Florida Division of Blind Services logo

 

FLORIDA REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND
PUBLIC FORUM

Double Tree by Hilton Tampa Airport-Westshore
4500 West Cypress Street
Tampa, Florida  33607

Thursday February 9, 2017

Chairwoman Patricia Lipovsky called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. with roll call.

Council Members Present: 9
Patricia Lipovsky, Robert Doyle, Sandra Burke, Bruce Miles, Mikey Wiseman, Paul Edwards, Howard Bell, Gloria Mills, Robert Kelly

Council Members Absent: 3
Charles Brooks, Jesus Garcia, Lenora Marten

DBS Staff: 4
Mireya Hernandez, Dacia Drury, Michelle Levy, Walter Blackman, Bobbie Howard Davis, Ana Saint Fort, Nancy Brown, Brian Michaels, Steve Holland

Council Staff: 1
Selena Sickler

Attendees: Denise Valkema, Beverly Bennett, Sylvia Perez, Stephanie Grenier, Jennifer Brooks, Sheryl Brown

Introduction
Chairwoman Patricia Lipovsky welcomed the audience.  Ms. Lipovsky stated the FRCB is a group of volunteers appointed by the Governor to serve in an advisory role to the Division of Blind Services.  Ms. Lipovsky stated the council members have the task of assisting the Division of Blind Services with the development of its state plan and evaluating the effectiveness of its services. 

Nineteen Consumers attended.

First Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Stated her effort to speak to as many people as possible to highlight the need for more funding from the federal government for the Transportation Disadvantage Board.

Second Consumer Comment (Phone)

  • Expressed appreciation for the support received from Pinellas County Lighthouse.

Third Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for DBS and Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind.

Fourth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for DBS and Tampa Lighthouse for helping achieve independence and skills.

Fifth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for services received from DBS and the Lighthouse.

Sixth Consumer Comment (Phone)

  • Suggested expanding their policy for more funding for education and equipment.
  • Commented on the lack of accessibility on a vocational evaluation that he received through the VR program.

FRCB Response

  • Paul Edwards stated the council had discussed the topic in their meeting today.
  • Chair Lipovsky expressed the importance of accessibility.

Seventh Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for DBS and the Lighthouse and shared the importance of being your own advocate.

FRCB Response

  • Chair Lipovsky expressed the importance of being persistent in asking for what you need.

Eighth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed concern over the lack of IPhone training offered by DBS.

Ninth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for services received.

Tenth Consumer Comment (Phone)

  • Expressed appreciation for the support of DBS and VR.
  • Asked for clarification of State Statute 112.061(7) documentation required for mileage reimbursement.

FRCB Response

  • Howard Bell suggested a council discussion at the next FRCB meeting.

Eleventh Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for the Lighthouse.

Twelfth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired & Blind.

Thirteenth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed concern about the push to close Vocational Rehab cases in 8-12 weeks.
  • Expressed concerns about services for the elderly.

FRCB and DBS Response

  • Director Doyle stated he was not aware of a time limit on VR services.
  • Director Doyle stated there was a push for more funding from RSA for Independent Living program.
  • Paul Edwards asked Director Doyle about the availability of data identifying the trend for elderly services is increasing.
  • Director Doyle stated he would look at data available in the Older Blind program.

Fourteenth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Thanked DBS and the Lighthouse.

Fifteenth Consumer Comment (Phone)

  • Expressed appreciation for the older blind program and the training she received from the Tampa Lighthouse and DBS.

Sixteenth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed concerns about cultural attitudes of entitlement and dependency and offered a solution of an adaptive program to better prepare consumers to participate in a competitive labor market.

Seventeenth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed appreciation for DBS and Tampa Lighthouse.

Eighteenth Consumer Comment (Audience)

  • Expressed concerns about lack of training available and the dissatisfaction of orientation and mobility training received.

FRCB and DBS Response

  • Robert Kelly offered to meet with the consumer to discuss services available through the Conklin Center. Mr. Kelly shared information regarding the Florida Deaf Blind Association as a resource for support.
  • Director Doyle offered to follow up about agency services.

Nineteenth Consumer Comment (Phone)

  • Stated that he had completed the BBE program and expressed his appreciation for his training and support he received from DBS.

Sheryl Brown recognized audience member Jodi King who is the Lowry Park Zoo employee recognized earlier that morning.

Director Doyle commented that he had pulled up the data for the Older Blind program and the numbers were higher than expected.  Paul Edwards thanked Director Doyle for the data and expressed the importance of getting seniors trained.

Director Doyle addressed the comment of the previous client who referenced Statute 112.061.  Director Doyle stated he did not believe the statute was applicable to clients.  Mr. Doyle suggested further discussion with legal.

The meeting adjourned at 6:27 p.m.