Happy Holidays from ACB of Maine

Hello everyone, and Season’s Greetings from ACB Maine!

 

As this 2015 celebrated season comes ringing in, all of us at ACB of Maine would like to wish you a warm and festive Holiday, and as the 2016 New Year rolls on past, may the joy of the spirited season bring you good tidings throughout the new year.

 

Take care, be safe, and Merry Christmas!

 

ACB Maine

Letter of Thanks from Outgoing ACB of Maine President, Mary Ellen Frost

President Frost’s End of Tenure Message to ACB of Maine

 

 

As my term ends as president, it is with heartfelt gratitude that I wish to thank the ACB of Maine membership for their confidence in my abilities. Over the years I have renewed and made new friendships which I will always carry with me.

 

I especially wish to thank those board members whom over the years have supported me in many efforts; my fellow officers who have guided me throughout my term with valuable insight and wisdom.

 

The office of president provided me with many opportunities for learning. I attended the Crossroads Conference in Kentucky, three national conventions, attended many learning seminars, joined three national committees and participated in workshops and focus groups.

 

Here in Maine we enjoyed many good times of fellowship; taking our trip to the Botanical Garden, putting on the Dinner In The Dark, working on preparing and serving Clinton Lions Suppers, joining with Maine Adaptive Sports for Kayaking and biking, having our first day in the Hall of Flags, and I may have even forgotten one or two.

 

Being president has also opened doors of responsibility as well, such as venturing into Presque Isle to present at a workshop, as well as making visits to other organizations, such as Togas, Searsport low vision group and Lions Clubs to advocate for ACB of Maine. I had the privilege to speak several times to the Maine State legislature, which was a first for me, and one that I greatly appreciated.

 

Holding the office of President of the American Council of the Blind of Maine is certainly a privilege I will cherish. Thank you all again for all you have done to help me bring ACB of Maine into its one hundred twelfth year, and towards the future.

 

Most Sincerely,

Mary Ellen Frost

Message from the President

Message from the President.

 

I would first of all like to thank the members present at our annual conference of October 24 for your unanimous support in electing me as president once again of ACB of Maine.  It is truly an honor to serve in this capacity, and to lead our 112 year old organization in carrying out our mission. We have a great board of directors and executive committee, and I am looking forward to working with you all in addressing some of the challenges facing all of us at this time. As always, we could benefit greatly from receiving Full participation from all of our members, working together to help ACB of Maine to reach out to our great professionals, and other organizations striving to improve the lives of Maine’s residence who are blind or visually impaired.

 

As all of you are aware, our sole state agency for the blind is currently being pulled apart. Key decisions are being made by government officials who are not professionally skilled in the specialized field of blindness rehabilitation, and our concerns are being refused to be heard.  At our recent annual gathering, ACB of Maine passed a motion to take actions necessary to ensure that we maintain a sole state agency which administers and provides seamless services for ALL Maine residents who are blind or visually impaired.

 

We at ACB of Maine have a great deal of work to do this year. I am confident of the rich traditions of our organization, and of our current membership’s passion for all of us to have equal rights and services needed to fully engage our communities, as well as our abilities to help the blind and visually impaired community to work towards living the American dream. As proud citizens of Maine, we have always, and will always continue to thrive!!

 

As President of ACB of Maine, I am very much looking forward to working with all of you this year. Let’s make it a year to remember!

 

All my Best.

 

Mel Clarrage

You’re President

ACB of Maine

 

 

2015 October Events Overview

Well it looks like October is winding down as quick as a cricket. The colors of fall are dropping fast and hints of winter are in the air.

 

These past two weeks have seen the arrival of two other autumn traditions as well, the white cane and guide dog awareness events, and the annual ACB of Maine conference, which was held in Augusta this season.

 

Many capably independent travelers took advantage of the opportunity of attending the Pine Tree awareness event in Augusta this year, and from what we’ve heard, all of the other four state events went as well, including the premiere event this season in Dover / Foxcroft. Hats off to all of the participants, and to those who facilitated the events. With your hard work, the canes and paws stepped out onto the streets and sidewalks, representing the blind communities of Maine with unparalleled dignity and grace.

 

ACB of Maine would also like to thank all those who attended the yearly conference at the Senator Inn in Augusta. With an impressive line up of speakers, the day’s events inspired, informed and cast an ongoing sense of ambitious optimism that will do nothing but help our organization move forward into the upcoming year. New board positions were filled, the wonderful collection of speakers shared their experience, and as the camaraderie of the day began to wind down, old friends, and new, bid each other an affectionate farewell, until they should meet once again.

 

There’s a certain feel to autumns in Maine, the majestic sights, the splendor of the fragrance that can instantly take you back to your childhood, the warm afternoons after a frosty morn, it all spells out one thing, and one thing alone, Maine.

 

We at ACB of Maine wish you all nothing but the best as the holiday season heads around the final turn. The amazement of spirit and heart lives inside us all, and the strength within is born from our experiences, opportunities and abilities.

 

Thanks for stopping by, and have an ACB day!

2015 Maine White Cane Walk Events

2015 Maine White Cane Awareness Events

 

One more year has come and gone, and with the arrival of a brand new autumn, the annual White Cane Walks around the state will help to usher in another fall season.

 

The State of Maine comes alive each October with the magnificent colors of fall, and if you happen to be in one of several cities around the Pine Tree State on October 17th, chances are you might catch a glimpse of those independent, capable roadside travelers dawning their white canes, their dog harnesses, along with the pride and courage of the blind and visually impaired community.

 

ACB of Maine is pleased to announce those particular details of White Cane Awareness Day. As an organization, we are proud to be associated with this show of independence, and welcome one and all to share in the celebration of this nationally recognized event.

 

The following events will all be held on Saturday, the 17th of October, and as you’ll see, our great state of Maine will be represented near and far, from Portland to Presque Isle.

 

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The Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (PTGDU) White Cane Walk will be held in Augusta. Participants will gather at the Maine State Museum on the Capital grounds around 9:30am, with the walk getting underway around 10:00.  At the time of this post, the actual route of the event has not been confirmed, but the destination is set to return participants to the museum.

 

For more information, please contact Lynn Merrill

eMail: lynn.merrill@roadrunner.com

 

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In Bangor, there will be a similar event as compared to last season, which is to have a table set up at the Bangor Mall. There will not be an actual “white cane walk”, but event planners do wish to convey the awareness of white canes and guide dogs, as well as the driving laws regarding those independent travelers who use these tools. There will also be an effort to bring about awareness of services available, what it is like to be visually impaired, and particular aids that can prove to be helpful.

 

For more detailed information, please contact Pat Monahan

eMail: pmonahan@theiris.org

 

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Dover – Foxcroft is pleased to announce that they will be holding a White Cane Awareness event this season.

 

Participants will be meeting at 11 am at the Cpourt House parking lot.

The walk will then travel up to the downtown area, followed by a ( pay your own) cash pizza at a local  area restaurant for lunch.

 

For further information, please contact Nancy Matulis

eMail: nancy.Matulis@yahoo.com

 

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Portland will be holding their annual event this season, which will again be sponsored by The Iris Network. The event will begin at 10am at Monument Square, and all are welcome.

 

For more information, please contact Cassie Diplock.

eMail: CDiplock@theiris.org

 

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The Presque Isle White Cane walk will be held starting at 10 a.m.  Event participants will meet in the parking lot next to Wilder’s Jewelry & make several trips of Main Street, from the corner of Academy Street to State Street.

 

For more information, contact Bruce Archer

eMail: Bruce.a.archer@maine.gov

 

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And there you have it. An impressive line up for another October morning in Maine.

 

Please remember that all events will be held the morning of Saturday, October 17th.

Any additional information regarding these events will be posted to our ACB of Maine website as soon as possible.

 

There is no way to put a price on the value of independent travel. There is also nothing more important than spreading the information about independent travel to those communities around the state of Maine, both for the respect of the independent traveler, and those who may encounter the white canes and guide dogs around our great state.

 

At ACB of Maine, we wish all those participants another year full of great experiences and memories.

 

Take care all, and have an ACB Maine Day!