[nfbmi-talk] More of the Same Illegal BS4BP BEP Activity
Terry D. Eagle
terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Mon May 18 03:46:21 UTC 2015
Nice! Put a positive spotlight on this illegal and discriminatory activity!
Roxanna Mann being given and accepting the Capitol and Anderson facilities
is wrong and illegal because it violates the law as follows:
It violates Public Act 260 of 1978;
1. A licensee can only have one facility;
2. Roxanna should have had herBEP license revoked,as she is not yet
cafeteria certified, far beyond the 3 year requirement to become certified,
which the law requires license revocation.
3The Anderson and Capito facility should be bid out according to the law.
Didn't NFB successfully prosecute a lawsuit over this exact issue less than
two years ago? Where is NFB?
Roxanna Mann should be really excited to take over and operate this
facility, as the taxpayers are picking up the tab and paying the employees
wages! How can this be fair to all of the other struggling BEP licensed
operators? Where is the justice? When will there be justice?
Will NFB or ACB fight against this further corrupt illegal activity? The
EOC has been bought, Roxanna Mann has been bought, and is NFB too?
Life without sight a risk-taking adventure for Mann
Rachel Greco, rgreco at lsj.com
8 a.m. EDT May 17, 2015
(Photo: Rod Sanford | Lansing State Journal)
Roxanna Mann doesn't like the word "can't."
In high school declining vision should have stopped her from playing
volleyball and cheerleading. Doctors warned her parents that Roxanna's
vision would eventually deteriorate and any blows to the head would
jeopardize what sight she had.
She did both anyway.
Now 51 and legally blind, Mann has carved out a life for herself as a risk
taker. On a Monday morning the Charlotte resident walks purposefully into
Michigan's General Office Building, guide stick tapping the floor in front
Kristina Rae's An All-American Grill is on the first floor. She's run the
eatery since 2011. It's the second cafe in a state building she's operated.
This past week she took over two more for at least the next six months at
the State Capitol and Anderson House Office Building.
Ask people who know her and they'll talk about her energy, her purpose and
her reputation for growing a business. Only then do they comment on the fact
that she is blind.
It's an afterthought, said Richard Longstaff, the cafe's manager.
"Meeting her you don't even realize she's blind," he said. "She doesn't let
it stop her from doing anything."
Mann admits it is a mantra she believes in. Fear exists, she said, so you
can conquer it.
"This is life," she said. "Whatever life gives you, you have to just run
with that. If you stop, even for a day, and really evaluate your life even
if you're in a really bad spot that doesn't mean that tomorrow is going to
be that way. You have to go every day with dreams. Nothing decides for me my
Driven to overcome
Mann's eyes have been operated on 14 times. The first surgery was at age 23.
Her sight has never been better than 20/40 and over the years it simply
became harder to see.
"I started running into things, falling down, suffering concussions," she
In 2008 the lights went out and Mann left her job as an Eaton County
caseworker because she couldn't do the job the way it needed to be done.
But Mann knew her new reality wasn't the end of the road and she wasted no
time adjusting. She enrolled in classes at the Michigan Bureau of Services
for Blind Persons Training Center in Kalamazoo. There, she learned how to
navigate spaces, read braille and cook.
She and husband, Mike, started traveling too. They've visited 49 countries
together and Mann said being blind has inspired her to be braver than she
ever was with sight. She's been swimming with sharks, gone cliff diving and
These days Mann says there's very little a person who is blind can't do if
they access the right resources.
"I had to embrace it," she said. "People try to help me all the time. I just
let them but I don't need it. I'm okay with that. With my cane, I'm good."
At Kristina Rae's, named after Mann's niece Kristina Rae Smith who died at
29 after a battle with brain cancer, she runs the business with an open
mind, a smile and purpose.
Mann said it didn't take long before she fell in love with it. "I started
liking what I was doing, creating food. I like using spices and funky
vegetables. I've always loved to cook. You would never be hungry here a
In the four years that she's been in charge the eatery's menu has expanded
and its catering business has grown. Mann created several dishes herself and
her staff of five puts them together. She uses an automated "talk back"
system to ring up customers and balance the books.
The site is one of several state building eateries, snack bars or vending
systems that are part of the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons'
Business Enterprise Program. Through it qualified blind Michigan residents
receive training, are offered locations, equipment and start-up inventory.
Program staff continue to monitor the business and offer advice but program
participants are expected to make the operation successful. They run it,
hire and manage staff and make or break the business, said Mike Pemble, the
bureau's deputy director.
He said Mann's real accomplishment has been growing her location.
"She's always on top of her game," said Pemble. "She wants to earn her
customers' business. She's done a fantastic job there and her customers love
Pemble said Mann's success is expected to carry over to the locations at the
State Capitol and Anderson House Office Building. Both spots need it. They
haven't been profitable, he said.
"I think she'll really turn the business around and take it to the next
level," said Pemble.
Mann said it's a challenge she's looking forward to. She has plenty of ideas
"I'll have a broader audience, so it's about looking at the bigger picture,"
she said. "It's awesome and I'm so ready for it."
Pemble said Mann is as determined as she seems.
"She does not want her disability to define her," he said. "She wants to be
defined by the other abilities that she has. Every time I've met with her
that is the person I see."
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