June 2009 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President

(360) 438-0072

Lacey, WA

Denise Colley, President/Editor


Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer Eric Hunter at, PO Box 1085, Tracyton, WA 98393-1085.

To remember the Washington Council of the Blind in your Last Will and Testament, you may include a special paragraph for that purpose in your Will or Trust. If your wishes are complex, please contact the WCB at (800) 255-1147.

The WCB is a 501C-3 organization.


For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our Fund Raising page found at




Table of Contents

From the President’s Desk

Editor’s Comments

The 2009 Legislative Session – Victories and Defeats

2009 WCB Scholarships are now available

Deserving People Will Receive Awards at the 2009 WCB Convention in Pasco

Get Back to the Tri-Cities in November

B is for Buddy

From the Senior Side- Part 1

WCB History for 2005

Clubmax Newsletter Story

From the Senior Side - Part 2

DSB and Integrated Services

Louis Braille School News

Update from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Washington State School for the Blind Update

South sound Woman Would Have Turned 110 Years Old Today

Around the State

Hats Off to You!

Bits and Pieces

From My Kitchen to Yours

Calendar of Deadlines and Events





By Denise Colley


When last we chatted the winter cold was still making its presence known, and we were looking forward to things to come. Spring has seemed to slip by without much fanfare, and we are being thrust into summer without much warning.


Just as we delight in the busy and fun-filled days of spring and summer, so, too, do we continue to anticipate the busy and fun-filled activities that are WCB.


In March we turned in membership information for 413 members to the ACB national office, and, at the time of this writing, we are at 421. While our membership count is lower this year, I believe that there are a lot of Washingtonians out there who are just waiting to be invited to join such a vital and hard-working organization, and I challenge each of us to reach out and invite one person we know to join. Just think what could happen, if all 421 of us brought in one new member?


About eighteen WCB members will be making their way to Orlando, Florida to attend this year’s national convention, to learn more about and become more involved in American Council of the Blind business. Convention dates are July 4-11. While our Washington delegation may not be as large this year, we certainly plan to make sure everyone knows we’re there. I will be attending national convention as our state delegate and Cindy Van Winkle will be attending as alternate delegate. Congratulation goes to Malissa Hudson who has been selected as this year’s WCB First Timer to attend the convention. Malissa is an active member of the United Blind of Seattle and a graduate of the 2008 leadership seminar. She is very enthusiastic, and

I’msure will be an asset on the local or state level. For those of you, who can’t join us this year, don’t forget that the convention will be streamed live on ACB radio. I will also be checking in with you all daily as I leave updates on our WCB phone system on the National Convention menu.


Our WCB website has a new and improved look. If you haven’t checked it out recently go to A big thank you goes to our website oversight committee, Joleen Ferguson, Frank Cuta and Gary Lieberg, and to our new website designer, Keana Gray, who is from British Columbia Canada. We’d love to hear from you all about what you think.


Once again, this has been an active legislative session. Significant cuts to our state’s economy resulted in our legislators having to make some difficult decisions. Since we knew these cuts could have a negative impact on the budgets of the Department of Services for the Blind, the Washington State School for the Blind and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, the WCB Legislative Committee stayed vigilant about monitoring how these organizations were being affected as budgets came out from the Governor and both houses of the legislature. Overall, services for blind children and adults will, for the most part, continue as we know them. For more information on the legislative session see the article later in this issue.


By the time most of you read this, WCB will have held its ninth Leadership training, followed by our mid-year board meeting. Both are being held at the Oxford Suites in Silverdale, and both are shaping up to be packed with good information. It’s always exciting to see who our newest group of leadership training graduates will be and to have them participate in a WCB state board meeting.


Are you beginning to make your plans to attend this year’s WCB state convention? The dates are November 5-7, and the location is the Pasco Red Lion. Let’s make this the biggest and best state convention yet. (See the convention article later in this issue for more details.)


This is shaping up to be a good year for WCB. But now is not the time to let down and just coast. Without strong chapters, and a committed membership, we cannot meet whatever challenges may face us in the future. It is all of us doing our part, no matter how large or how small, that makes us who and what we are.


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Guest Editorial

By Berl Colley


ARE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE Receiving the Healthcare Information They Need?


Have you visited the doctor’s office and had the receptionist tell you that you need to fill out forms for medical history purposes?


Have you been diagnosed as having a life-changing disease, and when you attempted to gather more information, you found that accessible literature on the subject was very limited?


At any time you are asked to complete a medical form in a doctor’s office setting, you have the same right of privacy as patience who see. Therefore, you need not accept any situation wherein your responses to medical questions can be overheard by others. You have the right to ask to fill out the form in private. Questions about previous medical problems like drinking, social diseases, pregnancy, impotency, etc., are not things you should have to broadcast to strangers.


Sadly, by comparison to the availability of printed information, there is precious little information published in accessible formats involving conditions such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other serious medical conditions. We should have the right to find out as much as we can when we are confronted with a major life threatening diagnoses. Well known organizations like the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Retired People, generally respond to requests for literature in an accessible format, by saying that it costs too much or, that they do not provide materials in accessible formats for blind or visually impaired people.


What can we do?


Two efforts within the American council of the blind are starting to address our concerns. Sue ammeter chairs a Health Concerns committee which is working to get organizations like those mentioned above to produce materials in usable formats. Marlaina Lieberg is the officer liaison to the women’s concerns committee which also is addressing the lack of accessible literature.


We should support the two ACB efforts and we should become as knowledgeable as we can regarding our medical care rights.


Our benefits may be, a little less embarrassment in the doctor’s office and more access to materials to make us better informed about major diseases.


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The 2009 Legislative Session – Victories and Defeats

By Denise Colley


As is usually the case, this year was another busy year for the Washington State legislature and for your WCB legislative committee. We began the session by monitoring three pieces of legislation.


SB5103 essentially would have extended the civil rights protections afforded by the White Cane Law to service animals in training. WCB has always opposed such legislation, since the right to be protected against discrimination is given to the guide dog handler, not the service animal itself. We were unable to testify at the hearing, but we did send a letter to committee members expressing our opposition. This bill did not pass out of the Senate Rules Committee.


SSB5176 would have created a two-state partnership between Portland State University and Washington State University to address Washington’s need for the training of teachers of children with visual impairments. On February 27th a hearing was held in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, at which I provided testimony in support of the legislation on behalf of WCB. The bill was amended twice and sent on to Rules, but ultimately did not pass out of this committee.


SSB 5902 was a bill promoting accessible communities for persons with disabilities. If passed, the bill would have taken the accessible community advisory committee concept, implemented as a part of the Accessible voting legislation, and extended it to promoting greater awareness of disability issues overall. Grant funding would be made available to local communities submitting proposals for projects promoting greater accessibility and awareness. The companion bill to this was HB1739. WCB sent a letter of support to the House Human Services Committee when there seemed to be momentum for the House version to move forward. While both bills had a lot of support, and came close to passing, again neither made it out of committee. We expect to see at least a couple of these bills resurface again next legislative session.


The impact of the current economic climate on the budgets and budget requests of the Department of Services for the Blind, the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, and the Washington State School for the Blind were also of great concern.


Through ongoing discussions with DSB director, Lou Oma Durand, we were initially led to believe that, while budget cuts were inevitable, DSB was going to be able to withstand them with some creative budgeting. At the end of February, however, we learned that one of the proposed budget cuts was to close the residential program (apartments) of the orientation and training center. The training program would remain intact, but, essentially would become a day training program. At the request of the WCB Board, I sent a letter to DSB which stated that WCB was “categorically opposed to cutting the residential function of the orientation and training program”, and charging DSB to examine other programmatic/administrative functions that could be cut. At the state rehabilitation council meeting on March 7, we packed the meeting room and made our concerns known during the public comment session. As WCB president I joined the meeting by telephone, as did several others, and once again stated the position of WCB and its membership. Our advocacy efforts paid off and all of the apartments have been retained. The Legislature's budget for DSB ended up to be, far better than we expected. They were only cut by $75,000 per year in state funds.


In April, when the House budget came out, we were informed that the Office of the Secretary of State was slated to take a significant budget cut in state funds. This cut to their budget could have had the potential of severely impacting the Washington State Library and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. However, neither WTBBL, nor the Washington State Library faired as badly in the final budget process as we once had feared, and, for the present, library services will continue as we know them.


The Washington State School for the Blind took the greatest budgetary hit of approximately 4.8% (around $621,000). This reduction will have the following impact on WSSB: elimination of the Eastside Regional Project: the TBVI position is being transferred to outreach contracted services; elimination of one teacher aide position; reduction in contracted mental health services; and elimination of all summer school programs: including Summer School, YES I, Sports Camp, etc.


However, Dr. Stenehjem will be looking for grant funding in order to try and offset these cuts.


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2009 WCB Scholarships Are Now Available


WCB scholarships are now available for the 2009-2010 academic school year. Both the cover letter and the application can be found on the Washington Council of the Blind website at The application and all supporting documents need to be submitted electronically. The deadline date for submission of applications is July 31, 2009.


To be eligible to receive a WCB scholarship an applicant must:

1)    be legally blind

2)    be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited vocational school, college or university

3)    be a resident of Washington State. (A resident of Washington State is defined as an individual whose physical residence has been in Washington State for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months at the time of application.)


For additional questions about the scholarships or the application process, you may contact Julie Brannon, scholarship chair, by e-mail at or by calling us at

(800) 255-1147.


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Deserving People Will Receive Awards at the 2009 WCB Convention in Pasco

By Alan Bentson, Committee Chair


The awards committee was developed as an ad hoc committee, at the suggestion of then President Cindy Van Winkle, at the March 2004 board meeting. Marlaina Lieberg and her committee members, along with input from other WCB members, developed an all-inclusive array of both internal and external awards, and those attending WCB convention banquets have witnessed the joy and appreciation from those much-deserving recipients.


It's time to contact the awards committee with your ideas about deserving persons. This year, as in years past, we will continue to give:

1. Certificates of appreciation to those who have completed their board/officer tenure within the year

2. A certificate to chapters honoring ongoing growth with 10 percent or more membership increase in the past year

3. Honorable mention to chapters who have submitted a chapter update quarterly for the past year in the WCB Newsline.


Internal awards will consist of:

1. Certificate for outstanding service to WCB

2. Chapter of the year award (to a chapter that has demonstrated actions of outstanding community outreach)

3. Outstanding advocacy award

4. Newsline editor's award (to a writer who has written an outstanding article for Newsline within the last year on some aspect of blindness)


Some or all of these external awards will be presented:

1. Employer of the year award (going to an employer who has employed blind/visually impaired persons along with allowing for access and upward mobility, who isn't in the rehab/blindness field)

2. Business of the year award (given to a business that has provided outstanding customer service to blind/visually impaired persons)

3. One world award (given to a person or entity who has assisted in minimizing the impact of blindness in some way)


If you would like further explanation regarding the criteria for each award, feel free to write me at or ask me for a copy of the Newsline article from June, 2005, written by Marlaina Lieberg outlining detailed explanations of each award. There will be more information posted on the WCB website, and/or ListServe, including a letter you can send out to your families, friends and organizations for their suggestions for possible recipients for the external awards.


Your submission for award considerations must not exceed 350 words, and contact information for both the recipient and yourself must be included. Please send your nominations to The deadline for the receipt of your award nominations is August 31, 2009.

The awards committee, Joann Hunter, Kevin LaRose and I, look forward to considering the nominations and recognizing those who have helped WCB and the blindness community this year.


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Get Back to the Tri-cities in November

By Frank Cuta, WCB Secretary


It’s get back time. Time to get back to our major “get-together happening of the year”, the Washington Council of the Blind state convention. Think ahead to cold wet November. Now think of a trip to the sunny desert. Get back to old friends, get back to spirited hospitality, get back to tables and tables of exhibits, get back to the annual talent show, get back to amazing scholarship winners, get back to riveting special interest seminars, get back to WCB Jeopardy, and of course, get back to work. Because this is not only the major social get together of the year, but also your opportunity to learn new skills, to get up to date on service changes and to make your contribution to the running of our organization.


Some things to note as you make your plans for this year’s state convention. The get back dates are November 5-7, 2009. Get back convention registration for all 3 days, including 5 meals, costs $90.


Alternate registration with no meals is $10 and with only the banquet is $45. By the time the next Newsline reaches you the registration form will be available on our accessible website at Register before October 15 if you want the complete $90 package deal. Also, those who register early will have a chance to sign up for a special Friday afternoon hands on tour of the science history oriented Chrest Museum--only 22 tickets are available at $5 each.


Our get back place is the Red Lion in Pasco. It’s one of the oddest shaped buildings you will ever see, but written and audio descriptions will be available in advance. We actually have a detailed large tactile map, but you won't be able to see that until you arrive. Hotel room rates are $89 for singles & doubles and $99 for triples & quads.


Contact the Red Lion by October 15 to make your reservations at 509-547-0701.


This year there will be two get back buses from the west side, one loading in Bremerton with stops in Tacoma and Federal Way, and one loading in Seattle with a probable stop in Yakima. If you can't take advantage of the buses, and live outside of Benton-Franklin counties, you may qualify for a WCB travel stipend of $40. Contact Shirley Taylor at 206-362-3118 before October 15 to either reserve a bus seat or make your stipend request.


Members who have never attended a WCB state convention, who have joined WCB prior to May 5, 2009, and who have a strong interest should consider applying for our full ride First timer's award. Applications are due August 31, and letters should be emailed to


The convention program is nearly complete and we have locked in several exceptional items for you to get back to. This fall we will have as our honored guest Mitch Pomerantz, current president of our parent organization, the American Council of the Blind, who will discuss with us the effects of the new occupants in the white house, and the depressed economic situation on services to persons who are blind.


Special breakout sessions on Friday afternoon will cover organizing extracurricular activities for your chapter, how to obtain and play the new digital talking books, being effective on public transit issues, being proactive on employment retention issues and getting up to date on issues relating to diabetes and blindness. And in case you feel an urge to take a break from the presentations you might sneak into exhibits -- they will only be open between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. on Friday.


You'll want to get it while you can -- this once a year injection of awesome WCB vitality. Don't be a loner; make plans now to join us in Pasco in November and "Get Back Jo Jo, Get Back."


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By Alco Canfield


I threaded my way through the chattering children to the school office. The smell of chalk and pencils sent me back briefly to my long-ago days in elementary school.


The necessary forms completed, I returned home to wait for the results of the background check. I had signed up to be a "Reading Buddy" for a girl in the fourth-grade. I hadn't tutored since my high school days when I worked with a third grader, and I was a bit apprehensive; hoping my "Buddy" would like me, hoping she would learn.


When I tutored before, I had no way to check the accuracy of my student's reading since the book was not available to me in Braille. Things would be different this time.


I received the book my student had chosen, and began to scan it in preparation for our meeting. As I did so, I marveled at the technological changes which have made it possible for blind people to access print materials.


I have been working for several weeks with my student, and it has been a most enjoyable experience. The novelty of my Braille reading has worn off, and she is used to my device announcing the name of the book we are reading. She also knows that I have an exact copy in Braille of what she is reading in print, so she no longer invents words, but sounds them out.


In this, the two hundredth anniversary of Louis Braille's birth, I will be speaking to the classes in this school about the everyday uses of Braille and its importance in the lives of people who are blind. I will bring technology to show as well, but my emphasis will be on the practical uses of Braille and its necessity for literacy and competitive employment.


While commemorative coins may have their place, it is critical that people see Braille being competently used and integrated into daily life. Braille then moves from an inspirational abstraction to a concrete and viable alternative to print.


The children to whom I will be speaking are the Mr. and Mrs. Employers of the future. Hopefully, they will remember my remarks, should a qualified candidate who is blind apply for a job with them.


Postscript: I made my presentation about Braille, and the children's questions were very intelligent. Armed with National Library Service materials provided by Joyce Van Tuyle of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, I had a wide array of Braille to show.


The teacher told me later that one girl said, "I would like to be blind. It sounds like so much fun." Well, I wouldn't call it "fun", but it can be a great adventure. Misconceptions notwithstanding, I would rather have someone err on the side of the positive, rather than the usual negative, limiting perceptions that often derail dreams and lower expectations.


I left a slate and stylus with the class, and the children have been writing me messages. One child drew a raised line picture and wrote, "This is a unicorn." There was only one mistake. She was so pleased with herself when I read what she had written. She is learning that Braille is not so daunting after all, but just another way to read.


It all works together. B is for "Buddy", B is for Braille.


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From The Senior Side: Part 1

Introduction by Alco Canfield


Claire Anderson has been blind for several years. Her guide dog, DaVida has made a tremendous difference in her life. Claire continues to be a contributing member of society, as the article below illustrates. Both she and DaVida have touched the lives of many people.


DaVida, my guide dog, and I went to the jail to participate in a Toastmasters Club meeting for inmates. It is a maximum security facility. I went for a 4 hour orientation with a group of other volunteers. Most of them were from churches or from AA. All I can remember is that I was not allowed to wear anything that shows skin such as sleeveless shirts or plunging necklines. We're not allowed to wear sandals with bare feet but sandals with socks are acceptable. But certainly not haute couture! We are not allowed to bring in anything except our drivers license and keys to the car and an asthma inhaler, if needed. We were extremely discouraged from giving anything to inmates such as cigarettes or ballpoint pens or money.


It's a big project to go there. I was picked up at 10:15 and didn't get home until four. There was an hour drive and then we stopped to eat. We were expected at 12:20, and you can't get there early or late. We parked and went into the first room where we turned over our driver’s license for a badge with a picture. We waited in this room with about 40 or 50 other people, mostly relatives of inmates, and when we were called, we went through security. I went through the metal detector with no problem but DaVida set off the alarm, as usual, with her harness and leash and metal collar. The guard asked me if she could pat down the dog. I told her the dog would love it. As she is patting down the dog she says, "Is it a female because if it is a male I will have to call a same-sex guard." I said, "If you are patting her down you should be able to tell whether she's a male or female." All the guards thought that was hysterical. It seems that this was the first guide dog that ever came in to the prison that the security guards remembered. So then we went down the hall and into a room that was like an elevator. There were sliding doors behind us, and then when those doors closed the other doors opened, and then down the hall we went. Another room with sliding doors and then we went out of the building and across the yard with barbed wire on both sides, and into another building, past the security guards, down the hall and into a classroom. That was the dedicated Toastmasters room with a podium and lots of awards. The Toastmasters club had been meeting at the penitentiary for many years and had won many awards. Then the inmates started to drift in. I was surprised that they were wearing chinos and T-shirts or blue jeans. I guess I had been expecting prison outfits. But street clothes looked better. They of course started to pet the dog with my permission. One fellow said that he hadn't petted a dog in 10 years. That made me so sad. The dog was the hit of the day. She got so much attention and petting and affection, and it was so good for the guys and her. There were about 20 inmates and they basically gave motivational speeches and seemed to be working on improving their lives. I was very impressed.


Several important things came out of this meeting for me. I went there in curiosity and interest in a new experience. But I came away with humility and a great feeling that I could bring some pleasure by bringing my dog to these incarcerated guys, some of whom will never get out of there. They talked about release dates for those who will be released but some are in for life. So, quite the experience for me.


Claire Anderson and DaVida


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By Berl Colley, Chair, WCB History Committee


Shortly after returning from ACB’s Midyear meetings in Greensboro North Carolina, President Sharon Keeran conducted the WCB winter board meeting, on March 4, in Seattle. At that meeting the board established an Environmental Access committee to monitor the accessibility of new intersections and appliances. Tim Schneebeck was appointed Chair.


Three days later, on March 7, Denise Colley testified on behalf of WCB at the confirmation hearing of Shirley Smith as director of the Department of Services for the Blind.


The Braille Access Center at the Washington State School for the blind received national recognition through an award for its work from its inception in 1993 through 1994. A parallel program to the Braille Access Center was created when the state Department of General Administration and Edmonds Community College contracted to start the State Access Service, SAS, establishing a statewide taping service in Edmonds. This was the year when Washington Talking Book and Braille Library users could, for the first time, access and request their books on line through a new system called OPAC. WTBBL also announced that it would be discontinuing their Braille on Request program, leaving over $800 from a WCB grant to be returned to the organization. The returned money was designated for use in WCB’s legislative activities.


Eighteen WCB members, led by President Keeran and Alternate delegate Peggy Shoel, attended the national ACB convention, July 1-8, in Greensboro North Carolina. Some members took advantage of the $600 convention loan amount established by the board at the March winter meeting. Cynthia Towers, WCB’s Scholarship committee chair, became the first ACB officer elected from WCB. She joined Sue Ammeter on the ACB board.


WCB’s summer board meeting was held on July 29, at the 6th Avenue Hotel, in Seattle. Sharon Keeran volunteered to head up a committee to rewrite a new brochure for the organization. Also, the board voted to conduct a statewide candy sale fundraiser in 1996. Debbie Cook volunteered to coordinate this activity. The candy sale was a recommendation from the fundraising committee. The board voted to send $100 to the Oklahoma Council of the Blind. The money was to be used to help blind victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing.


Rhonda Nelson was appointed to chair the 1995 Nominating committee and Dan Tonge was appointed to chair the Resolutions committee. Later, at the fall convention, WCB members passed three policy resolutions. They were resolutions regarding rent disincentives, access to the Department of Information Services Kiosk and raising the amount, to $5,000, on equipment that DSB could purchase for clients.


The primary legislative effort during this year focused on passage of the Braille Bill. Governor Mike Lowry announced that he had included the Braille Bill in his bill package that he was sending to the 1995-96 Washington Legislature. The Legislature authorized $7,000 to conduct a study on Braille Literacy.


The Governor gave the Carolyn Blaire Brown marble plaque, to Sue ammeter, at the annual Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues dinner, for her long time service to disabled citizens of Washington.


WCB members saw Governor Lowry again when he spoke to its state convention, thanks to the efforts of the state of Washington’s ADA coordinator, Mary McKnew. The fall convention was hosted by the Capital City Council of the Blind in Olympia, at the Holiday Inn Select, on November

2-4. Berl Colley, the 95’ convention coordinator, said that the Olympia convention had a couple of firsts. The Friday afternoon lunch had remote exhibitor presentations, Friday night there was a hands on tour of the states Capitol and a majority of the convention’s general sessions were televised on TV Washington. At the Saturday evening banquet, Denise Colley was the MC and Pam Shaw, from Pennsylvania, was the main Speaker. Pam was also the ACB representative to the 95’ convention. Cynthia towers, WCB’s Scholarship chair gave out five scholarships totaling $8,500. The five scholarship winners were, Shirley Ing, Robert Lawson, Juanita Garcia, Tamara Wilkins and Darleen Swane.


The officers, board members and delegates for WCB, going in to 1996 were:

President, Sue Ammeter, United Blind of Seattle; First Vice-President, Peggy Shoel, United Blind of Seattle; Second Vice-President, Shirley Taylor, United Blind of Seattle;

Secretary, Rhonda Nelson, King County Council; Treasurer, Joleen Ferguson, United Blind of Walla Walla; Immediate Past President, Sharon Keeran, King County Council


Terry Atwater, Capital City Council of the Blind; Berl Colley, Capital City Council of the Blind; Debbie Cook, United Blind of Seattle; Frank Cuta, United Blind of the Tri-Cities; Charlene Hunt, Pierce County Association of the Blind; Cindy Wearstler, Peninsula Council of the Blind;


Sue Ammeter, delegate and Shirley Taylor, alternate delegate


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Clubmax Newsletter Story

By Vicki Farrell, Tri-Cities Court Club


(This article is reprinted with permission)

Fear and uncertainty exists in all of us. For many newcomers the atmosphere of a health club is scary. Many individuals wonder ware to start, how to use the equipment or “Who’s looking at me?” The Tri-City Court Club has a special place where those fears can be put to rest.


Club Max was introduced to the Tri-City Court Club in 1995. It’s original blueprint included a circuit of weights and cardio equipment to provide a pre-designed, full body, interval workout that allowed each participant to work at their designated intensity while following the acclaimed red and green lights. It worked like a well oiled machine and its popularity soared with enough demand from our members to require two complete circuits. 14 years later Club Max is still the interval circuit designed to give the participants a full body workout. The red and green lights still flash on the wall instructing individuals when to move to the next station. But today’s members of Club Max not only include the exercisers that move with the lights and strive to work at their maximum heart rate, it also includes many senior citizens that have found the benefits of exercising and a number of physically challenged members that have discovered the comfort and non-intimidating environment that Club Max provides.


All our members are special, but we would like to introduce to you Nigel Turner, Steve Vandecar, and Bill Hoage, all of who are visually impaired. They all agree that coming to a health club to exercise was not on the top of their “TO DO” list. They were skeptical of the unknown, uncertain about receiving the help they would need to be safe and to avoid interfering with the other members and their workouts. Boy, were they wrong! These three gentlemen all acknowledge that the staff in Club Max helped them acquire the comfort and confidence to belong to our health club. In addition, they endorse the fact that our members and the club staff have all been a huge influence through their kindness and assistance.


Nigel, a 15 year old teen, has been working out in Club Max for the past year and receives physical education credits that are applied at New Horizons Alternative school where he attends. Yes, he is an avid skateboarder but is finding out that exercising at the club has helped him to stay in shape and lose extra weight.


Steve, 59, apprehensively attended a Club Max orientation in June of 2008 succeeding a year of encouragement from his wife, Marlene. After the initial learning period Steve has become an experienced circuit user. With his new found fortitude Steve is now using less asthma medication and he has lost over 30 pounds and 8 inches around the waist.


Bill made his appearance to Club Max in December 2008. He’d heard about the reassuring experience that his friend Steve Vandecar encountered six months prior, and with encouragement from his wife, Kitty, and his friendly doctor, he finally made the decision to put Club Max to the test. Bill’s biggest fear as a blind person is being stranded in the middle of a new location and not given the time to become familiar with his surroundings. The staff was becoming more proficient at helping the blind work the circuit, and with tips from Steve it wasn’t long before Bill gained his independence. Bill’s only regret is that he didn’t join the club years ago. Both Steve and Bill use audio players with recording of their machine settings, thus providing them with the liberty of moving around the circuit on their own with an occasional hitting the head on a machine arm or ramming a stomach into a protruding handle.


No, Club Max has not gone to the dogs; the dogs have come to Club Max. Nemo and Dondi, Steve and Bill’s guide dogs, who both came from “Guide Dogs for the Blind” in Boring, Oregon, have become our new mascots. They are truly the center of attention, and while Steve and Bill are working out Nemo and Dondi are getting their share of affection from members and staff.


With their new found assurance as club members Steve and Bill are climbing the walls. That’s right; they have included wall climbing in their workout. With a slight hesitance the two men started this activity out of curiosity, but the successes of reaching the top of the wall and squeezing the chicken has exhilarated them into becoming regulars during the Tuesday, 12:00 pm adult climbing hour.


So, if you are looking for that special, non-intimidating place to work out, or a fun filled atmosphere with good music, or just a great place to meet new people, come and join us in Club Max. The staff will guide you through an orientation to help you learn how to use the equipment, and last but not least, there is no extra cost.


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From the Senior Side: Part 2

The following contribution to The Senior Side comes from Shirley Musick, member of our Walla Walla Chapter


Aging is like standing near a windmill

By Shirley Musick


Getting old can be tough: add blindness and it gets tougher yet.


Aging is like standing near a windmill, as soon as you recover from the whack of one blade, here comes another.


According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, the aging process can be divided into three categories: the young old (65 to 74), the middle old (75 to 84) and the oldest old (85 and up). (I feel better already! I’m not old I’m young old.)


Unfortunately, the aging process can also include coping with vision loss. According to the Archives of Ophthalmology, 1.75 million citizens in the U.S. have Age-related Macular Degeneration; add to that number those with Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinal detachment, Cataracts, Retinitis Pigmatosis and other eye diseases, the numbers go into the millions. We are fortunate to live during an age of high technology! There are so many tools available to help you continue to do the things you love to do. Granted you may need to find different ways to do them. This is why it is so important to take advantage of support groups and organizations of the blind such as the Department of Services for the Blind. Through the Independent Living Program, they will send people to your home to do such things as marking electrical appliances and teaching you coping mechanisms.


Chapters of the Washington Council of the Blind, located throughout the state, allow you to give and receive moral support and share so many helpful tips with one another. Here are a few such tips.


Do you have trouble telling the salt and pepper shakers apart? Simply place a rubber band around the pepper and you won’t mix them up again. Do you love to read? Tapes and CD’s are available for the blind and visually impaired. There is one thing you must do if you are losing your vision! Admit it when you no longer see well enough to drive a car safely. Look into alternatives: most cities have Dial-A-Ride or public transportation. If you enjoy walking, find a like-minded friend to walk with you, or if you are walking alone use a white cane for safety. There are a lot of products available that talk, such as: clocks, watches, bathroom scales, diabetic testing meters, prescription bottles, voice activated computer programs and many, many more. Catalogs can be obtained from Independent Living Aids, Maxi Aids, or visit a low vision clinic.


Whatever your vision loss is attributed to, get out there and enjoy life as you learn different ways to make life easier, and maybe you can avoid some of those whacks from the windmill.


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DSB and Integrated Services

By Don Alvishere, Assistant Director


I have such a sense of excitement this is my first Newsline submission, and I am also excited because I get the chance to describe a change DSB is undergoing that we anticipate will lead to better services for our customers. The last year at DSB has seen some changes and potential changes in our external environment that created some angst and the need to look at how we provide services.


What started out as an exercise in dealing with imposed budget cuts and preparing for possible drastic cuts became an opportunity to focus on how we could provide services better. One of the first steps for us was to provide independent living services to customers who are under 55, ourselves, and not contracting out would be very beneficial. This allows us to provide a better assessment of who is employment ready and provides us the chance to avoid any extra unnecessary steps for our customers. We also realized that much of our Child and Family work could be provided as Independent Living services. These changes and others will allow us to create staffing on our teams that provide a better level of consistent services between different components of DSB.


DSB ultimately fared very well in the budget that came out, but we are going forward with these changes anyway, because they are not just about saving dollars but providing services better.


This is also an exciting time at DSB because we have been given the opportunity to receive federal dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These funds are to be spent within the same guidelines of our usual vocational rehabilitation grant, but to have an impact on getting more people employed and creating infrastructure in place to help more people become employed in the future. The space is too limited here to go into all the specifics of our Recovery Act funds but you can find more information at our website


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Louis Braille School News

By Eric Brotman


Students and teachers from the Louis Braille School couldn't have picked a better day than last May 28, for their field trip of sailing from Edmonds to Kingston on the ferry Puyallup.


Nature was glorious in its aspects of blue sky and gray-white clouds, bright sun and invigorating wind.


"The kids loved being outside," said teacher Dianne.


"It was a perfect day," said teacher Beckie.


The Louis Braille School is just two miles from the ferry terminal in Edmonds. That fact, coupled with a school discount available from Washington State Ferries to students and chaperones on educational related field trips, made the idea of a ferry ride easy and attractive.


The students were impressed by the size of the Puyallup, which is 460 feet long and capable of carrying 2500 passengers and more than 200 cars. The vessel weighs nearly 4,000 tons.


The ferry is named after a Native American tribe. Puyallup means "generous people."


One student concentrated on hearing the ferry's different sounds. He listened to cars as they boarded and later departed the ferry. He noted there are commercial video games onboard and that lots of kids play them.


Prior to boarding the vessel, "He seemed to find the echo in the terminal fascinating," said teacher Dianne.


Teacher Beckie kept looking for signs of marine life. She didn't spot anything large, "But we saw a nice-sized crab running through the water," she said.


Throughout the year, teachers regularly acknowledge learning from students. Riding the ferry may have helped them remember a few things, too.


Adults often forget the complete absorption in Nature they felt as children. Being around the Louis Braille School, students offered a reminder of the magic in sunshine, wind, and water.


One of the ferry officers walked over to greet everyone and then spoke about the ship, saying it could hold 70,000 gallons of fuel that lasted for two weeks of sailing. He also explained about the code of horn blasts. When arriving, the horn sounds two long blasts, followed by one short. Five shorts warn other boats of their unacceptably close proximity to the ferry.


Later, the officer took questions, and the students asked some very good ones. How many of us would have thought to ask, "How do you start the engines?"


In Kingston, everybody headed to the park just beyond the pedestrian ramp. They settled at a picnic table for lunch a short time before the park's sprinkler system unexpectedly activated.

"There was one [sprinkler] really close to us, but it was broken and didn't come on," she said. "Otherwise we would have gotten really wet." Picnicking in the park ended with a delicious dessert of rainbow sherbet purchased at a shop on Kingston's main street.


Then it was time to head back to the Edmonds ferry terminal, 5.2 miles across Puget Sound, and from there to return to the Louis Braille School.


"I enjoyed the fresh air and the sunshine," said teacher Dianne. "It was very invigorating. It's always wonderful to be on the water and listen to the seagulls."


One of the students was asked if he wanted to ride the ferry again, in the future.


"Yes, I do!" he shouted. "Yes, I do!"


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Update from the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

By Danielle King


This spring has WTBBL feeling digital! We have many digital initiatives underway including digital downloads of locally produced audio books, downloads of Evergreen Radio Reading Service Talk Shows and Literary News interviews, and two shiny new digital talking book machines.


Your own Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is the first regional library in the country to have locally produced digital talking books on our website. We are so proud of this accomplishment and it is in thanks to the tremendous effort, persistence, and commitment of our Audio Book Production Supervisor, Theresa Connolly. We currently have 62 books available for download and have already had almost 300 downloads! The books include fiction, non-fiction, adult, and young adult books and the quality of the narration are superb. These books are password protected and encrypted using NLS encryption. If you need a login and password, please contact or 1-800-542-0866 to request one. To listen to these books you will need a computer, a high speed internet connection, and one of the three NLS approved devices: VictorReader Stream, Levelstar Icon, or the Braille Plus. We will continue adding books and you can find them on our website at Happy downloading!


We’ve also been busy adding program files to our website for previously aired Evergreen Radio Reading Service Talk Shows and Literary News interviews. This way, if you miss a Talk Show, or just want to hear it again, or want to listen to an author interview, you can do so anytime. The Wednesday night call-in Talk Show is one of our most popular radio programs and we have outstanding guests and hosts you’ll want to hear. The program files are available from our website and each file is accompanied by a description of the program so you can select the mp3 file you are interested in listening to.


The two demonstration digital talking book machines have arrived! We have one standard machine (DS1) and one advanced machine (DA1). The digital talking book machines are wonderful and we are so excited to share them with you. We should be getting our first allocation of machines for patrons in August and they first go to Veterans, then to centenarians, then to interested patrons via a lottery. You need to contact us in order to be put on the list for a digital talking book machine. The machines are smaller and lighter than the cassette players and the sound quality is amazing. One of the greatest features is the cartridge that holds the book; there is one book on one cartridge, no more shuffling through multiple cassettes! You can also download books from the NLS site or the WTBBL site onto a standard flash drive and play them with the USB port on the right side of the machine. I really think you will be pleased with the new machines and encourage you to sign up to be in the lottery.


Finally, in keeping with our Summer Reading Program theme, “Be Creative at your Library,” WTBBL is going to have an art show in October. The art show is open to patrons of the Library who create tactile art. If you are interested in showing your art, please contact me by August 1 for guidelines and more information. I wish you all a wonderful spring. As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me at 206-615-1588 or


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Washington State School for the Blind Update

By Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent


The legislature has adjourned and as Paul Harvey would say: “Now the Rest of the Story!” We had hoped for a better outcome during the session, but the economy has also had its negative effect on the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB). I guess as part of the big picture things could have been worse, but below is the list of services that will either be eliminated or reduced due to a biennium budget reduction for WSSB of $621,000, which represents about 5% of our budget.


Our first goal was to determine where we could take cuts without impacting students. However, when you operate services to children that are statewide and with parts of these services being 24-hours in nature, it doesn’t take much of a reduction to start impacting services to children. Below is a list of reductions:

§  Elimination of the one unfilled position in WSSB’s Business Office

§  Elimination of the Eastside Regional Program (TBVI position is being transferred to outreach – contracted services)

§  Elimination of the one-on-one interpreter position

§  Elimination of one teacher aide position

§  Elimination of all summer school programs: Summer School, YES I, Sports Camp, etc.

§  Reduction in contracted mental health services

§  Reductions in goods and services, equipment, and travel

§  Reduction of one education reform day, however one additional prep day was added for teachers without a funding source; somewhat neutral for teachers, but additional cost to the school without appropriation


We will also be exploring any possible options for additional revenue. Unfortunately, WSSB does not qualify for much in the way of federal stimulus funds that will be flowing to local districts, which would have helped take the sting out of these reductions. Some very good services will be going away during these difficult times. We hope that as the economy improves some of the services that were in place for years will once again be made available. In the meantime, WSSB will be working harder to strengthen partnerships in an attempt to help fill voids through as many creative measures as possible. If you have additional ideas on saving dollars and programs, please let me know.


Please note that we were able to save summer school programs this year by moving them into the current fiscal year, which means moving the programs from July into June. This will help for one year, but come the summer of 2010 there will not be summer school programs unless WSSB can come up with approximately $50,000 needed to operate these important programs.


On a brighter note, WSSB dedicated the new Kennedy Fitness Center on May 21. This event was attended by over 100 people. Thanks to the support of the legislature, blind and visually impaired children have a wonderful new facility that will help with program needs for years to come.


We have also had a wonderful year for students. I am pulling a few excerpts from Craig Meador’s newsletter to parents: “We began the year with a focus on school Pride. WSSB students are: Positive, Respectful/Responsible, Independent, Dependable and Engaged in learning PRIDE.” A few things that students did during the year:

§  October – students participated in National Cane Day Rally

§  December – students held a “penny drive” for Heifer International (program to help provide livestock to those in need in third world countries)

§  January – five students attended the Presidential Inauguration as part of Close Up

§  February – student council assembled packages for local servicemen and women

§  March – participated in national Braille Challenge

§  April – involved in outdoor school “NW Science Camp” (Camp Magruder)

§  May – Tri- state track and field/career day


As you can tell we have been busy and will continue to be creative in how we serve children. Above I just had time to address the budget and a few notes about on-campus programs. In my next article, I will discuss outreach services which continue to grow, online learning, Braille production, and the continued expansion of our Instructional Resource Center. “Stay tuned” and remember this is your school! For more information go to:


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South Sound woman would have turned 110 years old today

Born June 3, 1899: Daisy Murphy protested at state Capitol in 2007

CHRISTIAN HILL; The Olympian | • Published June 03, 2009


(Reprinted with permission)


Longtime area resident Daisy Murphy died Sunday morning, three days shy of her 110th birthday.


Murphy, whose life spanned three centuries and huge leaps in technology, from horse-and-buggies to space flight, from the invention of the telephone to the Internet, died peacefully at an adult family home in Seattle, where she moved in December, said her son, Don Murphy.


“I am so pleased she lived such a great life,” said Murphy, 76, of Olympia. “Very few of us are able to see what she saw.”


U.S. Census data show it’s rare to approach, much less become, a super centenarian. The federal government counted 281 million Americans in the last decennial census. Of those, 3,521 were between the ages of 105 and 109. Those ages 110 and up numbered 1,388. There were 84,331 American at least 100 years of age in November 2007, according to an agency fact sheet, but the U.S. Census Bureau only breaks out of the ages of centenarians during the count every decade.

Murphy was born June 3, 1899, one of 10 children of I.G. Wikstrom, who immigrated from his native Sweden, and his wife, Alice. Wikstrom owned a lumber mill in Oregon.


Murphy earned her degree and teaching certificate at what is now Western Oregon University in Monmouth. She married her husband, Archie Murphy, on Christmas Day of 1926, and the family, including their three children, moved to Olympia before he served in World War II as an Army officer in the European theater.


After the war, Archie Murphy became director of education at McChord Air Force Base, and his wife tutored soldiers stationed at Fort Lewis.


The family lived for a time on Conger Street and sold their home to the Olympia School District as the future home of Jefferson Middle School. After his retirement in the 1960s, the couple moved to Land Yacht Harbor, located east of Lacey.


He died in 1979.


Murphy was a voracious reader. Her vocabulary impressed seasoned crossword puzzle enthusiasts, her son said. The onset of blindness couldn’t deter her love of reading. She switched to audiotapes.


And when state lawmakers didn’t provide the level of funding to the visually impaired library to the liking of her and other blind “readers,” there she was atop the Capitol steps during a 2007 rally, holding a sign that read, “107 and Still Reading.”


Five years earlier, Murphy had moved into the Colonial Inn assisted-living home in Olympia. Before her eyesight failed, she crocheted hundreds of blankets for her church, Lacey Chapel, to send on missionary trips.


Her son said her positive attitude and eating habits – never being a heavy eater and always eating breakfast – might have contributed to her longevity.


But when asked, Murphy never divulged the secret to her long life, if there was any advice to reveal. She did offer one pearl of wisdom at one point.


“Everybody should learn American history,” during a 2007 interview with The Olympian. “But history to me is a little earlier than with most people.”


Murphy is survived by her son, a daughter, Dea, five grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.


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Around the State



By Berl Colley


It has been a pretty quiet three months for members of CCCB. Carl Corbin, the manager of the Lions Low Vision Center spoke to the club in March. The Low Vision Center, which is located in Lacey, is an outgrowth of the Lions low vision fairs that were held in 2008.


Our special guest at the April meeting was Emily Bergkamp. She is the new manager of Paratransit in Thurston County. Transit is looking at new phone technology to notify scheduled riders 5-10 minutes before their van arrives.


The weekend of May 16-17, was busy for CCCB. Some of our members were working with the Lacey Lions writing kids names in Braille at the Lacey Fun Fair. We still had 15 members show up at our May meeting to enjoy a presentation from Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Program Manager/Librarian, Danielle King. She talked to us about WTBBL and brought two of the new digital players which were passed around for members to look at.


More from the state capitol in September.


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Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

By Wes Derby


This month, the Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind is involved in a See’s Candy sale. We are selling the large candy bars for $2 each or three for $5. Our president, John Common, has sold several boxes. I believe his count was nine when I talked to him before I went on vacation.


Our next meeting has been moved up to June 6, due to the fact that the Leadership Training takes place during the second weekend in June. The second Saturday is our normal meeting day, but a few from our chapter will be in Silverdale.


Other than that, nothing else to report. Hopefully, I’ll have more news in the coming months.


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By Joleen Ferguson


Since our last update, we have filed for non-profit status in the state of Washington. Upon receiving this, our next step was to file for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. We are currently awaiting official notification of non-profit status. President, Vivian Conger is working with Treasurer, Byron Kaczmarski on this project.


This year, we have decided to combine forces with Guide Dog Users of Oregon instead of having our Spring Fling on the same weekend as the WCB Leadership Seminar. There are a few reasons for this change. WCB changed the leadership weekend to June and scheduled it at a location that could not accommodate all of us. Many of our members through the years have had to make a choice between attending the Leadership training and attending our Spring Fling.


We have been considering a change for some time and chose, this year, to combine forces with GDUO as they celebrate 15 years of their Romp. They are also moving locations from Lewis and Clark College to Portland State University. Together, June 26-28, we expect to have twice the fun and double the attendance at the already excellent program opportunities.


Each group will have exhibits and merchandise for sale. Each of us will have its own business meeting. We will be celebrating 80 years of guide dog teams in the United States initiated by The Seeing Eye, as well as celebrating 15 years of the Oregon Romp. Together, we will enjoy presentations from representatives from several of the guide dog schools and others about the schools as well as other topics of interest.


Chelsie White, The Seeing Eye; Lukas Franck, The Seeing Eye; Technology and Transit; Becky Barnes-GDUI President, Guiding Eyes for the Blind; Bob Wendler, Guide Dogs of the Desert; Malinda Carlson-Guide Dogs For the Blind, Part II Animal Communication; Chuck Jorden, Guide Dogs of America; Janine Prindle, Work with dogs in obedience training, puppy raising, as guide dog handler, and in obedience training with her current guide.


Other activities will include: 15th Anniversary Skit, Group activities--CGC test, organized walk and memorial service/blessing of the animals. There are even more activities in the planning process.


We are excited about this event and expect to have great news of it in the next issue of “Newsline”.


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King County Chapter

By Rhonda Nelson, President


The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library has figured prominently in the recent events of the King County Chapter. In March we were honored to have Danielle King, Program Manager/Librarian, as our guest speaker. Danielle gave us an excellent overview of the library's programs. She then described the new digital talking book player and distributed thermaform and large print diagrams of the unit. We very much appreciated all the information she shared, along with her obvious enthusiasm for the library.


Our library theme continued on the morning of May 9, when eleven of us volunteered to inspect returned cassette books. For those of you who haven't done this, it involves making sure cassettes are rewound properly, the cassettes in the container match the title on the container, and there are no notes or other indications of problems with a book. Along with inspecting almost three bins of books, we enjoyed a delicious lunch, thanks to the Schneebecks. And, speaking of that digital talking book player, the library had just that week received the actual demonstration units, so we were given the opportunity to examine them. I think the digital player will prove to be quite easy to use. The ability to navigate quickly between sections and chapters of a book will be very helpful, and the fact that an entire book can be fit on one cartridge will certainly save space.


During our April meeting, when our expected speaker didn't show up, we had fun going around the room giving each person a couple of minutes to tell the group something about him or herself that we might not otherwise have known. Did you know, for example, that Connie Gil once met Walt Disney? Or, it's hard to imagine that both Malissa Hudson and Jeanne Jacobs would win a radio contest on the same station, but they did.


In May Marilyn Donnelly helped us play "remember when", passing around and asking us to identify trinkets from the past. Nobody figured out a typewriter ribbon can or pencil sharpener, but two people correctly identified a toothpick holder. As part of our business meeting discussion, we congratulated Malissa Hudson on her selection as WCB's first timer to the American Council of the Blind national convention.


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Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Michelle Denzer and Meka White


The winter weather has left us behind and the golden days of spring have finally arrived. And as usual, The Peninsula Council of the Blind has been incredibly busy!


We'll start off by mentioning that on one of the weekends in March, Tim and Cindy Van Winkle took a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii to speak at the Hawaii Association of the Blind’s state convention. They had a wonderful time and told our chapter of the experiences that they had. They even brought back fresh pineapples!


The All Ears Book club is continuing to meet with great success. We meet at a local coffee house. So far, we’ve read ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd, ‘A Walk through the Woods’ by Bill Bryson, and ‘The Ox-bow Incident’ by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. We have talked about other books that we are reading and give each other recommendations. Lively discussion is generated and it is a fantastic time of learning and sharing our love of reading.


Some of our members attended the auction to support the Louis Braille School during the last week of March.


In April, we held our annual Easter Brunch at Claire and David Bourgeois's home, enjoying lots of delicious food along with having an Easter egg hunt for the children in their backyard. We also enjoyed the coconut syrup that Tim and Cindy brought back from Hawaii.


We’ve been pretty busy socializing as well, with fun trips to Lynn’s Teriyaki and Applebee’s.


On the fourth of May, two of our members, Jeff and Sarah Schweizer welcomed in their fourth baby, Danielle Grace, weighing in at seven pounds and seven ounces. PCB members Meka White and Kim Moberg were in attendance for this special home birthing experience. Many of our members made dinners for the family so that they had an easier transition with their new addition to the family.


Our support group is still thriving and becoming closer than ever. With monthly meetings where members take turns bringing refreshments, we are able to talk about blindness and the way that it affects our lives, whether personally or professionally. In May, we all went out for lunch after our group meeting, and it was a good time of food and fellowship.


As we approach summer, we have several activities planned, but you’re going to have to wait until the next edition of the Newsline to find out exactly what we’ve been doing. Have a fabulous, fun and sun-filled summer!


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South King Council of the Blind

By John McConnell


Hello WCB friends: SKB is alive and active.


First, for the upcoming Leadership Seminar, we have three, that's right, three members going: Jan White, our Vice-President, Carol McConnell, our brand new Secretary, and John McConnell, our President.


We are all excited about what we will learn, and the friends we will be rubbing elbows with.


The Leadership Seminar will be June 12-14, in Silverdale, Washington. Not only will they be attending the Seminar, but also the WCB Board of Directors meeting.


Our membership has grown by three people, since last writing. We have Dan Porter, who works at the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind. He works in the Boeing Production Department, setting up machinery for the various projects that need to be run. We also have added Marlaina and Gary Lieberg. Marlaina is a real go-getter. She is already helping us figure out ways in which we can grow. She and Gary have both been around WCB and the American Council of the Blind for a while; and we are very glad to have their vim and vigor.


We, along with United Blind of Seattle, and King County Chapter, are in the planning stages of the Super Picnic, which will be on the 8th of August, a Saturday. I'm sure that another person from that chapter will be giving more details in this regard. Don't want to steal their thunder!


We are also planning to have an October Fest, without the beer. We are using that event to help attract more people from the South King County area. We will also have Miss Danielle King-Program Manager/Librarian of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The event will take place on Saturday, October 10th. There will also be other vendors to show accessible equipment. If anyone knows someone who lives in the south end, and wants to attend, please contact: John or Carol McConnell at (253) 813-5780. or email them at: They would be more than happy to fill you in on the particulars of where we meet, and the time, and date(s).


Next issue, we will have the attendees of our Chapter let you know what they brought home from the Leadership Seminar, among other upcoming news. Thank you for reading this article.


In closing, we heard this in a church a long time ago. "Show up to grow up." That could be said of WCB. If we want to find something exciting to do, we should attend our chapters, and get involved.


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United Blind of Seattle Quarterly Update

By: Ursula C. McCully (member)


At long last, spring is here and members of UBS are starting to come out of hibernation. Here is how: We started March with our Spring Fling which replaced our holiday gathering at the Marie Calendar Restaurant. The weather was very pleasant. Kelly O’Brian joined our chapter. We had our 50/50 raffle & Quincy Daniels won. Mike and Kathe O’Neil entertained us with stories about their new grandchild.


We had our monthly meeting at the Bayview Manor. Our guest speaker was not able to come but with quick thinking of Julie, Al Gil effortlessly volunteered to talk about his personal experiences facing diabetes. He also informed us about the support group that Peggy Shoel started and is chairing the group.


As usual, we had our 50/50 raffle & Julie won for the very first time.


After the meeting some members went to the Louis Braille Auction that was held on the last Saturday of March.


We started April with a bang. Our Fund Raising Committee organized a Nelly’s chicken barbecue which was held at the Cedar House Apts. The weather cooperated with us as we were able to barbecue outside. Nelly Barnett sold the most tickets. Marie Calendar’s pies were raffled off. The committee rose over $300 towards sending a UBS first timer to the state convention. Diane Ferro joined our chapter.


In April we had our last monthly meeting at the Bayview Manor, as this location is not working out. Danielle King, Program Manager/Librarian of WTBBL was our guest speaker. She is an eloquent speaker. Danielle gave us a concise informative report about the library changes since the transition to the state, services, and their wonderful network of volunteers. Several of our members are very much involved in that program.


We had our 50/50 raffle and this time, yours truly won. After our meeting, we had lunch.

Our May monthly meeting was at the Rock Bottom Restaurant located in the heart of downtown Seattle. The establishment gave us a room for our meeting which was great. Clint Reiding, our Vice-President presided over the meeting. After the business report, we had a round table discussion facilitated by Glenn McCully about Access transportation issues. He informed us about the federal regulations for the service. The membership participation was lively. The Outreach Committee made a commitment to have it as a project to find more relevant information and solution to the challenges that members are facing with the Para-transit services in King County.


Cara Ware came after her long absence due to her medical condition. Membership was grateful for her recovery and we’re happy to see her with us.


Maria and Craig McCully were among the guests and they joined our chapter.


Membership will go back to the drawing board to check out the places suggested at the meeting for our new meeting place, Rock Bottom is still on the top yet Membership is mindful of the other members who have difficulties in accessing the restaurant.


Our Friends’ Day will be held at the WTBBL on June 20, 2009. Come and join us!


I will end here, Folks but I will be back for the next UBS update, see you all then.


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United Blind of Spokane

By Dorothy Carroll

United Blind of Spokane meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Lilac Services for the Blind, 1210 N Howard from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. We each bring a sack lunch. We had a guest speaker this month from the Better Business Bureau who spoke on Identity theft. One of our members is having this problem. It made us more aware of things going on around us and what to be aware of.


A committee headed by Clair Warren and committee members Deborah Jenkins, Dorothy and Bob Carroll worked on our Constitution and Bylaws, getting them up dated and changed to fit our chapter. A copy will be sent to WCB. A committee met to put our heads together and come up with a pamphlet to give to prospective members. Beri Federspiel pulled it all together to do the design and format, and those that brainstormed with her were Claire Warren, Frank Federspiel and Dorothy and Bob Carroll. Our chapter had 500 printed up. The pamphlet has Braille on it. It turned out wonderfully.


Eleven of our members attended a complimentary performance at the Civic Theater. The play was, ‘No No Nannette’. We all loved it. We were singing the music for days after that.


George Davis, one of our chapter members, won a scholarship to the 23rd National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Aspen Colorado. Three couples and Veteran Supervisor, Sussan Bennet, their coach, flew to Aspen, Colorado the week of May 22 to May 29th. They had jackets alike that read Washington Warriors Veterans for World War II, Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq participated. They came from all over the United States. George did a Rocky training to get himself in shape to compete. He entered the Cross Country and Down Hill Skiing on Miracle Mountain. George said it really inspired him to see all the Vets competing. We are very proud of George and the medal he won.


We are having a Picnic BBQ on June 27, 2009 at the home of Bob and Dorothy Carroll.


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United Blind of the Tri-cities

By Janice Squires


As we say in the UBTC chapter, if you feed them they will come! Our membership rep, Marlene Vandecar organized a Saturday morning breakfast meeting at the Pasco IHOP and we could not believe how many people came for the meeting and to enjoy the delicious food. A chapter needs to try to find a good location where a meeting can be conducted in an orderly fashion and where the food and service are good.


Two of our members, Steve Vandecar and Bill Hoage have made front page news in the Tri-City Herald. Both men are very active at exercising, rock climbing and doing water aerobics at our local Tri-City Court club. We are very proud of both of them and they are looking good and feeling great.


Our monthly lunches are still drawing great crowds and thanks to people like Diana Softich and Marlene Vandecar for taking on the task of organizing these dining experiences. The last narrated play of the season entitled, “Sylvia” will be held at the Richland Player’s on the Sunday matinee on May 31. We will continue with this very unique program for the 2009 – 2010 Player’s season. Thanks to Frank Cuta and Brenda Vinther for taking the time to organize this very enjoyable program.


The book and card groups are still in full swing and we certainly encourage any chapter to try groups such as these. The book group has read, "No End in sight" about the woman who is a blind musher. The next four books will be: "The Purl", "#1 Ladies Detective Agency,", “Girl in Hyacinth Blue”, and “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.


The Red Hat group will be going to the Kennewick Senior center for High Tea on May 21 and we know they all will have a wonderful time. The Edith Bishel center has planned a bus tour of the old time Pataha Flour mill in Pomeroy, Washington. Many of us take advantage of the bus tours offered by the center and we are very grateful to be able to participate in them.


Of course our main focus this year will be to plan and organize the 2009 WCB convention, of which we will be co-hosting with the United Blind of Walla Walla. It will be held on November 5, 6 and 7 at the Pasco Red Lion Inn. We certainly hope to see each and every one of you there. A sneak preview of one of the breakout sessions will be a tour to our local Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology museum. Lots and lots more are in the planning stages, so mark your calendars and save the date!


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By Vivian Conger


At our March meeting, we welcomed guests Barbara Clark, Walla Walla City Council Member, and Neil Chabre, Walla Walla City Engineer, as our speakers. The focus of the discussion was on current and future accessible pedestrian signals.


Neil Chabre attended our April meeting too. Randall Morua, Walla Walla City Engineer was our main speaker. The subject matter focused on outdoor dining facilities, sandwich boards, and sidewalk clearances. We were able to voice our concerns and it was recommended that we make these concerns known to the mayor. It was also suggested that we find a way to educate the city, businesses, and the general public on what works and doesn’t work in regards to outdoor dining, clearances, etc.


May’s meeting had Lee Coleman as our speaker. Lee has volunteered for a number of years as a guide for the national and international Ski for Light program. Her talk was fantastic and several of us wanted to sign up for next year’s Ski for Light session right then and there. It is always wonderful to see the enthusiasm of volunteers like Lee – It is infectious.


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United Blind of Whatcom County Chapter Report

Submitted by Yvonne Miller, 1st VP


Seasons of warm light awaken renewal in nature but also with our member’s enthusiasm. As we look forward to Bruce Radtke’s return from his voyage, plans are underway for our annual summer picnic.


The Whatcom Volunteer Center’s Human Race has been scheduled in June, once again. Some of our members have plans to participate in this annual event.


We held our second round table discussion at our April meeting. The purpose of the discussion is to rate priorities and commitments for UBWC to help with planning activities and the budget for the next 16 months. It was an insightful discussion of members input and expectations regarding the chapter’s mission and how they can contribute.


Students for Disability Awareness held its annual awareness week from April 12 – 18.


UBWC participated in the Resource Fair on the 17th. Betty and I brought WCB and UBWC brochures. We hope to collaborate more with their event in the future. The event featured many presenters, workshops and fun activities.


Six of our members attended a lecture at Western Washington University on April 21. It featured Noemi Ban, a Holocaust survivor who has written a book and released a DVD of her life story. Her presentation was brought to the public from Northwest Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Ethnocide. It was a very moving and unforgettable evening.


Our March meeting brought Maddie Smith, Diabetic Registered Nurse of the Lummi Indian Health Clinic. She shared a good deal of information with us. She recommended looking for more information from the American Diabetes Association website at or Indian Health Services at


Sharon Von See and Betty Sikkema attended the Louis Braille School’s annual auction on March 21. They came home with some cool items and awesome goodies. In fact, Betty brought back a neat Braille decorated cake made by Amanda Wearstler.


We continue to meet at the end of the month for our luncheon socials, rotating between Lynden and Bellingham. Some of our members meet for a fun day of playing cards.


We all hope you enjoy your summer that is packed full of great activities!


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Hats Off to You!


Congratulations go to the following individuals:

·         Malissa Hudson, member, United Blind of Seattle, for being selected as the WCB first-timer to the ACB National Convention in Orlando, Florida. Malissa is very excited, and is looking forward to a week full of educational and fun activities.

·         Shari Burns, member, PCB, on her new guide dog, Cessna, a 50 pound, 21 inch, female black Lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind. The team graduated from the Boring campus on April 18 and is now flying around the sidewalks of Kitsap County.

·         Amanda Wearstler, member, PCB, on her graduation from Olympic High School, in Bremerton. Amanda has been attending Olympic College as a Running Start student for 2 years and plans to return their in the Fall to finish up her prerequisites before transferring to a University to pursue a career in Biotechnology. A grad party was held for Amanda at a local pizza parlor.

·         Kim & Donny Moberg, members of PCB, on their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple celebrated this special occasion with a one week cruise to Alaska.

·         Cindy Van Winkle, President, PCB, on her being reelected as Chair of the State Rehabilitation Council for a third one year term.


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Bits & Pieces


Inclusion of articles, products, and/or services in Bits and Pieces does not imply, or denote endorsement by the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB), or its affiliates. This column is provided as a matter of interest and information for the patrons of the WCB’s Newsline.


Baen Books offers free books published by Baen Books to people with disabilities. Discover more at:


Dean Martineau provides a weekly technical newsletter. You can join Top Tech Tidbits by sending a blank email to:


STEM Survey of described images for digital talking books results can be read at:


Seedlings Braille Books for Children’s Book Angel offers free Braille books for kids. Visit: or call 1-800-777-8552 for more information.


Produced by the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project the 30th anniversary edition of The Miracle Worker is on DVD. Go to: and click on “Miracle Worker,” to purchase your copy.


Bay Area Digital has a free report, "Monitoring and Improving the Health of People with Vision Loss." For your free copy, visit:


White Cane Repair Service, a low cost way to get that broken cane repaired. White Cane Repair also recycles and donates canes to low-income people. For information call: 1-213-448-2365 or email: or visit:


The Fred's Head blog contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. This resource is offered by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).


That’s it for this issue. If you have news, articles, information, or anything else you think might benefit other blind and visually impaired people, or just be of interest, please send me an email with Bits & Pieces in the subject line. Randy Tedrow


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From My Kitchen to Yours

By Marlaina Lieberg


Summer means Salads!


It’s been unusually warm these past few days here in Seattle, so I’ve gone browsing through my recipe file for a cool, quick and easy salad. Enjoy!


"A refreshing, light salad for any hot, humid summer day! The kidney beans and tofu make it a great main dish for vegetarians, as well. The basil may be substituted

with fresh parsley or mint. Be sure to make this salad just before serving."


Cucumber and Tomato Salad


1 tomato, chopped

1 cucumber, seeded and chopped

¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup canned kidney beans, drained

¼ cup firm tofu, diced (feta cheese may be substituted)

2 tbs chopped fresh basil

¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl, combine the tomato, cucumber, red onion, kidney beans, tofu, and Basil. Just before serving, toss with balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing, and season with salt and pepper.


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Calendar of Deadlines and Events


July 4                                     Office hour’s conference call at 12pm with President Colley

July 4-11                               ACB National Convention, Orlando Florida

July 31                                   Deadline for submitting scholarship applications

August 31                             Deadline for submitting WCB Award Nominations

August 31                             Deadline for receipt of first-timers applications for WCB state convention

September 5                        Office hour’s conference call at 12pm with President Colley

September 12                      SRC Meeting, Seattle DSB Office

September 18-19                WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver

October 15                           Deadline date for convention preregistration, requesting a convention stipend, and reserving a seat on one of the convention buses

October 31                           Office hour’s conference call at 12pm with President Colley

November 5-7                      WCB State Convention, Pasco

November 12-13                 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver


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A special thanks goes to the Newsline Committee and production volunteers.


Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by August 29, 2009. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.


Publication policy: to ensure accuracy, we require submissions be emailed to our new Newsline address at with a cc: Articles should be no longer than 750 words.

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