Braille Monitor                                                 July 2011

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Monitor Miniatures

News from the Federation Family

Leftover Facts:
When all is said and done, we were left with a few interesting tidbits of information about Dr. tenBroek that did not seem to fit in anywhere else. So here they are for what they may be worth:

Dr. tenBroek liked Trader Vic’s ice cream and apple pie made with summer apples and without cinnamon. He had breakfast early (about 7:00) because he wanted to spend time with his family, and he never knew what the end of the day might bring. Steaks or pork chops were common for breakfast. Most mornings he rose about 4:00 and went for a long walk, often accompanied by his son Nicolas. Nicolas remembers being waked by his dad’s grabbing the covers from his bed. They walked through the woods with Dr. tenBroek using a broomstick for a cane because he needed something heavy to help him make his way through the brush. The tenBroeks had a forty-by-forty-foot living room with a huge fireplace along one side. This was the meeting place for leaders of the blind, government officials, and even students. Saturday classes for Berkeley students often occurred in that living room. Dr. tenBroek chopped much of the wood for the fireplace himself. Mrs. tenBroek said that Dr. tenBroek paced when he was talking, and others, such as Muzzy Marcelino, paced in a different portion of the living room. The carpet must have taken quite a beating. President Maurer has Dr. tenBroek’s fireplace poker in his office. It is more than four feet long with two barbed prongs on the end for stirring the fire.

Save the Date:
The 2012 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will take place April 19 and 20, 2012, at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute in Baltimore. Dr. tenBroek created the concept that civil rights should apply to disabled Americans, and he published extensively regarding the variables involved in the application of the law to those with disabilities. His seminal article "The Right to Live in the World: The Disabled in the Law of Torts," published in 1966 in the California Law Review, helped to lay the foundation for modern-day American disability law. The Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium provides disability rights advocates a forum in which to carry forward Dr. tenBroek’s work toward achieving for all citizens equal opportunity for full participation in the society in which we live. With a format that includes workshops in addition to plenary sessions, the 2012 symposium will provide opportunities for discussion, collaboration, and networking.


In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Braille 2011 NCAA College Football Schedules Available:
This year’s schedule includes 120 Division 1-A and some requested Division 1-AA teams, the results of the 2010-2011 bowl games, the top twenty-five teams in the AP final polls, the 2011 preseason poll, 2011-2012 bowl schedule, and much more.

The cost of this year’s schedule is $10 each. Mailing will be by Free Matter for the Blind. Orders should be placed as early as possible so we can get schedules to you before the season begins. Please make checks payable to Allen H. Gillis and send to him at 302 Schaeffel Road, Cullman, AL 35055. His phone is (256) 734-4047; his email is <[email protected]>.

Michigan Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Chris Boone:
Christine BooneOn Tuesday, May 24, 2011, a state arbitrator in Michigan ruled in favor of Federationist Christine Boone, who had been fired in February 2010 as director of the Michigan adult training center at the Commission for the Blind (see “Something Amiss in Michigan” parts I and II in the 2010 June and July issues of the Braille Monitor). Commission Director Pat Cannon announced early on that he would appeal any adverse rulings, so the agency is likely to appeal this decision. Nevertheless, this initial victory is great news and the first step toward vindicating Chris Boone. Here is the brief article that appeared in the May 25, 2011, edition of the Kalamazoo Gazette:

Arbitrator rules in favor of Christine Boone, former director
of Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center, ordering
she be reinstated with back pay and benefits
by Rosemary Parker

The former director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center here, fired in February 2010 in a dispute about a marksmanship class offered to students, should get her job back, with back pay and benefits, a hearing officer has ruled. "After careful review of all the facts and circumstances, it is clear that (former director Christine) Boone performed her work in good faith and with reasonable diligence," arbitrator Michael P. Long wrote in his ruling, a copy of which was provided by Boone.

A spokesman for the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, which oversees the training center, said via e-mail Wednesday that the department had just received the order, had not yet had an opportunity to review it, and so had no further comment.

Boone, fifty-one, said she learned the news from her lawyer Tuesday that the state labor arbitrator had ruled in her favor and was "delighted" by the outcome. "I came to Kalamazoo four years ago to be the training center's director, and my whole mission, my energy, my time, and my passion was to create an environment where blind people would be challenged and receive skills they need to enter the work force," she told the Kalamazoo Gazette today in an interview. "I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to continue the work I started."

Boone was fired after her boss Patrick Cannon, director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind in Lansing, became upset to learn of a marksmanship class being offered at the school, a year-round training facility for blind adults. In the class blind students used spring-powered pellet guns to shoot at targets. Boone said Cannon gave his verbal consent for the class; he denied that and said the class violated state safety and firearms rules.

At the arbitration hearing the record shows Cannon argued Boone had deceived him, intending to use the class to embarrass him. "It appears that there may well have been a misunderstanding or miscommunication between Ms. Boone and Mr. Cannon," Long wrote. "Ms. Boone believed she had Mr. Cannon's approval for the marksmanship class, while Mr. Cannon believes he had not approved the class. ... If one assumes both witnesses are telling the truth, there was simply a misunderstanding and not a work rule violation."

The arbitrator said it was clear to all parties that firearms are not allowed on state property, but less clear that the pellet guns used in class constituted firearms. He noted that, "Mr. Cannon, after informing Ms. Boone that the pellet rifles were `firearms,’ which are not allowed on state property, ordered Ms. Boone to transport the pellet rifles to his office on state property in Lansing so that he could examine them."

"It has not been shown that Boone purposely violated any of the rules or regulations with which she is charged," the finding concludes. "There is not just cause for discipline or discharge in this matter."

Boone has been blind since birth. She was hired as director of the Michigan Training Center for the Blind in October, 2006 by the Michigan Commission for the Blind.

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