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District 1 - Up and Moving!

By Tony Pileggi

The end of the year was a busy time for District 1.  The district office moved into a new space located at 1120 N. 12th Ave. in Pensacola.  The staff was excited about moving until they realized that would require some labor on their part.  Packing and unpacking is not a lot of fun, but it was worth it in the end. 

Additionally, Joyce Hildreth, our director, recently had an opportunity to tour the new office. Hildreth’s visit was good for staff as it allowed them to visit with the division’s leadership in an informal setting.

February Retirements in State Office

By Ashley Evans

At the end of this month, the state office will say goodbye to two, long-time Blind Services employees: Hettie Green, who has been working in the fiscal department as an accountant III, and Gene Newcomb, a senior human resources program specialist in the Bureau of Business Enterprise.

During her 34 years with DBS, Green has managed to commit an amazingly large amount of numerical data to memory, and her expertise will be greatly missed.  She currently lives in Monticello, Florida and is very involved in her community.  Once she retires, she plans to spend more time with organizations such as the Order of the Eastern Star, the Golden Star, and the Heroine of Jericho.

“I will also be more involved with my church when I retire,” said Green.  “We visit nursing homes and church members that do not have family in town.” 

Newcomb has been with DBS for the past 33 years.  He started out as a VR counselor in the Tallahassee district office, and then became a unit supervisor there.  He later moved to the state office as a program specialist where he coordinated statewide training. 

“In April of 1994, I was asked to join the Bureau of Business Enterprise on a short-term basis, which turned out to be until the present,” Newcomb said with a laugh.

His first order of business after retiring is to visit his son and grandson in northern Virginia. 

Newcomb will be missed by all, especially those in his bureau. “Gene is the heart of the Business Enterprise Program.  He understands its history, he has a passion for its people, and he has given his life to this program,” said Bill Findley, bureau chief of Business Enterprise.

We wish both retirees the best in their future endeavors. 

New Vision Dining in the Dark Date Change

The date for the New Vision Dining in the Dark event has been changed. The event will now be held on Friday, June 3 at 6:00 p.m. at Lake-Sumter Community College.  The evening will begin with musical entertainment and a silent auction in the Magnolia Room.  Dinner will be served in the gym by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team wearing night vision goggles.

Call (352) 435-5040 or visit for more information or for a sponsorship form.

Open House at Lighthouse Central Florida

Lighthouse Central Florida is bigger and better than ever!  Now, in addition to the campus on New Hampshire Street, they have opened a new administrative office in downtown Orlando.  They are also introducing Lighthouse Works!, a business extension of Lighthouse Central Florida that provides job opportunities for people with sight impairment.

To mark these events, the Lighthouse is hosting a special Open House celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The event will take place at 421 E. Robinson St. in Orlando from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Enjoy good company and refreshments along with a tour of the new office.  Visitors will learn all about Lighthouse Works! as well as celebrate the appointment of former Lighthouse Central Florida staff member Brian Michaels as the new district administrator for District 6.

Please R.S.V.P. to Lee Pates at no later than Monday, Feb. 14.


Congratulations to Barbara Cutrera, a VR technician in District 9, who won 2nd place in the National Federation of the Blind's (NFB) annual national writers' competition in the adult short story category.  Cutrera’s story is called "Clean as Cotton,” and was featured in the NFB’s newsletter, Slate and Style.  If interested in reading her story, email Cutrera at 

End Zone

We hope you found this month’s newsletter interesting and enlightening.  Remember, we need your submissions each month.  Let us know what’s going on in your district or facility.  The publication date for the Inside DBS newsletter should be the tenth of each month.  The deadline for submissions is the fifth of each month.  Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

Ashley Evans
Phone:  (850) 245-0310

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

MIS Help Desk:
Phone:  (850) 245-0360

AWARE Help Desk:
Phone:  (850) 245-0395 or 1-866-841-0912

Division of Blind Services Website:

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