Silhouette of people standing together

Convention Minutes 2018

August 1st, 2018 by

North Dakota Association of the Blind, Inc.
Convention Minutes

June 8-10th, 2018

The 2018 state convention was held at the Quality Inn in Bismarck. The theme of the weekend was “Oh, The Places You’ll Go With NDAB!” with Dr. Seuss decorations throughout the room.

Friday afternoon convention guests could visit the North Dakota State Library and learn about the talking book program and the North Dakota Heritage Center for a hands-on tour. Upon return to the hotel, convention goers had a meal of salad, pizza and ice cream bars. After the meal, Brian Charlson, husband of ACB President Kim Charlson, spoke about technology that individuals can use. The evening continued with new member orientation and social time.

Saturday morning the Bismarck VFW posted the colors. Bobby Westermeyer led us in the pledge of allegiance and Mickey Teubner led the group in singing the national anthem.

The general meeting was called to order on June 9th by Zelda at 8:50 a.m. Rich Vannett was once again our parliamentarian. He read the convention standing rules. Loris Van Berkom, Susan Jorgenson and Angie Kokott were ballot counters, Rick Feldman and Steven Gebhard mike runners, and serving as Sergeant-at-arms were Mike Hoeppner and David McCloud.
Roll call was taken and there were 44 members and 4 guests. Bobby Westermeyer made a motion to approve the convention standing rules, Mary Stip seconded, MSC.

Officers’ reports

Zelda Gebhard gave the president’s report. She discussed everything we have gotten done this year. She also recognized the board.

The secretary’s report was given by Gretchen Campbell. Gretchen read the minutes of the pre-convention board meeting. Allan Peterson made a motion to approve, Bobby Westermeyer seconded, MSC.

The treasurer’s report was given by Helen Baumgartner. She answered any questions that were asked from the floor. Shereen Faber made a motion to approve the treasurer’s report, Allan Peterson seconded, MSC.

Allan Peterson gave the development director’s report. He discussed the Walk for Vision which brought in about $12,000-$13,000 this year which was lower than previous years. Giving Hearts Day will be February 14, 2019.

Loris Van Berkom gave the camp report. Last year there were 46 individuals at camp, three of them attending for the first time.

Shawn Oban, a city commissioner in Bismarck, discussed how Bismarck is making the city more accessible to individuals with disabilities.

There was a break and door prizes were given to: Becky and Jinks Monroe, Zelda and Steven Gebhard, Ruth Phalen, Joseph Dekaria, Marilyn Garrett, Ali Engraf, Melissa Peterson, Dean Peterson, Doug Stip, Helen Baumgartner and Joseph Engel.

The meeting resumed and Kim Charlson, current ACB President spoke to the convention body. The meeting was recessed at 11:53 a.m. for the legislative lunch.

The meeting resumed at 1:32 p.m. Janelle Olson gave the Dining in the Dark report. Janelle stated that the 2017 event had 20 more attendees than the 2016 event. The Minot Lions have expressed interest in hosting the event again. There is hope that we will be having more of these events throughout the state.

The editor’s report was given by Kathy Larson. Kathy informed the convention body of how many members receive The Promoter by e-mail, cartridges, braille and print.

Allan Peterson and Zelda Gerhard gave the legislative report. They discussed the Marrakesh Treaty and accessible prescription labeling. Helen Baumgartner accompanied them on their trip to Washington, D.C. this year.

Membership report:
Mary Lou Stip gave the membership report. 217 active paid member, 29 new members since June 2017. 103 visually impaired, 27 blind and 87 sighted.

Nominations committee report was given by Michelle Zentz. Nominations this year were:
President: Zelda Gebhard
Vice President: Mary Stip
Treasurer: Helen Baumgartner
Board member: Mickey Teubner, Cheryl Cassman and Shereen Faber
Editor: Kathy Larson
ACB convention delegate: Paula Anundson and Cheryl Cassman

Trampes Brown gave the sports and recreation report. NDAB has goal balls, beep kickball, bases, goggles and an archery foot locator. They are currently working on getting a dart board.

The web master report was given by Robert Hart. The committee is developing NDAB’s social media presence on Facebook. The website is getting re-developed from scratch and a developer has been chosen.

Helen Baumgartner reported that her report of the 2017 ACB convention was in the May Promoter.

Door prizes were once again given. Winners were: Shereen Faber, Karlyn Frantsen, Allan Peterson, Diane Smith, Trampes Brown, Carol Schmitt, Janelle Olson, Kathy Larson, Mickey Teubner and Donna Hepper.

Unfinished business

Kathy Larson, editor, mentioned that there are tapes of past Promoters and are also available digitally. The convention body was reminded that there are retention guidelines for certain documents. Documents need to be put on flash drives.

New business

Helen Baumgartner read the proposed budget.

2018 Resolutions
NDAB Resolution 2018-01:
Maintain and Strengthen the 2019-2021 Biennial Appropriation for North Dakota Vision Services / School for the Blind (NDVS/SB)
Whereas, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that presently there are approximately 757,000 residents in North Dakota. Demographic studies consistently demonstrate that, conservatively, 3.3% among the general population have conditions that mildly, moderately, or severely medically compromise their eyesight which means that approximately 24,000 individuals in North Dakota are affected by uncorrectable sight loss – 6,000 of whom have significant sight loss and/or are “legally blind”; and,
Whereas, the loss of eyesight is a major life-altering disability that requires specialized and specific rehabilitation skills training to help people of any age cope with this condition; and,
Whereas, North Dakota Vision Services / School for the Blind in Grand Forks has the components for a comprehensive center-based rehabilitation training program, is recognized regionally and nationally as a program that is of excellence and high quality, has the capability and capacity that allows it to serve people of all ages (i.e. children and adult oriented training programs); and,
Whereas, children and adults with sight loss, who receive a regimen of specific, comprehensive, intensive center-based blindness skills training, such as that which is available at NDVS/SB, are employable and are capable of functioning with a high degree of independence; and,
Whereas, during this current 2017-2019 biennium, NDVS/SB has had to reduce its budget by 6% as requested by the Governor which was accomplished through temporarily not filling 1.5 positions and delaying many necessary expenditures, the primary impact of these reductions has been the inability to place a certified mobility specialist in western North Dakota as had been planned during this biennium; and,
Whereas, to request even more reductions of this critically important educational program for children and adults with blindness, will undoubtedly further erode the capacity and availability of existing services,
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind in convention assembled at the Quality Inn in Bismarck, ND on this date of Saturday, June 9, 2018 that we strongly urge the Governor, in his budget presented to the Legislature, and the 66th North Dakota Legislative Assembly that will convene in January of 2019, to maintain and increase the appropriation for North Dakota Vision Services / School for the Blind in the state budget which is adopted for the 2019 -2021 biennium so that the NDVS/SB appropriation will,
Restore funding to place at least one more vision professional (preferably a mobility specialist) in western North Dakota to ensure all residents are served with enough frequency and intensity that they make steady progress toward mobility independence.
Restore funding that would allow more emphasis in the area of transition services for youth given that employment for visually impaired adults should be given a very high priority.
Maintain funding that will allow NDVS/SB to purchase and demonstrate rapidly evolving assistive technology at a high priority level to establish and maintain a state of the art technology demonstration and training center as falling behind on training programs will result in lower productivity and employability.
Maintain and increase funding for outreach travel within the state and for professional development of staff at regional and national training conferences.
Bobby Westermeyer made motion to approve resolution 1, Joseph Engel seconded, MSC.

NDAB Resolution 2018-02:
Appropriation Allocated for the Older Blind Independent Living Program
Whereas, demographically, North Dakota is among the states with the highest proportion of people per capita who are 55 years of age and older, which is the subpopulation of people who have the highest incidence of significant sight loss that isn’t medically correctable; and,
Whereas, seniors who receive blindness rehabilitation skills training to adjust to sight loss can postpone or avoid institutionalized care and live more productive and fulfilling lives; and,
Whereas, the appropriation that’s made for the older blind program in the state’s budget is critical to meet the costs that this program realizes because, (1) the federal government funds the program in North Dakota at a minimal base level due to the size of our population compared to other states, and (2) travel costs are significant because the vision specialists employed in the program need to meet in the client’s home setting to make a proper evaluation to assess the skills training needed for that individual person;
Now, Therefore, be it resolved that the North Dakota Association of the Blind in convention assembled on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at the Quality Inn in Bismarck That, given the increasing demand for vision rehabilitation skills services available through the Older Blind Program, that we,
(1) Strongly Urge the Governor and the 66th State Legislature that convenes in January 2019, to maintain and increase the state appropriation that’s allocated in the 2019-2021 biennial budget for the Older Blind Program and that our state appropriation for this program would be increased to a 25% match of the federal appropriation that North Dakota receives for this program; And,
(2) U rge our federal congressional delegation, Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp, and Congressman Cramer, to work to maintain and increase the federal appropriation for the Older Blind Program in the federal budget and that they would work to have the formula for the federal appropriation be based, not only on the state’s population size, but also on a state’s per capita percentage of people that are 55 years of age and older.
Janelle Olson made a motion to approve resolution 2, Diane Giessinger seconded. Discussion was held. MSC.

Trampes Brown did a brief informative talk on parliamentary procedure.

2018 Proposed Constitution and Bylaw Amendments
Where it states within the Bylaws Article III. Membership Section 3: delinquent members may be re-instated upon payment of current dues. If a member’s current dues are not paid during a calendar year, that person’s membership is forfeited and they must reapply to become a member.
Proposed clerical amendment: Strike through the last sentence and replace with the following: If a member’s current dues are not paid by May 30th, their membership is forfeited and they must reapply to become a member.
Justification: The amendment reflects the adopted amendment made to Article III Section 7. Dues. Of the Constitution in 2017.
Loris Van Berkom made a motion to second the committee’s motion, MSC.

Where it states in the Constitution Article V. Executive Board Section 3. Meetings: B. The executive board shall be called into session at the discretion of the president or upon request of ten (10%) of the members of NDAB, or upon request of any three (3) members of the executive board.
And, where it states within the By-Laws and Standing Rules Article IV. Executive Board Section 1: The executive board shall receive and act upon petitions by members if such petitions carry the names of at least ten (10%) of members in good standing. And, where it state within Section 7: For voting purposes, the executive board may be polled by postal mail, electronic mail or telephone call. The secretary shall keep an accurate record of such polls. The executive board shall be called into full executive session at the discretion of the president or on petition by ten (10%) of the members of NDAB or upon petition of any three (3) members of the executive board.
Proposed substantive Amendment: Add the word “percent” following the written word ten in the first two occurrences listed above. Strike through the sentence The executive board shall be called into full executive session at the discretion of the president or on petition by ten (10%) of the members of NDAB or upon petition of any three (3) members of the executive board within Section 5.
Justification: The current wording as written can mean either 10 members or 10 percent of the members which would be approximately 20 members of NDAB. The placement of the sentence listed above is repetitive of Section 1. And not necessary to be included within the text of Section 5.
Dawn Freemont seconded. There was discussion and research needed to be done by the parliamentarian. Michelle Zentz made a motion to table the item.

Where it stated in Article VIII. Dissolution Section1. Within the Constitution: Upon the dissolution of this organization, the executive board after paying or making provisions for the payment of all of the liabilities of NDAB, shall dispose of all the assets of this corporation to such organizations which have been organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes qualifying under section 501(C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and any future tax, code.
Proposed structural Amendment: Move Article VIII. Of the Constitution to the Bylaws following Article VII.
Justification: This information refers to a procedure which would be followed only if such an event might occur and need not be included within the Constitution.
Ali Engraf seconded, MSC.

Becky Monroe spoke about Vision Space Camp and what the money we give them is used for. Shereen Faber made a motion to sponsor the kids at space camp donating $1,500. Paula Anundson seconded. MSC.
Meeting was recessed at 4:40 p.m. Meeting will reconvene at 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Convention attendees and guests enjoyed an evening with a delicious meal, recognition of our scholarship and award recipients and entertainment from Blind Joe.

On Sunday morning there was a memorial service for NDAB members as well as family members of NDAB members who passed away this last year, Cole Roberts delivered the message and Mickey Teubner played his guitar and led the group in singing “Amazing Grace”.
The general meeting resumed at 9:10 a.m. Door prizes were given out. Winners were: Kathryn Schmitt, Angie Kokott, Anjelee Rai, Menuka Rai, Mary Stip, Kathy Johnson, Cheryl Cassman, Stan Larson, Char Feldman, Michelle Zentz, David McCloud, Susan Jorgenson and Loris Van Berkom.
New Business (cont.)

NDAB Resolution 2018-03:
State and Federal Government Support for Public Transit Systems
Whereas, North Dakotans, with many types of disabilities and economic reasons, are unable to drive a personal vehicle and thus are dependent on the availability of public transportation systems; and,
Whereas, people who are unable to use a personal vehicle for their transportation needs are often highly dependent on the availability of public transportation as a viable means of providing independence in their lives; and,
Whereas, studies have demonstrated that for every dollar that governing entities choose to invest in public transit generates a $3 return to communities that are served by such service systems; and,
Whereas, demographically, North Dakota is among the states with the highest proportion of people per capita over the age of 55 and this trend is expected to continue and most people so categorized want to “age in place”; and,
Whereas, the rural characteristics of North Dakota and its high proportion of roads to its population base, strongly supports the need to supplement and increase the amount of public assistance and development of public/private partnerships for mass transit;
Now, Therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind in Convention assembled at the Quality Inn in Bismarck, ND on this Sunday, June 10th, that we,
Urge the Governor and State Legislature to increase, by a minimum of 10%, the appropriation for the operation of public transit systems in the budget that is adopted for the 2019-2021 biennium; and,
Urge our U.S. North Dakota congressional delegation to maintain and increase the amount of federal assistance for public transit systems in the rural and urban areas of our state when the Federal transportation bill is considered for reauthorization by the U.S. Congress.
Janelle Olson made a motion to approve the resolution. Ruth Phalen seconded. MSC.

NDAB Resolution 2018-04:
To Maintain and Strengthen the Federal Appropriation for the NLS Talking Book Program
Whereas, demographically, North Dakota is among the states with the highest proportion of people per capita who are 55 years of age and older and this is the subpopulation of people who have the highest incidence of significant sight loss that isn’t medically correctable and this is a population trend that is expected to accelerate as our population continues to age into the future; and,
Whereas, thousands of North Dakotans, with many types of disabilities in addition to blindness, cannot read standard print and rely on the talking book program for hours of entertainment and a source of valuable information in their daily lives;
Now, Therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind in Convention assembled at the Quality Inn in Bismarck, ND on this Sunday, June 10th, that,
Given how extremely valuable this program is to so many citizens in our state, we implore our U.S. North Dakota congressional delegation, Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp, and Congressman Cramer, to work to maintain and increase the amount of federal funding for the NLS Talking Book Program whenever the federal budget is under consideration by the U.S. Congress.
Mary Stip made a motion to approve the resolution. Bobby Westermeyer seconded. MSC.

Constitution and Bylaw Amendments (cont.)
Bobby Westermeyer made a motion to remove proposed Constitutional Amendment V from the table. Second was made by Mike Hoeppner. MSC. After clarification was made by the parliamentarian, motion was made by Mickey Teubner to pass the amendment. Bobby Westermeyer seconded it. MSC.

Where it states in the Constitution article IX. Miscellaneous Provisions Section 1. NDAB is organized and located in the state of North Dakota as a not for profit corporation under the laws of North Dakota and the 501 (c) (3) tax code of the Internal Revenue Service or any future tax code.
Section 2. North Dakota Association of the Blind is a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Through this affiliation, all members of NDAB are also members of the American Council of the Blind and have all the rights and privileges so conferred by such membership.
Proposed structural amendment: Strike through the entire Article IX. Miscellaneous provisions and it’s listed sections.
Justification: There should not be an Article named Miscellaneous Provisions within an organization’s Constitution. This information is already included within the Articles of Incorporation Article VI-Location Section 1. And Article VII-Corporation Status Section 2. Filed with the Secretary of State and does not need to be repeated again within the =Constitution.
Bobby Westermeyer made the second. MSC.
Amendment VI
Where it states in the Bylaws within Article VI. Amendments to the Bylaws Section 3. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and voting at a convention is required to pass all proposed amendments.
Proposed substantive amendment: Strike out two-thirds and revise sentence to read:
Section 3. A simple majority vote of those present and voting at a convention is required to pass all proposed amendments to the bylaws.

Justification: This amendment was brought forth during the 2016 Convention. The organization was advised that governing documents should require a 2/3 vote for their amendment. We agree this is true for the Constitution which lays down the principles or rules of how our organization is structured. It is our opinion the Bylaws which are supposed to contain the procedures for carrying out those principles should be a document which is easier to amend. Submitted on behalf of a NDAB member.
This amendment was withdrawn under advisement of the parliamentarian.

Philmore Voicemail
President Zelda explained that the board, in an effort to provide inclusion to all members, is presenting a communication system to be accessed by phone. Allan made a motion to approve the Philmore Voicemail. Kathryn Schmitt seconded. Robert Hart gave a demonstration showing conference attendees how the Philmore Voicemail is used. There was discussion about cost, whether there would be other charges and who would put the information on the voicemail. Brian Charlson spoke as some of the affiliates he belongs to use this. He commented that there is no other fee and you can stop at any time. After no further discussion the motion was carried.

Convention 2020
Mike Hoeppner invited the convention body to Grand Forks for the 2020 convention.

Welcome to Minot in 2019
Trampes Brown, Convention Committee Chairperson, extended an invitation to the group to attend the 2019 convention which will be June 7-9 at the Sleep Inn in Minot. The theme will is Envision The Possibilities. As of right now room rates are $109. They are working on corporate sponsorship to lower the room rate.

Proposed Budget
Helen re-read the proposed budget. Discussion was held. Michelle Zentz made a motion to increase the Sports and Recreation budget by $2,500 to total $3,550. Carol Schmitt seconded. Bobby Westermeyer made a motion for the total to be $4,550, Joseph Engel seconded. The amended motion carried.

Elections
Nominations were as follows:
President: Zelda Gebhard
Vice President: Mary Stip
Treasurer: Helen Baumgartner
Board Member: Mickey Teubner, Cheryl Cassman and Shereen Faber.
Editor: Kathy Larson
Delegate for 2019 ACB Convention: Cheryl Cassman and Paula Anundson

President
Ruth Phalen made a motion that nominations cease and to cast a unanimous ballot for Zelda Gebhard for president. Janelle Olson seconded. MSC.

Vice President
Nominations were taken from the floor. Dianne Giessinger nominated Dawn Freemont. Ballots were cast and Mary Stip was the winner.

Treasurer
Allan Peterson made a motion that nominations cease and a unanimous ballot be cast for Helen Baumgartner. Bobby Westermeyer seconded. MSC.

Board Director
There were no nominations from the floor. Allan Peterson made a motion that nominations cease, Kathy Larson seconded. Ballots were cast and Shereen Faber was elected.

ACB Delegate
Nominations were made from the floor. Helen Baumgartner nominated Gretchen Campbell.
Ballots were cast. The outcome of the vote was close and President Zelda requested another vote between the top two individuals who received votes.
Paula Anundson volunteered that, because she has attended the ACB convention previously, that Gretchen Campbell be named as the delegate for 2019. Paula said that she was willing to be the alternate delegate.

Editor
Mickey Teubner made a motion to cast a unanimous ballot for Kathy Larson to remain editor of The Promoter. Shereen Faber seconded. MSC.
Ruth Phalen made a motion that the meeting be adjourned, Joseph Engel seconded. MSC. Meeting was adjourned at 12:07 p.m.

After the meeting the raffle winners were drawn. Winners were:
$2,000-Inga Gebhard
$1,000-Wanda Wigness
$500-Loris Van Berkom

Respectfully Submitted,
Gretchen Campbell, NDAB Secretary