PINE TREE GUIDE DOG USERS Group
Twenty sixteen White Cane Walk
The twenty sixteen White Cane Walk to commemorate White Cane Safety Day is scheduled for Saturday, the fifteenth of October, which is actually White Cane Safety Day this year. Current plans are to complete the walk over the same route as last year but we are still waiting for approval to meet at the Capitol Complex on Capitol Street in Augusta, Maine. The walkers exit the parking lot onto State Street and go north. Walkers will cross Capitol Street and reach Western Avenue. After turning left onto Western Avenue, we will continue to Sewall Street by Amato's and the Muskie Federal Building. We will turn left onto Sewall Street and walk back to Capitol Street. Once we cross to the same side as the Capitol Complex, we return to the starting point.
We meet at nine a m and refreshments will be served. If available, the Presidential, Gubernatorial and Mayoral proclamations will be read. Any guest speakers will be listed here once finalized.
Spring PTGDU Meeting
The spring PTGDU meeting will be held On Saturday, the seventh of May from ten a m through two p m or the conclusion of business, whichever comes first. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are held in the Dunkin Donuts meeting room at 22 Western Avenue in Augusta. The room is available starting at nine a m for those who want breakfast and for some social time. Driving directions and access information.
The February teleconference was held on Saturday, February sixth, twenty sixteen from nine a m until nearly eleven a m.
Meeting notes will be posted when approved.
Fall twenty fifteen meeting notes
It was moved, seconded and passed to set aside the scheduled agenda to discuss incorporation of PTGDU to Guide Dog Users’ of Maine as passed in the May, 2015 meeting. There were a few questions, starting with what the costs might be. Pauline mentioned she believed it was forty dollars for the State of Maine and wasn’t sure exactly how much the Federal government charges.
Pauline suggested we should also communicate with GDUI affiliate organizations in other states to share information and resources as other states also incorporate.
There was also a discussion of the Appropriations Committee with Gil Whitmore, Cheryl Peabody and Marj Awalt, all of whom attended a session open for public comments. Once the Department of Labor responds to the questions submitted to the Committee, Cheryl will pass those along to the group.
There was a brief discussion about the new money readers and that they are available through Chris Boynton (Circulation/Outreach and Special Services Coordinator) at the Maine State Library on State Street.
It was moved, seconded and passed to accept the August minutes.
The next discussion concerned a letter originally submitted by Leona McKenna and revised by Lynn Merrill relating to a letter for new guide dog users. It expanded into what other audiences might be appropriate such as veterinarians, trainers and schools. The text follows:
“Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (PTGDU) would like to congratulate you on your new partnership with a guide dog and invite you to be one of our members! Some of us are seasoned guide dog travelers and others are fairly new to the game, however, we all understand the joy, the triumphs, and, yes, sometimes the struggles of working with a new guide whether it be your first or your tenth! so, we want you to know that not only is PTGDU an advocacy group but we are here to support and encourage all fellow guide dog handlers!
Please take a look at our website, join one of our meetings, or give one of our board members a call to learn more.
PTGDU, is the Maine affiliate of guide Dog Users Inc, GDUI, and an affiliate of the American council Of The Blind, ACB. PTGDU is a consumer organization that advocates for well trained guide dog teams and for people who are visually impaired and strives to educate people about guide dogs, guide dog teams, and the laws protecting their rights to public access.
By joining PTGDU, you will also become a member of Guide Dog Users, Inc., as well as The American Council of the Blind but more importantly, you will join our circle of friendship and support of fellow guide dog users in Maine. We look forward to your membership!”
There was also a discussion of Bruce making a letterhead for any future PTGDU and GDUM communications.
Pauline gave the GDUI updates.
The legislative discussion beyond the issues with DBVI included proposed changes to “An Act to Amend the Laws Regarding Service Animal Housing Accommodations” or LD 221/HP 153.
The link is: http://www.legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280054379 b.
Elections were held and your 2016 PTGDU Executive Committee is:
Pauline Lamontagne President
Lynn Merrill First Vice President
Gil Whitmore Second Vice President
Patti Sarchi Two year board member until November twenty sixteen
Bud Buzzell Two year board member until November twenty seventeen
Marj Awalt One year board member
Leona McKenna One year board member
Cheryl Peabody Treasurer
Bruce Prindall Secretary
The meeting dates for 2016 will be:
February sixth for the teleconference dial in information to be sent later.
May seventh for the spring meeting
August eighth for the summer meeting
October fifteenth for the White Cane walk and White Cane Safety Day is also Saturday the fifteenth.
November fifth for the fall meeting.
Twenty fifteen White Cane Walk
The annual White Cane was completed on Saturday, the seventeenth of October, 2015. Members and guests met at the Maine State Library on State Street fpr refreshments and introductions.
City Counselor Cecil Munson, representing Mayor David Rollins, read the Mayoral Proclamation. PTGDU secretary, Bruce Prindall, read the letter from Governor Paul LePage and the Presidential Proclamations from President Barack Obama. Walkers then existed the Capitol Complex onto State Street and travelled northerly, across Capitol Street to Western Avenue. After turning left at Western Avenue, they proceeded to Sewall Street before again turning left. Once they crossed Capitol Street, they returned to the Maine State Library.
Summer twenty fifteen meeting notes
The Summer Pine Tree Guide Dog Users' Group meeting was held on August first.
Attending were Pauline Lamontagne and Ava, Lynn Merrill and Libby, Gil Whitmore and Vancouver, Bud Buzzell and Josie, Patti Sarchi, Hugh and Marj Awalt, Cheryl Peabody, Bruce Prindall and Gille Ouelette.
After introductions, Lynn motioned and Bud seconded to accept the agenda. Passed.
Bruce went over the May meeting notes.
Lynn moved and Bruce seconded to accept the notes. Passed.
In Anne's absence, Pauline moved and Lynn seconded to table the treasurer's and membership reports. Passed.
Ann has decided not to seek re-election as treasurer. After Pauline asked for volunteers, Cheryl agreed to assume the position and will be running in November.
There was some confusion over lunch as Bruce read the menu and then got MOST of the items. It was moved by Lynn and seconded by Marj to reimburse Bruce and that in the future, each member will be responsible for their own orders.
There was a discussion of the White Cane Safety Day walk upcoming and the details were finalized. The walk will start and end at the Maine State Library on State Street.
Pauline gave an update about the pending legislation around funding and staffing of the Division of Blind and Visually Impaired.
Lynn Merrill attended the ACB convention held in Dallas earlier this year and also worked the GDUI room. GDUI received an American of the Blind award for having the most new members.
GDUI is still working on an issue in California where they are requiring ALL trainers who work in California to do work with follow up visits must be licensed in California.
GDUI has a new election system that is secure. GDUI are now in compliance with the recent Washington, D. C. regulations for non-profits after by-law changes were made. Washington, D. C. is where GDUI is incorporated.
Also at the annual meeting in Dallas was an affiliate round up. There were no issues that came up.
There was also discussion about an approach to PTGDU filing for non-profit status to being with a name change and that way, only a single year of financials would be required. When the change takes place, we should do much better tracking financials and meeting minutes.
There was a brief discussion of how PTGDU operated under GDUI's tax ID and why it was changed.
Leona wrote a letter to dog school graduates to encourage new members. She may also send the letter to veterinarians.
Lynn motioned and Bud seconded for the board to proceed with incorporating and to be sure members are kept updated. Passed.
There was discussion about a new acronym / name for the group. Lynn moved and Bud seconded to use Guide Dog Users' of Maine or GDUM. Passed.
There was discussion of 92 Moose, a local radio station, having a Sunday morning talk with Lynn and Pauline about PTGDU and the upcoming White Cane Safety Day walk.
Cheryl volunteered to run for treasurer in November.
Bruce and Hugh are working on the nominating committee for the annual elections in November.
There will be an Empowerment Forum at TB Celebrations in Waterville on August thirteenth. The governor and the commissioner of Rehab Services will be in attendance. Registration is through C. A. R. E. S.
C.A.R.E.S. website is http://www.caresinc.org/
The next meeting will be on Saturday, the seventh of November at Dunkin' Donuts on Western Avenue.
It was moved and seconded to adjourn. Passed.
Twenty Fifteen Spring Fling
The PTGDU Spring Fling was held on May second two thousand and fifteen from nine a m to three p m. The location was the Senator Inn on Western Avenue in Augusta.
There were a number of guest speakers at the meeting.
MICHAEL MCCLELLAN: Mike is the Executive Director of the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) who also serves the citizens of Maine as a State Representative from Raymond. Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies, specifically in Therapeutic Recreation. Mike is serving his fifth year as a Maine State Representative. He currently sits on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, as well as the Government Oversight Committee. He did serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission for Independent Living. Mike does a lot of community volunteer work. He served as the Executive Director of his local Chamber of Commerce for which he earned the Executive of the Year in 2008.
Mike said there are three “knows” we should have. “Know” your representative both in Maine and those representing us in Congress. “Know” your bills. And “Know” the process. Maine State Legislature runs in two year cycles. In the first year, there are approximately 2,000 bills introduced. The first year bills get a public hearing Second year bills are called “emergency bills” and it is much more difficult for a bill to get through and actually become law. Each committee has an “analyst”. The analyst works on the legal aspect of bills on which the committees are working. If you cannot make it to the public hearing, send your testimony to the committee’s analyst, who will pass it on the committee members. Mike said at public hearings, usually people in favor of the bill testify first, followed by those against the bill and, finally, those neither for nor against may testify. If you do give oral testimony, make printed copies of your testimony so the committee members have it to refer to. Mike reports that it is acceptable to contact committees before and after public hearings when the bill goes to committee work sessions. Work sessions are open to the public but, unlike public hearings, you cannot testify unless the committee specifically asks you do to so. The committees will make recommendations after the work sessions. The recommendations go back to the Senators and Representatives. Mike said it is important for citizens to get involved. Bills are presented with the best intentions but sometimes they do not know the unintended consequences unless citizens testify. For information on a specific bill, go to http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/search.asp. You can enter the LD number, the name of the person sponsoring the bill or enter key words for your search.
Mike McClellan’s contact information is:
Legislative number 287-1400
Cell number 329-6148
House of Representatives
2 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04330
BECKY BARNES DAVIDSON: Becky is Manager of Consumer Outreach and Graduate Support at Guiding Eyes. Becky spoke on the misrepresentation of pets as service dogs. A resource for state laws is: National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU). On this site, you can access every law in the United States regarding service dogs. As we all know, it is easy to purchase items declaring the dog is a service dog. One of the ways to discourage this is fines for misrepresenting a pet as a service dog. Maine has a fee of $500. Enforcement of this is difficult. Lynn Merrill spoke that in California, they place signs in public areas educating people of misrepresentation of pets as service dogs. They have found a 40% drop in complaints about misrepresentation of pets as service dogs. We must make this socially unacceptable in order to deter it. One of the suggestions was to have a specific harness for the task a service dog has. A guide dog would have a specific harness and a dog alerting it’s handler of a seizure would have a different harness.
Becky Barnes Davidson can be reached for question/comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAT WEBBER: Pat is the Regional Manager working with puppy raisers for Guiding Eyes. Puppy raisers are all volunteer. In their first months, the raiser tries to get the dog socialized and use to as many sights and sounds as possible. When the pups are between 16 and 18 months old, they go to Guiding Eyes. They run rigorous tests, ehich include an obstacle course, with the intent of stressing the dogs and they can tell which dogs are going to make it as guide dogs or perhaps they will be detection dogs for law enforcement. If the pup passes this testing, there starts four months of training for their particular vocation. It is important that the dog can problem solve. An example of disobedient obedience was given. The dog must know when it is safe and when it is not safe. Pat estimated that 80% of the pups raised end up working in areas such as guide dogs, detection dogs or autism dogs.
Pat can be reached for questions/comments at: email@example.com
DR JOHN MCMAHON: John addressed the importance of contacting legislative members. He said DOL put in their budget monies for two Teachers of Visually Impaired (TVIs). This did not make it in the Governor’s budget. John reported that all it took was once citizen asking why the TVIs did not make the budget and a whole world opened up. Now, not only are the TVIs in the budget but funding to raise the salaries for TVIs has been added so Maine can compete with other states. John urged us to continue contacting legislators before and after public hearings. Keep in touch – call, email or send a letter supporting or opposing whatever once a week. Grass roots activism is as important after testimony as the testimony itself.
(I missed most of the discussion around Homemaker Closures and Transitional Age Students.)
John spoke about the Vocational Training Center. One thing he was hearing from consumers is that they want access to people going through the same thing they are. Peer mentoring playing a big role in the new program. John reports that every skill learned at the training center will be immediately applied. This is an integrated program – VRCs and VRTs will be involved with the training program so there is no disconnect. There will be ten weeks for each session. Funding will be available for Maine citizens but people from other states will have to have their state fund them.
Twenty fifteen February teleconference
2014 White Cane Walk
The annual White Cane Walk to celebrate the contributions made by blind and visually impaired Americans was held on Saturday, eighteenth of October, 2014.
Walkers gathered at Damons on Western Avenue and were served coffee and donuts by Karen McGillvrey from Tim Horton's. Karen and her husband have sponsored the walk for the last few years.
After listening to John McMahon, the director of the Blind and Visually Impaired, participants travelled down the southern side of Western Avenue with most reaching the Augusta Plaza at 52 Western Avenue before returning to Damons for lunch.
Augusta City Council Discusses Pedestrian Traffic
Recently, Lynn Duplessis and Queeg, Pauline LaMontagne and Anouk and Bruce Prindall attended an Augusta City Council meeting where one of the topics was pedestrian safety.
Lynn had an opportunity to speak to the council. Below is an excerpt from the Kennebec Journal On Line
The accidents prompted Mahaleris, as well as Lynn Duplessis, a resident with visual impairment who frequently negotiates the busy city streets with her 12-year-old guide dog, Queeg, to meet with councilors Thursday night to talk about pedestrian safety.
They're looking for ways to prevent more tragedies.
"It is especially difficult to remain safe on Augusta's streets" for someone with visual impairment, said Duplessis, first vice president of the Pine Tree Guide Dog Users. "I'm extremely capable of getting around the city with my cane or guide dog. The problem is the drivers. They pay absolutely no attention."
"When pedestrians are crossing, the drivers don't stop. They're on the phone or they just have tunnel vision and blow right through."
Other links and useful information
A copy of the PTGDU membership application form, in Rich Text Format, is now available for download.
Useful Information For Air Travelers With A Guide Dog: Air Travel Advice for Guide Dog Handlers, a document originally issued by the GDUI Legislative Committee in December, 2010, was recently updated. The updated version of that document now appears in the GUIDE DOG INFORMATION AND RESOURCES section of this website.
What To Expect If You're Blind Or Visually Impaired And Use A Service Dog, a complementary document issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in November, 2010, also appears there.
A new page, Disability.Gov Resources, has been added to the PTGDU website. On that page, you'll find an overview of and links to the different sections of a Federal government website that provides links to thousands of resources for people with disabilities.
PTGDU president Pauline Lamontagne reports on her January 2010 Caribbean cruise and offers practical advice for first-time guide dog team cruisers. You can read Pauline's story, "First Time Cruising With A Guide Dog" as well as many other stories and articles in the "Our
Stories" section of this web site.>
Bobbi LaChance, a PTGDU member, tells of her presentation about guide dogs to students of the Poland Springs Academy. You can read Bobbi's story, "What To Do On A Rainy Day" as well as many other stories and articles in the "Our Stories" section of this web site.
Hope Paulos, a PTGDU member, recently completed a half marathon in Florida. Listen to Hope’s interview discussing the event on the ACB Radio program "Blind Like Me" in the "Our
Stories" section of this web site.
Sue Martin adds to the collection of PTGDU members' growing number of articles about their guides in "Beverly Crosses the Rainbow Bridge", an article about the passing of her third guide.
PTGDU member Anja Geleney joins the ranks of members who contribute stories about their guide dogs. Read "From Cane to Guide Dog" in our Stories section.
Information about accommodations for service animals at Fenway Park as well as State of Maine sales tax exemptions has been posted in the GUIDE DOG INFORMATION AND RESOURCES section of this web site.
Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (PTGDU) 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, PTGDU 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 of Maine, 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 PTGDU are encouraged to attend our meetings. If you have an issue that you would like to discuss, please contact our President, Pauline Lamontagne, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 PTGDU members have trained:
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.
GUIDE DOG INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
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 (PTGDU) logo!
Our yellow lab in harness printed over the state of Maine looks
great on our high quality tee's and sweat shirts! PTGDU T-shirts
are 100% pre-shrunk cotton:
Adult sizes $15 (S, M, L, XL); Childrens size $13 (M, L)
PTGDU 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' Group along with item(s) requested and size(s) to:
Bruce H. Prindall
23 Sewall Street Apt. 4
Augusta, ME 04330-5546
For additional information or to order via email, contact Bruce.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
Return to the upcoming events
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This web page revised February ninth twenty sixteen.