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Public Forum (Thursday, July 29, 2010)

Ocala Hilton
3600 SW 36th Avenue
Ocala, FL

Ted Hull, Chair called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM.

Council Members Present:  Ted Hull, Robert Kelly, Jesus Garcia, Dwight Sayer, Sheryl Brown, Henry Alexander, Rufus Brown, Paul Edwards, Ben Grzesik, Bruce Miles, Joe Minichiello, Brian Johnson, Dan O’Connor, Sue Townsend, Jodie Lamm, Brian Johnson, Jay Naiman, and Joyce Hildreth.

Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff: Antionette Williams, Wayne Jennings, Al Olige, Sr. VRC, District Four.

There were 8 consumers present.

Mr. Hull asked Robert Kelly to facilitate.

Consumer issues, concerns and comments:

Consumer #1:

  • Relocated to the area one year ago.
  • Diagnosed with Glaucoma 14 years ago.
  • Formerly in the Industrial Electrical business for years.
  • Presently in the vendor retailing program.
  • Concerned with the economy downsizing.
  • Would like to find the best avenue to get into besides retail.
  • Asked if the National list of Electrical codes could be downloaded.
  • He stated that he has started reading Braille but prefers his material electronically.


Paul Edwards stated that if the print version could be scanned in if the codes were not downloaded.

Joyce Hildreth explained the BBE program to the consumer and that it was an opportunity to make a good living.  She informed him that DBS assists the first time with getting the individual relocated and housing if they become a certified vendor.

Alvin Olige explained the situation and his plan of services to the Council.

Consumer #2

  • She has enjoyed attending the Florida Center for the Blind.
  • Stated that FCB has helped her come out of her shell.
  • She formerly worked as a cardiac monitor tech and would like to get back into the workforce but is not sure in what area.
  • At 58 years old she would like to obtain a pension.
  • The courses at FCB have given her freedom back.
  • She taught computer at the hospital and now she is finally working on the computer again.
  • She prefers reading books over newspapers, magazines, etc.


Joe Minichiello informed her that through a governmental initiative, the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security were hiring.

Alvin Olige informed the Council that he discovered her insurance would purchase JAWS and since knowing this he has been asking his clients if their insurance has a disability clause.

Joyce Hildreth gave the audience a demonstration of how JAWS works.  She stated that technology wasn’t the only answer and it does not eliminate the need to know Braille.

Alvin Olige stressed the importance of having accessible transportation which was lacking in the Ocala area. 

Teena Arndt informed the Council that Para Transit only provided transportation for medical and denied services when needed for vocational training or to a job.

Dwight Sayer informed the group that Para Transit can deny trips outside of the ADA service area, but it was against the law to prioritize and deny work trips.

Formal portion of meeting ended at 4:30 with consumers meeting with Council individually.

Meeting adjourned at 5:00 PM.