finally got to our destination, and I called KCBS Radio who sent a reporter to our meeting place for interviews. We also got a Methodist Church in San Francisco behind us, and we found a way to meet with the San Francisco Public Utilities Director who authorized signs to be placed on every bus, streetcar and cable car stating “no limit to the number of guide dogs on the San Francisco MUNI.

About four or five years ago, several of us organized a guide dog patrol group in Los Angeles, and when one person was refused entrance into a restaurant, we had nine of us with guide dogs at that restaurant the following week. While we had some issues with the waiter and the management, we did get served after over two hours of sitting in there. We also had a group of four of us with guide dogs visit both a 7-11 store and a Vietnamese restaurant who did not want guide dogs in their establishments.

The GDUI Board of Directors uses email to communicate with each other. Are you able to communicate electronically and have access to email?
Yes. Not a problem.

The GDUI Board of Directors meets bi-monthly by telephone in the evening. Meetings last from 1 to 2 hours. Other ad hoc telephonic meetings are sometimes called as well.
Will you be able to find time to perform the tasks described above?

Yes. Now that I am retired, I have time although I am also involved in Guide Dogs of California as the Membership Committee Chair, and am currently President of my local Chapter of the California Council of the Blind (Greater LA Chapter).

Please submit this questionnaire along with a cover letter and resume to the Chairperson of the nominating committee, Sarah Calhoun.

If you would like to submit your cover letter, Director application and your resume via Email, please put the words, “Director application” in the subject line and Email to: secretary@guidedogusersinc.org

If you would like to mail your cover letter, application and resume by the United States Postal Service, please mail to:

GDUI Nominating Committee
C/O Sarah Calhoun
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial, MO 63052

If you have any questions concerning the application process or the position as a director on the board, please contact GDUI’s office manager, Jane Sheehan at: 1-866-799-8436. Or feel free to contact Sarah Calhoun, chair of the nominating committee at: 1-636-942-5956.

###
Ken Metz
21500 Lassen Street, Space 57
Chatsworth, CA 91311
kenmetz1946@gmail.com
(818) 882-3610-HOME PHONE
(323) 793-1805-CELL PHONE

OBJECTIVE: To be considered as a candidate as a Director on the Guide Dog Users Inc. Board of Directors using my almost 52 years of experience as a guide dog handler.

EXPERIENCE: I had twelve years of customer service handling both active and retired employee complaints regarding their benefits specifically in the field of Health Insurance and Savings Plan programs. I later worked as a travel agent for four years which dealt directly with the public on a daily basis, and later worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Blind and then retired as the Director of the Davidson Program for Independence (DPI), a residential program for mostly newly blinded individuals.

EMPLOYMENT: I am now retired, but worked for 21 years at Pacific Telephone in San Francisco, then as a travel agent, as a Rehab Counselor for the Blind for the State of California, and as a Director of a residential training program for newly blind individuals, at the junior blind of America in Los Angeles.

VOLUNTEER WORK: I have been in the California Council of the Blind (CCB) since 1974, Guide Dog Users of California and Guide Dog Users Inc (national organization) for over 20 years, and was in the Lions Club for 14 years in Northern California where I worked on advocacy issues regarding guide dogs and other blindness related programs. I have held the office of President in my Lions Clubs three times, was President of the Lions Center for the Blind of Oakland, California, President-GDUC, President of two CCB Chapters, and have been on the Board of Directors of CCB and Second Vice President on the State level. I was also on the Board of Directors for the Contra Costa Center for Independent Living.

I have also presented in various public speaking programs through the Lions Club, with the California Council of the Blind and Guide Dogs of America along with being a presenter for the Washington State Transportation Authority, the Pacific Northwest Association of Educators and Rehabilitation counselors for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and a Washington State Volunteer Organization.

I was also on the CAC for Access Services and as the Chair of that committee for two years.

EDUCATION: I graduated with a BA in Speech Communications with a minor in Broadcasting from San Francisco State University in 1969.

I would be happy to provide any other information upon request.
***
GDUI Nominating Committee
C/O Sarah Calhoun
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial, MO 63052

March 15, 2015

Dear Nominating Committee:
I, Dixie Sanderson, would like to submit my name as a candidate for the position of Director on the GDUI Board. I have enclosed my application and resume.
I have enjoyed serving this interim period as a Director and hope to continue to work on behalf of those of us guide dog handlers in the capacity of Director in the coming years.
I thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.

Sincerely,
Dixie Sanderson
CobaltBlueHeron@gMail.com
18 Paddock Lane
Guilford, CT 06437
H: 203-458-6474
C: 203-453-6474

###
GDUI Board of Directors Application
Date: March 15, 2015
Applicant’s Name: Dixie Sanderson
Address: 18 Paddock Lane
City: Guilford
State: CT
Zip Code: 06437
Home telephone: 203-458-6474
Cell phone: 203-453-6474
Email address: CobaltBlueHeron@gmail.com
Are you a guide dog user? Yes
GDUI has three major responsibilities:
To promote the acceptance of guide dog teams by all agencies, employers, educational institutions, commercial establishments, and the general public.
To work for the expansion, standardization, and enforcement of legal provisions, both civil and criminal, governing the rights and responsibilities in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation.
To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers in contributing input in the areas of selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and to provide constructive input to improve the quality of the training experience. With this in mind, please answer the following questions.
Why do you want to serve on the GDUI Board?
I believe whole heartedly in the mission of GDUI. I want to serve on the GDUI board to help to further the mission of GDUi and guide dog handlers.
I have done several talks at schools, as a guide dog user, in order to teach about acceptance and promote understanding of those of us using service dogs.
Which of your skills and experiences would most support Board activities?
I have strong computer skills, internet research, skills, an accounting background, management skills, and work well with the public.
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?
I have been the Service Unit Manager for our town’s 70 Girl Scout troops. I was the leader of 2 Girl Scout troops from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and those girls bridged to adult Girl Scouts, several of whom have become lifetime members of the Girl Scouts. I feel that encouraging the girls to continue in Scouting throughout their school years and into adulthood was a success of my mission as their leader.
Over those years we organized and executed several town wide events including a handful of town wide campouts. I helped my 2 troops to plan coordinate, and execute these weekend long campouts for up to 300 younger girls.
As the leader of the troops I helped the girls to plan and execute town wide campouts. I helped the girls to pick out the programs they wanted to carry out, helped them to find sources for information for projects to hold for the younger girls to do at the campout.
I was responsible to among other things, be sure that all the safety regulations were addressed, appropriate trainings were taken, supplies were collected, properties were secured for the events, as well as making sure that each of the girls were attending to the tasks they had been appointed in order to make the event successful.
I was also responsible to coordinate the leaders of the other troops attending, and verify that the several troops and their leaders followed proper safety guidelines.
The discussion of what each individuals responsibilities were, the cooperation of all of those involved, as well as offering support to those participants were the elements that helped the events to be successful for all who were participating.
The GDUI Board of Directors uses email to communicate with each other. Are you able to communicate electronically and have access to email? Yes

The GDUI Board of Directors meets bi-monthly by telephone in the evening. Meetings last from 1 to 2 hours. Other ad hoc telephonic meetings are sometimes called as well.
Will you be able to find time to perform the tasks described above? Yes

Please submit this questionnaire along with a cover letter and resume to the Chairperson of the nominating committee, Sarah Calhoun.
If you would like to submit your cover letter, Director application and your resume via Email, please put the words, “Director application” in the subject line and Email to: secretary@guidedogusersinc.org

If you would like to mail your cover letter, application and resume by the United States Postal Service, please mail to:

GDUI Nominating Committee
C/O Sarah Calhoun
3603 Morgan Way
Imperial, MO 63052

If you have any questions concerning the application process or the position as a director on the board, please contact GDUI’s office manager, Jane Sheehan at: 1-866-799-8436. Or feel free to contact Sarah Calhoun, chair of the nominating committee at: 1-636-942-5956.

###
Dixie Sanderson
18 Paddock Lane, Guilford, CT 06437
H: 203-458-6474 C: 203-453-6474
CobaltBlueHeron@gmail.com
Education
Freedom Scientific, Clearwater FL, Training for Trainers (January 2006)
Attended and successfully completed the Training for Trainers course of study at Freedom Scientific

Manchester Community College, Manchester CT, Associates Degree in Accounting (May 1982)
Employment:
My Blind Spot, Inc. Finance Director (2013-present)
Responsible to maintain financial records of the non-profit.

Lighthouse Bookkeeping Service, Guilford CT, Sole Proprietor (1998-2004)
Owned and ran bookkeeping service using QuickBooks Pro as primary software to process accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and quarterly taxes for all clients.

Shoreline Foundation Aquadome, Madison CT, Assistant Director (1999-2004)
Managed a staff of over 40 lifeguards and swim instructors; responsible for reviewing and hiring job applicants. Responsible for creating and maintaining swimming lesson class schedules and employee schedules. Responsible for maintaining employee payrolls and records. Coordinated and executed employee trainings on a regular basis; instructor in lifeguarding and swim instructor trainings.
Community Service:
Connecticut Council of the Blind, Treasurer (2010-Present)
Responsible for maintaining membership records, financial records and tax filings for the nonprofit organization.

Guide Dog Users, Incorporated (GDUI), Director(2014-Present)
Prepared 2015 Guide Dog School Survey, member of Advocacy, Publications, Web, and DAPP committees.
Moderator of GDUI email lists.
I have also served as a member of the Legislative Committee, and the Finance Committee, in prior years.

Cornerstone Church Missions, Clinton CT, Committee Chairperson (2011-Present)
Delegate and oversee all allocation of funds to any and all supported missionaries, outreach projects and outreach programs. Liaison on behalf of missionaries, outreach programs and outreach projects to educate and communicate to the church congregation missionary, program and project needs.

Lion’s Club, Guilford CT, Board of Directors Member (2008-2013)
Responsible for coordinating and executing fundraising events regularly throughout the year. Responsible for the allocation of raised funds to various charities.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Service Unit Leader, Girl Scout Leader (1995-2008)
Leader for 2 Girl Scout troops as well as the Service Unit Manager for the town. I also served as Newsletter Secretary and Training Coordinator.
*****
Be Informed and Ready for the Summer Traveling Season
by Ginger Kutsch, GDUI Legislative Committee Chair
We’re just days away from Memorial Day, the beginning of summer travel/vacations and for some, the summer conventions. Are you up to speed on understanding your rights as an airline passenger with a guide dog and how to deal with difficulty should it arise?

If you have problems and wish to alert federal officials regarding your issue with an airline, you can call the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Disability Hotline (800) 778-4838. But the Hotline is only staffed from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Passengers who experience discrimination by the airline are entitled to immediate on-site assistance (either in person or by phone) from a Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). Each air carrier must have at least one Complaints Resolution Official (CRO) available at each airport during times of scheduled air carrier operations.

Any passenger with a complaint of alleged violations of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) rules is entitled to communicate with a CRO. The CRO has authority to resolve complaints on behalf of the air carrier. The CRO, however, does not have authority to countermand a safety-based decision made by the pilot-in-command of an aircraft.

If the CRO agrees with the passenger that a violation of the rule occurred, the CRO must give the passenger a written statement summarizing the facts and what steps if any, the air carrier proposes to take in response to the violation.

If the CRO determines that no violation has occurred, the CRO must give the passenger a written statement summarizing the facts and reasons for the decision or conclusion.

If possible, the CRO’s written statement must be given to the passenger at the airport; otherwise, it will be sent to the passenger within 10 days of the incident.

If the passenger is not satisfied with the response, the passenger has the right to pursue an enforcement action with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). If a passenger chooses to file a written complaint, the complaint should note whether the passenger contacted the CRO at the time of the alleged violation, and include the CRO’s name and the date of contact, if available. It should include any written response received from the CRO. Complaints should be submitted within 45 days after the date of an alleged violation.

A carrier must respond to a written complaint within 30 days after receiving it. The response must state the airline’s position on the alleged violation, and may also state whether and why no violation occurred, or what the airline plans to do about the problem.

Any person believing that an air carrier has violated any provision of the ACAA rules may file a complaint with the DOT at:
http://airconsumer.dot.gov/CP_DisabilityandDiscrimination.htm

Finally, here’s what the DOT’s publication “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Air Travel of People with Disabilities Under the Amended Air Carrier Access Act Regulation” says about relief areas:
20. How will travelers accompanied by assistance dogs/service animals know where the relief areas are located in U.S. airports?
Answer: Passengers who request that the carrier provide them with assistance to an animal relief area should be advised by the carrier of the location of the animal relief area. Additionally, if requested, it would be the responsibility of the carrier to accompany a passenger traveling with a service animal to and from the animal relief area.

29. Who is responsible for providing escort assistance to an airport service animal relief area and how can a passenger accompanied by a service animal obtain such assistance?

Answer: Airlines are responsible for providing assistance to animal relief areas upon request at those airports where such animal relief areas are required. Airlines are free to use contractors to provide this service. Passengers can obtain such assistance by requesting it from appropriate airline personnel. (See question 20 also dealing with service animal relief escort assistance.)
*****
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR YOU AND YOUR GUIDE DOG
Are You Prepared? Let’s Do It Today!
The GDUI Assistance Preparedness Program

Let’s hope it won’t happen to you, your family or friends. But in reality it can happen to any one of us in a second. Our whole life can be turned upside down, leaving us displaced, confused, and forced to restrict our regular daily living. I’m referring to the unfortunate catastrophic events caused by tornados, hurricanes, flooding, fires or many other disastrous situations that can leave us completely unsettled. We all hope and pray nothing like this will happen to us, our family or friends, but bad things do happen. Taking some simple precautions ahead of time can help us endure such emergency situations and mitigate some of the negative things that could happen.

Yes, we need to be prepared! That is of course, as prepared as one possibly can be before the unexpected happens. Making an emergency survival kit for you and your guide dog is the best thing you can do; do it today! Your kit should be supplied with daily essential needs, at least three days’ worth for each of you. This includes enough food, fresh water, medicine, blankets, clothes, other needs along with current information about you and your guide dog.

The GDUI Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) has compiled a “Pet Preparedness Kit” information package to assist our members in preparing your own survival kit for you and your guide dog. The package includes four separate documents you can copy and print to be completed by you.

To find and print these documents, visit www.guidedogusersinc.org
And click on “Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program”
You will find:
1. “My Health Information, Survival Kit”
2. “Service Dog Information, Survival Kit”
3. “Tips on making your own survival kit for you and your guide dog.”

The DAPP team recommends you visit www.ready.gov to review the various emergency preparedness brochures published by Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Or you can call for free brochures at: (800) 237-3239.

After completing all necessary information, we suggest placing them in a water-tight plastic bag and/or water-tight rubber container. Put them in your emergency kit. Remember, it is important to go through your emergency kit to update any information about you and your guide dog. Do this each month using the food and water in your survival kit then replace with a fresh supply.

You may want to make a second set of your emergency documents and place them in your refrigerator, again in a water tight plastic bag with the word, “Emergency” written on it. Many first responders are trained to look inside a refrigerator to find this type of information if they find a person unresponsive in his/her home.

We hope you and your guide dog will never experience any type of a disastrous situation, an emergency or any type of a catastrophic event, leaving you displaced from your home, food, shelter or daily living needs. Being prepared ahead of time though makes sense for all of us “just in case!”
*****
Gallantry in Action
by Anne Chiapetta, GDUI Publications Committee Chair

(The author has been paired with a new guide since this was written.)

In January 2009 I was paired with my first guide dog, Verona. She is a calm, careful and sensitive black Labrador retriever, a great dog for a first timer like me. Over the years, many folks have asked how long she IS expected to work and what will happen when she retires.

While I explain some of the choices facing Verona’s retirement, not knowing when this will happen makes me a bit nervous. Long timers say that the handler will know. I have so many doubts and questions about retiring my dog.
I can’t read her mind, only her signals. I can’t look into those luminous brown eyes and understand her soul and even if I could, would I be able to interpret what they express?
To help the first timer anxiety about what the signals are and how to make the difficult decision to hang up the harness, below are some helpful tips taken from an article titled, “Retiring a Guide Dog, When is the Right Time?” (www.guidedogusersinc.org).
“If you are trying to evaluate whether your guide is approaching the time for retirement, here are some things to consider which may help you to come to the conclusion that’s right for you and your guide.
• Do you find that you are choosing to leave your guide at home more and more often, rather than working with him/her?
• Does your guide seem to struggle with certain aspects of your day to day routine?
• When our guides begin to slow down, it’s helpful to be observant to assess whether they’re in physical or mental discomfort. Stress can slow a dog down, as can physical issues like arthritis. Age-related slowing might not necessarily mean that a dog needs to retire, but it is a good idea to evaluate the safety of the team. These are some things to consider as you assess your dog’s physical condition and his/her stress-level.
• Are you having trouble crossing very wide streets quickly enough with your guide?
• Does your guide have difficulty getting on and off busses, in and out of vans or SUVs, or up and down stairs, or does he/she show reluctance to do these things?
• Does your guide show a reluctance toward his/her harness?
• Another thing to consider is your own stress-level. As stressful as it is for many handlers to consider training with a new guide, the stress of coping with a guide in need of retirement can be an even bigger burden for that handler and those around him/her.”

One instructor told me that it’s time to retire a dog when the handler accommodates the dog more than the dog accommodates its handler.

Like many things of this nature in life, there isn’t a book to follow nor is there a general formula. Therefore, I am grateful for being a part of a community that shares such valuable information with its members.

Verona, bless her doggie soul, just seems to be slow and less enthusiastic. Taking the advice of the guide dog school instructors, I am getting ready to let her just be a dog. She’s already achieved the canine equivalent of the Silver Star by performing gallant actions. She has protected us by preventing collisions with moving vehicles, avoided injury by avoiding construction, curbs, menacing dogs, and crowds. In fact, she and many other dog guides around the world perform these tasks every day. After all, it’s their job. I know my fellow handlers know exactly what I mean when I say that my dog is not only my mobility aid but also my hero.
I suppose I am letting Verona tell me how much or how little she wants to keep working. It comes down to doing what is right for her and although it is breaking my heart, I’ll suck it up and give her time to take herself into canine senior citizenship with dignity and love. After all, we have faced so much together, spent so much time together and have grown to understand each other species to species, she’s earned a nice, comfortable life of long walks and napping in the sunbeams.
*****
Preaching to the Choir: things Only Other Guide Dog Handlers Understand
Acting beyond what is Asked of Them
By Rebecca Kragnes

People think it’s so amazing when our guides do things which are simply
their jobs. “Wow! He took her around a trash can.” “Wow! He didn’t let her
trip over that wet floor sign!” I try not to take these things for granted,
but sometimes it’s the things our dogs do which are not formally trained and
aren’t part of their jobs which just amaze me.

Right now, Phil is in rehabilitation for an amputation of his leg. He had
the other one amputated ten years ago. He isn’t asking Garron to guide him
or giving him any correction if the wheelchair hits something, but Garron is
guiding anyway and improving daily on clearance of the chair. Phil and I
laugh, because he was in a wheelchair when at school getting Garron for a
day or so. An instructor told him not to have Garron guide in his chair, and
we realize the school probably wouldn’t approve of Garron even being in
harness and walking beside the wheelchair. But sometimes our dogs do what
they do, and who are we to argue, as long as we don’t expected it of them?
This is a big example, but I think we all have lots of little ones. At least
I know I do.

We can all tell stories about knowing a friend is in the room, and certainly
if I’m waiting for someone on my porch, I always know when they’re here,
because of my “wagometer.” Every Sunday evening I play piano at the Malt
Shop – a restaurant here in Minneapolis, and I get a paratransit ride home
after having my meal as “payment”. Wait staff try to watch the windows for
the van to pull up to the door. Sometimes they miss it, but often Zane
doesn’t. The public part of the restaurant consists of two rooms, and it
doesn’t matter whether we are in the one by the door or away from it. Zane
has stood up and gently pulled me as if to say, “Hey, they’re here. Come
on.”

While Phil and Garron are away, Zane and I have established our own schedule
and routine. Everything still happens as normal, but it’s just later in the
day. So his last park is at around 2 in the morning. One late night after
the last park, he just wouldn’t come to me when I was in bed, and once he
came, I couldn’t get him to settle down. Then I realized that I’d forgotten
to give him his little milk bone. Other nights when I’ve forgotten, he sits
down in front of me and won’t let me walk anywhere as if to say, “You forgot
something which happens after I output for the last time. I output, and then
you input.”

Speaking of outputting, he has some special signals to let me know it’s time
to park. Last night after he’d relieved in the front yard coming home, I
thought we were set for a little bit until he came and jumped on me. I
always forget that Zane is not the cuddle dog my goldens were, and if he
jumps on me, he’s trying to tell me something. Even though he’d just been in
front
I asked if he needed to go outside, and he jumped off. I’ve asked when he
doesn’t, and he stays put. Then I remembered that I’d fed him, and even
though the number one had been dispensed in the front yard, eating was
probably the stimulus he needed for his number 2 out back.

Then there are times when I’m caught up in something, and both dogs have
used water as a signal. Garron goes over and licks the empty bowl to let us
know it needs to be filled. Zane always gets a big drink just before he has
to relieve. In fact, sometimes we have to wait for him at the door to
finish, as it’s always kind of a ritual for him. He has to get a drink
before he relieves if he’s been at home.

I’m just glad he doesn’t bark to let me know some of these things, although
Zane’s barks can serve purposes. Zane sometimes needs more time in the
backyard after Garron has come in. One of his nicknames is Z, so rather than
needing privacy, Zane needs PrivaZ. He lets out one bark to be let in the
house. Then he waits a minute or two, and if we haven’t heard, barks again
just once. He has barked when someone is at the door, and I’m in the shower
with the bathroom door closed. At no other time does he bark at the door, so
I let it be. Besides, it is quite handy! Even though it’s hard not to laugh
when correcting him, it is very funny to hear him bark at the little dogs
next door. He tries not to do so, but their goading him gets to be too much
sometimes. Recently at one of his 2 AM parks, I was on Skype with a friend.
Zane let out these weird rapid barks I’ve only heard when he’s having a
barking argument with the dogs next door. However, there were no dogs next
door. My first inclination was to correct him, but my friend and fellow
handler said, “Woe, that sounded like an alarm bark of some sort to me! I
wouldn’t correct that if he was my dog. I did call him to come in and made
sure all doors were locked.

Sometimes when cane users get all high and mighty about what a bother our
dogs are and how much responsibility they are when one can travel with a
cane without all of that, I know I can’t convince them about the benefits of
traveling with a dog over a cane. When you don’t experience it it’s a losing
battle. But I do remind them of the fringe benefits of having one of these
remarkable creatures. Some of those benefits are things they do without
being asked.
*****
The Seeing Eye on the Silver Screen
Reprinted with Permission from the Seeing Eye

Hollywood’s fascination with Seeing Eye dogs began in 1935, just seven years after Morris Frank and Buddy landed in New York City to introduce the concept of guide dogs to Americans, with a feature film called
“Wings in the Dark.”
.
The Paramount Pictures film starred Cary Grant as an aeronautical engineer who is developing a new system of instruments to enable pilots to “fly blind” in bad weather. But when he is blinded in an accident, Grant has to learn a new kind of blind navigation – holding onto the harness of a Seeing Eye dog!
Over the next 30 years other movies with Seeing Eye dogs would try to cash in on the intriguing concept of guide dogs. Ace the Wonder Dog made his debut in 1938’s
“Blind Alibi”, and Donna Reed appeared in 1942’s “Eyes in the Night,” a movie about a blind detective uncovering a Nazi spy ring with the help of his Seeing Eye dog Friday.

But for most Americans, the concept of a Seeing Eye dog was introduced in 1967 by “Atta Girl, Kelly!” The movie, starring Beau Bridges, Billy Corcoran, and J.D. Cannon, followed a Seeing Eye dog from her days with her puppy raiser through training and ultimately being matched with a man who is blind. It was filmed on The Seeing Eye’s Washington Valley campus and long-time Seeing Eye instructor G. William Debetaz served as a technical adviser. It was shown on three consecutive Sundays – March 5, March 12, and March 19 – on “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” The film was re-released on DVD in 2009.

“I watched ‘Atta Girl, Kelly!’ when it originally aired, before I lost my sight, and thought it was a good movie – but I never thought I’d need a Seeing Eye dog,” said Jim Kutsch, President & CEO of The Seeing Eye, who would be blinded by a chemical explosion three months after the program aired.

In 1984, Disney made another TV movie, “Love Leads the Way.” This film told the story of The Seeing Eye, with Timothy Bottoms as Morris Frank and Eva Marie Saint as Dorothy Harrison Eustis. In 2005, there was a short-lived ABC series called “Blind Justice,” about a police officer who is blinded in the line of duty but remains on the force after being paired with a guide dog.

Most recently, a guide dog was featured last spring on NBC’s “Growing Up Fisher,” starring J.K. Simmons as a lawyer who is blind and matched with a guide dog. The show was created by D.J. Nash, whose father, Eugene Nash, is a graduate of The Seeing Eye. It was not renewed for this season.
*****
Service Animals and Allergies in the Workplace
By Linda Carter Batiste, J.D. and Tracie Saab, M.S.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
(JAN provides free, confidential technical assistance about job

accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). JAN can be

reached at (800) 526-7234.)

Employers may be faced with difficult issues when the accommodation needs of one employee interfere with the accommodation needs of another employee. One such situation occurs when an employee is allergic to a service animal used by another employee. The following is a summary of accommodations that might meet the needs of both employees:

Eliminate in-person contact:

• Have the employees work in different areas of the building.
• Establish different paths of travel for each employee.
• Arrange for alternatives to in-person communication, such as email, telephone, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing.
• Allow flexible scheduling so the employees do not work at the same time.
• Allow one of the employees to work at home or to move to another location.

2. Minimize exposure if in-person contact cannot be eliminated:

• Provide one of the employees a private/enclosed workspace.
• Use a portable air purifier at each workstation.
• Develop a plan between the employees so they are not using common areas, such as the break room and restroom, at the same time.
• Ask the employee who uses a service animal if he/she is willing to use dander care products on the animal regularly. Most veterinarians and local pet supply stores carry such products.
• Ask the employee who uses the service animal if he/she is willing to temporarily use other accommodations to replace the functions performed by the service animal during meetings attended by both employees.
• Ask the employee who is allergic to the service animal if he/she wants to, and would benefit from, wearing an allergen/nuisance mask. Many local home improvement or hardware stores carry such masks.
• Have the work area, including carpets, cubicle walls, and window treatments cleaned, dusted, and vacuumed regularly.
• Add HEPA filters to the existing ventilation system.
• Allow the employee who has allergies to take periodic rest breaks to go outside, take medication, or to go to the doctor if needed.
• *****
An Opportunity for You to Assist Guide Dog Users, Inc.
by Robert Acosta, GDUI Fundraising Committee Chair

Our summer Drawing is well on its way. At present, we have collected upwards of $800 to benefit Guide Dog Users, Inc. The funds collected from your kind donations will be used to offset the expenses of our national convention and to assist our advocacy committee and our legislative committee. For just a $10 donation, you may be purchasing a winning ticket for one of our valuable prizes.

The Grand Prize is $1,000 in cash donated by Helping Hands for the Blind
First Prize: a $500 gift card
Second Prize: a $500 Silpada Jewelry gift card
Third Prize: a Keurig coffee machine
Fourth Prize: a George Foreman grill with removable plates
Fifth prize: a Skywave radio donated by The C. Crane company plus more prizes to come.

For more information, please call Jane Sheehan at (866) 799-8436. This is an easy way to assist Guide Dog users, Inc., and to perhaps win a valuable prize.
*****
Top Dog Roundup: A Volunteer’s Perspective
by Michelle Grenevitch and Danielle McIntyre

(Michelle and Danielle are the daughters of GDUI Board Member Betsy Grenevitch.)

Michelle: Top Dog was a fun, interesting weekend. At the conference I worked a table and helped with odds and ends to assist those who needed me. I think Top Dog was an experience that I won’t forget. I wanted to go to help blind people with whatever they needed me to do. It always is interesting, because you never know what will happen at a blind conference. It also teaches me to use my hearing instead of my eyes, and teaches me many life lessons that will help me later in life. I have always enjoyed doing community services and helping with any blind organizations in which my mom is involved.

I have helped with different organizations including: Georgia Council of the Blind, Georgia Guide Dog Users, Lions Club, and other city events and groups. I thoroughly enjoy working and helping with these groups. I also have helped at blind day at the capital where a group of blind people go to the Georgia capital and talk to legislators. When I heard about Top Dog I knew it would be fun. I have not done a full conference like it since I was little. The experience at Top Dog was one I am glad I got to have.

It was nice to see all the different guide dogs. I have never seen so many guide dogs in one place. It was definitely crazy, but that’s what was expected with almost a hundred dogs. Events like Top Dog help me to learn patience and learn to be a servant. I have to say that the hotel workers did an excellent job with helping serve breakfast and a million other things. It was definitely fun to spend some time with my mom and sister and help them run the tables.
We had three tables that we were helping run in the exhibit room. We had Georgia Guide Dog Users, The Guide Dog Foundation, and Guide Dog Users, Inc. These are groups that my mom is involved in. Jane [Sheehan] sold toys for GDUI, and we sold soap for Georgia Guide Dog Users. We ran the tables about seven hours both Friday and Saturday. It was almost overwhelming with all the people and dogs in that one room. My sister said that I was tired by the end not physically, but mentally because I had to use my ears more than my eyes which was unusual. It was definitely a different way of doing things. By the end of the weekend I was getting used to it.

It was a fun and exciting trip. I hope all the blind people that went enjoyed it and brought something home from it. It was a great experience that I am glad I was able to go to. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.

+++++

Top Dog Conference: A Different World
Danielle McIntyre
Will you imagine with me for a minute? You have just arrived at your location. The driver tells you the door is just ahead. You grab your bags and reach for your dog’s harness. Once inside, you must locate the counter. No two hotel lobbies are identical. You finally get someone’s attention; you get your room keys. Now you are given directions towards the elevators and your room’s location. Now where is the bed? Or where is the bathroom? That ride was so long I really need to go. Imagine all this happening to you and about 50 others. That’s what Top Dog Conference is all about. Guide dogs and their handlers meeting in a strange place (a hotel), learning new surroundings, and meeting many, many new friends (and puppies).

As with all disabilities, there is a distinct culture that blind people have. Many sighted people see this as strange and foreign to them. But to those within this culture, it is their favorite place. They are with people who fully understand their struggles. There is a bond and connection with those they meet as they find out their similarities and similar struggles in the sighted world.

The unique thing about Top Dog Conference is being able to see so many dogs and handlers together. There are a variety of breeds such as Poodles, black and yellow labs, Collies and German Shepherds. You also get to see how well the dogs are paired with their handlers. These dogs are paired based on some things: walk slow, others are fast paced, some need extra help with tight spaces, or even their height. These dogs watch out for so many things; you would find it difficult as a sighted guide to be quite as efficient as these dogs.

One other area I want to mention in closing is the blind culture. Each blind person has a personality and character qualities very similar to everyone else in the world. They are just more vocal in many ways more than sighted people, because they cannot read body language or facial expressions. But when you sit quietly in a room full of them, their conversations, you will see theirs is just like ours (sighted people). They have up and down days. They make jokes, laugh and even cry. This conference is an eye-opening experience that I feel many sighted people should attend. It will allow them to see that people with disabilities only see their disability as an opportunity to grow and learn in a different way.
*****
GDUI Treasurer’s Report January 1 Through March 23, 2015

Beginning checking account balance as of January 1, 2015:
Capital One: $10,708.86
Carrollton Bank: $2,570.04
Total checking account balance as of January 1, 2015: $13,278.90
First Georgetown $117,007.00

Fund-Raising Income: $2,535.00 as follows:
Silpada jewelry sales: $550.00
Donation, unspecified: $825.00
Donation, un specified, ACB/MMS: $120.00
2015 summer drawing: $1,040.00

Legislative Expense: $196.00, as follows:
Travel : $196.00

Membership income: $2,907.00, as follows:
2015 dues: $990.00
2015 dues, from affiliates: $1,267.00
Life membership dues: $650.00

Membership expenses: $2,185.00, as follows:
Per capita to ACB: $2,185.00

National Office Expenses: $417.04, as follows:
Telephone: $87.04
Credit card processing fees: $311.80
PayPal processing fees: $18.20

Product income: $1,804.00, as follows:
Product sales: $1,684.00
Product shipping: $120.00

Product expenses: $423.94, as follows:
Product mailing and handling: $209.14
Product purchase: $214.80

Publications expenses: $205.75, as follows:
Production, 2014 PawTracks (Winter): $200.00
Mailing: $5.75

Ending checking account balance as of March 23, 2015:
Capital One Bank: $11,556.47
Carrollton Bank: $5,549.70
Total checking account balance as of March 23, 2015: $17,106.17
Total Account Balance First Georgetown as of March 25, 2015 $117,007.00

Respectfully,

Lynn Merrill
Treasurer
*****
GDUI board meeting minutes
November 22, 2014

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson & Jane Sheehan
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director; Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison & Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.
Facilitator and guest: Pat Sheehan

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

Penny Reeder introduced Mr. Pat Sheehan as our meeting facilitator.

An overview of the meeting rules were given in order to complete the agenda in a reasonable time.

Sarah Calhoun took the role call.

The board approved the meeting agenda.

Agenda item:
Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the October 17, 2014 GDUI special meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Editor’s report
Nolan Crabb reported he is looking for more articles to publish in the winter Paw Tracks. He is concerned about copy write issues. Articles can be summarized, provided with a link to the complete article.

Agenda item: Treasurer’s report, Lynn Merrill
GDUI Treasurer’s Report November, 2014
We have made some changes in our accounts since the last report. After careful consideration and comparison of the services offered by Key Bank, Capital One, Chase, and Carrollton; we made the decision to close the Chase accounts (savings and checking) and open an account at Capital One. On October 1, 2014, the Chase accounts were closed and the balances from the checking and savings accounts were transferred to one account at Capital One. The amount transferred was $8,941.95. GDUI now has two active accounts: one at Capital One and one at Carrollton Bank. We also have the investment accounts at First Georgetown. While GDUI has an active PayPal account; it has a zero balance.
Our Office Manager, Jane Sheehan, and I both have debit cards for the Capital One account so Jane can utilize the debit card for matters related to the management of the GDUI office such as product purchases and sales, postage, copying, etc.
I pay our bills from the Carrollton Bank account using their bill payer feature on their on-line banking page. I also make deposits using postage-paid envelopes that Carrollton provided.

Our account balances as of this date are:
Capital One
Checking Account balance $ 9925.95
Carrollton Bank
Checking account balance: $2144.39
First Georgetown $108,826.00
PayPal $ 00
Total: $ 120,896.34

Income and expense sheets from July 2014 to present follow.

Fund-raising income: $189.43
Donations, unspecified: $59.43
Donations, unspecified, MMS: $130.00

Membership income: $1,532.00
Dues: 2014: $420.00
Dues: 2015: $120.00
Dues: 2015, from affiliates: $392.00
Dues: life memberships: $600.00

Membership expenses: $314.98
Supplies and Copying renewal letters: $54.00
Supplies and Mailing voting info to members: $160.98
Voting tabulation: $100.00

National office income: $30.00
Deposit adjustment: $10.00
Reimbursement to GDUI for erroneous credit: $20.00

National office expenses: $1,757.52
Annual incorporation fee: $99.00
Bank fee, cashier’s check: $8.00
Credit card processing fees, Carrollton Bank: $286.08
D&O Insurance: $950.00
Mailing/Copying/Faxing: $21.45
Telephone: $372.99
Reimbursement for erroneous credit: $20.00

Product income: $2,269.43
Product sales: $2,098.43
Product shipping: $171.00

Product expenses: $921.61
Product mailing and handling: $266.30
Product purchase: $635.31
Refund, product sales: $20.00
Program income: $2,694.00
Convention registrations: $690.00
Lunch tickets: $1,484.00
Ticketed events: $370.00
Reimbursement for startup cash for booth: $150.00

Program expenses: $3,140.75
Startup cash for booth: $150.00
Audiovisual equipment: $600.00
Meeting room rental (GDUI suite): $600.00
GDUI lunches: $1300.75
ACB ticket surcharge: $168.00
Product storage/handling: $72.00
Convention presenter fee: $250.00

Publications expenses: $485.00
Production, 2014 PawTracks, spring and fall: $485.00

Website expenses: $4,700.00
Web maintenance: webmaster fee: $1,200.00
Website redesign: $3,500.00

Totals, July 1 through November 17, 2014
Income: $ 5,245.70
Expenses: $11,319.86
Respectfully submitted,
Lynn Merrill, Treasurer, GDUI

Lynn Merrill made a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Web Site Update and Public Relations Committee report
Will Burley gave the following report:
Over the next few days I will be sending you an email with your new GDUI email address(s) and password. Your new address has already been forwarded to your personal address we have on file.

If you are a member of the board and a committee chair, your board email is forwarded to your personal address and your committee email will send to your board email. So, it’ll all get to you in the end!

I will be doing a run through with the webmaster Saturday evening to give the go ahead to make the website live.

The pictures of our 3 products are being taken professionally and we have some historical pictures sprinkled through the website (with alt text), Thanks to Jane for sending that over!

We will have two announcement only list. It will be a true one way list that only Penny can send messages to. Members and friends will not be able to reply back but rather will have to contact any emails in the announcement.

One list will be for members only so the newsletter and other items can be sent. The other list will be for members and friends such as we have now. People will be able to access or sign up for that list by visiting the website. We can move all those signed up to the current announce list with no problem. All will have to verify that they want to be on the list.

We also have a new board list and the chat list which are being created. Info on that will come from our Publications Chairs when that service is ready to start being used.

As a reminder, our new domain is www.GuideDogUsersInc.org . With the contact information needing to have been changed so late, we are erring on the safe side and not transferring www.GDUI.org to the new web host until the New Year. At that point, whether one goes to the new or old domain, it will take them to the same new website. At that point, the old GDUI email addresses will no longer work. Most of us were not using the emails because of massive spam attacks.
Respectfully submitted,
Will Burley

Will Burley made a motion to accept the Web Site and Public Relations Committee reports. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Budget & Finance Committee
Maria Hansen submitted the following report.

We were able to close out the two GDUI accounts that were held at Chase and transfer the proceeds to a Cash Back Business Account that we opened with Capital One. Lynn has provided details in her Treasurer’s report. No decision has yet been made concerning Carrollton.
The Board authorized $3,500 to create a new website and $1,200 for webmaster services. We had to do some juggling of the 2014 Budget (with Board
Approval) to cover this expenditure.
Work will begin on the 2015 budget after the New Year.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Finance/Budget Committee

The budget and finance report was accepted.

Agenda item: Office Manager
Jane Sheehan submitted the following report.
Product sales are going well, and I got all the harness signs from Nick. We’re exploring applying to be a distributor for Central Pet, the company that distributes the collar bells we want. The paperwork has been submitted, and we’re waiting to hear from them. I’ve also got a call into our first distributor to see if they have bells, and I’ll have to get more toys for top dog and have them shipped to the hotel in Charleston.

The renewal letter and application have been photocopied, and I’ll be getting those out by December 1, along with the drawing flyer and the cruise flyer. I still need about a hundred print cruise flyers. I’ll take the leftover cruise and drawing flyers in print and braille to Top Dog.

Betsy Grenevitch made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Affiliate Liaison report

Debbie Grubb submitted the following report.
The GDUI Presidents and leaders met via telephone at 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time. The following state affiliates participated in these meetings: Guide Dog Users of Arizona, Guide Dog Users of Florida, Guide Dog Users of Georgia, Guide Dog Users of Kentucky, Pinetree Guide Dog Users (Maine), Guide Dog Users of Massachusetts, Guide Dog Users of New York, Dixieland Guide Dog Users (South Carolina), Guide Dog Users of Texas,
Guide Dog Users of Washington State

This summary will be presented in two parts.

The entire meeting agenda was devoted to the issue of fraudulent service dogs in the public arena.

Part 1.
During the A M meeting, Melanie Brunson, Executive Director of ACB and Eric Bridges who directs the organization’s legislative policy, provided excellent information regarding the many complicated facets of this ever growing problem. Following are the major points that were made during this meeting.

1. The Department of Justice (DOJ) created and enforces service dog regulations. The actual service dog definition is located within the ADA. (The flyer was sent to each affiliate president before the meeting.) Download the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA handout on service animals located at http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
2. Major difficulties of bringing about resolution of complaints through the Department of Justice are caused by the slowness of the Federal process and the fact that the law lacks regulatory specificity. It is still crucially important that complaints be filed in order to track and rectify the abuse. The ACB National Office will assist with a DOJ complaint.
3. Confusion often arises because there is much disparity between the various laws that govern access, E.G. Housing, transportation (Air Carrier Access Act) and public access (ADA regulated and enforced nationally by the Department of Justice). The housing and transportation regulations are much more lenient than the laws gaining access to the public arena. The problems that we are seeking to resolve regard the fraudulent misrepresentation of pets, therapy and emotional support dogs as service dogs that meet the training and other requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act in public.
4. Businesses have the right to ask what service the dog provides and to ask the person with the dog to leave if it is not under control is aggressive or is disrupting the flow of the programs and services offered.
5. Some sources of this problem are: the prevalence of training gear and official looking identification cards and patches (there is no effective way of ending the sale of these items except through more stringent law that will end their profitability); doctors willingness to diagnose the need for a dog and prescribe one right over the phone; official identification documentation is easily created and sold, therefore, nullifying its efficacy; the fact that emotional support animals that are allowed in airplanes and public housing often are brought into the public arena either with or without the knowledge of the handler that it is against the law.
6. Congress receives complaints about the abuse of the law and the inappropriate behavior of dogs especially in terms of public housing and the Air Carrier Access Act. The congress continues to struggle with how to proceed to resolve these problems because there is no national identification or registry.
7. Melanie and Eric believe that the most efficient resolution of this problem can be found in state law. State law always trumps Federal law if the state law is stronger. Before embarking on the state legislative journey, there must be consensus about what it is that the law must mandate. Having a definition of what is legal, what can be expected and the penalty for violation of the law assists businesses to better understand and carry out their do diligence in terms of service dog access. Melanie pointed out that the ACB office has received several calls from business owners regarding actions they took concerning inappropriate behavior of service dogs. Melanie explained that 95 per cent of the time, the business owners was correct in their decision to ask the handler to remove the dog. She further explained that the Federal Government will take notice as more states pass and enforce service dog laws.
8. Melanie and Eric will study the laws that are already in effect throughout the country and rate them in terms of their being used as a model for future state laws. They will compile a document outlining the points that should be included in a state law.

Part 2

During the PM meeting, Ginger Kutsch, Chair of the GDUI Legislative Committee, presented on this subject. Here are the points that she covered in her excellent presentation.

1. The many news articles that cover this subject do not adequately portray the variety of abuse and do not educate about the trained service dogs that are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
2. There are no equipment requirements in the service dog regulations. The availability of equipment and identification to aid people in the fraudulent presentation of their dogs as service dogs is not considered to be a problem by the Department of Justice. There are no statistics or facts that truly document this problem.
3. Because there is so much confusion between the access rules under housing, transportation and public access (see above) people simply move from housing out into the public arena with their emotional support dogs.
4. Many business owners are confused because people with hidden disabilities do use service dogs.
5. In California, it is a misdemeanor to misrepresent a dog as a service dog.
6. Ginger spoke with a representative from the California Food and Safety Division who explained to her that most businesses are ok with pets in the facility if the dog is under control. Unruly or aggressive dogs are problematic. The outcome that businesses want is to get and to keep customers. Most complaints come from customers and not from the business owners.
7. Educating business owners and providing a legal foundation through a state law on which they can hang their decisions regarding dogs in their facilities will be helpful. Although there will always be difficulties in terms of enforcement, the fact that there is a law gives more authority to signs regarding dogs in the business and to any decisions that may be made regarding acting upon the law by the business owner.
8. Providing businesses information, signs, posters or their prototypes and the DOJ Service Dog Flyer referenced above is extremely beneficial. Ginger explained that there have been no documented unfavorable consequences in California to the service dog signs displayed by businesses.
9. It is important to stress in any educational forum that emotional support dogs were not permitted to enter the public arena under the ADA because dogs in public places must have a high standard of training. There is no training standard for emotional support dogs. Often emotional support dogs are not socialized. Any food facility is not legally mandated to allow entree to any animal except a service dog.
10. Ginger, as Chair of the GDUI Legislative Committee, will contact the ACB National Office in order to collaborate with them on the creation of the document outlining the points to be included in a state service dog law. (See above).

The MP3 files of the November 20 meeting calls will be made available in early December. The agenda of the next meeting of the GDUI affiliate presidents and leaders will be devoted to the points that should be included in a state law and some tools to assist in moving forward with both educational and legislative initiatives.

The next meeting of the GDUI affiliate presidents and leaders will take place on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time via teleconference.
Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb, GDUI Affiliate Liaison

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Guide Dog School Liaison report
Dixie Sanderson gave the following report.
The committee is working on the guide dog school survey. Many questions have been added to the survey that has been submitted by members. GDUI past president, Debbie Grubb stated the survey was formed during her administration and is the sole property of GDUI.
Prior to the survey being sent to the guide dog schools, the survey will be submitted to the board for review. The committee is hoping to send the survey to the schools by January 1, 2015.
Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Constitution and Bylaws report
Maria submitted the following report.
Committee members John McCann, Lynn Merrill, Ellen Telker, Rick Roderick, Penny Reeder and I have held a couple meetings.
Our intent is to create a draft document that follows requirements of the DC Nonprofit Code together with best practices while preserving key elements of GDUI’s organizational and cultural history.
We plan to have a draft ready for comment and review early in the New Year.
At that time, and possibly sooner via our new website, we will welcome member participation and respond to suggestions and concerns.
This time, there will not be an “up or down” vote on the bylaws as a whole.
Voting on the new bylaws and voting on Director Positions will be held at the same time during the May election.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Constitution & Bylaws Committee
Betsy Grenevitch made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Convention Program report
Joel Isaac gave the following report.
There will be two GDUI non-ticket events during the convention, the breakfast club and the hotel orientation. It will be important to get a good count of everyone attending the events, because we have trainers from The Seeing Eye, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Guide Dogs of the Desert who have volunteered to assist during the events.
To find out how many participants will attend either one or both events during the convention, the committee will post a message to the GDUI chat list, submit an article to Paw Tracks and telephone members.

The Convention Program report was accepted.

Agenda item: Publications Committee
Ann Chiappetta submitted the following report.
November 2014 GDUI Publications Committee Report
Compiled by Ann Chiappetta and Michael Malver, Co-Chairs
We are very pleased to announce that alongside Dixie Sanderson and Ken Metz, our newest member is Deanna Noriega. Deanna is a lifetime GDUI member, a long-time ACB member, a published writer and poet of the highest caliber and her expertise and talent will provide GDUI with integrity and creativity. Welcome Deanna.

The document revision project committee met on Thursday, November 6 from 9-10 pm. The minutes were sent ahead to both the GDUI board and chat lists. A much condensed version is at the end of this report.
Facebook and twitter: we are in close contact with Penny and Will on this process; we are awaiting the intellectual property claims filed with FB and Twitter. If we do not hear from them by the end of the year, we will open new accounts with different names for GDUI.
List migrations are forthcoming and we are working with Will and the webmaster on this.
Chat list posting maximum Poll: The results are that the majority would like the posting limits to remain as they are at 10 posts allowed per day per person.

10 posts per day limit had 16 votes
7 posts per day limit had 6 votes
5 posts per day had 14 votes

Collaborations:
Helping the membership committee with written materials for the upcoming Top Dog conference and other membership documents for membership packets.
Press release: fraudulent/imposter service animal’s press release ready and waiting for website.
Press release has been submitted to this issue of PT.
Helping the fundraising committee with flyers and articles.
Guest blog post to disability.gov about pet dogs posing as service dogs. It is scheduled for 11/21/14, just one day after the submission of this report. Annie will update all when she gets the link, etc.
November 6, 2014 Publications Committee Document Revision Report and Minutes
Committee call held Thursday, November 6 from 9-10 pm eastern
Document assignments Jeff L: Guide Dogs in the workplace Denise D. will assist revising
Deanna continue on Making Impressions as discussed
Denise will continue with tip sheets as discussed
Leading the Way: Annie
FAQ Etiquette: Patty Fletcher
Street Smarts: when guide dog teams hit the road (explains how the team navigates street crossings and other obstacles. Recommendation: ask instructors like Lucas frank of SE and Graham Buck of GEB for revisions because the integrity of document is professionally crafted by instructors in feel and flavor and we want to keep it this way while also updating it.
Moving Forward (gen information about GDUI) give to membership committee to see what they want to do with it.
Braille readers will proof for Braille accuracy and sighted volunteers will also assist with proofing for visual accuracy. Documents could be offered for download in both BRF and .Docx once up on website.
Document style – No bullets in Braille copy
To use a “dash” to replace bullets
Moving to a new line or numbering.
Two formats with print and Braille friendly version and print friendly
Denise: Police officer tip sheet to be expanded and include emergency responders
Next meeting Date December 6, 2014 9 PM Eastern time.

Respectfully submitted,
Ann Chiappetta, chair

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Membership report
Betsy Grenevitch submitted the following report.
Membership Committee Update
I want to take this opportunity to thank the members on the membership committee for their participation in our various projects. The members are:
Lynn Coats, Katie Frederick, Alex Hall, Pamela Hill, Mary Beth Metzger, Lilian Scaife, and Jane Sheehan.

We have several items that have been completed and others close to completion.

The completed ones are: the letter to new members, the renewal letter, and the member application which is for both new and returning members.

The items that are not far from completion are the brochure to potential members and the letter to companies inquiring as to whether they would be interested in giving discounts to our members.

We are still in the process of locating a person/company to produce our business cards. We are hoping to have these cards available at Top Dog which takes place the last weekend of January.

We have now decided what we will put in our packets and will be working on getting all of the materials together so that they will be available when needed. We will be having packets for potential members, new members, and of course renewal packets. The renewal packets will differ depending on what is going on at the time of renewal of membership.

There will be further discussion in January concerning life mem errs and how to recognize their contribution to GDUI.

Again, thank you committee members for all of your contributions thus far.
Our goal is to make our entire members feel welcome and to help them feel a part of our organization.

Submitted by membership chair
Betsy Grenevitch

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Legislative Committee report
Ginger Kutsch, chair of the Legislative Committee participated in the November 2014, affiliate leaders meeting. She discussed the GDUI policy statement on the misrepresentation of fake service animals. When the affiliate leaders meet again, Ginger will discuss proposed legislation in states that don’t have legislation that addresses that issue.

Melanie Brunson and Eric ** with American Council of the Blind (ACB) are very interested in the research GDUI has done on that topic. They will look at the various state laws and assist GDUI’s legislative committee in writing a model law that will be propose to our affiliates and states who don’t have legislation in the event they would like to work on that issue.

The legislation report was accepted.

Agenda item: Advocacy Committee report
Becky Barnes-Davidson submitted the following reports.

Advocacy report:
We talked about an incident where a guide dog handler was refused access to a taxi in Portland, OR and documented the incident with his cell phone camera. Ken will follow up with him to do an interview and create a PawTracks article.
We are working on writing a piece about out-of-control dogs as it relates to denial of access. The intent is to help businesses understand some of the circumstances under which the law allows them to deny access.
A question was asked about what happens to someone who has no one to care for the dog while they’re in treatment? Hospital staff is not held responsible. One could call hospital volunteer services to see if they could help. People need to think about being prepared for an emergency where the dog needs to be cared for. Dixie serves on the DAPP Committee and will bring this issue to them for consideration.
Kiddle’s Ordinance: We discussed information received re a guide dog that became ill in a restaurant and ultimately died before she could be taken to a vet, a police officer refused to transport the dog to a vet. Luz Rosenfeld and others have created an ordinance in their town and are interested in making it a national law. Becky agreed to reach out to Luz and ask her exactly what she envisions and whether she’d consider being interviewed for an article in PawTracks. The email has been sent to Luz, now awaiting a response.
There have been 2 reported incidents, one came from a call to the GDUI line, and a dog attack in CA. Ken assisted in the positive resolution of that case. The other is ongoing issues with medical facility and transportation in the Tacoma, WA area. That was referred to WCB and GDUWS.
Becky Barnes Davidson, chair

The advocacy report was accepted.

Agenda item: Special Concerns Committee
Vickie Curley submitted the following report.
Hello everyone, First of all, I want to thank all of you for your kindness to me as I have gone through Valor’s Cancer surgery. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and Valor and I will be walking out on the other side his harness in my hand very soon. Thank you so very much. Going through this trial with Valor is a very vivid reminder as to why the Empathizer team is so very important to GDUI members and friends. Our lives with our dogs can be wonderful one day and ripped apart the next. This brings me to what I feel is very terrific news with regard to the Empathizer team. We have grown to a number that I feel will be able to handle whatever our membership should need at any given time. I am pleased to share that we have been joined by three wonderful men who will bring a man’s prospective to the team. Many of our team members have already worked on this team so this will be just a continuation of their grate work. We are also blessed to have several individuals
Who have counseling experience that will be able to provide training for our team in the future? Our team has or soon will be submitting short bios to Nolan to be featured in either the winter or the spring addition of Paw tracks. This will help our members to get to know those team members whom they may not be quite as familiar with. Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday the 19th of November at 7, pm eastern, 6, pm, Central, 5, pm, Mountain and 4 PM Pacific. I am so thrilled to share that after a very short meeting we will be joined by Michelle Drolett who was employed for over 24 years by the Seeing Eye. Many of those years were spent as an advocate for students in class as well as graduates in the field. She will share briefly what she found was the most important with regard to talking with other dog guide handlers and how we, as empathizers can be the most help. I invite anyone who is interested in hearing Michelle to join us then. The call in number for the Meeting is 712-432-1212 and the participant access code is 746537206 followed by the number sign. For those who may not be able to attend the meeting, the number to listen back to the Recording of the meeting is 712-432-1219 you will use the same code. I do hope you can join us. In conclusion, I could not be happier with how things are going with this grate team and I have to say that GDUI’s members and friends are in grate hands.
Respectfully submitted Vickie Curley, Special concerns committee chair.

Maria Hansen made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program
Sarah Calhoun submitted the following report.
Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) November 2014 Report.
The DAPP team has seven dedicated members from coast to coast. Beginning from the east to west they are:
Lynn Merrill, Maine; Dixie Sanderson, Connecticut; Ann Chiappetta, New York; Sarah Calhoun, Missouri; Ron Brooks, Arizona; Bob Acosta and Ken Metz, California.

During our October 2014 meeting, the committee revised the name from Emergency Disaster Financial Assistance (EDFA) to: Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP).

We have posted three informational articles to the GDUI Email lists and two will be published in the winter Paw Tracks.
1. Details on the DAPP program. – posted to lists and submitted to Paw Tracks.
2. “Winter Survival Guide”, written by Lauren Ross, Field Service Manager Representative for Guide Dogs for the Blind. – posted to lists and submitted to Paw Tracks.
Note: Permission has been granted from Guide Dogs for the Blind to publish article.
3. Webinar information sponsored by Pet Poison Help Line to be held on December 2, 2014. – posted to lists.

We have established a method in contacting other committee members to discuss a request.
Prior to distribution of funds, status of the applicant’s membership will be verified with Jane Sheehan.
Financial assistance of $50.00 will be in the form of a pre-paid Mastercard.
The DAPP benefit information will be included in membership packets.
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) information is forwarded to all DAPP committee members, keeping us informed of catastrophic situations.
DAPP information will be posted on GDUI’s new web site.
After the web site is up and running, we will have a separate Email address: dapp@gdui.org.
We are researching survival kits for members to purchase.

We hope our GDUI members don’t find themselves in a catastrophic situation with their guide dog, but if they do the GDUI DAPP team is here to help.

Respectfully submitted, Sarah Calhoun, chair

Will Burley Would like to broadcast a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on the American Council of the Blind (ACB) radio about the Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program. He would like to release other public service announcements with the other committees as well.

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Voting Task Force report
Will Burley and Jane Sheehan are researching changing GDUI’s current telephone voting system to another company. They will submit their information to the board well before the May 2015 elections.

Agenda item: Fund Raising Committee report
Bob Acosta submitted the following report.
November 14, 2014

GUIDE DOG USERS, INC.
FUND-RAISING COMMITTEE

REPORT FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Although our Committee does all that we can to disseminate recordings of our meetings and the minutes of our meetings, we are also pleased to present this report.

Dear Colleagues:
The Fund-Raising Committee has been a hard-working and enthusiastic group working on behalf of our membership.

At present, we are involved with six currently active fund-raising projects.

1. The Silpada Jewelry Party led by our very capable Board Member, Vickie Curley, is well on its way. This party will occur online through December 1, 2014. Vickie is donating all of the profits from this event to GDUI, and the Fund-Raising Committee publicly thanks her for this unselfish kindness.
2. The Summer Drawing will be held at the luncheon of the GDUI National Convention on July 8, 2015. We officially begin the drawing on December 1, 2014. We have gathered several prizes to present for the drawing. We are selling chances for $10 each. Every donor will be sent a note giving them their numbers and acknowledging receipt of their donation with a hearty thank you. We shall be sending hard-copy flyers to every member of the Board soon.
3. The Cruise to the Caribbean December 5-12, 2015, has now been approved. We are advertising this event in Paw Tracks, Newsreel, The Braille Forum and other magazines in order to reach out to the blind community as well as to our sighted friends.
4. Due to the initiative of Michael Malver, our committee is preparing a letter to be sent to Debbie Grub to be disseminated to our affiliates regarding the sale of gift cards as a possible fund-raising project for them.
5. We are doing all we can to encourage our members to contribute to the Monthly Monetary Support Program. The drive is in full swing, and we hope it will be successful.
6. Finally, it is the hope of the Fund-Raising Committee that our Budget and Finance Committee will appropriate some funding to employ an Accountant to prepare the proper 990 Forms for 2014. In order to seek grants, we must have these forms along with a complete financial report.

We wish to conclude this Report by wishing all of you the most joyous holiday season. This has been a great year for Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Submitted by,
Robert Acosta Chair
Fund-Raising Committee

Maria Hansen made a motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Betsy Grenevitch. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Old business
Department of Transportation Conference report, submitted by Becky Barnes-Davidson:
There were close to 200 people there representing the Department of Transportation (DOT), the airlines (Southwest and JetBlue were most prominent but United and American were there and there may have been others), airports and consumers. Janine Stanley was there along with Eric Bridges and me. There was a fairly large contingent from the local NFB as well, so people who are blind or have low vision were well represented.

The morning consisted of 3 panel discussions, 1 panel of consumers, one of airline reps and one of DOT staff. The focus was on getting updates and talking about issues that either are new or still need work. There wasn’t anything really new that came from these discussions.

The afternoon consisted of 3 breakout sessions, one on service animals, one on technology and one on wheelchair stowage. The common thread through all of them was the need for more efficient assistance at airports. The service animal session also included the discussion of airports providing relief areas in the secured area and the DOT reps in all 3 of those sessions indicated that this is a priority.

All participants attended all 3 breakouts, we stayed in our assigned room and the presenters moved from room to room. The technology group talked a lot about both inaccessible kiosks and inaccessible flight entertainment systems. The standard answer applies, “we’re working on it”.

The wrap-up was focused on getting people to present ideas and to file complaints.
Actually, the importance of filing complaints under the ACAA was another common thread through the day.
The topic of inconsistent service on airplanes was discussed e.g. where we can sit with our dogs, where their paws need to be, etc. The Department of Transportation responded by saying that is not appropriate for the airline crew members to make such statements. If you are faced with a problem you can insist on speaking to the Complaint Resolution Officer (CRO) before the aircraft departs. Every airline has a CRO. You should also complain to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Submitted by Becky Barnes-Davidson

Will Burley stated, he is always looking for blog articles for the new GDUI web site. If anyone is interested in submitting an article, you can send it via Email to Will Burley at:
vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org, with the word “Blog” in the subject line.

Agenda item: New business
Jane Sheehan is gathering information on a lady who makes a portrait of your dog from a picture that you send her.

The board is concerned of the lack of time and participation by Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President in board matters. During the last nine board meetings, Laurie has attended one-half of one meeting. She does not participate in matters that can be voted on via the board Email list, which would help reduce the need to hold special meetings. All board members understand family matters take precedence over anything else. We would understand in the need for her to resign her position as a board member.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

+++++

GDUI Special Board Meeting January 16, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson & Jane Sheehan
Facilitator and guest: Pat Sheehan
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun. A quorum was present with ten board members in attendance, one excused absence and one unexcused absence.

Agenda item:
Membership committee plan to purchase and distribute business cards.

Betsy Grenevitch explained the proposed business cards will have GDUI’s name, address, toll-free phone number and web site information in braille and print. The cards will be used as handouts during Top Dog, the ACB Convention and given to people who would like to join a guide dog organization.

The membership committee recommends ordering 500 business cards at a cost of up to $100.00. The braille portion on the business cards will be done by National Braille Press at a cost of $40.00 which includes shipping. The printing portion on the business cards by Staples will cost $40.00 which includes shipping.

Bob Acosta made a motion to approve the concept of the business cards. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried with one abstention.

President Reeder asked the membership committee to have the publications committee look at the final design of the business card including the GDUI logo prior to placing the order to make sure the spacing and design are appropriate.

Agenda item:
Jane Sheehan made a motion to spend up to $100.00 using the GDUI Capitol One debit card to ship products and office supplies to Top Dog in Charleston, South Carolina. After Top Dog the unsold products and office supplies will be shipped back to Jane’s house in Maryland.
The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Additional business:
Vickie Curley will mail the $500.00 check to treasurer, Lynn Merrill from the Silpada Jewelry fund raising party.

Lynn Merrill reminded the committee chairs to submit their proposed 2015 budget to her by January 24, 2015.

President Reeder reminded the committee chairs to submit their reports to the board by January 19, 2015.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
+++++

GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
January 24, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary; and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Ann Chiappetta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison; Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison; Pat Sheehan, ACB Board Representative and facilitator;
Excused absence: Nolan Crabb, Paw Tracks Editor
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

The meeting was opened by President Penny Reeder with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun.

Agenda item Approval of agenda:
Vickie Curley made a motion to accept the agenda as presented. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Approval of minutes.: Sarah Calhoun made a motion to approve the November 22, 2014 board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Motion carried.

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to approve the January 16, 2015 special board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Motion carried.

Agenda item Preliminary Business and Announcements:
President Reeder announced the Town Hall Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

The new GDUI weekly telephonic announcements are released each Tuesday by Bob Acosta via the chat lists.

The Constitution and Bylaws Committee is rewriting the Bylaws in order for GDUI to conform to the D.C. non-profit code. The proposed Bylaws will be submitted to all members for their review and comments prior to voting in May 2015.

Agenda item Appointment and Approval of Chair of Nominating Committee:
President Reeder appointed Sarah Calhoun as the chair of the Nominating Committee.

During the elections in May 2015, there will be two director positions to vote on as well as ratification of the Bylaws.

Bob Acosta made a motion to approve the appointment. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Discussion of the Need to Define GDUI Processes:
President Reeder stated, since the new board took office in July 2014, there have been a few instances where board members have been confused about what GDUI processes are for completing various work and projects by board and committee members. Example: What is the responsibility of a committee(s) or person(s) to accomplish certain tasks?

President Reeder asked each board member, committee chair and liaison to begin to write down what you think your responsibilities in respect to GDUI are and the process and procedures in completing your tasks.

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to table the discussion regarding processes to the board lists for further discussion at the next board meeting. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Request of Funding for GDUI President Reeder to Attend the February ACB Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar:

Motion submitted by Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer:
I would like to make the following motion at the GDUI Board meeting on Saturday, January 24, 2015:
That funds be appropriated for President Reeder to attend the 2015 ACB Presidential Meeting and Legislative Seminar in the amount of $196.00.
Should the motion be seconded, I will provide the following details.
The events are on Sunday, February 22 and Monday, February 23, 2015.
President Reeder should attend the Presidential meeting on Sunday as well as the Legislative Seminar on Monday. The cost for registration is $35.00, one meal is $15.00, room is $132.00 and travel is approximately $14.00 for a total of $196.00. I recommend the expense be taken from the telephone expense line item and a new line item be added for this expense. The current amount budgeted for the telephone expense is $1200.00 and since we have moved our account to Verizon, our expenses have been approximately only $25.00 each month.
Respectfully,
Lynn Merrill

The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Voting Task Force Update:
Will Burley submitted the following voting system report:

We have found and have heard from members that there is a desire and need to better handle GDUI elections.

We found two companies which offer similar systems, and we are testing one that offers what we need rather than the one that offers many bells and whistles that are not needed.

The system offers:

• Online voting
• Telephone voting
• The ability to change vote before locking the vote
• Email or text message notification of ballot
• Third-party tallying of raw vote totals and
• Third-party assignment of voter ID numbers.

The tests are happening and should be completed by the board meeting.

This committee’s purpose was to find a system that is accessible and gets a third party involved to offer as much trust in the elections process as possible.

Report submitted by:
Will Burley

Will Burley stated, based on 500 members the cost of this voting system would be $1,400.00.

The matter of this voting system will be brought forth to the board at a later date.

Agenda item Treasurer’s report:
Lynn Merrill submitted the following Treasurer’s Report:

January 16, 2015
This data is for the period November 17, 2014 through January 18, 2015:

Beginning balances as of November 17, 2014:
Capital One Bank $9,925.95
Carrollton Bank $2,144.39
Total checking balance as of November 17, 2014: $12,070.34
First Georgetown $108,826.00

Income for this period totaled $2,428.00 broken down as follows:
Fundraising income from unspecified donations $100.00
Fundraising income from the 2015 summer drawing $500.00
Membership income from 2015 dues $1,020.00
Membership income from life memberships $525.00
Income from product sales $235.00
Income from product shipping paid by customers $48.00

Expenses for the period totaled $683.80 broken down as follows:
National office expense from PayPal processing fees $18.55
National office expense from credit card processing fees $206.63
National office expense from telephone line charges $45.17
Product expense: product purchases $312.95
Product expense from reimbursement to customers $20.00
Product expense from product mailing and handling $74.75
Publications expense: mailing labels to PawTracks producer $5.75

Balances as of January 18, 2015:
Capital one Bank $11,034.45
Carrollton Bank $2,780.09

Total checking account balance as of January 18, 2015: $13,814.54
First Georgetown balance as of December 31, 2014: $110,437.25

Respectfully,
Lynn Merrill

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded by Maria Hanson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Budget and Finance Committee Report:
Maria Hansen submitted the following Budget and Finance Committee Report:

The Budget/Finance Committee met on January 4, 2015. Present were Lynn, Sarah, Penny, Jane and Maria.
The Committee voted to approve an interim budget that mirrors that of 2014 until the 2015 budget is finalized and approved.
Lynn is gathering budget request information from the committee chairs and Jane is plugging in numbers. Sarah will be heading up the budget process.
We went over our current inventory of products and, because more money had been spent on bells than had been foreseen, we authorized additional money to purchase toys for Top Dog.
At the January 24th Board meeting, we will request that the Board appropriate funds for Penny to attend the ACB Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar in February.
We are still looking into credit card processing options.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Budget/Finance Committee

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to accept the Budget and Finance Committee report. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Convention Program Committee:
Lilian Scaife submitted the following 2015 GDUI Program Convention Report:

Dear GDUI Board,
This report includes an update on the tasks associated with the 2015 GDUI Convention.
GDUI Draft Convention Schedule:
• Auction Letters are complete.
• In collaborating with the Guide Dog Trainers, there will be two days of hotel orientation: Sunday, July 5, 2015 & Monday July 6, 2015.
• Times will be determined in tandem with the Trainers.
• The Program Committee will be working with the Public Relations (PR)
Committee to work on an introductory release about our 2015 GDUI Dallas Convention.
Programs Committee Budget:
We have submitted our 2015 budget.
• GDUI Affiliate Liaison, Pat Hill and board member, Dixie Sanderson will be bridging communication between GDUI and the Guide Dog Schools.
• Working with GDUI webmaster on setting up a “GDUI Convention Survey”
for feedback on the Convention from attendees.
• Ginger Kutsch, Chair of the Legislation Committee & Becky Barnes-Davidson, Chair of the Advocacy Committee will provide an insightful presentation on issues pertaining to current developments in legislation & advocacy.
• Token of appreciation for Trainers & Convention Guest Speakers.
• Currently in search of themes for the convention. Currently, we have
two candidates: 1. “Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs” (Annie) 2. “Ruff and Ready” (Penny)

I would like to thank the Auction, Program, and Chair Committee members who have assisted me in working on all of the above. I am very grateful for the expertise and time devoted for this upcoming GDUI Convention.

Sincerely,
Lilian Scaife, Program Committee Chair

Vickie Curley made a motion to accept the Convention report. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Lilian Scaife provided the following draft of the 2015 GDUI Convention program.

Draft of Convention Program schedule:

Sunday, July 5, 2015
11:00 a.m.: GDUI Suite: Will Open
Helping Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Life Session “If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great place to learn tips for making the chaos of convention a less stressful experience for you and your dog. Presenters will share tips on dealing with all of those long mobility canes slashing back and forth at the level of your dogs’ heads, coping with the relief areas, finding help when you need it, meeting and greeting people and other dogs, and taking advantage of the respite offered in the GDUI Suite.”
12:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite: Hotel Orientation Link Up with guide dog instructors for an orientation to all the places you will want to find around the hotel.
(To Be Determined)
12:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite Opens
The GDUI suite is a great place to meet friends and give your dog (and
yourself) a break! Don’t forget, our harness pouches, our harness signs, and our 30 year anniversary Compact Disks will all be available for purchase.

• GDUI Auction will be displayed and bidding may commence.
• Vet Tech – Days & Time slot for nails and ear cleaning. (To Be
Determined)

GDUI Suite hours are: Sunday, July 5th noon to 5:00 PM; Monday and Tuesday, July 6th & 7th, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. July 8th, Wednesday noon.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.: Meet and greet members of the GDUI Board of Directors at the GDUI suite:
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite –
An introduction to products and services in the GDUI suite; Hear from Jane Sheehan GDUI Office Manager about what the Suite has to offer and an introduction to the Auction items by Lillian Scaife, GDUI Program Chair.
3:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite: Another session of “Helping Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Life Session”
If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great place to learn tips for making the chaos of convention a less stressful experience for you and your dog. Presenters will share tips on dealing with all of those long mobility canes slashing back and forth at the level of your dogs’ heads, coping with the relief areas, finding help when you need it, meeting and greeting people and other dogs, and taking advantage of the respite offered in the GDUI Suite.
4:00 p.m.: GDUI Suite- Another Hotel Orientation with Instructors:
Link up with guide dog instructors for an orientation to all the important places you will need to find around the hotel.

Monday, July 6, 2015 (Meet in the Lobby)
6:50 a.m. – 8:20 a.m.: GDUI Breakfast Club
Breakfast with your GDUI family
1:15 p.m.: GDUI Opening Session, Program room:
1:15 p.m.: Introductions, announcements, & Affiliate roundup
2:00 p.m.: Guide Dog School Updates:
What’s going on at the guide dog schools? What are they planning for the future? What are the qualifications that prospective students need to meet?
Are there innovations coming down the pike and what ought we to know about them?
3:30 p.m.: Break
3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.: Self familiarization to new environments:
What should we be aware of when we enter a brand new place we’ve never been before? Presenter will be Mr. Rod Haneline CPSO, from Leader dog (To Be Determined).
.Phone: 248-651-9011
.Toll Free: 888-777-5332

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: (To Be Determined) Recognizing the Trainers – After program session??
7:00 p.m.: (To Be Determined)

TUESDAY, July 7, 2015 Lobby
6:50 a.m. – 8:20 a.m.: GDUI Breakfast Club
Breakfast with your GDUI family
1:15 p.m.: Program room: Announcements
1:30 p.m.:
3:30 p.m.: Break
3:40 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.:
4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: A look at what is happening in Legislation and
Advocacy:

We have left your evening free so you can take advantage of other events at the ACB convention.

WEDNESDAY, July8, 2015, Lobby
6:50 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.: GDUI Breakfast Club:
Breakfast with your GDUI family.
12:15 p.m.: Program room – GDUI Lunch $?? ($??) & Presenter (To Be
Determined):
Join the GDUI family for lunch,
about those GDUI Awards? Stay tuned.
Fundraising Committee Raffle Drawing of Winners
2:45 p.m.: Program room – GDUI Caucus
Meet the candidates for ACB office, and we will make time available for any additional or unfinished GDUI business.
7:30 p.m.: GDUI Suite:
End of draft program.

Agenda item Public Relations Report:
Will Burley submitted the following Public Relations Report:

The Committee has offered GDUI state affiliates the opportunity to utilize the GDUI blog for promotion of certain affiliate events (e.g. membership renewals, national interest events, etc.). Blog entries should be no more than 500 words and should include pertinent information about the event. Questions and entries should be sent to pr@guidedogusersinc.org.

The Committee will be working with the Programs Committee to release an introductory release about the 2015 GDUI Dallas Convention.

Information is being placed on the website as it comes in. New information that is being placed, and will most likely be up by the meeting includes:

• PawTracks newsletters;
• Approved Meeting Minutes;
• GDUI products; and
• Guide dog schools information

There was an issue with one of the email addresses getting through. We have done a report with the web host provider and things appear to be working fine from the hosting side of things. We are awaiting the response from the effected person’s ISP to fully release messages from the domain. At present, most messages are being released but there are a few which are not.

It has been reported that some members have experienced delays in messages showing up on the email lists. We have submitted a report to the web host provider, after checking all list settings, and we await a response. One should be here by the board meeting.

Motion carried accepting the Public Relations Report.

Agenda item Editor’s report:
Nolan Crabb submitted the following Editor’s Report.

If I may begin by stating the obvious, let me point out that the winter issue is out, and the deadline for the spring issue is February 1.

I’ve had almost unrelenting computer problems since prior to Thanksgiving, but the Band-Aids and quick fixes I’ve repeatedly applied over the past several months seem to at last be working better than Band-Aids and quick fixes. The problems are in no way viral in nature, but have been mechanical and therefore more intermittent and difficult to pinpoint and remedy.

I realize that reliability and adherence to deadlines is crucial if this board is to demonstrate its ongoing forward movement of the affiliate, and my lengthy delay in producing the winter issue hardly demonstrates promptness in terms of production. I’m also keenly aware that the most recent audio edition had some volume variation issues and some background noise.
The reasons for that are more arcane than this report needs to address, but they relate to the intermittent drive issues I’ve dealt with and the need to re-record pieces sometimes in rather strange places like my daughter’s basement on a Christmas Eve in an attempt to get things to save while the drive was temporarily lucid, if you will, and working properly.

I’ve come to enjoy the challenges and numerous rewards that editing this newsletter provides, and it’s my hope that this board will permit me to continue in my current capacity. That said, I understand completely concerns regarding deadlines, and I’m certainly willing to step aside if you believe that the organization is best served by finding someone else to do this. I would hope that, in your considerations, you would take into account the fact that I sincerely look forward to working on the next issue.
This newsletter is not one in which anyone with at least two working brain cells will find uninteresting. Our subject matter is highly relevant, the message and tone the newsletter has historically purveyed is vital to the success of blind and visually impaired guide dog users everywhere and there are as-yet unexplored stories out there that need to be written. For example, I’d love to see a regular piece regarding emergency preparedness–a personal quest of mine for years. I’m still far from being as prepared as I’d like to be, and I think there are probably a good number of avenues of that topic that are worthy of the newsletter’s time and space especially related to guide-dog specific issues.

We will adhere to a spring deadline of 1 February, and I’m hopeful that you won [‘t operate under the false assumption that I have a large backlog of pieces crying for publication. No, you shouldn’t misinterpret that as an attempt on my part to convince you to do all the legwork and do the editor’s job; I just want to ensure that a sense of false security and complacence doesn’t enable us to determine not to write something or suggest something.
So, for example, if someone wants to fling a Top Dog roundup piece my direction upon return from said conference, I’d be rather open to receive it and anything else you think has merit.

Finally, please know that I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I’ve every certainty that the president had a rather significant number of people upon whom she could have called last summer to edit this publication. The fact that she chose me is both genuinely humbling and gratifying. Aside from the editing and compilation, I’ve found the unique challenges of creating an audio newsletter of the length of PawTracks to be tremendously exhilarating, tapping into a different side of the creative process from that used to edit the written part. I’m keenly aware that I’m not even in the same universe as the professional audio Ray submitted last summer as a proposed sample, but perhaps we’re saving the affiliate a dime or two by doing it this way, and it’s my hope that the savings mostly offsets the difference in the reality that we have and the proposed audio samples some of us heard last summer.

Submitted January 19, 2015
Nolan Crabb

Agenda item Product & Office Manager Report:
Jane Sheehan submitted the following Office Manager and Product Report’s:

This is a combined Office Manager and products report.

All 2015 renewal notices have been sent out, and responses are coming in, some online, some via check and some over the phone with a credit card. We have 255 members for 2015. This includes 123 life members, and 132 annual 2015 memberships, 49 of which are from the Washington state affiliate. I’ve not heard from any other affiliates, but expect to receive their lists soon.

Things are moving along with the updated ACB AMMS system. I hope to get training on that soon so I can start entering members into the system before the March 15 deadline.

Just as a point of interest, our membership for 2015 includes 3 members from Canada, one from Malaysia and one from Australia. We have a person from Austria who has submitted an application online, but hasn’t paid as yet. She may be doing an article for PawTracks about guide dog users and training in Austria.

As for products, we’re gearing up for Top Dog and our booth. We have 29 toys left from prior purchases. I have ordered 56 more from our distributor. The total should be under $300 for the new toys. The finance committee permitted me to spend up to $400, so we’re under budget. We will have harness signs, pouches, the 30th anniversary CD, water bottles/bowls, and various other items, as well as cruise and drawing flyers to hand out. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with Betsy at our booth.

I plan to ship our products to Charleston via UPS next Friday, and need to know if I can use the GDUI debit card for the shipment to and from the hotel. I do think GDUI should pay for this expense.

I’ve received the winter 2014 issue of PawTracks from Nolan, and plan to get the Drop Box link out to those members with e-mail addresses by tomorrow. I’ve sent the mailing labels to Ray for the cassette version.

Jane Sheehan, Office Manager

Ann Chiappetta made a motion to accept the Office Manager and Product Report’s. The motion was seconded by Betsy Grenevitch. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item Affiliates Liaison Report:
Debbie Grubb submitted the following Affiliates Liaison Report:

GDUI’s affiliates are recapturing the sense of community and collaboration of times passed. I received many positive responses to the training sessions presented by Melanie Brunson, Eric Bridges and Ginger Kutsch on the fraudulent service animal problems that are now ubiquitous in this country. Shortly, I will be in touch with Will regarding the possibility of posting the recordings of those sessions on the website.

The affiliate leaders have expressed a desire that our meetings provide them with helpful information and training that they can utilize in their state organizations. I am committed to working with GDUI leaders as its affiliate liaison to ensure that the meetings are affirming, instructive, and a safe place for open, honest debate and discussion.

I want to publicly acknowledge the hard work of Ann Chiappetta and Michael Malver on the creation of the GDUI Leaders list and their commitment to setting up a list environment that is welcoming to the diverse GDUI affiliates. I drafted an invitation letter for the affiliates that was signed off on by both Annie and Michael. They guested at the January Affiliate Presidents’ and Leaders’ meeting to present this new GDUI service and to address any questions. Each affiliate president will appoint up to six organizational leaders to participate on the Leaders’ list. The reception of this opportunity to learn and communicate was enthusiastic.

Another GDUI service that was introduced to the affiliates was the GDUI blog which affords a grand opportunity for affiliates to publicize their ongoing work from which other affiliates can benefit as well. Will Burley also guested at the January meeting and explained the principles of a blog and invited all affiliates to post.

The GDUI cruise and drawing were discussed in detail. Bob Acosta had planned to guest at the meeting as well; but a family matter kept him away. In his absence, President, Penny Reeder, who is always faithful to attend these meetings, spoke about these wonderful avenues for benefit to GDUI and for enjoyment as well. At the next meeting to be held during the third Thursday in March at both 11-00 a.m. and 9-00 p.m. EST, we will introduce the special fundraising option for GDUI’s affiliates.

Penny and I will meet with the Board of GDUC as we move toward the goal of bringing them back into the GDUI family.
I am delighted that the Mid-Atlantic states have created a guide dog users group that will soon seek formal affiliation with GDUI.

I end this report by expressing my gratitude to this Board for their commitment to GDUI’s affiliates and their willingness to work with me as we move forward with the affiliates, our feet on the ground in the states where it matters the most in terms of moving forward with the legislative and advocacy goals of this organization.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

Agenda item Guide Dog Schools Liaison Report:
Pat Hill submitted the following Guide Dog Schools Liaison report.

Pat Hill thanked Dixie Sanderson for sending out the newsletter information. They have an updated list of guide dog schools and their contact information. Included is a list of schools that use certain breeds. Pat will send the list to the board Email list and it will be on the GDUI website.

The revised guide dog school survey is about ready to be sent to the schools. When the surveys are returned, the information will be on our website.

Agenda item Constitution and Bylaws Committee Report:
Maria Hansen submitted the following Constitution Committee Report.

Committee members: Maria, John, Lynn, Ellen, Rick and Penny.
We’re working hard on developing Bylaws that will meet the requirements of the DC Code and address member concerns. The document should soon be ready for Board review.
I want to thank Will for setting up an email list for the committee.
Maria Hansen
Chair, Constitution/Bylaws Committee

Agenda item Publications Committee:
Ann Chiappetta submitted the following Publications Committee Report:

Publications Committee Report January 2015
Compiled by Annie Chiappetta, Publications Co-Chair with assistance by Michael Malver, Publications Co-Chair

List moderators and committee members: Ken Metz, Dixie Sanderson, and Deanna Noriega

Publications Document Revision Project Members are working on a number of projects.
• Denise Decker’s travel tip sheets and fact sheet for law enforcement regarding service dogs are up on the publications portion of our website.
• The booklet for prospective handlers, previously called “Making Impressions” is being changed, and so far, the revised document is tentatively titled “Is a Guide Dog the Right Choice for you?” Deanna has made some revisions and currently Annie is checking facts and references.
• We are pleased to say that with Will’s assistance and that of the new webmaster, our chat and board lists are now back on an owned and operated GDUI server. The list transition was smooth with only a few hiccups. Ken and Dixie are excellent moderators. The chat list is particularly busy and their jobs often go unnoticed until a problem arises. Rest assured they are on top of things.
• The leadership list is growing every week, please keep the subscriptions coming in. We number 22 members so far.
Questions and concerns should be directed to: gdui-leadership-owner@lists.guidedogusersinc.org
But Annie can also be reached at the dungarees@optonline.net address or the publications@guidedogusersinc.org address.
• The Facebook and twitter feeds are running and gaining followers weekly. Facebook now has 66 followers. Twitter has 16 followers. We are happy to report the blog now feeds into the Facebook newsfeed, thanks to Will, too. What this means is that once a blog post is done, it will automatically post on the GDUI Facebook timeline and no matter what medium you choose to follow, our news and events will populate in all three.
• We are working on becoming a charity partner with the American Humane Association’s Hero dog Awards. What this means is a person who registers his or her dog to compete for the top spot for guide dogs can go onto compete for the Hero Dog 2015 award. Handlers can choose GDUI as his or her charity. If they win, GDUI will receive donation dollars or gifts, depending on how far along the guide dog gets in the voting. It would be great if more than one dog team chooses us, it will increase our chances of receiving money. The link will be posted on our main page once things are finalized. One caveat: it is up to the individual handler to promote his/her dog and the AHA has plenty of tips and information on how to do this if you register your dog in the guide dog category. Video and social media helps.
• We are helping Betsy with letters and other membership information and we are available to assist with writing and editing of committee and affiliate information as well.

Motion carried accepting the Publications report.

Agenda item Membership Committee Report:
Betsy Grenevitch submitted the following Membership Committee report:

GDUI Membership Committee
January 17, 2015

I want to thank again the members of the GDUI membership committee for their assistance with completing our various goals.

We have now completed the letters that will be sent to be handed out to potential, new or renewing members.

We have a list of what other information sheets are available upon request for the above categories so that when the information is requested it can be received quickly. We had talked previously about having packets but will be discussing with the committee a suggestion of doing it a little differently where the individual can choose which items they would be interested in reading.

The letters are still being worked on that will be send to prospective vendors inquiring whether they would be interested in giving discounts to our GDUI members on their products.

We are hoping to have business cards available in the next few months to be handed out at ACB conventions and possibly for members to give to people who are interested or have a family member who is interested in getting more information about guide dogs. These cards will be in both print and Braille.

The committee will be discussing in the near future about possibly recognizing life members when they join and once this has been thoroughly discussed and approved in the committee meeting will be brought before the board at a future board meeting.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, February 12, at 7:00 PM EST.

Respectfully submitted
Betsy Grenevitch
Membership Committee Chair

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Legislative Committee Report:
Ginger Kutsch submitted the following Legislative Committee report.

Greetings all,
Legislative committee 2015 first quarter report.

We mainly focused on the legislative pages for the new GDUI web site. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
Ginger

January 2015 Legislative Committee Report

Task 1. Prepare web pages for the legislative portion of the new GDUI web site
Update: final draft almost completed for submission to Publications Committee for review.

Task 2. Research and track service animal legislation and share information with members.
Update: recruited new committee member to assist committee with research and bill tracking; provided support for drafting legislation to amend California guide dog protection law; notified South Carolina affiliate of pending legislation to change the name of service animal.

Task 3. Quarterly submission for PawTracks.
Update: Identified and submitted educational publication regarding service animals from the DOJ for winter issue of PawTracks.

Task 4. Work with ACB national office to draft model legislation that penalizes pet owners who misrepresent their pets as service animals.
Update: Contacted Melanie Brunson and Eric Bridges at the ACB National Office to discuss drafting model legislation. No further progress to report.

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Advocacy Committee Report:
Becky Barnes-Davidson submitted the following Advocacy Committee report:

Advocacy Committee Report
Jan. 22, 2015
Members: Pat Hill, Sharon Howerton, Ginger Kutsch, Ken Metz, Alice Ritchhart, Dixie Sanderson Chair, Becky Barnes Davidson

Issues currently under consideration:
We are continuing to work on a piece on out-of-control dogs to help people understand what that means in terms of access; we are hoping to include information on size-appropriateness for tasks performed, for example claiming a very small dog is a guide or balance dog.

We are consulting with the DAPP on hospitals and guide dogs; emergency assistance to care for dog when handler is incapacitated. One suggestion is creating some kind of database of puppy raisers and volunteers regionally who might be willing to help in such situations and providing that information to both handlers and medical facilities.

Committee members are willing to help in the research needed on the Air B&B issue regarding regulations and access rights for guide and service dogs at bed-and-breakfast establishments.

The committee is requesting budget line of $200.00 for potential conference or travel fees, etc.
We would like to at some point down the road create a webinar or two on issues of interest, to both our members and the general public. We will need to research hosting either in-house on our web site or on another source, but don’t expect it to be costly, and probably not this budget year.

Submitted by Becky Barnes Davidson

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Special Concerns Committee Report:
Vickie Curley submitted the following Special Concerns report:

Hello everyone, I had a bit of a problem with the recipient email, but hopefully I have fixed that and this report will come through.

All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor. Join us on our adventures at underdogblog.livejournal.com

From: Vickie Curley <njtribefan@yahoo.com>
Date: January 18, 2015 at 1:51:50 PM EST
To: GDUI <gdui-board@lists.guidedogusersiinc.org>
Subject: Special concerns committee report
Hello everyone. I do hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season. It may be cold outside but it sure is warm in the hearts of everyone here on the empathizer team. We are so blessed to have a terrific group of folks who stand ready to except any calls from GD UI members and friends. We even have several individuals who are willing to be put on an auxiliary team list should they be needed. I can tell you that we truly do need everyone on this wonderful committee. One never knows when a situation will arise that only we as dog guide handlers can truly understand. Yes, we are all individuals, but we have a common bond and that bond is our wonderful dogs. I plan to meet with the team in February to talk about putting together an article in the next addition of PawTracks as to the origin of the Empathizer team. Jane Sheehan and several other team members have agreed to work together on this effort. We will be continuing to look for training opportunities. My plan is to use the expertise of our very own members. We are very fortunate to have many talented people on this team. My plan is to tap into some of this wonderful knowledge and provide more training for our team members. As I stated in my last report, Michelle Drolett is ready and willing to help any team members, should they need her. Our team is comfortable with continuing to use their own personal phone numbers for GD UI members and friends to call them on. We will not need a line item on the 2015 budget at this time. I will be sending this information to the budget committee as well. I just wanted to make sure that I included that information on both my general report and the one to the budget committee specifically on this issue. Again, thank you all so very much and we, as your empathizer team look forward to being of service to anyone who might need a friendly ear to listen.
Vickie Curley

The motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program:
Sarah Calhoun submitted the following Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) report:

Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program Committee Report

The DAPP team held a meeting on Thursday, January 15, 2015.
In attendance: Bob Acosta; Sarah Calhoun, chair; Ann Chiappetta; Lynn Merrill; Ken Metz & Dixie Sanderson.

The DAPP committee approved to have Landa Phelan as a guest speaker during the GDUI events at the ACB 2015 Convention. Landa will speak on emergency preparedness for you and your guide dog. I have included her bio at the end of this report. Landa is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in preparing for emergencies. Landa will join us during our next DAPP meeting.

Dixie Sanderson serves on the DAPP and Advocacy committees. Dixie suggested a collaborative project between both Committee’s to write a check sheet on making arrangements a head of time for a family member, friend, your veterinarian hospital, guide dog school, puppy raiser, etc., to take care of your guide dog in the event you are hospitalized and can’t care for your dog. The committee approved the project. Ken Metz volunteered to write the check list.

The DAPP committee suggested requesting a $60.00 expense to be added in the 2015 GDUI budget. This is in preparation in the event we need to expedite a $50.00 pre-paid card to an approved GDUI member requesting emergency financial assistance for their guide dog during a catastrophe. We estimate spending up to $20.00 expediting each $50.00 pre-paid card.

The DAPP team will write a brochure on preparing a survival kit for you and your guide dog, including a list of suggested items. Sarah Calhoun volunteered to write the brochure and make a survival kit to take to the ACB 2015 Convention for people to look over.

Bio of Landa Phelan:

My name is Landa Phelan. I am a Young Proud Independent Blind Senior.
I was born in the state of California. Raised in Fremont California.
Graduate from Newark High, and MTI Business College.
I moved to Hawaii 25 years ago.

I have an eye disease called Wet Macular Degeneration of the Retina.
My Blindness has been for 20 years

I am a certified Guide Dog Handler and use to use a Guide Dog for mobility she passed away in March 6, 2012 due to Cancer.

I was the first blind person to graduate from the Hawaii Woman’s Business Center small business planning and marketing class which opened the doors for other blind persons to follow.

Active in the blind Community:

I am on the Advisory Board at Ho’opono. I have served two terms as Chair on the Ho’opono State Rehabilitation Center for the blind advisory board. and was awarded the Ho’opono 2005 volunteer person of the year award.

In 2007 I was presented the EVA SMITH Award by the Hawaii Association of the blind. For my contributions to the welfare and well-being to the blind community.

I currently hold a seat on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Association of the Blind, which is an Affiliate of the AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND.
I am also a member of the Hawaii Association of Parents of the visually impaired.
and serve as a Mentor to Blind and Deaf Blind children.
Plus I am on Senator Suzanne Chung Oakland’s Deaf/Blind Task Force Council

I am on the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization ( OMPO) and on the Transportation committee.

I am certified to give Emergency Preparedness Training presentations to the community such as Seniors and people with disabilities.
I also provide training to Pet Owners and Service animal handlers on Emergency preparedness.

Recently I was appointed by Governor Neal Abercrombie to the
Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB)

OUTREACH-
I have given outreach presentations on blind awareness to the public Plus educated over 600 cab drivers on sensitivity training to people
with disabilities. and sighted guide techniques, safety tips. And Guide Dog etiquette, and ADA Laws.

In 2007 I began participating in the education of their Sensitivity training program for Para Transit. (Handy Van) new drivers.
and The CAB.

BUSINESS
Do to my personal experiences I realize that there is a misconception that the sighted community has about blindness.
at times at work or in the public sector the sighted community lacks the knowledge or education on how to communicate with persons, who are blind or have limited vision, and because of this I developed a strong passion for outreach Therefore, it is my intentions to bridge this gap. So I often volunteer my business called Sharper Senses. Sharper Senses provides customized sensitivity training to management and staff for restaurant, hotels, shops, or any business that provides service to the public.

I want to make things better today for tomorrow.

My goals are educating communities on Blind Awareness,
Emergency Preparedness Training
Advocating for issues that affect our Blind community.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun
Chair of the Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program Team

Motion carried to accept the report.

Agenda item Fund-Raising Committee Report:
Bob Acosta submitted the following Fund Raising Committee report:

Guide Dog users, Inc.
REPORT FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Special Note: Just as we finalized this report to The Board of Directors, our President asked us to look into the possibility of getting GDUI approved as a charitable organization to be registered with Amazon. The Fund-Raising Committee gathered the necessary information and forwarded it to our President. Hopefully, the day will soon come when all of our Amazon purchases can assist Guide Dog users, Inc., financially.
Although our Committee does all that we can to disseminate recordings of our meetings and the minutes of our meetings, we are also pleased to present this report.

Dear Colleagues:
The Fund-Raising Committee is off and running in 2015.
At present, we are involved with several active fund-raising projects.

7. We are pleased to report that we made $ 500 for GDUI from the Silpada Jewelry Party. This was our first project and we shall use this as a springboard for future efforts.

8. The Summer Drawing will be held at the luncheon of the GDUI National Convention on July 8, 2015.
On Monday June 5, 2015 our National President called me with some requests. First, she wanted all drawing ticket sales to cease as of June 1, 2015. Secondly, she asked that we only seek cash prizes and gift card prizes. This was to avoid any confusion with The Silent Auction and our Drawing by the public and our membership. I informed her that some items other than the above were already obtained and published on our flyers and our news articles.

I reported her requests at the meeting of the Fund-Raising Committee held on Tuesday January 13. Although some concern was expressed I believe that we shall work twice as hard to make the summer drawing a roaring success.

9. The official Summer Drawing has begun. We are pleased to announce that the flyers for the Drawing and the Cruise are now on our web site at: www.guidedogusersinc.org/blog. We have gathered several prizes to present for the drawing.
We would especially like to thank the CCrane Company for donating a Skywave Radio. We are selling chances for $10 each. Every donor will be sent a note giving him/her ticket numbers and acknowledging receipt of donations with a hearty thank you. We have sent hard-copy flyers to every member of the Board along with committee chairs and our affiliate presidents. At present, flyers are being made ready to send out to our ACB Affiliate Editors thanks to the help of Sharon Lovering. Articles have been submitted to The Braille Forum, PawTracks, and Blind Californian and to Newsreel. Please feel free to suggest other magazines and please include appropriate contact information.
10. The Cruise to the Caribbean December 5-12, 2015, is now official. I am pleased to report that people are beginning to book rooms. Remember that you can make monthly payments. We are advertising this event in Paw Tracks, Newsreel, The Braille Forum, Blind Californian and other magazines in order to reach out to the blind community as well as to our sighted friends. Please call Dave Kronk at (618) 409-0143.
11. On January 15 I hope to be speaking to the Affiliate Presidents regarding our fund-raising activities, not only on behalf of GDUI, but those which can help our affiliates directly.
12. We are doing all we can to encourage our members to contribute to the Monthly Monetary Support Program. The drive is in full swing, and we hope it will be successful.
13. Finally, the Committee has set some goals for 2015
A. To look into an auction for Guide Dog users, Inc., using ACB Radio or if necessary to go online. At present, we are working with Larry Turnbull to see if we can use the facilities of ACB Radio for such an auction. These proceedings are in the investigative stages.
B. We shall seek grants for GDUI when we receive the necessary paperwork from our organization.
C. We shall prepare a donor letter and investigate the possibility of using a Mail Company to assist us in distributing such letters to the public. We need a donor base which includes the public.
We conclude this report by stating that fund raising is a total team effort. We wish to thank all of you for your assistance and your cooperation.

Submitted by,
Robert Acosta Chair
Fund-Raising Committee

Agenda item Old Business:
As GDUI is a non-profit organization, we are required to register with the DC government every two years. We acquired Incorp Services in 2014 to act as our registered agent. We will need to register again in 2016. Discussion regarding acquiring Incorp Services will be brought up at a later meeting.

Agenda item New Business:

Member’s questions and comments

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

+++++
GDUI Special Board Meeting Minutes
March 6, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President; Will Burley, First Vice President; Maria Hansen, Second Vice President; Sarah Calhoun, Secretary; and Lynn Merrill, Treasurer.
Directors:
Bob Acosta, Betsy Grenevitch, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison
Pat Sheehan, ACB Board Representative and facilitator
Guest’s: John McCann & Ellen Telker
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director; Vickie Curley, Director; Nolan Crabb, Paw Tracks Editor & Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison.
Unexcused absence: Laurie Mehta, Immediate Past President.

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun. A quorum was met.

A motion was made by Bob Acosta to approve the agenda. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Discussion of proposed Bylaws.
Maria Hansen, chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee reviewed the Bylaws with the board members. During the review, some items were revised.

Will Burley will set up a separate Bylaws discussion chat list. The first Email will be an invitation to subscribe to this Bylaws only chat list. The proposed Bylaws will be posted to this list for members to discuss and make positive suggestions.

The Constitution & Bylaws Committee and the Nominating Committee will hold two telephonic membership meetings together. Each session will have two segments, one for members to discuss the proposed Bylaws and the second segment will be a Candidate Forum.

A telephonic recording of the proposed Bylaws will be made available.

Agenda item: Approval of voting system.
A motion was made by Will Burley to approve the funds in order to use the Vote Now system during the 2015 elections and to vote on the proposed Bylaws. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Discussion and approval of proposed 2015 budget.
Sarah Calhoun, co-chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, brought forth to the board the proposed 2015 budget for their review and discussion.

A motion was made by Jane Sheehan to approve the 2015 budget. The motion was seconded by Betsy Grenevitch. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Bob Acosta to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
*****
Proposed BYLAWS
Draft for Submission to the Membership: April 6, 2015
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
ARTICLE 1.00: NAME; Governance; Affiliation
1.01: Name
The name of this Organization shall be Guide Dog Users, Inc., hereinafter referred to as GDUI or the Organization.
1.02: Governance
This Organization shall be a member-governed Organization as defined in §29-401.50(a) of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act of 2012, hereinafter the DC Nonprofit Code.
1.03: Affiliation
This Organization shall be a chartered special interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, and shall hence be subject to all requirements and obligations applicable to affiliates of that organization.
ARTICLE 2.00: PURPOSES
2.01: The purposes of this Organization, in addition to those stated in the Articles of Incorporation, shall be:
(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 in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation.
(3) To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers in contributing input in the areas of selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and to provide constructive input to improve the quality of the training experience.
ARTICLE 3.00: OFFICES AND REGISTERED AGENT
3.01: Offices
The principal office of the Organization shall be located within or without the District of Columbia at such place as the Board of Directors shall from time to time designate. The Organization may maintain additional offices at such other places within or without the District of Columbia as the Board of Directors may designate.
3.02: Registered Agent
The Organization shall designate a person to serve as the registered agent for the District of Columbia. The Board of Directors may change the registered agent from time to time.
ARTICLE 4.00: INDIVIDUAL AND AFFILIATE MEMBERSHIP
4.01: Classes of Membership
This Organization shall have voting members and is authorized to have categories of non-voting members. The requirements for voting members shall be as stated in ¶ 4.03 of these Bylaws. The Board may establish requirements and qualifications for non-voting members or classes of non-voting members subject to the approval of the membership at an annual meeting.
4.02: Availability
Upon compliance with the requirements of ¶ 4.03 of these Bylaws, voting membership shall be available to all persons eighteen years of age or over who support the purposes of this Organization, provided however that at all times, the majority of the voting membership shall be blind or visually impaired persons who use guide dogs.
4.03: Requirements for Voting Membership
Voting membership shall be conferred in this Organization upon the payment of dues. The dues for “at large” members, life members, and affiliates shall be in such amounts as may be established by the Board of Directors. The Board shall, when appropriate, also require that prospective members submit such other information as is, or may be, necessary to comply with legally mandated corporate governance and/or record keeping requirements, or which is, or may be, requested by the American Council of the Blind.
4.04: Rights of Members
Each member who has paid his or her membership dues by the record date shall be considered a member in good standing and shall be eligible to cast one vote on those matters set forth in these Bylaws or on which the Nonprofit Code requires the approval of the members. The record date to determine which members are entitled to vote at a meeting of the membership shall be five (5) days before the first notice is given to members.
4.05: Affiliates
All affiliates of GDUI shall be organized in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) Any organization making application for affiliate status shall have no fewer than seven (7) members, the majority of whom shall be guide dog users. Each affiliate organization shall maintain a majority of members who are users of guide dogs. Any affiliate failing to maintain a membership of at least seven (7) members for three (3) consecutive years shall be considered to be inactive and any affiliate rights conferred by these Bylaws shall be suspended until such time as the affiliate complies with the above-stated minimum membership requirement.
(2) Any organization making application for affiliation shall submit its constitution and bylaws for review and approval by the GDUI Board of Directors.
(3) The governing instruments of any organization seeking affiliation with GDUI shall not be in conflict with those of GDUI.
(4) Applicants for affiliation shall be approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of Board members eligible to vote.
(5) All affiliates shall be responsible for paying the required dues per affiliate member to GDUI on an annual basis. Failure to submit the required dues in a timely manner may, by direction of the Board of Directors, forfeit voting privileges for the affiliate and the members of the affiliate.
(6) Each GDUI affiliate shall, on an annual basis, submit its dues along with an updated roster of members, a copy of its constitution and/or bylaws (as amended), and a current list of officers and directors to the person designated by the President on or before February 15, unless the affiliate requests and is granted an extension by the President.
4.06: Affiliate Voting
(1) Affiliate voting shall be limited to caucuses and other activities authorized by the Board of Directors, with the exception that the membership at a properly called meeting, may, by majority vote of those present and voting, call for a roll call vote on a specific matter of business. When affiliate voting is authorized, each affiliate shall be entitled to one (1) affiliate vote in any annual or special meeting of the membership or properly called telephonic or electronic election/meeting for each seven (7) affiliate members, or major fraction thereof; however, no affiliate may have more than twenty-five (25) affiliate votes.
(2) Each affiliate shall select a delegate who shall cast the affiliate’s vote.
(3) Should the membership of an affiliate drop below seven (7) members, that affiliate shall be entitled to one (1) affiliate vote and be subject to the conditions specified in paragraph 4.05 1. of this Article.
(4) To insure that its affiliate vote is cast in an equitable manner when conducting American Council of the Blind business, GDUI shall conduct a caucus at each annual convention at which time the delegates will record the vote of GDUI members and affiliate representatives present in conformity with the provisions of this section. Individual affiliate members shall be members of GDUI by virtue of their affiliate membership and shall possess all rights incidental thereto.
4.07: Affiliate Dissolution
In the event that an affiliate elects to dissolve, the president or other presiding officer shall, as soon as possible, give written notice to the GDUI President and Treasurer of the affiliate’s dissolution.
ARTICLE 5.00: OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
5.01: Officers
The Officers of GDUI shall be the President, the First Vice-President, the Second Vice-President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
(1) The President, First Vice-President, and Second Vice-President shall be elected for terms of two (2) years and shall not be eligible to serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same office.
(2) The Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected for terms of two (2) years and there shall be no term limits.
5.02: Directors
GDUI shall elect six (6) Directors with two (2) Directors being elected annually for terms of three (3) years, thereby creating staggered terms. No member shall be eligible to serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms as a Director.
5.03: Non-Voting Positions
There shall be three (3) additional positions on the Board of Directors, two (2) of which are appointed by the President, and one (1) of which is elected by the Board of Directors. The two appointed positions are the Affiliates Liaison and the Guide Dog Schools Liaison, and the elected position shall be the Editor of GDUI’s regular publication. These three additional members shall serve as ex-officio members of the Board without a vote. The additional two (2) appointed Board members shall be limited to serving the same terms as Directors unless an extension of service is requested and granted by a majority vote of the Voting Members of the Board. The member elected to the publication Editor Board position shall serve unlimited terms unless requested to be removed or is removed from that position by the procedures specified in paragraph 6.08 dealing with removal of Officers, Directors and Appointees.
5.04: Board of Directors
The Officers, Directors, and the three (3) additional members who are elected or appointed to the Board shall constitute the Board of Directors of this Organization, (hereinafter the Board). All Officers shall be considered to be Directors as that term is used in the DC Nonprofit Code.
5.05: Locales of Directors
Of those Director positions that are elected to the Board, no more than three (3) members occupying those positions shall be from the same state, District, or possession. For the avoidance of doubt, the publication Editor, the Affiliates Liaison, and the Guide Dog Schools Liaison are not elected positions on the Board.
5.06: Individual Duties of Board Members
Except as may be otherwise specified in the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws, the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be such as are prescribed in the parliamentary authority adopted by this Organization or as may be specifically prescribed or mandated by the DC Nonprofit Code. The duties of the remaining Board members shall be such as may be determined by the Board of Directors or the membership.
5.07: Eligibility for Board Service
(1) Candidates for any office on the Board shall be members of GDUI.
(2) The President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, and a majority of the Board of Directors shall be guide dog users.
(3) All elected Officers, Directors, and appointed Board members shall serve in no more than one (1) Board position at a time while serving on the GDUI Board of Directors.
5.08: Partial Terms
Any period of time served in office which is less than half a term, whether occurring by election or appointment to complete an unexpired term, shall not be counted as a term served. All incumbents shall continue serving in the offices to which they have been elected or appointed until their successors are elected and take office.
5.09: Election and Tenure
(1) The election of Officers and Directors shall take place during an annual meeting. Those who are members of GDUI as of the record date (five (5) days prior to notice of the election) shall be eligible to vote.
(2) Officers will be elected by a majority of the members present at the meeting.
(3) In the event there are more than two candidates for any Officer position and following the election, no candidate has received more than 50% of the votes cast for such office, a second election will be held immediately following the conclusion of the first election. The two candidates receiving the most votes in the first election shall be candidates in the second election. If either of the top two candidates elects not to stand for the second election, the candidate with the next highest vote total shall be a candidate for office in the second vote. No additional nominees will be accepted for such office.
(4) Directors will be elected by a plurality of the members present at the meeting.
(5) May shall be the month of the annual election unless otherwise rescheduled by the Board of Directors.
(6) Except in cases where persons join the Board to fill vacancies, the term of service for all Officers, Directors, or Appointees shall begin at the close of the annual GDUI convention in the year of election and shall end at the close of the annual GDUI convention in the year that elects and qualifies their successors.
ARTICLE 6.00: POWERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS; MEETINGS; QUORUM; FILLING
OF VACANCIES
6.01: Authority and Powers
The Board of this Organization shall have such authority and exercise such powers as are mandated or permitted by the DC Nonprofit Code except as may be further limited by these Bylaws, or, to the extent legally permissible, the membership. The Board shall function as the governing body of this Organization between annual membership meetings and shall not adopt any position nor take any action in conflict with any prior positions, policies, or decisions adopted by the membership.
6.02: Annual, Regular and Special Meetings
GDUI shall hold an annual meeting of its Board of Directors for the transaction of such business as may properly come before the meeting. The annual meeting of the Board shall be held after the annual meeting of the members as provided for in paragraph 5.09 (5), at such place and at such time as determined by the Board of Directors. The Organization may hold other regular meetings of the Board in accordance with a schedule to be published to the membership. Unless the Articles of Incorporation, the Nonprofit Code or these Bylaws provide otherwise, any business may be considered at the annual or any other regular meeting of the Board without such business having been specified in the notice for such meeting. Failure to hold an annual meeting does not invalidate the Organization’s existence or affect any otherwise valid corporate acts. Special meetings of the Board may also be called at the discretion of the President or at the request of any two Board members.
6.03: Notice of Meetings
NO notice of meetings shall be required for regularly scheduled Board meetings beyond the published schedule required by ¶ 6.02 of these Bylaws. Notice of any special Board meeting shall be given no less than two days prior to the date on which such meeting is scheduled to occur except in emergency circumstances as defined in §29-403.03(d) of the DC Nonprofit Code, in which case the above-stated notice requirement shall be superseded by §29-403.03(b)(1) of the Code. Notices of any special meeting need not specify the purpose for which the meeting has been called except that notice of intent to remove a Director shall always be given in the case of any regular or special meeting at which such action is contemplated.
6.04: Participation
The Board may permit any or all Directors to participate in a regular or special meeting by, or conduct the meeting through the use of, any means of communication by which all Directors participating may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting. A Director participating in a meeting by this means shall be considered to be present in person at the meeting.
6.05: Quorum and Action by Directors.
A majority of the Voting Members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular or special Board meeting. Unless the Articles of Incorporation, the Nonprofit Code or these Bylaws require a greater proportion, the action of a majority of the Voting
Members of the Board present at a meeting of the Board at which a quorum is present shall constitute action of the Board of Directors.
6.06: Action by Written Consent
Any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of the Board of Directors may be taken without a meeting, if a unanimous written consent setting forth the action to be taken is signed by each Director of the Board of Directors and filed with the minutes of proceedings of the Board of Directors.
6.07: Filling of Vacancies
(1) A vacancy occurs when the incumbent in any Officer or Director position dies, becomes incapacitated, resigns, or is removed in accordance with ¶ 6.08 of these Bylaws or §29-406/08 of the DC Nonprofit Code.
(2) In the case of a vacancy in the President’s position, regardless of the amount of time remaining in the term of office, the duties and responsibilities of the President shall be immediately assumed by the First Vice President who shall continue serving as President for the remainder of the term. In the case of a vacancy occurring in any other position, (including that of the First Vice Presidency under the circumstance just described), the President may appoint, with approval by majority vote of the Voting Members of the Board of Directors, whether or not sufficient to constitute a quorum, any member to fill the position until the next scheduled election occurs, at which time the members shall elect an individual to fill the unexpired term of the Director whose resignation or removal created the vacancy on the Board.
(3) Even if these vacancies are filled by Presidential appointment with Board approval, they are elected Board positions.
6.08: Removal or Resignation of Directors
(In this section, the term Directors will also include Officers.)
(1) The members may remove any Director, with or without cause, at the annual or special meeting of the members, by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at the meeting, provided a quorum is present. The notice of the meeting at which the removal of a Director is to be considered must state that one of the purposes of the meeting is to vote on the removal of the Director.
(2) The Board of Directors, by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Voting Members of the Board of Directors then in office, may remove a Director who:
(a) Has been declared of unsound mind;
(b) Has been convicted of a felony;
(c) Has been found by a final court order to have breached a duty as a Director;
(d) Has ceased to be a member in good standing of GDUI, or
(e) Has missed three (3) or more meetings in any twelve month period without being excused.
(3) A Director may resign at any time upon written notice to the Secretary or any other Officer of the Organization. Such resignation shall take effect on the date the notice was delivered to the Secretary or other Officer, unless the notice specifies a later effective date.
(4) A Director appointed by the Board to fill a vacancy shall serve until the next annual meeting of the members. The Board of Directors may remove any Director appointed pursuant to this Section, with cause, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Voting Members of the Board.
ARTICLE 7.00: MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS
7.01: Annual Meeting
This Organization shall hold an annual meeting to conduct such business as may be required by the DC Nonprofit Code and for such other business as the membership may wish to have considered at such meeting. Failure to hold an annual meeting does not invalidate the Organization’s existence or affect any otherwise valid organizational acts.
7.02: Annual Convention
GDUI shall meet in convention annually in conjunction with the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind to conduct business, (as limited below), engage in educational and recreational activities, and participate in the various activities of the annual convention of the American Council of the Blind. GDUI members and friends are welcome to attend the GDUI convention and notice and quorum requirements are waived for any business meetings or sessions thereof that may take place at such convention; however, such business shall be strictly limited to matters coming before the ACB convention on which GDUI may wish to adopt positions or take specific actions.
7.03: Special Meetings
Special membership meetings may be called by the President, the Board of Directors, or upon the request of ten percent (10%) of the voting members of this Organization as determined from the date prior to that on which the first request for such meeting was made.
7.04: Record Date
The record date shall be the date as of which the Organization shall determine who is a member in good standing and eligible to vote at the meeting of the members. The record date for an annual meeting of the members shall be the date that is five (5) days prior to the date notice of the annual meeting is to be given. The record date for a special meeting of the members called by the President or the Board of Directors shall be five (5) days prior to the date notice of the special meeting is to be given. The record date for a special meeting called by 10% of the members shall be the date the first member in good standing signs the petition. The determination of who is a member in good standing eligible to vote shall be made by the Secretary as of the close of business on the record date.
7.05: Notice of Meetings
(1)The Organization shall give notice to the members entitled to vote of the date, time, and place of each annual or special meeting of the members. The notice shall be given at least 45 days before the annual meeting date and at least 10 days in the case of a special meeting.
(2) Notice is given when it is delivered personally to the member, left at the member’s residence or usual place of business, or sent by facsimile or e-mail, or, in the alternative, by U.S. mail to the member’s address as it shall appear on the records of the Organization. The notice shall state whether the Organization has elected to proceed under §29-405.20(f) of the Nonprofit Code.
(3) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a member may waive notice of any meeting of the members by written statement filed with the Secretary, or by oral statement at any such meeting. Attendance at a meeting of the members shall also constitute a waiver of notice, except where a member states that he or she is attending solely for the purpose of objecting to the conduct of business because the meeting was not lawfully called or convened. Any meeting of the members may adjourn from time to time to reconvene at the same or some other place, and no notice need be given of any such adjourned meeting other than by general announcement.
7.06: Quorum
Except as otherwise provided in the Nonprofit Code, the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws, fifteen (15%) of the votes of members entitled to vote shall constitute a quorum.
7.07: Conduct of Meeting
The President shall preside at each meeting of members. The President shall determine the order of business and has the authority to establish rules for the conduct of the meeting. The President shall announce at the meeting when the polls close for each matter voted upon by the members. After the polls close, no ballots or votes, nor any otherwise permissible revocations or changes to a member’s vote may be accepted. Each member is entitled to one vote. A member may not vote by proxy.
7.08: Voting
Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, all issues to be voted on shall be decided by a simple majority of those present at the meeting in which the vote takes place. There shall be no cumulative voting.
7.09: Meeting by Conference Telephone
Members of the Organization may participate in a meeting by means of a conference telephone or similar communications equipment if all persons participating in the meeting can hear one another, vote on matters submitted to the members, pose questions and make comments. Participation in a meeting by these means constitutes presence in person at a meeting.
7.10: Action by Recorded Ballot
(1) Any action required or permitted to be taken at an annual or special meeting of the members may be taken without a meeting, if the Organization delivers a ballot to every member entitled to vote on the matter.
(2) The ballot must be inscribed on a tangible medium or stored in an electronic or other medium that is retrievable in a perceivable form and sent by personal delivery to the member, left at the member’s residence or usual place of business, sent by facsimile or e-mail, or, in the alternative, by U.S. mail to the member’s address as it shall appear on the records of the Organization. The ballot must:
(a) set forth each proposed action;
(b) provide for an opportunity to vote for, or withhold a vote for, each candidate for election as a Director; and
(c) provide an opportunity to vote for or against any other proposed action.
(3) Any measure voted on by ballot, other than the election of Directors, will be considered approved by the members only if:
(a) the number of votes cast equals or exceeds the quorum required for a meeting authorizing the action; and
(b) the number of affirmative votes cast equals or exceeds the number of affirmative votes that would be needed to approve the matter at a meeting assuming the number of members voting at the meeting was equal to the number of ballots cast. The election of a Director is valid only if the number of votes cast by ballot equals or exceeds the quorum required to be present at a meeting electing Directors, and the Director receives a plurality of the votes cast.
(4) The solicitation for votes by ballot must:
(a) indicate the number of responses needed to meet the quorum requirements;
(b) state the percentage of approvals necessary to approve each matter other than election of Directors; and
(c) specify the time by which a ballot must be received by the Organization in order to be counted. A ballot may be validly cast by returning a written ballot to the Organization with the member’s vote recorded on the ballot or by using an electronic, telephonic or other medium that is retrievable in a perceivable form and which is designated by the Organization for casting the ballot. Once cast, a ballot may not be revoked.
7.11: Auditing of Voting Results
For all votes conducted pursuant to paragraphs 5.09 and 7.01 (Board election) and 10.01 (Bylaws amendment) of these Bylaws, the Board shall designate a disinterested non-member to serve as an auditor who shall certify the result of any vote in a sworn statement which shall be retained in this Organization’s records.
ARTICLE 8.00: COMMITTEES
8.01: Classes and Types of Committees
Committees in this Organization shall be of two classes: Board and advisory. The establishment of any Board committees together with their powers, functions, and responsibilities shall be governed in accordance with §29-406.25 of the DC Nonprofit Code. Both Board and advisory committees may be designated as either standing or special committees. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to establish any standing or special advisory committees deemed necessary or desirable to facilitate the transaction of business . The membership of any advisory committee shall be restricted to voting members of this Organization, and such committees shall have only those powers and responsibilities as shall have been specified in the motions or resolutions pursuant to which they were established. The President shall be an ex officio voting member of all committees except the nominating committee. In all cases, a committee may seek the advice of persons recognized as having particular expertise on any matter properly before it for consideration, but such persons shall not participate beyond providing the advice or guidance solicited.
8.02: Board Committees
(1) The Board of Directors, by a vote of a majority of the Directors then in office, may establish one or more standing committees comprised of one or more Directors. The Board of Directors may delegate to these committees any of the powers of the Board of Directors, except as limited by §29-406.25 (e) of the DC Nonprofit Code.
(2) The President of the Board of Directors shall appoint the members and the Chair of each committee, subject to the approval of a majority of the Voting Members of the Board then in office. Each committee shall adopt rules of procedure for its business that are consistent with paragraph 6.03 of these Bylaws. A majority of the members of a committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and the act of a majority of those present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the committee. Any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of a committee may be taken without a meeting, if a unanimous written consent that sets forth the action is signed by each member of the committee and filed with the minutes of the committee. Committees may conduct meetings by teleconference or via the use of similar communications technology in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6.04 of these Bylaws.
8.03: Special Board Committees
The Board of Directors may appoint one or more special committees for such special tasks as circumstances warrant. Such special committees shall limit their activities to the accomplishment of the task for which they are created and appointed and shall have no power to act except such as is specifically conferred by action of the Board of Directors.
8.04: Advisory Committees.
(1) The Board of Directors may authorize the formation of advisory committees. The advisory committees shall have such functions and responsibilities specified by the Board of Directors; provided, however, that the Board of Directors may not delegate any of its power, authority or functions to any advisory committee. Members of an advisory committee need not be Directors. Each advisory committee may adopt rules of procedure for the conduct of business that are consistent with paragraph 6.03 of these Bylaws and with the rules adopted by the Board of Directors.
(2) The President shall appoint the Chair of each advisory committee. The Chairpersons of the advisory committees shall appoint their committee members. A majority of the members of an advisory committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Advisory committees may conduct meetings by teleconference or via the use of similar communications technology in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6.04 of these Bylaws.
8.05: Reporting
Each committee shall report to the Board of Directors, to the assembly at annual meetings, and/or through publications of GDUI, on a needs basis or as directed by the President or Board of Directors.
ARTICLE 9.00: FINANCIAL MATTERS
9.01: Receipts and Disbursements
All funds, except those with specific instructions, received by GDUI from dues and other sources shall be paid into a general fund, and all disbursements from the general fund must have the approval of the Board of Directors, unless such disbursements are authorized by way of the annual budget of GDUI. Disbursements that exceed any specified limit must have prior approval of the Board of Directors with the exception of emergencies in which case the expenditure shall be submitted to the Board for ratification by a majority vote of the Voting Members of the Board.
9.02: Reimbursement
All persons incurring expenses in connection with any activity or function undertaken on behalf of this Organization shall be entitled to be reimbursed for any actual costs incurred, up to a specified amount, where such activity or function and expenditure has been expressly authorized by prior action of the Board. Reasonable reimbursement may be permitted in all other circumstances at the discretion of the Board.
ARTICLE 10.00: AMENDMENTS
10.01: Amendments
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of those present and voting at any annual or special meeting of the membership at which a quorum is present, provided further that:
(1) the proposed amendment or amendments have been published to the membership in an accessible format or media no less than forty-five (45) days before the date on which such amendment or amendments are to be considered;
(2) that the amendment(s) have been submitted to the Bylaws Committee no less than seventy-five (75) days before the date on which such amendment or amendments are to be considered.
10.02: Effective Date
Amendments to these Bylaws shall become effective immediately upon adoption unless:
(1) the amendment itself, or by proviso attached thereto, contains language specifying another effective date; or,
(2) the amendment, by its terms, specifies that it becomes effective upon the occurrence of a future event or circumstance.
ARTICLE 11.00: MISCELLANEOUS
11.01: Parliamentary Authority
The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall serve as the parliamentary authority for this Organization in all cases to which it may be applicable and is not otherwise in conflict with the Articles of Incorporation, these Bylaws, or the requirements of any statutes to which this Organization is properly subject.
11.02: Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the Organization shall be the twelve calendar month period ending December 31 in each year, unless otherwise provided by the Board of Directors.
11.03: Emergency Powers
In the circumstance where a quorum of the Board of Directors cannot readily be assembled because of some catastrophic event, this Organization is expressly authorize to exercise emergency powers as permitted by §29.403.03 of the DC Nonprofit Code.
11.04: Maintenance of Tax Exempt Status
This Organization shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on:
(1) by any Organization exempt from federal income tax under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or
(2) by any Organization to which contributions are deductible under Sections 170(c)(2), 2055(a)(2), and 2522(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Upon the termination, dissolution or final liquidation of this Organization in any manner or for any reason, its assets, if any, remaining after payment (or provision for payment) of all liabilities of the Organization shall be distributed to, and only to, one or more Organizations to carry out the objectives and purposes stated in the Articles of Incorporation of this Organization, provided that such organizations are organized and operated exclusively for charitable or educational purposes as shall, at the time, qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code. In the event that no such organizations exists, the assets shall be distributed to such other organization or organizations as shall, at the time, qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code. In no event shall any of such assets or property be distributed to any member, Director or officer, or any private individual.
11.05: Dissolution of Organization
A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting at an annual or a special called meeting shall be required to dissolve this Organization. GDUI shall then give the Attorney General of the District of Columbia notice in the form of a record that it intends to dissolve before the time it delivers articles of dissolution to the Mayor as required by DC Code §29-412.02(g.).
11.06: Interpretative Guidance
In these Bylaws, references to specific provisions of any statute shall be construed to include the corresponding provisions of any future statutes addressing, or having a bearing on, the subject matter of the original citations. Any provisions of these Bylaws shall be null and void if they are ever determined to be, or subsequently become, inconsistent with any applicable provision of law to which this Organization is properly subject. In the case of any such occurrence, these Bylaws shall be amended at the earliest opportunity to resolve such conflict.
PROVISO
The adoption of these Bylaws supersedes and replaces all other Constitutions and/or Bylaws previously adopted by this Organization. The Secretary, or person or persons responsible for preparing this document for presentation, publication, or distribution are hereby authorized to make such technical, editorial, and/or conforming changes as may be necessary without in any way changing the intent of the original wording contained herein.
Effective Date: These Bylaws shall be effective as of the date they
are adopted by the members.
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Leader Dogs for the Blind Earns National Accreditation for O&M Service Offerings
by Rachelle Kniffen, Director of Communications & Marketing
Leader Dogs for the Blind

Leader Dogs for the Blind has been accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC) for applying best practices and delivering services that focus on positive outcomes for its clients. Leader Dog is the first guide dog organization to achieve accreditation by NAC, which is the only international accrediting body devoted to serving organizations that provide programs for people who are blind and those with low vision.
Upon evaluation, the NAC found Leader Dog’s Accelerated Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training and Summer Experience Camp programs met or exceeded industry standards for the administration and service provision.
“Leader Dogs for the Blind is proud to have earned this NAC accreditation,” said Sue Daniels, president and CEO of Leader Dog. “Our position as the first guide dog organization to have received this qualification sends a clear message that the programs and services we offer are not only a success in the results they produce, but have been approved by a third party and meet the highest standards.”
Accreditation involves a recognized process of assessing organizational structure, process and outcome. NAC accreditation includes engaging the subject organization in a detailed self-assessment using NAC developed evidence-informed standards as well as an on-site peer review.
Accelerated O&M Training is a seven-day residential training empowering people who are blind with the skills needed to travel safely using a white cane in a much shorter timeframe than traditional O&M programs. The one-on-one instruction is tailored to the client’s capabilities allowing for individual needs to be met. Summer Experience Camp is a unique summer camp for boys and girls ages 16 and 17 who are legally blind that combines summer fun, an introduction to guide dogs and the opportunity to spend time with peers who are facing similar challenges.
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Contributors to This Issue
We wish to thank the following individuals for their contribution to this issue of Paw Tracks:

Robert Acosta
Linda Carter Batiste
Sarah Calhoun
Ann Chiappetta
The DAPP Committee
Becky Barnes Davidson
Michelle Grenevitch
Maria Hansen
Rachelle Kniffen
Ginger Kutsch
Rebecca Kragnes
Danielle McIntyre
Lynn Merrill
Penny Reeder
Tracie Saab
Lillian Scaife

Download link: Paw Tracks Spring 2015