North Dakota Association of the Blind, Inc.
2023 Convention Minutes
Hampton Inn & Suites, Grand Forks, ND
Friday, June 9th:
Registration for the convention began at 3:00 pm. Transportation to NDVS/SB was provided by a fixed route city bus. A social began at 5:30, followed by a picnic-style supper hosted by the three local Lions Clubs. A tour of the school was given by Paul Olson and information on the public transportation system was provided by the Executive Director and the Operations Manager of the Grand Forks public transportation office.
Saturday, June 10th:
Registration continued at 8:00 am.
Opening Ceremony: The convention opened with the presentation of colors by Boy Scout Troop 130. The Pledge of Allegiance and the Star-Spangled Banner were led by Doug Stip. Paul Olson welcomed the convention body to Grand Forks. He thanked the legislators and members of the three Lions Clubs who attended the picnic last night and welcomed NDAB members to the city.
Business Meeting: President Trampes Brown called the 86th Annual NDAB Convention meeting to order at 8:48 am. Roll Call was taken with 34 members and 3 guests present. Rick Vannett read the Standing Rules. Zelda Gebhard made a motion to accept the Standing Rules, seconded by Mary Stip. MC
President’s Report: Trampes asked that we focus on why we are here and a member of the organization – to enrich the lives of people with vision loss. We are doing many good things as an organization, but we can improve.
Secretary’s Report: The January 16th and March 2nd Board minutes were read as they were not included in the May Promoter. The May 15th Pre-convention Board minutes were corrected to replace “Personal Care Attendant” with “guest”. Gerald Byron made a motion to approve the minutes of the preconvention board meeting as corrected, seconded by Doug. MC
Treasurer’s Report: Rebecca Anderson shared the financial report for the past fiscal year.
Development Director: Allan Peterson reported the donations received from each of the five funding sources – Walk for Vision, Giving Hearts Day, Donations, Charitable Gaming and the Lions Clubs.
2022 ACB Delegate: Allan reported the convention in Omaha, NE was the first in-person convention since 2019. Some of the activities he participated in were listening to various speakers, the elections, the exhibit hall, special interest group meetings, tours and the banquet.
Life Enrichment: Zelda Gebhard shared the names of the Life Enrichment committee as well as the Selection Committee. One recipient received an award this past year. The guidelines and process for applying for an award were read. Questions regarding the process of requesting an award were discussed.
Public Relations: Areas of focus for the past year included the management of an email list used for fundraising, public education and awareness; moving this list to MailChimp; an archery shoot, which was aired on WDAY and in the West Fargo Focus and will be used to promote NDAB; the purchase of a computer monitor and cables to show videos and participation in Disability Awareness Day at the Capitol.
Door prizes were given prior to and after the breaks. An announcement was made that some of the snacks were provided from a donation in memory of Cheryl Brooks.
Camp Committee: in Missy Miller’s absence, a report was read summarizing the camp events of the 2022 camp session. The dates of the 2023 camp session are August 6 – 13. The theme will be “All Roads Lead to Camp”. The camp committee for 2022 and 2023 were thanked for their work.
Communications: Trampes reported that MailChimp is being used, allowing us to send information as well as know who is opening the emails sent. Member spotlights and activities of the organization have been posted to Facebook. Brant Adams reported we are using InMotion as our website host. It processes things quicker, provides more space to post videos and costs less.
Dining in the Dark: Janelle Olson reported the sixth annual Dining in the Dark was held in Minot at the Sleep Inn & Suites October 27, 2022. NDAB provided 11 table hosts for 70 dining guests. The hotel and meal arrangements were provided by the Minot Lions. The only expense incurred by NDAB was the transportation, at a cost of $340. This event is designed to provide education to the public rather than being a fundraiser. A check in the amount of $1,645.99 was presented to NDAB from the Lions from the funds raised for this event.
Promoter Editor: In Beth Bakke Stenehjem’s absence, a report was read summarizing the number of print, braille, digital and email copies of the Promoter sent for each edition for the past year. Beth thanked NDAB for allowing her to be editor for the past two years. She apologized for the lack of digital copies for the past two editions. She also regrets not doing a survey of what the membership would like to have in the Promoter, but suggested this be done by the next Editor. The convention body thanked Beth for her past two years of service.
Finance: Allan reported the transfer of funds between banks this past year. The balance of accounts and investments was given. Bell Investments is helping NDAB develop an investment plan, with the assistance of an investment advisor.
Membership: Lexee Steffan reported there were 9 deaths. Our current membership has 149 adults and 1 junior member, with 66 being visually impaired, 29 blind and 55 sighted. She thanked those who helped make her transition to Vice President/membership chair a smooth experience.
Nominations: The slate of officers for election was read. A one-year board director will be added to the slate to fill Missy Miller’s unexpired term. The requirements for running for an office and the voting process was reviewed.
Sports & Rec: Brant reported the 4th annual fall retreat at Wesley Acres had 14 people attending, 7 of them being new participants. There were indoor and outdoor activities available. The Spring/Urban Retreat was held in Bismarck for the first time. Bowling, an Escape Room, goal ball and interaction with families from NDVS/SB were the activities held over the weekend. The next fall retreat will be Sept 1 – 3, 2023.
Scholarship: Tracy Wicken shared information about the recipients of the scholarships. There were 5 applicants, with 4 people receiving a scholarship. In 2024, a Teacher of the Visually Impaired scholarship will be awarded
Door prizes were given. The convention recessed at 11:40 for the Legislative Luncheon. The meeting was recessed until 1:00.
Legislative Luncheon: Representatives from Sen. Cramer and Rep. Armstrong’s office, along with 5 local legislators attended the luncheon. A letter from Sen. Hoeven was read.
Business Meeting: The meeting reconvened at 1:11. Roll call was taken with 29 voting members present.
Legislation & Advocacy: During the past legislative session, we advocated for Services for NDVS/SB, the OIB Program, the Talking Book Program and mass transportation services. Advocacy was done virtually on occasion and Gary Pedersen provided transportation at times. Advocacy was also done for some ACB resolutions. Visits were made with ND Congressional Delegation staff. Zelda was the representative to the ACB Leadership meetings in March, at which time an accessible currency rally was held.
Proposed Constitution and Bylaws:
Amendment #1: Discussion was held on new members paying dues in the subsequent year. MC
Amendment #2: MC
Amendment #3: MC
Amendment #4: MC
Amendment #5: MC
Amendment #6: MC
Amendment #7: MC
Amendment #8: MC
Amendments are attached to these minutes.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: None
State Convention Stipends: A discussion was held on the elimination of the 10 – $100 and 2 – $250 stipends given to the State Convention attendees and first-time attenders. Carol Schmitt made a motion to eliminate the current stipend program at the state convention, seconded by Doug. Following a verbal vote, Michelle Zentz made a motion for a show of hands vote, seconded by Betty Fedorchak. MC A show of hands vote indicated the motion carried.
Door prizes were given out prior to and following the break.
Program: Paul led an informative session on birds. The recorded sound of various birds was heard, followed by information regarding some of the birds identified.
The meeting resumed with 33 members present.
State Convention Fees: Allan made a motion to defray the expenses of the banquet meal at the state convention by $1,500, seconded by Mary Stip. MC
Out-of-State Fees: Mary made a motion to abolish the out-of-state fee to attend camp, seconded by Doug. Mary accepted a friendly amendment from Lexee to include the Sports & Rec Retreat. MC
The business meeting recessed for the day at 4:17 pm.
The Awards Banquet began with a social at 5:30 pm, with music provided by Suzanne and John Larson. The banquet began at 6:30 pm, with Paul Olson as Master of Ceremonies. The meal was catered by Eagle’s Crest Grill. Tracy Wicken presented the following scholarships: Karston Keller received $2,000; Brian Bartholmy received $1,000, Cylee Walton received $1,000 and Tanner Werner, who was present, received $1,000. Steve Johnson from the Grand Forks Lions was the banquet speaker, sharing his experiences as a Lion. Paul Olson presented the Friend of NDAB Award to Tami Purcell from NDVS/SB. Russell Doe from the Reeder Lions was chosen for the Robert John LePage Award. Advocate of the Year was presented to Missy Miller and Trampes Brown. Susan Jorgenson was honored with the Ed Christensen Award. Congratulations to all recipients.
Sunday, June 11th:
The Memorial Service began at 8:00 am, led by Tracy Wicken. Those remembered at this service were: David Sundeen, Jean Marks, Denis Register, Ronald Jan, Joseph DeKaria, Cheryl Brooks, Mickey Teubner, Shannon Kueffler and Angie Kokott.
Business Meeting: The meeting resumed at 9:20 following a break and door prizes. There were 35 members present.
Proposed Budget: Rebecca read the Proposed Budget. Allan made a motion to approve the budget as amended, seconded by Lexee. MC
2024 Convention: Loris Van Berkom invited the convention body to Regent. The convention will be held at the Enchanted Castle June 7 – 9, 2024.
2025 Convention: Brant made a motion to host the convention in Bismarck, seconded by Lexee. MC Brant volunteered to head the convention planning for 2025.
Elections: The voting process was explained. The slate of officers presented were as follows: Secretary: Helen Baumgartner, Vice President: (1 year) Lexee Steffan, Development Director: Allan Peterson, Board Director: Brant Adams, Editor: Emily Stenberg-Brown, ACB Delegate: Amy Osvold, and ACB Alternate: Mary Stip. The position for Board Director to serve for 1 year was added to the slate of officers. The voting process was explained.
Secretary: Nominations were taken from the floor. Loris made a motion that nominations cease and a unanimous ballot be cast for Helen, seconded by Mary. MC
Vice President: Nominations were taken from the floor. Zelda made a motion that nominations cease and a unanimous ballot be cast for Lexee, seconded by Rosie Landsem. MC
Development Director: Nominations were taken from the floor. Lexee made a motion that nominations cease and a unanimous ballot be cast for Allan, seconded by Paula Anundson. MC
Board Director: Nominations were taken from the floor. Rick Feldman nominated Janelle, seconded by Loris. Janelle was elected for the 3-year Board position
Board Director: Allan made a motion to nominate Elias Youngblom, seconded by Kaity Young. Lexee made a motion, seconded by Rosie, that nominations cease and a unanimous ballot be cast for Elias to fill a 1-year term as Board Director.
Promoter Editor: Nominations were taken from the floor. Ruth made a motion that nominations cease and a unanimous ballot be cast for Emily, seconded by Rick. MC
2024 ACB Delegate: Amy Osvold rescinded her nomination and nominated Susan Dahl, seconded by Lexee. Amy made a motion that nominations cease and a unanimous ballot be cast for Susan, seconded by Mary. MC
2024 ACB Alternate Delegate: Nominations were taken from the floor. Janelle made a motion to cease nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Mary, seconded by Rosie. MC
Announcements: Loris thanked Paul Olson for all his work to make this convention a success. Doug thanked the convention body for allowing him to serve on the board. Allan thanked Doug and Missy for their service on the board and to Trampes for his leadership over the weekend.
Adjourn: Allan made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Lexee. MC The business meeting adjourned at 10:35 am.
Helen Baumgartner, NDAB Secretary