March 2008 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President
(360) 438-0072
Lacey, WA

Gaylen Floy, Editor

(253) 217-9586

Federal Way, WA


Table of Contents

From the President’s Desk

Editor’s Comment

Legislative Seminar Reports


Lost in Space


A Colorful Gift of Love

WCB Winter Board Report

Around the State

DSB Video Under Production

Louis Braille School

Washington State School for the Blind

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Bits and Pieces

Hats Off to You

2008 WCB Committees and Contacts





From The President’s Desk

By Denise Colley, WCB President

Hello, WCB members and friends!

As I sit here at my computer keyboard thinking about my very first message as your new WCB president, many thoughts go through my head and I reflect on all that has happened in just the short time since I took office on January 1st.

I want to start this article by thanking some very appreciated people who have made an important difference for WCB.

Thank you to Cindy Van Winkle, Sue Ammeter and Berl Colley for their help and encouragement during the last 3 months as we have made the presidential transition and conducted the winter board meeting in Everett. Their advice and willingness to step up and assist me at a moment’s notice has really been appreciated.

I want to express a special thank you to Peggy Shoel for her tireless work as the editor of our Newsline for the last 15 years. Under Peggy’s leadership the Newsline has become one of the most respected affiliate magazines in the American Council of the Blind. Although Peggy has turned the editor’s duties over to Gaylen Floy, thank you Gaylen, she is still active within WCB. Facilitating the Diabetes support group and serving on other committees. Peggy started editing the WCB Newsline with the first issue of 1992.

I would also like to thank Shirley Taylor, who has headed up our Crisis committee for most of its existence. Chris Coulter will be serving as the new chair of that committee however; Shirley is still going to be very active as mentor and participant. She is also serving on two other committees and helping with a host of other things we will probably be calling on her to do.

 Finally, I want to thank all of you for your efforts on behalf of WCB.  It really makes a big difference when our membership gets involved.

Congratulations to all of our chapters and our special interest affiliate. All of you got your dues and membership lists in on time and by the time you read this, you will have received your $500 chapter stipend check from our treasurer. Good job everyone!! A special thank you goes to Janice Squires and Eric Hunter for all their hard work in updating the membership database and keeping track of incoming chapter dues.

We held our winter board meeting at the beginning of February, in Everett.  Due to a lot of unforeseen circumstances, board attendance was low. However, we conducted a lot of business for WCB and had a very pleasant Friday night board dinner and planning session. See the article on the Board meeting elsewhere in this issue.

The legislative session is in full swing and a lot of you have already been called upon to make phone calls to your legislators to do what you can to ensure that the budget request for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library contained in the supplemental budget of the Office of the Secretary of State and the Governor’s budget, be included in the House and Senate budgets. You accepted the challenge and took the time to express your wishes as library patrons and isn’t that what WCB is all about? On another legislative note, congratulations go to David Egan and Frank Johnson, the 2008 WCB representatives at the ACB Legislative Issues seminar in Washington D.C., February 10-12. You can read about their experiences in their articles later in this Newsline. They represented WCB well.


Here are some important dates to remember:

March 21, 2008

This is the final date for the Leadership committee to receive requests from WCB members interested in applying to attend the 2008 Leadership seminar in Everett. To be eligible you must have been a member of WCB for at least six months prior to the beginning of the seminar (since October 25, 2007). Those members interested in attending need to submit a letter of request to Cindy Van Winkle, chair of the Leadership committee, at Letters of interest must be submitted electronically. 

April 25-27, 2008

This is the date of the Eighth Annual Leadership Seminar and spring board meeting. This year’s Leadership Seminar will take place April 25-26, 2008, culminating with the spring board meeting on April 27, 2008 and will be held at the Downtown Holiday Inn, 3105 Pine Street, Everett, WA. Room rates are $89 plus tax. Those not attending as a leadership participant, WCB board member or chapter rep. should make their reservations by calling the hotel directly, no later than April 7, 2008 at (425) 339-2000. For those planning to be at the board lunch, please let me know no later than April 18, 2008 to be included in the count. You may call me at (360) 438-0072 or e-mail me at

May 1, 2008

This is the deadline date to request consideration for the First Timer grant to attend the ACB national convention in Louisville, Kentucky, July 5-12, 2008. The following are the items to be considered for a First-Timer's award: never attended a previous national convention, be a WCB member for at least 12 months prior to the opening of the ACB convention and have no outstanding WCB loan payments in default. Your request letter should be sent to

 Meka White, chair of the First Timers committee at

May 15, 2008

This is the last day to request travel stipends to attend the ACB national convention or national convention loans. This year’s national convention stipend will be $250 and is available to any member planning to attend the convention that has been a member for at least 12 months prior to the opening session of the convention and has no outstanding loan payments in default. Members who meet the same eligibility requirements may obtain a convention loan of up to $750. The loan must be paid back to WCB within 10 months following the convention in Louisville, KY. To request a travel stipend or convention loan please contact me either by phone at (360) 438-0072 or by e-mail at

I want to close by thanking and congratulating Cindy Van Winkle for her leadership of WCB for the last four years. As the old saying goes, Cindy, you will be a hard act to follow.


Back to Table of Contents


Editor’s Comment

By Gaylen Floy

By the time you read this, the Newsline committee and production volunteers should be on the road to recovery. There have been big changes behind the scenes.

Peggy Shoel stepped down as editor after 15 years and Lorraine Pozzi stepped down as the editorial assistant after 20 years. With fear and trepidation I agreed to serve as editor. Andrea Park is now assisting with production. Carl Jarvis and Rhonda Nelson are editing, assessing procedures and sorting out style questions. Change is always hard and unsettling, but the commitment in this organization shines through.

 Special thanks go to Denise Colley, Cindy Van Winkle, Carolyn Meyer, Viola Cruz, Bill Hoage, Frank Cuta, Brady Layman and Tim Schneebek for all their efforts and support during the production transition.

Newsline is your voice and record. It is also a great education and marketing tool. Our committee will be developing a policy and procedure handbook to post online. If you have any questions or a story idea, please call or drop us a line.


Back to Table of Contents


David (Egan) and Frank (Johnson)

go to Washington D.C.

By Frank Johnson, member, King County Chapter

David and I spent one-and-a-half packed days at the Legislative Seminar preceding our visits to the offices of four of our legislators. It seemed that we had barely left Seattle for the nonstop flight to the “other Washington” before we were driving over black ice to the airport for our return trip.

At the seminar, ACB had narrowed a number of possible matters into three Legislative Imperatives, which were presented to us to assist in preparing us for our visits to the Hill.

Many of the participants, from a number of states, had attended previous Seminars. At least one person was returning for their 18th year. Thus, they were familiar with the process, familiar with the Capitol layout, and had experience in locating Congressional offices. As one of the very few first-timers, I recognized the enormity of the process and did not feel as prepared as I might have preferred.

Tuesday we sought out our Legislator’s offices armed with folders describing the ACB priority concerns for action in 2008. These three issues were telecommunications and information, web site accessibility and quiet vehicles. We summarized these to the Legislative staff, asking that Congress persons consider sponsoring or introducing proposals as prospective laws.

In my judgment, it is crucial that Congress be as informed as possible in order to provide meaningful legislative support to the issues facing persons with disabilities.

I believe future delegates could be better oriented and prepared for the experience. Having visited the Capitol many years ago was of some help to me, although I was not prepared for the presence of uniformed security stationed at every turn.

Because of the help willingly given by staff of the Congressional offices, we were aided in negotiating the Capitol warren. Finally, both David and I were, if overwhelmed, nonetheless proud to have this experience and to participate in the legislative process.


Back to Table of Contents



2008 Washington D.C. Legislative Seminar

By David Egan, Chair,

Environmental Access Committee

Frank Johnson and I were selected to participate in the ACB Legislative Seminar in Washington D.C. this year. We were there for nearly three days. The first day-and-a-half was spent in sessions learning about the selected three Legislative Imperatives. During this time there were several guest speakers describing the issues. Our third day was spent on Capital Hill visiting the offices of four of our legislators.

Setting up appointments with our Representatives and Senators or their designees turned out to be one of the most challenging aspects of our experience. Being patient and persistent works and we were able to schedule several meetings.

The three main issues identified by ACB for 2008 were as follows:

1) Telecommunications and information, 2) Web Site Accessibility associated with ADA law, and 3) Quiet Cars. Our job was to present these concerns to Legislative staff, and to request that Congressional law makers consider sponsoring or co-sponsoring our proposed legislation.

The three legislative proposals come with suggested actions to be championed by our Legislators. Each proposal comes with a great deal of background information in alternative formats.

1) Telecommunication and Electronic Information

On December 21, 2007, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), along with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, publicly released the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act discussion draft. This draft Legislation was made a reality by the active participation of ACB through its steering committee membership in the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT). ACB is encouraging Congress to formally introduce legislation.

ACB strongly urges the House of Representatives to formally introduce the

Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act discussion draft.

2)  ADA and the Internet

Rationale:  Although the ADA requires public accommodations to provide effective communication to people with disabilities to afford them the full enjoyment of goods and services and other opportunities offered, there is no consistent and authoritative definition of this requirement in federal law.

The proposed language clarifies that, when public accommodations provide alternative means to access their goods and services (presumably because the common means of accessing them is inaccessible to people with disabilities), the alternative means must not provide second-class access. This language is based on the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights test to determine the effectiveness of communication, as well as the Help America Vote Act’s standard of privacy and independence. This clarification to ADA Title III would unambiguously establish a clear and consistent federal test of effectiveness and yield more consistent results.

ACB strongly urges the House of Representatives and Senate to formally introduce the above language as stand-alone legislation.

3) Quiet vehicles:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives and the Senate, that it is the sense of the Congress that:

1. The U.S. Department of Transportation or other appropriate federal agencies should receive funding to for allow a blind or visually impaired pedestrian to independently identify vehicles while traversing streets or vehicular ways;

2. That the department should provide a report to Congress that would detail its findings as well as a proposed time line for their implementation by manufacturers of automobiles, buses, trucks and other motorized vehicles; and

3. That the department shall have the authority to implement its recommendations regarding standards for vehicle manufacture two years after the passage of this act.

There are often glitches associated with travel to unfamiliar places, and we certainly had our share, but that’s simply part of the adventure. Through it all I’ve come to realize how important our work with this organization really is. The enormity of the Capital grounds and buildings is staggering. It was tempting to stop or at least slow down enough to soak it all in, but our schedules wouldn’t permit as we had to make a flight back to Seattle and the weather was against us. This was our first time at this, yet I found each spokesperson to be quite interesting, conversational and helpful. It is obvious that our voice is being heard. The agenda this year was of interest to me because of the Environmental Access work we do here at the State level. I realize too that there is still a lot to learn, yet it is an honor to have been chosen to participate this year.


Back to Table of Contents


WCB History, Part 3

By Berl Colley, Chair, History Committee

July-December, 1990

The second half of 1990 had an active start with the new organization’s second board meeting, held at the Library

 for the Blind, in Seattle, on July 20, 1990.

Ken Hopkins was approved as the WCB attorney. He was charged with doing the legal work to dissolve the previous organizations and reincorporate the new WCB. Sue Ammeter was charged with finding an accountant to help with 1989 accounting records and to bring the organizations past due filings current with the Secretary of State. A tradition was started when the board agreed to pay for the Washington delegation breakfast which was scheduled during the national convention in Denver.

Establishing a WCB student group was discussed and Frank Cuta, Maida Pojtinger, Linda Wickersham, Stuart Russell and Jim Eccles expressed interest in working toward this goal. This would be the first of several efforts to form a student group over the coming years.

Convention plans were discussed and Dan Tonge was appointed as the chair of resolutions. Another WCB tradition was started at the July 1990 board meeting where it approved paying for two free rooms, one for men and one for women, at the fall convention at the Holiday Inn in Issaquah. 

In addition to the student group, there was interest in starting a group at Washington State University and a chapter in the state’s capitol, Olympia. Nothing came of the student group or the group at WSU, but after President Ammeter made several visits to Olympia, a chapter was formed. Terry Atwater, the elected President of the Capital City Council of the Blind, submitted the group’s constitution and members list and dues to the board at the fall convention in Issaquah. CCCB was accepted as WCB’s 12th chapter.

Another tradition was established when the board voted to give $500 to the new chapter’s treasury. At the October board meeting President Ammeter announced that she had hired Jack Faulkner and Linda Davidson to work on the WCB accounting paperwork. The board voted to use the Vantage group for the 1991 fund raiser.

One of the items of business at the Sunday morning business meeting on October 7, 1990 was not to renew WCB’s membership in the Washington Assembly of Citizens with Disabilities, because they would not provide information in an alternative format. Josette Kernaghan reported that the Guide Dog group was looking at Hawaii’s quarantine policy and would be raising their dues to $10 per person.

An advocacy issue was discussed and the WCB President was instructed to write a letter to the University of Washington explaining to them that language in a recent Disabled Students Services letter, saying that disabled students couldn’t be relied on for information, was not appropriate.

The board was given the final decision on whether to have the 1991 state convention in the Tri-Cities or Tacoma. The top three people in the election of the delegate and alternate delegate to the 1991 national convention in Tampa, Florida were: Sue Ammeter, delegate; Marilyn Donnelly, alternate delegate; and Peggy Shoel as substitute alternate. The convention asked the board to have a better selection process in place for choosing the delegate to the national convention in 1991. The last item of business was to provide up to $150 to each member in good standing who is going to the Tampa convention. 

The national representative to the Issaquah convention was Steve Spieker. He was also the banquet speaker. Chris Gray was the banquet MC. Joan Ladeburg won the pre-registration breakfasts and the organization awarded nine people a total of $7,900 in scholarships.

Now the new organization had the experience of 1990 under its belt and WCB members looked forward to 1991 with confidence and positive expectations.


Back to Table of Contents


Lost in Space, Part II

By Carl Jarvis, Chair,

Aging and Blindness Committee

Over the years I was absolutely certain that somewhere, somehow, there existed the right approach for teaching spatial awareness to blind people. My wife and fellow rehab teacher had never shared my belief. Despite discussing and debating this issue many times, my mind was made up. I simply could not accept that there are some skills that cannot be taught.

Finally the light clicked on when Cathy, trying to illustrate her point, said, “You know, Carl, you have no sense of rhythm. Despite all these years of trying, you still can't follow the beat. You sing just fine but you’re totally lost in the song, which is better, and safer, than turning you loose on the dance floor.” This brought to mind my mother. She was tone deaf. We always said that mother sang the tune the old cow died on. She had about three notes, and yet she loved music. I loved music, too. How was it that mother and I could be serious music lovers but not be able to hum or dance to the tune? Of course the answer is that humming and dancing are not central to music appreciation.

And then it hit me. I was focused on the wrong goal. Regardless of whether it could be taught or not, Spatial Awareness is not central to leading a successful, independent life. Not only was I busy trying to teach people to develop a skill which they did not possess, but worse yet, I was implying that without this skill they could not be successful, independent people. Just because a kangaroo can hop doesn't mean I can teach him to fly, nor does he need to fly to reach his goal. Just because a blind person can get from point A to point B does not mean that I can teach him spatial awareness. Some of our brains are simply not set up to work that way.

This was a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around. Over the years I watched many blind people travel about and arrive at their destination. Some did it with ease, while others did it by trial and error. I figured that the trial and error folks just needed to practice harder and pay closer attention to what they were doing. It never occurred to me that just getting there was a major success for the Spatially Challenged. The truth is I had no clue as to what these folks were struggling with.

Think of trying to teach a blind man to see. We could put him through the same drills that we use for all sighted folks. Over and over we could force him to peer and strain, finally giving up in frustration. We might feel that we had not pushed him hard enough. He would be left with the feeling that he was incompetent. In the end, we had programmed him for a life of failure. However of course, we know that a blind man cannot be taught to see; even if his eyes move and he blinks and sheds tears. He is missing something that cannot be taught. This absence must be accommodated if he is to function independently in life.

This is exactly the same course of action needed for the Spatially Challenged. Trying to teach them techniques that work for the Spatially Aware will only frustrate them. What is needed is a set of alternative techniques that will assist them in accommodating their different approach to space.

Whether we are blind or sighted, I believe that there are great differences in how our brains process spatial information. Sighted people accommodate this difference, unaware that it even exists. However, without sight, this difference becomes a major problem for the Spatially Challenged. It is essential that we develop positive alternative techniques, which will enable people to function successfully in their environment, allowing them to fulfill their goal to live a productive, independent life.


Back to Table of Contents


USABA Celebrates 30 Years

By Patt Copeland

Every organization has a beginning and USABA was started by a team of All Stars! After a recent vision loss, I joined United Blind of Seattle, which is our local chapter of the American Council of the Blind. One day I was chatting with a friend, Telea Noriega, and he mentioned how he loved to play goal ball and recounted their team’s success in playing at Nationals. He was talking about USABA and suddenly I was transported back to a memory of my dad, Arthur Copeland, and my step mom, Helen Copeland, working around our kitchen table in Beach Haven Park, N.J.

I can still picture my dad at the table, talking on the phone and making notes with Braille slate and stylus. He had a box of index cards with names and addresses – this was the first membership list. He and Helen worked with an ancient manual typewriter responding to mail that eventually came in from all over the world.

They, along with an All Star team, made USABA a real success in a very short period of time. They gathered support and started local USABA chapters all around the country. Initially they had minimal funding, no paid staff and no official office space. USABA would have to be put away at night so we could have dinner. However, after the dishes were done they would return to work. They worked with the determination of an athlete and that, of course, is the point of the whole story.

USABA began in the summer of 1976 when a team representing the Blind Athletes of the United States was sent to compete in the Olympics for the Disabled held in Toronto, Canada.

At the Games, an important meeting involving Arthur Copeland, Dr. Charles Buelle, Judy Whyte and Lou

Moneymaker took place. The energy of this group was the catalyst that sparked the creation of USABA. They recruited more allies and formed a core group that would also include Oral Miller, David Beaver, Arlene Walkowski, Deke Edwards, Dr. Mae Davidow and Joe Dominguez. Helen Copeland acted as the unofficial USABA secretary until the first part-time executive secretary was hired. USABA was officially formed in November of 1976 in St. Louis where this group created by-laws and set USABA into motion.

It was an era of great change within the blind community. The traditional role of the blind school was being challenged. Mainstreaming the blind student into local public schools was being emphasized as a more modern approach to Special Education. The team shared the concern that there was a real danger that the specialized coaching techniques and training of the blind athlete could be abandoned. The fear was that the athletic talent of visually impaired children would go unrecognized and that this could have a major impact on the leadership potential and training of the next generation.

The team went to work, empowered by their own personal success stories. They knew how to strategize and win. My dad, acting as coach, kept them all working together and fairly unified. They were a force to be reckoned with and they shared a common dream to protect and promote sports education within the blind community.

It is now the autumn of 2006 and USABA has served athletes with visual impairments for thirty years. It has grown and prospered with many new sports. The kitchen table has given way to a Colorado office. Index cards are now digital and communication is by email. What has endured and what matters is that USABA continues to serve blind and visually impaired athletes and is led by dedicated people who are determined to promote sports education. I know that my parents would want to say thanks and urge you all to continue the dream of the original team!

Note: This article first appeared in “Insight,” the winter edition 2006-2007, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of USABA. (United States Association of Blind Athletes). Reprinted with permission.


Back to Table of Contents


A Colorful Gift of Love

By Cindy Van Winkle

One of the most precious moments of the 2007 school year happened for me on the second to the last day and it's all thanks to Jacob.

In the preschool where I was working, there’s a battery operated duck game which causes little ducks to move around the pond in a circle. This is a color recognition activity with one of four colors on the bottom of each duck.

This day, I sat down with Jacob to play the game. He'd pick up a duck, showed me the bottom and told me the color. I’d reinforce this activity by telling him what a good job he was doing.

Jacob then lifted a duck and asked me “What color is this?” I said, “You tell me what color it is.” and so he did. However, that only worked a few times.

Then Jacob asked me again, “What color is this?” and when I said “No, you tell me,” he said, “No, you tell me.”

I then said, “Jacob, I can’t tell what color it is, because my eyes don't work.”

Jacob didn’t say anything and went about playing by himself. Figuring he didn’t understand, I stepped away for a bit, not feeling the need to explain anything more.

However, little did I know for when I came near him again, Jacob said, “Play Cindy.”

So I got on the floor and Jacob began doing the most amazing thing. He’d show me a duck and say, “What color is duck red?” I’d say, “Red!” and Jacob would enthusiastically tell me, “Great job!” Then he’d say, “What color is duck yellow?” and I’d say, “Yellow!” And he’d again say, “Great job!” And so this went with duck blue and duck green, and each time I’d repeat the color back to him. At the end, he was so proud of the both of us that he told me, “Give me five!”

We ended up playing this game through two rounds and had gotten the attention of other staff as they happened to be passing by. He brought smiles to all of our faces and joyful tears to my eyes.

My little friend, Jacob, not only understood that my eyes don’t work, but thought about it, and figured out, on his own, how Teacher Cindy could play this color recognition game without being able to see the colors.

What a precious moment indeed. And all thanks to a sweet little 4-year-old with Autism, who truly has no idea of the gift he gave to me – a colorful gift of love.


Back to Table of Contents


Board Charts Course for Positive New Year

By Rhonda Nelson, member, King County Chapter

Due to the birth of a grandchild, illnesses and other absences, the February 2, 2008 meeting in Everett of the Washington Council of the Blind Board of Directors had fewer attendees than usual. However, those who were present enthusiastically set the wheels in motion for a very positive 2008. We heard reports from our newly elected president and from several WCB committees.

Denise Colley said she is very much looking forward to serving as president, with the board continuing to work as a united team and with a strong and active membership. There are various committee changes this year, including new chairs in some instances.

Here is a summary of our very full calendar of activities for 2008. Please refer to articles elsewhere in this Newsline for further details. By the time you read this, two of our members will have attended the American Council of the Blind legislative seminar February 10 through 12, 2008 in Washington, D.C. WCB will return to Everett the weekend of April 25 through 27, 2008 for our leadership seminar. The Guide Dog Users of Washington State spring fling will be the 26th and the spring board meeting the 27th. The cutoff date to apply for the leadership seminar is March 21, 2008. The ACB national convention will cause several of us to head to Louisville, Kentucky July 5 through 12, 2008.

Applications to be WCB’s first timer attendee need to be submitted by May 1, 2008 and requests for a convention stipend of $250 or loan of up to $750 must be received by May 15, 2008. WCB's summer retreat and board meeting will be August 1 and 2, 2008 in Vancouver. That will also be the location of our annual convention, October 23 through 25, 2008. If you have suggestions for convention program content, please contact a member of the convention committee. The cutoff date for convention registration and hotel reservations will be October 1, 2008.

Support for funding of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library continues at the forefront of WCB's legislative efforts. While we are encouraged because the Governor's supplemental budget included the funding increase and provision for staff positions essential to maintain our current level of library service, we need to ensure that this also gets into the budgets of the House and Senate. WCB members have done targeted letter writing and phone calling and more action will be needed. Speaking of legislative activity, WCB's legislative committee is planning to put together our own statewide legislative seminar in January of 2009.

WCB’s advocacy committee was able to assist a gentleman in a successful employment discrimination lawsuit against a fitness club. Our environmental access position paper on roundabouts has been widely distributed. That committee is looking at other pedestrian safety concerns, as well as issues with paratransit and cell phone access. There is a lot of information, including audio from our 2007 state convention, on our website: Chapter presidents are reminded to contact webmaster Viola Cruz at with updated contact and meeting location information.

By now some of you may be saying, okay that's good organizational information, but who has a new grandbaby? You can find that and other congratulations, in “Hats Off to You” in this Newsline.

(Editor’s note: Since this board meeting, WTBBL funding was included in the state budget.)


Back to Table of Contents


Around the State

Chapter Updates

Capital City Council of the Blind

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind


King County Chapter

Peninsula Council of the Blind 

South King Council of the Blind 

United Blind of Seattle 

United Blind of the Tri-Cities

United Blind of Walla Walla 

United Blind of Whatcom County


Back to Table of Contents


Capital City Council of the Blind

By Berl Colley, President

Each December, we have our community Christmas party for blind and visually impaired people who live in the area. Over 30 people came to this year’s party to eat and exchange gifts. The party was held at the Chambers restaurant, located in Panorama City. After good food and a lot of gift opening, steeling and teasing, we went home feeling like 2007 was successfully closed.

At our January 2008 meeting we had a speaker, Jean Gallow, who is the head of DSB’s BEP program. She talked to us about the Business Enterprises program and what potential there is for blind and visually impaired people in Washington State to earn a good living. Vice President, Gloria Walling gave CCCB members a very ambitious social schedule that goes through the summer. It includes such things as a pizza party, a bowling night, a wine tasting function, combining with the Lacey Lions for a pancake feed, participating in the Lacey Fun Fair and joining with them and other organizations in the Cancer walk in June 2008.

CCCB did not conduct a fund raiser in 2007 and will be focusing on finding one or more in 2008. To this end, we had an executive committee meeting and two fund raising committee meetings so far this year. 

We want to welcome two new members to our club. They both joined in January. They are Michael Cunningham and Jamie Bates.

We haven’t had our February meeting as of this writing.


Back to Table of Contents


Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

By Chris Coulter, member

Welcome to the new and improved Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind. We have a new meeting day, time and place and we have improved energy. We’re all ready to welcome all those new people who are just itching to walk through our door.

So, where is this place that the new people should come to? It’s called Patty’s Egg Nest, located at 6720 Evergreen Way in Everett. When will we be there? The second Saturday of each month at 2 PM; we take a break in July and August to enjoy what sunshine comes our way then.

We began meeting for late brunch at Patty's Egg Nest in January, when we had our first business meeting of the New Year and talked about how we each spent the holidays.

Carolyn Meyer gave a presentation about the Louis Braille School at our February meeting. She talked about the auction which will be coming up in May and she told us about the myriad educational opportunities of which she and the school are a part.

In March we plan on having our usual business meeting with surprises to follow. I’m not even quite sure what they are. If you have an inquiring mind and you want to know, please call our president. John Common at 425-335-4031 to reserve a place at our table on March 8th.


Back to Table of Contents


Guide Dog Users of Washington State

By Joleen Ferguson, member

The big news is our 5th annual Spring Fling again in conjunction with the WCB leadership training and board meeting. The hotel contract has been signed and the menu chosen. Our committee is working on a theme and on the program. Currently, a suggestion from one of our members is our plan. We hope to have information about the history and development of guide dog harnesses. You won't want to miss this. Be watching for registration details and mark April 26 as the date to be at the Holiday Inn Downtown Everett, 425 339-2000. Be sure to tell them that your room is with the WCB block. 

Debby Phillips has found it necessary to resign as our secretary and we thank her for her service.  Our board has elected Randy Tedrow to complete her term. His director vacancy has been filled by election of Gina Allen who will complete his unexpired term. 

Three of us are known to have recently trained with new guides: Carla Dawson with Sequoia, Kevin Frankeberger with Tomasso, and Darlene Hilling with Swanson.  

We are currently 47 members strong with our total decreased this year by about six names. If you haven’t renewed or if you have never joined, any time is good and now is great. E-mail your contact information to Janice Squires at

Send a $15 check made out to GDUWS, to

Byron Kaczmarski, Treasurer

P.O. Box 194

Dayton, WA  99328-0194


Back to Table of Contents


Jefferson County Council of the Blind

By Carl Jarvis, Secretary

We are already up to our eyebrows in activities this year, working hard for WCB and making our presence known in our community.

At the state level, two of our members serve on the WCB board: Sue Ammeter, who chairs the Advocacy committee, and Carl Jarvis, chair of Aging and Blindness. Our members’ involvement in issues such as the recent push to pass the WTBBL budget has made us known to our state representatives and senator.

Locally, Lynn Gressley and Sue Ammeter serve on the DASH board. That’s Disability Awareness Starts Here. This year several of our members will again involve themselves in Disability Awareness Day. The focus will be on emergency preparedness.

On February 7, the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment met in Port Townsend.  Lynn Gressley, John and Sue Ammeter attended. A gathering of over one hundred citizens discussed a number of issues affecting disabled people. However, the central focus was the message they brought to postal authorities--find a solution to disability-access issues at the historic Port Townsend post office, instead of selling the building or moving the service out of the downtown core.

Although it would be a bit crowded, you are all welcome to join us each fourth Friday of the month at noon at the Fiesta Jalisco restaurant in Port Hadlock. At our February 22nd meeting we welcomed guest speaker Harry Whiting, Vocational Rehab Counselor from the Department of Services for the Blind.

Our officers are:

Sue Ammeter, President

Lynn Gressley, Vice-President

Cathy Jarvis, Treasurer

and yours truly, Carl Jarvis, Secretary


Back to Table of Contents


King County Chapter

By Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

Spring has sprung and the crocuses are in bloom. Can pussywillows and forsythia be far behind?

Two members from the King County Chapter represented WCB at the American Council of the Blind legislative seminar held recently in Washington, D.C.  Frank Johnson and David Egan spent a day and a half being informed about legislation and another day visiting Congressional offices from this state to share information about issues of importance to blind and visually impaired Americans.

Shirley Taylor spoke to us at our January meeting about her work with the Youth Awareness Disability Assemblies (YADA). Shirley brings a variety of adaptive aids for the blind so that the elementary school children can have hands on experiences. These assemblies include many other disability groups. Rhonda Nelson talked briefly about her new cell phone and the discount currently available from AT&T on screen reading software for their phones. Marilyn Donnelly discussed her plans to attend her local caucus and encouraged others to do the same. We also had open forum to discuss speakers for future meetings. Identity theft and scams seemed to be at the top of the list.

We want to thank Peggy Shoel for her many years as editor of the Newsline. She did a great job! Marilyn especially appreciated all the times Peggy gave her a few more days to finish her articles.

Congratulations to member Mary Sue Lonnevik for passing the many exams required to become a financial advisor. We wish her success in this new endeavor.

The King County Chapter meets every fourth Saturday at the Northgate Marie Callender’s restaurant and anyone is welcome to come.


Back to Table of Contents


Lower Columbia Council of the Blind

By Karen Kay Lewis-Keverline, member

This month found our thoughtful, hard working President, Linda Jacques, filling a "spot" on the local KEDO "Live" radio show. She says she had a great time. Linda is full of creative ideas for reaching the local blind and the interested public.

Linda also wanted to share that we have three new members. We are meeting in a local retirement facility which gives us many interested residents that want to check us out. We are pleased and the facility is lovely!

Our long-time member, Ginger McCallum, has recently moved to a local complex. It has been a great help in seeing to Ginger's needs and has helped her make new friends. She is truly enjoying her new home at New West Side Terrace.

Tom Barackman has moved into new housing in another part of town. He is close to shopping which he finds a big help.

Our chapter will have a booth at the March Expo-Center event. Linda, our President, is very excited about this opportunity following our positive experience at the Cowlitz County Fair last summer. We feel the more we can educate the general public, the better off everyone will be. We are planning another interactive exhibit. Who knows – if we help even one person, it is greatly worth the effort and time.

Bill Keverline, our Vice-President, was able to fill in for our President at the state-wide President's Meeting held (this time) in Everett. He had much to report to our group about the adventure and meeting. Mainly, he was able to report information concerning the workings of our state leadership. They are a wonderful resource for all of us. Bill enjoyed his time at the meeting. He met people new to him and enjoyed getting acquainted, as well as renewing old friendships. He found the meeting interesting, people friendly and the exchange of ideas stimulating.


Back to Table of Contents


Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Eric Hunter, President

PCB had a very active winter with many activities, including several socials at area restaurants and monthly meetings at the Hunter house to exchange ideas and impressions; occasional gripes and some plaudits.

One of our special occasions was a "getting out of the navy" party for Jeff Schweizer at the Silverdale Azteca, attended by over 40 of us. Jeff did eight years in the Navy. He and Sarah, having three very young children, decided that he wanted to be a full-time dad, which was impossible as an active-duty sailor. He found himself a good job in Auburn, and commutes, as he and Sarah don't want to leave Kitsap County.

We lost a lovely lady, Dorothy Hull, late last year. She was a long-time member and had just celebrated her 90th birthday. Joanne and I had visited her just a week or so before her death and she had been very sprightly. It was a great shock to hear of her sudden death.

At our January meeting we elected a new Secretary, Meka White and a new Treasurer, Jeff Schweizer, as well as re-electing Director Gary Beck. The chapter’s profound thanks go to Mike Denzer, who did a superlative job as our Treasurer for seven years and to our former Secretary, Michelle Denzer. Mike is going to remain in charge of our Assisted Listening Devices and Microphones, for which we are grateful.

Several of our members were appointed to WCB committees: Cindy, Meka and Eric are chairs, as well as members in other committees and Joanne is a member of one. Thanks to the cooperation of our friends in South Kitsap Council of the Blind, we had a successful sale of the Kitsap Cards, generating over $400 income.

We are already making plans for the garage sale next June, at which we should have lots of, as well as our famous Jackburgers and Jackdogs, cooked by our own chef Jack Piggott and his wife Frances. The only problem I have with the garage sale is that I gain forty pounds. We expect to have our picnic at Evergreen Park on the waterfront in Bremerton.

We are all excited about this year, and the lovely late winter sunshine reminds me of Richard Armours little poem.

Winter is gone, its Death Knell rung

Spring, the weeds and my back have sprung.


Back to Table of Contents


Pierce County Association of the Blind

By Mildred L. Johnson, Secretary

Greetings from PCAB and a Happy New Year.

This past year has been very good to us. We moved to a new location and changed our meeting date and time, which proved a good move as we gained five new members. They are Debbie Peterson, Kate Dolose, Cory O'Connor, Sarah Edick and Ken Buchanan.

We now meet at the Tacoma Area Coalition for

Individuals with Disabilities (TACID) the 4th Saturday of every month from eleven to one. TACID is located at 6315 S 19th Street.

We held elections and the new officers are: President, Lori Allison; Vice President, David Edick; Secretary, Mildred L. Johnson; Treasurer, Arnold Kammeyer.

We have three new fund raisers selling candy, PCAB T-shirts and pizza cards. All have been real successful. We still have our ongoing fund raiser in the summer time at my home.

We had six members go to the Spokane WCB Convention.

We tried something new for us in November and December. We held our meeting at a pizza place making for a short meeting, but very enjoyable social time and we are getting acquainted with new members.

We are working on several projects for 2008, like the descriptive video library. We’ve been trying to contact some of the children in the schools who are blind. Also, we are looking for a way to make the public more aware of the white cane and its purpose; so many have no respect for a person with a white cane. Again we helped Pierce College and the University of Washington at Tacoma with equipment for students that are blind.


Back to Table of Contents


South King Council of the Blind

By Maida Pojtinger, Vice-President

After two months of cold weather, it is so nice to have some sunshine and new growth in the yard. The continued growth of the membership in our chapter is also nice to see.

At the February 9th meeting, we welcomed three new members. Rhonda Nelson joined us, although her primary chapter is the King County chapter. Rhonda has been a member of WCB for a long time and we appreciate that she has been a former Board member. She now serves on three WCB committees. Shirley Soper moved from Tenino to Kent. She worked for IBM and moved around with her job. Lauren Schaeppli works at the Lighthouse for the Blind and lives in Federal Way. He loves to spend time fishing for salmon or steelhead.  Welcome to all three.

Since it is too cold to have a car wash, our chapter sponsored a wine-tasting party on February 16th. Those folks who attended enjoyed the samples of wine and we are happy to add more money to our treasury.

On Friday, Feb. 29th, Nhi Duong, Bill Wippel and Gaylen Floy were interviewed by the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN). Nhi and Gaylen talked about the challenges of vision loss and resources for support and training.

The new slate of officers for SKB is as follows: Telea Noriega, President; Maida Pojtinger, Vice-President; Gaylen Floy, Secretary; Nhi Duong, Treasurer.


Back to Table of Contents


United Blind of Seattle

By Ursula Culala, member

Happy New Year to you all!

Our chapter started 2008 with a big bang!!!

With our holiday gathering last December 8, 2007, Julie Brannon gave us a thought for our New Year’s resolution, which was to lose weight. We can make our chapter lean with muscles. She encouraged each member to be involved with our chapter committees and with the state committees.

Here are the chairs for our committees this 2008:

Kathe O’Neil, Membership Committee

Patt Copeland, Activity Committee

Ann Yskanin, Outreach Committee

These committee chairs started January with a momentous event, UBS sponsored a Martin Luther King event last January 19, in conjunction with the Seattle Public Library afternoon birthday celebration. Despite the rainy afternoon, 120 folks attended and celebrated his birthday.

Quincy Daniels, UBS Board Director, Jan White, UBS member and Jennie Jacobs, member of the King County chapter, facilitated with Cleo Brooks, Seattle Public Library’s LEAP Program Coordinator. They invited two wonderful speakers and two very good musicians to provide a power-house birthday celebration. Kathe O’Neil organized and assisted Cleo Brooks with the set-up and refreshments.

The most unforgettable segments of the celebration were the speeches. Julie Brannon, President of UBS, recalled the vision of the forefathers of ACB. “One day, we disabled folks will be equal with the rest of human race.” She put it out there that the vision of Martin Luther King is similar to the vision of ACB founders. The second speaker told us that she was twelve when her father took her along to the march in 1963 at the capital building to hear Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. That day, the civil rights movements began.

Each of us who attended the MLK celebration was impacted. How can we, members of UBS and other chapters, reach out to others, so we may continue and contribute to the vision/dream of Martin Luther King and ACB founders?

Our monthly meeting will still be at the usual place, as the new location is not ready for us.  We will be at the new location by March.

Our February meeting was facilitated by Clint Reiding, Vice-President, as Julie was out of town to take advantage of the three-day weekend, visiting family. There were 25 members in attendance. Our 50/50 raffle took place and Steve Barnett won the raffle. Shirley Taylor gave us a report on the Entertainment books sale. We sold a total of 216 books this year, which is better than our sale last year of 149 books. Karen Johnson-Hildie presented a motion that UBS donate $250 to the Louis Braille School for their annual auction to be held on May.

Lastly, Lori Allison, the newly-elected President of Pierce County Council, was our guest speaker. She talked about recent changes they have with their chapter. Their membership increased to 30 from 12 members. Lori also shared how she got involved with the blind community, particularly WCB.

The Activity Committee and Outreach Committee started their Braille program this January 2008. Every Friday afternoon, visually impaired and blind folks could come to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library to learn and practice their Braille. Volunteer members of our chapter that serve as instructors among them are Al and Connie Gil, Ann Yskanin and Melissa Hudson. This is an excellent out-reach to folks who have started to lose vision and want to learn Braille.

Also, the Activity Committee has lined-up social activities such as a ferry ride to the casino and an audio-described musical.

This is all for now, folks; I will see you in the next Newsline.


Back to Table of Contents


United Blind of the Tri-Cities

By Janice Squires, member

Well, the baton has been passed from 2007 UBTC President, Margie Kickert to newly elected 2008 President. Bill Hoage and we are off and running with a new year. Also, the transition of treasurer has been made to Brenda

Vinther, who is more than just our treasurer – she is a helper in the first degree.

Our membership has reached 48 members and we have only begun to attain our highest membership goals ever. We have extraordinary members such as Margie Kickert, 2007 WCB membership rep; Marlene Vandecar, 2008 WCB membership rep; Evelyn Crouse, UBTC first vice president; Diana Softich, Irene Nielsen and Carmen Walker to thank for our membership growth. These ladies have encouraged so many people to join our organization and their efforts have been so appreciated.

Membership development begins with a committee that in my opinion is the most important one in the organization, the calling committee. Marlene Vandecar is in charge of this job and she does it extremely well. People are notified of meetings and UBTC special events. A phone call from Marlene makes each and every member feel special and wanted.

We want to welcome our newest UBTC members and want each of them to know this is their organization and without them we would be nowhere: Catherine Golding, Byron and Holly Kaczmarski, Dixie and Shannon McDaniels, Dorothy and Pete Petersen, Joanne Riccobuono, Grace Spice, Kathie Zaloudek and Myra Wood.

Our organization would not be what it is without our many outside activities, of which are so enjoyable and so exciting for our members. Our chapter meetings are going to be moved to the third Saturday of the month, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind. Coffee and donuts will be served and a fifty / fifty raffle will help offset the cost of the treats, plus one of our members will go home just a little bit richer!

New member, Catharine Golding was our January speaker and she explained her job with The Washington State School for the Blind. We learned so much about the school itself and how it operates. In February, Crystal Knight, exercise and yoga instructor for the Kennewick Senior Center spoke on the importance of physical activity as we grow older.

Marlene Vandecar is now in charge of our ever so successful card group. Our lunches are being set up each month by a different member. New member, Grace Spice will set up a lunch in Richland in March and Carmen Walker will do it in Pasco in April. Bill Hoage set up a pizza lunch in January. Can you believe we had 24 members stuffing their faces with delicious pizza? In February, we went to a delicious Chinese luncheon and another 25 of us were there to enjoy the meal. Does it look like this chapter loves to eat?

The book group, organized by myself, has 10 members. This year we read the following books: “For One More Day,” “Ninety Minutes in Heaven” and “The Bridges of Madison County.” Our Richland play group met on January 25 to enjoy the very comical play, “George Washington Slept Here” and 11 of us were there to enjoy the evening out.

We are also very proud of our members who stepped up to the plate with leadership roles on many WCB state committees: Aging and Blindness, Bill Hoage and Holly Kaczmarski; Crisis, Carmen Walker; WCB Convention, Frank Cuta and Janice Squires; Membership, Marlene Vandecar and Janice Squires, who is the membership data base chair. Frank Cuta not only serves on the WCB board of directors, but is also the chair of the WCB constitution and by-laws committee.

We are all very happy to see this very icy and snowy winter come to an end. Now we are all patiently waiting for the blossoms to appear and the sun to shine brightly.


Back to Table of Contents


United Blind of Walla Walla

By Vivian Conger, Secretary

It is hard to believe that February is coming to a close. UBWW submitted its membership list and dues to WCB on time and has received WCB’s $500 stipend.

In January, our speaker was Paul Woldheuter of Eschenbach Optik. He demonstrated many different types of magnifiers. Several of our members tried these items out.

We now hold our monthly meetings on the fourth Monday of the month at 2 p.m. in the Odd Fellows Fireside Room.

Spring is just around the corner. Many of us are looking forward to better weather, so we can be out and about, enjoying our walks and gardening.


Back to Table of Contents


United Blind of Whatcom County

By Betty Sikkema, President

As I’m writing this, it’s a beautiful sunny day.

Ron Bradchaw, Bruce Radtki and Rosalee Radonski are all doing fine. Ron came home at the end of January and is now undergoing therapy.

Our Christmas party in December went over with flying colors. We had it at Ankar Drive in the Club house which had all the facilities we needed. It was on level ground, so we didn’t have to worry about steps. Ron was able to attend the party using the wheelchair.

We enjoyed good food prepared by our members.

After we all had our fill, Betty played her Q Chord (a digital song card guitar), and we had a Christmas carol sing along. Everyone sang from memory!

Then, we did something different, instead of passing out gifts to everyone; we all got in a circle and played the number game. Everyone got a number and when your number was called, you could get a package or steal from someone who already opened one. The gift could only be stolen twice. It was lots of fun!

We do have some sad news to report. Some of you may already know from the WCB list.  Shirley Steward passed away at her home on January 14. She was a long time member of UBWC and the second Vice President. A number of us attended her memorial and it was comforting to hear the words the minister spoke. There was also time to share our memories about Shirley. After the celebration of life, there was a reception for fellowship and food.

Shirley got her wish by living her last days at home. She is now with her Heavenly Father and she doesn’t have to battle her Diabetes anymore. We do miss Shirley! Her family donated some items to UBWC which will be given to those who would like it. Any item unspoken for will go to PAC kits project. These Personal Assistance Kits help senior citizens adjusting to vision loss.

We now have our office space to house our PAK kits and other items related to UBWC. We are very happy with this.

UBWC has another member, Hope Nightingale. Congratulations! We are happy you joined us! We hope all of you have a wonderful end of winter and spring. Till next time.


Back to Table of Contents


DSB Video Under Production

By Mark Adreon,

Communication & Employer Consultant

I want to congratulate Peggy Schoel on her years of dedication and work on the WCB Newsline and the new committee that will be taking her place. See, Peggy, it takes a committee to fill your shoes. (Smile)

In this world of multi-media barrage, a world of the internet, hundreds of cable channels, MP3’s, I-pods and more, it is challenging to create and deploy affective ways of communicating with the public. That is, communicating in a way that people understand who DSB is and what we provide for services to people impacted by low vision and blindness. We are continually trying to reach people who need our services at the time when vision challenges may be new to them and early connection to resources is critical to their positive adjustment to this life change.

The new agency DVD is being created and produced to reach people with the message of what DSB provides to people who are blind and low-vision, to let the employer community know what blind people do for work and how they do it, as well as educate the general public on some simple blind awareness issues.

DSB has contracted with ProMotion Arts to produce our agency outreach video/DVD.

Meetings are underway and story boards and scripts are being developed.

This exciting project will be in three segments, each nine minutes long, and will address some of the following questions:

·       Who is DSB and what kind of services do we provide?

·       Why are these services needed?

·       How does DSB partner with people for Independence?

·       What kind of work do people that are blind do?

·       How do blind employees do their work?

·       What are some of those employer questions that they are afraid to ask?

·       How to ask if someone needs assistance and how to assist them.

We have already filmed the Braille Challenge that was held at the Seattle Public Library earlier this month. Nothing says enthusiasm about Braille like these elementary through high school kids being taken through their paces.

We want the second segment, “What People that are Blind do for Work,” to show various people that are blind telling the camera who they are and what they do. The message of the abilities of blind people can be best told by blind people.

So we would like to ask for your help—especially those WCB chapters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. We would like to schedule a day in March or early April where we could film people telling us what they do for work. We can schedule this on a Saturday and would need at least six people who could meet for this filming date.

Ask around your chapters and see if you have six people that want to share their employment success with the world. If you do, give Mark Adreon a call at 206.721.6410 or e-mail him at, so he can schedule a day where a camera crew can set up for an hour or two to get everyone on tape. The plan is to set up a filming day in Tacoma and Everett areas and Seattle or South King County.

We are looking forward to releasing our agency DVD in early July of this year and there is a lot to do before then. You will also be able to find each of these segments on our web site, once the DVD is completed and released. The advantage of this is that anyone can then point an employer to our web site to find out what blind people do for work or share a link to a video brochure on DSB services to a person who is experiencing vision loss and doesn’t know where to turn for services.

This outreach project has great possibilities and with YOU and your assistance, the message will surely “hit home” to real people in real time.


Back to Table of Contents


Louis Braille School Report

By Carolyn Meyer, Director

You Are Invited.

The Louis Braille School has two special events coming up this spring, a lecture and book signing in April and an auction in May. You are cordially invited to attend. For more information about either event, please contact the school at 425-778-2384 or email

“Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius”

The Louis Braille School is pleased to host an event featuring C. Michael Mellor, author of “Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius.” Published in 2006 by National Braille Press, “A Touch of Genius” is a meticulously researched, well-documented biography that includes many illustrations and previously unpublished letters written by Louis Braille. The illustrations are exquisitely described in the Braille edition.

Mr. Mellor will describe the unusual circumstances that led to this book. He will discuss the humble origins of Louis Braille, his family, the historical context of Louis Braille's short life and the difficult circumstances under which he invented his code at the age of fifteen. The presentation will be done in a light, entertaining and absorbing manner. The author will answer questions and engage in discussions with the audience.

Books in print and Braille will be available at a discount for purchase and signing at the end of the presentation.

Mellor, born in Leeds, England, holds an MA in the History of Science from the University of Leeds. He has long had a fascination for Braille and was editor of the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind for eighteen years. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he enjoys being an urban farmer.

 The event will take place on Saturday, April 5, 2008, from 1 to 3 pm at the University Presbyterian Church, 4540 15th Ave. NE, Seattle. Hosts will greet you at the door and will be available to meet your bus if you let us know in advance. We encourage advance registration for the event to help us in our planning. Last minute walk-ins, however, will be warmly welcomed.

Second Annual Benefit Auction

You are cordially invited to join us on Saturday, May 17, 2008, for the Louis Braille School second annual benefit auction. The gala event will be from 1 to 4 in the afternoon at the Edmonds Conference Center.

The purpose of the auction is to raise critical funding for our unique educational program for children who are blind or visually impaired. We provide a quality education for each child who comes to us, regardless of the family’s ability to pay the tuition. Your support will directly benefit the children and the school.

Our auction is more than just an auction. It is an afternoon of people of diverse ages and interests coming together to share, learn, have fun, and purchase quality items to support the school. Expect to see Guide Dogs for the Blind puppies in training and their trainers among the guests.

Emcee Paul Rucker, Director of Alumni Relations, University of Washington Alumni Association and auctioneer Doug Hildie, President, Diana’s Fund and Past President, United Blind of Seattle, will be with us again this year to impart their friendly banter as they guide guests through the live and silent auctions and assure a pleasant afternoon for all.

Also returning will be our popular hands-on exhibits where guests may learn to write their name in Braille, meet a guide dog, use a talking calculator or tell time with a Braille watch. Karen Johnson will again host a table where guests may try on goggles that simulate different vision conditions and then attempt to do simple tasks while wearing the goggles. Last year many people told us how much they appreciated this experience because for the first time they better understood what their spouse, friend or parent actually sees.

Imagine Children’s Museum of Everett will again provide the table centerpieces. Last year’s pots of “hand tulips” made by the Museum’s young visitors were popular items when offered for bid at the end of the day. The Museum children promise something “bigger and better” for our 2008 auction.

A frequent comment after last year's auction was, "You guys had good stuff." This is because of wonderful donations of items donated by people like you. If you wish to donate an item this year, please email or call 425-778-2384 to request a procurement form. We hope to see you there.


 Back to Table of Contents


New Physical Education Building at WSSB

By Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent

As you may or may not know, WSSB was granted funding through the legislature to build a new Physical Education Building on our campus. Construction on the new building started in January of this year and was moving along at a fast pace. However, it was recently brought to our attention that we have some soil related issues on the site where the new building will be located, which will result in a substantial increase in the cost of footings and slab. We have been working with the structural engineer, architect and two different soil and structural testing companies to reach a resolution to this problem in a timely manner. Each day that we are not moving forward with the project is costing WSSB dollars in delay.

Note: The cost for the new P.E. Building came in higher than anticipated and we were able to make the bid, but this left very little in the contingency fund which has caused problems when running into soil related problems at the beginning of this project. After examining all the issues and trying to evaluate where and how we could save money to keep the project moving forward, we came up with the following:

Over excavation of the site is needed in order to reach solid sub soils that will guarantee for a structurally sound slab and footings.

How do we pay for this?


·       Pull funds from WSSB’s budget.

·       Pull resources from a small contingency fund, realizing that WSSB really needs to leave funds in this area during the entire construction project to combat unforeseen issues.

·       Request the legislature for authorization to move funding from campus preservation to the P.E. project, which will result in a delay of some preservation work that will not compromise safety and/or the condition of facilities.

Delays:  Roof rejuvenation and/or replacement. We had a company come in and evaluate the roofs and they informed us that we are still good for a number of years.

Delays:  Paving, sidewalk replacement, lighting, fencing, irrigation and well related work, etc.

Demolition of the Kennedy Building at the beginning of the project rather than the end will result in a substantial savings, plus a reduction in operating costs. (This also will remove all students and staff from having to cross through the construction site, which with the amount of earth having to be moved could be an issue.)

 We have discussed this with the P.E. Teacher and Principal and they are devising a plan to keep programs moving forward, which will need to be in place through January of 2009. The last day of classes in the Kennedy Building will be March 14, 2008.

Jim Eccles, WSSB Alumni President will be getting the word out to the former student’s organization. A decommissioning of the building, tour, etc. for those who are interested will be offered.

WSSB will also save approximately 200 bricks from the Kennedy building that will be cleaned and offered to former students at the next alumni conference (summer of 2009).

The above action will cause some disruptions in how we would proceed with programs in the Kennedy building, but we believe that through creative use of space and collaborations with others, we can continue to provide high quality services for students and maintain a safe and positive environment. Also, thank goodness that usually getting into April–October, we can make great use of the outdoors and the new track that was constructed a few years ago.

If you have any questions or concerns, please give me a call at 360-696-6321, extension 130 or via e-mail at


Back to Table of Contents


Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

By Gloria J. Leonard, Director

A heartfelt “thank you” for your recent support of FY’09 sustained funding for WTBBL. You have heard that sentiment before, but today, it is extra special because it’s one of the best examples of how alliances and a common message can yield some great results for everyone!

 Credit is due to a lot of folks at the state and city levels including the WTBBL staff and volunteers, the Washington State Library‘s State Librarian, Jan Walsh and Cathy Turk, WTBBL Transition Coordinator. However, I want to single out two folks for special credit, Tom Gillespie and Sue Ammeter. Through Tom’s efforts, a coalition of organization partners, including PAC, WCB and NFB met with the Governor’s representatives and made the case for adequate funding for WTBBL. Sue Ammeter is credited for her unwavering efforts to make sure everyone remembered the lessons learned from last year’s experiences. One of Sue’s refrains to all of us was to keep a “common message” to the legislature in 2008: adequate funding for the Library on July 1, (the effective date of the change in administration of the Seattle-based operation.)

In addition to Sue and Tom, there were many other hard working Patron Advisory Council Advocacy Committee members that helped out during this latest advocacy campaign including Terry Atwater, Lynette Romero, Richard (Dick) Deming and Signe Rose, Chair. Thanks goes out to the PAC Executive Board: Maria Edelen (Vice Chair); Margaret Blomberg, Outreach Chair; Sandra Driscoll and Lynette Romero, co-Secretaries, who played a key role in helping to develop combined collaborative public awareness and lobbying strategies. In addition, the leadership of NFB of Washington, Mike Freeman, President and WCB President, Denise Colley provided valuable assistance as well.

Also, working on this combined effort are a host of patrons, volunteers and friends like you, including Alene Cisney. Alene recently traveled to Olympia for Library Legislative Day to network with other WTBBL lovers and lobby the legislature on our behalf. While the quest for funding is not over, we want to thank you for your efforts thus far. The staff and I really appreciate your support.

In addition to the budget update, there is more to share: as you now know, the House of Representatives supported the Governor’s FY’09 Supplemental Budget which includes $341,000 and over 21 FTE that will maintain the current level of staff in services for WTBBL, if confirmed by the Senate. We are nearly there! Thank you again.

Year-end figures reveal that for the fifth consecutive year, circulation and patron readership rates continue to be strong –16,000 registered readers and over half-a-million items loaned. In addition, 21,500 service hours were contributed by more than 400 volunteers – the equivalent of more than 10 full-time equivalent staff.

Recently, staff measured the use of the Evergreen Radio Reading Service via a computer over the Internet. There are 212 people signed up for the Service. Patron demographics include: of the listeners, 52 percent are men; the average age of men who listen is 53 years and the average age for women is 64 years; 83 percent of listeners live in Western Washington.

Noteworthy preferences include:  the preferred time of day to listen is in the evenings; 81 percent of those surveyed indicated that they had no sound quality or technical problem since the new login system was installed approximately one month prior to the survey (November, 2007); the top five favorite programs are Weekly Talk Show, Seattle P.I. and Seattle Times, Grocery Cart, Radio Entertainment Network and a two-way tie between the Seattle Weekly and Time Magazine. Seventy-two patrons who signed up for web streaming have never used it.

For the past six months, a Committee comprised of WTBBL staff, Marlaina Lieberg, Sue Ammeter, Cindy Van Winkle and incoming WCB President, Denise Colley, are reviewing the findings. One of the next steps will be to come back together and discuss next steps. Staffers are following up with those who signed on for web streaming, but have never used it.

 Effective in January, 2008 the Library launched the Birthday Card Project. All WTBBL children and teen patrons with January birthdays now receive a congratulatory card from the Library. It is important that the reading level that's on file is appropriate – not too high or low. Otherwise, your child will not receive the books or other materials he/she likes to read and enjoy. Help us to better serve you and your child.  Call us and let us know if there are changes.


 Back to Table of Contents


Bits & Pieces

By Cindy Van Winkle

The goods and services listed here are offered for the interest and benefit of our readers and should not be considered as endorsed by WCB.

·       Books of the Western Canon: National Braille Press (NBP) has available Richard Seltzer's, Books of the Western Canon, containing 797 books in ASCII text format on one CD-ROM. This collection provides the full text of many classics from the Theocratic, Democratic and Aristocratic ages -- basically, from the dawn of civilization through World War I. A quick sampling of authors: Homer, Ovid, Leonardo da Vinci, Edward Gibbon, Moliere, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Zola, Wordsworth, Byron, Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, Tolstoy, Emerson, Hawthorne,  Henry James. Many of these books would be difficult to find and costly to purchase, but you'll get them all for $29!

The full Table of Contents - 797 books – is listed at

To order this item, send payment to: NBP, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302 or, call and charge it: toll-free (800) 548-7323 or (617) 266-6160 ext.

20 or e-mail your order to

·       Essay contest: The American Printing House for the Blind is sponsoring an essay contest in honor of our 150th birthday this year. The contest is open to blind students in grades 3-12, blind adult consumers of our products, and professionals working with individuals who are blind and visually impaired.

Essays are to tell how APH products have made an impact on our customer’s lives. Prizes for adults and students in grades 9-12 are the Braille Plus Mobile Manager or $1,000 APH Gift Certificate.  For children in grades 3-8, the prizes are the Manual Perkins Braillewriter or $750 APH Gift Certificate.

The deadline for entering this contest is April 1. For entry forms and additional information, read the news release by going to If you have any difficulties or questions, please contact us, Phone 502/899-2320 or 895-2405 Ex.320.

·       TV converter box discount: Telephone 1 888 388 2009 (1 888 D-T-V 2009) to request a coupon from the federal government to cover part of the purchase cost of a converter box that will be needed to receive digital television signals over the air starting early in 2009.

·       Investment Workshop: Mary Sue Lonnevik, financial advisor, is planning an investment workshop geared to people who are low-vision and blind. If you have questions about investing or long-term insurance, give her a call at (206) 854-3911.


Back to Table of Contents


Hat’s Off to You!

By Gaylen Floy

Mary Sue Lonnevik, member, King County chapter, for passing five exams required to become a financial

·       advisor. The last exam for the federal government took 16 hours, over two days. Mary Sue is now a licensed stock broker for Waddell and Reed, Inc.

·       Dorothy Lacey, member, UBTC, celebrated her 92nd birthday on January 10th.

·       Millie Lind, member, UBTC, celebrated her 97th birthday on February 17th.

·       Dan Tonge, member, King County chapter, on his recent marriage to Bonnie Eelkema. They live in Mt. Vernon.  Dan said the wedding on Valentine’s Day went off very well.

·       Amelia Wearstler, member, PCB, on the birth of her daughter, Molly Mae Dillon.  Born on February 2, 2008 at 11:38 am, she weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 19.3 inches long. Amelia says that Molly is just perfect and mother and child are both doing fine.

·       Cindy and Tim Van Winkle, WCB Immediate Past President and member, PCB, respectively, on the birth of their first grandchild. According to these doting grandparents, Molly Mae is everything her mommy says and more.

·       Joanne Hunter, member, PCB, on her new job with Olympic ESD #114 as Secretary to the Early Childhood Education program. Joanne says she's enjoying her new job very much.

·       Steve and Marlene Vandecar, members, UBTC, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

·       GDUWS members with new guide dogs:  Carla Dawson with Sequoia, Kevin Frankeberger with Tomasso and Darlene Hilling with Swanson.

Editor’s note: Events appropriate for mention in this column are as follows: the birth of a child or grandchild, a marriage, a new job or important job promotion, retirement, graduation from school, appointment to an agency or community board or council, awards or scholarships and birthdays--starting with the 75th and in five-year increments. After 90, every birthday should be submitted. Weddings anniversaries, starting with the 25th and in five-year increments deserve recognition.


 Back to Table of Contents


2008 WCB Committees and Contacts

Advocacy Committee

Chair: Sue Ammeter

(360) 437-7916


Aging and Blindness Committee

Chair: Carl Jarvis

(360) 765-4239


Awards Committee

Chair: Julie Brannon

(206) 547-7444


Constitution & Bylaws Committee

Chair: Frank Cuta

(509) 967-2658


Convention Committee

Chair: Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 698-0827


Crisis Committee

Chair: Chris Coulter

(425) 775-1305


Environmental Access Committee

Chair: David Egan

(425) 681-6873


Families with Blind Children

Chair: Vivian Conger

(509) 526-4967


Finance Committee

Chair: Berl Colley

(360) 438-0072


First Timers Committee

Chair: Meka White

(360) 405-4337


History Committee

Chair: Berl Colley

(360) 438-0072


Investment Committee

Chair: Eric Hunter

(360) 377-9917


 Leadership Committee

Chair: Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 698-0827


Legislative Committee

Chair: Denise Colley

(360) 438-0072


Listserv Committee

Chair: Randy Tedrow

(425) 254-3931


Membership Committee

Chair: Marlaina Lieberg

(206) 243-1716


Newsline Committee

Chair/Editor: Gaylen Floy

(253) 217-9586


Scholarship Committee

Chair: Alan Bentson

(206) 819-9283


Back to Table of Contents

2008 Calendar of Deadlines and Events

Mar 14-15    WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Tacoma

Mar 21         Deadline for request to attend WCB leadership training

Apr 25-26    WCB Leadership Training, GDUWS Spring Fling

Apr 27         WCB Spring Board Meeting, Everett

May 1          Deadline to apply for the first timers scholarship to the ACB convention

May 15        Deadline to request travel stipend or loan for the ACB convention

May 17        Louis Braille School Auction

May 31        Deadline for the June Newsline

June 7         DSB State Rehabilitation Council Meeting, Spokane

June 12       WSSB Picnic/Awards/Open House, Vancouver

June 13       WSSB Commencement

June 13       WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver

June 30       Deadline for WCB scholarship applications

July 5-12     ACB National Convention, Louisville, Kentucky

Aug 1          WCB Summer Retreat and Seminar, Vancouver

Aug 2          WCB Summer Board Meeting, Vancouver

Aug. 30       Deadline for the September Newsline

Aug 31        Deadline for WCB award nominations

Sep 6          DSB State Rehabilitation Council Meeting, Seattle

Oct 23-25    WCB Annual Convention, Vancouver

Nov 29        Deadline for the December Newsline

Dec 6          DSB State Rehabilitation Council Meeting, Seattle


 Back to Table of Contents



Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by May 31, 2008. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

Publication Policy: to ensure accuracy, we require submissions be e-mailed to with a cc: Articles should be no longer than 750 words.


 Back to Table of Contents



In the December 2007 Newsline, the byline for the GDUWS update cited Vivian Conger. The byline should have cited Joleen Ferguson as the writer.

Also, in “Thanks,” credit was given to Brady and Sherrill for the December 2007 issue, but Judy Cuta actually read the material for the cassette version of the Newsline.

Thanks to everyone who wrote articles and made deadline!

 Back to Table of Contents


Change the font size: + Larger Font | + Smaller Font