The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind


December 2002 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity

Founded 1935


Berl Colley, President
2305 Maxine St. SE
Lacey, WA 98503
(360) 438-0072

Peggy Shoel, Editor
5171 S. Spencer St.
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 722-8477


From the President's Desk by Berl Colley
Editor's Comment by Peggy Shoel
Advocacy, Awards and Attitude - Highlights of WCB Preconvention Board Meeting by Rhonda Nelson
Impressions of a "First Timer" by Doug Hildie
Introducing WCB's Newest Chapter by Sally Mayo
WCB Honors Scholastic Achievement by Denise Colley
Where Shall We Go Today? a Poem by Cathy Drake
What I've Learned by Cynthia Towers
The Rehabilitation Council - Whose Information Highway Will it Be? by Carl Jarvis
WCB Voice Heard at Accessibility Board Hearing by Becky Bell
Statement of Concurrence
Report from DSB by Bill Palmer
WTBBL Update by Maryte Racy
Report from WSSB by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem
Louis Braille Center News by Carolyn Meyer
An Unsung Hero by Sharon Keeran
Thank You to WCB from the Louis Braille Center, AVIA, and Jan Ames
Blind Support Groups by Carl Jarvis
To Equalize the Games by Rhonda Nelson
Talking ATMs
Around the State
Hats Off to You! by Peggy Shoel
Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel
Recipe from the Kitchen of Viola Cruz
Officers and Board Members

From the President's Desk
by Berl Colley

Since our last publication, a number of exciting things have happened; one of which is that our house remodel is about 70 percent complete. This means that we can live in it somewhat comfortably.

In our September NEWSLINE, I wrote about WCB’s concerns about administrative changes at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). Since that time, WCB, along with NFB of Washington has met a number of times with Seattle Public Library staff, with welcome results. In October Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Seattle Public Library (SPL) system, announced that the position of Director of WTBBL was being established. In November, she announced that Gloria Leonard, a member of SPL’s administrative staff, will serve as acting WTBBL Director until a permanent replacement can be found. A nation-wide search for a director is being conducted. Our congratulations to SPL administration for listening to the consumer organizations and re-establishing the WTBBL Director position. Our next quest is to help find a WTBBL Director who understands the importance of the Talking Book and Braille Library to its borrowers statewide, and who will be vigilant about making sure that the library maintains the services that we as blind citizens of Washington want. The Washington Council of the Blind is proud to have made a difference for users of WTBBL. Thanks to Cindy Burgett, Sue Ammeter and Sharon Keeran for their work on behalf of blind borrowers.

On another related front: It is budget time for our state service agencies. The Washington Council of the Blind is planning to be active in its education of legislators and other elected officials regarding maintaining budgets for the State School for the Blind, the Department of Services for the Blind, and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The Governor has asked all state agencies to submit a budget with their services prioritized into three levels. If the Governor’s office, or the Washington legislature while facing a possible $3 billion deficit, asks state agencies to eliminate those services that have been designated as third level, blind kids, blind adults seeking rehabilitation services, and blind people who use the library will see a very noticeable change in what services are available. We could see an elimination of the residential campus of WSSB. We could see DSB adopt a system of priority for who will get served. The library could drop its Radio Reading Service, or its recording programs that give us local books by local authors.

The above is speculation on my part, but you get the drift. We must be vigilant to make sure we don’t lose our hard-won services.

It was wonderful to see so many of WCB’s members and guests at our 2002 convention in Kelso in October. It was our largest convention ever. You will read elsewhere in this NEWSLINE about the convention, but I want to take this opportunity to thank Cindy Burgett and all of the members of the convention committee, as well as the Lower Columbia Council of the Blind host chapter, for their time and efforts to produce such a successful WCB event. Our convention in 2003 will be at the Downtown Doubletree in Spokane.

WCB wants to extend a big welcome to the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind. The president of this new affiliate is William Smedley. The YVCB was accepted as a WCB affiliate at our October convention (see article in this issue).

WCB is very proud to co-sponsor one of the summer educational programs at the Washington State School for the Blind. We will provide $10,000 to re-establish the six-week summer educational program for 1st to 8th grade students that had to be dropped a couple of years ago because of budget problems. Superintendent Dr. Dean Stenehjem has said that WSSB will convert WCB’s contingency funds into a full operating program.

Finally, I want to welcome the new WCB officers for 2003: Julie DeGeus, Second Vice President; Frank Cuta, Secretary; and board members Steve Heesen, Glenn McCully, and Shirley Taylor.

At the same time, I want to thank the outgoing 2002 board members: Ann McCay, Secretary; Kay Bohren, board member, and Gary Burdette, board member.


Editor's Comment
by Peggy Shoel
A Pertinent Potpourri

I want to mention the following four items for your general interest:

Item #1 - In our last Newsline issue (September 2002), audio cassette tape readers were treated to the voice of an additional narrator. Sherrill Lee resides in Burbank, a suburb of Pasco, and has been for some time a volunteer reader for that area’s local paper. She joined our long-time anchor reader, Brady Layman, a resident of Kennewick. She told me she enjoyed the experience very much and would like to continue working with Brady on future Newsline issues. Thank you, Sherrill, for your interest in WCB and for your volunteered time. And thank you, Brady, for your ongoing interest and for your many many hours of quality volunteered time.

Item #2 - Tim Schneebeck, WCB member, living in the Seattle area, has managed our Newsline email distribution since the inception of this service. He has been receiving back a significant number of notices indicating delivery failure. Tim’s policy is to make a second attempt within a few days. If there is a repeat notice of delivery failure, he deletes the address from his email distribution list. If you have requested receiving the NEWSLINE via email and have not been getting it, or if you wish to begin getting your NEWSLINE via email, please contact him directly at Thank you, Tim, for your longstanding volunteered efforts on our behalf.

Item #3 - With the addition of the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind to our roster, our organization now boasts 15 statewide chapters. Yet we receive very few chapter updates submitted for NEWSLINE publication. Personally, I look at chapter updates as a form of outreach and a membership recruitment tool. Remember, word of mouth is an effective method of communication. A NEWSLINE reader may know of an individual relocating to your area or of an unaffiliated person already residing there, and can pass on information about the existence of your group. The NEWSLINE is a quarterly publication - why not consider submitting two chapter updates per year? You could receive a good return on your investment.

Item #4 - Not all blind-related issues, challenges and activities are equally relevant to individuals in all the geographic areas of our state. There is a place in the NEWSLINE for significant regional information. It is a good thing for us to know what is going on, what is not going on, and what you think should be going on in your own backyard. A brief article or blurb would put NEWSLINE readers "in the know."

May we all experience a healthy, peaceful and fulfilling new year.


Advocacy, Awards and Attitude
Highlights of WCB Pre-Convention Board Meeting

by Rhonda Nelson, Board Member, WCB

Reports of WCB’s recent involvement in two areas of major importance to blind and visually impaired people highlighted the pre-convention Board of Directors meeting held in Kelso on October 24, 2002.

Sue Ammeter read a memo from Deborah Jacobs, Seattle City Librarian, indicating that the Library will be filling the position of Director of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. This represented a very positive change from what had previuosly been announced. It was due in large part to a collaborative effort between the Washington Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, in which both organizations stressed in a written statement and in substantive discussions with Seattle City Library staff the extreme importance of the director position being filled.

WCB President Berl Colley and Environmental Access Committee Chair Lynette Romero reported on our organization’s work in support of pedestrian safety issues. On October 8, 2002, 21 WCB members attended an Access Board hearing in Portland, Oregon, where public comments were taken on proposed guidelines for accessible pedestrian rights-of-way. Three members provided strong, effective oral testimony that day, and WCB as an organization and several members individually submitted written comments. WCB’s written statement emphasized the importance of accessible pedestrian signals, tactile warnings, and way finding mechanisms.

The WCB board approved grant requests in the amount of $2,646.46 to the Louis Braille Center and $7,500 to Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA). The Louis Braille Center grant was to support the purchase of a new computer and software, and the AVIA grant was to assist with a program in which blind and visually impaired people attend audio-described theater events. The Board also supported, and sent to the business meeting for membership approval, a member’s request that WCB donate $1,800 to the Braille Revival League to assist with publication of The Braille Memorandum.

In another type of award, in recognition of WCB members’ appreciation of and fondness for retired Jan Ames, our Board honored her with a life membership in the American Council of the Blind.

The above, along with various other reports and business, got our weekend off to a great start. With an attitude of enthusiasm and anticipation, we continued on from the pre-convention Board meeting to a fabulous 2002 convention.


Impressions of a "First-Timer"
by Doug Hildie, President
United Blind of Seattle

Several years ago, I joined the United Blind of Seattle (UBS), thus the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB). My motivation was to become a contributing member of an organization which I respect for its humanity, and a membership comprised of individuals I appreciate. Also, I sought the camaraderie of people with whom I share similar interests and objectives.

I was not disappointed. Membership proved to be a positive experience in all respects, particularly at the chapter level, where my energy was generally focused.

Soon the year 2002 was upon us, and I had not yet attended a WCB statewide convention. It seemed that the time to do so had arrived. It was time to learn what WCB’s convention was all about, why other members were so enthusiastic, and to "broaden my horizons."

As an incentive, WCB offered members who had not previously attended the state convention to do so at its expense by applying for financial assistance as a "first-timer." The possibility of receiving free money was, of course, irrestistible! But the truth is, I would have gone anyway, and the experience did "broaden my horizons" regarding the value of the WCB state convention for all of its members.

I have attended organizational conventions and similar large gatherings. Usually, their scope was national. Some were regional. The WCB state convention was not unlike other organizational conventions I had participated in, but none of them were as "friendly." That is how I would categorize my first WCB convention. It was like a group of friends at a family reunion. There was serious business, as in any convention, but there was also camaraderie.

In some conventions of seemingly like-minded people, there is a kind of pervasive tension. Not so at the WCB convention. It was a worthwhile experience, which I recommend highly to all other "first timers."


Introducing WCB's Newest Chapter
by Sally Mayo, Vice President
Yakima Valley Council of the Blind

I am writing to introduce the Washington Council of the Blind to its newest chapter, the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind. Forming this chapter did not happen overnight. Some of the founding members had tossed the idea around for the last four or five years. Finally, we got ourselves, the backing, and the necessary paperwork together to make it a reality.

The goal of our chapter is to educate all sections of the public on the issues surrounding blindness and visual impairment. We will also serve as a resource to our community with information on agencies and organizations serving the blind, the ADA, guide dog etiquette, Layla’s Law, and other helpful information.

Currently we have 10 members. There is a general meeting eight times a year. The Board meets four times a year. The meetings are held at Nob Hill Lanes the first Wednesday of each month at 11:00am.

Our president, Bill Smedley, works for Guide Dogs for the Blind as the Washington State representative. Bill, a guide dog user, has been blind for 26 years. He received most of his O&M training in Southern California. He has been married for 33 years to his lovely wife Nancy. They have two children and seven grandchildren.

I am Vice-President, I have been legally blind for 10 years, and work part-time for the Dispute Resolution Center of Yakima and Kittitas counties. I too am a guide dog user. I have my Masters in counseling, and have been married for 24 years, with three children and five grandchildren.

Laura Beigh, another guide dog user, is our Secretary. Laura, who is legally blind, has a Bachelor’s in social work. She volunteers for several agencies in town. She is a single mom with two children.

Our Treasurer is Howard Underwood. He has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Although Howard does not have a visual disability, he struggles with MS and knows well the challenges a disabled person faces every day. Howard is married, with two children and no grandchildren yet.

Jan Baumbach, who is legally blind, is the Public Relations Chair. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. She is married and has three children and one grandchild.

Even before our acceptance as an official chapter of the Washington Council of the Blind, several of our members were hard at work making changes in our community. As a result of our efforts, the Yakima City Council adopted Layla’s Law as part of its municipal code. The City of Yakima was persuaded to install the Chirps and Beeps Auditory Cues system at downtown street crossings, with plans to expand this system as funding is available.

Informational trainings on how to work with visually impaired persons and service animals have been given to Yakima city transit workers. Plans are now in the works for an in-service on Layla’s Law to be given to the Yakima City Police Department.

All our efforts are geared toward educating the improving the lives not only of the blind or visually impaired, but also the community as a whole. We look forward to a long association with the Washington Council of the Blind.


WCB Honors Scholastic Achievement
by Denise Colley, Scholarship Chair

Once again this year, as we do annually, the membership of the Washington Council of the Blind had the privilege of playing a vital part in the awarding of $20,000 in scholarships to highly qualified and motivated blind and visually impaired college students. Seven students from around the state were selected as this year’s scholarship recipients and received their awards at the WCB convention, held this year in Kelso.

The festivities began with the reception for the winners, prior to the banquet. This reception provides WCB members and friends with an opportunity to meet and talk with the students on a more informal basis.

Again this year, it was WCB members and friends who helped to make the reception another huge success. As always, this year’s winners came from diverse backgrounds and are venturing into vastly different professions.

Elizabeth Rainey is a 2001 graduate of the Washington State School for the Blind. She is attending Clark College and plans to begin working toward a degree in vocal performance. One of the things she is known for is her performance of the National Anthem, which we all had the privilege of hearing at the banquet. She says that she plans to minor in writing or psychology so that, if she cannot readily find a job as a musician, she will have other options. She says she hopes that the career she chooses will be a positive reflection on her

religious community, herself and her family, and the blind community as a whole. Elizabeth was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,000.

Kelly Sullivan is a returning scholarship winner, having received a WCB scholarship in 2001. She is beginning her second year at the University of Washington, where she is interested in majoring in social work, English, or the law. She says the key to her education and life is to be able to acquire the tools and skills to proceed in obtaining her goals. Kelly was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,000.

Mariann Federspiel is beginning her junior year at Eastern Washington University, where she is working toward a BA degree in Special Education, with an endorsement in General Education. She says that after earning a teaching certificate, she will be qualified to work in both fields. She says in a time when mainstreaming is encouraged, her degree will be highly marketable, which will allow her many options while seeking employment. Mariann received a scholarship in the amount of $2,500.

Jerry House is also a returning WCB scholarship winner, having received scholarship awards in 2000 and 2001. Jerry successfully completed his BA degree in Human Services, and graduated magna cum laude from Western Washington University on June 15th of this year. He was accepted to the graduate school at Western, and began working toward his Master of Arts degree in Rehabilitation Counseling in September.

His ultimate goal is to work as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind. He says the scholarship would allow him to purchase a new computer and a better monitor to accommodate his increasing vision loss. It would also help him meet transportation and other high costs associated with graduate school. Jerry received a scholarship in the amount of $2,500.

Audrey Jolley is beginning her sophomore year at Lower Columbia Community College, and will graduate in June, 2003, with an AA degree in Humanities. From there she plans to continue her education at Washington State University in Vancouver, where she wants to earn a BA degree in Social Services. She says her ultimate goal is to become a Disabled Student Services Coordinator in a higher education setting, because there is a shortage of experienced individuals to assist students like herself in this field. Audrey was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $3,500.

Alex Jones is an entering freshman at the University of Washington, majoring in psychology or education. He says he applied for the scholarship for no other reason than his desire to continue his education in college.

During academic year 1998-99, he received the Student of the Year Award, the highest honor possible in the school. During high school, he was active in sailing, and his team competed in the Mallory Cup three years in a row, winning the district qualifiers. Alex was awarded a $3,500 scholarship.

Stephanie Mellor is an entering freshman at Eastern Washington University, majoring in Education. She plans to graduate from Eastern with a teaching certificate, and then move on to a university with a Vision Specialist Program, so that she can make her dream come true of working with blind children.

During the summer of her sophomore year of high school, Stephanie was involved in the Youth Employment Solutions Program. She now works with the DO-IT Program at the University of Washington, where she gives presentations to elementary school students about blindness, braille, and the technology that blind students use at school. Stephanie was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $4,000.

This year, for the first time, the WCB had the privilege of awarding two new scholarships, sponsored by the Vehicle Donation Processing Center. They have committed to funding two $2,500 educational scholarships, one for a male and one for a female, for the next three years. Mariann Federspiel and Jerry House were this year’s recipients. Thank you to John Learned and the Vehicle Donation Processing Center.


Another successful scholarship year is behind us, and as always, I want to acknowledge the members of this year’s Scholarship Committee for all the long hours they spent reviewing and rating applications and interview information.

I would also like to acknowledge the WCB, the Capital City Council of the Blind, the United Blind of Spokane, and the Peninsula Council of the Blind for their financial contributions toward this year’s scholarship efforts. It is all of us working together that makes each year’s scholarship program a bigger success for more students.

Thank you everyone.



Where Shall We Go Today?
by Cathy Drake

Cathy is currently an 18-year-old senior at the Washington State School for the Blind. She wrote this last year.


"Where shall we go today?" I asked my faithful cane.
Let's go to places we've never been, and hope it doesn't rain.

Which way shall we go, oh faithful friend? There's a whole wide world out there.
Let's go north and walk and search ‘til we find a polar bear.

We found a bear and I shivered with cold.
It's much too cold, let's go south now.
We traveled south where it was warm. Let's walk along and sing a song.

It's much nicer here. My faithful cane and I.
I took a break at my resting place. Tomorrow I'll start to travel east and west.
When I awake from the sleep of the lain.

We traveled east, and found a beast. We ran and ran away from his feast, to at once discover that we were lost.

Oh we thought, "What shall we do?" We thought and thought and then we knew.
I need your help, oh faithful cane.
We walked back west to a place that we knew, using touch and drag and other techniques that we knew.

At last we were safe at home in the place that I own.
Let's do it again soon, tomorrow perhaps, and leaned my cane against the wall to take a nap.


What I've Learned
by Cynthia Towers,
United Blind of Seattle & ACB Convention Coordinator

I have had the opportunity to be invited to speak at two state conventions over the past few months. First, I went to the Tennessee Council of the Blind state convention this past August, and most recently, I attended the American Council of the Blind of Ohio’s state convention in early November. It is wonderful to see how strong state affiliates are and to meet such dedicated people.

I am going to share a bit with you of a seminar I conducted in Ohio on self-esteem/self advocacy. I felt it was a successful venture and the participants seemed to glean a lot from the discussions. They will be able to use what they learned in their day-to-day interactions with others. With the permission and blessing of Glen Singleton, an educator who has been conducting diversity workshops for the Seattle School District, I have modified his Four Agreements on discussion about race (there is also a book by that title) to adapt them for our needs.

Agreement One: Stay engaged - it is so easy to give up, to not have to explain just one more time why, "No I’m not glad I don’t drive," or why it appears that I’m so good at memorizing numbers, or my personal favorite, "Why do I dress up if I am just going to a convention of blind people." As annoying and angering as comments such as these are, we need to stay the course. If you do not believe that things will get better within your lifetime - then they won’t. We all need to start laying the foundation for improved times ahead for those who will come after us. As Dr. King once said, "If I knew that the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree."

Agreement Two: Experience Discomfort - It is not easy to always have to explain our blindness (like it’s anybody’s business), how we accomplish tasks, get around town, do our jobs, care for our families and the like. After all, the mainstream public does not come under such scrutiny. You are only human and field a tremendous number of questions and comments on a regular basis. I always remember being a child and anxious to be an adult, because then I would have all the answers and would not be plagued by uncomfortable inquiries any more. Well, now I know how wrong I was. When you get that pit in your stomach, try to remain as non-emotional as you can. When you respond in anger or anguish, all people hear is the raw emotion. Remember, communication is 30% verbal and 70% non-verbal.

Agreement Three: Speak Your Truth - We can sometimes get into too many distinctions. There are the totals, the high partials, the low partials, the dog users, the cane users, the braille and large print readers, and a very small percentage of us even drive. What is true for me in terms of what I view as a hardship with regard to whatever level of sight I have is my reality. We are too small and there is too much work to do. In my profession, the kindergarten teacher has as much to say and contribute as the high school chemistry teacher. We all unite for a common good and do not pick apart the level at which each of us is teaching. I have seen some amazing things happen in this organization when we all band together. Pedestrian safety, descriptive video, accessible voting, jobs being opened up to us - the list goes on and on. Let us continue to judge one another by the content of our characters and not by the acuity of our vision.

Agreement Four: Accept and Expect Non-Closure - well, at least for now. Just as a doctor does not cure every patient, or a lawyer does not win every case. so it is with us. We will not convert every sighted person to being able to understand the many facets of the blind and partially sighted. We will not be able to convince everyone that having little or no vision is not the end of the world, or that color is important to us, or that the garage came with the house, so that’s why we have one. (I usually tell people that the blind houses on the real estate market were all taken.)

In our quest to gain equality, independence and opportunity, we must reach out to others when we need our blind batteries recharged, stand up for what we believe in, keep up with new technologies and other arenas that will level the playing field, speak up for ourselves, move up in the organization when the time is right and catch up on the latest issues.

But whatever you do in the blindness community or outside of it - never give up!

The Rehabilitation Council - Whose Information Highway Will it Be?
by Carl Jarvis, President
Jefferson County Council of the Blind

In theory, mass transit is the ultimate solution to our traffic woes. But it is only effective if the masses choose to use it. Otherwise, it remains just another pretty theory. The same may be true for the Rehabilitation Council for the Department of Services for the Blind.

The Rehabilitation Council exists for the purpose of ensuring "that persons who are blind in the state of Washington receive the most efficient and effective services possible." It is also the purpose of the council "to provide direct public and consumer guidance to the Director of Services for the Blind." Also, "where appropriate, to advise or report directly to the Governor, and to make recommendations to the state Legislature to promote efficient and effective services." And finally, "to enhance services, and opportunities and rights of Washingtonians who are blind by working closely with other state councils, state agencies and state organizations..."

Although the Rehabilitation Council is advisory in nature it has broad duties and responsibilities to assist in achieving its purpose. Meeting on a quarterly basis with the Department Director and, in partnership with the Department, the Council "reviews, analyzes, develops, makes recommendations, and agrees to the Department’s state plan, goals and activities, budget requests, permanent rules concerning services for the blind, and major policies..." We will not outline the entire list here, but we do want to underscore one additional responsibility. "The Rehabilitation Council shall prepare and submit an annual report to the Governor and the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs. The report should be made available to the public."

Like mass transit, the Rehabilitation Council is in the moving business, carrying information, recommendations and concerns back and forth between the public and consumers, Department Director, the Governor, the Legislature, and the RSA Commissioner.

In theory the Rehabilitation Council should be a free-flowing exchange of information, assisting the Director and Department in improving the quality of programs and services. Toward this end, the Federal Government has established requirements ensuring broad public representation on the Council. The members have been expanded from 10 to a minimum of 16, plus the Department Director serving as an ex officio, non-voting member.

As the Rehabilitation Council changed and expanded over recent years, there has been a growing concern within the blind community that this expansion, rather than increasing the flow of information, is having quite the opposite effect. As new members are sought, representing areas such as labor, business and industry, it becomes increasingly more difficult to find individuals who are themselves blind, or have knowledge of blind affairs. Instead of free-flowing information, the Rehabilitation Council must spend a greater portion of its time in educating its members. In this area, the Department does a good job. Program managers and staff provide at each Council meeting in-depth looks into their programs and activities. They walk members through the complexities of the state budget and state plan, and explore innovative/creative plans for future services.

What is missing is a most critical element. Without it the Rehabilitation Council has no ability to fulfill its purpose. What the Council members are missing is the on-going education about blindness; its culture; its history; its struggle for equality. Without this backdrop, how can the Council possibly determine which services and programs are most efficient and effective for blind Washingtonians?

Who better to provide this education and training to the Council members than us, the Organized Blind? It is we who are living it day by day. It is our history, sharing setbacks and victories. We are the ones who will be affected by the Department’s future policies and programs. And we are the ones who must plan how to provide this education to the Council members. Through the Council we have direct access to the Director and the Department.

If there is to be a bright tomorrow for blind people, they need our collective wisdom.


WCB Voice Heard at Accessibility Board Hearing
by Becky Bell, Vice-President, King County Chapter

On Tuesday, October 8, 2002, 21 members of the Washington Council of the Blind attended the Architectural Transportation Barriers Compliance Board hearing in Portland, Oregon at the Hilton Hotel. The hearing began at approximately 8:30am and continued until 4:30pm, with a planned reception.

Our WCB group stayed until noon, then headed back to Seattle, stopping to enjoy a lunch along the way.

Groups from many states participated, in addition to WCB. California Council of the Blind, Oregon Council of the Blind, National Federation of the Blind and many others, including Mitch Pomerantz, representing American Council of the Blind National Office, Washington, D.C.

Berl Colley, WCB State President, and two WCB members, Cindy Burgett and Glen McCully, spoke on our behalf. Speeches highlighted information with diverse opinions. The presentation of different ideas gave us confidence and encouraged us to challenge and explore progressive and helpful ways to improve our rights for access to our environment concerning street crossings, traffic signals and attention to structural barriers. WCB urged the board to make accessible rights-of-way for all blind and visually challenged individuals to enable better mobility and safety. WCB’s position is clearly stated in the following letter submitted to the Accessibility Board.

In March, 2003, the results of the Accessibility Board hearings will be known. Our voice was heard. We were successfully represented. It was an interesting and productive experience for each member of WCB.


Washington Council of the Blind
Statement of Concurrence to
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board

(Access Board)
Draft Guidelines on Public
36 CFR Parts 1190 and 1191
[Docket No. 02-1] RIN 3014-AA26
Published in the Federal Register June 17, 2002


The Washington Council of the Blind (WCB), PO Box 6996, Kennewick, WA 99336, an affiliate member of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and one of Washington State’s premier grassroots consumer-based organizations, agrees with the findings and proposed guidelines set forth by the Access Board in regard to accessible public rights-of-way. WCB is committed to making all public areas accessible to people with disabilities, especially those who are blind and visually impaired.

Although WCB agrees with the majority of the recommendations of the report, three areas of particular interest to blind and visually impaired persons will predominate this written commentary. They include accessible pedestrian signals (APS), tactile warnings, and way finding mechanisms. WCB supports all of the above named issues and herein has outlined its position statement for each.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees the right to the access of information to people who are disabled. APS devices convey the same information received by sighted pedestrians from the walk/don’t walk signals and street signs to blind and visually impaired persons in an accessible format. If sighted pedestrians are assumed to be safer by the use of such information, then it should be equally obvious that blind pedestrians will also benefit from this information. Some blind individuals and organizations will contend that quality orientation and mobility skills are all that is necessary to safely traverse an intersection. WCB agrees with the premise that mastery of good orientation and mobility skills is paramount to the safety of all blind travelers. The installation of APS equipment is not intended to replace mobility skills training. They are intended to provide usable information to assist blind pedestrians in the decision-making process as they determine when it is safe to cross.

In a superlative situation where all blind persons had identical impairments; equal mobility skills; and where all intersections were of the traditional four-corner-plus design; a reasonable argument could exist to delay the installation of APS devices. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is much different than this imaginary proposition. Many in the blind community have additional conditions that can impair their mobility. Afflictions associated with age, physical disabilities, and partial or total hearing loss affect a large percentage of the population. The volume of traffic on our roads and the complexity of intersections have increased exponentially over the past few years. The convergence of three or four main arterials at a single intersection is now commonplace. In many cases, it is no longer possible for blind pedestrians to reliably determine when the walk signal is activated by using the sound of traffic flow. Deaf-blind persons are unable to use traffic cues even at ideal intersections.

Detectable warning strips are essential along train and subway platforms. In these areas oncoming trains push air currents into odd patterns, and the noise of the trains, along with crowds of people, alter one’s ability to judge distances. Detectable warnings can and do save lives. They are not only intended to add an extra level of safety for blind travelers, but for those who are sighted, as well.

At crosswalks detectable warnings in curb cuts give an extra level of protection to blind individuals who may accidentally travel into the line of traffic without being aware of it. Given the gradual slope of many curb cuts in use today, WCB recommends the adoption of guidelines for the placement of some type of detectable warnings at crosswalk curb cuts. These are especially important in locations where the curb cut is not aligned with the crosswalk.

Way finding systems are also important for visually impaired persons, especially in large, open areas and parking lots. These systems also help to indicate proper travel directions to reach doorways and other public facilities. These systems provide the blind with directional information to assist them in making safe travel decisions. WCB supports the use of way finding systems and encourages the board to investigate and use both high-tech and low-tech way finding systems. Way finding systems are especially important when more conventional methods of detecting one’s direction, such as using the sun, are not available.

WCB strives to improve the well-being of all blind and visually impaired people and asks the Access Board to remember that people with vision loss come from many different backgrounds with varying degrees of educational experience, and they do not have the same level of proficiency in orientation and mobility skills. Therefore, WCB asks that the Draft Guidelines on Public Rights-of-Way be adopted to enable and ensure the safety of all citizens. Please do not wait for another person to be needlessly injured or killed.

WCB is saddened when any pedestrian suffers from injuries that are preventable. The Washington Council of the Blind believes these targets can be greatly reduced, and implores the Board to take action before another blind person is killed needlessly.


Washington State Department of Services for the Blind
by Bill Palmer, Director

Part 2 (for Part 1 of this article, see September 2002 issue)

Independent Living Program Expanded: The DSB Independent Living Program serves people who are not seeking employment, but wish to learn how to live independently as a blind person. The program is operated through private contractors situated around the state. These contractors travel to their customers’ homes, providing them with blindness skills training, counseling in adjusting to blindness, and supplying some adaptive aids. In the past year, we have expanded the program from six to eight contractors. This has allowed us to serve more people and reduce travel costs for some of the contractors.

The Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Kennewick is now serving the blind citizens of Franklin, Benton, Yakima, Walla Walla, and Columbia counties. Edith Bishel has been contracting with DSB since November 2001. Between November and June 2002, Edith Bishel served 105 people. Sheila Turner is Edith Bishel’s independent living specialist. Among other things, she brings to the position the assets of being a capable blind person herself, and a Spanish speaker. By serving the five counties, Edith Bishel has relieved the Lilac Blind Foundation of having to serve the entire east side of the state, allowing Lilac to deliver more direct service by reducing its travel time. The Edith Bishel Center can be reached by phone at (509) 735-0699 or toll free at 1-800-662-9226. Their email address is and their Website URL address is

Marjorie Corier is now serving a portion of southwest Washington encompassed by Thurston, Lewis, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. Margie began contracting with the independent living program in July 2002. Margie is pursuing her master’s degree in Rehabilitation Teaching from Western Michigan University. She brings the assets of professional education and her own experience as a capable blind person. Margie is taking a portion of the territories previously covered by three contractors. This will allow the three contractors to focus the same amount of service on a smaller geographic area. We expect this change to improve services, which will result in better circumstances for our current contractors as well as the growing older population that we serve. Margie can be reached by phone at (360) 493-1372 or by email at

Denise Massey Smith served the northwest part of the state for nearly five years. In May 2002, she left the program to pursue other career interests. She was a great asset to the program and will be missed. We searched to find a new contractor and found Miriam Mimi Freshley. Mimi comes to the program with a wealth of experience in the counseling field. While Mimi has not worked in the blindness field, she has a sister who is blind. Recognizing her need for training, Mimi has spent a great deal of time training with Kevin Nathan and our Orientation and Training Center staff. She assumed responsibility for the independent living contract in Whatcom, San Juan, and Island counties in September. Mimi can be reached by phone at (360) 922-0004 or by email at

One gap that we have recognized in our older blind program is the lack of opportunity for intensive instruction in blindness skills. Persons who are vocational rehabilitation customers can get six to nine months of full-time blindness skills training from our Orientation and Training Center, but we have nothing comparable for our independent living customers. We tried an experiment this year, traveling to a community and offering a week of full-time blindness skills training to seniors. With the assistance of the local support group in Aberdeen, we held our first Seniors Week in June 2002. The training was warmly received by the community and participants. Carl and Cathy Jarvis, Margie Corier, and Amelia Sahentara assisted DSB Independent Living Program Coordinator Kevin Nathan in teaching the group of nine seniors. The program was a big hit and made the front page of the Aberdeen newspaper. We hope to repeat Seniors Week in other areas of the state as funds permit.

DSB has been able to increase the number of people served by the Independent Living Program by 11.8 percent in the past year. We served 1,567 people during the period of July 2000 to June 2001 and 1,752 for the period from July 2001 to June 2002. Ninety-five percent of those served were able to maintain or increase their independence.

Much of the increased service we have provided is due to an increased financial commitment to the Independent Living Program by Congress and DSB in the last two years. The budget for the program has increased by over $230,000 in the last two fiscal years. We are hopeful that Congress will continue to appropriate more money for the independent living program for older blind individuals.


WTBBL Update
by Maryte Racy, Managing Librarian

As a result of a review of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library conducted by Seattle Public Library’s Neighborhood Libraries Director Claudia McCain, SPL management has announced that WTBBL’s Executive Director position will not be eliminated. WTBBL will once again become a division of the city library system, rather than remaining as a branch library under the Division of Neighborhood Libraries, which had been the situation since August 20th when Jan Ames announced her retirement. Ms. McCain has been managing Special Services (WTBBL and the Bookmobile); I have been acting as WTBBL Interim Director.

Deborah Jacobs, City Librarian, has recently appointed librarian Gloria Leonard as WTBBL’s Acting Director, effective December 2, until a permanent director can be hired. Ms. Leonard has served as an administrator in various capacities at Seattle Public Library, including eight years as a managing librarian in Mobile Services.

The national search for a new WTBBL director began in mid-November, with hopes that the position will be filled by the end of April 2003. Qualifications required include a Master’s level degree in Library Science, while experience with one of the national network libraries for the blind and physically handicapped will be considered a definite asset.

WTBBL staff will do their utmost to ensure that library users feel no change in the quality of service they receive during these transitional months. We have all made Jan Ames’ high standards our own, and are striving to continue to deliver books, machines, programming and information in a timely and responsive manner. If you have questions, please contact me at (206) 615-0412.


Washington State School for the Blind
by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent

Summer School Made Possible for 1st - 8th Graders: Due to a generous gift from the Washington Council of the Blind, WSSB will be able to offer a July 6-11, 2003 summer school for children in grades 1-8 who are functioning near or at grade level and will be enrolled in grades 1-8 beginning the fall of 2003. This summer school gift of $10,000 is contingent on continued support from the legislature during the 2003 legislative session. WSSB has been able to provide a one week sports camp at the same time for high school children. This program is made possible through a grant from Michigan State University. The school also offers a two-week career development program for students ages 14-16. Youth Employment Solutions I (YES I) is made possible through a partnership with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind. These have been very important programs for children from throughout the state, and we want to thank the Washington Council of the Blind for making the summer school program possible.

Please check out the Washington Council of the Blind Website at

BAC WINS THE TOP DOT! A big congratulations go to US! On November 6, we were awarded the prestigious Governor’s Award for Quality and Performance. The Braille Program, a collaborative effort involving Department of Corrections, Department of Printing, Tacoma Community College, Central Kitsap School District and WSSB’s Braille Access Center were honored with the highest award given by the Governor’s office. All participants attended a special reception with Governor Gary Locke, where we received certificates and had our pictures taken with the Governor. It was a wonderful experience and reward for the dedication and hard work of so many terrific people.

Two more of our WCCW transcribers have passed their Library of Congress certifications. Congratulations, Clistie Ferrell and Leona Minthorn!

The Voters Pamphlet is out for another year and are we ever glad! We never would have made it on schedule without all the wonderful volunteers.

As always, if you have any questions, please call. We love to hear from you. Also, if you have not done so lately, check out our Website at


From the Louis Braille Center
by Carolyn Meyer, Director

During his lifetime, Louis Braille traveled no farther than the 25 miles between his boyhood home of Coupvray, France and Paris. The Royal Institute for Blind Youth was in Paris, and it was there where Louis was a student and later a teacher. His raised dot alphabet, however, traveled far. Today it is used by people all over the world.

When Louis Braille died in 1852, his raised dot alphabet had been the official method of reading and writing at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris for eight years. Few people outside of the institute knew of the braille system.

In 1854, France officially recognized braille as the approved method of reading and writing for people who are blind. Josef Gaudet, assistant director of the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, promoted its use by distributing examples of braille in English, French, Italian, German, Latin, and Spanish.

One after another, countries around the world recognized the benefits of braille. A world congress met in Paris in 1878 and selected braille as the appropriate system of reading and writing for those whose eyes do not see. In 1890, braille was adopted in schools for the blind in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Spain, and Scotland. In 1917, the United States recommended that braille be used in its schools, and in 1949, under the leadership of the United Nations, work began on adapting braille to more than 200 languages and dialects throughout the world. Braille had become a universal language.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, various groups from English speaking countries proposed serious alterations to the braille system, and a great debate arose that came to be called the "War of the Dots." Merits were argued for methods such as Modified Braille, Boston Linetype, New York Point, American Braille, and Revised Braille Grade 1 1/2. The outcome, in 1932, was the establishment of Standard English Braille. Although the uproar was long and intense, Louis Braille’s six-dot cell survived as the foundation for a tactile reading and writing method.

A contemporary "war of the dots" is now being played out by English speaking countries. The focus is adaptation of the braille codes to make the system seamlessly compatible with computer programs. Although the resolution of this struggle is, at present, unknown, there seems no question that the six-dot cell will remain the center of the system.


Computer technology has brought amazing changes regarding production and availability of braille. Many of us remember when the Perkins brailler was the primary means of creating braille. Books were brailled by hand, and each copy was an original. If we left out a word or phrase on the last line, we removed the paper, put in a fresh sheet, and started the page over, trying not to groan too loudly. The Thermoform machine made duplicate copies possible, but the plastic paper was not the most pleasant for reading fingers to touch.

With specialized computer software, we can create braille at the computer, easily edit the braille text, ask the braille embosser to make as many copies as we wish, save our hard work on a disk, and recall it later to make even more copies.

What a change from when Louis Braille punched out books for his students, one dot at a time, on a slate and stylus.

As I prepare braille at my computer, braille that will be read by fingers of all shapes and sizes in many corners of the country, I never lose sight of the wonder of its creation. Louis Braille is ever at my side, encouraging, loving, applauding the dissemination of information to reading fingers.

Louis Braille said: "Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us ... We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded that we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals, and communication is the way we can bring this about." Louis Braille, 1841


An Unsung Hero
by Sharon Keeran, Member
Guide Dog Users of Washington State

Learning to read is a milestone to adulthood for most children. I was no exception. I was proud that I could read as all the other children did. But more than that, books took me to places and to people that I never encountered in my daily life.

My way of reading was different from many of my friends. They would ask me, "What’s that?" I would answer, "Braille." As we all know, Braille is the medium for reading for the blind. Cassettes are wonderful, but a written language is essential for the success of most people. Thus I was fascinated by the life of Louis Braille, and happy to write a thumbnail sketch for the NEWSLINE.

Louis Braille was born in the village of Coupvray, forty kilometers from Paris. He was the fourth child of a master harness maker, Louis René Braille, and was born January 4, 1809. Louis was very small and not expected to live so was baptized three days after his birth.

When Louis was three years old, he was left alone in his father’s harness-making workshop, playing with leather and tools. He thrust an awl into his eye. It was a rural village with no real medical facilities for that time. By the time the family consulted a doctor, the eye was badly infected. The infection spread to the other eye and Louis eventually became totally blind.

Louis’ family was unique in that they encouraged Louis to learn, even though it was simply by listening. The Abbé Jacques Palluy recognized his intelligence and began teaching him at the age of five. Then he attended the village school for two years, still only listening but learning nonetheless.

The Abbé heard of a school in Paris that educated blind boys called the Royal Institution for Blind Youth. Louis’ application was accepted and on February 15, 1819 he entered the institution.

At that time, the reading method was a raised print invented by Valentin Haúy. It was cumbersome and took many volumes for a small book, but it was still a written language. Louis was apparently an excellent student, also becoming skilled at playing the organ.

Time marches on and a new reading method was slowly introduced in the school. Its original purpose was for soldiers to read orders in the dark. Charles Bernier expanded this system to what he felt was appropriate for the blind. And this method was Louis’ beginning.

Louis became a junior teacher and then a full teacher at the institution. While carrying a full load of classes and wracked with tuberculosis, he worked unceasingly on his reading and writing system.

The school’s director was not impressed by his efforts and refused to allow the method to be used by the students. But the children liked the Braille method and used it in secret, although they were punished if caught.

It was not until 1841 that Louis Braille, very ill from tuberculosis, saw his system accepted by the school as the official reading and writing method.

It is interesting that so many reading systems have been proposed for the use of the blind. One book I read said that over twenty such systems have come and gone. So think of Louis Braille on January 4th. It will have to be a private thought, as I doubt he’ll ever get his own holiday.


Thank You

From the Louis Braille Center
Dear WCB:

We received your check for our new computer. I immediately ordered the computer and software. It should be ready early next week. I will give you a full report when it is up and running. I can hardly wait to retire the elderly computer it will replace. I have already started backing up the data I will need to reinstall on the new computer.

Thank you so much.

Carolyn Meyer, Director
Louis Braille Center


From AVIA -
Dear WCB:

On behalf of the Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA), its board members and participants, I would like to thank you for your most generous grant of $7500 to be applied to the expenses of The Package in 2003. I have learned over the years that continuity of service is vital in projects of this nature, and WCB has stepped up to ensure that continuity for another year. The Package will begin 2003 by taking a group of blind and visually impaired subscribers, with companions, to the matinee of the Seattle Symphony, Shostakovich’s Symphony Number 10, on February 2. The event after that will be My Fair Lady at the 5th Avenue Theatre on March 15. I expect a rewarding season of performances in 2003, and I am excited that I can make a significant portion of it more accessible through The Package. I appreciate WCB for this vote of confidence, and for all of the support the Council has given to AVIA in the past.
Jesse Minkert
Arts & Visually Impaired Audiences
(206) 323-7190


From Jan Ames, Immediate Past Director, WTTBL

Dear Friends -

As always, I loved being at the WCB fall convention!

It’s difficult to find the words to adequately express how much I enjoyed seeing long-time friends and meeting new friends, and how honored I felt at the recognition you gave me at the banquet. What an evening!

Thanks for the resolution, the lifetime membership, all your kind words (including Berl and Sue’s presentations), and the standing ovation you gave me. And I love the handheld Palm computer. I was so "high" after that evening that I could have floated home the next morning.

I have only one regret about the Palm. I had a fire in my kitchen early in November, and will be out of the house for several weeks while clean-up and repairs are taking place. My regret is that I hadn’t gotten my Palm all set up before the fire occurred. Then I wouldn’t have had to carry out addresses and phone numbers on a Rolodex file and 3x5 cards when I moved out of the house. However, I’m gradually inputting that information. I’m learning that my Palm is an efficient (and fun) way to store information, to keep a calendar, and to make notes. I am truly pleased with this thoughtful gift.

I feel extremely privileged to have served as your librarian for so many years and to count you as friends. Let’s keep in touch, because I would like to hear from you. My phone number is (206) 525-7387 and my email address is

Thank you - I love you all.



WHEREAS, Jan Ames retired on September 20, 2002 as Director of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library; and

WHEREAS, Jan Ames has worked on behalf of blind people since 1969, serving as a braille librarian, head of Reader Services and as Director of WTBBL; and

WHEREAS, during her tenure as Director of WTBBL, Jan Ames has been a caring and committed leader by listening and responding to the needs of the blind community; and

WHEREAS, the members of the Washington Council of the Blind appreciate Jan Ames for her dedication and commitment to her work, as demonstrated by her involvement in our annual convention; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Washington Council of the Blind in convention assembled this twenty-sixth day of October, 2002, in the city of Kelso, Washington, that Jan Ames be commended for her faithful and tireless leadership; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization thanks Jan Ames for her friendship and wishes her the best in her retirement;

AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that all people now assembled rise and give a very warm and vocal "thank you" and fond farewell to Jan Ames.


Blind Support Groups
by Carl Jarvis, Chair and
John Fleming, Member
WCB Aging & Blindness Committee

The focus of the Aging and Blindness breakout presentation at our October state convention was the importance of and guidelines for establishing blindness support groups. The following handout was distributed to attendees:

Where Can I Find a Support Group?

  • Contact your local Area Agency on Aging, Dept. of Jobs & Family Services, local hospitals and churches, or other community social service agencies that work with seniors, families or children.
  • Also, your local newspaper will likely have a section listing support groups in your area.

How Do I Start a Support Group?

The following are some pointers obtained from the AARP Grandparent Information Center.

How to Get Started

  • Gather information about other support groups. Attend a meeting if possible to watch, ask questions, and borrow ideas.
  • Determine the best time of day to hold meetings.
  • Find a convenient and safe place for a one- to two-hour meeting, such as someone’s house, church or synagogue, library, community center or YMCA/YWCA. The place to meet should be accessible to as many people as possible.
  • Find other people who are experiencing similar problems and invite them to attend. Ask for referrals from social workers, churches, local officials and community agencies. Word-of-mouth is also an excellent means of finding potential members.
  • Promote the meeting through newspapers, flyers, posters, local television, or radio.

What Should Happen at the First Meeting?

  • When you have a list of potential members, contact them to confirm the time and place.
  • Keep the first meeting simple and start small; 2 to 3 people at first is fine.
  • Allow one to two hours for this meeting; then let the group decide the time, length and place of future meetings.
  • Introduce yourself and share your story; invite others to share their stories, but do not force anyone to talk before they feel comfortable. All information should be kept confidential within the group.
  • Collect contact information from all of those who attend.
  • Ask for volunteers to help plan and run future meetings. Assign specific roles. Provide refreshments, if desired.

What Else Should be Discussed?

  • Decide the purpose of your group and choose a name.
  • Decide what activities and speakers you would like to have.
  • Determine who is eligible to attend and if transportation assistance is necessary.
  • Plan your meeting schedule - at least monthly is recommended.
  • Decide how to handle group expenses. How will refreshments be provided? Will dues be necessary?
  • Exchange telephone numbers or set up a telephone tree for emergencies or for personal support.

  • Remember to celebrate the triumphs of members as well as the challenges.


To Equalize the Games
by Rhonda Nelson, Board Member, WCB

While "equalize" may not have been the best choice of words in the title of this article, it is most certainly the best Scrabble play I have ever made. The word used all my tiles (a bonus is received for that) and included the q and z, letters with the highest point values in the game.

Scrabble, though my favorite, is only one of many games which have been adapted to be easily enjoyed by people who are blind or visually impaired. The board is laminated, much larger than the standard game, with indented spaces where the print/braille tiles are placed. The indentations are crucial, as on a flat board it would be impossible to read the braille without moving the tiles, thus creating an interesting array of new, and otherwise unknown, words on the board. I much prefer the older versions of braille Scrabble, as the more recent adaptation seems not as well designed and the tiles do not stay correctly in place.

Maybe you don’t like word challenges, but love a competitive game of cribbage, rummy, thirty-one, spades or hearts. A perusal of some catalogs and web sites shows that many varieties of playing cards are available: braille, low vision, giant size, and high contrast number, along with braille uno, pinochle and rook. As for other games, you can find jumbo and magnetic dominoes, tactile backgammon, braille/low vision Monopoly, tactile tic-tac-toe, designer chess and checkerboard sets, and braille/low vision dice. Included at the end of this article is a list of some places where these and other gems can be found.

I have dealt here with a few of the possibilities for braille and large print. There is, however, a complete array of talking games, some purchased through specialty locations, but many available off the shelf from your local general merchandise purveyor. Frank Cuta has a fantastic collection of talking games and gadgets, and often brings his finds to WCB gatherings.

Jerry Arakawa is the new WCB convention Bop-It tournament champion, following in the steps of Kevin LaRose, last year’s titleholder.

Hopefully, you now can agree with me that the ability to enjoy fun and games has been at least somewhat "equalized" for all of us who feel the occasional, or maybe even frequent need for some personal or competitive challenge.



Some Sources:
Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted
SightConnection Store
(206) 525-5556 or (800) 458-4888

Independent Living Aids
(800) 537-2118

(800) 468-4789

Ann Morris Enterprises
(800) 454-3175





Talking ATMs

The last NEWSLINE (September 2002) contained a list of 11 talking ATMs operating throughout the state. Since then, more have been added and the following is a complete listing. Please spread the word and use these newly-gained services.

Smokey Point, Auburn, Factoria, Cordata, Bonney Lake, Canyon Park, Burien, Aurora Village, Ellensburg, Everett-Colby Ave, Everett Mall, Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Benson Center, Lacey, Alderwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Monroe, Harbour Pointe, Hawks Prairie-Olympia, Redmond, Renton, Pine Lake, Seattle-University District, Seattle-Broadway, Seattle-Ballard,




Seattle-Westwood Village, Seattle-Lake City, Seattle-Belltown, Seattle-Greenwood, Seattle-University Village, Seattle-International District, Spokane-Northpointe Plaza, Spokane-Franklin Park, Spokane-Thor, Tacoma-Main, Tacoma-Lakewood, Southcenter, Tumwater, East Vancouver, Vancouver Mall, Walla Walla.

We really need people to use the machines and let us know what you think!

Comments, feedback or questions about these machines (as well as the Union Bank Talking ATMs) can be sent to Lainey:






Capital City Council of the Blind Page 42

King County Chapter Page 44

Peninsula Council of the Blind Page 44

United Blind of Seattle Page 46

United Blind of Tri-Cities Page 47

Capital City Council of the Blind
by Howard Ferguson, Member

This year we had our annual Christmas party at the Prime Connection in Olympia on December 7th, with a no-host lunch and gift exchange. We always have a great time with our gift exchange, since participants have a choice of selecting from the unwrapped gifts or from previously opened gifts. To keep the gift exchange from going on forever, an opened gift can only be transferred three times and


then is frozen and not available for selection.

The action is hot and heavy, with the exchange often taking around an hour and a half to complete, and some years over half of the gifts are frozen by the end of the exchange.

The preparation for this year’s party got so hot this year that our original choice for a restaurant, Genoa’s, caught fire and was not available. Fortunately, only part of the restaurant was burned, since it is part of Northwest history.


Genoa’s Restaurant is housed in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair "House of the Future" exhibit. It was barged to Olympia after the World’s Fair and converted to a restaurant. Luckily for us, the Prime Connection had space available, but for only up to 20 people. Sadly, this meant that we could not make an open invitation to our party this year.

Members of the chapter have been busy the last six months. Six members went to the national convention in Houston and had a great time. Nine members attended the state convention in Kelso. A great big "thank you" to the Longview-Kelso Chapter and WCB Convention Committee for a wonderful convention!

We had our annual picnic on August 17th at Olympia’s Lion Park, with 25 members and friends enjoying good food, conversation and games. we enjoyed barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs by chef Dottie Simonsen. Thank you, Dottie, and to the rest of the Picnic Committee and people who brought food.

We had a very successful candy sale at several local grocery stores on the last weekend of September and first week of October. The chapter treasury was increased by over $1100.00 and about half of those funds were donated to the 2003 WCB Scholarship fund. A big thank you to all the members and friends who helped, and especially to Berl Colley, who organized the candy sale.

Our chapter is fortunate to have an active group of officers. Thank you to this year’s officers: President, Terry Atwater; Vice President, Viola Cruz; Secretary, Denise Colley; and Treasurer, Dottie Simonsen. In November, we had elections for President and Treasurer for a two-year term. Terry and Dottie are doing such a great job we unanimously re-elected them to a second term. Congratulations, Terry and Dottie.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

If there is a prize for the shortest chapter report ever written, this may just be a winner. Due to conditions beyond our control, the September and October meetings were canceled. In November, we returned to a newly remodeled restaurant with a newly revised menu of teriyaki cuisine. We were honored to have ACB President Chris Gray in attendance. Chris is one of our own and a charter member of this organization. Reports were read and reviewed. Election of officers was held, with the following results: President, Michelle Ebbighausen; Vice President, Becky Bell; Secretary, Jeanne Jacobs; and I was re-elected Treasurer.

Many thanks to the officers who have previously served. Our warmest thoughts and get well wishes go out to our members and yours who are hurt but healing.

Happy holidays to all and to all good night.


Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Cindy Burgett, President and
Nicole Torcolini, Junior Member

As always at this time of year, members of the PCB are getting ready for our annual Christmas party, which will have come and gone by the time you read this. But we will be sure to share with you all of the details next quarter. For now, we’ll focus on getting the pinata stuffed full of goodies for the kids, make sure Santa has his tummy full, organize all the food that’s being brought, and be ready to visit with old and new friends alike. We expect over 50 members and friends at this event.

Many of our members got into the holiday spirit by attending the special shopping day at Target. This is held at all Target locations and takes place the first Tuesday in December. The store is open from 8:00 to 10:00am for senior citizen and disabled shoppers, and not only do they have volunteers ready to assist folks with their shopping, they give a 10% discount on our purchases, provide refreshments and live music, free pictures with Santa, and gift wrapping. It’s always fun each year listening for familiar voices throughout the store. We have a great time and highly recommend it to all.

Two of our chapter members are performing in a Victorian Christmas community play, A Christmas Rose. Meka sings in the 11-person chorus, and Amelia plays one of the orphan children, making her debut upon the stage. Both ladies have done us proud. This production is an annual event, taking place Thanksgiving weekend and the following weekend. So make your plans for next year for an evening out in Bremerton.

Twenty-one PCB members attended this year’s state convention. Everyone who went seemed to have a good time, and we are especially proud of our Bop-It queen, Michelle Denzer. Hopefully, we will have even more members go to Spokane next year.

We are currently in the throes of our major fund-raiser of the year, selling the Kitsap card - a discount card similar to a coupon book, but without the book. The card costs $20, and we net $8 from each sale. We made over $700 last year, and hope to do even better this go around.

One of our members, Tim Smith, has had a dog trained for him to be his service dog. Kelly is a Golden Retriever and has been trained by a lady who used to work as a trainer at the Purdy Women’s Correctional Center. The cost of Kelly’s harness is about $400, and our chapter voted to give Tim $200 to help pay for it.

The PCB meets on the second Saturday of each month from 10:00am to 1:00pm. The first hour is for social time, and the chapter meeting begins at 11:00. We meet at JJ’s Diner in east Bremerton, and always welcome guests. If you’d like to know what’s happening with our chapter, give a call to our info-line at (360) 373-2772.

Our meetings are attended by more than just humans. We have many four-legged companions who join us each month. So, this chapter update is dedicated to: Arabelle, Dickens, Janine, Jordan, Kelly, Lexus, Nevada, Sunshine, and to each of the guide dog puppies in training that bring their wags of joy to our meetings.


United Blind of Seattle
by Doug Hildie, President

During the fall, United Blind of Seattle (UBS) held its monthly meetings on the third Saturday of each month at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL). Generally, the meetings were routine. We had a speaker in September, but decided to forego scheduling speakers for October and November. For these meetings, we used the time normally devoted to a speaker for "open forum." Members were invited to present topics of interest and concern to them and other members. This proved to be a valuable exercise. It resulted in clarification of issues, and generated some motions requiring consideration by the membership.

For several UBS members, Fall was particularly eventful and fortuitous. Four UBS members were elected to positions on the WCB board. Steve Heesen, Glenn McCully and Shirley Taylor were elected as Directors. Julie DeGeus was elected to the position of Second Vice President. Julie will begin her incumbency sitting down. As many WCB members are now aware, Julie broke her ankle. The ankle will mend, however. By the time this issue of NEWSLINE reaches WCB members, Julie should be well on her way to a full recovery.

The month of November was devoted to the election of UBS officers. Sharon Allen was re-elected Secretary; Harold Martinson to the position of Director; and I was elected President. Glenn McCully was elected to fill the remainder of the Vice President’s term, vacated by me.

Last but not least, UBS celebrated the holidays with its annual luncheon, held on December 14 at the Executive Inn. It was a gala event.

To all WCB members, best wishes for a joyous holiday season.


United Blind of Tri-Cities
by Janice Squires, President

Once again the United Blind of the Tri-Cities has been a very busy chapter. Summertime means outdoor picnics, and thanks to members Shannon and Dixie McDaniels, we had one of our best times ever. They opened their lovely backyard to us and with Sue and Paul Sather and Mary and Barney Wolverton picking up all of the good food and serving it, we definitely left with full stomachs! Mardel Kendall arranged a few games and new member Kitty Hoage provided the nice prizes. What a wonderful day of fun, food and sharing did 25 of our members have! And now we are preparing for our annual Christmas party, and we know it will be equally enjoyable!

We have already attended two of our narrated plays of the season: Harvey and Curious Savage. This has been one of our most successful programs and has been enthusiastically attended by our members since 1993.

We are so very proud of two of our newest and finest members for being selected as First Timer award winners to our state convention in Kelso this year. Diana Softich is a member who is going to be a great asset to our chapter. Bill Hoage was elected to our board and received his first guide dog in February. In the Spring of 2002, Bill applied for and was accepted as one of the seven members of the Advisory Committee for the Disabled to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission. This group acts as advisors to the Commission on matters relating to recreational opportunities and reasonable accommodation as they relate to hunting and fishing opportunities in Washington State.

A total of nine Tri-Cities members were able to attend the Kelso convention, and we cannot begin to tell you how much each and every one of us enjoyed ourselves. Congratulations to Frank Cuta on being elected WCB Secretary.

Member Paul Wilburn, before losing his sight to diabetes, was a teacher of painting and drawing. With the loss of his sight, he has now turned to sculpting. He has most graciously opened his home to our members and allowed us to touch and feel his work. It was quite the education to have him explain his inspirations for each piece and how he came to give them their names.

Our deepest sympathies to the family of Florabell Booth on the loss of her husband Cleo. They had been married for 73 years, and Cleo will be terribly missed by all of us.

Frank Cuta and Mardel Kendall were our two chapter representatives to the ACB convention in Houston. Frank has attended many, many conventions, but this was Mardel’s very first national convention, and she has never had such a wonderful time. Mardel turned the grand age of 70 in June, but she is at heart younger than ever!

Happy holidays!


Hats Off to You
by Peggy Shoel, Editor

Congratulations to the following WCB members:

  • Susan and Gary Burdette, Secretary and President, respectively, of the United Blind of Whatcom County, on their 30th (pearl) wedding anniversary. The Burdettes were married in Seattle, and celebrated this event with a trip to Birch Bay and Victoria.
  • Becky Bell, board member, United Blind of Seattle, on being selected as an at-large member of the Sound Transit Citizen Accessibility Advisory Committee. Becky, who had been attending the group’s public monthly meetings as an interested citizen, is now a voting member serving a two-year term.
  • Frank Cuta, Secretary, WCB, on being selected as Volunteer of the Year by Battelle Northwest Labs in Tri-Cities. In recognition of his volunteer efforts in the disability arena, Frank received a plaque, a write-up in the local newspaper and a monetary award, which he in turn donated to his folklife group.
  • Pam Padilla and Patrick Ray, 2nd Vice-President and member, respectively, of the United Blind of Tri-Cities, on their recent marriage. The ceremony took place in Rossland, B.C., after which the couple honeymooned at their lake cabin in Deer Lake, WA.
  • Mardel Kendall, member, United Blind of Seattle, on becoming a grandmother for the 14th, 15th and 16th time simultaneously through the birth of her triplet grandsons. Zachary, Matthew and Ryan Kendall arrived at a combined birthweight of 14 lbs. 10 oz., and live with their parents, Caroline and Tom, in Gilbert, AZ.
  • Denise Colley, Secretary, Capital City Council of the Blind, on her re-appointment to the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) Rehab Council. This will be Denise’s second full-term appointment, and will be for three years.


The following members have new dog guides:

  • Steve Heesen, Board Member, WCB, now has Rattan, a three-year-old, 75-lb. creamy white and tan Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever cross from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. Steve calls her Princess Rattan and states she is very well-behaved, loyal and a good worker.
  • Shirley Taylor, Board Member, WCB, now has Velma, a two-year-old 63-lb. Yellow Lab from Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey. Shirley reports that Velma is very gentle and responsive to her mistress.
  • Lyle Burgett, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, now has Madison, a two-year-old 83-lb. Yellow Lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind School in Boring, Oregon. Lyle reports Madison is a big boy, very mellow and sweet.


Bits & Pieces
by Peggy Shoel, Editor

  • The National Library Service (NLS) is providing free of charge an update and progress report on their talking book conversion from analog to digital. It is anticipated that an extensive collection will be completed by 2008. Their progress report and process explanation can be obtained in Braille, in large print, and on audio cassette tape by calling (202) 707-5100. Allow two to three weeks for delivery.
  • American Leather Specialties (Foster Company) sells a night light collar that makes it easier for drivers to see you and your dog in the dark. The collar is reported to be seen up to a quarter of a mile away and is described as being very comfortable for the dog. For more information, call 1-800-381-7179.
  • Cooking Without Looking is a new program produced in Hollywood, Florida and hosted by a blind professor/chef. In addition to offering a very detailed step-by-step description of food selection, storage and preparation, it offers kitchen techniques to make cooking an easier, safer and more enjoyable experience for people with vision impairment. It also addresses issues facing blind people when dining out. Production sponsors of this not-for-profit group are hoping to have the program aired nationally in the near future. For more information, call Vision Foundation at (305) 754-4816 and ask for Renee.
  • The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) in New York has just established a Website that connects blind and visually impaired job seekers with other blind and visually impaired individuals already successfully employed in their particular field of interest. Called Career Connect, this free service can provide mentoring to the jobseeker as well as information on necessary job site technology and suggestions on interviewing and resume building. For more information, contact AFB at 1-800-232-5463 or (for Career Connect).
  • Descriptive Video Service (DVS) offers 200 selections for home video enjoyment. They provide, in large print and in braille, complete stock listings. For your free copy, call 888-818-1999. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.



In the last NEWSLINE Hats Off to You column (September 2002), we stated that Julie Lynch was a retired Department of Services for the Blind rehabilitation counselor. In fact, Julie is a retired Department of Social and Health Services caseworker.




Article Deadline:

To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions, chapter news, and other information for publication must be received by March 1, 2003.

Articles may be edited for purposes of clarity and space considerations.


Publication Policy:

To ensure accuracy, we require typed, double-spaced submissions. Articles should be no longer than two pages.




from the kitchen
of Viola Cruz, Vice President, Capital City Council
of the Blind

I wanted to let everyone know how good this recipe really is. Terry and I have tried it and it actually tastes like an Orange Julius. We both hope you enjoy it. Notice the egg substitute in the recipe. That’s how you get a frothy, foamy drink.

1 cup orange juice

1 cup water

1/4 cup egg substitute

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar

1 heaping cup ice

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender set on high speed for 15-30 seconds. Makes two drinks.



Officers and Board Members



Berl Colley, President (360) 438-0072
2305 Maxine St. SE, Lacey, WA 98503

Cindy Burgett, First Vice-President (360) 698-0827
6686 Capricorn Lane NE, Bremerton, WA 98311 1-877-329-6361

Julie DeGeus, 2nd Vice-President (206) 547-7440
506 N 45th, Apt 301, Seattle, WA 98103

Frank Cuta, Secretary (509) 967-2658
58903 Sweetwater PR NE, Benton City, WA 99320

Sue Sather, Treasurer (509) 582-4420
508 S. Gum St., Kennewick, WA 99336

Board Members

Sue Ammeter, Immediate Past President (206) 525-4667
3233 NE 95th, Seattle, WA 98115

Dorothy Anderson-Carroll (509) 484-5950
2121 E. Upriver Drive, Apt 22, Spokane, WA 99207

Steve Heesen (425) 562-4999
13001 SE 28th Pl, Apt 2, Bellevue, WA 98005

Glenn McCully (253) 804-4246
635 7th St. NE, Apt 218, Auburn, WA 98053

Rhonda Nelson (253) 735-6290
2856 F St. SE, Auburn, WA 98002-7555

Lynette Romero (360) 425-5369
309 SW 4th Ave, Kelso, WA 98626

Shirley Taylor (206) 362-3118
2338 N. 185th St., Shoreline, WA 98133





    • To Brady Layman and Sherrill Lee of the Tri-Cities, for reading this issue onto tape.
    • To Sue Sather, for duplicating the tape version of this issue.
    • To Ann McCay for providing mailing labels.
    • To Tim Schneebeck for providing the NEWSLINE on disk and via e-mail.
    • To the individuals who contributed articles and materials to this issue.
    • To the NEWSLINE Editorial Committee for their many hours of work.



Washington Council of the Blind
Lorraine Pozzi, Circulation
2813 - 4th Ave. W.
Seattle, WA 98119

Copyright © 2002-2004 by Washington Council of the Blind -- All rights reserved.

Web site visitor preferences: + Larger Font | + Smaller Font