Remember the good old days when very little happened during the holidays? I mean nothing used to ever get done between Thanksgiving and the start of the New Year. That’s why I decided to wait and do The Blitz after the holidays thinking there wouldn’t’ be much to report. Well, when you are wrong you might as well be really wrong. As you will see from the content below, the last couple of months have been very busy and it’s not all good news. Let’s get to it.
The lazy hazy crazy days of summer are upon us. Did I say lazy? Change that. There’s been nothing lazy about the last two months. Are you surprised? I didn't think so. After all, this is Randolph-Sheppard and we are all used to the merry-go-round never slowing down. It has been a summer of activity and new developments – some good and some not so good.
Buckle up. This may be a long and bumpy ride. There has been so much happening and there is so much to report. So, this issue is a little longer than some and for that I apologize but we do want to make sure you know the very latest. Even though, this issue is technically for April – May, I am also including some major developments in the first week of June since I spent most of that week in D.C. meeting with various federal officials and others and there is no reason to wait two months to update you on those discussions. So, let’s get started.
As I sit and write this, the latest issue of The Blitz, I look out my window and I see blooming Bradford Pear and cherry trees. Spring has sprung and hopefully the coldest and snowiest winter in recent memory is behind us. I know our friends on the East Coast join in that hope as I know they are tired of digging out of one snow after another. For Randolph-Sheppard, the winter months were not a time for hibernation. As this rendition of The Blitz will show, the freezing temperatures did not cool Randolph-Sheppard activity. There is much to report on things that have been happening and the activities of your NFBEI. So, let’s get on with it.
Since the last issue of The Blitz, we’ve celebrated the holidays. Already, January has come and gone. We’ve learned a new term – polar vortex. We’ve seen an exciting football season come to an end with everyone except FloridaState and the Seahawks saying “Wait til next year.” And we’ve seen peace and tranquility in the Randolph-Sheppard Program. Change that. We thought things would be quiet in Randolph-Sheppard but it has been anything except quiet. In fact, the year is off to a fast and frantic start. Take a deep breath and see what all is happening.
The fastest growing thicket of regulations mandating "healthy" vending in federal, state, and local facilities was the focus of a panel discussion at the National Association of Blind Merchants' recent 2013 Business Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST) conference, held at the Marriott Downtown Hotel in Indianapolis. The "healthy vending" panel moderated by Vending Times Senior Editor Emily Jed, brought together nutrition experts from government agencies and other health advocates, along with blind vendor operators. All are members of the Randolph-Sheppard Healthy Vending Work group, recently established by National Association of Blind Merchants executive director Kevan Worley.
National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) in Chicago, Illinois, has announced the appointment of Nicky Gacos to their Government Affairs Committee. Over many years, Mr. Gacos has served NAMA in a variety of capacities at the local and state level. He has worked for more than a decade to bring partnership and collaboration between the Randolph-Sheppard community and the vending industry, best represented by NAMA.
The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) is excited to announce that Emily Jed, Senior Editor of Vending Times, will moderate the “Healthy Vending” Forum taking place Monday, May 20, and Tuesday, May 21, at the Indy Super BLAST 2013 Conference in Indianapolis.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States, announced that it has partnered with Vehicles for Charity to launch a new vehicle donation program.
National Association of Blind Merchants teams with NAMA to offer “Quality Coffee Certificate Program” at BLAST03/18/13 at 08:55 PM
Business Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST) Conference organizers announced today that they will be able to offer a special “Quality Coffee Certificate Program” on Monday, May 20, as a part of the Indy Super BLAST.
Over the past few years we have been in the forefront of the nutritional vending work. We have worked to influence any unfair legislation or regulation which would harm vending and food service operations. We believe that it is important to educate rather than mandate.
February may have been a short month but there was no lack of activity. We found ourselves tackling all sorts of Randolph-Sheppard issues.
National Association of Blind Merchants is excited to announce Vending Times is now available on NFB-NEWSLINE®. All blind and print-disabled vend operators can now benefit from accessible news from our industry. The National Association of Blind Merchants continues to have the support of our parent organization to make exciting possibilities happen for blind vendors.
After April 15th, our BLAST hotel will no longer have rooms available in our room block. On that date, the early bird registration fee of $150 is no longer in effect. Therefore, will you please help us spread the word to everyone in our Randolph-Sheppard community to "Act Now!"
The pride I take in the work of the members and supporters of the National Association of Blind Merchants is profound. It is almost overwhelming. A little over one year ago, the members of the National Association of Blind Merchants recognized the capacity and commitment of Terry Smith.
I know I am naïve, but I have just reread the Schroeder memorandum and letter from '97 and ‘99. Fred Schroeder was the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration during the Clinton Administration. It just seems so clear in laying out the case for Randolph-Sheppard priority for all cafeterias and mess halls.
The White House has announced that President Obama has nominated Janet LaBreck to be the next Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner. I have had the great privilege of working with Ms. LaBreck through the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind.
We in the Randolph-Sheppard community know how legislation, no matter how big or small, truly affects our initiatives as well as the businesses our members work so hard to not only sustain, but also to expand. The U.S. Small Business Administration has built a website and blog dedicated to providing resources and answers to some of the urgent questions in our industry.
Sometimes I’ve heard it said by my blind merchant colleagues in Randolph-Sheppard that the focus of the National Association of Blind Merchants should solely be for the purpose of Randolph-Sheppard. I was pondering this notion today when I saw a press release celebrating the fact that Monster.com will now be fully accessible to the blind.
The National Association of Blind Merchants is proud to announce that the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB) will be providing an entire day of staff training on Monday, May 20th as part of the annual Business Leadership and Superior Training (BLAST) Conference.
It is with mixed emotions that I blog on behalf of the National Association of Blind Merchants and our Randolph-Sheppard community to express public thanks to Kareem Dale, and by extension to the Obama Administration.
It is rare that I read polemics, missives, requests for donations for children in foreign lands or jokes sent to me by email. However, when something comes from a true star in the Randolph-Sheppard realm, I naturally give it at least some credence.
The NFBEI started out as a belief by Nicky Gacos, but over the last 12 months it has quickly grown into a driving force for Randolph-Sheppard.
Blind people and our children want to be able to travel safely. More than ten years ago, our members noticed that it was difficult to safely cross streets when not able to hear hybrid vehicles.
It is with deep sadness, but also great pride, that I take the liberty to print the obituary of Mr. Ronald J. Blackstone.