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					MCB Report

                            MCB REPORT

                             March 7, 2011


In a news release issued March 2, Governor Rick Snyder announced
that he has made two appointments to the Michigan Commission for
the Blind, naming Larry Posont of Dearborn Heights and Lydia
Schuck of Mason.

"We're fortunate to have dedicated citizens such as these individuals
step forward and offer their skills on behalf of our state, "said Snyder.

The commission provides opportunities for individuals who are blind
or visually impaired to achieve employability and to independently
thrive in society.

      Posont is president of the National Federation of the Blind of
       Michigan. He has served for 16 years on the board of directors
       for Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind. Posont has been
       active with Michigan programs for blind persons through his
       service to the state and the Commission for the Blind Business
       Enterprise Program.
      Schuck, of Mason, has been a member of the Commission's
       Consumer Involvement Council for more than six years. She
       also founded the Braille Sharing Library for families who are
       home schooling with blind students.

Posont replaces Commissioner Michael Geno and Schuck replaces
Commissioner Margaret Wolfe. Appointees serve three-year terms,
expiring Sept. 30, 2013, and are subject to the advice and consent of
the Senate. It’s expected that the two new commissioners will
participate at the next Commission meeting, set for March 17 and 18
in Lansing, joining current Commissioners Jo Ann Pilarski, John Scott
and Geri Taeckens.

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Governor Rick Snyder announced, February 23, the strategic
reorganization of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic
Growth (DELEG) which will result in a sharper focus on its mission
and better program coordination across state government. The
department’s new name will be the Department of Licensing and
Regulatory Affairs (LARA), reflecting its leadership role in reinventing
the state’s regulatory process and its increased licensing
responsibilities. In the previous week, the Governor also announced
the appointment of Steven Hilfinger as the department director

Director Hilfinger was managing partner of the Detroit office of Foley
& Lardner, LLP and is a recognized expert in corporate acquisitions,
restructurings and regulatory affairs. Foley & Lardner is a national
law firm with more than 900 attorneys in the U.S. and internationally.

“Steve Hilfinger has an extraordinary background in helping
companies navigate expansion and turnaround,” Snyder said. “He
has an impressive knowledge of the business and regulatory
environment and will do an outstanding job in creating a more
practical and efficient regulatory system in this state.”

Hilfinger, of Beverly Hills, has focused his 23-year legal career on
corporate and securities law matters, including mergers and
acquisitions, corporate restructurings, private equity and venture
capital transactions, debt and equity finance transactions, business
formation and corporate governance, and general corporate and
contract counseling. His practice included representation of
automotive suppliers and other manufacturers, medical device
makers, private equity and venture capital funds, financial institutions,
and other publicly and privately held businesses. Hilfinger is a
member and former co-chair of the firm's Automotive Industry Team
and a member of the Transactional & Securities, Private Equity &
Venture Capital and International Practices.

“Creating a climate of economic growth depends in large part on a
simple, fair, efficient and transparent regulatory environment and a

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focused, efficient state government,” Snyder said. “Our new
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will help drive this
change by having a more coherent and consistent approach to its
mission. By consolidating its core functions under one roof and
transferring responsibilities that were not compatible to the
appropriate agencies, this streamlined department is better
positioned to serve its customers while significantly contributing to our
overall goal of fostering economic success. Steve Hilfinger’s
background and expertise in the business and legal community will
be invaluable as we move Michigan forward.”

The changes are implemented through Executive Orders 2011-4 and
2011-5 issued by the governor. Highlights of the reorganization

      Creating the Office of Regulatory Reinvention within the
       department. The office will help create a regulatory process
       and environment that is conducive to economic growth by
       reviewing current rules and regulations as well as proposed
       rulemaking and regulatory activities by departments and

      Creating the Michigan Administrative Hearing System as an
       independent agency within the Department of Licensing and
       Regulatory Affairs. The Administrative Hearing System will
       centralize the state’s administrative hearings functions.

      Transferring the Bureau of Health Professions, the Bureau of
       Health Systems and the Controlled Substances Advisory
       Commission from the Department of Community Health to the
       Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The transfer
       will allow Community Health to concentrate on the actual health
       care delivery aspects of its duties while allowing Licensing and
       Regulatory Affairs to oversee the licensing and professional
       regulatory aspects of these functions.

      Strengthening the Michigan Strategic Fund by transferring
       several energy functions into it, such as the Michigan Next
       Energy Authority. In addition, the Michigan State Housing
       Development Authority and the Land Bank Fast Track are

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       transferred to the Strategic Fund, which is within the Michigan
       Economic Development Corp.
Creating the Workforce Development Agency within the Michigan
Strategic Fund

Most functions of the Bureau of Workforce Transformation and the
Council for Labor and Economic Growth are transferred to the
Workforce Development Agency.

      The Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) and Michigan
       Rehabilitation Services (MRS), the state’s two public vocational
       rehabilitation agencies, will be part of the new Department of
       Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

      Transferring the department’s Disability Concerns Commission,
       the Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Pacific American
       Affairs Commission and the Hispanic/Latino Commission to the
       Department of Civil Rights.

      Abolishing the position of Automobile and Home Insurance
       Consumer Advocate that was created in 2008.

      Abolishing the position of Chief Energy Officer that was
       established in 2008.

In addition to serving as department director, Hilfinger has been
appointed director of the Office of Regulatory Reinvention and chief
regulatory officer for the state of Michigan.

Director Hilfinger announced the appointments of Mike Zimmer as
chief deputy director, Brian DeBano as a deputy director of the
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and Steve Arwood as
deputy director of several programs, including the Michigan
Commission for the Blind. Zimmer will also serve as director of the
Michigan Administrative Hearing System.

Zimmer previously served as deputy director of the State Office of
Administrative Hearings and Rules. He also served as director of the
Bureau of Hearings in the former Department of Consumer and
Industry Services; as an attorney in the Office of Regulatory Reform

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under former Governor John Engler; and worked for the Senate
majority floor leader. A resident of Dimondale, Zimmer earned a
bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a law degree
from George Washington University.

DeBano recently served as chief of staff and chief operating officer
for the Michigan Department of State. In that capacity, he played an
active role in streamlining the department’s licensing functions. Prior
to that, DeBano served as the director of State Government Affairs
for former Governor Engler and also worked in the Michigan House of
Representatives. The Laingsburg resident has a bachelor’s degree
from the James Madison College at Michigan State University and a
master’s in public administration from Western Michigan University.

Steve Arwood joins DELEG from Windlab Developments, USA, LTD,
where he served as U.S. Regional Director. He previously served as
deputy director and in other executive management positions at the
Michigan Jobs Commission under Governor John Engler. He has
also served as director for the House of Representatives Programs
and Policy Office. In his role as Deputy Director of DELEG, Steve will
oversee several workforce employment programs, including the
Michigan Commission for the Blind


A Lansing conference hosted jointly by the Michigan Transition
Outcomes Project (MI-TOP), Michigan Rehabilitation Services,
Michigan Commission for the Blind and Special Education Services
was held in Lansing, January 27. With a theme of “Purposeful
Collaboration”, attendees focused on three important questions to
assist students with disabilities in achieving success in transition:

           1. Are we providing what’s necessary to make sure our
              students are prepared to belong and succeed in their
           2. Is the community prepared to support our students as
              they leave school to belong and achieve success?
           3. How would we know?

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Over 100 individuals from the participating agencies attended the
conference, including several MCB staff. Eleanor White the new
Director of Office of Special Education and Early Intervention
Services (OSE-EIS), MRS Director Jaye Porter and MCB Director Pat
Cannon provided welcoming comments to kick off the event. A
variety of breakout sessions were provided to attendees including:

    Sharing Student Information: Respecting Confidentiality and
     Making it Meaningful
    Discovering the Potential of Aligning the IEP and the IPE
    Assessing the Elements of Productive Collaboration
    Student and Family Engagement in the Transition Process
    Nuts and Bolts of Funding Collaborative Services and
    Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB)


The U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 841, The Pedestrian
Safety Enhancement Act on December 16, legislation that will provide
blind, visually impaired, and other pedestrians greater security when
traveling in close proximity to hybrid or electric vehicles. President
Barack Obama signed the important legislation into law, January 5,
following advocacy efforts by two blind consumer organizations, the
American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the National Federation of
the Blind (NFB), with each organization hailing the action.

"The passage of this legislation is momentous and marks over two
years of vigorous advocacy by ACB membership that has resulted in
consensus by the blind community, auto industry, and Congress,"
stated Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American Council of the

“The National Federation of the Blind is pleased that this critical
legislation has been signed into law, preserving the right to safe and
independent travel for the blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of
the National Federation of the Blind. “The blind, like all pedestrians,
must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other

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places in our communities, and we must be able to hear vehicles in
order to do so. This law, which is the result of collaboration among
blind Americans, automobile manufacturers, and legislators, will
benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle
technologies become more prevalent.”

Pomerantz said ACB extends its appreciation to Sen. John Kerry (D-
Mass.), Reps. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.), and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) for their
staunch leadership over the past two years regarding this very
important safety issue. The National Alliance of Automobile
Manufacturers and Association of International Automobile
Manufacturers have also worked collaboratively with the blind
community to ensure that the legislation could effectively resolve the
current and growing unintended safety problems that hybrid and
electric vehicles present to the public when traveling at low speeds.

The new law will require the U.S. Department of Transportation to
begin writing standards that would set requirements for an alert
sound that allows blind and other pedestrians to reasonably detect a
nearby electric or hybrid vehicle. It also requires that those rules be
finalized within three years.


Nearly 100 administrators and professionals representing state
agencies serving individuals who are blind are expected to attend the
Annual Spring Conference of the National Council of State Agencies
for the Blind (NCSAB), April 13-15, in Bethesda, Maryland.

With a conference theme of “Sharing Our Vision: Featuring Media
Productions that Tell Our Stories,” attendees will focus on a variety of
topics important to blind rehab agencies, including effective ways to
deal with challenged state economies, creative approaches to
employment while state unemployment rates remain high, doing more
with less, facing threats to the Randolph-Sheppard Program and
effective utilization of creative media to tell the story of how public
rehabilitation programs are restoring hope for persons who are blind.

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In addition to presentations by the NCSAB Committees on
Employment, Residential Training Centers, Randolph-Sheppard
Programs, Independent Living, and Technology, those attending the
conference will also hear important presentations by Lynnae
Ruttledge, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services
Administration (RSA), other RSA officials and Andrea Guest, the
President of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational
Rehabilitation (CSAVR). Steve Wooderson, the new CEO of CSAVR,
will also provide an update at the conference and speak on his vision
for the organization.

Attendees will also hear from Dr. Fred Schroeder, NCSAB Policy
Advisor, who will provide his Washington Update and report on the
status of Workforce Investment Act reauthorization and finalization of
the Congressional budget and its impact on VR agencies. Charles
Glaser, RSVA and Kevan Worley, NABM, will offer their perspectives
on the state of the Randolph-Sheppard Program in the country and
there will be a special presentation by Ruth Ann Abrams,
representing the U. S. Postal Service, who will speak on a new
Randolph-Sheppard initiative by USPS.


MCB will conduct its first Mini Adjustment Program Workshop of
2011, March 20-25, at the Causeway Bay Hotel in Lansing, with 43
MCB consumers expected to participate. Commission clients
attending the week-long Mini-Adjustment Program workshop are
introduced to a variety of skills of blindness, such as cane travel,
Braille, managing time and money, adaptive kitchen skills and other
skills to enhance independence.

In conjunction with the workshop, the Commission will also conduct
an Employment Readiness Seminar, March 24, for 15 rehab clients
who have advanced to the job-readiness stage of their rehabilitation
program. Consumers attending the seminars learn about various
approaches to job searching, Michigan Works!, the Talent Bank,
interview preparation and resume development. They also
participate in mock interviews and hear from local employers on their
workforce needs. Additionally, consumers receive information about

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social security benefits and work incentives, as well as information
about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it relates to
employment of persons with disabilities. Plans are underway to
conduct three additional Mini Adjustment Program and Employment
Readiness Seminars this year in Gladstone (near Escanaba), May 1-
6; Detroit, September 11-16; and in Gaylord, October 9-14.


U. S. Representative Edward J. Markey, author of the 21st Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act, has received the James
R. Olsen Award for Community Service from the American Council of
the Blind (ACB). Named after Jim Olsen, who first served as ACB’s
elected Treasurer and then employed by the Council for over 25
years, the award was created to recognize individuals or
organizations that have made significant contributions to the
advancement of opportunities for people who are blind and visually

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act,
authored by Rep. Markey and signed into law last year by President
Obama, is groundbreaking legislation that will make it easier for
individuals who are blind, deaf or both deaf and blind to access the
Internet, smartphones, television programming and other
communications and video technologies.

“I am honored to receive this award from the American Council of the
Blind, and I look forward to continuing my work to fight for equal
access to technology for all Americans,” said Rep. Markey upon
receiving the award. “Whether it’s a Braille reader or a broadband
connection, access to technology is not a political issue- it’s a
participation issue. Americans with disabilities need access to the
latest 21st century communications and video tools to compete in the
job market and engage in daily activities that increasingly rely on the
technology. I am proud that the 21st Century Communications and
Video Accessibility Act is now the law of the land, and I know we will
continue to make great strides so all individuals can more fully
participate in society.”

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The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
significantly increases accessibility for Americans with disabilities to
the indispensable telecommunications and video technology tools of
the 21st century by:

       Increasing access to the Web for Americans who are blind
        through improved user interfaces for smart phones
       Enabling Americans who are blind to enjoy TV more fully
        through audible descriptions of the on-screen action
       Making TV program guides and selection menus accessible
        to people with vision loss
       Providing Americans who are deaf the ability to watch new
        TV programs online with the captions included
       Mandating that remote controls have a button or similar
        mechanism to easily access the closed captioning on
        broadcast and pay TV
       Requiring that telecom equipment used to make calls over
        the Internet is compatible with hearing aids
       For low-income Americans who are both deaf and blind,
        providing a share of a total $10 million per year to purchase
        accessible Internet access and telecom services

“Representative Markey has played an instrumental roll over the last
four years in not just introducing the 21st Century Communications
and Video Accessibility Act, but leading the blind community through
some very difficult negotiations so that a landmark bill could be
signed in to law. We sincerely thank him for all of his efforts in
ensuring that the blind community will be able to gain access to
important information that is conveyed on television or through a
smart phone,” said Mitch Pomerantz, ACB President, who presented
the award to Rep. Markey, March 1, at a luncheon in Washington,


During this period of time, the Consumer Services Division have had
some time to initiate ideas to provide expanded programs for both VR
and ILOB, as well as YLV and transition. The division has been

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involved in programs with the Department of Education, Department
of Community Mental Health and employment activities.

MCB participated in a transition workshop during the month of
January. This transition workshop provided an opportunity to present
to transition coordinators statewide. This is an area that MCB
continues to work with the coordinators to improve transition
outcomes for individuals that are visually impaired and blind. At this
workshop, MCB hosted two breakout sessions where participants
were able to gain information regarding MCB’s programs and how
Training Coordinator’s can work cooperatively with MCB consumers.
Further, some staff attended a regional transition meeting where
information was shared regarding ways to improve transition activities
for individuals with disabilities. At this regional meeting, MCB was
able to connect with several staff, parent groups and coordinators of
transition programs within the intermediate school districts to begin
developing strategic plans to incorporate MCB’s initiative to enhance
transition opportunities for blind and visually impaired students
through collaborating with teacher consultants for the visually
impaired. A meeting is scheduled for March 26, 2011 where details
will be outlined regarding the goals and objectives for the
collaborative effort between the two entities. MCB will be attending
this meeting and will have an opportunity to share with the attendee’s
ways to increase transition activities for individuals that are blind and
visually impaired.

The Consumer Services Division through its participation with the
Department of Community Mental Health (CMH) and Michigan
Rehabilitation Services (MRS) have jointly planned several meetings
to increase CMH awareness of vocational rehabilitation services
provided by MCB and MRS. The primary goal of MCB’s participation
has been awareness of the agency’s services. One of the objectives
is to increase referrals from CMH for vocational opportunities leading
to employment. As a result of these meetings, CMH is more aware of
the types of services that MCB provides to persons who are blind and
visually impaired. The agency encouraged CMH to evaluate their
coding for secondary disabilities which may increase the number of
individuals referred to MCB for vocational training and employment.
Another opportunity that MCB will be working with CMH is the
Evidence Based Employment. This is a program that provides direct

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job placement as a result of the individual’s current skills and abilities.
The agency will be working closely with the CMH’s to increase
opportunities for individuals with visual impairments to obtain

The staff of the Consumer Services Division continues to seek
opportunities to work collaboratively with employers within the various
communities. At one of the managers’ meetings a presenter from
Lansing Community College shared with the manager’s information
regarding Information Technology Apprenticeship programs. The
apprenticeship program, provided through the college, places
individuals with an employer within the community where the
individual gains valuable experience as they continue with their
academic program. This program is eighteen months to two years
where the individual will receive a certificate of completion and/or
continue their education to receive an associate degree. Individuals
desiring to enroll in this program must be registered with LCC and
have completed one year of academic study. This is another
opportunity for MCB’s consumers to become involved in obtaining
skills that will lead to gainful and productive employment. MCB has
collaborated with its sister agency MRS in meeting our target of 2% of
individuals with severe disabilities to work for the federal government
at the Army Tank Command in Warren, Michigan. Currently,
applications are being screened based on the individual’s degree and
the ability to perform specific job duties. This opportunity is a result of
the East Region manager collaborating with the business service
representative from MRS. The staff was informed of this opportunity
to submit appropriate resumés of their consumers to the East Region
manager for consideration. The agency continues to forge ahead
with the internship program to provide valuable work experience
through several state agencies. Currently, there are seven additional
individuals being considered for placement in the internship program.
Two additional individuals are enrolled in on the job training programs
where they will be employed upon the completion of the on the job
training. The staff has been working with the intermediate school
districts where two transition students are receiving on the job work

MCB has begun to enter into discussions with BEP, Opportunities
Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) and intermediate school districts

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regarding summer transition programs. The agency is anticipating
supporting several transition programs during the summer of 2011.
Again this year, MCB is working with BEP to provide the Summer
Work Opportunity Program (SWOP) for transition youths to obtain
work experience and to become familiar with the food service
industry. The agency has had an informational meeting with
OUB/Camp T. Further discussion will be forthcoming regarding
specific program development and MCB’s participation. MCB will
provide its College Prep program at Western Michigan University for
seniors and graduates from high school. The summer transition
programs will provide individuals with information regarding soft skill
development as well as work experiences and job shadowing. The
agency is working to develop transition activities that will include a
summer program in Western Wayne County.

The Consumer Services Division would like to welcome Leon
Wilborn, administrative support in the Detroit office and Pat
Angerman, counselor in the Kalamazoo office to the MCB family.


New Volunteer

Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) is happy to announce that Donald
Bowman, former MCB Commissioner, began volunteering at BTBL in the past
few weeks. Don is covering the phone on Monday and Tuesday afternoons
after graciously rearranging his schedule. Don is also a skilled BARD user and
will coach patrons on an “on-call” basis from home.

Digital Deployment

Sixty-four percent of BTBL individual patrons now have a digital player. Of
those who do not yet have one, three percent have declined or returned their
digital player, preferring the cassette machine. BTBL is beginning to supply
institutions with up to five machines each and are pleased to report that digital
books accounted for 52 percent of circulation for the month of February. NLS
has ceased production of new titles on cassette, however, many older titles
have not yet been converted.

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January statistics show that 446 BTBL patrons and another 384 Michigan
subregional library patrons are using BARD to download books. That
equates to approximately seven percent of all active patrons in Michigan.
The 446 BTBL patrons downloaded 2,538 titles in January alone, which
averages 5.7 downloads each. The BARD site now has more than 20,000
book titles and 40 magazines. Scott Norris, Nancy Verburg and subregional
staff are training through NLS to take over local administration of BARD
service. All approvals and issues with registration will be handled locally in
the very near future. Scott and Nancy will serve as primary administrators
for six of the subregionals, and act as back up for the remaining two. Nancy
Verburg is working with all schools serving qualified students. She and
Scott are planning to hold teacher in-service trainings on downloading from

Computer Club

Computer Club continues to draw patrons to the library on a monthly
basis. Unless otherwise noted, Computer Club meets in the BTBL
Lobby on the first floor of the Library of Michigan from 10:30-12:30.
OPAL online meeting room allows individuals to attend from home
using text and/or microphone/speakers to chime in.

Book Club

Book Club meets in the same location, immediately following Computer Club
after a short lunch break. Patrons may attend either in person or over our OPAL
online meeting room, which can be accessed at:
Enter any user name you wish and leave password blank.

March's selection is DB/RC63131, BR16929, The Life and Times of
the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, read by Bill Bryson. A travel
humorist, he reminisces about growing up in 1950s middle America
recalling the simple pleasures of family life and teen culture under the
shadow of the Cold War.

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Recording Studio

The recording studio is back in service and two narrators are working on digital
projects. Staff hopes to be able to offer the first locally produced digital book in
the next few weeks. Wry Martinis by Christopher Buckley, DBL8258, narrated
by Keith Kurek, is currently in the edit and mark up phase of production.
Michigan’s Columbus: The Life of Douglas Houghton, by Steve Lehto,
DBL8258, narrated by Michael Donovan (2010 Michigan Notable Book) is also
in the edit stage.

Described Movies on DVD

The library has added about twenty DVD movies that include a narration option.
BTBL will continue to grow this collection with funding from the Library of
Michigan Foundation. Menu navigation is still an issue due to the lack of
standardization in the industry but circulation of described videos will continue
as long as there is a demand.

In Focus Newsletter

The winter issue of InFocus has been submitted for publication. The large print
version will be mailed out in early March. Braille versions will be sent to those
who have indicated Braille preference. PDF and text versions will be posted on
the BTBL web page.


Training Center Remodel

MCBTC staff meet bi-weekly with contractors, DELEG staff, and
DTMB Project Managers regarding the status of the Training Center
remodel. As of this date, everything is going according to schedule
and the tentative projected finish date for the project is October 28th
2011. The asbestos abatement is complete, much of the demolition
is completed and the HVAC contractor began well digging for the
Geo-Thermal HVAC System. The Thermal HVAC System requires
72 wells and to date 39 of the wells are done. The entire building has
been completely gutted and at this point it is hard to visualize what it
use to look like or will look like in the future. The floors are being torn

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up for new sewer pipes and the ceilings have been torn down.
Imagination, floor plans and a few pieces of new ductwork are the
only traces of what the future will bring to the building.

The project managers, however, do have a definite vision and are
staying on task. Color swatches, flooring samples and office modular
designs have been presented. There are also plans for audio visual
components and a hearing looping system for Deaf/Blind students.
The Training Center staff is also gearing up to provide training for
Apple computer products because of their exceptional accessibility
for blind and low-vision users. In addition, in-service training for the
Apple equipment will be provided to staff so student training can
begin when the new Technology Center is opened.

Vocational Exploration and Career Planning Class

MCBTC is expanding and enhancing the “World of Work” class. The
significant upgrade has warranted a new name for the class. This
class is now called the “Vocational Exploration and Career Planning”
class (VECP). It is a 2 track career exploration and job readiness
training course.

The first track will assist students not only in the choice of academic
and career direction, but also in the development of individual identity
and purpose. Work can give life meaning, it often defines people,
and how individuals live. Because the right job can add enrichment to
life, it is important to find work that matches interests, abilities, skills,
qualifications and aptitudes. The course will assist students in
matching their traits and abilities through vocational exploration. The
class will cover: Aptitude Testing that will measure the basic
academic skills of reading, spelling and mathematical computation
necessary for effective learning, communication and thinking;
Interest Assessment which helps an individual learn the most about
themselves in relation to the wide variety of occupations available;
Self Directed Search that provides individualized career matching
using a battery of self assessment tools where an individual begins to
clarify his/her goals, assess strengths and weaknesses and explore
alternatives and new possibilities; Career Exploration and Planning
by assisting clients based on the information above to assess job
interest via the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational

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Information Network, Career One Stop, Job Profiles, New Guide for
Occupational Exploration, Job Shadowing and Informational
Interviewing. Also covered in this class will be Job Searches,
Networking, and Resume, Cover Letter and Application/Application
Data Sheet writing.

The 2nd track is for those individuals with no employment experience
and/or no demonstrated work skills or for individuals with cognitive,
physical or other limitations. This segment will provide Evaluation
and Assessment including Occupational Therapy Evaluation;
Situational Work Assessment; Interest Assessment; Career
Exploration; Job Readiness Training; and Job Seeking Skills Training.

This program has already provided great resources to TC students
since the Training Center reopened in January. Many students were
introducted to resources available in the library for career exploration
and job search at the Kalamazoo Public Library and this service will
be an ongoing part of the VECP Class. In addition, there have been
actual work experiences for students as a Dishwasher at Denny’s
Restaurant and a Janitor at MCBTC Maintenance Department. Many
informational interviews and job shadows have been provided
including: Investigator at Kalamazoo Public Safety Department,
Criminal Investigations Division; Hearing Impaired Teacher at
Woodland Elementary School; Child Protective Service Worker at
Michigan Department of Human Services; Sports Psychologist with
Dr. Thomas George, Ph. D. at University of Michigan; Pre-School
Teacher/Childcare Worker at Curious Kids – Portage Public Schools
Teacher Assistant/Childcare Worker; Hearing Impaired Teacher at
Portage Public Schools/Portage Central High School; Self-
Employment/Small Business Owner with Dykstra’s Appliance Service
Inc; and Teacher Assistant/Childcare Worker for 3 year old/4 year
olds at Curious Kids Pre-school Program.
MCBTC is in the process of acquiring some accessible work
sample tools to be used in the VECP class that are designed to
elicit information on several work-related characteristics,
including the ability to follow instructions, stamina, motivation,
concentration skills, ability to follow instructions, frustration
tolerance, communication skills, decision-making skills, and self-
confidence. A special recognition should go to Wendy VanElk

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who did a great job with the initial World of Work class and to
Karen Devera who has worked diligently to expand and upgrade
this course.

Training Center Personnel

MCBTC has two new hires. Katie Irish is the new Domestic Service
Aide and Marie Knapp is a new Support Services staff. Both are
doing a great job and are a great asset to the Training center. The
Training Center also has three individuals that have changed
positions. Corda Moss is now a Departmental Analyst and will be
working on automating the Centers client tracking capabilities. Karen
Devera is now a Rehabilitation Teacher and teaching the Vocational
Exploration and Career Planning class. Ian Shadrick is providing
counseling as well as technology instruction. MCBTC has also been
given the green light to hire two Orientation and Mobility Teachers
and two Rehabilitation Teachers to fill the vacancies from recent
retirements. Those positions have been posted and the plan is to fill
them as soon as possible.


MCB continues to expend American Reinvestment and Recovery
(ARRA) funding. Some of the projects established to improve MCB's
ability to serve clients are: the hiring of 3 job developers; several
student assistants who are gaining valuable work experience to assist
them in their career search; the provision of teacher kits to more
easily and efficiently identify Independent Living (I L) consumers’
needs for assistive devices; expansion of statewide training for staff
and commissioners; projects with Native American health clinics to
promote I L services, clinic staff and provide vision screenings;
assistive technology training at senior center sites; provision of low
vision evaluations, assessments and assistive devices not otherwise
available; construction and establishment of an expanded
Technology Center focusing on accessible employment related
technology; and provision of assistive and ergonomic technology for
older blind clients to access equipment, devices and software at the
Commission’s newly expanded Technology Center

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MCB Report

Agency staff has begun work on the DE LEG 2011 COSO Control
Environment Survey. Using the COSO framework, managerial staff
conducts internal control evaluations by analyzing the environment
and processes by which the agency pursues its primary business
objectives. Each Agency in DE LEG is participating in the process.
Materials submitted for review by the Office of Audit & Financial
Compliance will be compiled in a report to be presented to the
Governor on May 1, 2011.

In addition, the Office of the Auditor General (O A G) has commenced
its biennial single audit review of the Commission’s I T systems and
the Vocational Rehabilitation Program for fiscal years 2009 and 2010.
The O A G has already conducted interviews with program staff. At
present, they are identifying and collecting documentation required
for the review.

Administrative Staff continue to work to refine both B E P System 7
and V R System 7. After an absence of several years, B E P
licensees can once again place bids on available facilities via
telephony, and until a final determination is made by the courts
regarding the 3% retirement health care contribution, set-aside fee
bills reflect the required contribution. And, System 7 will be expanded
to include the Training Center and staff is embarking on developing a
System 7 component to schedule and document consumer activities
while they are at the Center.

Consumer Involvement Council Update

The MCB Consumer Involvement Council met on January 18 and
welcomed new member Fred Wurtzel (NFB of Michigan). The group
also elected Crystal Gorton to continue as chairperson, and Phyllis
Magbanua is the new vice chairperson. Other current members are
Mae Kent (MCBVI alternate), Georgia Kitchen, Wayne LePiors, Sarah
Norwood (NFB of Michigan), Lydia Schuck (Parents of Blind Children,
NFB of Michigan), and Geer Wilcox (NFB of Michigan alternate).
MCB staff include Susan Turney as CIC liaison and Carrie Martin as
CIC secretary. Since the last meeting, Clara Powell has joined the
group as a senior representative. There are three vacant seats on
the CIC: a current VR client, another parent representative, and a
CIL representative.

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MCB Report

Shannon McVoy gave a presentation on the draft MCB Small
Business Policy. Several suggestions for changes were discussed.
The draft policy will be presented to the commission board by the CIC
Chairperson at the March meeting as a policy recommendation.

Lydia Schuck informed the group that Geer Wilcox received the John
Mullen award for outstanding contributions to NFB of Michigan.

Questions regarding the MCB Training Center were discussed, and it
was suggested that MCBTC Director Sherri Heibeck could be a guest
at the next CIC meeting, and/or a future meeting could be held at the
temporary location of the training center.

Future meetings are scheduled for May 12 and September 8 in 2011,
and January 12, 2012. All three meetings are currently scheduled for
9:00 a.m. to noon in Lansing, but one of the meetings may be
relocated to Kalamazoo if there is space at the MCBTC’s temporary

Communications & Outreach Update

Several media outlets did stories on the December 10 MCB
Achievement Honor Roll Awards presentation. Three Lansing TV
channels (6, 10, and 47) aired stories on consumer award recipient
Jeff Smith, formerly of Owosso. In addition, the Owosso Argus-Press
and the Flint Journal published stories on Jeff Smith, and the
Traverse City Record-Eagle noted that Bill Jones of Bellaire had
received the award. The press articles are posted online with links on
the Press Room page of the MCB website (

In late December, MCB State Director Pat Cannon and Consumer
Services Director Leamon Jones were interviewed in Lansing by
DSE-TV President Ann Bratsburg regarding MCB’s mission and array
of services. DSE-TV is a Muskegon local cable TV station and multi-
media organization broadcasting on Comcast channel 97,, and YOUTUBE CH-dsetvmuskegon. The program
is expected to be re-broadcast in the future and posted online.

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MCB Report

Pat Cannon was invited to share the podium with optometrist Dr.
Sarah Hinkley during her presentation titled “Low Vision
Rehabilitation Through the Lens of Primary Care,” presented at the
Michigan Optometric Association’s annual Winter Seminar of
continuing education on February 9. This is the first time that an
MCB director has been invited to participate as a presenter at this
event, which has been strictly limited to technical presentations within
the field of optometry. Although Director Cannon was unable to
participate in person on that day, he prepared a video message on
the important role of eye care professionals in referring their patients
to MCB for rehabilitation services. Dr. Hinkley spoke about the
importance and relevance of low vision rehabilitation in a primary
care optometry setting, and the DVD was played as a part of her
presentation. Dr. Hinkley received many favorable comments from
the seminar participants, and since then MCB has received phone
calls from optometrists requesting MCB publications to distribute to
their patients.

MCB Communications and Outreach Coordinator Susan Turney met
with the executive director of the Michigan Society of Eye Physicians
and Surgeons (MiSEPS) to discuss opportunities for collaboration
during 2011.

The MCB 2010 Annual Report has been posted on the MCB website
in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. It is currently being printed and
distributed. This year’s report includes highlights of MCB’s FY 2010
accomplishments, information on the high return on investment for
dollars spent on rehabilitation, statistics on how new clients hear
about MCB and are referred to the agency, and the photos and
stories of the six 2010 consumer Achievement Honor Roll Award
recipients. The cover photo features 2010 Achievement Honor Roll
Award recipient Steve Scott of Portage repairing a snow blower in his
store. Steve is a former consumer of West Region Assistant
Manager Lisa Kisiel, and he’s the owner of Something for All
Seasons, a lawn mower and snow blower sales and repair store.
There’s also a photo in the report of Hope Springstead (a former
consumer of Lansing Rehabilitation Counselor Nichole Wright). Hope
has just graduated from MSU with a degree in journalism and wants
to become the first blind news anchor in the U.S.

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MCB Report

Print copies of the 2010 MCB Annual Report will be mailed to
approximately 3,000 individuals and organizations.

MCB is continuing to post information on its services in print and
online community service directories and to send MCB publications to
eye care professionals, Michigan Secretary of State offices, health
care professionals, community service organizations, and individuals
upon request.

MCB Website Highlight—Resources page

The Resources page of the MCB website has an array of resources
related to blindness and visual impairment. To reach this page from
the home page at, click on Resources in the
main menu.

The Resources page is divided into three sections. From top to
bottom, the sections are titled Publications, Organizations, and Other

The Publications section has MCB publications in PDF and Microsoft
Word formats, and the smaller publications also have audio links.
(Currently, state of Michigan websites have the capacity for audio
files of up to about nine minutes.)

Information is included on how to request additional formats of MCB
publications. MCB publications include the annual reports, the main
Welcome to MCB brochure in English, Spanish, and Arabic, the
Business Services brochure for employers, the Independent Living
Program brochure, the Youth Services brochure, the MCB Policy
Manual, and others. There’s also a link to publications of several
other organizations, including information from the U.S. Postal
Service on mailing free matter for the blind and a brochure titled
Protection and Advocacy for Voter Access published by Michigan
Protection and Advocacy Service (MPAS).

In the Organizations section, there are two links. The first link is titled
Michigan and Local Organizations & Services, and includes links to
websites of consumer organizations such as the Michigan Council of
the Blind and Visually Impaired and the National Federation of the

3/7/2011                                                                 22
MCB Report

Blind of Michigan, as well as organizations for parents of blind
children, radio reading services, library services, recreational
opportunities, services for seniors, and professional blind
rehabilitation organizations. Below the Michigan link is a
corresponding link to a list of National Organizations, including the
American Council of the Blind, American Printing House for the Blind,
Leader Dogs for the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, and

The section titled Other Resources includes these links, in
alphabetical order:
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Senior Site, Braille
Transcribing and Equipment Repair Services, Careers in Blind
Rehabilitation (information on university programs in Michigan),
Computer Consultants, Eye Doctors (linking to the websites of the
Michigan Optometric Association and the Michigan Society of Eye
Physicians and Surgeons), MCB Vision 2020 Listserv (how to
subscribe), Michigan Assistive Technology Loan Fund, Michigan
Disability Resources Website, Michigan Telework Loan Fund, NFB
Newsline, Orientation and Mobility Instructors, Public Act 260 of 1978
(establishing the Michigan Commission for the Blind), Scholarships
and Grants for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (on the
AFB website), and Technology Related to Blindness and Visual

The final link on the Resources page is titled Information for MCB
Staff. This is a group of documents used mainly by MCB staff.
Everything here is public information, and most of these documents
can be found elsewhere on the MCB website.

For suggestions on additional resources to include on the MCB
website, contact MCB Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Susan Turney at


Between October and December, fifteen MCB employees retired as
part of the Governor’s incentive plan. Those people were:

            Sue Anderson

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MCB Report

              Rosalind Byers-Lang
              Lori Curtis
              Wendy Flournoy
              Dave Greenwald
              Bernie Kramer
              Nancy Lapekas
              Betty Lujan-Roberts
              Aliyamma Lukose
              John McEntee
              Claudette Peatross
              Sally Postal
              Bob Savage
              Judy Terwilliger
              Barb Wile

Steps are being taken to fill as many of these positions as possible.
Unless there is an exception, agencies are being allowed to fill one
vacancy for every two created by the retirement. Exceptions have
been granted to fill the six Rehab Teachers on a 1:1 basis.

Since the last MCB report, several new hires have joined the
Michigan Commission for the Blind. They are:

            Pat Angerman, Rehabilitation Counselor, Kalamazoo
            Elsie Duell, Administrative Services Manager, Central
             Office, Lansing
            Marie Knapp, Rehabilitation Services Coordinator,
            Katie Irish, Domestic Services Aide, MCBTC
            Leon Wilborn, Secretary, Detroit Regional

In addition to the new hires, Corda Moss is now a Departmental
Analyst at the Training Center and Karen Devera has moved from a
Rehabilitation Counselor position to a Rehabilitation Teacher position
at the Center.

3/7/2011                                                                24
MCB Report

Also, a couple of new student assistants have started at the Braille
and Talking Book Library – Samantha Blankenship and Felecia


A program called Race and Culture in Rehabilitation Services was
presented on December 13 in Lansing. Unfortunately, a severe winter
storm prior to that date resulted in only about half of the scheduled
participants being able to make it. The presenter, Dr. John Lee from
Michigan State University, has agreed to do a repeat presentation for
those who missed the last one. That information will be shared with
all staff as soon as Dr. Lee is able to find time on his busy schedule.
The feedback from those in attendance was overwhelmingly positive.
In fact, at least a couple people said it was the best session they’ve
ever attended on race and culture.

The Blindness Training Group continues to meet to discuss new
ideas for staff training. Several suggestions have come from this
committee as well as the Consumer Involvement Council (CIC).
Some of those suggestions have already been initiated. For example,
it was suggested by the CIC that the Training Center incorporate a
low vision component to the new employee orientation. The staff at
the Center have implemented the idea and that information will be
discussed further at the next Blindness Training Group meeting on
March 22. It has also been reinforced that new hires are not to
participate in the new employee orientation at the Center until at least
their third week on the job. Another suggestion that will be
implemented very soon is to have all new staff meet with the
Presidents of the two major consumer organizations to learn more
about those groups. That will be a regular item on the new employee
orientation list. The Blindness Training Group will also be coming up
with a survey of staff who have recently gone through the orientation
at the Center to gain their input, ideas, and suggestions on how to
improve it as well as the new staff orientation process in general.
Several other ideas have been generated by this group that will be
looked at and addressed in the near future.

The annual MAER Conference is scheduled for April 14-15 in Livonia.
About eight MCB staff are expected to attend. The agenda for the

3/7/2011                                                               25
MCB Report

conference covers a wide range of topics including a session on
assistive technology.

Other in-service training programs being considered or already
scheduled for the coming months are a follow-up session on the
Motivational Interviewing training that occurred last summer for
counselors and teachers from the TACE Center, a CRC ethics
program being presented by the Job Placement and Development
Division of the Michigan Rehabilitation Association, and a safe driving
program with the Michigan State Police.


As noted above, a program has been scheduled with the State Police
to provide safe driving instruction for staff and drivers. The program is
scheduled for April 1 and has three components. About ten people
will participate in a 3-hour lecture program only on defensive driving,
seat belt use, and winter driving. About five more will sit in on the 3-
hour lecture and then participate in a driving simulator program.
Finally, about 15 people will attend one hour of lecture and spend the
rest of the day on the road track actually driving a car through a
variety of safe driving exercises with a State Police trainer in the car.
This “Train Like a Trooper” program will give the hands-on
experience in a number of areas such as controlled braking, evasive
maneuvering, and others. Future sessions will be planned for other
staff unable to participate on this date.

Another recommendation from the Safety Team that is being
implemented is the purchase of “car safety kits” for all state vehicles.
These kits will include items such as a flashlight, reflective triangles,
and Life Hammers. Many of these recommendations came from the
safety consultant at DTMB who has been working closely with the
MCB Safety Team. A brief orientation in the proper use of some of
this equipment and other roadside situation procedures will be
planned for staff in the near future.

Other items on the Safety Team’s radar include training on blood
borne pathogens, emergency evacuation procedures in all state
offices, and identification of safety monitors in each office.

3/7/2011                                                                26
MCB Report


Staff Updates

BEP is pleased to announce that effective March 7, 2011, Constance
Zanger has returned to her position as the BEP Manager. Staff have
missed her expertise and are thankful for her return.


In mid-February, 2011, the nine students who were participating in
the BEP VST completed the On the Job Experience in both a vending
location and a snack bar facility. Each of the students performed well
and was placed on the Potential Licensee list. As of this date, four of
the students have successfully bid on and been awarded facilities
and inventories should be conducted soon. Staff would like to
congratulate each of them on the successful completion of training
and look forward to working with them as they move forward in their
BEP careers.

Presently, there are 4 students projected to participate in the BEP
VST Spring 2011 class. As some of these students are still
completing some of their prerequisites, there is not yet a projected
start date for the class, however, it will begin in April, 2011. As the
vacancy of the BEP Trainer has yet to be filled, BEP staff are working
on alternative methods to conduct the training including detailing one
staff person to the task or enlisting the services of a third party


In the last report, BEP announced that there were still many
vacancies in facilities caused by the early retirement of BEP
Licensees. At the current time, there are 8 facilities that are available
on the bid line, 3 facilities that are not currently available because of
pending hearings regarding contested bids, and 2 facilities that have
been removed from the bid line pending renovations that are currently
closed. It is hoped that with the new Potential Licensees, half of

3/7/2011                                                              27
MCB Report

these vacancies will be filled in the coming months. Additionally, the
Commission looks forward to working with the EOC to evaluate each
of our locations and to determine what, if any, changes should take
place in each location in order to maximize earning potential for

The Commission was notified by the U.S. Coast Guard that despite
actively pursuing direct negotiations, a full food service contract could
not be reached for services at the USCG Station in Sault St. Marie.
While disappointed at the outcome, Commission staff could not agree
to the pricing required by the government and would not commit to a
contract that did not give a licensee an adequate possibility to be
successful in operations.

Plans to renovate the Grand Tower facility have been put on hold with
the appointment of a new Director of the Department of Human
Services. While it had been previously agreed upon, DHS is no
longer willing to relinquish its space adjacent to the facility until a
complete review of plans has been conducted by the new Director.
This information has been forwarded and staff await a response.


Commission Staff and the chair of the EOC Highways sub-committee
met with officials from MDOT and the State Police to discuss
Operation CARE scheduled to occur each of the three holiday
weekends at the Rest Areas. Previous concerns, including non-
permitted groups and competing food products were discussed.
MDOT and MSP were receptive and responsive to Commission
concerns and have taken steps to require permits to be approved two
weeks prior to the holiday so that proper notice can be given to the
operator of the location, CARE volunteers must wear vests in order to
better identify them, and groups that violate their permit will be
sanctioned more severely including a possible one year ban on
participation. Additionally, the number of participants has dropped
significantly in the past few years from 35 to 20 last year. With a
reduced number of operations and better monitoring, it is believed
that these events will cause less impact on the revenues at our

3/7/2011                                                               28
MCB Report

MDOT is in the process of bidding out the maintenance of each of its
Rest Areas in the coming months. Staff will monitor this as
relationships between licensees and building maintenance staff is
critical in building a strong business on the roadsides.

Sagebrush Conference

Acting Program Manager James Hull and Promotional Agent Joe
Pelle participated in the RSVA Sagebrush Conference held Feb 6-11,
2011. Highlights of the conference included discussions about
modernizing the BEP, a round table discussion with other state
Administrators, dialogue with RSA Commissioner Rutledge, and an
introduction to the new RSA Randolph Sheppard Manager Dan Fry.
One of the biggest concerns nationally for BEP is the aging of the
program and the inability of programs to bring younger licensees into
it with so many other career paths now available to them. This
discussion centered on the concept of making BEP into a true
entrepreneurial program and encouraging licensees to use BEP as a
stepping stone to build and develop skills that would help them move
into the private sector. Many states expressed concerns about
finding qualified candidates; however, in Michigan BEP graduated 12
students in the past 12 months, more than twice that of any other

EOC Relations

The Agency and EOC have continued to participate in an Ad Hoc
committee in order to discuss issues and concerns and develop
positive and creative solutions. The groups have had two meetings in
the past two months. Discussions have revolved around the role of
the Agency and the kinds and level of support the Licensees are
wanting and needing from the Agency. Roles have been clarified and
specific action items have been established that are being worked
into the day to day activities of Commission staff. The next meeting,
scheduled for March 25, is going to discuss the role Promotional
Agents have in monitoring of Licensees and methods that can be
employed to successfully complete this requirement while still
allowing for independent business for operators.

3/7/2011                                                           29
MCB Report

The EOC has met several times and has presented several issues to
the agency for consideration. The biggest concern of operators and
agency staff is facilitating repairs in a timely manner. While the issue
has been identified, a clear solution has not. Commission staff has
met with the Locations and Repairs sub-committee chair in order to
discuss proposed methods to be more responsive to operator needs
in this area and it is hoped that systems put into place from that
meeting will begin to relieve strains in this area. Another concern that
has been presented is the Operators participation in the 3% Health
Care Trust Fund contribution. In October, 2010, as a part of the early
retirement legislation, all participants in the state retirement were
required to contribute 3% of their gross compensation into a fund to
cover retiree’s health care costs. After consultation with the Office of
Retirement Services, it was determined that Operators would need to
participate in the contribution as the legislation required all state
retirement participants to contribute. At the recommendation of the
EOC, Agency staff asked RSA if this payment could be made out of
the Set Aside Fund, but were told that this is not an allowable
expenditure of the fund. In February, the Civil Service Commission
voted that this was not a legal requirement for NERE’s and as
Licensees do not participate in a union it was determined that this
ruling would apply to them as well. Administration officials
determined that they would continue to collect the funds until a ruling
was made by the courts. In late February, Ingham County Circuit
Court determined that this was not a legal requirement and ordered
that the collection of funds cease. The state has appealed that
decision and will continue to collect the funds until a later ruling is

3/7/2011                                                              30

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