June 28, 2010 Rotogram


For the eighty-sixth time, the Club’s gavel will change hands today. President Martha Wells reports on the year’s accomplishments as President-elect Tommy Tomlinson sets the vision for a new year.


Observing Independence Day, we will not meet next week.


On July 12, our new program year begins with the Rotary International theme “Building Communities—Bridging Continents.”


Invocation and Pledge: Ernie George

Attendance:  There were 96 members (35 exempt, 1 honorary) present and 85 (15 exempt, 11 honorary) absent.

Makeup: Tommy Tomlinson at the annual organizational meeting.

Guests and visitors: Visiting Rotarian was Brent Melton of the Downtown Jackson Club. We had no members’ guests.  Guests of the Club were Paul Sims, Starkville Daily News, and RYE student Kasper Eriksen.

Subs: Past-President Chip Templeton presided with the able assistance of President-Elect-Designee Eddie Keith (How’s that for a title?). President Martha was having some R&R; and President-Elect Tommy was at the Rotary International meeting in Montreal.


We welcome Kasper’s family today and want to report to them that he has become a genuine “good ole boy.” We’ll miss you, Kasper.


Robert “Rocki” Katz has been recommended for membership under the classification of  Management and Administration. Proposed by Larry Mullins, Katz retired as the tax compliance manager for Exxon Mobile Corporation.

Rotary’s philosophical cornerstone and the foundation of club activity.

  1. Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club.
  2. Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards.
  3. Community Service covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
  4. International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.


Ironically, Mississippi State University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision exists in a state that has little support for its visually impaired population.
“I don’t know if I’ve been in a state that serves blind students in its public schools as poorly as Mississippi,” said Interim Center Director Brenda Cavenaugh.
Although the center is primarily funded through Federal grants and contracts, staff members do attempt to work with special educators when requested.
The 38-year veteran of low vision rehabilitation work explained the center’s mission “to enhance employment and independent living outcomes for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through research, training, education, and dissemination.”
The center’s eleven employees have more than 120 combined staff-years of blindness rehabilitation and education experience.
As a part of the university’s College of Education since 1981, the one-of-a-kind operation is the nation’s only U.S. Dept. of Education-funded RRTC on Blindness and Low Vision. It serves as the national research and training center for service providers, consumers who are blind or visually impaired, administrators, researchers, and policymakers.
Its major source of funding is the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The center has received more than $15 million just from NIDRR.
Other funding sources include the  U. S. DOE’s Rehabilitation Services Administration and Institute of Education Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Aging.
As an example of the center’s many projects, Cavenaugh described a study titled “Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments.” This three-year NIDRR grant seeks to increase understanding of the employability of visually impaired persons after their high school experience.
After extensive reviews of previous research and conducting further studies, the staff developed the Project HIRE Web site to  gauge the job readiness of post-high-school and post-college young people.
Cavenaugh cited another project, the Academic Certificate Program for the Blindness and Low Vision Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation.
Approximately 50 students from across the U.S. will receive certification in the next five years. This RSA-funded course will feature on-site and distance education.
Students will receive 12 graduate hours for their coursework. Topics will include rehabilitation of persons who are blind or visually impaired, resources for those persons, computer access technology, and special projects in rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center
on Blindness and Low Vision

Voice:  (662) 325-2001
TDD:    (662) 325-8693
P. O. Box 6189, Mississippi State, MS  39762

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