Blog

GDUI Announcement, July 10, 2017

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

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

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

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

Follow us at Twitter: @GDUInc

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

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

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

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

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

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

businesslist-subscribe@guidedogusersinc.org

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

Proposed Amendments to the GDUI Bylaws April 2017

The GDUI Bylaws and Resolutions Committee submits the following four (4) proposed amendments for consideration during the May 2017 Annual election.

In order to achieve a quorum, at least 75 members, which represents 15% of the membership, must vote.  Further, a two-thirds affirmative vote is required in order to adopt an amendment.

Members will have opportunities to ask questions about the proposed amendments during the Candidates/Amendments Forums which are scheduled on two separate dates prior to the elections.  The first will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, beginning at 1:00 P. M. (EDT) and the second will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2017 beginning at 8:00 P. M. (EDT). The call-in number for both forums is (712) 432-0075; access code: 919245 followed by the pound sign.

AMENDMENT 1: Non-discrimination and Freedom of Speech

Purpose: To acknowledge the principles of Freedom of Speech and non-discrimination.  Although technically not required because it is already included within the context of the existing provision, GDUI wishes to underscore its commitment to the principles of non-discrimination and freedom of speech with the additional proposed language in the last sentence below.

ARTICLE 1.00:  NAME; GOVERNANCE; AFFILIATION

Section 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.  GDUI embraces the principles of non-discrimination and freedom of speech.

AMENDMENT 2: Clarification of Affiliate Voting

Purpose:  to amend the language of subsection 4.06 (1), which deals with Affiliate Voting, in order to eliminate ambiguity and to conform with related sections 4.06(4) and 7.02.

Below is the proposed revision of 4.06 (1) followed by the current 4.06 (1).

Proposed revision of 4.06 (1):

4.06(1) Affiliate voting shall be limited to caucuses and business sessions taking place at the annual convention  where 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.  At such a meeting, the membership 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) vote for each seven (7) affiliate members, or major fraction thereof; however, no affiliate may have more than twenty-five (25) affiliate votes.

The current language of 4.06(1) is:

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) 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 members.

AMENDMENT 3: Designating a Seat on the Board for Immediate Past President

Purpose: designate the position of Immediate Past President as a seat on the Board.  This would involve the following changes.

5.03:  Immediate Past President 

The position of Immediate Past President shall be designated as a seat on the Board. 

  (1)The Immediate Past President shall have full voting privileges and shall serve until there is another Immediate Past President.

  (2) The designated position of Immediate Past President shall become available when the person serving as President in June of 2017 shall be duly qualified to succeed  to that office.

The present section 5.04 shall become 5.05 and read as follows:

5.05:  Board Of Directors

The Officers, Directors, Immediate Past President, 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.

The current section 5.05 shall become 5.06 and shall read:

Section 5.06:  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 Publications Editor, the Affiliate Liaison, the Guide Dog School Liaison, and the Immediate Past President are not elected positions on the Board.

AMENDMENT 4:  Eliminating Provisions for Run-off Elections

Purpose: Due to the costs of conducting elections, propose eliminating the provision for run-off elections (second elections).

The proposal involves eliminating sub-section 5.09 (3), which deals with second elections, and merging sub-sections 5.09 (2) and 5.09 (4), which deal with majority and plurality voting.

Changes to 5.09 Election and Tenure.  Propose elimination of sub-section 5.09(3) which reads: “In the event there are more than two candidates for any Officer position  and following the election, no candidate has received more than fifty percent 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.”

5.09(2) reads “Officers will be elected by a majority  of the members present at the meeting.”  and

5.09(4) reads “Directors will be elected by a plurality of the members present at the meeting.”

Propose combining both into a new 5.09(2) to read, “Officers and Directors will be elected by a plurality of the members present at the meeting.”

End of proposed Amendments

GDUI has elected to proceed under Section 29.405.20(f) of the Nonprofit Code. If a member who is entitled to vote on these matters has any questions, please feel free to contact your Bylaws Committee members at Bylaws@guidedogusersinc.org .

Respectfully submitted,

Maria Hansen, Chair, Bylaws and Resolutions Committee

Lynn Merrill, Member

Ellen Telker, Member

Rick Roderick, Member

Maria Kristic, Member

Penny Reeder, Member

TransAtlantic Six-Legged Adventure

by: Gabriel Lopez Kafati

This past month of March marked the beginning of my fourth decade. As the big day was approaching, I grew with anticipation. Let me clarify: this year, the big day was not precisely my birthday, but the day in which my guide dog, Posh, and I prepared to embark in our first TransAtlantic journey. My 40TH birthday celebration was none other than a trip to Barcelona, Spain!

As is the case with any other travel preparations, Posh kept following every one of my moves around the house. I can already read the questions running through her furry head… “Where are we going now? How long will we be there? Will there be any play mates for me? Do you know I keep following you around because I want to make sure you won’t forget me? Will we be traveling in one of those tiny spots, or will we get upgraded?” Oh yes, and most importantly… “I’m watching you, so don’t you dare forget to pack my food!” Since our outbound was an evening flight, our day went by without major changes in our schedule; Posh ate and parked at her regular times. Although she might have noticed that I was being unusually stingy with her water bowl.

Barcelona was definitely the best place to celebrate my Big 40! A spectacular spring weather; tantalizing food and delectable sweets; an overflow of good wine; the company of awesome friends; and a vibrant atmosphere.

We enjoyed all the historic stages contained in every spot, and meeting people from all walks of life. Posh led our way through a bustling Barcelona; we navigated through sidewalks full of persons, other dogs, cigarette stubs, splashes of wine and beer, and all sorts of sounds and smells. We walked on narrow streets where cars make their way through bikes, pedestrians, and dogs. We crossed complicated intersections, including Calle Diagonal which traces the city from corner to corner, and where cars travel at highway speed. Posh really made the difference when it came to exploring and discovering each detail around us. She made sure our walks and visits ran smoothly, and she even suggested a detour in a winery, through a route that would have taken us where the bottles were being filled- most likely guided by her vino-trained sense of smell.

A week seemed like a day in the mist of all the fun and celebration. My first journey across the Atlantic with a guide dog was definitely incomparable. Posh really complemented every aspect and every part of this marvelous adventure with her brightness, her sweetness, and her silliness. Our inbound flight took off just before noon, and brought us back to Miami at mid afternoon, given the regression in the time zones. Posh was not amused with such a deal, as it did not agree with her regular dinner time. After this trip, I have added a few travel-related Posh thoughts and questions to her traditional list… “Now I understand that thing you humans call jet lag; I was cool with eating within local schedule, but I was also hungry at the times I would have been eating back home!” Getting upgraded is awesome in terms of our space, but how come I don’t get all those meals just like you do? From now on, I’ll be sure to ask how long a flight is going to be before you get me on one of those planes.” Oh yes! Most importantly… “When I sniffed my bed, I realized that there is no place like home!”

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

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

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

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

UBER Settlement Agreement Pending: All Guide Dog Users, Please Read and Share

NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
ATTENTION: ALL BLIND OR VISUALLY DISABLED INDIVIDUALS WHO USE SERVICE ANIMALS WHEN TRAVELING AND WHO HAVE USED, ATTEMPTED TO USE, OR HAVE BEEN DETERRED FROM USING TRANSPORTATION SERVICES ARRANGED THROUGH THE UBER RIDER APP. THE SETTLEMENT DESCRIBED BELOW MAY AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS. READ THIS NOTICE AND INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

This notice is to inform you about the proposed settlement that would resolve the class action lawsuit National Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.). The lawsuit alleges that Uber Technologies, Inc. and its subsidiary and affiliate entities (collectively, “Uber”), violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., by failing to take the necessary steps to ensure that transportation providers using the Uber mobile software application (“Drivers”) do not discriminate against blind or visually disabled riders who travel with service animals (“Riders”). Uber denies all liability in the case and asserts that its current practices do not violate applicable federal, state, and local law. The settlement, which must be approved by the Court, would resolve the lawsuit.

I. SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
Under the settlement, Uber agrees to take additional steps to inform Drivers of their obligations to transport all Riders. Uber will require that new and existing Drivers expressly confirm that they understand and agree to these obligations, through a pop-up interactive questionnaire in the Driver mobile software application and changes to the technology services agreement. In addition, Uber will send quarterly email reminders to Drivers.

Uber will also adopt a new enforcement practice. If, following a complaint from a Rider, Uber determines that a driver knowingly refused to transport a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, Uber will terminate that Driver’s contract and permanently remove the Driver from the Driver platform. In addition, if Uber receives plausible complaints on more than one occasion that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, Uber will terminate the Driver’s contract and the Driver will be permanently removed from the Driver platform. This second basis for contract termination will apply where Uber was unable to determine whether the first denial was a knowing violation.

Under the settlement, Uber will also enhance its response system for complaints that a Driver denied service to a Rider because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, and will provide greater transparency to Riders regarding what action has been taken in response to a complaint about a Driver. Uber will also limit the circumstances in which a Rider can be charged for cleaning issues related to his or her service animal.

Additionally, Uber will record each allegation that a Driver is alleged to have denied service to a Rider, or otherwise discriminated against a Rider, because the Rider was traveling with a service animal, and will report aggregated data to Class Counsel. The National Federation of the Blind and its California affiliate will administer a testing program, through which blind individuals request and take trips to evaluate the effectiveness of the settlement. A third-party individual will monitor Uber’s compliance with the settlement as well.

The settlement also provides that the three named individual plaintiffs who served as class representatives will receive payments of $15,000 each in return for their release of their individual damage claims. In addition, the National Federation of the Blind will receive three annual payments of $75,000 during the term of the settlement, and a fourth payment of $75,000 if the term of the settlement is extended. These payments are intended to support the Federation’s testing program.

Finally, Disability Rights Advocates, Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, and TRE Legal Practice (collectively, “Class Counsel”), the attorneys who represent the class, will have the right to seek attorneys’ fees and costs for their work on the case. Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court to award reasonable fees and costs for work on the merits phase of this case. The Court must approve the amount awarded even if the parties reach an agreement on the amount. This motion for fees and costs will be available on www.nfb-serviceanimal-settlement.com on September 21, 2016. Class Counsel will also be entitled to seek reasonable fees and costs for their future work monitoring compliance with the settlement and enforcing the agreement. Uber retains the right to contest the amount of any attorneys’ fees requested by Class Counsel.

II. WHO IS IN THE CLASS?
All blind or visually disabled individuals nationwide who travel with the assistance of service animals and who have used, attempted to use, or been deterred from attempting to use transportation arranged through the Uber rider app.

III. THE EFFECT OF THE SETTLEMENT ON THE RIGHTS OF CLASS MEMBERS
All class members will be bound by the terms of the settlement relating to access to transportation services arranged using the Uber app for blind or visually disabled persons who use service animals, if the settlement agreement is approved by the Court. If the settlement is approved, all class members will release and forever discharge all claims for injunctive relief under all federal, state, and local laws related to alleged discrimination by Uber against blind or visually disabled persons who use service animals that arose before the Settlement Agreement becomes effective. Class members, other than the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, are not releasing any claims for monetary damages.

IV. OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
You can ask the Court to deny approval of this settlement by filing an objection with the Court. You cannot ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or deny this proposed settlement. If the Court denies approval, any settlement changes necessary for approval may not be made, and the lawsuit may continue. If this is what you want to happen, you must object.
If you wish to object to the proposed settlement you must object to the proposed settlement in writing. You may also appear at the fairness hearing for final approval of the settlement, either in person or through your own attorney. But if you wish to appear and present your objection orally at the fairness hearing, you must first submit a written objection and in your written objection you must indicate your intention to appear and be heard at the fairness hearing. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. All written objections and supporting papers must (a) clearly identify the case name and number, National Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-4086 (N.D. Cal.), (b) be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, or by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and (c) be received on or before October 13, 2016.

V. FURTHER INFORMATION
This notice summarizes the proposed settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the settlement, please see the settlement agreement available at www.nfb-serviceanimal-settlement.com, contact Class Counsel using the information below, access the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov, or visit the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.
To obtain a copy of this notice in alternate accessible formats, contact Class Counsel using the information below.

VI. CONTACT INFORMATION
Please do not contact the Court, the Court clerk’s office, or Defense Counsel with questions about this settlement. Any questions must be directed to Class Counsel at the numbers and addresses below.

Class Counsel:

Laurence Paradis
Disability Rights Advocates
2001 Center Street, Fourth Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 665-8644

Timothy Elder, Esq.
TRE Legal Practice
4226 Castanos Street
Fremont, California 94536
(410) 415-3493

Michael Bien
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
50 Fremont Street, 19th Floor
San Francisco, California 94105-2235
(415) 433-6830

ACB Reaches Agreement with DC Taxi Companies

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

Contact:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People with Disabilities and LYFT

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

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

October 15, 2015

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

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

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

For more information, please contact:

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

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

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

PawTracks Winter 2015

PawTracks
Winter 2015
Volume XLIII, No. 4
Editor: Nolan Crabb
Technical Assistant: Dixie Sanderson
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

Table of Contents
President’s Message: Welcome to Winter by Penny Reeder
Announcing the GDUI 2016 Elections
Thoughts from the Editor: Strengthening the Handler/Dog Bond by Nolan Crabb
Join Us On a Sea Cruise to Bermuda by Robert Acosta
No One Gets Lost On a Cruise Ship by Vicky Curley
Thoughts and Tips on Using Uber with a Guide Dog by Mike May
GDUI Affiliate Presidents and Leaders Meeting by Debbie Grubb
Spring Radio Auction by Robert Acosta
Preaching to the Choir: Things Only Guide Dog Handlers Understand: Dogless in Minneapolis by Rebecca Kragnes
Update on the Summer Drawing by Robert Acosta
Board Meeting Minutes and Committee Reports, September 26, 2015
Board Special Meeting Minutes, October 22, 2015
Board Meeting Minutes and Committee Reports, November 21, 2015
Board Special Meeting Minutes, December 20, 2015
Contributors to This Issue
*****
President’s Message: Welcome to Winter
by Penny Reeder
Hello, GDUI Members, and welcome to winter!

I’m not exactly sure how we got here, well into 2016, already, but here we are, like winter weather or not, and even if we aren’t particularly fond of the moisture that falls from the sky and accumulates underfoot when temperatures drop, it’s a sure thing that most of our guide dogs love catching those flakes on their tongues and chasing the snowballs we lob into the air for their pleasure! So, welcome, Winter, welcome season of holidays, family gatherings, beautiful music, flickering candles, gift giving, and good cheer!

We have a new webmaster for GDUI. His name is Steve Zelaya; he has been working hard updating our website, applying a new, easier-to-use layout, and finding a website plug-in, which was up and operational in early December, to make it easier for all of you to join or renew your membership online at www.guidedogusersinc.org. The new software incorporates features which will allow us to update our records more comprehensively and serve you more efficiently, and–I know GDUI has been promising for a number of years now, and it hasn’t happened yet … but–this plug-in will allow us to make PawTracks downloadable from the web site soon, and we think you’ll like that change as well.

Welcome to Steve, and thanks, Steve and Will, and others for continuing to improve our web site and to expand our online presence.

Do visit our website to update your membership, and encourage guide dog users whom you know to do the same. If you’re more comfortable on the phone than online, we welcome you to call our office manager, Sarah Calhoun, who will be happy to collect your information and make you an official GDUI member for 2016.

2015 did speed along quite quickly, and that’s probably because we in GDUI were so busy. Lillian Scaife and her excellent Program Committee planned and held one of GDUI’s most successful conventions, ever. If you couldn’t attend, there are still several program segment recordings online for your listening pleasure. Our guide dog schools reception was very special and very much appreciated by the guide dog schools, and the Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Reception Tribute booklet, with messages from many of you–and some of your dogs–is also still online. Next summer’s convention will be even bigger and better, Lillian says, so start saving your pennies and making travel plans for Minneapolis, where GDUI’s convention program will commence on Sunday, July 3. There will be more convention-related news in the Spring issue of PawTracks, and we are hopeful that many of our members and friends will be able to attend.

GDUI leaders and advocates have spent many productive hours, sharing advice and providing listening ears for guide dog users across the country. In addition, we have not given up in our efforts to convince the California State Guide Dog Board to accommodate the needs of Californians who need follow-up services from schools certified by the International Guide Dog Federation but without trainers with California State Board licenses. We continue to urge all of you who live in California to discuss this important issue with your state legislators. The problems associated with the still-growing practice of calling untrained pets service dogs and bringing them into public venues continue to plague our members in just about every region of the country, and GDUI continues to reach out to local authorities, chambers of commerce, restaurateur’s, and businesspeople to educate, explain, and work to lessen the number of such incidents. Our legislative committee, chaired by Ginger Kutsch, is available to advise any of you, or any GDUI affiliates, who are discussing this issue with your legislators. Transportation continues to be hard to come by for many of us, no matter where we live, and the problem of being refused transit by taxicab drivers–including Uber and Lyft drivers–comes up for too many of us with unacceptable frequency. One would think that, 25 years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we wouldn’t still be talking about this issue, suing taxicab companies (as ACB is doing right now in Washington, DC) , and reporting ADA violations to the U.S. Department of Justice! If you need help–or just want a listening ear–after being left at the curb while a taxicab driver screeches away after denying you a ride, GDUI is here for you!

GDUI’s fundraising committee is planning several exciting events in 2016, including an ACB Radio auction in early April, another exciting drawing for a variety of coveted prizes at next summer’s GDUI convention luncheon, a fantastic convention silent auction which will take place during our convention in Minnesota, and a cruise to Bermuda, which is planned for the week of October 9 through 16!

I know you will enjoy this issue of PawTracks where you will read about many of these events in more detail. Thank you for all of your support and friendship during 2015. We feel like we have made good progress toward restoring the democracy and membership empowerment which historically characterized our organization. We are proud of our new bylaws and grateful to all of you for your participation in our election and voting for their adoption. We are excited that many long-time members are returning to our GDUI family and new members are joining as well. Thank you, all.

Sincerely,
Penny and Willow
*****
Announcing the GDUI 2016 Elections
The 2016 GDUI Elections will commence Saturday, May 21, 2016 12 AM Eastern Time and conclude on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

GDUI is seeking candidates for the following positions in our May 2016 elections:

• President (two-year Term)
• First Vice President (two-year Term)
• Second Vice President (two-year Term)
• Secretary (two-year Term)
• Treasurer (two-year Term)
• Two Director Seats (three-year term)
• One interim director seat (one-year term)

GDUI members in good standing are eligible to run for a position on the GDUI Board. Interested candidates should submit an application, resume and cover letter to the Nominations Committee Chair, Dixie Sanderson, Director5@GuideDogUsersInc.org by March 20, 2016.

GDUI members who have paid their dues by this year’s record date of March 31, 2016 will be eligible to vote in the May elections. GDUI is proud of its universally accessible voting system. If you have not renewed your membership, now is the time to do so. This will allow you to vote in our universally accessible elections this coming May. GDUI is proud of our voting system in which each member of GDUI is entitled to a voice in the election of our GDUI Board.

A membership in GDUI costs $15 per person per year and includes an annual subscription to PawTracks, our quarterly magazine. Dues/subscriptions may be paid online by going to http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/ or by credit card by calling (866) 799-8436; or by mailing your check to GUIDE DOG USERS, INC. C/O Sarah Calhoun, 3603 Morgan Way, Imperial, MO 63052 and made payable to GDUI.

Important dates to remember:
In order to be eligible to vote in the 2016 GDUI election, your dues must have been received on or before the record date of March 31, 2016.

We will hold two candidate Forums prior to the elections. Phone numbers for these calls will be publicized closer to the dates.

Candidate Forum One:
Thursday, April 21, 8:00 PM EDT.
Candidate Forum Two:
Saturday, May 14, 1:00 PM EDT

Between the dates of April 1, 2016 and April 10, 2016 we encourage members to submit questions for your candidates. Please submit your questions to the Nominations Chair, Dixie Sanderson, Director5@GuideDogUsersInc.org and include “Forum Question” in the subject line of your message.

Election dates:
Saturday, May 21, 2016 12 AM Eastern Time through Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

Application for Candidacy:
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 of guide dog users in the areas of public access, employment, housing, personal injury to dog and handler, transportation, and recreation; and
• To work in cooperation with guide dog training providers by contributing constructive input concerning selection, training, health care, and accommodations for both canine and human students, and providing constructive suggestions that will improve the quality of the training experience.

With these goals in mind, please answer the following questions:
Date:
Position for which you wish to be a candidate:
Applicant’s Name:
Street Address:
City/State/zip code:
Phone number
E-mail Address:
Are you a guide dog user?
Describe your background (Educational, occupational and general experience.)
Why do you WISH to serve on the GDUI Board?
Which of your skills and experiences would most support Board activities?
Please describe a time when a group of which you were a part accomplished its goal(s): What caused the group to be successful? How did you contribute to this success?

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

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

Position Descriptions for GDUI Board of Directors
All GDUI officers and Directors must:
• Be willing and able to participate in regularly scheduled meetings and email discussions,
• Always act in a dignified manner and interact respectfully with fellow directors and Officers and agree to abide by GDUI’s current code of conduct for board members,
• Work as a team member to maintain and protect GDUI and its mission,
• Become well versed with GDUI’s constitution,
• Respect the authority of the GDUI constitution and work within its guidance and the requirements of the GDUI Articles of Incorporation,
• Be a collaborative participant in the democratic process respecting the outcome of votes of the membership and votes of the board,
• Possess sufficient computer skills to participate in email work,
• Be flexible for scheduling meeting times. (The GDUI Board meets by phone conference bi-monthly for two or more hours, with committee meetings or other special meetings scheduled separately.)
GDUI Officer and Director Position Descriptions
Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI President Position
• The GDUI president must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities for an organizational president, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The GDUI president must be a GDUI member in good standing.
• The GDUI President must be a guide dog user.
• The GDUI president shall:
o Preside over all meetings; Appoint a vice president to preside over any meeting for which the president’s absence is unavoidable; propose policies and practices to fulfill the mission of GDUI; serve as an ex-officio member of GDUI committees (with the exception of the nominating committee) in compliance with the GDUI Constitution; monitor the performance of directors and officers; submit various reports to the board and to other stakeholders as necessary;
o Propose the creation of committees or task forces to accomplish needed work; appoint chairpersons for committees and task forces; perform other duties as the need arises and/or as defined in the GDUI Constitution.
• The GDUI president shall not be absent from three consecutive board meetings in any year. In the event that serious circumstances make it impossible for the president to attend any meeting of the GDUI Board, the president must inform the first vice president, in advance, and must arrange for either the first or second vice president to take on presidential duties for that meeting.
• The president ensures that an agenda is planned in advance for board meetings. (This may involve periodic meetings with committee chairpersons to draft meeting agendas and reporting schedules.)
• The president presides over meetings of the Board of Directors. In this capacity, the president:
o Chairs meetings according to accepted rules of order for the purposes of encouraging all members to participate in discussion;
o Facilitates the board’s work of arriving at decisions in an orderly, timely and democratic manner;
o Votes as prescribed in the GDUI Constitution.
• The president is responsible for ensuring, on behalf of the membership, that the board of directors and officers of GDUI:
o Are aware of and fulfill their governance responsibilities;
o Comply with applicable laws and bylaws;
o Conduct board business effectively and efficiently in accordance with standard nonprofit policies and procedures;
o Are accountable for their performance.
• The president is accountable to the board of directors or members as specified in the GDUI Constitution.
• The president may delegate specific duties to board members and/or committees, and to the office manager and the webmaster, as appropriate; however, the accountability remains with the president. For this reason, the president may take appropriate action to safeguard the interests of GDUI.
• According to the GDUI Constitution, the president’s involvement in the proceedings of the nominating committee is specifically limited; therefore, the president’s accountability, in the specific case of the recommendations or actions of the nominating committee, is accordingly limited.
• The president serves as an ex-officio member of all board committees (with the exception of the nominating committee). In this capacity, the president’s role is to:
o Negotiate reporting schedules;
o Identify problems and assist the committee chairperson to resolve them,
o To bring such matters, if necessary, to the attention of the board of directors.
• The president ensures that GDUI maintains positive and productive relationships with organizations related to the mission of GDUI, media and donors. In this capacity, the president serves as primary spokesperson for GDUI, and duties may include:
o Representing GDUI to the media;
o Representing GDUI on governmental or nongovernmental organizations and committees;
o Timely and appropriate reporting of Board decisions and actions to members and/or donors.
• The president is normally designated by the board of directors and/or bylaws as one of the signing officers for certain documents. In this capacity, the president may be authorized or required to sign or countersign bank checks, correspondence, applications, reports, contracts or other documents on behalf of GDUI.
• The president ensures that structures and procedures are in place for effective recruitment, training, and evaluation of GDUI board members.
• The president ensures that structures and procedures are in place for securing the resources required by GDUI.
• The GDUI President is the primary liaison between the board and all GDUI staff. In this capacity, the president:
o Meets periodically with these individuals, no less than once a quarter;
o Ensures that annual performance reviews of these staff members are conducted;
o Participates in the hiring and evaluation of all staffers (presently the office manager and the webmaster).

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI First Vice President Position
• The GDUI First Vice President is required to be willing and qualified to take over as president if necessary, in accordance with the GDUI Constitution. (Please refer to Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI President Position above for specific details.)
• The first vice president must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational vice president, and of president, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The first vice president is expected to attend all board meetings, and to preside over any board meeting for the president, if necessary.
• The first vice president shall inform the president, in advance, if unable to attend a particular board meeting.
• The first vice president may not miss more than three board meetings per year.
• The first vice president must be a member in good standing of GDUI.
• The first vice president must be a guide dog user.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Second Vice President Position
• The second vice president must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational vice president, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The second vice president must be willing and able to take on the role and duties of first vice president as prescribed by the GDUI Constitution. *Important: Please refer to Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI First Vice President Position above for specific details.
• The second vice president must Be a GDUI-member in good standing.
• The second vice president must be a guide dog user.
• The second vice president is expected to attend all board meetings and must be willing and able to run regularly scheduled Board meetings, if called upon by the president to do so (in the event that the president or first vice president cannot be in attendance).
• The second vice president shall inform the president, in advance, if unable to attend a particular board meeting.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Secretary Position
• The GDUI secretary must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational secretary, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The secretary must:
o Record (in document form) meeting minutes for business meetings of the GDUI Board of Directors,
o Arrange for the audio recording of meetings if it is the secretary’s desire to take minutes from an audio recording,
o Possess thorough and quick note-taking skills in case an audio recording of a meeting fails,
o Have the ability to use notes, memory, and/or recordings to reproduce accurate accounts of meetings for minutes,
o Use writing skills and discretion to summarize (or write in detail when appropriate) to create informative meeting minutes,
o Submit drafts of meeting minutes in time frames which allow other board members to submit suggestions/corrections before a final draft is submitted for approval/acceptance at the subsequent board meeting,
o Send minutes and attachments to the webmaster for posting to the GDUI website,
o Assist GDUI by researching and reproducing content from previous minutes as is practical.
• The secretary is expected to attend all board meetings. If the secretary is unable to attend a board meeting, after informing the president, the secretary will arrange for a competent recorder for the meeting which the secretary will miss.
• The secretary may not miss more than three board meetings per year.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Treasurer Position
• The GDUI treasurer must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational treasurer, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• The treasurer must:
o Assist in the preparation of all budgets including GDUI’s annual budget,
o Be a bondable individual,
o Monitor the budget on a monthly basis, or more frequently if needed,
o Ensure that the financial policies (as set by the board, and recommended by the finance committee) are being followed,
o Report to the board of directors and general membership on finances on a monthly basis,
o Prepare, in a timely manner, any required financial reporting forms to be submitted to the general membership, accountants, auditors or any such other entity as required for standard accounting procedures and policies,
o Maintain all bank accounts in a fiscally prudent manner in keeping with standard accounting practices,
o Oversee all financial transactions while ensuring all fiduciary responsibilities are met and inure to the benefit of GDUI.
o Is a member of the finance committee.
• The treasurer’s signature should appear on all checks of the organization with the second signature from any of the board’s other directors or staff with signing authority for amounts exceeding $1,500.
• The treasurer is expected to attend all board meetings.
• The treasurer may not miss more than three board meetings per year.

Responsibilities and Criteria for GDUI Board of Director Position
• Each member of the GDUI Board of Directors must be willing and able to accept the legal, fiduciary and ethical responsibilities of an organizational director, in accordance with standard nonprofit practices and procedures.
• Board members are expected to attend all board meetings.
• Members of the GDUI Board of Directors shall inform the president, in advance, if unable to attend a particular board meeting.
• A GDUI board member shall not be absent from three consecutive board meetings in any year.
• A majority of board members will be guide dog users.

Respectfully Submitted,
The GDUI Nominations Committee
Annie Chiappetta, Nolan Crab, Debbie Grub, Pat Hill, Dixie Sanderson (Chair)
*****
Thoughts from the Editor: Strengthening the Handler/Dog Bond
by Nolan Crabb

It was my privilege in late 2015 to acquire from Guiding Eyes for the Blind a new guide dog named Carl. Naturally, his presence in my life while at the school gave me much to think about in terms of how we foster and nourish the bond that must exist if the team is to be successful.

My fellow graduates were kind enough to agree to allow me time to speak at the December 12, 2015 graduation class, and I include my remarks below. The audience comprised puppy raisers, school staffers, friends and supporters of the school, and of course, the graduates. While it was primarily to the puppy raisers that I spoke, I trust my thoughts on building and strengthening that bond between dog and handler will be of interest to you as well. The text of my remarks also appeared in the Guiding Eyes holiday newsletter, and I reprint those remarks here with permission.

“He stood by me when I was crazy,” recalled General William T. Sherman of ‘his long-standing friendship with General Ulysses S. Grant, “and I stood by him when he was drunk. Now, sir, we stand by each other always.”

It is this remarkable achievement of standing by each other always as it relates to these dogs, their handlers, and those of you who raised them from their earliest days that I’d like to briefly address. How do we get to that point where we can confidently declare that “we stand by each other always?”

I think there are essentially four steps that enable us to achieve that goal, and those of you who have been integral to the early successes of these dogs will recognize them as steps you, too, have followed in order to gain success.

First, we must focus on potential rather than seek for instant perfection; second, we must love without restraint; third, we must be transparent in our relationships with these dogs, and finally we must replace doubt, fear or misgivings with unshakable trust. Perhaps some explanation is in order:

First, we must focus on the potential of these dogs rather than seek some kind of instant perfection. Ours is a jaded shrill world whose focus all too often is on the limitations of one another. Every successful puppy raiser and handler understands immediately the value of seeing potential in every day of the young dog’s life. On November 23rd, I was given a harness to which was attached a young male dog. It was almost as if I felt a kind of life current flow to me through that harness handle. A few steps after our journey began, I sensed remarkable potential. Almost it seemed I could feel a noble heart beating behind that chest strap. Quickly evident, too, was a mercurial balance of whimsy and buttoned-down seriousness that appealed to me immensely. That short journey was not without its herky-jerky moments, and yet it seemed with every step, I felt a million possibilities that filled thousands of future days. In short, I saw so much potential that instant perfection would have been anticlimactic by comparison at best.

The second step in this evolution to be able to always stand by one another is a natural outgrowth of the first. Once we focus on potential, it’s easy to feel unrestrained love. It is that love that is the ultimate author of success. All of us in the class were introduced to dogs on that remarkable Monday, and we all got the opportunity to walk with them briefly. But my classmate, Terry, summed it up best and spoke for all of us. “I already love that little dog,” she said fervently. “I hope that’s the one I get. I love it already.” Terry’s assertion of love came with such depth and power that I was challenged to find in my own heart the ability to love without restraint. She unwittingly raised the bar for me, and I knew that I, too, needed to first seek potential then to love without restraint. Her words reminded me that if these dogs are to be ultimately successful, they will succeed because they are loved.

As we see potential rather than perfection, as we love without restraint, there comes into that relationship a kind of transparency, if you will, that enables the dogs to anticipate and respond more accurately to our needs and us to be increasingly mindful of theirs. Those of you who have been with these creatures from the early days of their infancy have given directions that were clear and without obfuscation or ambiguity. In return for your countless hours of direction given in the spirit of love, you received a treasure trove of lap cuddles, kisses, and moments of simply quiet friendship punctuated by unbounded exuberance for life that touched your heart then and will live in your memory forever. You, like us, understood the value of transparency in the relationship. These dogs sense every emotion that travels down that leash. We cannot long fool them. They capture our joy and our frustration, just as we capture theirs.

I gained a highly valuable lesson in the importance of transparency as a nine-year-old. I had developed a rather unhealthy fascination with fire. I was intrigued by its many sounds depending on the fuels I would use to power it. Unfortunately, I had an older cousin who shared my fascination. On a memorable summer Friday night, he invited me to a sleepover and encouraged me to bring some matches which we would use to light our pyromaniacal creations. I went to the cupboard where my parents kept several books and boxes of matches and loaded a bag full. I nonchalantly gathered my sleeping bag and all other things necessary for a successful sleep under the stars including my fire-making supplies and headed for the door, announcing to my dad “I’m ready whenever you are.”

“Where are you going with those matches?” he asked. I was paralyzed with fear. How could he ever have known? I had been so careful to take them out of the cupboard when he wasn’t in the house. I had so carefully hidden them in a bag and sealed it as circumspectly as I knew how.

You see, I had forgotten that those of you with vision have the ability to see … through … plastic … bags! I had supposedly secreted my little treasure away from even prying eyes, or so I thought.

There can be no dishonesty or ambiguity in our relationship with these wonderful dogs. They are entirely without guile, and they can sense when we carry things in our mental plastic bags that can interfere with our ability to connect to them and love them as they ought to be loved.

Finally, if we seek potential, love without restraint, and behave transparently, we will naturally cultivate the fourth and final component in that relationship that allows us to “stand by each other always.” That final component, of course, is trust. Trust is the ultimate currency on which every other aspect of the relationship must trade. The dogs trust that they will be cared for and protected. We trust that they will guide safely and well. And those of you who have raised them and mentored them through the months of raw unchanneled energy into the admirable creatures they are today must also—trust that Guiding Eyes staffers have thought through the assignments of these dogs to their new handlers. You trust that those months of sometimes tedious frustrating work on your part will translate to triumphs that include world-class obedience in public places and house manners that ensure that both dog and handler are highly regarded wherever they go. You trust that your months of unsung heroism will be in some way remembered with gratitude, and indeed they will. Where perhaps there was once a tender place made so by the reality that you had to return these almost magical creatures who have become so integrated into your world, you can trust that it will be replaced by the exhilaration of knowing that you have contributed to ineffable improvements in the lives of blind and visually impaired people who will be elevated to new and grander heights because of your tireless efforts. We come to love you because of our common love for these dogs.

The southern journalist Hodding Carter, II, (1907—1972) once wrote: “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

His perspective is applicable to young guide dogs as well. You have done an admirable job of providing the roots necessary for their success. These brilliant and capable instructors have given them wings in the form of guide skills that will be so vital over the years ahead. When these roots and wings are combined in the hands of skilled handlers, you can celebrate without restraint a kind of soul-touching success that those who do not engage in your noble work never fully understand.

And so in conclusion, allow me to paraphrase General Sherman’s words as they apply to Carl and me particularly. He stood by me when I was crazy and urged him deliberately forward toward the edge of a train platform at an instructor’s request. The decisive turn of his youthful body away from that edge seemed to say, “no, my friend, life is a gift. Let us celebrate it by moving along this platform rather than coming too close to its edge.” I stood by him when he was besotted almost to the point of acting drunk with love for a wonderfully competent and talented instructor who not only mentored him but freely gave back the love he generously proffered.

And from today forward, may it be said of Carl and me that we stand by each other always.

Thank you for your attendance here today and for your valued service to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. As a handler, I speak for all of my classmates in expressing our gratitude and the hope that you will agree to an ongoing relationship with the school.
*****
Join Us On a Sea Cruise to Bermuda
by Robert Acosta
Special notice: The official name for our cruise is GDUI Bermuda Cruise. Please use this name when you book cabins.

Dear Members and Friends of Guide Dog users, Inc.,

We welcome you to join us on a romantic cruise to Bermuda from Sunday October 9 to Sunday October 16, 2016.

This will be a seven-day cruise departing and returning to new York.

We will enjoy several days exploring the romantic island of Bermuda.

We will not provide sighted volunteers on this cruise, but we are assured that the staff will bend over backwards to assist us. Also, many passengers are ready to help when necessary.

We shall be cruising on the Norwegian Cruise Line. The ship Breakaway will have an Accessibility Desk on board and the cruise line has a desk in the United States for our convenience to handle any paperwork for our dogs.

It is advisable that you carry your passport with you at all times. However, I am told that an original birth certificate and a state ID will suffice. However, if you need to fly over international waters you will need a passport.

It is very important that you consider calling Michelle Zimmerman, senior personal cruise consultant, Norwegian Cruise Line, who will be handling our cruise and to remit a $280 per person deposit which includes a 30 dollar surcharge given to GDUI.

This locks in our prices below.

Here are examples of the promotionals for October and more are expected along the way.

All cabin prices include port charges and taxes.

Studio Cabin $1,201 (single guest only)
Inside Cabin $1,683.80 (double occupancy); $2,235.70 (triple occupancy); $2,767.60 (quad occupancy)
Ocean view $2,383.80 (double occupancy); $3,165.70 (triple occupancy); $3,697.60 (quad occupancy)
Balcony $2,483.80 (double occupancy); $3015.70 (triple occupancy); $3547.60 (quad occupancy)

If we can book 8 cabins, we become an official group and will receive all of the amenities for this. You can receive a refund of all payments up to 75 days prior to the cruise.

Contact Information for Michelle Zimmerman, senior personal cruise consultant, Norwegian Cruise Line, Toll-free Number: (877) 416-9722, Ext. 4398; direct number: (954) 514-4398; cell number: (303) 907-1067.

See you in Bermuda!
*****
No One Gets Lost on a Cruise Ship
by vicky Curley
I have taken around six cruises. I will admit that I was just a bit apprehensive when I went on my first cruise. Some of the questions that were running around in my brain were: How would I find my way around that huge ship? Would I be able to get help with the food if my husband did not want to come with me to a meal? How would I go about getting my dog ready for a cruise? Would he be able to use the relief area that would be provided for him?

Even though I was treading in unfamiliar waters–pun intended–I decided to go ahead and take the plunge.

I like to travel with my husband, but he is one who likes to relax around the pool, and I am one who likes to run around and find fun things to do like karaoke or name that tune games or just whatever the ship might have to offer for entertainment. From day one, I realized that it would be next to impossible to actually get lost on the ship; there were folks walking around at all hours. Between the ship’s crew and other guests, I could always find someone to offer some help if needed. This has been consistent throughout all the cruises I have taken. I have used several different cruise lines and I have found all of them to be more-than accommodating when it came to providing assistance with planning excursions and anything else I might need on the ship.

My favorite cruise to date is the one I took to Bermuda. I have loved all my cruises, but the one to Bermuda was my absolute favorite, because we spent nearly three days there. We really got a chance to get a feel for the place. Although my husband and I are not much for the excursions, we did take an absolutely lovely carriage ride through the main Bermuda island. The gentleman who was our tour guide was so very knowledgeable about Bermuda and shared so many interesting facts about life there. He also made sure to introduce us to his two draft horses named Sugar and Spice sharing all about where they came from and how they were trained to pull a cart and how they were fed and cared for.
When it came to my working dog, I was given the upmost respect with regard to what I would and would not allow with regard to petting or showing him any kind of attention. The thing my husband and I were quick to realize was that many of the crew really loved my dog; they had been away from their homes for so long and really missed their dogs. I would make sure to go around with my dog out of harness at times so anyone who really wanted to say hi to him could do so. It was a lot of fun to hear stories about some of the dogs that belonged to crew members.

The relief area was located in a place that was not so heavily traveled. It was also located near a door out onto the deck so I found it quite easy to get to. This also was consistent from ship to ship and from cruise line to cruise line as well. Let me take a minute to prepare you for the most asked question on the ship. Yes, you guessed it! Where does the dog go to the bathroom? It is entirely up to you as to how you choose to answer this question. Some of my family’s famous answers are: on the poop deck, near the kitchen, anywhere he wants, but the most famous one is my husband’s answer. Upon his being asked this question, he points to the dog’s harness and says, see that harness? We hold him over the side of the ship by that harness and it scares the pee right out of him.

I will share that although most folks knew from the very beginning that it was a joke, there was one woman on our first cruise who began to scold my husband for such a thing. She swiftly realized he was indeed joking. Before I leave this crappy subject, both of the dogs I had on cruises did learn very quickly how to use the box that was provided for them.
I can’t think of another time where my husband and I were shown more courtesy and kindness than on the cruise ship. Each time was just like the other with regard to the royal treatment we received. The food was amazing and there was plenty of it. Between the main dining and the numerous buffets that were available on one of the upper decks, there was something to eat for everyone. I could always find help with anything I might want to eat either from crew members or other guests. It was so much fun getting to know the staff and the other guests. The time would pass so fast and before I knew it, we were returning to our port for debarkation. If you are planning to go on the Bermuda cruise, you will not be disappointed as it is just an amazing time.
Note: Vickie and Valor have already been on two cruises and most recently, according to Vicky, she cruised on a ship named the Valor.

After reading vicky’s experiences, it’s likely that she has convinced you to come along on the official GDUI Bermuda cruise. Please keep the following information handy in case you want to book a room: the dates are from Sunday October 9 to Sunday October 16, 2016. Our cruise consultant is Michelle Zimmerman, Norwegian Cruise Line. You can reach Michele by calling Toll-free: (877) 416-9722, Ext. 4398;
Direct: (954) 514-4398 or by Cell: (303) 907-1067. The deadline for booking is July 26, 2016.
*****
Thoughts and tips on using Uber with a guide dog
by Mike May
(Reprinted with permission from the Sendero Group Travel Blog)
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I believe that rideshare services and Uber in particular are the best independence tool for blind people invented this century. As with any such tool, especially a disruptive one, there is misinformation and there is room for improvement.

The Uber iPhone app is quite accessible. I give them beta feedback and know that they work quickly to fix any small problems that arise as the result of the app evolving regularly. There are plenty of things to improve but the app is accessible and easy to use as you will see from my frequent use below.

Here is my perspective on Uber services as a frequent traveler and guide dog user. My wife also uses a guide dog from the Seeing Eye and we are often together with two dogs in an Uber. We have faced only 3 rejections by Uber in our over 700 combined Uber rides. Compare this with our taxi experience where many won’t even stop when they see a dog and others outright refuse to let the dog in the taxi. In my experience in taxis, I face 20% to 40 percent rejection as opposed to less than one percent with Uber. I know a few guide dog users report much higher rejection with Uber and Lyft and others who have never had a problem. Uber has a 2-strikes and you are out policy. The driver gets one warning and if they reject a service dog a second time, they are removed from the Uber platform. It is easy to report an infraction from within the app or by emailing support@uber.com or by replying to the email receipt. In the few times I have had a rejection, Uber Support was emailing and calling me within a few hours. If there was a cancelation charge, it was quickly refunded.

My understanding is that all drivers receive an email when they sign up telling them about the service dog policy as well as reminders over time. Of course, not all drivers read and understand these emails so it is inevitable that a few will be uninformed. Uber staff attended several blindness conferences in the past year to hear directly from blind riders and to exchange information about the service including finding ways to make it better. Even 1% rejection is not fun for the person who has to face the inconvenience and humiliation of the experience, but I like these odds way better than the random taxi, which might reject my dog and which can be slow in arriving and risky to pay.

There are two types of rejection. Some drivers believe that they don’t have to take a dog in their private car. They might claim that they or their family has an allergy. They might be genuinely afraid of dogs. They may not have read the email or Uber policy saying that these are not reasons to deny a service dog in their vehicle.

I have a few strategies to reduce the likelihood of dog rejection with Uber or Lyft.

1. Check to see if Uber Access is one of the app options. If so, choose the Assist option from the sub-menu and then check the ETA. If the arrival time is reasonable, use Assist as these are top drivers who have had to watch a training video about riders with disabilities. Be aware if you choose Uber Pool, that this is a shared ride and your dog will count for one of the available spots in that car-pool. I tend to avoid Pool in favor of Uber X.

2. When the Uber ETA is about 2 minutes, then use the Contact Driver option to text the following message. “I am blind and have a licensed Guide Dog. Please call out my name when you see me.” I do not phone the driver because they may not hear or understand the difference between dog and Guide Dog. If the message is in writing, they have more time to think about it and you are on record giving them the information. They can’t claim they didn’t understand. I write the text ahead of time and copy it into the iPhone clipboard so it is easy to paste into the Contact Driver text message box. I send the text when the driver is only a few minutes away so they will consider the time and money they will lose if they cancel the ride.

3. I carry a laminated card with the word Uber in large letters to hold up in situations where it might be hard to find me like a grocery store parking lot.

4. I make sure and hold the harness when the driver is approaching so they don’t think it is a pet dog. It is still sometimes necessary to say to the driver, “I am blind. I cannot see. This is my trained guide dog who is very calm and clean.”

5. I believe it is useful to keep the dog on a very short leash when getting in the car so they don’t sniff the driver or get on the seat. Some drivers are terrified of dogs and we can’t change that in 30 seconds. If the dog is quiet and on the floor of the car, the driver can relax and proceed with the ride. Having the dog on the floor also reduces the dog hair the driver will have to deal with. Grooming the dog before a trip is a good idea. Some drivers may have a sheet or towel to put on the seat or floor. I carry a small sticky roller to pick up hair. Just offering to use this makes the driver feel that I am being considerate. We have to remember that they rate us same as we rate them.

6. Although Uber does not have an option for a tip in the app, I will tip in cash if the driver has to deal with excess dog hair or wet paw prints because of rainy weather.

7. Many drivers are afraid of dogs and may express reluctance when you open the door of their car. I get the dog on the floor quickly so the driver can’t change their mind and I make sure my dog doesn’t sniff them. Once we are rolling, I make casual conversation, which may include information about the dog’s training, flying on airplanes and so forth. I make sure the dog stays put during the ride. I had a driver ask to take a selfie with my dog because he said his wife wouldn’t believe that he had a big German Shepherd 6 inches behind his head for 30 minutes. My goal by the end of the ride is to convert these concerned drivers into amazed believers. Think of ourselves as ambassadors.

I rate almost all drivers 5 stars but I do add comments, both constructive and glowing as appropriate. Those comments are passed along to the driver anonymously. I have even gone to the trouble of filling out the form to recommend a driver for the Uber 6 star award for service above and beyond the call of duty.

Most drivers are courteous and professional, are on time and have nice vehicles. Many do go above and beyond. We have dealt with two family emergencies using multiple Ubers to shuttle us and the kids to the hospital and home. We used Uber 8 times to facilitate our recent trip to Disneyland. As two blind parents, we use Uber all the time to shuttle our kids to and from activities. I have had as many as 5 business meetings in Silicon Valley in a day made possible by timely Uber transportation. I have used Uber in eight countries and dozens of cities so far. A couple drivers have even become friends. We are willing to put up with the very occasional Uber issue because of their 99 percent excellence. It is because of this great service that I am willing to do what I can to suggest improvements in the app, to share my experience with other blind riders and to recommend changes that will better educate drivers.
*****
GDUI Affiliate Presidents and Leaders Meeting
Thursday, December 17, 2015
by Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison
The teleconference was called to order at approximately 9:05 PM EST by Debbie Grubb, GDUI affiliates liaison.

The following affiliates were represented: Guide Dog Users of Arizona, Guide Dog Users of Florida, Georgia Guide Dog Users, Guide Dog Users of New York, Dixieland Guide Dog Users, Guide Dog Users of Texas, and Guide Dog Users of Washington State. We were delighted to welcome the Arizona affiliate, represented by its President, Liz Whitlock, to the call and the new president of our Texas Affiliate, Louann Williams. Our meetings are always enhanced by the participation of GDUI President Penny Reeder.

Alice Ritchhart, past president of the Georgia Affiliate, Doug Hall, president of the Florida Affiliate, and Betsy Grenevitch, president of the Georgia Affiliate gave their presentations, sharing foundational truths that they have learned over the years of their varied experiences of working with those in local, state, and the Federal arenas. What follows is a listing of these significant truths. There was fervent agreement about the efficacy of each of these truths by all of the presenters. What follows is a compilation of what they shared with us.

(beginning of text)

Be buddies with key legislators. Learn about them, what they care about. Send Christmas cards or remember them in some other way. Always find a way to connect. For example, volunteer during their campaigns.

Make yourself available to help them with their cause which provides a real opportunity to gain their interest in yours.

Remember that the people that you know and work with can often introduce you to other key players. Who you know often makes you and what you are working on of interest to other key players.

Often interest can come from unexpected places when you share a common goal or situation with someone. Perhaps they have a family member or a friend who is blind or visually impaired. This almost always brings true buy-in from them on your ask.

Prepare for legislative agendas long before the session because budget takes the center stage once the session begins.

During the session, be sure to put out a legislative alert. Always have people at the hearing to speak for a bill.

Call on bill voting day.

Do not depend solely on freshman legislators. These people do not have the power to move legislation forward.

In the eyes of key legislators, they haven’t yet earned their creds and have not yet built their own relationships with real players in the legislature. However, working with them in combination with better known and powerful legislators does build relationships which can often stand you in good stead over time.

Plan a mass visit to the state capitol each year. Look for sighted volunteers to assist with this and other similar events.

Let officials see that other people are interested in your cause.

Be sure that constituents schedule appointments to see their legislators or their key legislative assistants. Prepare written talking points to present during the meeting or to leave at offices where no appointments were made.

Acknowledge the efforts of anyone who has helped or recognized your work in any way with thank you notes regardless of the outcome of their assistance.

Be sure that they know who you are which brings true relevance in their minds to your issue.

Be sure to explain why you are requesting a certain action on their part.

Don’t complain constantly.

Always accompany your ask with a thank you for something that they have done well in the past whether it directly concerns your particular issue.

Make no assumptions about where those with whom you are working stand on any issue based on political affiliation. Learn for yourself what they believe in and what their political philosophy is.

Although meeting at the capitol is important, don’t underestimate the importance of visits to the home office and attendance at town hall meetings, etc.

Know your local people and those who work for them because they often move up.

Offer friendship and support.

Always remember that involvement by constituents is crucial.

Legislators strongly consider what their constituents say because they know that each person represents the views of many more.

Remember that the vast majority of initiatives are conceived locally. Make your first attempts for support there.

Sometimes our “asks” are incorporated into other proposed solutions whether they are legislatively based.

Be sure to join all advisory boards. Officials attend these meetings to seek opinions. Provide an atmosphere where either you or your organization are seen as experts.

Don’t underestimate the importance of joining service clubs and other local organizations as a forum for building meaningful relationships with movers and shakers.

Keep an open mind about forming coalitions. Use your association in coalition to show your abilities by assisting with causes that may not be on your front burner. Most of the time the favor will be returned with, at the very least, support for your cause.

Use every opportunity you have to network, build a framework in which you are highly regarded and bring yourself into proximity with those whom you highly regard.

Be true to yourself. Be persistent. Don’t give up. Sometimes initiatives take years to come to some sort of resolution.

(end of text)

Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 17, 2016, at 9 PM EST. The program will be designed to further equip you and your affiliates to better advocate on behalf of ending the service animal fraud that we all face as well as other matters for which you wish to advocate. If you have any ideas regarding program topics or presenters, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I want to thank Alice, Betsy and Doug for sharing their considerable expertise with all of us. Thank you, too, for taking the time and making the effort to join the teleconference. Please remember that anyone in your affiliate who cares to is welcome to join us.

I wish to each of you a joyous holiday season and much good fortune as your affiliate sets its course for 2016.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
*****
Spring Radio Auction
On August 27, 2015, the GDUI Board of Directors unanimously adopted a motion to approve a project sponsored by the fundraising committee. We will be sponsoring a radio auction, using the facilities of ACB Radio.

We wish to thank Larry Turnbull and other outstanding ACB personnel for lending us their guidance along the way.
Now, it is up to us GDUI members to provide, for this event, new prizes with a minimum value of 50 dollars.

Although we welcome new items for our prizes, we are providing them at the auction as-is.

Please send all prizes with descriptions, with the exception of food items, to Robert Acosta, 20734C Devonshire St., Chatsworth, California 91311. Phone: (818) 998-0044. Email: boacosta@pacbell.net.

Our first prize has already been promised by our National President, Penny Reeder. Yes, Penny’s Kitchen will be shipping five dozen delicious cookies to the lucky winner. Description: Oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips!

A second prize, which we have collected, is from the C. Crane Company. It is a pocket radio with a carrying strap allowing you to go outside to hear the radio while barbecuing for example.

The deadline for the receipt of prizes is February 15, 2016. We expect in the future, to put the prizes, with the descriptions and the donors names, on the GDUI website: www.guidedogusersinc.org.

At the time of the auction, credit cards will be the only acceptable form of payment. A reasonable shipping cost will be added to your winning bid.

The purpose for this auction shall be to provide the funding for our voting process in GDUI. Yes, we provide universal voting for all of our members. To my knowledge, we are the only ACB Affiliate which does this. Let democracy prevail, and please support our Radio Auction with great prizes and strong bids.

Disclaimer: Guide Dog Users, Inc., is held harmless for any prizes which do not function as stated in the descriptions. However, we shall do what we can to encourage a fair relationship between the winning bidder and the prize donor. The auction is slated for April 3 at 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on ACB Radio.
*****
Preaching to the Choir: Things Only Guide Dog Handlers Understand
Dogless in Minneapolis
by Rebecca Kragnes
My nine-year-old Black Lab, Zane, retired on Labor Day, which seemed like a perfect day to retire. Phil was returning to work after a leg amputation which had him hospitalized and then home for six months. Zane was a comfort to Phil as he grieved the death of his nine-year-old German Shepherd guide, Garron, (six months older than Zane) only two days before he came home from the hospital. I worked Zane minimally for the last few weeks but felt it was important for him to be here until Phil returned to work.

Retiring Zane on Labor Day also allowed his new human Kathleen–a retired school teacher–to make sure she could take a few days off from her part-time job to get him accustomed to his new home and his new Black Lab “brother” four years his junior. Zane ran back and forth between me and the door as Kathleen took his things to her car. Although I still haven’t seen him almost two months later as I write this, indications are he’s doing very well in his new home and getting along great with Kathleen, , the other Lab (who looks a lot like him), and the whole doggy-loving neighborhood. Zane still recognized a few things from his old life, so I have to be very careful not to leave a message on the answering machine which plays aloud in the house. He wagged his tail in pleasure when seeing one of Kathleen’s neighbors, a para-transit driver he knew gave me treats to give him later. Zane checked his pockets for the goods of course. Although it’s gratifying to hear how well he’s adjusting to his new home, it’s also safe to say he’s adjusted far more quickly to his new situation than I have.

I’ve been through periods between dogs, as Zane is my fourth guide. However, during all of the other dogless periods, Phil had a dog.
The converse was also true. I’ve had a dog during all of Phil’s times between dogs since we married 19 years ago. So this living without dogs is new for both of us.

Our waiting is different but no less difficult. Phil certainly has more things to accomplish before he can even apply for his next dog. He has to first lose the wound vac on his leg, then the wheelchair, and finally he has to be steady on his prosthetic feet for a long enough period of time to work with a dog. I’m waiting for a match, and without knowing how Phil’s situation will proceed, I’ve asked for home training. My Juno Walk was in late September, and a man from my school is trying to find a match. He warns me it could be a while, and with winter settling in Minnesota, the weather is likely to contribute to that wait. After all, who wants to come out to Minnesota to train in the winter? We also don’t know when the wheelchair ramp–a metal surface with holes like a grate–will go away, and the man doing the Juno walk reminded me that care will have to be taken to get the dog use to such surfaces before coming here. Outdoor carpeting might solve that problem but create others, and frankly, we hope the ramp will be gone sooner than later.

Of course there are the routines of feeding and relieving the dog which do not happen. I remember a past time between dogs when I asked Phil if I could take his dog out simply to have that companionship for a moment. But currently there is no “other dog”.

There are times when both of us have reminded each other when having a dog here might be a problem. This includes when either of us drops something, but especially Phil in his wheelchair. Zane didn’t hesitate to take advantage of such opportunities to pick up a goody or two which landed on the floor. I’m not a lover of the outdoors, and I’ve noticed that as the weather has changed, I’m not as aware of it. After all, I don’t have to go outside with a dog four times a day, rain or shine. There are startling moments too, because there’s no early warning system before the doorbell rings anymore. Probably the loneliest moment of the day is turning off the fireplace before going to bed. There was always a dog in front of the fireplace, and during my last dogless period, Garron made sure to be with me by the fire after Phil fell asleep. Paws always audibly accompanied me to our bedroom for the night.

“Dog envy” is something only I seemed to experience between dogs in the past. It was difficult seeing Phil interact with his dog and knowing I didn’t have that kind of relationship. Again, because Garron was such a lover dog, he made sure I always felt included. My view about envying Phil with a dog in public will be different now that I’ve experienced this. I used to wish people wouldn’t pay so much attention to him and his dog and ignore me without one. But now we’re both ignored in public situations. It’s like we’re on an island all by ourselves surrounded by people.

I had a friend who seemed to avoid seeing me when she didn’t have a dog. She told me later it was just too painful to see me with a dog and not have one herself. I definitely understood. Phil and I are the opposite. Because we are so used to living with dogs, any time we can get our hands on one, we love it! It’s like a cold drink on a summer’s day after being thirsty for hours.

As a couple, we are identified as having our dogs, and for the past 18 years, our Christmas letters have been written from the perspective of one or both of our dogs, usually to the tune of a Christmas carol. Doing it this way has lightened the tone when we’ve had a crummy year., and I have no idea how we are going to outline probably the crummiest year we’ve had without a dog’s point of view to make it fun.

Then there’s the method of travel. OK, I confess, my cane is my “stupid stick”. It’s not only because it’s far more stupid than a guide dog. I feel more stupid using it than walking with a dog. I am an OK traveler, but I feel clumsy when clanging and banging things in my path or trying to extricate my cane from something. Far worse are those uncomfortable moments passing someone in a hallway or on a sidewalk and trying not to trip them. There are even times when the cane can get caught in feet or tap someone traveling the same direction as I am. Because I don’t use a cane often, I am much more aware of the awkwardness sighted people feel when having physical contact with one. I remember profusely apologizing after tapping the leg of another cane user in our State Services for the Blind building, and she said, “Why are you apologizing? It’s only your cane.” I’m apologizing because I’m used to traveling through life without having to tap anyone with anything. Even following Phil with someone pushing his wheelchair can get dicey if I am too close. In this situation, the cane as the potential to get tangled in even more things between the person’s feet and all of the stuff on Phil’s chair. Sometimes I can be much more comfortable with sighted guide, and certainly I can feel the steps if the person doesn’t alert me to them. Even though I’ve taken my share of falls with my dogs, they key into those little things sighted guides often don’t–like the big crack after stepping into the street where I twisted my ankle and fell.

One week after sending Zane to his new home, Kathleen’s sister invited me to an outdoor bakery to see Zane. I tried to tell her how difficult it would be for both of us having to part again. I’ve never had the pleasure of having a current and retired guide interact, but I witnessed Phil’s new and retired guide meeting after four months. As we were going to leave, the retired guide tried to fit himself into the much smaller dog’s harness, and it was heartbreaking for us and the retired dog’s new family. I’m not sure Kathleen and her friends quite understand my hesitation to see Zane, and despite my efforts, I can’t seem to explain it well. I have told them about the confusion it might cause for Zane, and it’s important to me that his bond with Kathleen is much stronger than the bond he remembers with me. Frankly, without a dog myself, it would be very hard on me, too. When I have my new guide for a few months and the bond is progressing, it will be a joy to see Zane again. Then I’ll be able to leave with my new dog by my side and avoid the emptiness I’d feel now after a visit.
*****
Summer Drawing Update
by Robert Acosta
Our Summer 2016 Drawing began on December 1, 2015. Call (866) 799-8436 for additional information.

Attention members and friends of Guide Dog Users, Inc: A $10 donation will give you the opportunity to win!

Grand prize: $1,500 cash donated by Helping Hands For the Blind; first prize: $500 gift card Donated by helping hands for the Blind; second Prize: Bose Wave Radio; third prize: Keurig Coffee Machine; more prizes on the way!!

Our summer drawing will raise funds to provide financial assistance to GDUI members to attend our 2017 GDUI National Convention. Each GDUI convention features informative presentations concerning our civil rights as guide dog users, as well as other guide dog and blindness-related issues, and opportunities to get to know and socialize with other guide dog teams! The GDUI Board of Directors has approved this fundraising event with the expressed purpose of assisting our members to attend the 2017 GDUI National Convention.

If you do not wish to participate in our summer drawing, GDUI will cheerfully accept a monetary donation! Thank you!

Please accept my donation of $_____ for _____ # of chances

Please accept my donation of $_______ to further the mission of GDUI.

Name:
Address:
City, State, Zip: Phone #

If you wish to use a credit card to purchase drawing tickets or to make a donation for payment, please call (866) 799-8436.

You can find our updated prize list for the summer drawing by browsing to www.guidedogusersinc.org. The drawing will take place during our convention luncheon on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Winner need not be present!

Complete the information in the form above and mail it to: Guide Dog Users, Inc., 3603 Morgan Way, Imperial, MO 63052.

Mission Statement:
Guide Dog Users, Inc., a 501(C)3 organization founded in 1976, as a special interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life for working guide dog teams. Drawing on the experiences and varied knowledge of its members, GDUI provides peer support, advocacy and information to guide dog users everywhere. In addition, GDUI works with public entities, private businesses and individuals to ensure that guide dog users enjoy the same rights to travel, employment, housing, and participation in all aspects of life that people without disabilities enjoy.
*****
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
September 26, 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.
Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor
Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
Excused absence: Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison

The meeting was called to order by President Penny Reeder.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun.

The meeting agenda was approved by the board.

President Reeder introduced Jeff Bishop, GDUI’s ACB Board Liaison.

Agenda item: Approval of meeting minutes

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the May 30, 2015 minutes. Bob Acosta seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Sarah Calhoun made a motion to accept the July 5, 2015 minutes. Vickie Curley seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Agenda item: Treasurer’s report
Treasurer’s Report September 21, 2015

This report contains breakdowns for the months of June, July and August, 2015 because a report was not provided for the July 2015 meeting, which was held in Dallas, and this is the first Board meeting subsequent to the July meeting. It also contains a comprehensive breakdown of the income and expenses known to date for the convention in July. As of today, I have not received a breakdown of the income and expenses from ACB.

I would like to first thank Sarah Calhoun for her assistance in preparing this report. Sarah graciously assumed many of the duties of the office manager and jumped in enthusiastically to gather and maintain the income and expenses from June 1, 2015 to the present and to present them in a succinct fashion.
June 2015 Report
INCOME:
Summer Drawing: $380.00
Dallas stuff dog raffle: $165.00
Tribute booklet sponsorships: $1,715.00
Membership 2015 dues: $90.00
Products sales: $135.00
Shipping of products: $18.00

Grand total June income: $2,503.00

EXPENDITURES:
Membership business cards: $79.95
VOTE NOW 2015 voting and tabulations: $1,828.66
Carrollton credit card processing fees: $75.75
Pay Pal processing fees: $10.59
Verizon: $27.83
Product mailing: $5.75
Product purchase: $815.26
Production of PawTracks 2015: $280.00
Voiat web master: $404.00

Grand total June expenditures: $3,527.79

Capitol One:
Previous balance May 31, 2015: $15,749.17
Deposits: $764.36
Expenditures: $739.80
Ending balance June 30, 2015: $15,773.73

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance May 31, 2015: $7,962.93
Deposits: 1,123.00
Expenditures: $2,616.24
Ending balance June 30, 2015: $6,449.69

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,017.00
Ending balance: $1,027.59
July 2015 Report
INCOME:
Donations (unspecified):$287.00
Summer drawing: $510.00
Dallas stuff dog raffle: $120.00
Membership 2015 dues: $165.00
Membership 2016 dues: 15.00
Life membership: $250.00
Product sales: $2,867.50
Product shipping: $78.00
GDUI Guide Dog School reception ticket: $17.00
Silent auction: $3,930.00
Start up cash for GDUI suite: $60.00

Grand total July income: $8,299.50

EXPENDETURES:
Winner of summer drawing: $1,000.00
Carrollton and Square Card Credit card processing fees: $255.69
Pay Pal processing fees: $22.76
D & O Insurance: $998.00
Verizon: $38.00
Product shipping: $187.85
Product refund: $18.00
Hotel for two rooms and GDUI suite: $1,492.68
Room upgrade for the Louisville Ladies: $120.00
Start up cash for GDUI suite: $60.00
Production of tribute booklet: $108.68
GDUI reception – cake: $107.98
Easy to read braille program: $337.50
Production of PawTracks: $240.00

Grand total July expenditures: $4,987.14

Capitol One:
Previous balance June 30, 2015: $15,773.73
Deposits: $7,362.64
Expenditures: $1,867.14
Ending balance July 31, 2015: $21,269.23

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance June 30, 2015: $6,449.69
Deposits: $81.00
Expenditures: $2,365.58
Ending balance July 31, 2015: $4,165.11

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,027.59
Ending balance: $1,050.35

August 2015 Report
INCOME:
Donation through Mission Fish: $1.00
Donation through ACB Monthly Monetary Support (MMS): $120.00
Membership 2015 dues: $45.00
Product sales: $250.00
Product shipping: $42.00
Silent auction: $233.00

Grand total August income: $691.00

EXPENDITURES:
Carrollton credit card processing fees: $62.60
Pay Pal fees: $7.37
Verizon: $28.40
Shipping products: $51.75
GDUI mailing of auction and raffle items: $138.71

Grand total August expense: $288.83

Capitol One:
Previous balance: $21,269.23
Transfer from Pay Pal to Capitol One: $975.94
Ending balance $22,246.17

Carrollton Bank:
Previous balance July 31, 2015: $4,165.11
Ending balance as of August 31, 2015: $3729.62

Pay Pal:
Previous balance: $1,050.35
Transferred from Pay Pal to Capitol One: $975.94
Ending balance: 74.41
First Georgetown balance as of May 22, 2015: $119,154.00
First Georgetown balance as of September 18, 2015: $113,858.00

Breakdown of convention 2015 sales:
1. SUMMARY OF SALES: The gross sales amount was $7327.50. When you take out the refunded amounts (these come from those of us who practiced then refunded prior to opening the suite) and the fees for using Square our net sales total is $7137.64. This includes product sales, memberships, donations, raffle, event tickets and silent auction final bids. We paid a total of $171.86 to Square for usage fees. Here is the table for the summary of sales:

SUMMARY OF OVERALL SALES FOR 2015 GDUI SUITE PRODUCTS AND AUCTION ITEMS
Sales Refunds Net
Gross Sales $7,327.50 ($18.00) $7,309.50
Discounts $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Net Sales $7,327.50 ($18.00) $7,309.50
Gift Card Sales $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Tax $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Tip $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Partial Refunds $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Total Collected $7,327.50 ($18.00) $7,309.50
Fees ($171.86) $0.00 ($171.86)
Net Total $7,155.64 ($18.00) $7,137.64

We made the highest dollar amount in sales on the auction ($3930) with product sales coming in second at $2504.50. Here is the table of sales by overall category:

SUMMARY OF SALES BY OVERALL CATEGORY
GROSS SUMMARY OF SALES BY OVERALL CATEGORY SALES
GDUI PRODUCT TOTAL SALES $2,504.50
SHIPPING INCOME TOTAL SALES $6.00
DONATIONS TOTAL SALES $87.00
EVENT TICKETS TOTAL SALES $17.00
MEMBERSHIP TOTAL SALES $135.00
RAFFLE TOTAL SALES $630.00
SILENT AUCTION TOTAL SALES $3,930.00
TOTAL GROSS SALES (less the $18 refunded) $7,309.50

2. PAYMENT METHODS: We swiped 68 credit card transactions and keyed 9 credit card transactions. $5941 of the sales was credit card transactions and $1,368.50 in cash. About 50% of the transactions were credit card and the other 50% cash. Here is the summary of payment methods:

SUMMARY OF PAYMENT METHODS FOR 2015 GDUI SUITE PRODUCTS AND AUCTION ITEMS
Payment Method Transactions Tips Total Collected Fees Net Total
Card – Swiped 68 $0.00 $5,005.00 ($137.73) $4,867.27
Card – Keyed 9 $0.00 $936.00 ($34.13) $901.87
Card – Other 0 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Cash 78 $0.00 $1,368.50 $0.00 $1,368.50
Gift Card 0 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Other 0 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

3. CATEGORY SALES: Of all the product sales, accessories for dogs (bowls, pouches, dog beds, etc.) brought the highest in sales dollars ($1101.50). Of course we may have had more products for that category. Next in line were the raffle tickets at $630, then grooming & health, then dog toys. Here is the summary of sales by square product category:

SUMMARY OF SALES BY SQUARE PRODUCT CATEGORY
Category Items Sold Gross Sales Items Refunded Refunds Net Sales
Uncategorized 1 $10.00 0 $0.00 $10.00
ACCESSORIES FOR DOGS 81 $1,101.50 0 $0.00 $1,101.50
DONATIONS 4 $97.00 -1 ($10.00) $87.00
EVENT TICKETS 2 $25.00 -1 ($8.00) $17.00
GROOMING and HEALTH 66 $544.00 0 $0.00 $544.00
MEMBERSHIP 9 $135.00 0 $0.00 $135.00
RAFFLE 65 $630.00 0 $0.00 $630.00
SALES ITEMS 6.8.15 11 $61.00 0 $0.00 $61.00
Sale items 4 $15.00 0 $0.00 $15.00
Shipping Income 1 $6.00 0 $0.00 $6.00
TOY 41 $415.00 0 $0.00 $415.00
TREATS 46 $358.00 0 $0.00 $358.00

4. PRODUCT SALES DETAIL: Maria spent $983.53 to purchase the products to sell at the suite. Including Jane Sheehan’s products (carried to Dallas in the suitcase) we had a total of 387 products to sell. The only thing missing from this number is the number of Nylabones brought by Connie J. Of the 387 products we sold 250. That leaves our remaining inventory at 160 and most of those were small items that Connie J put in a suitcase to take home. We grossed $2504.50 in sales so that leaves us with a profit of $1520.97, even without selling the 160 items left over in our inventory.

We sold 80-100% of the following items:
Liver Biscotti Treats
Salmon Bites
Collapsible Travel Bowl Petmate
Dental Wipes True Blue
Slicker Brush Large Millers For
Drying Mitts
Drying Towel
Musher’s Secret GDUI
Antler Large
Antler Medium
Antlers Small
Ball Arachnoid JW Pet
Bear Canvas Bow-Tied Jute GDUI
Bell Falcon GDUI
Bottle Buddy Pig
Bowl Ruffwear
Bumi Tug Toy
Ear Wipes Earthbath
Frog Darwin GDUI
Hurley Bone West Paw
Monkey Simply Fido
Pet wipes GDUI
Rake for Undercoat GDUI
Ruffian Bear JW Pet
Sterilized Bones
Travel Bed Abo

We sold 0-35% of the following items:

Cowbell Stainless Steel GDUI
Lamb Simply Fido
Collar Tags GDUI
Fire Hose 3-Segment GDUI
Snake Kyjen Invincible
Treat Holder Bag Company of Animals
Pick-up Bags

I’ve attached a pdf spreadsheet in this email that identifies the following for each product for sale in the suite: purchase information, quantities sold, GDUI pricing, gross sales, profit/loss, inventory remaining, and percent sold.

5. DONATIONS: We took in a total of $87 in donations.

6. GDUI EVENT TICKETS PURCHASED: Using Square we sold one ticket to the reception. We sold additional tickets to some events (in cash) but those were not captured by Square because we did not have wi-fi in the meeting rooms where the events were held.

7. MEMBERSHIPS PURCHASED: We sold 9 annual memberships for a total of $135.

8. 2015 RAFFLE TICKET PURCHASES: In Square we sold 4-$3 tickets for Dallas; 10-$10 tickets for Dallas; and 51-$10 tickets for the summer drawing. This of course, is not the total amount of tickets sold since many were purchased before or after Suite hours.

9. SILENT AUCTION STATS: Overall the total value of items donated was $7538. The total amount of bids for all auction items is $4163 for a 55% return. Penny’s cookies had the highest return of 500%! We had 12 items with a return of 100% or higher, 29 items with over a 50% bid return, and the rest were under 50%. The table below shows each auction item’s value, high bid and % of value:

AUCTION ITEMS IN ORDER BY HIGHEST % OF VALUE
Auction # ITEM NAME VALUE HIGH BID % of Value
1 Cookies from Penny’s Kitchen $60.00 300 500%
34 Red Dog Mat by The Mutt Mats Company $26.00 45 173%
35 Royal Blue Dog Mat by The Mutt Mats Company $26.00 45 173%
37 Alphabet Bracelet $32.00 45 141%
2 The Bag from Maine $50.00 70 140%
22 White Cotton Kitchen Towel with Embroidered Christmas Tree $15.00 20 133%
3 Tequila $50.00 60 120%
36B The Game of Life – Dogs Edition $25.00 28 112%
4 Crystal Head Vodka $50.00 50 100%
21 Cream Colored Linen Kitchen Towel with Black Embroidered Dog Bone and Two Small Paw Prints. $15.00 15 100%
28 Quilt for Puppy Lovers! $75.00 75 100%
43 Hand Crafted Necklace & Pierced Earrings $40.00 40 100%
53 Braided Tug Toy $10.00 10 100%
38 Stainless Steel Dog Motif Charm Bracelet $50.00 45 90%
33 Tawny’s Treasures $250.00 200 80%
54 Braided Tug Toy $13.00 10 77%
52 HIMS, Inc. – $100 VISA Gift Card $100.00 75 75%
9 Mystic Access Daisy/MP3 Audio Tutorial $99.00 70 71%
19 White kitchen Towel – Embroidered Black Labrador Head with Red Collar $15.00 10 67%
20 White Cotton Kitchen Towel with Single Black Embroidered Paw Print $15.00 10 67%
55 Baby Knits $75.00 50 67%
25 Runner Hands Free Carry-All $55.00 35 64%
31 Reizen Talking Atomic Clock $40.00 25 63%
7 VIP 3000 – Talking Thermostat $200.00 120 60%
29 Seiko Clock $250.00 150 60%
36 Dog Opoly $25.00 15 60%
49 Walmart Gift Card $25.00 15 60%
17 Pandamimi ULAK Aqua Blue & Rose Pink Fashion PC 2-Piece Style Soft Hard Case Cover for iPhone 5 5S with Free Screen Protector and Stylus $14.00 8 57%
10 6dot Braille Label Maker $500.00 280 56%
6 HumanWare Trekker Breeze+ $799.00 440 55%
16 IPhone 5S Case, Pandamimi ULAK Fashion 2-Piece Style Soft Hard Case Cover for iPhone 5 5S with Screen Protector (Gold & White) $14.00 7 50%
27 Dog-Theme Cotton Tote Bag $20.00 10 50%
30 Talking Atomic Watch $40.00 20 50%
32 Singer Sewing Machine $100.00 50 50%
40 Scattered Stars Necklace $100.00 50 50%
41 Matching Bracelet & Black Pearl Necklace $100.00 50 50%
46 AmbuTech $50 Gift Certificate – Good toward next order! $50.00 25 50%
47 AmbuTech $50 Gift Certificate – Good toward next order! $50.00 25 50%
48 Bookshare Certificate – One year subscription $75.00 35 47%
11 JAWS TRAINING with PlexTalk Pocket DAISY Player (1 out of 2) $900.00 400 44%
26 Canvas Tote Bag with Paw Print Embroidery $35.00 15 43%
18 BookBook iPhone 5 (Vintage Brown) $60.00 25 42%
24 Lady’s Knit Socks $50.00 20 40%
50 Doctors Foster and Smith – Gift Certificate & Catalog $25.00 10 40%
39 Punctuation Cuff Bracelet, Center Stage Necklace, and Cinema Stars Earrings $165.00 65 39%
42 Cubic Zirconia Diamond Snake Pendant & Matching Bracelet $100.00 35 35%
5 Fedora’s iOS Master Series – One year premium subscription to the iOS Master Series, a premium online & completely accessible teaching tool for the iPhone and/or iPad $500.00 170 34%
8 One-Year Subscription to Serotek’s Accessibility Anywhere Package $240.00 80 33%
12 JAWS TRAINING with PlexTalk Pocket DAISY Player (2 out of 2) $900.00 300 33%
13 ZoomText Magnifier/Reader v 10.1 $600.00 200 33%
23 Pink Knit Scarf $75.00 25 33%
51 Gift Certificate From Shira’s Place $100.00 10 10%
15 uNu Power DX External Protective Battery Case for iPhone 5s / iPhone 5 (Gold) $90.00 0 0%
45 Boston Red Sox/Patriots Themed Witch’s Hat $150.00 0 0%
44 Autographed Bat & Baseball from Garry Maddox 175
$7,538.00 $4,163.00 55%
Respectfully submitted,
Lynn Merrill, Treasurer

Lynn Merrill made a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Seconded by Vickie Curley. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Editor’s report
Nolan Crabb reported that the deadline for submission of articles for the winter PawTracks is November 8, 2015.

Agenda item: Approval of Committee Reports
President Reeder appointed a sub-committee to research telephone lines during the radio auction and reports its suggestions to the board either during the November 2015 meeting or on the board list. The members are: Bob Acosta, Sarah Calhoun, Lynn Merrill and Jane Sheehan.

Lynn Merrill made a motion for Jane Sheehan to have the authority to process credit cards and take calls with respect to the April 2, 2016 radio auction. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclimation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Bob Acosta made a motion to accept all committee reports. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Funds from the Radio Auction
Bob Acosta suggested for the funds raised from the April 3, 2016 radio auction go towards helping pay for GDUI’s telephonic voting system called, Vote Now.

Agenda item: Request to approve a summer drawing fundraiser
Bob Acosta made a motion for GDUI to hold a summer drawing with the winning ticket to be drawn during the 2016 GDUI luncheon at the ACB Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place.
Voting results: ten yes votes and one abstention. Motion carried.

Bob Acosta made a motion for the funds raised from the 2016 summer drawing to be allotted for financial assistance for a first-timer to attend the 2017 GDUI Convention.
The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Webmaster Search
Will Burley reported the committee has interviewed two people for GDUI’s webmaster position. Our contract includes a maximum of ten hours per month. Anything over ten hours per month needs to be approved by the board.

Will Burley recommended GDUI hire Steve Zelaya as our new webmaster at 27.00 per hour, with a maximum of 10 hours per month. Any additional hours need within a month needs to be approved by the board.

President Reeder made a motion to hire Steve Zelaya as GDUI’s new webmaster. The motion was seconded by Maria Hansen. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Phone system evaluation and recommendations
Betsy Grenevitch made a motion for a subcommittee to research a new telephone system for GDUI. The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclimation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

President Reeder appointed the members of the subcommittee to be: Will Burley, Sarah Calhoun, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan

Agenda item: GDUI Policy with respect to committee structure
Will Burley made a motion to accept the committee list and description policy on an interim bases. It will be discussed on the board list and we will come up with a definitive policy at our November 2015 board meeting.
The motion was seconded by Penny Reeder. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Early Bird Membership Special
Lynn Merrill made a motion to offer an early bird special to new or returning members if they purchase their membership after September 1st of each year, we would give them membership to GDUI for the remainder of the year, plus for the entire next calendar year.
The motion was seconded by Jane Sheehan. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Sending welcome packets and mailing renewal letters
President Reeder asked Lynn Merrill, Dixie Sanderson and Sarah Calhoun to work with the membership committee and decide who will mail or Email welcome packets to new and returning members. In addition, they will determine who will mail and Email the 2016 GDUI renewal letters by December 1, 2015. Renewal information needs to be submitted to Nolan Crabb before November 8, 2015 to be included in the winter PawTracks.

Agenda item: Who is responsible for mailing thank you letters
Lynn Merrill has been sending thank you letters to those who have made a donation to GDUI.

Lynn Merrill, Bob Acosta and Jane Sheehan will hold a meeting before the November 2015 board meeting to discuss possibly tying in donations with some type of data base operations.

Agenda item: New business
ACB will hold a radio auction on the first Sunday in December 2015. All affiliates are being asked to contribute something to the auction.

President Reeder made a motion for GDUI to spend up to $100.00 to make a contribution to the ACB radio auction. This includes shipping our items to ACB.
The motion was seconded by Bob Acosta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

The next GDUI board meeting will be held Saturday, November 21, 2015.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment 1 of 2:
Motions and voting results via the board Email list.
October 12, 2015:
Will Burley made a motion that we authorize an additional 15 hours for the month of October 2015 (for GDUI web master Steve Zelaya) for needed website updates.
The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Discussion took place prior to voting. Motion unanimously carried.

Attachment 2 of 2:
On November 15, 2015 Will Burley submitted the following motion.

I believe I need to make a request for additional funding to complete needed website changes.

As you know, we needed to make changes to various areas of the website. The vast bulk of those changes have been done, including the new donation, store, contact form, 2016 convention and bylaws pages. We also have the new layout and better navigation for the site.

In the past week or so, we needed to quickly make changes to the online store as there were issues with it working properly. It was a change that was going to be made but later in the year. Since we had it in the budget, Steve was given the go ahead to make those changes.

The one item that is still outstanding is the membership plugin and adding the specific GDUI content to it.

This will put us over the allotted amount for the rest of the year and no work can be done at this point.

I would therefore like to make a motion that we approve an additional 30 hours for the remainder of 2015 webmaster work.

This would cover November and the 10 hours for December and any additional hours, if needed.

I would have waited until the board meeting but we need to have the website up and fully going by December 1 for renewal time.

I would like to request, that if there is a 2nd, that we try to vote by Tuesday to have Steve start working on the plugin. I’m happy to answer any questions.

Thanks!
Will Burley
The motion was seconded by Ann Chiappetta. Discussion took place. Motion unanimously carried.
End of attachments.

Beginning of GDUI Committee Reports
September 2015
GDUI November 2015 Committee Reports

Please note: All committee reports are listed in alphabetical order and separated with ****.

Ad Hoc Committee:
An ad hoc group consisting of Bob Acosta, Jane Sheehan, Maria Hansen, Annie Chiappetta, and me has worked together to propose a process for sending thank you letters to recognize the generous contributions from GDUI donors.

Our first task was to develop a method for composing letters to the donors. We reviewed samples from past letters that were used a few years ago and agreed that the style of letter used previously was something that we would continue to produce. The letter highlights recent activities of GDUI or projects that will be coming in the near future, and will be changed every quarter to maintain the sense of giving up-to-date news. Also included with the letters will be information about GDUI’s 501C3 status as well as, of course, the acknowledgement of the donation and a sincere thank you.

Because these letters will be sent outside of GDUI, we recognized that the Publications Committee needs to be involved, so Bob, as Chair of the Fund Raising Committee, invited Annie, as Chair of the Publications Committee, to become a member of the Fund Raising Committee. Annie, despite her busy schedule, graciously accepted Bob’s invitation. Together, and with the involvement of our President, over whose signature the letters will be sent, letters can be composed on a quarterly basis to use as thank you letters.

Now that a method for the composition of the letters was established, we focused on a process for sending them to the donors. We propose that the Treasurer, who is notified of donations through PayPal or other methods, will notify the Chair of the Fund Raising Committee, Bob, of any donations along with the name and address of the donor. Bob will take the quarterly letter and insert the donor information and mail it to the donor. While we did not establish a strict time-frame for sending the letter, Bob will ensure that it will be sent in a timely fashion.

And, finally, letters will also be sent at the end of each year to donors with their aggregate totals in contributions for the year. Again, these letters will be composed with the involvement of those mentioned above.

We also discussed the matter of thanking “non-tangible” donations such as bids on auction items, or purchases of raffle tickets. We agreed that those types of contributions are not within the spirit of donations for whom our letters are intended. In cases of raffle ticket purchases, Bob does send an email acknowledgment of the purchase.

It was a pleasure to work with Bob and Jane and Maria and Annie on this project and we trust the Board will accept the proposed process.

Respectfully, Lynn Merrill
Treasurer

****
Advocacy & Legislative Committee Report:
The Advocacy and legislative Committee met on Nov. 11, 2015. We discussed focus for 2016:
We plan to work together on legislation that will strengthen attack laws and also penalties for misrepresentation of pets as service dogs; GA (Georgia) Guide Dog Users is recommending the FL (Florida) model and adding attack language as well. Wisconsin handlers and others are also actively proposing and advocating for legislation.

CA (California) Guide Dog board issue:
Our committee requests that the GDUI board send a letter to the guide dog schools asking them to speak out against the continuation of the California guide dog board. Also a letter should be sent to CUSDGS (Council of United States Guide Dog School’s).

ACB’S transportation committee is working on an initiative to bring the Dept. of Transportation’s service dog definition into line with the ADA definition. Committee member Alice Ritchhardt also sits on that ACB committee.

We discussed issues around dog hair in cabs, Uber and Lyft and rental cars; how much is too much and who decides since we are likely to be scrutinized? What can we do to help handlers avoid this problem?
How can we work with the companies? We plan to create an article for PawTracks.

Submitted by, Becky Davidson Nov. 16, 2015

****
Affiliate Report:
Greetings all.
The month of November is flashing by and, before we know it, the third Thursday in December, December 17 will be today. As you know, we agreed to meet at 9:00 PM Eastern Time on that day. True to the mandate of the discussion held during our October meeting, there will be a program designed to assist you to work with your state legislatures regarding the fraudulent service dog issue and whatever other matters may come to your attention. On Thursday of this week, I will begin putting this program together. We will certainly have other opportunities during this year to learn about this most important subject. If you have someone to recommend as a presenter for the December program, though, please do not hesitate to contact me by 12:00 PM on Thursday, November 12 with the name and contact information of that individual. I will be in touch with you again with details about this program as well as the conference call-in information as the meeting date draws closer.
Since there was a great deal of conversation regarding the GDUI dues structure during our October meeting, I am providing below wording prepared by the GDUI Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, on this very important subject.
(Beginning of text)
The affiliate dues structure is as follows:
A member of an affiliate at large: Affiliate pays GDUI $8.00 per person per year.
An affiliate member who is a life member of ACB: Affiliate pays GDUI $3.00 per person per year.
An affiliate member who is a GDUI life member: Affiliate pays GDUI zero.
An affiliate member who is a GDUI life member and an ACB life member: Affiliate pays GDUI zero.
(end of text)
Sarah is willing to provide the following assistance for those treasurers who may find it helpful.
(beginning of text)
If our affiliates would find it helpful, they could either e-mail me their roster or call me first and I will be happy to go over their roster to make sure they pay GDUI the correct amount. They would need to mark any affiliate member if they are a GDUI life member, an ACB life member or both a GDUI and ACB life member. Also, if they would mark any new member down that would be quite helpful for Dixie as she maintains GDUI’s membership data base.
(end of text)
I look forward to hearing from those of you with program presenters to recommend.
Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.
Respectfully,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

****
Budget & Finance Committee Report:
The Budget & Finance Committee will be meeting after Thanksgiving to prepare the 2016 draft budget. It should be ready for Board approval by mid-December.

Maria Hansen

****
Bylaws Committee Report:
The Bylaws Committee has no activity to report.

Maria Hansen

****
DISASTER ASSISTANCE AND PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM (DAPP) COMMITTEE REPORT

November 20, 2015

We determined that most guide dog handlers will probably not receive assistance for their guide dogs during a disaster. Our guide dogs, for the most part, are probably not considered in city/county/state disaster programs. If we receive an application requesting assistance following a disaster from a GDUI member, the committee will quickly meet in order to determine authenticity of the disaster and the need for that person’s need for financial assistance with their guide dog.

The DAPP Committee will be putting the information for disaster assistance out on the GDUI Chat List and the GDUI Board Lists in the near future in order that our members have an understanding of assistance they may receive from us if they qualify following a disaster. We would, upon approval by the DAPP Committee, issue a VISA Card in the amount of $50 to cover emergency food and/or any necessary emergency vet bills. The member can obtain up to two $50 VISA Cards within one declared disaster per year with proper approval from the DAPP Committee.

We are also looking into putting on a telephonic program pertaining to “Disaster Preparedness” sometime in January or February, 2016. We will invite members and outsiders as well with an understanding that these emergency funds are for GDUI members only. We are hopeful that if others are on the call, they may become interested in joining GDUI due to the programs GDUI makes available to its members.

We finally decided that we will ask Will if our Disaster Assistance Guidelines could be put on our Web Site.

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Metz
DAPP Committee Chair
GDUI

****
Editor’s Report:
The fall issue is out after a couple of distribution hiccups that were entirely my fault. I don’t know the status of the cassette distribution at the time of this writing.

If we continue to do cassette distribution, I will modify the way in which the files are distributed to the cassette producer such that they will be divided into four equal folders representing each side of the cassette.

Nolan

****
FUND-RAISING COMMITTEE:
REPORT TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

November 2015

Dear Friends,
The Fund-Raising Committee with your great support has been quite busy developing three major projects to enhance the Treasury of GDUI.

We begin with the fall 2016 Cruise to Bermuda to be held from October 9 to October 16, 2016. We have already booked 5 cabins. If we can book at least 8 cabins, we become an official group and receive all of the amenities for groups. For more information about the Cruise, please call Michelle Zimmerman, Senior Personal Cruise Consultant, Norwegian Shipping Line at (877) 416-9722, Ext. 4398. Michelle can book your plane and hotel reservations while in New York, which is the point of departure and return for the cruise. Guide Dog Users, Inc. will earn $30 per person on this cruise.

We have been very busy arranging for our Spring Radio Auction to be held on Sunday, April 3, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The purpose of this Auction is to provide funding for the universal voting which we provide to our membership. At present, we have gathered several prizes for this event. It is hoped that every Board Member will submit a prize valued at $50 or more to Robert Acosta, 20734c Devonshire St., Chatsworth, CA, 91311. Phone: 818-998-0044. We are asking all donors to provide us with a full description of their prizes. Shipping costs will be added to the winner’s financial donation to GDUI, and we shall combine items won by a particular person to lower shipping costs. Food items are sent directly from the donors to the winners. We are now in the process of registering for this event and are working closely with Larry Turnbull and Jeff Bishop on this matter.

The Summer GDUI Drawing will be held at the Luncheon of the GDUI Convention on July 6, 2016. The funds from this Drawing will be used to provide financial assistance to our members to attend the 2017 GDUI National Convention. We are also obtaining several prizes for this event. The Summer Drawing begins officially on December 1. Sarah has kindly volunteered to accept calls at our toll-free number and to send me monthly spread sheets for the Drawing. The Grand prize for 2016 is $1,500 donated by Helping Hands for the Blind.

Finally, The Fund-Raising Committee is working with the newly created Board Sub-Committee chaired by Lynn Merrill to develop a system for promptly thanking our wonderful donors. Annie Chiappetta has joined the Fund-Raising Committee as the Co-Chair of the Publications Committee to assist us.

I wish to thank the Board for its great support and hope we bring in a lot of funding to our Treasury.

Respectfully Submitted,
Robert Acosta, Chair
Fund-Raising Committee
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

****
Membership committee Report
November 14, 2015

The membership committee has had two meetings since our last GDUI board meeting. The main focus of our meeting in October concerned developing a policy for the Membership Committee. Will has our draft policy written by Mary Beth Metzger and is finalizing it for us. We will present the proposed policy to the board as soon as it is completed.

The next two topics were discussed at both our October and our November meetings.

We will give the board all of the details as soon as they are available but are trying to work out all of the logistics of how to offer a program assisting guide dog handlers with their current dogs if there is a medical emergency need for their dog. We want to have all of our information together before presenting this to the board for their approval. This would definitely be a great benefit for our members should we get all of the information together and it get approved by the board. We are hoping to have more information by the January meeting if at all possible.

The second project that was discussed at both meetings is the possibility of doing a satisfaction survey of our members. We are still researching which survey site is most accessible and reasonable in cost. We are hoping to present the information about this potential project to the board in our January meeting.

At our November meeting we talked about some ideas of how to attract younger members to our organization. Dixie and Katie Frederick are going to work on this project and in our December meeting present to us a potential plan of action.

I would like to thank Will burley and Steve for their work on the membership plug-in on our website. I would like to thank the members of the committee who helped us with the Welcome letter that is now being looked at by Annie and then will be sent to Penny for her approval since her name is who will be on the signature of the letter. I would like to thank Mary Beth Metzger for her work on putting this letter together.

In closing, I would like to thank all of my committee members for their hard work on the committee and to thank those who are not able to make meetings from time to time for letting me know when they are not able to be present. I would also like to thank Bob Acosta and Dixie for recently joining our committee.

Finally, I would like to thank Lynn Merrill and Will burley for coming on our October meeting to discuss our membership policy and processes.

Respectfully submitted
Betsy Grenevitch, Membership Chair

****
Membership Data Base Report:
At present we have:
Active Life Members: 126
Annual Members for 2015:374 (of which243 are affiliate members)
for 2016 at this time we have 8 members.
Total members at this point are then 500.

Dixie Sanderson

****
Office Manager Report:
Season greetings from the GDUI office!
November 2015 report.

The 2016 membership renewal letters are printed and ready to be mailed before December 1, 2015 to members who don’t have access to e-mails.

A friendly reminder, to renew your annual membership dues of $15.00 or join GDUI, you can either visit GDUI’s web site at: www. Guidedogusersinc.org and pay your dues through Pay Pal, or call the office at 1-866-799-8436 and I will be happy to process your credit card over the phone, or mail your dues and current information to: Guide Dog User’s, Inc., 3603 Morgan Way, Imperial, MO 63052.

The harness sign and pouch sales are moving along very well. At the time of this report, we have nine harness signs and 109 pouches in stock. The GDUI Budget & Finance Committee is discussing placing an order for harness signs in 2016.

As our guide dogs proudly lead us into the holiday festivities, from our house to yours we wish you a safe, warm and furry happy holiday season!
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary & Office Manager

****
Program Report:
The program is still in the preliminary stages of planning the program for next summer’s convention.

We have communicated with Janet Dickelman about the possibilities for suite, meeting rooms, and sleeping rooms and the various configurations that might be available to us. Janet is still checking into various possibilities that the hotel can make available. In addition, we have made our wishes known regarding guide dog relief areas and contractors’ obligations with respect to same.

I am in communication with at least one other person who has volunteered to join our committee. She will be a good addition, as she has a connection with lots of younger guide dog users, and the program committee is excited about her availability to help us recruit younger members and plan program elements that will appeal to them.

Submitted by Lilian Scaife

****
Publications Committee:
November 2015 Publications Committee Report
Compiled by Annie Chiappetta and Michael Malver, Co-chairs
Winter Greetings to all.
This past quarter has been quiet for this committee. We have been working and supporting the other GDUI committees with various assignments.

Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are going well, however, we would like to achieve more followers. One of our new members, Min Ha has volunteered to assist us in gaining a more proactive Twitter presence.

Sue Martin, whom we all know, has agreed to assist in formatting the final version of the GDUI booklet, “Is a Guide Dog the Right Choice for YOU?” Once she has completed the re-formatting, and the publication is presented to the Board, it is our hope that we can promote it with a press release and social media campaign. We also will request it be available at conventions in Braille and Large Print, as well as printable from the website.

The chat list and leadership list are going well, thanks to our moderators.
Respectfully submitted by
Annie Chiappetta, GDUI Publications Co-chair

****
Public Relations Report
November 2015

The Public Relations Committee has been working with our new webmaster to better optimize the website with needed changes.

Some of those changes were:

• Making the pages load faster;
• Created a new contact form with dropdown menu;
• Created and optimized new theme;
• New site map for navigation purposes;
• Added resized logo; and
• Updated plugins and improved SEO.

The volunteer page now has the committee list with descriptions per the board policy approved at the last meeting. The Bylaws has been updated with the old Constitution being fully removed.

The new membership plugin will now be installed and setup. This will allow members to pay for membership through PayPal; have access to members only areas like the newsletter, etc. This plugin will allow this or future boards to grow membership benefits only accessible to paid members.

Submitted by Will Burley

****
Special Concerns Committee:
Hello to GDUI members and friends. It is so hard to believe that we are rounding the corner to another holiday season. I hope everyone is doing well.

We on the Empathizer team realize that quite a few of our members and friends are dealing with dog issues, whether it is retirement or working problems that people are trying to work through. I want to thank Kevin F for very astutely pointing out that it is not only us as handlers who have feelings when we are faced with retirement or working problems, but our family and close friends as well. I also want to thank Sarah for passing along a number of a member who wanted to speak with someone on the team, but did not have internet. It is so important to us that all of GDUI know about the Empathizer team and know how to get in touch with someone to talk with when a friendly listening ear is needed.

We continue to stand ready to provide support to any of our members and friends when it is needed and I would like to reach out to any of our members and friends who may know of someone who might like to speak with someone on our team, but doesn’t have email. Please share my phone number with them and I will do my best to get them to the right team member in their time zone. My iPhone number is 908-329-5135

Again, I would like to wish all here a very happy Thanks giving and let me say that I am so very grateful for GDUI and all its members and friends.
All the Lords blessings from Vickie and Valor

****
Telephonic Sub-committee for the Spring Radio auction and The Summer Drawing Report:
September 29, 2015

The Committee met at 7 pm Eastern time on September 29, 2015 to discuss the possibility of using The Google line for the Spring Radio Auction and the sale of Summer Drawing Tickets.

Members present were Robert Acosta, Chair
Sarah Calhoun;
Lynn Merrill;
And Jane Sheehan.

We all decided that none of us knew about the use of the Google phone so we turned to other telephonic ideas.

Bob began by explaining the concepts of the Auction and the Summer Drawing to the Committee and received invaluable advice from the sub-committee members and thanks them very much.

It was concluded that it is hoped that the telephones at our Los Angeles studio for the acceptance of bids will suffice for the Spring Radio Auction. We shall definitely use a toll-free number with two lines if possible. If we find that we must put a toll-free line into Jane’s home for one day needed funds can come from the Fund-Raising Committee Budget for 2016. Finally, we wanted to see what our possible new telephone system would have to offer us.

In early November, bob and ken intend to meet with the Director of the studio in Los Angeles to discuss telephone issues.

After our meeting, Sarah has kindly agreed to handle Summer Drawing ticket sales for us up to the National GDUI Convention.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Acosta

****
Treasurer’s Report
October 2015

Itemized monthly income and deposits:
Fund-Raising income, Mission Fish: $1.60
Product income: $90.00
Product income, shipping: $18.00

Grand total monthly income and deposits: $109.60

Itemized monthly expenditures:
Office expense, Carrollton Bank fees: $62.23
Office expense, Verizon telephone: $28.58
Office expense, Pay Pal fees: $2.29
Membership Expense, Renewal Letters supplies $10.00
Program expense, GDUI paid to ACB for 2015 convention: $39.58

Grand total monthly expenditures: $142.68

Capitol One:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $22,192.67
Total monthly deposits: $1.60
Total monthly expenditures: $0
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $22,194.27

Carrollton Bank:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $3,357.87
Total monthly deposits: $31.00
Total monthly expenditures: $140.39
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $3,248.48

Pay Pal:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $282.29
Total monthly deposits: $77.00
Total monthly expenditures: $2.29
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $357.00

First Georgetown Security:
Balance as of September 18, 2015: $113,858.00
Balance as of November 13, 2015: $113,555.00

Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer
*****
GDUI Special Meeting Minutes
October 22, 2015

In attendance:
Penny Reeder, President: Sarah Calhoun, Secretary & Lynn Merrill, Treasurer
Directors: Bob Acosta, Vickie Curley, Betsy Grenevitch & Jane Sheehan
Excused absence:
Will Burley, First Vice-President & Maria Hansen, Second Vice-President
Directors: Ann Chiappetta & Dixie Sanderson
Guests: Michelle Zimmerman & Mikey Wiseman of Norwegian Shipping Lines

The meeting was opened by President Penny Reeder.

The role call was taken by Sarah Calhoun. A quorum was present.

Agenda item: Proposal of a 2016 cruise
Michelle Zimmerman and Mickey Wiseman of Norwegian Shipping Lines attended the meeting in order to explain the cruise and answer questions regarding GDUI hosting a cruise in 2016.

A motion was made by Bob Acosta that The GDUI board approve the concept of a cruise with Norwegian Shipping Line in the fall of 2016, going to either to Bermuda or the Bahamas depending on what the Fund-Raising Committee determines is the best place, and we approve that concept.

The motion was seconded by Sarah Calhoun. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place.

Although we are giving plans A. and B., we have not as a Fund-Raising Committee chosen the particular cruise.

On October 14, 2015, Mikey Wiseman, a member of GDUI, and Michelle Zimmerman of Norwegian Shipping Lines made a presentation before the Fund-Raising Committee. They patiently answered our questions, and I am going to give you a full report to the best of my ability.

As suggested by Mikey Wiseman to consider two cruises, we have chosen two plans. Plan A is a 7-day trip to Bermuda. Plan B is a 7-day trip to the Bahamas. Please see Plans A and B below.

Mikey began by giving us his historical relationship with Norwegian Shipping Lines. Michelle would be our sole Booking Agent and direct contact person. She is employed by Norwegian Shipping Lines.

Then we listened to Michelle Zimmerman who informed us that in setting up our cruise, she got the newer ships with more accessibility for blind persons including braille and talking elevators.

Michelle also informed us that this is a good time to plan a cruise because there are many promotions provided by the shipping line.

Mikey stated that the newer ships provide I concierge Systems which allow us to text with passengers, to make reservations for restaurants, learn of the daily activities, and check on our bills as well as other services. It is hoped that this will be provided free of charge to our group. They have chosen hub ports for us to begin our trip.

Bob: We understand that the deposit is $280 per person to include a $30 sir charge to be given to GDUI. If I turn my deposit in later, will the price of the cabin change? Michelle stated that prices could change.

Bob: If we change our minds later as an individual, can we get our full funding back? Michelle stated that as long as it was prior to 75 days before the cruise, the answer is yes.

Bob: Will there be a contract for our National President to sign? Michelle: No, but if your group is eight cabins minimally, your group leader gets a full statement of amenities, cabins for the leader to share with the Board if necessary.

Jane: What if we are below eight cabins minimally, would you cancel the cruise? Michelle: No, but you would not get the group amenities, but we would never unbook you for the overall cruise.

Mikey pointed out the concept of “price assurance.” Michelle stated that she will notify the group of any promotions such as upgrades or lower prices and she is diligent about this.

Mikey stated that the ship offers studio cabins for single persons attending the cruise. Therefore, a single person choosing the studio cabins will pay a single rate.

Michelle stated that all prices for cabins include taxes and port charges.

Mikey stated that there is a Shore Excursion Desk which we can use prior to the cruise for selection of tours. Also, there is a Shore Excursion Desk on the ship. When we choose a specific cruise, you can work with the Shore Excursion Desk and the Accessibility desk prior to your cruise to get the most accessible tours for your consideration. Also, the Accessibility desk prior to your cruise handles all paperwork for our dogs.

Michelle will email a tour package for the Board’s perusal.

Mikey has never used volunteers for any group. Mikey further stated that everyone is responsible for his/her own persona, but that the staff bends over backwards to assist.

Relief areas are provided using an interior hall. They do a good job keeping it clean. Sometimes, you can get a relief area on your balcony.

We must not leave our guide dogs in the staterooms unattended. Bob encouraged Michelle and Mikey to use foreign ports where guide dogs can accompany us on tours.

Mikey asked Michelle to give us a VIP check in counter. He wants a tour of the ship. A special time to board and a Muster meeting.

Michelle informed us that prior to 10 a.m. one can order a continental breakfast in our rooms free of charge. There are then charges for room service. Free-style dining is offered at all restaurants.

Plan A: A 7-day trip to Bermuda and return.

Norwegian Breakaway 7-day Bermuda from New York
7-day Bermuda, Round-trip New York
Embark, New York; Royal Naval Dockyard, (Bermuda); Disembark New York.

Lowest priced weeks: 10-2-16, then 09-25-16.
Rates: 10-2-16: Departure (including all taxes and port charges):

Studio Cabin:
(Single Guest Only) $1,201.90

Inside Cabin:
(Double Occupancy) $1,683.80
(
(Triple Occupancy) $2,235.70

(Quad Occupancy) $2,767.60

Ocean View:
(Double Occupancy) $2,383.80

(Triple Occupancy) $3,165.70

(Quad Occupancy) $3,697.60

Balcony:
(Double Occupancy) $2,483.80

(Triple Occupancy) $3,015.70

(Quad Occupancy) $3,547.60

Plan B: Norwegian Breakaway 7-day Bahamas and Florida from New York
Round-trip

Cruise ports: Embark New York; Orlando and Beaches (Port Canaveral), Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas); Nassau (Bahamas); Disembark New York.

Lowest priced weeks: 11-13-16; 11-6-16

Rates for 11-13-16; departure (including all taxes and port charges):

Studio Cabin:
(Single Guest Only) $1,043.99

Inside Cabin:
(Double Occupancy) $1,427.98

(Triple Occupancy) $1,941.97

(Quad Occupancy); $2,435.96

Ocean View
(Double Occupancy) $1,827.98

(Triple Occupancy) $2,571.97

(Quad Occupancy) $3,065.96

Balcony:
(Double Occupancy) $2,167.98

(Triple Occupancy) $2,661.97

(Quad Occupancy) $3,155.96

Motion unanimously carried.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
*****
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
November 21, 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, and Dixie Sanderson
Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor
Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison
Excused absence: Jane Sheehan, Director and Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison

President Penny Reeder opened the meeting with welcoming remarks.

The roll call was taken by Sarah Calhoun.

The meeting agenda was approved with the addition of discussing a survey.

Preliminary Discussion Regarding Board Meeting Protocol:

President Reeder Reminded board members when wishing to speak state your name and wait to be called upon by presiding officer

A member has requested that members be allowed to participate in board discussion immediately after discussion of each separate item (rather than at the end of the meeting).

Policy adopted July 23, 2012:
“All meetings of the Board of Directors of GDUI shall be open to all GDUI members, and others invited by the GDUI board.
Members and others may observe. Observers will only be permitted to speak after the members of the Board have spoken and at the discretion of the presiding officer.
However, the President may convene the Board in executive session to consider personnel matters, discuss sensitive litigation issues, and discuss information of a financial nature that is confidential to the parties involved provided that the general questions to be considered are announced while the board is in open session and before the executive session begins and provided further that when the Board of Directors next comes back into open session the first order of business shall be for the presiding officer to report whether or not action was taken and describe in general what such actions were.”

Charlie Crawford moved to adopt this Board policy. Seconded by Holly Kaczmarski.
Discussion: Clarifying that members and observers can speak after Board members and at the discretion of the presiding officer. No member or observer, other than the Board members, can make a motion.
Motion unanimously passed.

Vickie Curley will remind President Reeder of items to be completed discussed during board meetings.

Agenda item: Approval of Board Meeting minutes
A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to approve the September 26, 2015 GDUI board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Treasurer’s Report
GDUI Treasurer’s Report
October 2015

Itemized monthly income and deposits:
Fund-Raising income, Mission Fish: $1.60
Product income: $90.00
Product income, shipping: $18.00

Grand total monthly income and deposits: $109.60

Itemized monthly expenditures:
Office expense, Carrollton Bank fees: $62.23
Office expense, Verizon telephone: $28.58
Office expense, Pay Pal fees: $2.29
Membership Expense, Renewal Letters supplies $10.00
Program expense, GDUI paid to ACB for 2015 convention: $39.58

Grand total monthly expenditures: $142.68

Capitol One:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $22,192.67
Total monthly deposits: $1.60
Total monthly expenditures: $0
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $22,194.27

Carrollton Bank:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $3,357.87
Total monthly deposits: $31.00
Total monthly expenditures: $140.39
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $3,248.48

Pay Pal:
Beginning balance September 30, 2015: $282.29
Total monthly deposits: $77.00
Total monthly expenditures: $2.29
Ending balance October 31, 2015: $357.00

First Georgetown Security:
Balance as of September 18, 2015: $113,858.00
Balance as of November 13, 2015: $113,555.0

A motion was made by Lynn Merrill to accept the October 2015 treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded by Ann Chiappetta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Lynn Merrill received a breakdown of our monthly banking fees which have been quite high. She was informed the previous treasurer was to complete a form under the provisions of the United States Patriot Act that indicates the security of the credit card information we receive from members. Due to the fact the form wasn’t completed by the previous treasurer, we have been occurring a higher monthly fee. Carrollton Bank is setting up access for Lynn Merrill to complete the form which will lower our fees.

The board appreciated the detail Lynn Merrill provided in the July 2015 treasurer’s report contain the convention income and expenses.

Agenda item: Thank you letters
President Reeder thanked Lynn Merrill, Bob Acosta, Maria Hansen, Jane Sheehan and Ann Chiappetta for organizing a process to send thank you letters to all donars upon receipt of their donation to GDUI. Each January a letter acknowledging a donor’s donation will be mailed to them for tax purposes.

Agenda item: Editor’s report
Nolan Crabb said, the deadline for submitting articles for the spring 2016 PawTracks is February 15, 2016.

Agenda item: Committee reports
A motion was made by Vickie Curley to accept all committee reports. The motion was seconded by Anne Chiappetta. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

All committee reports are attached to these minutes.

Agenda item: Old Business
The membership committee will discuss conducting a survey during their December 2015 meeting and report their findings to the board during the January 2016 board meeting.

Agenda item: New Business
The next board meeting will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2016 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Adjournment

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary
*****
GDUI Special Board Meeting Minutes
December 20, 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, Dixie Sanderson & Jane Sheehan
Excused absence: Directors – Ann Chiappetta & Betsy Grenevitch,

The meeting was opened by President Penny Reeder with welcoming remarks. The meeting was turned over to the chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, Maria Hansen.

A motion was made by President Reeder to approve the proposed 2016 budget as presented to the board. The motion was seconded by Lynn Merrill. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place.

A friendly amendment was made by Jane Sheehan to reduce the expected expense of the purchase of products from $1850.00 to $1,200.00. Penny Reeder accepted the friendly amendment.

All board members present voted yes to accept the 2016 budget.

A copy of the approved 2016 GDUI budget is attached to these minutes.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment: Approved GDUI 2016 budget.

CATEGORY, LINE ITEM, Expected 2016 Income & Expected 2016 Expense

Advocacy Legislative Expense Travel 0.00 $196.00
Advocacy Legislative Expense Mailings 0.00 $60.00

DAPP income Donations (Rollover income from 2015 $1,150.00) 0.00 0.00
DAPP Expense Priority mailing prepaid cards, $20.00 per mailing 0.00 60.00
DAPP Expense Financial assistance, $50.00 per request 0.00 150.00

FUND-RAISING INCOME Sales through Blind Mice Mart 25.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Sales thru Mission Fish-Pay Pal 25.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Sales thru Amazon 25.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME 2016 cruise to Bermuda 900.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Income 2016 Radio Auction 1,200.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Donations to GDUI, unspecified 2,500.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME Donations, ACB monthly monetary support (MMS) 500.00 0.00
FUND-RAISING INCOME VEHICLE DONATIONS 0.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Income 2016 Summer Drawing Ticket Sales 2,000.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Income 2016 Summer Prize donations 1,500.00 0.00
Fund-Raising Expense 2016 winners of Summer Drawing 0.00 1,500.00
Fund-Raising Expense 2016 Radio Auction, pay to ACB 0.00 100.00
Fund-Raising Expense 2016 Radio Auction, pay for studio 0.00 100.00
Fund-Raising Expense Marketing/Supplies 0.00 250.00

MEMBERSHIP INCOME Membership dues 2016 1,500.00 $0.00
Membership Income Membership dues 2016, from affiliates 1,400.00 $0.00
Membership Income Membership dues 2017 beginning September 1, 2016 150.00 $0.00
MEMBERSHIP INCOME GDUI life memberships 750.00 $0.00
MEMBERSHIP EXPENSE COPYING/MAILING MEMBER INFO PACKETS 0.00 25.00
MEMBERSHIP EXPENSE COPYING/MAILING VOTING INFO TO MEMBERS 0.00 125.00
MEMBERSHIP EXPENSE COPYING/MAILING RENEWAL NOTICES 0.00 $25.00
MEMBERSHIP EXPENSE DUES: PER CAPITA TO ACB 0.00 2,375.00
MEMBERSHIP EXPENSE Voting process, 2016 elections 0.00 2,200.00
Membership Expense Survey 0.00 $0

NATIONAL OFFICE INCOME TRANSFER FROM ANOTHER ACCOUNT 0.00 0.00
NATIONAL OFFICE INCOME Cash-back business checking (Capital One) 5.00 0.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Annual incorporation fee (Incorp. Services) 0.00 99.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE RETURNED DEPOSIT ITEM 0.00 0.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE BANK FEE: RETURNED DEPOSIT FEE 0.00 0.00
National Office Expense Bank transfer fee (First Georgetown) 0.00 0.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE BOARD MEMBER TRAVEL/PER DIEM 0.00 0.00
National Office Expense Carrollton Banking fees 0.00 750.00
National Office Expense Square card processing fees 0.00 450.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Pay Pal processing fees 0.00 200.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE D&O INSURANCE 0.00 1,100.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Donations made by GDUI 0.00 200.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE MAILING, PHOTOCOPYING AND FAXING 0.00 0.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE Toll-free telephone 0.00 500.00
NATIONAL OFFICE EXPENSE SUPPLIES 0.00 50.00

PRODUCT INCOME product sales 5,200.00 $0
PRODUCT INCOME Income from shipping & handling for product sales 348.00 $0
PRODUCT EXPENSE PRODUCT MAILING AND HANDLING 0.00 400.00
PRODUCT EXPENSE Purchase of dog toys, items, etc. 0.00 1,200.00
Product Expense Purchase of harness signs 0.00 2,550.00
Product Expense Purchase of pouches 0.00 0.00
PRODUCT EXPENSE REFUND: PRODUCT SALES 0.00 50.00
PRODUCT EXPENSE Development and sale of dog mat, suggested $1,500.00 0.00 0.00

PROGRAM INCOME ACB: GDUI CONVENTION REGISTRATIONS 950.00 0
PROGRAM INCOME ACB: GDUI LUNCH tickets 2,000.00 0
PROGRAM INCOME ACB: GDUI TICKETED SEMINARS 200.00 0
PROGRAM INCOME GDUI Convention: Income from silent auction 2,500.00 0
PROGRAM INCOME GDUI CONVENTION: REIMBURSE FOR VENDOR SPACE 0.00 $0
PROGRAM INCOME GDUI CONVENTION: REIMBURSE STARTUP CASH FOR BOOTH 60.00 0.00
Program Expense Hotel recording Assistive Listening Device (ALD) 0.00 3,670.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE ACB: GDUI LUNCH 0.00 2,000.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE ACB Convention: GDUI suite 0.00 600.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE ACB: GDUI DOG STRESS RELIEF, PLAY AREA 0.00 0.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE ACB telephone line for credit card processing 0.00 260.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE ACB: TICKET SURCHARGE 0.00 $350.00
Program Expense ACB Hotel service charge at 24% 0.00 $400.00
Program Expense ACB GDUI sales tax 0.00 0
PROGRAM EXPENSE GDUI CONVENTION: AUCTION LIST PRINTING 0.00 $100
PROGRAM EXPENSE GDUI Convention: Hotel bedrooms 0.00 1,200.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE GDUI CONVENTION: LUNCH TICKET FOR SPEAKER 0.00 $30.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE GDUI convention: auction item MAILING AND STORAGE 0.00 $0
PROGRAM EXPENSE GDUI CONVENTION: SPEAKER/PRESENTER/VOLUNTEER GIFTS 0.00 $200.00
Program Expense GDUI CONVENTION: STARTUP CASH FOR BOOTH 0.00 $60.00
PROGRAM EXPENSE Easy to read braille programs convention 0.00 $100.00

Publications income subscriptions: PawTracks 0.00 $0.00
PUBLICATIONS EXPENSE MAILING 0.00 $26.00
PUBLICATIONS EXPENSE Production of PawTracks 2016 0.00 1,000.00
PUBLICATIONS EXPENSE PRODUCTION: MAKING IMPRESSIONS 0.00 $0.00
PUBLICATIONS EXPENSE SUPPLIES 0.00 $0.00

Public Relations Expense AWARDS 0.00 $0.00
Public Relations Expense committee projects 0.00 $0.00
Public Relations Expense PRODUCTION: NEWS RELEASES 0.00 $0.00
Public Relations Expense WEEKLY TELEPHONIC ANNOUNCEMENTS 0.00 $60.00
Public Relations Expense Web site domain registration fees for 3 years, 2016 – 2019 0.00 $60.00
Public Relations Expense Web hosting fees for 3 years, 2016 – 2019 0.00 $350.00
Public Relations Expense Webmaster fees for 2016 0.00 6,500.00

Grand total expected income 2016 23,738.00
Grand total expected expense 2016 $31,681.00
(End of attachment)
*****
Contributors to This Issue
Thanks to the following individuals for their contributions to this issue:

Robert Acosta
Sarah Calhoun
Anne Chiappetta
Nolan Crabb
Vicky Curley
Debbie Grubb
Rebecca Kragnes
Mike May
Penny Reeder
Dixie Sanderson

Download link: PawTracks Winter 2015

PawTracks Summer 2015

PawTracks
Summer 2015
Volume XLII, No. 2
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

June 9, 2015
Table of Contents

Thoughts from the Editor

Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs 2015 Convention Program by Lilian Scaife
Convention Highlights by Lilian Scaife
Keep the Heart of Guide Dogs Clean: Join the Waste Warriors by Jenine M. Stanley
GDUI Representatives Attend TSA Conference in Los Angeles by Robert Acosta
Legislative Committee Update: Service Animals in Health Care Facilities
Thank You by Audrey Gunter
Fundraising Committee Update by Robert Acosta
A Positive Transition by Annie Chiappetta
March 28, 2015 GDUI Board Meeting Minutes by Sarah Calhoun
A Guide Dog Handler Salutes Fellow Advocates and an Airport Policeman by Robert Acosta

Please note that asterisks (*)separate each article Plus signs (+) separate subsections within
articles.
*****
Thoughts From the Editor
by Nolan Crabb

This issue of PawTracks marks the end of my first year in this assignment, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have edited and narrated the publication. Those four issues seem to have flown by more rapidly than I could have ever imagined. I’m most grateful to those who contribute information for the publication. Without that help, a rewarding assignment can become joyless drudgery in a heartbeat. My thanks to all of you who have suggested topics of focus for the publication. Those suggestions are guide stars as we put this out each quarter, and they matter.

Since there’s a need to get this out quickly, this is a relatively short issue. Still, it contains information of relevance to those who are planning a trip to Dallas in early July.

So it’s on to year two for me, and the deadline for submissions for the Fall issue is August 14.

Enjoy PawTracks, and keep in touch.
*****
Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs 2015 Convention Program
by Lilian Scaife
President: Penny Reeder
Program Chair: Lilian Scaife
Registration: $15
GDUI’s Suite hours:
• Sunday July 5, noon to 5 p.m.
• Monday and Tuesday, July 6 and 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 8, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Sunday, July 5
8 a.m. — 9 a.m.
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destination relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.

11 a.m. — 12 p.m.
Helping Your Dog Adjust to the stresses of Convention Life
Presenter Becky Barnes Davidson
If this is your first convention or the first in a long time, this is a great way 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 dog’s head, 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 p.m.: GDUI Suite opens –
Socialize, take a break, and learn all about GDUI’s products from our very own Connie Jacomini. Give your dog the luxury of a 10 to 15 minute tension-relieving and restorative canine massage by Carla Campbell; a professional canine massage therapist for $20, available by appointment and walk-in basis (Sunday through Wednesday). Don’t miss our Silent Auction where you can bid on a multitude of goodies including tech gadgets, digital books, jewelry, and a tasty treat from Penny’s kitchen. You’ll want to try your chances at our raffling of “Dallas,” a beautiful plush black lab winnable through either three raffle tickets for $5 or seven for $10, as well as the GDUI Drawing, where a $10 chance might lead to all manner of prizes, including the grand prize of $1,000, and much more! The GDUI Suite is the place to be!
2 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Affiliate round-up (Location to be announced)
Affiliate representatives should come and introduce themselves to Debbie Grub, GDUI’s Affiliates’ Liaison. to assure that each affiliate’s votes count during the GDUI Caucus and business meeting.

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
GDUI Board meeting and annual report
President: Penny Reeder

Monday, July 6
6:45 A.M. — 8:15 A.M.
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.

7:30 A.M. — 8:30 A.M.
GDUI Hotel Orientation
Once you learn your way around the hotel, you and your guide dog will zip through convention crowds and arrive at your destinations relaxed and on time! Orientation provided by seasoned guide dog trainers and volunteers who understand the needs of guide dog users and our dogs.

1:15 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.
GDUI Opening Session
1:15 introductions, and preview of the Convention Program

2:45 p.m.
Self-familiarization to new environments: help your guide dog and yourself become oriented quickly and safely to a new location or unusual situation. Learn the basics from a seasoned trainer!
presenter: David Locklin, Class Coordinator — Leader Dogs for the Blind, Rochester Heights, MI

4:15 p.m. Guide Dog School Updates
What’s going on at the guide dog schools? What changes have they made over the past year, and what are they planning for the future? What are the qualifications that prospective students need to meet? Are there innovations coming, and
what do we need to know about them?
Always a highlight at the GDUI convention, the Guide Dog Schools Round-up lets us hear from the people who know the most about our schools.

7:15 p.m. to 10 p.m. – $15 $17
The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception
As dog guide users, we all know how important our schools’ investments in personnel, breeding and acquisition of dogs, training time, and money are for creating excellent matches for each of us.
We at GDUI want to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools for the time, energy and dollars they pour into our partnerships. As our way of saying thank you The 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception. Come and Express your gratitude to the professionals who make it possible for us to achieve greater independence through our partnerships with our guide dogs.
Cash bar and snacks.

Tuesday, July 7
6:45 A.M. — 8:15 A.M.
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk, treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare, visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.

1:15 p.m. — 5:30 p.m. GDUI Program
1:15 Past, Present and Future of Guide Dog Harnesses
Did you know that the first guide dog users didn’t even have a handle to hold onto? Learn how harnesses have evolved over time, and what we might expect from the space-age materials of the future.
presenter: Lukas Franck, Senior Consultant, Special Projects, The Seeing Eye, Morristown, NJ

2:45 p.m. Dual Purpose Service Dogs
Sometimes blindness is not the least challenging of our disabilities. Learn about guide dogs who are trained to meet the needs of people with additional disabilities.
presenters: Robert Wendler, Director of Canine Operations, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA
Nicole Meadowcroft, President, Custom Canines Service Dog Academy, Madison, WI

4:15 p.m.
Emergency Preparedness
Do you know how to prepare yourself and your guide dog for an emergency? What exactly is an emergency preparedness kit? Learn where you and your dog can find shelter if an emergency strikes.
presenter: Landa Phelan, Certified Emergency Preparedness Instructor, Hawaii Association of the Blind, Honolulu, Hawaii
7:15 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog “wear and tear” and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere and everywhere.

Wednesday, July 8
6:45 a.m. — 8:15 a.m.
GDUI Breakfast Club (meet in lobby)
The Mad Hatter Café
Treat your dog to a short two-block walk; treat yourself to the best in Southern breakfast fare; visit with GDUI friends and their dog guides.
Trainers will be available to assist with mobility questions and solve any problems.

12:15 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.
GDUI Luncheon and Presentation $28 ($30)
Dr. Amanda Florsheim DVM, Dallas TX.
Do you wonder exactly how dogs communicate with each other and how this may impact your guide dog’s interactions with the dogs you meet along your way? During this talk, we will discuss visual, auditory, olfactory, and other ways that dogs communicate with one another. We will also discuss how service dogs may be more limited in these options while working and how this could impact other dogs’ responses to them

Drawing for Dallas and raffle

2:45 p.m.
GDUI Business Meeting and Caucus

4:15 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.
Guided Massage for the Working Guide: A Hands-On Workshop $6 ($8)
(Limited to 20 participants)
Presenter: Carla Campbell, Professional Canine Massage Therapist, Quadrussage, Menlo Park, CA
Learn & practice simple massage techniques designed to help counteract & reduce long-term impact guide work may have on your dog’s physical & mental well-being. There will also be a brief discussion on guide dog wear and tear and suggestions on how to mitigate those effects anywhere and everywhere.

Note: Jenine Stanley has recruited a cadre of dedicated volunteers who will be available all week to answer your questions and assist you with solving doggie pic-up and other relief-area concerns.

We wish to thank our entire dedicated Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs team whose members have worked so hard and so cooperatively to make the 2015 convention a success! What a team! Thank you, each of you.
Sincerely,
Lilian Scaife, GDUI Convention Program Committee Chair
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
*****
Convention Highlights
Lilian Scaife, Program Chair
Guide Dog Users, Inc. Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Convention Committee

This year’s GDUI convention will be jam packed with exciting events and goodies for both dogs and their humans. Participants (members and nonmembers,) and even those of you who can’t attend our convention, will be able to play an important part in many GDUI convention activities, such as the raffling of Dallas, the plush life-size guide dog, GDUI’s Silent Auction, and our guide dog school appreciation Reception.
Dallas – the Plushiest of guide Dogs!
Dallas is a beautiful plush dog with lovely locks of silk-like ebony hair, floppy ears, and a noble stance! More than just a plush toy, Dallas is a tribute to all guide dogs who make the lives of people with visual impairment easier, fun, and above all, safe. He’s GDUI’s grand prize and YOU can try your luck at taking him home with our raffle scheduled for July 8. Please note the winner does not need to be present for the drawing. Dallas will be shipped free of charge to the winner’s address.

To win Dallas, participants may purchase raffle tickets, either three for $5 or seven for $10. Raffle tickets may be purchased now via the GDUI website, http://guidedogusersinc.org/donate/ or by calling Jane Sheehan, GDUI’s office manager, at (866) 799-8436. Simply call and specify the number of tickets you’d like to purchase and whether you prefer to pay by check or PayPal.

If you use PayPal, you’ll receive your ticket numbers via email or postal mail.
Your original tickets will then be placed in the raffling drum. The winner will be contacted immediately after the drawing.
GDUI Annual Silent Auction
You won’t want to miss our silent auction at the GDUI Suite from Sunday, July 5, to Wednesday, July 8 at 11 a.m. where you can bid on a multitude of goodies that include tech gadgets, digital books, dog gear, jewelry, a tasty treat from Penny’s kitchen, and much more. The auction catalog will be emailed and posted on the GDUI website. The catalog will also be available in the GDUI suite in large print and braille, so come by the GDUI suite to pick one up! .
Guide Dog School Reception
GDUI wants to recognize and thank all of the guide dog schools for the passion, dedication, and commitment they pour into creating excellent matches for each of us. Needless to say, these schools are vital to the blind community. As our way of saying thanks, the 2015 GDUI Program Committee is pleased to host our Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception, which will be held on Monday evening, July 6. To honor our schools and those who will be representing them at our convention, we are preparing a tribute booklet, which will be presented as a keepsake to all those representing our schools who attend, and mailed to all the schools honored by our reception after the event has ended. The tribute booklet provides a tangible way to thank our schools for the guide dogs who mean so much to us. We want to convey from deep in our hearts a respectful regard that resides within the heart of every guide dog partnership.

All of us love our dogs and appreciate the tremendous effort our schools put forward to make it possible for us to receive and work with our guides. You don’t have to be a member of our organization to contribute to the keepsake booklet. We welcome everyone’s participation, even if you are not planning to attend the convention.

Anyone can participate in this special Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception as a sponsor of the Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs tribute booklet. We are offering three sponsorship levels.

Silver Sponsorship, $10: As a Silver-level sponsor, your name, your dog’s name, and the name of your school will be listed in the tribute booklet.

Gold sponsorship, $25: As a Gold-level sponsor, you can have your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school listed in the booklet. You will also be able to include a brief message of no more than 35 characters.

Platinum sponsorship, $50: As a platinum-level sponsor, you can have your name, your dog’s name and the name of your school prominently listed in the booklet. You will also be able to include a personalized message of no more than 70 characters.
Payment methods:
Online: Please visit this link: http://guidedogusersinc.org/donate/, complete the form, and pay by PayPal. PayPal is highly secured, easy, and fast. If you don’t have a PayPal account, no problem. You’ll be prompted to enter a credit card number, and PayPal processes your payment. For more information on PayPal, please follow the link: https://www.paypal.com

By Phone: To pay by credit card via phone; contact the GDUI “office manager” at
Toll-free: (866) 799-8436.

Check: To pay by check via mail, make checks payable to GDUI. Be sure to include a clear print or braille copy of the message you want us to include. Mail to: GDUI, c/o Office Manager, 14311 Astrodome Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland 20906.

The deadline for sharing your information and your chosen level of sponsorship is June 12, 2015.

Sponsorships postmarked later than the deadline date of June 12 cannot be included. Please note that messages should not contain the name(s) of specific individuals associated with your guide dog school. We will do our best to keep the content of your messages as close to the original as possible; however, we reserve the right to make final editorial decisions. Following the convention, a copy of the tribute booklet will be available on the GDUI website and published in PawTracks.

Of course, if you are coming to our convention in Dallas, we hope you’ll be able to come to our reception as well!

Best regards,
and tail wags from Alexa,
Lillian Scaife, GDUI Program Committee Chair lmscaife@verizon.net
*****
Keep the Heart of Guide Dogs Clean:
Join The Waste Warriors!
by Jenine M. Stanley
This year in Dallas, we will try to put a new spin on an old topic. We know you’re tired of hearing about the importance of relieving your dog frequently, cleaning up accidents and all that. The last thing we want to do here in GDUI is to become the Poop police.

This year, we’re trying something a little different to help everyone and their dogs. Call us the Waste Warriors, the Poop Patrol, the Anti-Defecation Squad. We are a group of dedicated people who are here to help.

We are excited that Scoop Masters will once again be providing its amazing clean-up services to maintain our relief areas and catch those embarrassing indoor accidents. Tim and his staff do a marvelous job. This year, the Waste Warriors have his back!

Do you need directions to the closest relief area? Did your dog just have an accident and you don’t have a bag? Would you like to learn to clean up but are too embarrassed to ask anyone? Ask us; tell us; Come join us!

What does it take to be a Waste Warrior? A willingness to help without judging,the ability to explain things like directions and clean up procedures and a good sense of humor will all help. the biggest asset though is wearing clothing with lots of pockets for those baggies and a big old bottle of hand sanitizer.

We are assured that the relief areas at the hotel are strategically placed and as I write this we are working on directions for relief areas at both major Dallas airports.

What else might you do as a Waste Warrior?

You might give up an early morning, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. to stand at or just outside of one of the relief areas to greet people and offer assistance. Relief area ambassadors are also needed at the other busy times of day such as 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and onward.

We can’t promise that we’ll have Waste Warriors available at all of those times but if we all pitch in and help, we can certainly try. If you feel comfortable cleaning up after your own dog and want to help others, just spend a few extra minutes around the relief areas. Ask people how things are going and if they need any help.

We will not clean up for people. If you are physically unable to clean up after your dog, please let us know and we will work with you to find ways to take care of things.

Waste Warriors aren’t just about the hard stuff either. We’re here for all kinds of support too. Do you have a new dog whose never been to a convention and flat out refuses to use the public canine toilets? Has your dog had an accident indoors? Is your dog sick or showing signs of stress–the kind that makes it hard to clean up? We may not have a quick cure but we can provide a listening ear and reassuring shoulder for you. Most of us have been there and know the embarrassment, frustration and anxiety that can surround relieving your dog at conventions.

Would you like to be a Waste Warrior? Want to talk about how to help people at convention? Send me an email, jeninems@wowway.com or contact me once in Dallas. We want to keep the Waste Warriors a non-structured group who are ready to lend a hand and a baggie to anyone, any time.
*****
GDUI Representatives Attend Transportation Security Administration Conference in Los Angeles
by Robert Acosta

Let me begin this article by presenting you with a very important phone number to call if you have any concerns regarding airline travel. This number is (855) 787-2227. This is the number for TSA Cares.

Ken Metz and I were truly honored to be asked by President Penny Reeder to attend a TSA outreach conference at the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday May 1.

Numerous representatives of disability organizations were also in attendance. Bear in mind that TSA only deals with the screening process as we go through security at airports.
Calling TSA Cares which was the number I gave above can solve many problems.
If you need assistance from a Passenger Support Specialist, you must call at least 72 hours prior to your flight. This support specialist will escort you to the gate. You can also request the standard meet and assistance by calling the number above.

It is possible to get on the pre-check list by calling TSA Cares. The Pre-check list allows your departure or arrival to be expedited.

Filing complaints can also begin by calling this number. If you have a complaint, please file it right after the incident so that a proper investigation of the unfortunate situation can readily occur.

Those of us who were blind urged the TSA representatives to advise their screeners not to take our braille Notetakers apart and also not to try to take our guide dogs away to be searched.

Unfortunately, their brochures and such were not produced in braille. Again, I would call TSA Cares to try to get my hands on braille materials.

I was frankly surprised to learn that TSA claims it gets few complaints when too often, the screening process is a favorite subject at parties.

TSA will be holding outreach conferences at airports throughout the United States. Guide Dog Users, Inc., must be ever vigilant and try to have representatives cover these conferences.
*****
Legislative Committee Update
Service Animals in health Care Facilities
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the use of service animals in hospital settings. An excerpt of these guidelines is provided Below. (Please note that the definition of a service animal mentioned in the guidelines is out of date. In 2010, the DOJ revised its definition of a service animal to include dogs only, and in some instances, miniature horses).

3. Service Animals Although this section provides an overview about service animals in health-care settings, it cannot address every situation or question that may arise (see Appendix E – Information Resources). A service animal is any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. (1366, 1376) A service animal is not considered a pet but rather an animal trained to provide assistance to a person because of a disability. Title III of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA) of 1990 mandates that persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals be allowed access with their service animals into places of public accommodation, including restaurants, public transportation, schools, and health-care facilities. (1366, 1376) In health-care facilities, a person with a disability requiring a service animal may be an employee, a visitor, or a patient. An overview of the subject of service animals and their presence in health-care facilities has been published. (1366) No evidence suggests that animals pose a more significant risk of transmitting infection than people; therefore, service animals should not be excluded from such areas, unless an individual patient’s situation or a particular animal poses greater risk that cannot be mitigated through reasonable measures. If health-care personnel, visitors, and patients are permitted to enter care areas (e.g., inpatient rooms, some ICUs, and public areas) without taking additional precautions to prevent transmission of infectious agents (e.g., donning gloves, gowns, or masks), a clean, healthy, well behaved service animal should be allowed access with its handler. (1366) Similarly, if immunocompromised patients are able to receive visitors without using protective garments or equipment, an exclusion of service animals from this area would not be justified. (1366)
Because health-care facilities are covered by the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, a person with a disability may be accompanied by a service animal within the facility unless the animal’s presence or behavior creates a fundamental alteration in the nature of a facility’s services in a particular area or a direct threat to other persons in a particular area. (1366) A “direct threat” is defined as a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated or eliminated by modifying policies, practices, or procedures. (1376) The determination that a service animal poses a direct threat in any particular healthcare setting must be based on an individualized assessment of the service animal, the patient, and the health-care situation. When evaluating risk in such situations, health-care personnel should consider the nature of the risk (including duration and severity); the probability that injury will occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk (J. Wodatch, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000). The person with a disability should contribute to the risk-assessment process as part of a pre-procedure health-care provider/patient conference. Excluding a service animal from an OR or similar special care areas (e.g., burn units, some ICUs, PE units, and any other area containing equipment critical for life support) is appropriate if these areas are considered to have “restricted access” with regards to the general public. General infection control measures that dictate such limited access include:
a) the area is required to meet environmental criteria to minimize the risk of disease transmission;
b) strict attention to hand hygiene and absence of dermatologic conditions; and
c) barrier protective measures [e.g., using gloves, wearing gowns and masks] are indicated for persons in the affected space. No infection-control measures regarding the use of barrier precautions could be reasonably imposed on the service animal.
Excluding a service animal that becomes threatening because of a perceived danger to its handler during treatment also is appropriate; however, exclusion of such an animal must be based on the actual behavior of the particular animal, not on speculation about how the animal might behave.
Another issue regarding service animals is whether to permit persons with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals during all phases of their stay in
the health-care facility. Healthcare personnel should discuss all aspects of anticipatory care with the patient who uses a service animal. Health-care personnel may not exclude a service animal because health-care staff may be able to perform the same services that the service animal does (e.g., retrieving dropped items and guiding an otherwise ambulatory person to the restroom). Similarly, health-care personnel can not exclude service
animals because the health-care staff perceive a lack of need for the service animal during the person’s stay in the health-care facility. A person with a disability is entitled to independent access (i.e., to be accompanied by a service animal unless the animal poses a direct threat or a fundamental alteration in the nature of services); “need” for the animal is not a valid factor in either analysis. For some forms of care (e.g., ambulation as physical therapy following total hip replacement or knee replacement), the service animal should not be used in place of a credentialed health-care worker who directly provides therapy. However, service animals need not be restricted from being in the presence of its handler during this time; in addition, rehabilitation and discharge planning should incorporate the patient’s future use of the animal. The health-care personnel and the patient with a disability should discuss both the possible need for the service animal to be separated from its handler for a period of time during nonemergency care and an alternate plan of care for the service animal in the event the patient is unable or unwilling to provide that care. This plan might include family members taking the animal out of the facility several times a day for exercise and elimination, the animal staying with relatives, or boarding off-site. Care of the service animal, however, remains the obligation of the person with the disability, not the health-care staff.
Although animals potentially carry zoonotic pathogens transmissible to man, the risk is minimal with a healthy, clean, vaccinated, well-behaved, and well-trained service animal, the most common of which are dogs and cats. No reports have been published regarding infectious disease that affects humans originating in service dogs. Standard cleaning procedures are sufficient following occupation of an area by a service animal. (1366) Clean-up of spills of animal urine, feces, or other body substances can be accomplished with blood/body substance procedures outlined in the Environmental Services section of this guideline. No special bathing procedures are required prior to a service animal accompanying its handler into a health-care facility.
Providing access to exotic animals (e.g., reptiles and non-human primates) that are used as service animals is problematic. Concerns about these animals are discussed in two published reviews. (1331, 1366) Because some of these animals exhibit high-risk behaviors that may increase the potential for zoonotic disease transmission (e.g., herpes B infection), providing health-care facility access to nonhuman primates used as service animals is discouraged, especially if these animals might come into contact with the general public. (1361, 1362)
Health-care administrators should consult the Americans with Disabilities Act for guidance when developing policies about service animals in their facilities. (1366) Requiring documentation for access of a service animal to an area generally accessible to the public would impose a burden on a person with a disability. When health-care workers are not certain that an animal is a service animal, they may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability; however, no certification or other documentation of service animal status can be required. (1377)
*****
Thank You!
by Audrey Gunter
The silence now enveloping the hotel is almost deafening. The somberness of the lobby is more like that of a funeral home than that of the laughter-filled, dog-jammed, crowded hotel where fun-loving folks of all ages and their helpful furry guides gathered with joy and enthusiasm.

The staff stands there teary-eyed, fondly remembering the group they’d come to know so well in such a short amount of time. The housekeeping staff has already begun to vacuum the mounds of dog hair and crumbs unknowingly left there by their two- and four-legged guests.

Top Dog-Charleston is now history–a memory–but what a memory it was!

Some arrived as early as seven days prior to our opening ceremonies to escape from the bone-chilling temperatures of their home states and, of course to live, taste, hear, touch and breathe Charleston. Most planned to take advantage of our great prices and better climates by extending their stays for at least three additional days.

They came from everywhere–California, Washington, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts, and many other states. Total strangers when they arrived became close forever friends when they departed. Folks who had experienced valid differences of opinions in the past put those issues aside and were soon hugging each other in the hallways!

Some would say the catalyst was the charm and spirit of our “Holy City” but I believe it was simply God continuing to offer His blessings to us, through us and among us.

The journey began almost two years prior with a handful of Dixie Landers and a limitless number of ideas.

They worked together to find just the right venue–the right programs–the right caterer and the right entertainment.

GDUI had been badly fractured and no one knew whether anyone would even attend Top Dog, but they continued on with their search, solely depending on God’s divine guidance. They’d learned long ago that God is, indeed a gentleman. If invited, He’ll always attend and bring His bountiful blessings. If left out, He stands silently by as a spectator, and reserves those many blessings.

They remained faithful and obedient, inviting any and everyone who wanted to attend. No one was omitted.

Their objective was to make everyone feel wanted, welcomed, and loved and they began with their initial invitation.

At first a few began to respond; then more and then, even more. Soon, within two months, over 50 had been registered.

Friday morning’s events started with Dixie Land’s very own Brianna Murray and Kimberly Taylor presenting our “Paws 4 Technology”.

Soon Janet Ingber joined in to bring everyone up to date on the use of the IPhone and IPad.

Before the Opening Ceremonies began on Friday night, 154 people had registered-94 blind, 81 with guide dogs; 19 vendors; 9 guide dog schools; umpteen puppy raisers and dozens of loving, supportive friends and/or spouses.

That meeting room was crowded more than ever. People were elbow to elbow and furries tail to snout!

The mumbling roar became silent as Laurel Jean and Audrey offered their official welcome! Pastor Ed Grant officially started our event with a heartfelt prayer of invocation.

When Laurel Jean began to sing that song “The Blessing of Your Love,” written specifically to speak of the love between handler and guide, loving tears began to flow.

Bob Acosta then read a brief history of our flag and the brave veterans from the American Legion, troop 179 proudly marched in to present the colors.

Debbie Grubb then stood to draw a correlation between the various Bugle Calls and the many stages of life for a guide dog team.

Our national GDUI president, Penny Reeder rose to update us all on the latest development of that organization we knew and loved.

Over 10 people and/or organizations were recognized for their generosity and support before a brief intermission was called and our delicious Frogmore Stew was served! Soon lips were smacking and folks were laughing as they attacked the mountains of fried chicken and shrimp on their plates.

Because our guests had completely occupied all of the rooms at the Comfort Inn and Suites, West Ashley, we were given a little more latitude so we grabbed the tables and chairs from the breakfast area and converted the entire lobby into a swanky restaurant.

When all had eaten as much as they could and their dogs relieved, they retired to their rooms for a much-needed rest in order to prepare for the next day.

Saturday began with Pastors Bonnie Miller and Deb Trevino officiating at our Christian ceremony, “The Blessing”. They each offered a prayer prior to Laurel Jean’s tribute to those guides that had retired recently.

Afterwards, Laurel initiated a special audible candle lighting salute to those guides that had crossed “Rainbow Bridge.” As she called the name of each of our heroes, a lone chime would ring to honor their memories.

A prayer station with two empty, upside down harnesses and an upside down food bowl was prepared for folks to visit and remember.

The ministers assigned at that station were so moved by those who visited that prayer station that they, themselves needed consoling. They’d never experienced a love between human and animal like that illustrated before them that day.

Marshall and Michael from Sun Dog Cat Moon talked with us about emergency first aid supplies and the benefit of massage therapy for our guides.

Afterwards we heard from the many puppy raisers in attendance! I think as handlers, we were all surprised to find out that these heroes who have given us our angels actually admire and respect us as much as we admire and respect them!

Following the tears and cheers from and by our puppy raisers and guests, we all took a break to enjoy our scrumptious boxed lunches. Mind you, while all of this was taking place our exhibit hall was buzzing with visitors upstairs and our motorcyclists were rounding up their next victims…I mean riders.

After lunch, Penny Reeder brought us all up to date on GDUI–the hurdles and obstacles already conquered and those remaining to overcome.

Becky Barnes Davidson and Dr. Deni Elliott spoke about the various airports that offer relief areas within their security zones.

Next, they ramrodded us on that especially touchy topic of fake service dogs and how they affect legitimate handlers.

Both ladies offered an extremely informative, invaluable view into the problem and various diverse and even unpopular at times resolutions. Many guests shared personal insight regarding the issue. The discussion became heated at times, but that was simply because of the passion felt towards the subject.

Our last scheduled discussion, “Pup dates from the Guide Dog Schools” was quite informative and uplifting. Representatives from Fidelco, Freedom Dogs for the Blind, Gallant Heart, Guide Dog Foundation, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Leader Dogs for the Blind, The Seeing Eye, and Southeastern Guide Dogs did a great job in bringing us up to date on their latest endeavors.

Following their remarks, school representatives met outside to erect and oversee a great obstacle course that only the brave and confident would embark upon.

There were many participants in the course, too–all with chests puffed out and “I knew we could” smiles on their faces.

Saturday evening ended with another lip-smacking, tongue-titillating lowcountry cuisine straight from Jaimie’s smoking barbecue pots! Yum! Yum! I can still taste that good ol’ slap-your-mama-good chicken and pork, perfectly seasoned and lovingly prepared!

Our event closed with the hand-clapping, finger-snapping, foot-tapping music of Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers melodically transporting us through history to a much different, simpler–yet not-so-much nicer time. Everyone there enjoyed her “Gullah-Geechie” from another era and culture.

Sunday morning began early with folks leaving for their red-eye flights back home. The majority of our guests were checked out and gone by noon, leaving just a handful to reminisce about Top Dog-Charleston and plan for Top Dog-Orlando!

Recently we heard from at least one guide dog school that they had received at least six applications from first time handlers. One of those said that Top Dog-Charleston was a “life changing” experience for him. He’d learned that he was not alone and there were many others who had already walked down that path he was on.

By all accounts, our event was extremely successful, thanks to everyone in attendance and, especially to God!

We’d also like to offer a special note of thanks to all of our many wonderful volunteers and the management and staff of the Comfort Inn and Suites, West Ashley. They went way out of their way to accommodate each of us, but there were two ladies in particular who sacrificed their day off to return just to assist us with our breakfasts! Thank you, Miss Angela and Miss Cynthia!

So, Top Dog-Charleston is now history, and we all look forward to hearing more from Debbie and Kathleen as Guide Dog Users of Florida begin to plan and prepare for Top Dog-Orlando in 2017! See you all there!
*****
Fundraising Committee Update
The fundraising committee has been very active throughout the month of May. At the top of our agenda is our efforts to have a successful summer drawing on behalf of Guide Dog Users, Inc. At present, we are fast approaching $2,000 in donations for this Drawing. The winners will be announced at the Luncheon of our National Convention to be held on Wednesday, July 8, in Dallas, Texas. The final collection of drawing donations will conclude on Tuesday, July 7, at 5 p.m. central time.

Our prizes are as follows:
1. $1,000 in cash donated by Helping Hands for the Blind
2. A $500 gift certificate donated by Helping Hands for the Blind
3. A $500 Silpada Jewelry gift card
4. A Keurig coffee maker
5. A George Foreman grill with removable plates donated by Robert Acosta
6. A Skywave Radio donated by the C. Crane Company
7. A lovely chiming clock, which plays 12 songs, donated by Speak to Me, Denise Russell, (800) 248-9965, Extension 104
8. A Bose Wave Radio donated by Robert Acosta
9. A Gift Basket containing beachwear and a $500 gift certificate for a cruise to be taken within one year donated by Travel One

The tickets are $10 per chance and donors can call Jane Sheehan, our office manager at (866) 799-8436. Winners need not be present.

Our Committee is also investigating the possibility of holding a Spring 2016 Radio Auction, using the facilities of ACB Radio. In our investigation, we have learned that ACB Radio will charge our affiliate $100 to use one of the stations for such an auction. Prizes will come hopefully from our affiliates, members and friends. We thank Marlaina Lieberg and Larry Turnbull for their guidance in this venture. When we have gathered all of the necessary facts involved with such an auction, we shall present this to the board of directors for its advice and hopefully its approval.

Another important matter on the agenda of the fundraising committee is to gather sponsors for our 2016 GDUI National Convention. Again, we are gathering the facts in order to present a complete report to the board of directors for its advice and hopefully its approval.

The chair of the fundraising committee is very honored to be invited to speak to affiliate presidents and other leaders on Thursday, May 21.

Finally, may I conclude this Report by thanking the members of the board of directors for all of your assistance to the fundraising committee. I would also like to thank our hard-working committee members on the fundraising committee for their great ideas and support.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Acosta, chair
Fundraising committee, Guide Dog Users, Inc.
*****
A Positive Transition, Mostly
By Annie Chiappetta
In a previous issue of PawTracks I wrote about my retired guide, Verona. At the time, she was on a light work schedule and ready to hang up the harness. Once the new year passed, I let her work one more time while traveling to California. She did wonderfully, but I knew by the end of the trip that she was done. I am ashamed to admit this but the last few days we were in California she seemed tired; she stumbled a lot and acted confused about tasks that she had performed many times before the trip. I made her keep going, and now I feel guilty that I pressured her into it. I know, I shouldn’t beat myself up; after all, one might say that it would have been more upsetting for her if I just left for two weeks. She might have felt abandoned or even more confused. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I’d go back and change anything. Yet, there is that twinge when I remember how she stumbled, got confused in the airport bathroom, and kept making mistakes. I am still wondering if I asked too much of her at the time.

Moving on, I am glad to report Verona is now a very happy retired lady. She loves sleeping late, getting a few more snacks, and taking walks with my daughter and hanging out with my husband when he goes upstate for r & r.

My transition to the new guide is still a work in progress. I left for Guiding Eyes in March. I was in the action program for returning graduates–10 days in class and five days of follow-up in my home environment. Since I am a local graduate, it was even better because White Plains is where I work and I felt like I was getting home training instead.

Unfortunately, I contracted viral pneumonia and on March 17, I returned home without my new dog. Then, after recovering which meant losing an entire 10 days, I reunited with him. An instructor finished up with me, allowing me to take my time because I was still weak and my stamina was still compromised. I am now happy to report I am back at the gym, working on getting better. I now am matched up with a 70-pound yellow lab named Bailey. He is very goofy and a good guide, even if he loves air-scenting and watching the birds a little bit too often. He and Verona get along great and his place in this crazy, dog friendly home is settled. Even my rescue dog, Nikka, who has big dog fear, plays with him. I was shocked when my daughter told me she was play bowing and licking his face.

Now, if I could only figure out a way to keep all his blond hair off my clothes, it would be perfect.
*****
GDUI Board Meeting Minutes
March 28, 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, Dixie Sanderson and Jane Sheehan
Nolan Crabb, PawTracks Editor
Pat Hill, Guide Dog School Liaison
Pat Sheehan, ACB Liaison
Excused absence: Ann Chiappetta, Director; Betsy Grenevitch, Director and Debbie Grubb, Affiliate Liaison.
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, Secretary.

The board approved the meeting agenda.

Agenda item: Approval of minutes.
A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to approve the January 24, 2015 GDUI Board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to approve the March 6, 2015 GDUI special board meeting minutes. The motion was seconded by Dixie Sanderson. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

Agenda item: Approval of all board and committee reports.
A motion was made by Bob Acosta to approve the board and committee reports. They were submitted to the board prior to the meeting. The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by acclamation, discussion took place. Motion carried.

All board and committee reports are attached at the end of these minutes.

Agenda item: Grant Opportunities for GDUI.
A motion was made by Bob Acosta for GDUI to appropriate $1,000.00 to utilize the services of Joe Stagerwalt, who is a grant writer for ACB, to pursue up to five grants during the course of the next year. Each grant will be approved by the board. The Budget & Finance Committee along with the Fundraising Committee will work together to establish benchmarks for success and priorities.

The motion was seconded by Vickie Curley. Prior to voting by roll call, discussion took place. Motion unanimously passed.

Agenda item: Funding ads in ACB Convention newspaper.
The board recommends for all GDUI ads to be published in the ACB Convention newsletter, to be first reviewed by the Publications Committee. After review, the Publications Committee will send the ads to the Program Committee, who then will submit them to the ACB Convention press room for publication. The deadline for ad submission is June 1, 2015.

President Reeder will post to the board the various ad packages and cost made available by ACB.

Michael Malver will recruit members to help with Tweeting information during the convention.

Agenda item: New list addresses.
Will Burley explained how GDUI’s new voting system, Vote Now, will work for the upcoming election and proposed Bylaws.

After the record date of April 3, 2015, Jane Sheehan will Email the membership list to Will Burley. He will forward the list to Vote Now. Vote Now will Email all members their new identification number and instructions on how to vote either by telephone or on the web site. Members who don’t use a computer will receive a letter from Vote Now with their new identification number and voting instructions.

The final draft of the proposed Bylaws and candidate information will be emailed to Will Burley; he then will forward to Vote Now for them to be set up for our voting event. All voting information will be reviewed and tested prior to the commencement of voting.

Agenda item: Outline of voting information regarding Record Date, Dates of Forums and Voting Procedures, by Sarah Calhoun.

April 3, 2015 is the established record date. On April 4th, Jane Sheehan will Email Will Burley the membership list and Maria Hansen the total number of members. Maria will complete the cover letter and send it to Jane Sheehan. Jane will make copies of the cover letter, proposed Bylaws and candidate information to mail via USPS to all members who don’t use a computer. On April 9th or 10th, Jane will Email the same information to members who use a computer. All members are to be notified by April 10, 2015.

The voting will begin on Saturday, May 30, 2015 beginning at 12:00 a.m. EDT, and will close on Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

A motion was made by Sarah Calhoun to hold the two Bylaws and candidate forums on Saturday, April 25, 2015 beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The second forum will be held on Friday, May 8, 2015 beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

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

Prior to the beginning of the voting process, a recording of the proposed Bylaws and candidate information will be made available for members to access via telephone, Drop Box and Send Space.

The board discussed the secretary needing to certify the voting results.
Maria Hansen explained, our current constitution doesn’t mention anything about certifying the voting results. In the DC Code it looks like our voting company, Vote Now, can certify the results.

Agenda item: Old business.
Jane Sheehan asked if our web master has received her request to fix a few fields on the membership list and a spelling error. Will Burley said he has received her message and the problems will be addressed.

School survey update:
Dixie Sanderson sent 19 guide dog school surveys and has received back eight completed surveys. She will contact the remaining schools to encourage them to complete the survey and send it in to GDUI.

Agenda item: President Reeder explained the current situation between California state board of guide dog for the Blind and The Seeing Eye.

GDUI, along with Guide Dog Users of California and National Guide Dog Users of California will write a letter supporting the actions taken by The Seeing Eye against the California State Board of Guide Dog for the Blind.

Meeting Adjourn.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, GDUI Secretary

Attachment:
The board and committee reports are listed in alphabetical order and separated with asterisks.

****
Advocacy Committee Report
Becky Barnes Davidson, Chair

We are pleased to have merged the advocacy and legislative committee pages on the GDUI web site.
This provides a convenient and easy-to-use resource for all. Thanks to Will Burley for the help!

Though we dodged a bullet in Arizona with that bill denying access, we have another bill in Maine that directly affects our rights in housing. Thanks to President Penny Reeder for her strong testimony against this bill. The Advocacy committee stands strong and ready to assist in any way we can.

Speaking of housing, a call came to me from a man who lives in a large co-op complex in Queens, New York. The complex management has instituted a $50.00 per year fee for all service dogs supposedly to assist with the cost of extra cleaning required because of the presence of the dogs. The complex has something like 23 large apartment buildings and there are only 18 service dogs in residence which represents less than 1 percent of the population of the complex. We are working on that with the DOJ housing division and also New York City. To Date I have not received a final outcome. Co-ops seem to think they are above the law. I know because I live in a co-op complex, which is, fortunately, much smaller.

We still hear occasional reports of Uber drivers refusing rides to people with guide dogs. Supposedly Uber has a no-tolerance policy on refusal of rides to people with service dogs.

The process of determining rights of access to Bed-and-breakfast establishments, particularly as it applies to AirBandB, is ongoing.

We continue to monitor activity on the misrepresentation of service dog’s issue. There was excellent discussion of this issue at the Top Dog conference in January and it is important that constructive discussion continue as we work toward solutions that can solve the problems without negatively affecting our civil rights as guide dog handlers.

I just discovered a new IPHONE app this morning called icitizen. It will tell you who your state and federal representatives are as well as provide information on issues, voting records, etc. I am still playing with it but it may turn out to be quite useful for both advocacy and legislative work. Of course the possibility exists that I’m late to the game and others have already been using this app, but it, along with the NAGDU app with all the state and federal laws on it are great tools.

Respectfully submitted,
Becky Barnes-Davidson
March 24, 2015.

****
Affiliates Liaison Report

Greetings all.

The GDUI Affiliates continue to build a sense of community and collaboration. Over the next several months our work together will stress fund raising, meaningful work with state legislatures and membership growth and retention. Our meetings will have guest presenters with expertise in all of these essential areas.

Because of a small personal emergency at my house, the affiliates did not meet during our regularly scheduled time in March. I decided not to hold the meeting at that time as I did not have the time to carry out proper preparation. I always want affiliate leaders to come away from our meetings feeling that they have both learned and contributed and that the meetings have been worth their while. After polling the affiliate leaders, the decision of the majority will be honored which means that we will next hold a telephonic meeting during the third Thursday in May, our next regularly scheduled meeting time.

As the Convention draws closer, I will be gathering information from each affiliate regarding whether or not they will have representation at the event and who will be taking on that role.

I am gratified to report that we are walking a sure and true path together.

Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Grubb
GDUI Affiliate Liaison

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Budget & Finance Committee
Committee members: Penny, Will, Maria, Sarah, Lynn and Jane

Under Sarah’s guidance, our budget was prepared, presented to and approved by the Board.
Maria
Chair, Budget & Finance Committee

****
Constitution & Bylaws Committee

Committee members: John McCann, Lynn Merrill, Ellen Telker, Rick Roderick, Penny Reeder

The Constitution and Bylaws Committee submitted the draft Bylaws to the Board for review and now the membership has an opportunity to comment via the Bylaws list.
We have worked hard to create a document that complies with and meets the requirements of the DC Nonprofit Code while also addressing concerns that the membership had with the documents that were presented last year. To that end, these Bylaws retain the Affiliates Liaison, the Guide Dog School Liaison and Editor of our publications as Board positions, Keep the Director seats at six, reduce obstacles to member participation, do not focus on expelling members, acknowledge our relationship with ACB and our affiliates and refer to Roberts Rules of Order.
In cooperation with the Nominating Committee, we will hold a joint election to vote on the proposed Bylaws as well as the two Board positions. Sarah and I have set a record date of April 3 and the election will be held from May 30 through June 7.
Respectfully,
Maria Hansen
Chair, Constitution and Bylaws Committee

****
Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program Report
March 2015

Committee members: Bob Acosta; Ann Chiappetta; Sarah Calhoun, chair; Lynn Merrill; Ken Metz & Dixie Sanderson.
Guest: Landa Phelan

The Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program (DAPP) Committee met in February 2015 via telephone conference. We were honored to have Landa Phelan from Hawaii as our guest speaker.

Landa will be giving a presentation during the GDUI events at the ACB 2015 Convention explaining how to prepare for an emergency for you and your guide dog. Landa is quite educated and experienced in teaching others how to prepare and build your own survival kit to be ready for an unfortunate catastrophe.

If you have the opportunity to meet Landa during the convention, be sure to say, “Aloha!”

Posted on the GDUI web site, the DAPP team has compiled emergency information and documents you can print and complete to give you and your guide dog a better opportunity to survive an unfortunate event. There are suggestions and tips on helping you assemble a survival kit for you and your guide dog.

The DAPP team continues to work on compiling a list of areas you can organize prior to an emergency such as: locating the nearest shelter, medical hospitals or facilities address and phone numbers, contact information of family and friends, along with many other helpful tips. This list will be available on the GDUI web site.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, chair

****
Editor’s report – PawTracks

The spring PawTracks issue should be available to the GDUI office by April 4. The summer issue deadline is May 15, and that will be really firm unless contributors have a super-compelling reason for being later.

Nolan

****
Fund-Raising Committee Report
March 28, 2015

Dear Colleagues:
Before I present our report on the numerous activities of the GDUI Fund-Raising Committee, I must tell you how disappointed we all are with the cancellation of our December Cruise by Dave Kronk. Yes, the bookings were not moving along very well with only three cabins reserved, but we had great future plans for publicity on this cruise which would have brought in needed funds to GDUI and would have been an opportunity for those attendees to have a wonderful time in the Caribbean. Rest assured that we will be making plans for another cruise with a different Travel Agency.

On March 12, I represented the Fund-Raising Committee at a meeting with the ACB Grant Writer, Jo Steigerwald. Also present at the meeting were Maria Hansen, Lynn Merrill and Ken Metz. We presented our wish list to Jo. At present, she is researching those Foundations which she feels will be of assistance to us. She has also sent us some tips for seeking grants. Under an agreement between Jo and the ACB, she will provide some free time to do some research on foundations for us.

Our Wish List is as follows:
1. A grant for the underwriting of telephonic and online voting for our membership

2. A grant to purchase needed software to assist our Finance Committee with the management of our funds

3. A grant to bring first timers to the GDUI National Conventions

I personally added a fourth item:
4. A grant to underwrite our National GDUI Conventions

We shall discuss grants and the direction we wish to take at our Board meeting. We shall take this one step at a time.

The Fund-Raising Committee is currently exploring the possibility of holding an auction using ACB Radio early next year. We are currently gathering the needed facts to present to the Board. I can state that Larry Turnbull and Marlaina Lieberg have been very helpful. Marlaina wrote to tell me that such an auction can be handled by ACB Radio using the World Events Station. The cost for this is only $100.

We also have been exploring the possibility of using a Mailing Company to distribute our donor letters. At present, we find their charges too expensive, but we shall keep looking for a company.

Finally, the Summer Drawing is moving along nicely. We are nearing the $1,200 figure. The winners will be announced at the luncheon of the GDUI Convention on July 8, 2015. Friends and members of GDUI can feel free to call Jane Sheehan at (Home) (301) 598-2131 if you have unlimited long distance and our toll-free number is (866) 799-8436. For the purchase of a $10 ticket, you can win $1,000 and other fine prizes.

In conclusion, I wish to state on behalf of our committee that this business of raising funds does have its bumps and bruises. However, we are undaunted in our efforts to raise the needed funds for GDUI in order to assure that our wonderful members can rely on GDUI to help them live a quality life.

Respectfully Submitted by,
Robert Acosta, Chair
Fund-Raising Committee

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Guide Dog School Liaison Survey Update

The 2015 GDUI Guide Dog School Survey was compiled and sent to the following schools:

Custom Canines Service Dog Academy
Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs and Mobility Services, Incorporated
Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
Freedom Guide Dogs
Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide Dogs of America
Guide Dogs of Texas, Incorporated
Guide Dogs of the Desert
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Independence Guide Dogs
Kansas Specialty Dog Service, Incorporated
Leader Dogs for the Blind
Mira Foundation USA
Pilot Dogs
Southeastern Guide Dogs
The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Incorporated
The OccuPaws Guide Dog Association
The Seeing Eye, Incorporated

Of the 19 schools asked to participate in the survey, I have received back 7 completed surveys as well as notification from one school choosing not to participate.

The completed surveys have been forwarded to be uploaded onto the Guide Dog Users Inc. web page.

I have been following up with the schools I have yet to hear from and hope to soon have heard from the remaining schools.

Respectfully submitted,
Dixie Sanderson

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Legislative Committee Report, March 2015

Task 1. Prepare web pages for the legislative portion of the new GDUI web site
Update: final draft completed, approved and posted on GDUI web site at:

Advocacy Resources

Task 2. Research, track and review service animal state legislation
Update: Upon request by our Maine affiliate, provided testimony in opposition of two bills in the Maine State legislature regarding housing requirements and a state certification program for service animals; and consulted with our Arizona affiliate regarding a bill to require service animal registration and exclusion of all service animals in food service establishments.

Task 3. Quarterly submission for PawTracks.
Update: Identified and submitted an educational publication regarding service animals in the work place.

Task 4. Work with ACB national office to draft suggested legislation that penalizes pet owners who misrepresent their pets as service animals.
Update: The final draft is nearly complete and almost ready for board approval.

Ginger Kutsch, Chair
Legislative Committee

****
Membership Committee Report
March 24, 2015

We were not able to have a meeting this month, March, due to the unavailability of members so these notes are from our February meeting and updates I have received since then. We will meet again on the second Thursday in April, April 9 at 7:00 PM EST.

Betsy is working on the project of contacting potential vendors to give discounts to our members. She is concentrating on pet insurance companies at this time.

Most, if not all life members of GDUI have been contacted via phone or email. We have not heard back from everyone but the attempt was made. I would like to thank those on the committee who volunteered their time to make this possible: Alex, Pam, Jane, and Mary Beth Metzger. The members really enjoyed being contacted.

I understand there is controversy over this issue but would like to discuss it at a future board meeting concerning giving our life members a small token of “thank you” for becoming life members. I will ask for this to be put on an agenda once I have a price for a potential gift.

A project that we will be working on is the possibility of developing a program for assisting current guide dogs with medical bills due to large expenses because of an illness of the guide dog. I will give more information about this project as soon as more details are developed.

Submitted by,
Membership Chair
Betsy Grenevitch

****
Nominating Committee Report, March 2015

Committee members: Sarah Calhoun, chair; Margie Donovan; Betsy Grenevitch & Jane Sheehan.

The committee met in February 2015 to discuss the director application form and the process in accepting each application. A deadline was established for all applications to be submitted to the committee.

Several invitations were Emailed to members via the announce, chat and leadership lists, along with being published in Paw Tracks welcoming members to submit a director application to become a candidate in the upcoming 2015 elections.

The Nominating Committee is excited to announce the following candidates!
Vickie Curley of New Jersey, Ken Metz of California & Dixie Sanderson of Connecticut!

The committee thanks each candidate and appreciates them for volunteering to run for a position on the GDUI board! Good-Luck!

The two director positions will be available in July 2015, each have a three year term and will expire in July of 2018.

The Nominating Committee along with the Constitution & Bylaws Committee will be holding two combined Bylaws & Candidate Forums. The first segment of the forums will be discussion of the proposed Bylaws. The second segment will be the candidate forum. During both segments, members will have the opportunity to ask questions and make comments.

The date and times for the combined Bylaws & Candidate forums will be on Saturday, April 25, 2015 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. The second forum will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Reminders will be sent out for both forums which will include the date, time, telephone number and access code.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Calhoun, chair
Nominating Committee

****
Office Manager & Products Report

Things have been busy here in the GDUI national office. Lots of product flying out the door, both through the website shopping cart and PayPal and through phone credit card orders.

After much struggle and tribulation, I mastered ACB’s data base system and certified all the 463 people who were members of GDUI as of March 16, 2015. That will give us 19 votes at the ACB convention. I encourage anyone who’s not a current member of GDUI to still join in order to be eligible to vote in our May election for board positions and the new Bylaws. We don’t yet know what date will be selected as the record date, so best join now to make sure you’re counted as eligible to vote in the May election.
Jane Sheehan

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Programs Report as of 3-25-15

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. All GDUI convention meetings (with the exception of Sunday preliminary get-togethers, hotel orientations, and Helping you and Your Guide Dog Adjust to Convention Session) will be held each week-day 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.

• GDUI Pre-Registration Form is complete and will be submitted for review.
• Recruiting donors for GDUI’s Silent Auction is ongoing and growing.
• Auction committee is diligently researching and testing different options on how to best include offsite auction attendees.
• The Program Committee continues to work with the Public Relations (PR) committee to work on an introductory release about our 2015 GDUI Dallas Convention.
•We continue to advertise the GDUI conference and convention in Paw Tracks, GDUI weekly Announcements and in upcoming Braille form.
• GDUI Guide Dog School Liaison continues to communicate with the Guide Dog Schools.
In collaborating with the “Guide Dog Trainers,” there will be two days of hotel orientation: Sunday, July 5, 2015 & Monday July 6, 2015.
• GDUI liaison is working with ACB on the relief area, both at the hotel and airport.
• The volunteer coordinator is outreaching prospective recruits for our conference via letters to Delta Gammas.
Recruiting member for GDUI’s Ambassadors Club
• The “Appreciation Reception” for Trainers and Staff, to be held on Monday July 6th at 7 pm, is currently being organized (more to be announced at a later date).
• We have reached out to local vet techs to provide their nail trimming and ear cleaning. Their schedule in the suite will be announced later.
• Becky Barnes – Davis of the “Awards Committee” will be handling the awards.

The following link will provide more in-depth information about the convention: http://guidedogusersinc.org/gdui-2015-convention/

Again, I would like to thank the Programs 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

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Publications Committee Report March 2015

Spring greetings, all. This past quarter has been quiet for this committee. We have been working and supporting the other GDUI committees with various assignments.

Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are going well, however, we would like to achieve more followers. We think this will trend upwards as we get closer to the National convention in Dallas.

The Chat list and leadership list are going well, thanks to our moderators.
The document revision project is on hold until Annie and her new dog settle in; plans for another call is forthcoming. The handbook is also still under revisions and ¾ completed.

We would also like to acknowledge the effort of the bylaws committee, great work with a very top heavy and jargon-rich document. As always, we are ready to assist with proofing and writing GDUI documents, whatever the need.
The last few months the website has posted a number of relevant pages for the DAPP and the Legislative committees respectively, so please let us know what you think by visiting and reading them. Feedback is key to improving our brand.
Respectfully submitted by, Annie Chiappetta, Publications Co-chair, GDUI

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Special Concerns Committee Report

Hello GDUI members and friends. It is wonderful to have finely made it to spring. Let’s hope that the spring like weather will not be too far behind.

Our Empathizer team still stands ready to provide a listening ear to anyone who might need to talk with another dog guide handler about what ever might be going on in his or her life. As a dog guide handler. Our team will continue to remind our members and friends of their presents and their willingness to be available whenever someone needs to talk.

Now that our Empathizer team is in place, I am thinking of another project that I would like to start working on. I would like to put together a group of dog handlers from as many of the schools as possible to be able to provide an objective sounding board for anyone who might want to not only avail themselves of the fantastic recently updated dog guide school Survey, but also to be able to actually speak with someone to answer in a more personal way any questions a
Person may have about any given school. I would like to work with our guide dog school liaison along with a committee of around 3 to 4 members to work on the details of how to set this up correctly. This project will take a considerable amount of time to put together as there will be several steps that will need to be taken before we would be able to present this idea to the board. As of now, it is just a series of thoughts and ideas rolling around inside my head.

As of late, my family and I have been through a rather difficult time. We are slowly working ourselves back to some kind of normalcy, whatever that might be. Soon, I would like to talk with our Guide dog school liaison so as to come up with a consensus as to the best way to set this up. Then I would like to look for a few good dog guide handlers to start working on an Application for those who may serve on this panel. This project will take time, but I feel that it will be
Well worth it in the long run. There will be more to come regarding this project.

Please remember that our Empathizer team is ready and willing to chat with you at just about any time. If anyone should need a list of Empathizer team members, either contact me or Jane for names or contact information. I believe that this information can be found on the GDUI website. Thank you so very much.
Respectfully submitted, Vickie Curley

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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

****
Website Committee Report – March 2015

The Website is coming along well. Due to the work of the various GDUI committees, content is being added on a consistent basis. In the past month the site has been updated with:

. A new convention page;
. The DAPP section on the Resources page;
. A new and improved Advocacy/Legislative page under the Resources
Section; and
. The weekly announcements on our blog.

We will be adding the guide dog school surveys on the Resources page as well as adding the Amazon Smiles link to the front page of the website.

The Committee and the webmaster did hours of testing on reported email issues and after having done troubleshooting with the web host provider and the plug-in creator, we have found the system has been working fine. All emails had been going to the correct email address.

We should thank our webmaster for really going above and beyond with this issue.

A challenge is presenting itself on the board list. Some messages are coming through up to a day after being sent. This is due to our having our web hosting plan on a shared server. At the time of the board’s discussion on whether to get shared hosting or a private server, no one realized how popular our Chat list was going to be.

On the shared plan, we are allotted 200 emails per day on the server. This includes emails to the board and chair inboxes as well as each message to the email lists. Our chat list contributes more to our email usage and we are not aware of issues with that list.
Will Burley

End of all reports.
*****
A Guide Dog Handler Salutes Fellow Advocates and An Airport Policeman
By Robert Acosta
Last Thanksgiving, my wife and I flew to Phoenix to celebrate the holiday with a couple of friends. When we arrived at the Phoenix airport from Burbank, Calif., we were met by a skycap with a wheelchair for my wife. We began walking to the baggage area but soon learned that he was also pushing a lady from Nebraska as well. Then he told us that he had to assist the nice lady to her gate and could we wait a few minutes.

Of course, we agreed to do so. Well, as you might imagine, the wait grew longer and longer. Then a kind policeman approached us to wait with us for the skycap. The skycap finally came back to tell us that he got to talking with people at the lady’s gate, but the police officer said that he would escort us to the baggage area himself.

Our friends were meeting us and the officer told them via his cell phone to park at the curb, and that if anyone gave them trouble, they should inform the officer at the curb that they had our escort’s permission to stay put.

We got our baggage, but the officer then showed me where the relief area was. It was just outside of the front door of the terminal. Angus was a happier dog after the visit. Then the officer assisted us to the waiting car and loaded our baggage.

Before he left, I asked him for the name and phone number of his supervisor as I wanted to commend the great work of the police here. I did call his sergeant and told him about the entire situation. He duly noted my commendation.

Why am I telling you this story? I want to also thank our great Arizona affiliate for the fine work it is doing in Arizona. My dog was well accepted by everyone at the airport, especially that fine police officer as they were thrilled to welcome him to Phoenix.

Too often, the police get bad publicity for their efforts to see that we live in a lawful society. As an old, retired school teacher I give the police force and our great Arizona affiliate an A plus.
*****
Contributors to This Issue
We wish to thank the following individuals for their contribution to this issue of Paw Tracks:

Robert Acosta
Sarah Calhoun
Ann Chiappetta
Audrey Gunter
Ginger Kutsch
Penny Reeder
Lilian Scaife
Jenine Stanley

Download link: Paw Tracks Summer 2015

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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.”

+++++

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.

+++++
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.

+++++

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.
*****
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
*****
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.
*****
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.
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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 =
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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
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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