All posts by Steve Cook

Positive Note 1644

February 14, 2018

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1644

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I hope to see many of you at the third annual Sweetheart Dance which will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind on Saturday, February 17, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.  The evening promises to be a fun and enjoyable experience with a professionally catered dinner, door prizes, music and dancing.  Tickets to this event will only be $25 for an individual and $45 per couple.  Please make checks payable to the NFB of SC and please note the memo line for Sweethearts Dance.  You can purchase your tickets for the dance at the door Saturday evening, however, if you are planning to do this, we ask that you contact David Houck at (803) 254-3777 prior to the event to confirm your reservation.  Please contact Jennifer Bazer at 803-661-6622 or jhipp25@sc.rr.com if you would like to contribute a door prize.   If you have any questions regarding this fundraising event, please contact Debra Canty, NFB of SC fundraising Chairperson, at 803-775-5792 or via email at debra.canty@frontier.com. Remember, this is a fund raiser for the NFB of SC so let’s have a great turnout this Saturday evening.

We have an announcement from Shelley Coppel, President of the NFB of SC Seniors division.  “Since the inclement weather prevented some chapters and individuals from attending the Statewide Seminar on January 6, the Seniors division drawing for the power air-fryer XL, and a $50 Visa gift card will be held some time during the Sweetheart Dance.  If you have money or ticket stubs, please bring them with you to the dance Saturday evening.  Thank you and good luck!”

We have an important announcement from Steve Cook, President of the Computer Science and Technology division.  “The Computer Science & Technology Division needs your assistance!  Our website www.nfbofsc.org is for everyone to use.  We can use this for recruiting new members, posting upcoming events pertaining to your chapter or division, election results, updated contact information, newsletters, material designed especially for your chapter, applications, etc.  Please contact Steve Cook at (803) 254-0222 or cookcafe@sc.rr.com to have information posted on our website.  Let’s all work together to keep each other well informed!  (Please note: if you would like to send any photos to go along with your information, please identify each and describe the photo with any relevant names, places, or events.)  Thank you for your participation.”

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

Today is Valentine’s Day, the one day of the year when we demonstrate our appreciation to those we love.  In elementary schools across the country children are exchanging Valentines cards with each other along with those candy hearts that have sayings like, “Be mine” on them.  Young people and adults show their love for each other by giving flowers, candy or by going out to dinner.  Throughout the Federation similar things are going on today as well.  However, we as federationists demonstrate our love for each other in many ways.  Locally in chapters statewide the blind in our communities reach out in service to our fellow blind by planning activities, programs and opportunities for learning and leadership for their fellow blind, offering independence, productivity and fellowship.  This Saturday the Federation Center of the Blind is hosting a Sweetheart Dance for the NFB of SC as a fundraiser, providing a romantic evening for federationists to have a fine dinner, dancing, door prizes and fellowship.  The Federation Center also offers adaptive computer training for the blind and Successful Transitions provides for blind high school students preparing to go to college or to enter the work force.  Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind  shows its love for the blind statewide with annual fishing expeditions, camps for the senior blind, camps for blind children, the Labor Day Fun Day weekend fundraiser, Christmas board retreats and many opportunities to visit and enjoy the pristine mountainous atmosphere.  The NFB of SC shares its love for blind South Carolinians by passing 44 pieces of legislation through the General Assembly affecting all the state’s blind whether or not they are federationists.  This is also true with the annual Washington Seminar concerning federal legislation affecting the blind nationally.  Our NFB of SC Statewide Seminars, Leadership Seminars and state conventions, not to mention statewide divisions, scholarships and awards are designed to recognize the accomplishments and challenges faced by the blind continuously.  Nationally, the NFB offers much support, programs and conventions, etc. which give back to the nation’s blind, enriching all of our lives.  As you can see, Valentine’s Day is demonstrated not just today as we show our love for each other but it is demonstrated every day by our federation growth, philosophy and outreach to all the blind.

 

Final Thought:   The 2017 hurricane season devastated areas from Texas to Florida and from Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands.  A common theme from those who lost everything was, “Tough times don’t last but tough people do.”

Positive Note 1643

February 7, 2018

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1643

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

As I wrote in last week’s Positive Note, I was very proud to have fifteen individuals from the NFB of SC attend the 2018 Washington Seminar.  I was especially impressed with the four students from our Successful Transitions program who accompanied our delegation and who participated fully in all of the activities in Washington D.C.  The students were Taivon Hardy, from Orangeburg, Wallace Stuckey, from Columbia, Matthew Duffle Hoffman, from Lancaster, and Chase Hanna, from Spartanburg.  It was very evident these four young men did their homework as they were very knowledgeable of this year’s legislative agenda and actively participated in our discussions with our Congressional delegation.    I hope that this experience will foster on-going participation with the NFB of SC.

We have an announcement from Debra Canty, Chairperson of the NFB of SC fund raising committee, regarding this year’s Sweetheart Dance which will be held on Saturday evening, February 17.  “Mega thanks to all of you who have made your $25 or $45 donation towards the Sweethearts Dance tickets. Instead of actual tickets, there will be a list at the door for admittance. Also, thanks to those who have donated the give-a-ways for the dance. Please continue to secure your tickets and the give-a-ways as well.”

We also have an announcement from Shelley Coppel, President of the NFB of SC Seniors division.  “Since the inclement weather prevented some chapters and individuals from attending the Statewide Seminar, the Seniors division drawing for the power air-fryer XL, and a $50 Visa gift card will be held some time during the Sweetheart Dance.  If you have money or ticket stubs, please mail them to me at Shelley Coppel, 847 Jefferson st., West Columbia, SC 29169 prior to February 17.  Thank you and good luck!”

On Saturday, March 17,2018 the NFB of SC will host a Leadership Seminar at the Federation Center of the Blind from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Lunch will be provided.  All members are encouraged to attend and there will be no charge for the seminar.  Come and learn about the history of the NFB and NFB of SC, your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, Social Security benefits, and any general chapter issues you would like to discuss.  Since the inclement weather prevented some chapters from attending the Statewide Seminar, the Orlando bus ticket drawing will be held on March 17 at the Leadership Seminar.  As of this date we have only sold approximately 2,000 tickets, so let’s do all that we can to sell more tickets!

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

We are delighted to spotlight Jennifer Bazer who has worked hard to be of service to her fellow blind and others.  She has a very bright future as she already is providing outstanding service to Rocky Bottom, the NFB of SC and NFB both locally and nationally.    Jennifer Bazer was born and raised in West Columbia, SC. She attended Lexington District Two public schools. She graduated from Winthrop University Cumm laude in Psychology and Spanish and then went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from the University of South Carolina.  She began her career at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind as the counselor at the Ellen Beach Mac Rehabilitation Center where she conducted individual and group counseling for newly blinded adults. Jennifer held other positions at SCCB including training individuals to be blood donation recruiters for the American Red Cross all over the U.S.  In 2004, she moved to St. Petersburg, Florida to pursue employment at Freedom Scientific as a multiuser sales representative. During that job opportunity, she attended NFB national conventions representing Freedom Scientific in the exhibit hall as well as attending the general sessions as an NFB member; however, her NFB affiliation began in the Student Division over 25 years ago.  Jennifer returned to Columbia in 2007 to become an Employment Consultant for SCCB developing and finding jobs for people who are blind. She married Jeff Bazer in November of 2008. They have two children; Cade 8 and Kaylin 4 and a half. “Being a single parent is the hardest thing I do on a daily basis, but I serve a Mighty God who provides for me and the children every day,” says Jennifer. Although Jeff and Jennifer divorced in September of 2017, both Jennifer and Jeff are active in the NFB and co-parenting their two young children.  In 2014, Jennifer was the voice of all blind South Carolinians speaking out and helping pass the Blind Persons’ Right to Parent Act. She serves on the board of the Columbia chapter as well as the Rocky Bottom Board. She loves directing Children’s Camp at Rocky Bottom one week out of the summer. Later in February, she will attend the Leadership Seminar at the national headquarters in Baltimore. She currently is the Director of the NFB of SC Successful Transitions raising expectations of youth who are blind by providing self-advocacy, career readiness, work-based learning experiences and college exploration. Jennifer attends Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in West Columbia where she is involved in mission work. Mt. Hebron has also supported numerous trips to Rocky Bottom performing general maintenance, painting, pool restoration and much more. Jennifer believes in JOY: Jesus, Others and Yourself, and is passionate about helping people who are blind. She actively participates in the NFB locally, statewide and nationally. “I am living the life I want as a child of God, a mom, a sister, an aunt, a daughter and a member of the NFB family!”

 

Final Thought:  “The reason you can’t hear a dog whistle is because dogs can’t whistle!”

Positive Note 1642

January 31, 2018

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1642

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Hello from our Nation’s capital where I along with more than five hundred Federationists representing 52 affiliates of the NFB gathered this week for the purpose of descending on Capitol Hill to discuss with their congressional delegation the legislative agenda of the nation’s blind.  The 2018 Washington Seminar officially began Monday, January 29, at 5:00 p.m. with the “Great Gathering In” meeting.  President Riccobono conducted the meeting and there were other Federation officials present informing participants on various NFB activities which will be occurring during 2018.  Tuesday, January 30, was a very busy day for the South Carolina delegation as we met with our congressional delegation at various times throughout the day.  Tuesday evening a reception hosted by the National Federation of the Blind was held from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Newseum which celebrated our partnership with John Olson, cofounder of 3D Photo Works, to promote greater accessibility in museums and to honor the sacrifices of the Marines that fought in the Tet Offensive which occurred during the Vietnam War.  I was extremely proud to have fifteen members of our affiliate who attend this year’s Washington Seminar.  The delegation consisted of Frank and Shelley Coppel, Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor, Debra Canty, Dianne Singleton, Linda Dizzley, and six individuals from our Successful Transitions program (Taivon Hardy, Wallace Stuckey, Matthew Duffle Hoffman, Chase Hanna, Pam Schexnider, Wayne Smith, and Jennifer Bazer).  The work we did on Capitol Hill This week lays the ground work for passage of the four legislative initiatives which are outlined below.  All of us need to continue to contact our Congressmen and Senators throughout the year to ensure passage of these four legislative initiatives.

  1. The Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (Aim High) Act

Electronic instructional materials have replaced traditional methods of learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority of ebooks, courseware, web content, and other technologies are inaccessible to students with print disabilities. The law requires equal access in the classroom but fails to provide direction to schools for the way it applies to technology. The Aim High Act creates voluntary accessibility guidelines for educational technology to stimulate the market, improve blind students’ access to course materials, and reduce litigation for schools.

  1. The Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA)

Currently, blind Americans rely on scarce sources of funding to acquire access technology. By providing a refundable tax credit for qualifying access technology purchases, Congress will stimulate individual procurement of access technology and promote affordability of these tools for blind Americans.

  1. Opposition to the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017” (H.R. 620)

The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 would undermine the ADA by significantly eroding equal access protections and progress made over nearly three decades.

  1. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled

Despite the ability to convert print books into accessible formats like Braille, large print, audio, and digital copies, millions of blind and otherwise print-disabled Americans are excluded from accessing 95 percent of published works. The Marrakesh Treaty will enable the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies, thereby vastly expanding the availability of accessible foreign language literature to blind and otherwise print disabled Americans.

Do not forget to purchase your tickets to attend the third annual Sweetheart dance sponsored by the NFB of SC which will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Federation Center of the Blind from 5:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.  The evening promises to be a fun and enjoyable experience with a professionally catered dinner, door prizes, music and dancing.  Tickets to this event will only be $25 for an individual and $45 per couple.  Please make checks payable to NFB of SC and mail to:  NFB of SC, C/O David Houck, 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205.

Please note the memo line for Sweethearts Dance. Please include an address so that tickets can be mailed once payment has been received. Deadline to purchase tickets is Tuesday, February 6, 2018.  Please contact Jennifer Bazer at 803-661-6622 or jhipp25@sc.rr.com if you would like to contribute a door prize.   If you have any questions regarding this fundraising event, please contact Debra Canty, NFB of SC Fundraising Chairperson, at 803-775-5792 or via email at debra.canty@frontier.com.

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

In this week’s spotlight we are featuring the only remaining charter member of the NFB of SC who was present when it was established in 1944 which is Ruth Weeks of Spartanburg.  Although she is currently 98, we did feature her back in early 2009.  For the benefit of Positive Note readers we are reprinting the 2009 spotlight:

“A very special lady, Ruth Weeks of Spartanburg, truly deserves to be in the “spotlight.”  Ruth will celebrate her 90th birthday in July.  Born in Kershaw, most of her life was spent in Spartanburg.  At age seven in 1926, Ruth enrolled in the School for the Blind.  Herbert Hoover was President and she remembers the 1929 Great Depression.  At School Ruth was recognized for her singing talents.  To the best of my knowledge Ruth is the only living charter member of the Federation, then known as the Aurora Club.  She was present in 1944 when our founder, Dr. Sam Lawton arranged for the first gathering of the blind in Spartanburg.  In the 1920’s and 1930’s when Ruth was in School, there were no televisions, computers, cell phones, microwave ovens, or stereo technology but there was one very valuable program featuring Braille literacy.  When Ruth entered the School in 1926, there were not many automobiles on the road except for the Model T Ford which many of us remember.  Having been a member of the federation for 65 years (1944 – 2009), Ruth only missed a few meetings of the Spartanburg Chapter.  She has attended most of the state conventions and was honored for her years of service in August of 2000 receiving the NFB of SC Presidential Citation and was further honored with a standing ovation from the Banquet audience.  As previously stated, there were very few jobs available to Ruth during her long career but she did assist in jury selections in the courthouse as all prospective jurors were drawn by Ruth.  Ruth is an avid reader and fully utilized Braille when she started School in 1926.  One of Ruth’s favorite activities is attending Senior Blind Week at RBRCCB.  She let me know that she wants to attend Senior Camp this year as well.  Congratulations to Ruth Weeks who has been blessed in living a very long life, making many hundreds of friends both in the federation and in other places.”

To bring you up to date, Ruth is still living and has attended the most recent Spartanburg Chapter meeting.  Spartanburg Chapter member Betty Phillips reports that she still looks to be in good health.  I am told that she used to like singing Christmas carols and especially loved to song “O Holy Night.”  At the conclusion of the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind’s anniversary celebration in 2005, she sang “How Great Thou Art.”   She wrote a lot of music for Marshall Tucker as well.  We celebrate Ruth Weeks who dedicated her life to improving the quality of life for generations of blind South Carolinians.

 

Final Thought:  “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”  –  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Positive Note 1641

January 24, 2018

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1641

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I have been informed by Isaiah Nelson you still have time to sign up to ride the charter bus to attend our NFB National Center in Baltimore, Maryland the weekend of April 6-8 2018.  The cost to ride the charter bus will be $100 per person.  To participate, you need to mail a completed application along with a $25 deposit to Isaiah Nelson, PO Box 12063, Columbia, S.C. 29211.  The remainder of the money is due no later than March 15, 2018.  If you have any questions, regarding this trip you can contact Loretta Green at (843) 276-9649 or Isaiah Nelson at (803) 413-2434.  If you have never had the opportunity to visit and tour our National Center, you need to make plans to do this.  The experience is pretty awesome!

You can now begin to make your reservations for the upcoming 2018 Orlando National Convention.  The date of this year’s national convention will be July 3, to July 8, 2018 and will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.  The 2018 room rates are singles and doubles, $88; and triples and quads, $93. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 12.5 percent. No charge will be made for children under seventeen in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested. Please note that the hotel is a no-smoking facility.

For 2018 convention room reservations you can call the hotel at (866) 996-6338. You may also write directly to the Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819-9357. The hotel will want a deposit of $100 for each room and will want a credit card number or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $100 check. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday, June, 1, 2018, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.  The schedule of the convention is as follows; Tuesday, July 3, Seminar Day, Wednesday, July 4, Registration and exhibits, Thursday, July 5, National Board Meeting and division and committee meetings, Friday, July 6, Opening General Session, Saturday, July 7, General session, Sunday, July 8, Banquet.

The Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship committee is now accepting applications for the 2018 National conventional in Orlando Florida.  The Jernigan scholarship program is sponsored by the NFB and is designed to financially assist first time attendees to attend the NFB National convention.  To apply, you must complete the necessary paperwork with a letter of recommendation from your state president and submit this information to the Jernigan Scholarship committee by April 15, 2018.  If you are selected, you will be notified by the committee by May 15, 2018.  For more information, please read the article in the December issue of the Braille Monitor which describes the process in more detail.

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

It is our privilege to spotlight Ellen Taylor this week for her outstanding work with the blind on a local, state and national level.  Ellen is a role model for federationists everywhere as she puts the federation first.  Ellen Taylor is a lifetime native of the Rock Hill area.  Ellen and her mother Lenora Robertson are very close and have dedicated themselves wholly to Federation matters.  Ellen graduated from the public schools in Rock Hill and afterward she attended Spartanburg Methodist College where she majored in Criminal Justice, Corrections and minored in Police.  Ellen Taylor and John have been together for 14 years and she says we can’t forget her cat Prissy for whom many convention pledges have been made over the years.  Aside from John and Prissy the cat, she spends much of her time working in several federation activities.  She is active in the Rock Hill Chapter as they do sell a lot of World’s Finest Chocolate and do yard sales aside from their chapter meetings.  Ellen and Lenora have attended all of the national and state conventions since 1992 and they have been the door prize co-chairs for many of those years.  Including the one beginning this coming Sunday, Ellen and Lenora have attended about eight Washington Seminars and are well versed on all the legislative issues.  They both work as part of the “kitchen crew” for all the senior camps since Frank Coppel became the RBRCCB Senior Camp Director.  They also work in the kitchen for Fun Day weekends and the Christmas Board Retreats each year.  When asked what her specific duties are she replies, “I do whatever momma wants!”  Ellen is a member of Friendship United Methodist Church where she is active in Sunday School and in the Ladies Group.  Her hobbies include crocheting afghans, hats and scarfs, making snowmen out of socks (and you can get them in Clemson or Gamecock motifs) and jewelry.  Let’s just say that her federation devotions take up the vast majority of her time.  She doesn’t let her blindness hold her back as she has high expectations for herself and for others.

 

Final Thought:  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’-  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Positive Note 1640

January 17, 2018

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1640

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Now that the 2018 Statewide Seminar is behind us, let’s take a look at some of the activities which will be occurring during the next few months in the NFB of SC.  Do not forget to purchase your tickets to attend the third annual Sweetheart Dance sponsored by the NFB of SC which will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Federation Center of the Blind from 5:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.  The evening promises to be a fun and enjoyable experience with a professionally catered dinner, door prizes, music and dancing.  Tickets to this event will only be $25 for an individual and $45 per couple.  Please make checks payable to NFB of SC and mail to:  NFB of SC, c/o David Houck, 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205.

Please note the memo line for Sweethearts Dance. Please include an address so that tickets can be mailed once payment has been received. Deadline to purchase tickets is Tuesday, February 6, 2018.  We are asking all chapter presidents to contribute a door prize for this special event including: gift cards, cash or assembled gift baskets. Please contact Jennifer Bazer at 803-661-6622 or jhipp25@sc.rr.com if you would like to contribute a door prize.   If you have any questions regarding this fundraising event, please contact Debra Canty, NFB of SC fundraising Chairperson, at 803-775-5792 or via email at debra.canty@frontier.com.

On Saturday, March 17, 2018 the NFB of SC will host a Leadership Seminar at the Federation Center of the Blind from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Lunch will be provided.  All members are encouraged to attend and there will be no charge for the seminar.  Come and learn about the history of the NFB and NFB of SC, your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, Social Security benefits, and any general chapter issues you would like to discuss.  Since the inclement weather prevented some chapters from attending the Statewide Seminar, the Orlando bus ticket drawing will be held on March 17 at the Leadership Seminar.  As of this date we have only sold approximately 2000 tickets, so let’s do all that we can to sell more tickets!

We have an important announcement from Steve Cook, President of the Computer Science and Technology Division.  “The Computer Science & Technology Division needs your assistance!  Our website www.nfbofsc.org is for everyone to use.  We can use this for recruiting new members, posting upcoming events pertaining to your chapter or division, election results, updated contact information, newsletters, material designed especially for your chapter, applications, etc. Please contact Steve Cook at (803) 254-0222 or cookcafe@sc.rr.com to have information posted on our website.  Let’s all work together to keep each other well informed!  (Please note: if you would like to send any photos to go along with your information, please identify each and describe the photo with any relevant names, places, or events.)  Thank you for your participation.”

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

We are pleased to honor the First Lady of the NFB of SC, Mrs. Coppel by spotlighting her in this week’s Positive Note.  Also this is the first Positive Note of the New Year where it’s appropriate that we recognize at this time the First Lady as our first Positive Note spotlight of 2018.

Shelley Coppel was born in Moscow, Idaho and was raised in Orofino, Idaho.  Orofino means “fine gold” in Spanish as there are gold mines in the area.  After graduating high school in 1970, Shelley graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon in 1975 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music majoring in Piano.  She lost her vision at that time but following graduation she attended the Commission for the Blind in Boise to obtain her blindness skills training.  Shelley received her Master’s degree in K-12 Special Education for teaching blind children from Bingham Young University in June of 1977.  This led her to Edinburg, Texas where she was a regional consultant in an Educational Service Center working with blind children.  She then moved in 1979 to the Nebraska Commission for the Blind where she worked in vocational rehabilitation teaching a variety of blindness skills and adaptive aids.    In 1982 she married her first husband Jim Bruns where they also adopted Jason Bruns in 1988.  She then retired from rehabilitation services to be a stay at home mom although she did work some part-time vending in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Shelley moved to Columbia for a few years in 1998 until 2006.  In October of 2006 she took a position teaching organizational skills at the Colorado Center for the Blind.  This was an exciting time because everyone was so enthusiastic about employment and the NFB philosophy was heavily applied.  Shelley met Frank Coppel and moved back to Columbia and they were married in April 2011 and they make an excellent team.  She is very much involved in the NFB of SC, having received the Donald C. Capps Award, worked in Children’s Camps and Senior Camps, is President of the NFB of SC Senior Division, is Secretary on the National Senior Division Board, and is involved with all aspects of federation activity including Washington Seminars.  With her service to blind seniors, at the 2017 NFB Convention in Orlando, Shelley participated significantly with blind seniors, having been quoted in a recent issue of the Braille Monitor.  She has attended about 30 national and seven state conventions, not to mention her work with her husband, Frank Coppel who is NFB of SC President and is the RBRCCB Board Chairman.  Her hobbies include traveling, singing in the church choir, music and crocheting but her greatest love is for tending to her four grandchildren with two additional twin grandsons which are due in May.  As you can see, Shelley Coppel has many talents and she enjoys living the life she wants.

 

Final Thought:  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  –  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Positive Note 1639

January 10, 2018

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1639

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I want to thank all of you who attended the 48th annual Statewide Seminar this past Saturday.  Despite sickness, frigid temperatures, and inclement weather in the lower half of the state, approximately ninety Federationists attended this year’s seminar.  We were pleased to have representatives from the three agencies who provide services to the blind, Kyle Walker, from the SC Commission for the Blind, Paige McCraw, from the SC School for the Deaf and Blind, and Sandy Knowles, from Talking Book Services who gave presentations at the Seminar.  Loretta Green spoke to the audience regarding the upcoming bus trip to our National Center the weekend of April 6-8.  The cost to ride the charter bus will be $100 per person.  To participate, you need to submit an application along with a $25 deposit to either Loretta Green or Isaiah nelson.  The remainder of the money is due no later than February 25, 2018.  If you have any questions, regarding this trip you can contact Loretta Green at (843) 276-9649 or Isaiah Nelson at (803) 413-2434.  I spoke to the audience regarding the upcoming Leadership Seminar which will be held on March 17, for chapter and division leaders.  The seminar will run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and lunch will be provided.  Topics will include federation philosophy and history, Commission for the Blind services, Social Security and chapter operations.  Thom Spittle did an excellent job as auctioneer as we raised $571 for the Federation Center.  I along with Ed Bible, Jennifer Bazer and Shelley Coppel gave the RBRCCB report. Ed Bible reported on the volunteer involvement of church and civic groups to improve the facilities and grounds.  The two Senior Camps will be held May20-24, and September 16-20.  Children’s Camp will be held June 10-16.  I reported to the audience the RBRCCB Board of Directors voted to increase the processing fees for Oglesby Cottage, Osterneck Cottage, Ellenburg Lodge, and the Conference Center.  The increases went in to effect January 2, 2018.  Debra Canty, NFB of SC fund raising committee chairperson, informed the group about the third annual Sweetheart Dance on Saturday, February 17 which will take place between 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.at the Federation Center of the Blind.  Tickets are $25 per person or $45 per couple.  Money for tickets is due by February 6.

At the State Board meeting, which was held during the two hour lunch break, the Board elected Frank Coppel as delegate, and Dorothy Barksdale as alternate delegate to the 2018 NFB national convention which will be held July 3-8 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida.  The board was informed the 2018 NFB of SC state convention will be held at the Columbia Marriott Hotel the weekend of August 10-12.  A planning committee for the state convention will be established and it will be Chaired by Tiffiny Mitchell.  Details regarding the Washington seminar were discussed.  The NFB of SC’s delegation to the Washington seminar will consist of state officers and board members as well as four high school seniors and two chaperones from our Successful Transitions Program.  Because some of our chapters could not attend the seminar due to the frigid temperatures and inclement weather, the bus drawing was postponed until the Leadership Seminar on March 17.

I want to take this opportunity thank Isaiah Nelson and his group of volunteers for preparing and serving a delicious lunch.  I also want to especially thank David Houck for all of his hard work prior to the Seminar and all day Saturday to ensure the meeting was a success.

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

My heart and thoughts were with those of you attending the Statewide Seminar last Saturday as the weather was so cold with other conditions including snow, etc.  It was indicative of the commitment to federation activity and I salute you.  In reading President Coppel’s portion of the Positive Note it is clear that the Statewide Seminar was very successful.  I’m pleased that the state convention this August will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Columbia as this makes the convention site more accessible from across the state.  Also, we are familiar with the Marriott Hotel having been there on several occasions.

I have good news on Betty’s illness.  She was discharged from the hospital on Nre Year’s eve and four or five days later she had a follow up with her physician who found her recovery to be very good.  There are no apparent problems from the mini stroke and I’m especially pleased about this.

I’m dictating this part of the Positive Note Wednesday morning, January 10.  We plan to attend the Columbia Chapter meeting tomorrow, Thursday, January 11.  Betty appears sufficiently able to attend this type of meeting which is relatively short.

I thought I would use this part of the Positive Note to catch up on New Year’s issues ongoing over many years.  In the early days of Colonial Life, my employer for some38 years, the Claims Department where I was employed was responsible for conducting an end-of-year claims reserve.  In other words the Insurance Department in those days made the company maintain a reserve with the Insurance Department to be sure the company had adequate funds for taking care of claims which were still pending at that time.  The amount of the reserve had an effect on the financial status of the company.  If the Insurance Department noted an inadequate reserve, it would take action against the company.  Colonial was always in good shape financially.  One other gentleman and myself set aside the New Year’s Day weekend to review and make a decision regarding the reserve.  My co-employee did the reading and I had the responsibility of examining the claims file and making an assessment on the amount that should be reserved.  It was boring but absolutely necessary.  At that time we were not too happy about having to work during the New Year’s weekend while other employees had the weekend off.  For many years now, Colonial has relied on computers to have the reserve estimated.  In those days I dreaded seeing the New Year come in.  End of year duties are still with us but doing the claims reserve I despised.

 

Final Thought:  Now that we have learned much at the Statewide Seminar, let’s spread the word back home and get busy.

Positive Note 1638

January 3, 2018

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1638

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Happy New Year!  I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday season and are now ready to begin 2018 with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy.  You can now begin to make your reservations for the upcoming 2018 Orlando National Convention.  The date of this year’s national convention will be July 3, to July 8, 2018 and will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.  The 2018 room rates are singles and doubles, $88; and triples and quads, $93. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 12.5 percent. No charge will be made for children under seventeen in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested. Please note that the hotel is a no-smoking facility.

For 2018 convention room reservations you can call the hotel at (866) 996-6338. You may also write directly to the Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819-9357. The hotel will want a deposit of $100 for each room and will want a credit card number or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $100 check. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday, June, 1, 2018, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.  The schedule of the convention is as follows:  Tuesday, July 3, Seminar Day – Wednesday, July 4, Registration and exhibits – Thursday, July 5, National Board Meeting and division and committee meetings – Friday, July 6, Opening General Session – Saturday, July 7, General session – Sunday, July 8, Banquet

We have an announcement from Loretta Green and Isaiah Nelson.  “the NFB of SC is planning a charter bus trip to the Jernigan Institute  (our national headquarters) in Baltimore, Maryland the weekend of April 6-8.  The cost to ride the charter bus will be $100 per person.  The initial $25 is due by January 6, at the statewide seminar and the remainder of the money is due no later than Friday, February 23 2018.  If you have any questions, regarding this trip you can contact Loretta Green at (843) 276-9649 or Isaiah Nelson at (803) 413-2434.”

2018 promises to be an exciting and busy year in the NFB of SC. It would be great if we could kick off the New Year with a large crowd of enthusiastic federationists at this year’s state wide seminar.  Shelley and I look forward to seeing many of you on Saturday, January 6!

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

Happy New Year to all of you across the state.  This time of year always ushers in the time we hold the annual Statewide Seminar.  This program has grown tremendously over the years.  The origin of the “Seminar” occurred in the 1970’s or some 50 years ago.  Initially the NFB of SC was understandably small but the program grew steadily.  In the early days there were just a handful of federation chapters and the program was not statewide until many years later.  In the beginning we discussed such things as the state constitution and chapter constitutions.  We were new at that time and our leaders across the state needed to understand both the state and chapter constitutions.  We also discussed how to recruit new members.  Today the Statewide Seminar is of course a very important part of our annual programs.

In last week’s Positive Note I talked about my eye surgery at John’s Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore which occurred over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  On Friday, December 29, 2017, Betty became ill, necessitating our rushing her to the hospital for appropriate treatment.  Upon our arrival at the Baptist Hospital Emergency Room, Betty was treated immediately.  After many tests she was diagnosed with a “mini-stroke” and was subsequently hospitalized for two days and nights.  Betty was not released until New Year’s Eve, December 31.  After intensive treatment she now has no physical signs of the mini-stroke.  However, due to her age, extra action is being taken.  For example, as I dictate this Positive Note Tuesday morning, there is a physical therapist in our home working with Betty to ensure her good progress continues.  While I am grateful for all of the treatment she is receiving, it will prevent Betty and me from attending this Saturday’s Statewide Seminar.  I don’t believe I have missed any of these Seminars but Betty’s situation dictates my being very careful.  I will be thinking of all of you this weekend but I know that this Statewide Seminar will be one of the best ever.  Please keep Betty and me in your prayers and let all of us work hard this year to make this the best year the NFB of SC has ever had.

 

Final Thought:  We celebrated our accomplishments over the old year.  We have a clean slate for this new one.  Let’s see if our efforts can exceed our expectations.

Positive Note 1637

December 27, 2017

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1637

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

It is time to begin planning for the 2018 convention of the National Federation of the Blind. We will again meet in Orlando and will once more be staying at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. This will be our last opportunity for a while to enjoy the Rosen hospitality we have come to love and the myriad activities that the Orlando area has to offer. The dates for the 2018 convention are July 3 through July 8.

Our hotel rates are enviably competitive for a resort hotel such as Shingle Creek. For the 2018 convention they are singles and doubles, $88; and for triples and quads, $93. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 12.5 percent. No charge will be made for children under seventeen in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested. Please note that the hotel is a no-smoking facility.

For 2018 convention room reservations you can call the hotel at (866) 996-6338 after January 1. You may also write directly to the Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819-9357. The hotel will want a deposit of $100 for each room and will want a credit card number or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $100 check. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday, June 1, 2018, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.

If you have not notified the Federation Center as to whether you are planning to attend the Statewide Seminar on January 6, please do so as soon as possible.  This will help us to determine the amount of food to purchase for lunch.  Remember we will be conducting an auction throughout the day to raise money for the Federation Center.  Be sure to bring items for the auction such as, cakes, pies, cookies, gift baskets, and electronics.  Also, please continue to sell your Orlando National Convention bus tickets.  If you have not done so already, please mail your ticket stubs and money to the Federation Center or bring them with you to the Seminar on Saturday, January 6.  The drawing will take place at the conclusion of the Seminar.  The winning ticket will receive $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100 and the chapter selling the most tickets will receive $300.  It is not too early to begin turning in your state dues of $10 for 2018 to the state office (Federation Center).  You can either mail your dues to the State Office or bring them with you to the Seminar on January 6.  When you submit your dues, please provide current contact information such as, name, address, phone number and email address if applicable.  These things do change and if we do not have updated information, we cannot keep you up to date on what’s going on.  The deadline for dues is January 31, 2018.

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

Now that Christmas is officially over, I suspect that most of us have had a Christmas experience that stands out.  I moved from Mullins to Columbia in 1946 and began receiving treatments by an ophthalmologist.  He was not able to bring my high eye pressure under control and arranged for me to see a prominent ophthalmologist in December of 1950.  This prominent ophthalmologist was Dr. Allen Wood who was connected with Johns Hopkins Hospital.  On December 15, 1950, Betty and I traveled by train to Baltimore for me to receive treatment by this famous ophthalmologist.  As far as I recall, it would be my second trip out of the state as my first trip out of state was for Betty and my honeymoon in June of 1949.  While being examined by Dr. Wood I asked him if the surgery would be serious.  He promptly stated, “Young man, any time you use a knife on a human body it is serious.”  The surgery was serious as the surgery was not successful.  After 15 days of hospital confinement Dr. Wood did a second surgery on or about December 31, 1950.  This surgery also was unsuccessful.  Dr. Wood approached me to authorize a third surgery.  I declined.  We were at Johns Hopkins Hospital for 30 days from December 15, 1950 to January 15, 1951.  Thus Betty and I spent both Christmas and New Year’s in Johns Hopkins Hospital with failure.

1951 was unique as far as my trip to Baltimore would ultimately be connected with the federation.  In that same year, 1951, a baby was born to a couple who would become a super star 65 years later as President of the NFB of SC and Chairman of Rocky Bottom.  Of course, my extensive eye surgery in Baltimore had nothing to do with a baby being born at that time and location that would improve life for the blind, but it is coincidental.  Frank Coppel has our sincere appreciation as he is working virtually full-time as a volunteer and that is unusual in this day and time.  Let me wish for each and every one of you a Happy New Year which is upon us.

 

Final Thought:  This past year is for review and to learn from, the upcoming New Year is to plan for and to set goals; however, now is the only time we have to accomplish anything.

Positive Note 1636

December 20, 2017

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1636

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

During this past week, Shelley and I have been extremely busy as we have traveled approximately 500 miles attending Chapter Christmas parties throughout the state.  On Tuesday, evening, December 12, Shelley and I had the pleasure of attending the 44th Annual Christmas Banquet Gala hosted by the Sumter Chapter.  Approximately 400 people attended this year’s banquet and Debra Canty, President of the Sumter chapter again did an excellent job presiding over the festivities.  The program for the evening was extremely impressive as Doug Hudson and Sarah Massengale provided the musical entertainment and Shawn Callaway, National board member of the NFB and President of the District of Columbia affiliate of the NFB was the key note speaker for the evening.  I was honored to introduce Mr. Callaway to the audience.  Also in attendance was Ed Bible, NFB of SC state board member and his wife Julie and Linda Dizzley, NFB  of SC state board member and President of the Lee County Chapter.

On Thursday evening, December 14, Shelley and I traveled to Gaffney to attend the Cherokee County chapter Christmas party.  Approximately 20 people were in attendance and it is very evident Jamie Allison, chapter President, is doing an excellent job.  The party was held at the Colonial Fish Camp and everyone enjoyed delicious seafood and participated in a gift exchange.  On Friday December 15, we traveled to Jefferson, SC where we attended the Chesterfield County Chapter Christmas luncheon.  Approximately 25 people were in attendance for the luncheon and it was very evident Dorcas Campbell, Chapter President, is doing an outstanding job.  The chapter treated everyone to a delicious barbecue feast and everyone enjoyed singing a number of Christmas carols. It was also great to see the First vice President of the NFB of SC, Lenora Robertson, her daughter, Ellen Taylor, and Louise Watson at the meeting as well.

We have an announcement from Shelley Coppel, President of the Seniors Division.  “Merry Christmas from the Senior Division!!  We are conducting a drawing to be held at our Statewide Seminar, January 6, 2018.  For all of you who have taken tickets to sell, I encourage you to continue selling and please bring your money and the ticket stubs to me the day of the Seminar.  Please also bring me your unsold tickets. If you need tickets to sell, you can contact me by phone at: 803-796-8662; or by email:  Frankandshelley51@gmail.com.

The price for the tickets is: $2 for one ticket, and $5 for three.  The prizes are as follows: First prize- a power air-fryer XL, and 2nd prize is a $50 gift card for Walmart.  Thank you so much for supporting our Senior Division.”

The Christmas season is a very beautiful and special time of the year.  I especially enjoy listening to Christmas music, being with family and friends, eating wonderful food, and watching our four grandchildren opening their gifts on Christmas morning.  Shelley and I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and let’s all of us remember the “Reason for the Season”.

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

Christmas events are being held all over the state in the federation.  The NFB of SC which did not become a state affiliate until 1956 is responsible for Christmas parties taking place statewide.  For example in only recent years, our Chesterfield County Chapter and the Upper Dorchester County Chapter have had Christmas parties as reorganized chapters in these areas, bringing the blind together.  The Columbia Chapter has been sponsoring Christmas parties since the mid 1950’s and has come to be held at the Federation Center of the Blind which became available in 1961, over 50 years ago.  On December 14 the Columbia Chapter enjoyed an outstanding Christmas party featuring one of the best banquets than I’ve ever seen before.  It featured ham, chicken, dressing, string beans, rice, cabbage and a variety of cakes and pies and desserts.  There were a lot of different foods to choose from as chapter members brought their own food plates.  David Houck brought the Christmas message which was excellent.  All of us were stunned to hear from Columbia Chapter President Tiffiny Mitchell who reported that one week earlier she lost everything due to smoke damage.  She woke up at 2:00 in the morning with her building engulfed in smoke and fire.  We are thankful Tiffiny was able to get out of the building without injury.  The chapter wanted to be of service to Tiffiny and the freewill offering of a significant amount was contributed to her by the members.  During the past several decades members have unfortunately experienced fires.  Having suffered this great loss I believe Tiffiny will be most appreciative of this assistance.  This is especially true since we are in the midst of giving during the Christmas season.  I’m sure Tiffiny will appreciate any amount contributed, large or small.  In the past, when similar circumstances occurred, we encouraged chapters statewide to make checks payable to the “NFB of SC”, earmarked for the “Tiffiny Mitchell fire fund.”  Please make out your check and send it to David Houck at the Federation Center of the Blind, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205, who will arrange for Tiffiny Mitchell to receive the assistance.  Throughout all of this Tiffiny has continued to operate her vending facility demonstrating her commitment and dedication, not only to her vending facility but also to the Columbia Chapter during a very busy time.  Tiffiny is not only committed to the presidency of the Columbia Chapter but was also elected to the NFB of SC state board at the recent NFB of SC state convention for her service.  I’m sure all of you will understand and participate in uplifting Tiffiny, especially during this special season.  Let me wish for each and every one of you a very merry Christmas.

 

Final Thought:  “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens

Positive Note 1635

December 13, 2017

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1635

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

By now all of you should have received your Statewide Seminar Letter.  Please fill out the form at the end of the Statewide Seminar letter and return it to the State Office as soon as possible.  You can also call the State Office at (803) 254-3777 and let us know if you are planning to attend the Statewide Seminar on January 6, 2018.  Please notify the State Office of your intentions in order that we may have an accurate count for the luncheon which will be free of charge.  Remember we will be conducting an auction throughout the day to raise money for the Federation Center.  Be sure to bring items for the auction such as, cakes, pies, cookies, gift baskets, and electronics.  Also, please continue to sell your Orlando National Convention bus tickets.  You can either mail your ticket stubs and money to the Federation Center or bring them with you to the Seminar on Saturday, January 6.  The drawing will take place at the conclusion of the Seminar.  The winning ticket will receive $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100 and the chapter selling the most tickets will receive $300.

It is not too early to begin submitting your state dues of $10 for 2018 to the state office.  Remember that we need to have your name, address, phone number and email address if applicable.  This information does change from time to time and if we do not have updated information, we cannot keep you up to date on what’s going on.  The deadline for dues is January 31, 2018, so why wait!

We have an announcement from Joe Ruffalo, President of the NFB of New Jersey.  “The National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey’s technology division is proud to present our fourth   nationwide technology seminar featuring Marty Schultz and his Blindfold Games and more on Monday, December 18 at 8 PM.

Marty Schultz, owner of Blindfold Games, will tell us all about his apps that are made accessible for blind and visually impaired users on their favorite iOS powered devices such as an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod Touch. To learn more about Blindfold Games, please visit www.blindfoldgames.org.

To attend the call, dial 515-604-9570, then use access code 612068 pound. You will hear the code you entered repeated. Press 1 if it is correct. Press 2 to re-enter it. If you press 1, you then announce yourself by stating your name and you will then be entered into the conference call.

In order to obtain the best possible sound for the call, the host will put all callers into mute mode until the Q and A portion of the call. You will be able to hear everything during the call but background noise from your location will not disturb others listening in on the conversation. During the Q and A portion of the call, you can unmute yourself by pressing star 6. Before giving a comment or asking a question, please announce your name and what state you are from, and then wait for the moderator to recognize you before speaking. We can have too many people trying to seek the floor at one time and chaos can occur. The moderators will do their very best to recognize as many callers as possible however, they will determine the order in which speakers proceed. When finished with your comments or questions, press star 6 again to go back into “mute” mode to facilitate better, uncluttered communication for everyone. Star 6 also works when you have your phone on speaker.”

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:  blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

The Christmas season brings out the best in just about everyone.  It is celebrated in different ways.  Each year there is a beautiful 35 foot Christmas fir tree placed in front of the State House steps on Gervais Street.  There are several thousand lights on this unique tree.  Thousands of people enjoy the annual tree lighting ceremony.  This tree represents both the City of Columbia and the state of South Carolina.  There are many Christmas trees beautifully decorated in various communities in Columbia, and of course, other communities statewide enjoy their Christmas decorations.  Last Christmas we attended the “Singing Christmas Tree” here in Columbia at the Shandon Baptist Church.  It was wonderful.  If you haven’t done so, you might consider this production.  It is free of charge.  Shandon Baptist was the first church I attended when I came to Columbia some 70 years ago in 1946.  The church grew rapidly, requiring the construction of a much larger church.  Shandon Baptist is located on Forest Drive.  I am looking forward to our Columbia Chapter meeting this Thursday evening, December 14.  It will feature a wonderful banquet, a Christmas message and an attendance of around 100.  There will also be a gift exchange.  The many things taking place attributes to the many beautiful sites and special programs.  It even snowed four inches over the weekend at Rocky Bottom and it didn’t miss our Christmas Board Retreat by very much.

 

Final Thought:  “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” ― Charles M. Schulz