(P T G D U)

Upcoming events for 2017

Fall P T G D U meeting

The P T G D U fall meeting is currently scheduled for November, 4, 2017 at the Dunkin Donuts at 22 Western Avenue in Augusta, Maine. It is possible the date and location may be changed. If so, it will be noted here and members will be notified.

2017 White Cane Walk

The P T G D U White Cane Walk will be on Saturday, October, 14, 2017. We will meet at the Maine State Library on State Street in the Capitol Complex at nine a m. Details of the event will be posted here as soon as available.

Summer P T G D U meeting

The P T G D U summer meeting is scheduled for August, 5, 2017 at the Dunkin Donuts at 22 Western Avenue in Augusta, Maine.

Previous events

Spring P T G D U meeting

The P T G D U Spring meeting was held at the Dunkin' Donuts at 22 Western Avenue in Augusta, Maine. Once the notes have been approved, they will be posted here.

Winter P T G D U meeting

1. A meeting of the Board of Directors of Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (P T G D U) was held on Saturday, February 4, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. via teleconference.

2. Attendance:
a. Members present:
President, Pauline Lamontagne
First Vice President, Lynn Merrill
Second Vice President, Gil Whitmore
Secretary, Bruce Prindall
Treasurer, Cheryl Peabody
Director, Steve Lambert
b. Members excused:
Director, Patti Sarchi
Director, Leona McKenna
c. Members absent:
Director, Bud Buzzell

3. Pauline informed members that past member and friend, Bobbie-Jo LaChance, passed on February 2, 2017. Prayers and condolences are extended to her family and friends.

4. Approval of Agenda: the Agenda was approved without change.

5. Old Business:
a. Minutes of the previous meeting held on November 5, 2016: Lynn moved to table review and acceptance of the November 2016 meeting to the May meeting so that they could be submitted in final form. The motion was seconded by Bruce, and unanimously passed. Follow-up: May 2017

b. Membership: Cheryl submitted our P T G D U membership list and payment of dues to GDUI and we are currently the only affiliate to have done that. We currently have 15 members (Lynn reported that this is an average number compared to other GDUI state affiliates); Cheryl had contacted past members to invite them to renew but none responded. A discussion of the dissemination of the membership list ensued. It is not the policy of GDUI to share their membership list with any member of the Board other than those with a need to know such as the Membership Committee Chair and the Secretary. Currently, Bruce sends notices to our members via email and the messages contain the contact information for members in the recipient field. Our website should contain contact information for emailing members of the Board of Directors. Action: Bruce will update the website to include the Board of Directors, their email addresses and their terms.

c. Treasurer’s report: Cheryl had sent out the Treasurer’s Report in advance of the meeting. Lynn moved to accept, Steve seconded, all in favor. Subsequent to acceptance, Gil noted that Cheryl was correct in depositing all dues, even those paid for next year rather than to hold them until next year.

d. Web page updates: nothing to add from Bruce, still working on some issues and will add Board of Directors’ page. Action: Bruce

e. White Cane Walk: discussion ensued about when to hold walk. Choices were October 14, which is before the national day of October 15, or to wait until after the national day and hold it on October 21. Discussion ensued and members decided unanimously on October 14, 2017. As per usual, Mayoral Proclamation will be requested, members of the Augusta City Council and Mayor will be invited, other guest speakers and theme will be discussed with Committee. Cheryl will contact Maine State Library to reserve lobby for the event.

f. GDUI updates:
(1) Board meeting on January 28 for GDUI. President Reeder is planning to have a Town Hall meeting in February, lleaning toward February 18 and among topics is possibility of raising dues for GDUI membership. Currently, Affiliates submit $8.00 per affiliate member and GDUI sends $5.00 of that to ACB, keeping $3.00 per affiliate member. Members at large pay $15.00 and, of that, GDUI sends $5.00 to ACB, keeping $10.00. With costs of all-inclusive voting, PawTracks, the website, and incorporation expenses, GDUI is losing money.
(2) Upcoming elections in May will have elections of two Board seats as well as proposed Bylaws amendments.
(3) Pauline is now the Affiliate Liaison; had meeting in January, next meeting is in March. Pauline will be on nominating committee
(4) A new Affiliate, Capital Area Guide Dog Users (CAGDU) applied for and was approved by the GDUI Board for membership. Charlie Crawford is the President.

g. Top Dog: Gil and Pauline attended, informative sessions,

h. SRC/DBVI updates: update on steering committees, meetings and training, welcome to steve as new SRC/DBVI member.

i. ACB of Maine update: Cheryl reported that the annual convention is October 7 in Bangor at Ramada Inn. They will ensure the room is bigger than last time the convention was held there.

j. Legislative update: An additional $225,000.00 is in the Governor’s proposed budget for Independent Living, SRC officers are planning meetings with Senator Katz and appropriations committee Chair.

k. Incorporation of P T G D U: Pauline has worked on form, in contact with secretary of state office, would like to set up meeting with Lynn, Bruce, Steve and Cheryl some evening to be announced to work further on it.

6. New Business:
a. Puppy raisers: Pauline had been invited to meet with the guiding eyes puppy raisers in December but were snowed out. Plan to meet with contact person in spring to determine when to meet. The topic to be discussed was distractions and good behavior in home with puppy raisers and important touch with the dogs . In the past we did have a puppy raiser as a member but raisers are very busy and is hard to get some to join because without raisers we would not have our guide dogs. They meet at the gardiner lions club.

7. Next meeting: May 6 at dunkin donuts in Augusta.

8. Announcements:
a. Feb 11 is next blind bowlers

b. VISTA meetings are still going on: Leona is in Florida, changing the way of doing VISTA, getting long distance service.

9. Adjournment: In the absence of further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:44 a.m.

2016 Fall P T G D U meeting

P T G D U meeting - 2016/11/05
In atttendance were:
President Pauline Lamontagne and Ava
First Vice President Lynn Merrill and Libby
Second Vice President Gil Whitmore and Vancouver
Secretary Bruce Prindall
Board member Marj Awalt
Board member Leona McKenna
Hugh Awalt
Steve Lambert
Lolita Lambert
Bill Green from W C S H television and a cameraman
Excused Treasurer Cheryl Peabody and Board members Bud Buzzell and Patti Sarchi were excused
There was brief discussion of unexcused absences.
Pauline mentioned a request to add a discussion on the Central Maine Private Transportation to the new business.
Old business
Review August minutes (Bruce Prindall)
The August minutes were discussed and Lynn moved and Marj seconded to accept the August minutes with the correction changing five hundred dollars to three hundred as money approved by the board to go toward incorporation costs.
Pauline offered a friendly amendment to add a note about the discussion (Under legislative issues) on where SOM blind services should reside. Added to approved notes.
The minutes have been posted at the web site.

Steve was asked if he needed to know any of the acronyms or abbreviations and he discussed working with Cheryl on some.
Steve volunteered to help Pauline, Lynn and Bruce on the 501 c 3 subcommittee. He also mentioned several other skills he can help with around fundraising, writing grants, etc. Pauline mentioned that we were previously able to use the GDUI tax id but changes to the IRS rules, we could no longer take that option.
There was a brief discussion about the donation by Bob Acosta of Helping Hands in California of four hundred dollars specifically to pay the IRS filing fees.
There was a discussion about November being the month that dues are generally collected. Lynn mentioned that GDUI allows new and returning members to join from September through December for those months as well as the full upcoming calendar year. The concensus of those in the room is that P T G D U followed the same process. Lolita wanted to know when we meet and was told that we meet quarterly. The meetings are held the first Saturday of the second month of each quarter, February, May, August and November with the February being a teleconference and the remaining three currently held at Dunkin Donuts at Western Avenue in Augusta.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is our parent organization and has several special interest affiliates such as blind lawyers and guide dog users. We are the affiliate with Guide Dog Users, Inc. There is also a Maine affiliate to ACB. P T G D U is also affiliated with ACB Maine.
P T G D U has no affiliation with the National Federation For the Blind (NFB).
There was a longer discussion about the goals of each and the need for coordinating efforts so it's not unusual to have members of more than one organization.
P T G D U formed in 1997 {2017 is our 20th anniversary}
Motion to accept passes.
Membership report.
There was none submitted by Cheryl but we were currently at seventeen including new member Steve Lambert.
Treasurers report
Bruce moved and Lynn seconded to accept the treasurers report
Review of White Cane Safety Day Walk
1 Walk Itself
No known complaints
2 Space and location
Adequate and the guests were appreciated including
Rick Langley from Disability Rights Maine
Julie Flynn from the Secretary of State's office
Cecil Munson from Augusta City Council
B98.5 Radio supportive staff Station has had Lynn and Pauline on to give informational programs
Rachel and her health drinks
3 Door prizes Start earlier next year getting door prizes and food. Pat's Pizza Hannaford's Dunkin' Donuts Bagel Maine-ia Bill Green from WCSH Television There was a discussion about 2017 and future year walks as to what the rule should be, either the first Saturday PRIOR to White Cane Safety Day OR the first Saturday AFTER. To be decided at the February meeting.
Note: Subsequent to the meeting, I checked with the IRIS Network and their celebration in 2017 will be on the fourteenth.
There was also a discussion whether to use whatever date the IRIS Network uses OR should we also check with ACB and the walks in other cities? Maybe a letter to the other organizations to make a communal decision on what we can all agree to use?
Web Update
Updated the list of items that were either incorrect or missing. All pages SHOULD be accurate and up to date.
Will need to add a blurb about the 2016 White Cane Walk to the web page and will submit that by email to the Executive Committee first.
A comprehensive list of broken links that were hidden can be submitted if people want.
Work is always ongoing.
Need a printable HTML registration form.
We need a Site map
Several options are still being tested to increase and decrease font size and contrast using only html and css rather than javascript, java or flash.
Legislative update
Leona gave an update on the committee meeting to determine where Blind Services should be located. The checked with a number of states to see where those services were placed. They have not decided on a course of action.
GDUI updates
Pauline is the new GDUI affiliate liaison
Lynn gave the GDUI treasurers report
In the last three months: Working with Dept. of Transportation on Air Carrier Act to change the definition of service animals. There are currently three differing definitions, one as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, dogs only, Fair Housing Act has a much broader definition including many different animals and also stipulates that service animals are exempt from no pet policies. This does NOT however, allow them public access. The third is the Air Carrier Access Act is almost as broad as the Fair Housing Act in which animals are allowed. GDUI is hoping to convince the DOT to trim down the list of eligible animals. Unfortunately, no agreement could be reached, in part because of emotional support animals. Negotiations have come to an end. If possible, P T G D U should be sure to comment on the definition of emotional support animals, if available.
Congratulations to Lynn Merrill for being elected as the new chair of the SRC.
New business
ACB of Maine - News and convention
Convention held on October twenty-second in Waterville, Maine.
Election results. Mel Clarrage was re-elected president, Leona McKenna as re-elected vice president, Mary Ellen Frost as secretary and Cheryl Peabody as treasurer. Six board members including first timers Amber Mooney and Hope Poulos as well as Nick Giudice, Marj Awalt, Carson Wood and Joel McQuade.
Several committees were also mentioned, scholarship, fund raising, etc. There were several guest speakers.
Marj and Hugh were celebrated for their fiftieth anniversary.
Next years convention will be in Bangor and ACB expects to do some fund raising over the course of the year. P T G D U was invited to share a convention with ACB.
NFB Convention. Pauline and Leona. Are looking for ways for P T G D U and NFB to collaborate including the SRC committee and Blind resources in general.
Status of letters to guide dog schools and others.
Bruce and Cheryl to work together to create a distribution list for the information letter.
Add contacts to the letters and web site. If a current, past or future user.
August 3rd meeting with Students. Covered. Elections all incumbents running except Marj. Steve agreed to to run for Marj's vacant position. Okay with group to have an incumbent (Bruce) handle the election with Bud being unavailable. Bruce mentioned that Robert's Rules of Order, and then itemized the candidates. Okayed to have the secretary cast a single ballot for the unopoosed {Bruce moved/Leona seconded}.
Pauline Lamontagne President
Lynn Merrill First Vice President
Gil Whitmore Second Vice President
Patti Sarchi Two year board member until November 2018
Bud Buzzell Two year board member until November 2017
Steve Lambert One year board member
Leona McKenna One year board member
Cheryl Peabody Treasurer
Bruce Prindall Secretary
P T G D U teleconference call on Sat., Feb. 4, 2017
Time: 9:00 A.M. everyone agreed.
Number and pass code will be provided early in 2017.
Other meeting dates in 2017:
May 6
August 5
November 4
Dunkin' Donuts agreed to let us use the room.
Leona asked if we could hold the meeting elsewhere to get more participants. Tried before in Bangor, Portland and Lewiston.
2017 White Cane Safety Walk - Fourteenth of October, 2017
Pauline was asked to speak to a group in December and to encourage them joining P T G D U.
Bill Green mentioned his upcoming piece on comfort animals and their impact on services animals. WCSH Portland and WLBZ Bangor. The link to the video is at the P T G D U Website.
Pauline reminded everyone that Tuesday, November eighth is election day.
Bowlers who are blind - November nineteenth is the next Blind Bowlers.
VISTA - Leona
First and third Tuesdays of the month. If the room isn't working, contact Leona.
Leona also discussed the Central Maine Private Transportation.
Other announcements
Brief discussion of creating a Facebook and Twitter page as a way to interest younger people. Currently, no real interest.
Moved by Gil seconded by Marj to adjourn. Passed.

2016 Summer P T G D U Meeting

P T G D U meeting - 2016/08/06 In attendance were Pauline Lamontagne and Ava
Lynn Merrill and Libby
Gil Whitmore and Vancouver
Cheryl Peabody
Patti Sarchi and Jeff
Bud Buzzell
Marj and Hugh Awalt
Leonna McKenna
Bruce Prindall

After introductions, Patti discussed her training with Jeff in very hot temperatures in California.
Added Empowerment Forum to agenda - no other changes were made to the proposed agenda

Old business
Bruce had emailed the May minutes
Lynn motioned and Bud seconded to accept the minutes. Passed
Cheryl gave the treasurer's report.
Lynn moved and Leona seconded to accept the report

Cheryl gave a membership report. We currently have seventeen members. Lynn mentioned that Heath and Rachel Claven have suggested they will join once they receive their service animals.
Bruce emailed Jim and Melissa about the task they volunteered for in November, twenty fifteen but has not received a reply. This relates to the letter orginally drafted by Leona McKenna and revised by Lynn Merrill and Pauline Lamontagne. It is intended to introduce P T G D U to new users of service animals, trainers, veterinarians, etc.
White Cane Safety Day Walk update fifteenth of October, twenty sixteen
Cheryl: Maine State Library from nine a m until we're done Thanks to Chris Boynton
Voting machine and Secretary Of State's office
Voter registration and Disability Rights of Maine
Bruce: He and Leona are working on a list of businesses they want to solicit for breakfast
Mayor's assistant was mailed a request for a proclamation. Lynn mentioned that the mayor generally reads the proclamation at the last business meeting before the walk.
Bruce also mentioned he had emailed an invitation the entire City Council as well
Bruce will also watch for the presidential proclamation and be sure to bring a copy to the walk
Cheryl: Volunteered to contact the governor's office for a letter.
Will send a 'blurb' as to how long P T G D U has been walking in Augusta rather than at the Iris Network
Patty asked how many walkers we usually get and it was agreed to be around fifteen each year
* Next year will be the twentieth anniversary of the starting of P T G D U.

Legislative issues:
ACB of Maine has formed a committee which includes Brad Strauss, Chair of DBVI SRC, Cheryl Peabody, representative from P T G D U, Walter Woitesek, representative from NFB of Maine, Carolyn Bebee representing consumers, Leona McKenna representing ACB of Maine and Mel Clarrage, President of ACB of Maine.

Web site updates:
Links on web site rechecked and corrected including the entire Government page
Font size change option not yet implemented
Can't find Constitution or By-laws - Lynn mentioned it does exist and will get me a copy.
Updated membership form to change from Ann Poland to Cheryl Peabody as the recipient of membership fees
and Lynn's and Pauline's email addresses corrected.
Still working on getting broken links fixed and adding the skip to content page on every page as well as a detailed report of questions.
Links to California site are broken. CA seems reluctant to revoke the portion of the law that requires an instructor of a guide dog school to be licensed in CA for the instructor to provide follow up instruction from an out of state accredited guide dog school.
Survey put on hold while site is completely checked.
Header (included) skip to content, logo and font size adjustment
Footer with date, webmaster, etc.

GDUI Updates:
Lynn was re-elected treasurer of GDUI.
Very successful convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Next year will be in Reno, Nevada and the midwest in twenty eighteen.
GDUI has a need for volunteers for various GDUI committees, including a chair of the fundraising committee.
Affiliate news:
The Guide Dog User's of the Empire State requested affiliation with GDUI, Inc. but their request was denied.
The existing Guide Dog Users' of New York charter states that new affiliates must form below them rather than directly under GDUI.
Maria Hansen is president of Guide Dog Users' of New York and second vice president of the GDUI, Inc.

Incorporation of P T G D U as a 501(c)3 non-profit.
Leona had asked Pauline to follow up with Mel Clarridge, president of ACB of Maine about some type of agreement where P T G D U could use the ACB 501(c)3 numbers while assuring any funds raised by P T G D U would stay with P T G D U. Pauline did speak with Mel; however, it was decided that the latter is not a viable option. Neither group has an attorney who specializes in non profits. ACB of ME only has an accountant. Cheryl does have their accountants information. Pauline has also been in touch with the organization of non-profits but they do not offer help in applying for 501(c)3 status however there is lots of helpful information at their web site. She has names of a few Maine attorneys who deal with non-profit applications. Pauline can complete some of the documents but has a few areas she wants a 501(c)3attorney for others. There was a discussion about P T G D U receiving three hundred dollars in seed money from ACB when P T G D U formed. These funds have been repaid. Pauline mentioned that she checked with the Secretary of State and they have no documentation under Pine Tree Guide Dog Users so Pauline wants to see if we can go through without a name change. Leona mentioned that we might consider using ACB until we can get our own number. There are legal concerns based on IRS regulations for non-profits. Pauline wants to discuss the best option with a lawyer to see if we can incorporate and get 501(c)3 while maintaining P T G D U name without the need for historic minutes and other documents. The board has already approved up to five hundred dollars to combine with the four hundred already designated to go toward incorporation. Leona suggested that perhaps we should form a subcommittee and get an informational meeting to see how to proceed. Lynn and Bruce volunteered to help Pauline on that subcommittee.

ACB Update
Cheryl mentioned annual convention on October 22 at the Best Western at three hundred and seventy five Main Street in Waterville. No other news.

National Convention
Lynn wasn't able to attend and thanked P T G D U for offering to help. Pauline mentioned ACB radio and that a number of meetings have been recorded and available. You can also listen to ACB recordings by calling six o five four seven five eight one three o. Then select the recording you want to hear. Information about GDUI events is part of the report distributed by Penny Reader, president of GDUI. All future (convention) meetings for all groups will be recorded by ACB for free. Lynn mentioned that Maine actually has a large membership compared to many other states. Massachusetts has the largest membership. GDUI has about five hundred members.

New Business
Winter meeting is at Dunkin' Donuts on Saturday, November fifth. We can meet at nine for socializing and the meeting begins at ten a m.

Meeting with incoming college students.
Along with representatives of ACB and several guide dog schools, Cheryl spoke to students about the advantages of joining P T G D U. To date nobody has called but there were several dogs in training who took much of the attention.

Nominating committee for board positions.
All positions are up except for the two year term currently in mid-term, Bud Buzzell. Bud and Bruce will work together to contact incumbents and see if they are interested in re-election. A memo will be sent with the list of incumbents, their position and Bruce will work with Bud to get the slate for November.

Vista - Bi-weekly meeting by phone from four thirty to six on the first and third at the Iris Network.

Empowerment Forum
There will be an Empowerment Forum on August eighteenth. Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee veteran, is amotivational speaker. It will be at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn. Registration is through CARES. The C.A.R.E.S. website is

Patti announced that she is the new president of the Portland chapter of NFB and they are hosting the NFB convention in Portland, Maine at one eighty five high street on September twenty fourth. One guest will be the president of ACB.

Bud motioned and Marj seconded to adjourn. Passed.

2016 Spring P T G D U Meeting

Old Business
February minutes read - Leona motioned and Patti seconded to accept the February minutes - passed
Cheryl read the Treasurer's report for 11/2015 - 01/2016
Bruce motioned and Bud seconded to accept the November to January treasurers report - passed
Treasurer's report for 02/01/2016 - 04/30/2016
Leona motioned and Bud seconded to accept the January to April treasurers report - passed
Pauline mentioned that both she and Cheryl are now registered signatories at the bank.
Cheryl reported that our membership remains at seventeen.
There had been no word from Jim or Melissa on progress on distributing the letter to guide dog schools and others.
White Cane Walk - No word back but Cheryl is meeting with the Disability Rights Maine on Tuesday, May tenth and will see if they can attend.
Bud mentioned that he has tested the accessible voting machine. It includes Braille and is intended to be as universal as possible.
Legislative news
LD 872 - Task force on service animals {Agriculture, Forestry, etc. and Judicial committees)
No report. LD 1601 - passed without a signature
There was a brief discussion of the WGAN report on the legislature cracking down on fake service animals.
WGME I-Team Interviews Pauline Lamontagne about fake service animals?.?.
LD 54?7 killed as it was in violation of the ADA that would have required registration. Language changed to include assistance animal?s? and service animal?s?.
LD221 dead!
LD606 - To get additional funds for the Independent Living Services. One hundred and fifty thousand from SSA allotment to go to ILS. Should be completely covered for 2016/2017
DBVI - SRC Director of DBVI will NOT be filled
Website - upcoming survey
Candidates forum / upcoming election and Lynn is running for reelection for Treasurer of GDUI. Elections are from 5/22 - 5/29
Previous forums (and upcoming) can be heard at a phone format. After the 14th, old forum will be replaced with new one.
Maria Hansen (2nd vice president) helped New York get incorporated. Most of the paperwork was done by a student. Sent material to Pauline but both computers crashed. Also had information about companies that help non-profits.
VISTA (Visually Impaired Support Team Alliance) - 1st and 3rd tuesdays 4:30 - 6:00. The telephone number is 866-305-2467. The pin is 471707#
Leona will talk to the Lions Club to do more driving {transportation} so that we can move our meetings to other locations.
If anyone we find for new members is dual impaired (hearing/vision) have them contact Patti for a new group.
Patti Sarchi will be away through June to get a new guide dog.
There will be an Empowerment Forum held in the Lewiston/Auburn area on Thursday, August 18th. Transition is theme. More details to follow.
Leona mentioned someone from ITN-Country {Independent Transportation Network} at the ACB conference. $1.50 per mile and $6.00 to join. Leona will send a copy of the notification to be forwarded to the group.
Patti / Bud to adjourn - passed.

2016 Winter P T G D U Meeting

The February teleconference was held on Saturday, February sixth, twenty sixteen from nine a m until nearly eleven a m.
Old Business:
Treasurer's report - Cheryl
Moved Marj and Bruce seconded to accept treasurer's report accepted pending amendment to reflect the check for Gilles Outlette last month for transportation costs from Portland to Augusta for two board members. - Passed unanimously
Cheryl and Pauline will work together to get Pauline on the P T G D U accounts as an authorized signer of checks
November minutes - Bruce
Bruce to resend August minutes to group
November minutes - Marj motioned and Cheryl seconded to accept the minutes - passed unanimously Membership Report - Cheryl. Mel Clarrage was added as a new member. She submitted our membership list and a check for our dues to Sarah Calhoun.
Update on the letter approved in November to Guide Dog Schools, etc. - Jim, Melissa and Cheryl
Neither Jim nor Melissa were present
White Cane Walk 2016
It was agreed that we will use the same route as last year. Cheryl will check with Chris to see if we will be able to meet in the Maine State Library.
Cheryl will also see if the Disability Rights Maine wants to discuss voting and bringing absentee applications for those who may not be able to get to the polls.
Kathy Adams mentioned to Pauline that the State of Maine was looking into accessible voting machines. Either Pauline or Bruce to check with Kathy See if there is and additional information on this.
Maine Legislature discussion
LD 872
There was a presentation on the twenty-ninth of January concerning the misuse of service animals which included employees of the Agriculture office. Lynn and Pauline attended.
Keypoints: A legislative task force for following up on LD 872 recommended language in Maine law to echo national law using service animals instead of service dogs and assistance animals for emotional support animals. Housing rules are more stringent relating to assistance animals. The task for also suggested sending a letter to our Congressional delegation relating to process of certification and registration and to ask if there could be anything done on a national level that didn't violate the ADA. Those with non-visible disabilities are having difficulties because people think the animals are pets and they thought certification or registration might make it easier for them. Some of the concerns were raised by landlords who felt that some tenants were abusing the use of service and assistance animals.
GDUI had an affiliates committee meeting to examine the problems of fake service animals.
Pine Tree Guide Dog Users does not support mandatory certification or registration as it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
LD 221
This coming Thursday (2/11), Judiciary to deal with a carry over of LD 221 (housing and service / assistance animals) based on the task force recommendations. Some renters are pushing for more stringent standards.
ACB has chosen NOT to pursue emergency bill but to form a committee to write the bill and submit for consideration to the next legislative session. A five member committee is to be formed. (Bud Lewis met with ACB board and it was agreed to NOT try to get it into the emergency session. Will allow time to work on the wording and also an opportunity to reach out to legislators. This relates to whether or not to create a Commission for the blind.
DBVI - SRC State Rehabilitation Council (provided under rehabilitation act to work with DBVI)
Lot of activity so SRC now meeting monthly and altered the format to better complete the committee work. A number of subcommittees created. Among them are Transitional, Realignment, Financial, Homemaking, Technology
Bud Lewis gave a comprehensive list of budget issues. Also more input from DBVI staff and from the public.
Read the State plan for DBVI and submit comments before next Friday.
GDUI Updates
Annual elections in May. Members should hear from nominating committee.
Affiliate Group is working on Federal legislation dealing with people who misrepresent pets as service animals.
Annual GDUI convention in Minneapolis during the Fourth of July weekend.
Penny Reader sent a note earlier about a company that helps ACB affiliates to get incorporated. It is at least another $500 on top of the $400 for their assistance. Maria Hansen helped the GDUI affiliate in New York get incorporated who also had the Helping Hands donation of $400. Need to start with Constitution and By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation. Pauline will contact Maria Hansen.
Discussion about dissolving and restarting to keep the same name. The problem is that any / all existing funds must be submitted to GDUI.
ACB Update
Already covered above. Bud Lewis mentioned that he would not stay on as director if the consolidation becomes reality.
240,000 shortfall in the Independent Living budget. Gov. LePage is refusing to submit a supplemental budget for ANYTHING. Bud thinks there may be a way to find funding. That funding (Independent Living) would be part of the MDOL budget and if that is underway, we can then contact our legislators.
Website Bruce
Several sites have moved and been revised so I am redoing ALL links and making portions of the pages consistent.
New Business
Mel Clarrage is to set up a committee on legislation before next legislative session to create a commission for the blind.
Leona recommended that Cheryl Peabody be our representative and Cheryl accepted.
May meeting - To be at Dunkin' Donuts
Bruce will contact the manager to reserve the room for May, August and November.
Meetings are now a call in on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 4:30 to 6:00. Trying to focus on different topics such as how blindness effects them. Along with Maine residents, there were a number of out of state callers. Contact Leona McKenna or Cheryl Peabody for call-in information. Thanks to Jim Phipps and the Iris Neetwork who are funding the call.
Blind Bowlers
Problem with septic system but should resume next Saturday at 1-7-10 lanes.
Marj moved Cheryl seconded to adjourn. Passed.


Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (P T G D U) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote the well-being of dog guide users in Maine. Founded in 1997 with some financial support from the American Council of the Blind of Maine and a lot of energy and hard work from our founding members, P T G D U includes folks who are dog guide handlers, folks who raise puppies destined to become dog guides, and folks who are interested in working dogs of all kinds.

Pine Tree Guide Dog Users is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, and of the Guide Dog Users, Inc.


The Pine Tree Guide Dog Users hold quarterly meetings in various locations in Maine. Meetings are scheduled on the first Saturday of February, May, August, and November. Meetings generally consist of a luncheon with a guest speaker followed by a business meeting. All members of P T G D U are encouraged to attend our meetings. If you have an issue that you would like to discuss, please contact our President, Pauline Lamontagne, at


Our members come from throughout the State of Maine and their dog guides have trained at a number of the many dog guide schools located in the United States. Here are some of the schools at which our P T G D U members have trained:


Guide Dogs of America

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Guide Dog Foundation

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Southeastern Guide Dogs

The Seeing Eye


So, what's it like to work and live with a dog guide? Read the writings of some of our members and others on this subject.


Find links to all sorts of information about guide dogs on this page.


Find links to all sorts of information about resources for people with disabilities on this page.


Show off the Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (P T G D U) logo!

Our yellow lab in harness printed over the state of Maine looks great on our high quality tee's and sweat shirts! P T G D U T-shirts are 100% pre-shrunk cotton:
Adult sizes $15 (S, M, L, XL); Childrens size $13 (M, L)

P T G D U Sweat shirts are heavy duty 50% cotton-50% polyester:
Available in adult sizes only $25 (M, L, XL)

(All prices include shipping and handling)

To order, send check or money order payable to Pine Tree Guide Dog Users to:

Cheryl Peabody
Six Lee Street
Winslow, Maine 04901-7251

For additional information, send Bruce an email.


If you live in Maine and are interested in raising a puppy destined to become a guide dog, you can contact Pat Webber at 207-338-5520 or

Directions to Dunkin' Donuts in Augusta, Maine

For those arriving via the Maine Turnpike / Route 95, take exit 109A. After both exits merge, stay to the right to go east onto Western Avenue / Route 202. Continue for roughly one and a half miles. Just after your sixth traffic light Sewall Street, Dunkin' Donuts is on the right. DD.'s tel no.: 207 622 3667
For those arriving via State Street OR west via Route 202, take the Western Avenue exit and Dunkin Donuts will be visible on your left about one tenth of a mile up. There is a short side street between Domino's Pizza and Dunkin' Donuts with parking near the drive through. The rear entrance has two sets of double doors, both opening to the right as you enter. Immediately after the second door, the bathrooms are on the left. The ladies room is to the left and the men's to the right. The meeting room is on the left about six feet after the bathroom area.
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This web page revised on May 7, 2017.