state of California
Around the State

By Pat Munson, Associate Editor

San Joaquin County chapter president Ken Volonte reports that the director for the Division for the Blind for rehab quit in their area, so members are left with more problems than usual. State budget cuts are not helping, either. Miguel Mendez was recently elected chapter vice president and just returned from BLIND, Inc., the NFB's training center in Minnesota. He will be starting college soon. Miguel will celebrate his 21st birthday at the NFB Washington Seminar! Good luck to this energetic student! The chapter is planning another fundraising dinner which will be in April. Check with the chapter president for time and further details.

Recently-elected Santa Barbara South Coast chapter president Randy Cummings says that the chapter is on the move. The president has appointed long-time Federationist Joy Smith to chair the NFB philosophy committee. Fundraising is at the top of the list of things to do soon.

San Francisco chapter president Jason Holloway states that the chapter set up a table at the S.F. main library for Meet the Blind Month. Members gave out Braille alphabet cards and NFB literature. In December the chapter celebrated the holidays with a party. Members and friends had fun with drawings for door prizes, and the chapter honored Wells Fargo Bank for hiring the blind in their area. In April, members will hold a self defense and safety seminar. Finally, in May, members will journey to Reno in order to take part in the NFB of Nevada state convention. Chapter members hope that many Californians will join them.

Jim Willows, president of the Orientation Center for the Blind Alumni, reports that the California state budget cuts are impacting Center staff. Also, he states that many of us have concerns about the definition of blindness used to admit students. As we all know, more and more people are surviving accidents with blindness as just one of their problems. We hope the center can narrow its focus.

North San Diego County chapter members will host a seminar on aging and vision loss; guest speakers will be Nancy Burns, Don Burns and Sybil Irvin. A retired eye doctor, Dr. Resnick, will answer all those eye-related issues. Check with the president for date and time. Chapter members gave thanks for all those outside the movement who assist the blind in many ways. As you see, this energetic chapter is really on the move!

Shasta Cascade chapter members have been helping those in the community during the holidays by giving out turkeys to those in need. Members also set up a table for Meet the Blind Month. Folks were pleased to get NFB literature. Packets of NFB literature are being delivered to eye doctors in that area.

The sales of World's Finest Chocolates is the major fundraiser for the San Fernando Valley chapter. The chapter also sells entertainment books. Finally, President Robert Stigile said that the chapter is developing a web site.

Jana Littrell is happy to report that the Bay Area chapter has some new members. All enjoyed a wonderful holiday party and talked about plans for the future. This long established chapter is always doing fundraising for the Federation and spreads its philosophy. Patrick Church is out selling associate memberships and has been earning extra money teaching blind folks how to use a computer. Let me tell you that Patrick is a great teacher, for he gave me lessons; I must have been the most difficult student anyone ever had. What a champ! Chapter members are still celebrating the fact that Helen Dodge was awarded the tenBroek honor at our state convention. Three cheers for Helen!

River City chapter members are on the lookout for a new director for the Sacramento Society for the Blind. President Wales and chapter members were happy to present the Sacramento Hyatt with a certificate of appreciation for the great way they treated NFBC conventioneers at our last state convention. As was stated, we liked the hotel so well that we will use it again. The chapter will host a fundraising trip to Reno; check with the president for date and time. Long-time Federationist Mike Couey recently served in the NFB Corps; he found the training and then fieldwork very rewarding. He now is serving as liaison between the Society for the Blind and his chapter in making recommendations for the new director.

Paul Price, president of both the state and national Diabetes Action Networks, reports that he hopes to have the publication "Voice of the Diabetic" on the counter in many drug store chains. Also, there is a new listserv that can be found at

Patsy Ramlo, president of the Orange County chapter, says that the chapter is getting back on track. Patsy and her husband, who recently retired, took a long trip in their motor home. Chapter members drew names for gifts at their potluck holiday party; everyone had a great time! Members were pleased to have a guest named Richard at the party; he works with the deaf-blind and has also helped with chapter activities. The chapter will again do its ice cream promotional at the Orange County Fair Grounds. Call the president for details.

The High Desert chapter is recruiting new members. They are reaching out even farther to find people who need help with blindness. Members will also work at the local level with governmental issues. President Caroline Rounds says that she will spend a week at Louisiana Tech instructing teachers in the methodology of Braille instruction. Good job Caroline! As we all remember, Caroline was the top scholarship winner at the 2003 NFB Convention.

Eric Clegg, president of the Public Employees Division, says that even with all the state budget cuts, our blind employees are still on the job and hope to continue. The blind of this state have experienced many budget problems and we shall survive this one, too!

The California Association of Blind Students is as active as ever. These positive, energetic blind students will host yet another seminar in southern California in May. Check with president Ronit Ovadia for more details. The students will also host an informational table at CTEVH. A number of students are going to the Washington Seminar.

Tri-Valley chapter member B.J. Sexton said that the chapter will again be selling candy to assist with the work of the NFB. He further said that his sister Brook is now a credentialed teacher and is looking for a position. Brother David is majoring in electrical engineering at Louisiana Tech. Good going to the Sexton family!

Don Burns is the new president of the Chapter on Aging. Sybil Irvin was thanked for all her work as the past president; she was forced to give up her post because of health reasons. President Don Burns hopes to have a cookbook available soon. He also reminds folks that at the national level, the NFB has a division for the senior blind. Ask him for more information on how to join and how to get the newsletter.

The Parents of Blind Children chapter is always out there helping parents. With the guidance of Caroline Rounds, a teacher of blind children, a number of Braille workshops have been and will be held. President Joyce Wales is very willing to help any parent with blindness concerns. She invites all to attend the Parents of Blind Children luncheon during the next state convention.

Fresno chapter members are out working in the community. Transportation is a big issue in this ever-expanding area. Keep up the good work!

Betty Hendricks, Monterey County chapter president, is always on the lookout for new members. Chapter members are actively living the Federation philosophy.

Mount Diablo chapter members are selling candy and spreading the word about the Federation. Chapter member Dan Peterson was busy at our state convention selling his products. Good going, Dan!

The California Association to Promote the Use of Braille is in the planning stage of a very big event this coming October. Educators, parents and NFB members will all take part. President Maurine Barcelo said to check with the NFBC Bulletin for details.

Pathfinder chapter president Ethell Brandon reports that the chapter is as busy as ever. They host numerous activities that promote a positive attitude about blindness.

The Napa Valley chapter is always working with the local bus company. Members need reliable buses to get them where they need to go. Call new president Vesta Sauer for chapter meeting time and place.

Geraldine Croom, president of the Guiding Light chapter, always intrigues and entertains us while describing chapter events. Those who have the fun of attending have nothing but great things to say. One great fundraiser is the Heaven and Hell party. One pays and selects whether he or she wants to go to heaven or hell. The party is divided into two rooms, heaven being upstairs and hell downstairs. Part of the fun in heaven is eating angel food cake, but what else? There was only one problem at the last party. The larger of the two rooms being used for the party was upstairs; more folks wanted to go to hell where devil's food cake was served so it was hell upstairs! Another fantastic event, according to Donna Roysner, is the luau party. NFBC members will just have to attend and find out how much fun one can have while making money for the NFB.

Maurine Barcelo, president of the Greater Pasadena Area chapter, said that chapter members walked in a local parade with our new NFB banner for Meet the Blind Month! The See's candy sale was so successful during the holidays that another will be held this spring. Chapter members sold special tickets outside a mall. The tickets entitled the holder to get discounts inside. Of course, the public learned a lot about blindness at the same time. These tireless chapter members also gave out NFB literature at a school district function. Finally, the president said that chapter members will be involved in the upcoming Celebrate Life. Good job!

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