The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind

December 2003 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity
Founded 1935

(206) 283-4276

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

Table of Contents 

From the President's Desk by Berl Colley

Editor's Comment by Peggy Shoel

Board Holds Pre-Convention Meeting by Frank Cuta 

WCB Convention Business Meeting by Sharon Keeran 

Impressions by Frank Johnson 

The O&M Conference by Jamie Brastrup 

WCB Honors Scholastic Achievement by Denise Colley 

Cindy Burgett - Past to Present by Meka White 

NEWSLINE Report by Peggy Shoel 

Exchange with West Coast States by Berl Colley 

Thank You's 

Our Chapters - When Do They Meet? 

Report From DSB by Bill Palmer 

WSSB Update by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem 

Library Update by Gloria Leonard 

A Note of Congratulations by Berl Colley 

Louis Braille Center News by Carolyn Meyer 


WCB Committee Assignments 

Hats Off to You by Peggy Shoel 

Kennewick Gets $21,000 for Crossing Signals (reprint) 

Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel 





Directory of Officers and Board Members 


From the President's Desk
by Berl Colley

Boy! Four years has really gone by fast. It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago when we were coming home from Richland and I was starting my first month as President of WCB. It seemed like the next two years would be a lengthy time of planning meetings, reviewing financial reports, signing organizational documents, visiting WCB chapters and getting ear checkups to see if there was a phone receiver permanently stuck to the side of my head.

Now I look back and smile at the wonderful organization that WCB has shown itself to be. You, the members and friends of the Washington Council of the Blind, have initiated wonderful new programs. The Leadership Training has been so successful, training 59 leaders over the last three years. The Crisis Committee was re-established and has helped countless blind people in our state get past unanticipated situations in their lives. 

We have also made improvements to existing programs, such as Scholarship, where WCB has awarded a four-year total of $87,000 in scholarships. I mention only a few areas here. Recognition is also given to the following programs: Legislation, Families of Blind Children, Aging and Blindness, Advocacy, and a quarterly publication that has to rank as one of the best of any non-profit organization in the country. 

WCB is only going to get better. As I clasp the hand of newly-elected President Cindy Burgett - well, with Cindy it will probably be a hug - I can imagine the next two years as Sue Ammeter must have looked at my first two years - a time to be excited about what is coming next. 

What's Been Happening in the Past Three Months 

I have had the opportunity to visit two of our smaller, but very active chapters. The Jefferson County Council of the Blind and the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind are both active in their communities, working for Audible Pedestrian Signals, setting up support groups, and monitoring the political climate as it applies to blind and visually impaired citizens. Keep it up, folks. 

Lynette Romero and Becky Bell represented WCB at the Access Board hearings in September. The board was looking at access to ferries and cruise ships for disabled people. Denise and I represented WCB at the California Council of the Blind's fall convention in Los Angeles. Completing the exchange, CCB President Jeff Thom represented California at our convention. See the thank you letter from Jeff elsewhere in this NEWSLINE

This year's convention committee was chaired by Cindy Burgett. We had the largest WCB convention of blind people ever held in this state, in Spokane. Congratulations to all of those who helped with this record-setting annual gathering. See more about this year's convention later in this NEWSLINE

On the national scene - due to management philosophy differences between ACB Executive Director Charlie Crawford and ACB's board of directors, Charlie Crawford resigned his position on October 17. Melanie Brunson is serving as acting director until another Executive Director is found. 


I want to close this last article from my President's desk by thanking all of WCB for your graciousness and patience as I engaged in this wonderful on-the-job training as your President. A special thanks to those members who served as officers and directors for dealing with - even laughing sometimes - at my sick humor. Thanks to those of you who served as chapter presidents as we made several attempts to improve the communication lines between the state and affiliates. Thank you to those members who served as committee chairs and as members of the many committees, standing and ad hoc, within WCB. Thanks to the many talented presenters who came to Washington to participate at our numerous events. 

Finally, as I have already warned Cindy... Old... Presidents... never die. They... just stay on the board.

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Editor's Comment 
by Petty Shoel 
Children Learn Early On 

I recently retrieved from our WCB information line a message from a woman requesting 30+ copies of braille alphabet cards. They were to be used in her son's elementary school classroom as part of a discussion on blindness and disabilities. 

It brought to mind the fact that we have a number of members in various chapters who regularly and quietly participate in such presentations in classrooms, Scout meetings and at community activities. They demonstrate braille, visual enhancement and talking devices, and explain the 4-H process working with puppies to become dog guides. This helps youngsters at an early age to be respectful of and comfortable with individuals with disabilities and to see that there are aids and accommodations to support blind people in being fully functioning and effective human beings. 

Kudos to those individuals who, without fanfare, put effort into community outreach in this way. I encourage each of our state chapters to contact area schools, Scout groups, etc. and make arrangements to offer presentations on blindness and visual impairment. 

May we each enjoy a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

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Board Holds Pre-Convention Meeting 
by Frank Cuta, Secretary 

It was 32 degrees and getting colder outside of the convention hotel in Spokane as Berl Colley gaveled the November 2003 board meeting to order. With about 70 persons in attendance, this little pre-convention event was better attended than the main convention sessions of most state organizations of the blind, and Cindy Burgett reported that this convention will without a doubt be the largest in the history of the WCB. 

Sue Sather, Treasurer, reported on our healthy balance. This is due to the great success of our fundraising efforts. We are actually able to maintain this level, even though a quick look at the annual budget discloses that for all of our internal and external programs, including conventions and seminars, we generously spent over $200,000 last year. For the strictly business and operational activities of the WCB, we spent less than $50,000. 

At this meeting, the board decided to grant $21,000 to the City of Kennewick for the purpose of updating their audible traffic signals. Rhonda Nelson presented the final WCB in state travel policy. Julie DeGeus reported on her trip to the Oregon State Convention and Berl reported on his trip to the California State Convention. Viola Cruz reported on the on-line convention registration process. This year 103 individuals chose to register by completing the WCB online form. Shirley Taylor reported that the Crisis Committee assisted five blind persons since our last meeting. Berl is going to appoint a committee to investigate our present long-distance phone charges and identify a less expensive service. Berl is also re-establishing the WCB fundraising committee. 

After two and a half hours of dealing with the regular business of the organization, the board meeting was adjourned and members retired to hospitality for some real serious business of the recreational kind.

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WCB Convention Business Meeting 
by Sharon Keeran, Member, 
Guide Dog Users of Washington State 

The main portion of the WCB business meeting was devoted to the election of officers and board members. Berl Colley has met his term limitation. He will remain on the board as Immediate Past President. The 2004 slate of officers are: Cindy Burgett, President;  Denise Colley, Vice-President; Julie DeGeus, 2nd Vice-President; Frank Cuta, Secretary; and Sue Sather, Treasurer. Sue Ammeter, Dorothy Carroll, Rhonda Nelson and Lynette Romero were elected to the board. Glenn McCully was also elected our alternate delegate to the American Council of the Blind convention in Birmingham. 

I read a report submitted by Peggy Shoel, Editor of the NEWSLINE, which appears in this issue.

There was a long discussion regarding a telectronic reading service for Seattle and Spokane, as being the two most populated areas in the state. No decision was reached and further research will be done by Frank Cuta and Viola Cruz. 

The meeting ended with a very short speech by Rhonda Nelson, who is chairing the WCB convention next year in Bellingham. "Thank you" resolutions were passed regarding hotel staff and volunteers.

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by Frank Johnson, Member, King County Chapter 

Seven lucky WCB members were selected to attend their first state convention with expenses paid. I was asked to gather impressions and highlights of the other six, and to add my own. We all express much gratitude to WCB for the chance to experience the Council in action. Here are our brief highlights:

Pat Gould, Port Townsend, was in awe of everything she saw in Spokane. "Things were so well-planned and organized," she said. She loved seeing all the dogs in action, and was amazed at how smoothly everything went. She was especially impressed at the process by which resolutions were introduced, discussed, and voted on. She was not aware of all that went on to make the organization so successful. She was thankful to all who made the experience memorable. 

Shari Burns of Bremerton was glad to meet the speakers and many she'd heard of through WCB membership. She liked becoming aware of many opportunities available to her as a WCB member, having not known WCB existed until about a year ago. She thinks professionals and people involved in organizations such as ACCESS, should provide information about WCB and other resources for those with vision problems. 

Ignacio Ordonez of Silverdale was enthusiastic about the entire experience. He has worked hard to learn about blindness, is learning Braille, and enjoying involvement in his local chapter. He was impressed at how much WCB invests in its membership, and learned much about how WCB functions. He was amazed at the breadth of the membership. As did other First Timers, he expressed gratitude for all the services he has received through WCB. 

Sally Mayo of Yakima said the high point for her was talking with speaker Robert Ott. As a martial artist herself, she looks forward to further contact with him. 

Louis Wilson of Everett saw quickly that the best way for him to get as much as possible from the conference was to insert himself into groups and get acquainted. He did this well and gained much from the experience. He knew that had he not become so involved, he could have felt the time in Spokane would not have been so comfortable. 

Finally, I was amazed at what I saw. The conference planning was superior, the volunteers were ever-present and always helpful, the hotel staff demonstrated their responsiveness to the special needs of the blind participants. I was nearly in tears at the presentation of scholarships to such an impressive and promising group of young students, and was stunned at the level of financial participation by many of the local chapters to the state organization. Although I was initially timid in this larger encounter with so many blind fellow members, I was quickly at ease and learned much about myself as I dealt with some of my old fears about blindness. I am stronger because of this opportunity and believe I will be a more active member of WCB. Meeting with the other First-Timers was a special gift.

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The O&M Conference 
by Jamie Brastrup 

My name is Jamie, and I am an 18-year-old senior at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I was one of 11 teenagers who had the opportunity and pleasure of attending the Washington Council of the Blind convention this past November, held in the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Spokane. I was mainly there for the Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Conference. The whole convention lasted three days. The O&M Conference allowed me to experience a variety of things that could potentially enhance my travel skills, while meeting other blind people and making new friends. Representatives from The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, were there with one of their Seeing Eye dogs. Several of the students at this conference, including myself, had the opportunity to walk with the dog. I thought that it was astonishing how a dog can get a person down the street without bumping them into anything and walking a straight line. They do this in less time than a cane could. However, the discussion of whether to use a cane or a dog guide is highly debatable. "Do whatever works for you" is the message that was reinforced to us during the conference. 

I got to use some talking compasses. These are the same as real compasses, but when you hit a button on the face, it talks as you turn. These were surprisingly more accurate than the regular compasses. They could also talk in Spanish. Along with the compasses, there were GPSs (Global Positioning Systems). These you can use with a Braille note. If you type in a route, the GPS can tell you the coordinates of where you are going and the street that you would be coming to. You could also type in the location of where you were and you could get the routes to places that surround it. Unfortunately, I was never able to use one, but I could see how it would sure be useful. 

There was also a presentation that focused on personal space and how important it is. They showed us an example for individuals who were visually impaired. Sometimes if you want to get close to a person, we were told to try coming from the side. Then we also talked about safety and how critical it is. We were told not to give out too much information to individuals because that could cause harm to us. However, this is within reason. 

Throughout the O&M Conference, we all had the opportunity to take part in many of the meals with the WCB convention. I really enjoyed the banquet on Saturday night. At the banquet, WCB gave out ten scholarships to blind individuals. They awarded scholarships of $2000 to $3500. 

On Friday night, some of us teens played in the Bop-It tournament, and 15-year-old Lindsay Yazzolino was the big winner. There was also Simon Says for the guide dog handlers, which seemed like great fun. They also had hospitality rooms, which featured alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, as well as refreshments. I spent lots of time in Room 1402, getting to know WCB members. 

On behalf of all the O&M students, I would like to thank the WCB for paying for the hotel rooms and our Friday night pizza party. The volunteers were there to assist us if we needed the help and everyone was so nice. I hope that after reading this article, you would be encouraged to try the convention. It is a lot of fun and you get to meet a lot of people who are going or have gone through a lot of the same things as you. They also try to integrate sighted individuals and blind or visually impaired individuals together. Segregation is not their attitude and for this I am grateful. I will never forget my weekend with WCB!

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WCB Honors Scholastic Achievement 
by Denise Colley, Scholarship Chair 

Annually, the membership of the Washington Council of the Blind has the privilege of playing a vital part in the awarding of scholarships to highly qualified and motivated blind and visually impaired college students. This year was no exception, with the awarding of the largest amount of money to the greatest number of students in this organization's history. This year we were privileged to award $27,000 in scholarships to ten students from around Washington State, at the WCB convention held in Spokane.

As usual, the festivities began with what has become an annual reception for the winners, prior to the convention banquet. This reception provides WCB members and friends with the opportunity to meet and talk with the students on a more informal basis. Again this year, it was WCB members and friends who helped make the reception another huge success. As always, this year's winners come from diverse backgrounds and are venturing into vastly different professions. 

Ashley Canen is a 2003 graduate of the Washington State School for the Blind. She is attending Clark College and plans to begin working toward a degree in music education. She says that in high school she accomplished many goals, and was able to participate in many exciting activities that led her to choose music as her future career. She says she is a hard working student and will not give up until she meets all the goals that she has set for herself. Ashley was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,000. 

Elizabeth Rainey is a returning scholarship winner, having received a WCB scholarship in 2002. She is also a Washington State School for the Blind graduate, and is in her sophomore year at Clark College, where she is working toward a degree in vocal performance. She says that after graduating from college, she hopes to work as a musician on Broadway or in the opera. Realizing that this is a lofty goal, her alternative goal is to be a published writer or journalist. Elizabeth was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,000. 

Jerry House is also a returning scholarship winner, having received scholarship awards in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Jerry successfully completed his BA degree in Human Services, graduating magna cum laude in 2002. He began working toward a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling in September 2002, and looks forward to completing his degree in December 2004. Upon successful completion of the Rehabilitation Counselor certification process, he intends to apply to the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind, where he hopes to be able to use his skills to help the blind and visually impaired. He says that learning to adapt to legal blindness has been very challenging, but his struggles have taught him that with determination, hard work, faith, and a positive attitude, there is little that he cannot accomplish. Jerry was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,000. 

In honor of his outstanding academic achievement in consecutively maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Jerry was also awarded a plaque recognizing this achievement. 

Ricky Kim is a sophomore at Highline Community College, where he is majoring in English. He says there are many goals he wants to achieve in his life, and the first one is to obtain a Bachelor's or Master's degree. Afterward he would like to pursue law school to become a lawyer with his own practice. He also plans to become an accomplished writer and poet, and his poetry has already been published. Ricky received a scholarship in the amount of $2,500. 

Lisa Owen is a sophomore attending Whatcom Community College, where she is majoring in psychology. Her background is in health sciences, which she still hopes to be able to use in some way. She says her biggest strength is the fact that she believes nothing is impossible. Lisa received a scholarship in the amount of $2,500. 

Laura Beigh is enrolled in the Advanced Standing Master's in Social Work Program at Eastern Washington University, and expects to receive her degree in spring 2004. She says she seeks to accomplish personal success through education and a meaningful career in social services. Her area of interest is working with children and families. Laura is a charter member of the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind and serves as chapter secretary. Laura received a scholarship in the amount of $3,000. 

Collin Dowe is a senior at Antioch University, majoring in psychology. He is going to school part-time while working fulltime as a collection representative with the Internal Revenue Service. He also serves as a Hospice volunteer. He says he intends to work on his Master's degree upon graduating next summer, and wants to be a counselor at a mental health center or at a hospital. He would also like to teach psychology at a junior college in the future. Collin received a scholarship in the amount of $3,000.

Mariann Federspiel is a returning scholarship winner, having received a scholarship in 2002. She attends Eastern Washington University, where she is a senior in credits and a junior in her dual major of special education and elementary education. She says she is very passionate about her major and is enthused about all that she is learning. In five years, she hopes to be a special education teacher. In addition, she is interested in the foster care program and hopes to contribute her time and love in some way. Mariann received a scholarship in the amount of $3,000. 

Stephanie Mellor is also a returning scholarship winner, having received a scholarship in 2002. She is a sophomore at Eastern Washington University, where she is working toward a degree in special education, with the goal of becoming a teacher of the blind and visually impaired. Her plan is to go for her Master's degree in vision work and then "go off wherever life takes her." Along with attending school, she continues to work for the DO-IT program at the University of Washington, where she goes into first-grade classrooms and gives presentations about what it is like to be blind. She also worked this past summer as a peer mentor for the Bridge Program, a summer program to help high school graduates learn to adapt in a college/ university setting. Stephanie received a scholarship in the amount of $3,500. 

Than Bates attends Edmonds Community College, where she is a sophomore, majoring in education. Than is originally from Vietnam, where she was an instructor at the Bungsang School for the Blind in Ho Chi Mien City. She taught blind children to read and write Vietnamese braille and to read and play music. She also taught daily living skills. After immigrating to the U.S. in 2000, she had to start over. She says she wants to be a teacher because she enjoys teaching and working with blind children. Than received a scholarship in the amount of $3,500. 

This year, Ricky Kim and Lisa Owen were the recipients of the educational scholarships sponsored by the Vehicle Donation Processing Center. Laura Beigh was the recipient of the Spokane Day-OUT Program for the Blind, with additional funding from WCB. This year the Scholarship Committee offered an incentive to those WCB local affiliates who were able to make a financial contribution to the Scholarship Program, with the prize of a pizza party for the affiliate making the largest contribution. The winning affiliate, announced at the banquet, was the Capital City Council of the Blind, making a contribution of $715. 

Great job to all the affiliates who participated. 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 Peninsula Council of the Blind, the Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, and the United Blind of Walla Walla for their financial contributions toward this year's scholarship effort, as well as for the bequests and private donations totaling over $1,000 that we received. It is all of us working together that makes each year's Scholarship Program a bigger success for more students. Thank you everyone.

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Cindy Burgett - Past to Present 
by Meka White, President Peninsula Council of the Blind 

As the Washington Council of the Blind embarks upon a new year, the presidential torch has been passed to Cindy Burgett. Many know of Cindy's involvement in this organization, but this article will focus not only on that, but also on personal facts that may not be very well known. 

Cindy was born in Los Angeles and is one of three children. She was blinded since birth due to an unknown cause. Raised in Carson, she attended Frances Blend Elementary School until the sixth grade. Her parents believed that she was capable of doing anything that she could set her mind to, and wanted her to have as many experiences and opportunities as possible. Her childhood was filled with bicycles, roller skating, Barbie dolls, camping, and going to the beach. Another door opened when she attended her first Dodgers game. She fell in love with baseball and the Dodgers on that day, and her enjoyment of both the sport and the team has not wavered over the years. When Cindy turned 15, the Dodgers even threw her a surprise birthday party, which is a memory that she has treasured for a lifetime. 

As a teenager, Cindy was very involved with Rainbow Girls, a service organization for young women that teaches leadership skills. She served numerous times as Worthy Advisor, which is the equivalent to President, and was honored with a state appointment as Grand Chaplain. She currently serves as chair of the advisory board of Rainbow, and supports her daughters, who are both very involved with the organization. She believes that Rainbow was her saving grace for a social life in her teens and her comfort with public speaking as an adult, and wants to support the program in any way that she can.

Cindy landed her first paying job as an Easter bunny in the mall. She worked for a local photography company that would take pictures of her with children. Throughout her adulthood, she worked as a nursery director for three years at Crossroads Neighborhood Church, worked for three years at the Lighthouse for the Blind in the machine shop, and currently works as a paraprofessional in the Central Kitsap School District working with blind and visually impaired students. She teaches Braille, as well as other independent living skills, and has been certified as an access technology trainer through the Access Technology Institute. 

Cindy is married to Lyle Burgett, whom she met online at a voice chat community called Audio Tips. She has two daughters, ages 17 and 13, and two stepchildren living in South Dakota. She has been a guide dog user for most of 23 years, and currently has a German Shepherd named Arabelle. She continues to remain very involved in her community. Besides her love for Jesus Christ and her family, she enjoys roller coasters, white chocolate mochas, scented candles, bubble baths, country music, and baseball. 

In 1986, while pregnant with her older daughter, Amelia, Cindy was invited to a gathering of blind people. At the time, she was unable to believe that a consumer organization would be something that she wished to get involved in. That meeting was the formation of the Peninsula Council of the Blind. This was the beginning of her participation in and contribution to an organization that she believes in.

Over the years, Cindy has served WCB in various capacities. She served on the board of directors in 1987, 1996-1999, and as first vice-president from 2000-2003. She has chaired various committees, the most recent being the convention committee, which was commended for an excellent state convention in November. 

Cindy Burgett's outlook on life is very positive. Whether she is working on a project for WCB, planning activities with her students, coordinating functions for her local church, or dealing with everyday family life, she seeks to help others reach their highest potential. It is with her belief in people, coupled with her desire to see WCB continue to move forward, that she assumes the torch and plans to let the flame of this organization continue to shine.

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by Peggy Shoel, as presented at State Convention

Our WCB NEWSLINE continues to grow, both in its distribution and its scope; e.g., in the last issue (September 2003), we provided an article by David and Rhonda Trott of the ACB Alabama state affiliate, site of the 2004 national convention in Birmingham. We hope to be able to provide articles from the host state affiliate preceding each national convention in the belief that WCB members planning to attend would like to know a bit about the host state affiliate and the state itself. 

Three hundred seventy copies of the September Newsline were distributed, as follows: approximately 170 large print, 150 audio cassette tape, and 50 emails. NEWSLINE issues also are posted on the WCB Website at  We have been and will continue to be in compliance with US Post Office regulations requiring postage on material being mailed to non-visually impaired individuals. Currently, 80 of our large print Newslines are mailed, with postage ranging from $1.30 to $1.80 per issue, depending upon size. We have been and will continue to send the NEWSLINE to non-members upon request. Please make that information known. At the same time, if you know of someone who no longer has an interest in receiving the NEWSLINE, please contact me using the information at the end of this report. No action will be taken without direct confirmation. 

Some chapters enjoy submitting an update for each of the four annual issues. Some submit one or two times a year. Others submit not at all. Whatever your chapter can handle, even one out of four, will be most welcome, because it tells us you are still out there, who your officers are, and about your activities.

REGIONAL INFORMATION: Policies, projects and events affecting the lives of blind and visually impaired individuals in specific geographic areas throughout our state are of interest. A three- or four- paragraph blurb not only would be informative, but might spark interest in a copycat activity elsewhere in the state. 

DEADLINE: The deadline for receipt of submitted material for the March issue is March 1. For those who are providing material, thank you. Your interest and effort is much appreciated. Telephone 206-722-8477;  Email (receive only):; WCB information line: 1-800-255-1147 and 206-283-4276

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Exchange with West Coast States 
by Berl Colley, President 

At the 2003 ACB national convention in Pittsburgh, PA, Jeff Thom, President of the California Council of the Blind, approached me to see if Washington would be interested in having a fall state convention exchange this year. I would come and present at their fall convention in Los Angeles and he would come and present at the WCB convention in Spokane. At the WCB board meeting in Olympia, the board voted to accept Jeff's proposal, with the addition that we would extend the same offer to Oregon.

Oregon embraced the idea, and Julie DeGeus represented WCB at the Oregon convention in Eugene October 17 and 18. Bev Rushing represented the ACB of Oregon in Spokane. Oregon has recently changed their convention to a Thursday, Friday and Saturday format, much like Washington. The Oregon banquet speaker was Vehicle Donations Program Center CEO John Learned. Julie told me that she acquired some new ideas on membership in Eugene. 

Denise and I fulfilled the first half of our convention exchange with the California Council of the Blind when we flew to Los Angeles on October 16 to attend CCB's fall convention. California conducts their conventions much like our ACB national convention, except their breakout sessions are Thursday afternoon, and Friday and Saturday mornings. Their general sessions are Friday afternoon, Friday night (which includes elections), Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Their banquet is Saturday night. Exhibits are open all day Friday and Saturday. 

They awarded $37,000 to 24 California students. The banquet speaker was a Hollywood producer who told the story of how he lost his sight when he was shot in the head. I had the opportunity to speak on behalf of WCB during the Friday night general session. Like WCB, CCB is dealing with dwindling state budget dollars for their agencies. The recent change in the California governor's office is adding to CCB's concerns. Jeff and I have both commented on how similar Washington and California are in the way we structure our boards, the programs that we have, and the way we both generate revenue. These exchanges are beneficial and I hope that they continue.

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Thank You from Jeff Thom 

Dear Berl and Denise: 
On behalf of the membership of the California Council of the Blind, I want to express my appreciation for your participation in our Fall 2003 convention. The address on Friday evening and the interaction between both of you and CCB members was a major contribution to the success of the convention, and I cannot begin to count the number of members who expressed their pleasure at your presence. As we have all noted, there is no question that our participation in each other's convention is a tremendous benefit. 

I hope that you both have the happiest of holiday seasons, and thank you again for attending our convention. 

Very truly yours, 
Jeff Thom, President 
California Council of the Blind

Thank You from Shirley Taylor 

Thank you to all WCB state conventioneers who traveled to and from Spokane on the Seattle bus. Because every rider was at the designated pickup point at the requested time, the original schedule was kept, making for smiling faces and making my job as Seattle Convention Bus Coordinator easy. I really appreciated it.

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Our Chapters - When Do They Meet? 

Here is a listing of the monthly meeting times for our 16 statewide chapters. Some chapters do not hold regular meetings during the months of July, August and December and of course this information is subject to change. To find out more, please call our WCB information line at (206) 283-4276 or 1-800-255-1147. 

Capital City Council of the Blind, in Olympia - 3rd Saturday at 12:00 noon 

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, in Everett - 1st Friday at 6:30PM 

Jefferson County Council of the Blind, in Port Townsend - 1st Wednesday at 12:00 noon 

King County Chapter, in Seattle - 4th Saturday at 1:00PM 

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind, in Longview - 2nd Thursday at 10:00AM 

North Central Washington Council of the Blind, in Wenatchee - 1st Thursday at 7:00PM 

Peninsula Council of the Blind, in Bremerton - 2nd Saturday at 11:00AM 

Pierce County Association of the Blind, in Tacoma - 4th Sunday at 2:00PM 

Riverside Association of the Blind, in Vancouver - 3rd Thursday at 6:30PM 

United Blind of Seattle, in Seattle - 3rd Saturday at 10:30AM 

United Blind of Spokane, in Spokane - 2nd Saturday at 11:00AM 

United Blind of Tri-Cities, in Kennewick - 3rd Tuesday at 2:00PM 

United Blind of Walla Walla, in Walla Walla - 1st Tuesday at 7:00PM 

United Blind of Whatcom County, in Bellingham - 2nd Saturday at 1:00PM 

Yakima Valley Council of the Blind, in Yakima - 2nd Saturday at 10:00AM 

Guide Dog Users of Washington State, at annual state convention and as called

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Report from DSB by Bill Palmer, Director 

What's Happening at the Department of Services for the Blind? 

Federal Fiscal Year 2003 ended on September 30th, with DSB at the top of the list of the nation's blind agencies when measured by the percentage of successful job outcomes that result in competitive, integrated employment. One hundred twenty-five blind individuals achieved a successful employment outcome. One hundred twenty-three (98.4%) achieved competitive, integrated employment. Two individuals closed as homemakers. 

In addition, even though the federal government does not count them as successful closures, we supported the choice of three individuals who entered sheltered employment. The average weekly earnings of those 125 employed were $461.39, compared to $282.91 when they were referred to the vocational rehabilitation program. The hourly income of these jobs is 164% of the state minimum wage. Congratulations to the individuals who achieved these successful outcomes, and congratulations to the DSB employees who believed in them and supported their success. 

While the average number of successful employment outcomes has remained fairly consistent over the past ten years, the caseload size has increased in the last two fiscal years. Prior to fiscal year 2002, the enrollment averaged 1050 participants enrolled in our vocational rehabilitation (VR) program. In fiscal year 2002, the enrollment jumped to over 1200 and continued to grow in 2003 to almost 1250. This significant increase in workload for DSB staff coincided with decreases to our state general fund budget and reductions in our authorized staffing levels. DSB is getting smaller while our consumer base is growing. 

Of particular concern is the number of consumers entering into an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE). Over the past two years, the number of consumers entering a plan for employment has exceeded the number exiting by an average of 60 per year. In 1997 the number of consumers in-plan during the year was 527. By 2003 that number had grown to 827. At this rate of growth, the number of VR consumers in a plan for employment would exceed 1000 by the Year 2006. Something will need to change in order for DSB to continue to provide quality services and help consumers achieve the successful employment outcome of their choice. We will either need to add more staff and increase available case services funds, make major changes to the way we do business, or cut services and limit the number of individuals served on the caseload. 

Another resource problem is the struggle to increase resources to serve the older blind population. The number of blind Washingtonians over the age of 65 is estimated to be over 70,000. This population has grown by 338% since 1990. Our resources have not grown at the same pace as the customer base. We want to do more than our current resources allow. 

In order for us to develop a Strategic Plan for the future, we will soon begin a strategic planning process. Consumers and consumer organizations should look for an opportunity to provide input to DSB regarding the development of our strategic plan. We will provide an opportunity for your input in the next few months. We would like to have a draft strategic plan developed for discussion at the State Rehabilitation Council Meeting on March 6, 2004 at the Seattle Office of DSB. We will also conduct a Community Meeting in the late afternoon or evening of the Friday preceding the Council Meeting.

Community Meetings provide a great opportunity for the consumers and stakeholders of DSB to do the talking while we listen.

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WSSB Update  
by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent 

I thought that for this issue I would pull bits and pieces of information from various departments to give you a day-to-day perspective on what's going on at WSSB. 

Education/Residential Departments (On-campus Program): Major remodeling has occurred in the Irwin Educational Building. The building was vacated during the 2002-2003 school year and everyone is happy to be in this very modern and state-of-the-art facility. Each classroom is set up both as a very modern digital learning environment and a distance learning classroom. Mr. Robb Peck, Distance Learning Coordinator, is helping provide the lead in expanding service delivery to the state and opening up new and exciting classes to students (via the Internet) on campus. 

Distance Learning: We began the year with four goals to be completed for the 2003-2004 school year: 

Goal One: Identify on-line classes for students. WSSB has partnered with the Digital Learning Commons, an on-line pilot program from the University of Washington. This allows us access to hundreds of courses on-line. We currently have six students taking classes,; five are taking foreign languages; one is taking a class in Visual Basic. 

Goal Two: Provide on-line training for teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs) throughout the state. Courses began in November and the response has been overwhelming. Courses that are being offered are:  

  • A complete Braille training seven month program  

  • A Braille mini-refresher course to keep teachers current on certification requirements 

  • Braille music 

  • Intellitools workshop 

Currently over 45 people have signed up for these courses. Original estimates were for between 10-20 participants. 

Goal Three: Develop programs that WSSB teachers would teach on-line to students. This is already happening with all the above classes being offered by WSSB. 

Goal Four: Develop video clips that would be posted on our website that would give parents and teachers basic instruction in daily living skills. Hopefully this will be started before the end of the school year. For more information on Distance Learning, contact Mr. Robb Peck, (360) 696-6321 Ext. 145# or 

Accreditation: Accreditation is underway. Overall data is very supportive of WSSB programs and future directions. All staff felt that the mission, philosophy and values of the school are relevant and are followed. The on-site review is scheduled for March. WSSB looks forward to input from all individuals involved in the self-study and on-site review process. For more information, contact Mr. Craig Meador (360) 696-6321 Ext 154# or

Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT)  

  • A program to teach skills for adulthood to young adults who are blind/visually impaired 

  • A 5th year high school program designed to provide students with the instruction, practice and tools needed to gain competence and confidence in managing personal independence.

For more information, contact Ms. Lori Pulliam (360) 696-6321 Ext 116 or

All-School Reunion: WSSB will be celebrating an all-school reunion June 25-27, 2004 on the campus of the School for the Blind. We would like to have the best turnout ever of former students, staff and Board of Trustees members. If you ever attended WSSB, worked at the school, or were a Trustee, please contact the school so we can get you on our mailing list. We would like your mailing address and email address to facilitate communication. Please send to: Ms Janet Merz, 2214 E 13th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661, or email

 Mark your calendars, we look forward to hearing from you. President of the Alumni Association is Catherine Golding.

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Library Update by Gloria Leonard, Director 

Congratulations to your newly elected officers, including Washington Council of the Blind President Cindy Burgett, members of the board, chapter presidents and committee leaders. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you through your new leadership and Patron Advisory Council representative Doug Hildie, as we build upon the successes that have already been accomplished. And thank you outgoing president Berl Colley, and past president Sue Ammeter. You have given me some wonderful support. 

I enjoyed participating in your recent annual conference in Spokane, and I look forward to being with you again next year. 

WTBBL Director Selected: I am pleased to inform you that I have been appointed Director of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL). It has been a real privilege for me to have served as Acting Director over these past 12 months. I am enjoying the work: leading a dedicated staff and core of committed volunteers, addressing challenging issues, and building relationships with consumer advocates and supporters like you. Although I have recently completed three decades as a librarian, including 24 years at the Seattle Public Library, I am the "new kid on the block" with respect to leading a customer-driven library reading program for the blind and visually handicapped. I have learned a lot. But there is lots more to learn and do to advance the WTBBL program. However, I enthusiastically accept the honor and opportunity to continue to make a difference on behalf or eligible consumers across the state. 

Special Feature: Web-Braille What is Web-Braille? 
Web-Braille is an Internet web-based service that provides, in an electronic format, the full text of many of the Braille books, some music scores, and all Braille magazines produced by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). 

Does WTBBL produce web-Braille Books? 
Yes. Like NLS, a growing number of network libraries, including WTBBL, are making local interest publications available through web-Braille. Regularly, WTTBL staff and volunteers transcribe print books into Braille on works about the Northwest region or by Northwest authors that fall outside of the purview of NLS. For example, J.A. Jance's Hour of the Hunter is available for downloading by Braille readers who search WTBBL's website. 

How do eligible consumers access nationally (NLS) and locally produced (WTBBL) web-Braille?
WTBBL staff member Wes Derby offers the following tips to ensure that you gain access to the web-Braille materials you want to read: 

Access to and downloading of WTBBL produced web-Braille books: 
1) Go to our homepage, and follow the links. 
2) When you find a book that you want to read in Braille, press "Enter" or click with the mouse, as you would any other link. 
3) In order to read web-Braille on your computer, you will need a Braille display, a Braille embosser, or a note taker/portable Braille device to read the file. 
4) Save the file to either a disk or your hard drive, as you would any other text file. 
5) Web-Braille may be transferred to a portable device or Braille printer as any other downloaded document. 
6) No password is required to access these materials. 

Access to and downloading of NLS produced web-Braille books: 
1) In order to access the NLS web-Braille collection, you must be an NLS patron. To sign up for the web-Braille service, call WTBBL at (206) 615-0400 or toll free at 1-800-542-0866. When the web-Braille service subscription is activated, you will receive access instructions by email from NLS. 
2) Repeat Step #2 above to find the book you want to read.
3) In order to ensure that you have an entire web-Braille book, you will need to download all of the individual files of the paper Braille book. For example, the new Harry Potter book is 13 volumes of paper Braille. All 13 files need to be down-loaded to read the entire book. 
4) If you want to know more about web-Braille, or have any other reading requests, call us.

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A Note of Congratulations to Gloria Leonard 
from Berl Colley, WCB President 

On behalf of our membership, we offer our enthusiastic and sincere congratulations to you as our new Talking Book and Braille Library Director. We are aware of your commitment to excellence and look forward with pleasure to working with you. The Library's services play an essential role in our lives - please let us know how we can be helpful and supportive.

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Louis Braille Center News 
by Carolyn Meyer 

Free 911 Cell Phones 

The Edmonds Lions Club, with assistance from the Louis Braille Center, has established a program to provide free 911 cell phones to people who are blind or visually impaired. The phones come with battery packs, AC battery chargers, and instructions in your choice of format. They may be used only for emergency 911 calls. There are no service fees involved. If you wish to make and receive other calls, you will have to establish a service contract with a telephone company and pay a monthly fee. 

Thanks to T-Mobile, the phones currently available for distribution are brand new. Leatha Knight, T-Mobile employee and granddaughter of long-time Arlington Lions Club members Donna and Jim Knight, heard about the project and arranged for the phones to be donated to the Lions Club. If you wish to receive a free 911 cell phone, all you have to do is ask. Call me at the Louis Braille Center (425) 776-4042, or email to or send a letter in braille, print or on tape to the Louis Braille Center, 320 Dayton Street, #125, Edmonds, WA 98020. Tell us your name and address and indicate your choice of format for the instructions: Braille, large print, tape, disk, or e-mail. Your phone will be mailed to you.

Free Braille calendars are available for 2004. To receive a calendar, call me at (425) 776-4042.

Learning Braille: It's Easier than You Think is the name of a new book being developed by the Louis Braille Center. Learning Braille is a quick and easy self-teaching primer for sighted people who wish to learn braille but have little time for classes and formal study. The book covers uncontracted (grade 1) braille: alphabet, capitalization, basic punctuation, numbers. There is a contraction preview at the end, but mastery of contractions is for another time. 

It is hoped that Learning Braille will simplify the process for sighted people who have braille-reading family members, friends, students, or employees. Using simulated ink print braille, lessons consist of a variety of worksheets that include filling in the blanks, matching, writing the braille word in print, and brailling the print word with pencil. There are pictures and lots of practice exercises, for practice is the key to remembering what those dot arrangements mean. You do not need special equipment to complete this course, just the book, a pencil, and a desire to learn braille. 

We are seeking people to beta test the first edition. Evaluators will be expected to do all of the exercises and complete a brief evaluation form within a three-month period. Books will be distributed in January. If you are interested, please call (425) 776-4042, write Louis Braille Center, 320 Dayton Street, Suite 125, Edmonds, WA 98020 or e-mail

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Capital City Council of the Blind

Guide Dog Users of Washington State

King County Chapter

United Blind of Seattle

United Blind of Spokane

United Blind of Tri-Cities 

United Blind of Walla Walla

United Blind of Whatcom County 

Capital City Council of the Blind 
by Denise Colley, Member

 At our November meeting, elections for 2004 were held. The 2004 officers are: Terry Atwater, President Berl Colley, 1st Vice-President Viola Cruz, Secretary Dottie Simonsen, Treasurer CCCB's webmaster, Rich Dirk, has been busy upgrading our website. He has added many new features with captioned pictures.

CCCB invites everyone to take a look and give us your feedback. Go to This year's Christmas party was held on December 13th at the restaurant in Panorama City in Lacey. This was the 34th annual Christmas party, which was started by the Olympia Blind Bowlers in 1970. Have the best of holiday seasons, from CCCB. 

Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS) 
by Joleen Ferguson, President 

We are small but growing. With a new slate of officers and lots of enthusiasm, we plan to do some fun and exciting things in the coming year. Now is the time for you to join. We are looking for members who are guide dog users or interested in guide dog-related activities. Contact Vivian Conger, Secretary, 1519 Whitman St., Walla Walla, WA 99362 with your $15.00 dues and your contact information. 

New officers, elected at our breakfast meeting, November 8, 2003: I am President, with Sydney; Susan Kamrass, Vice President, with Captain; Vivian Conger, Secretary, with Blaze; Janice Squires, Treasurer, with Kenner, and Viola Cruz, Board Member, with Alberta. Shirley Taylor with Velma continues her term as board member. Marlaina Lieberg, with Madeline, will fill the new board position of past president. 

Among our guests at the breakfast meeting were three Seeing Eye guests: Trainer John Bertram, with Mindy; Manager of Field Operations David Loux, with Alice; and Field Representative Chelsea Morrow, with Flower. They were at the WCB convention hotel in conjunction with Alan Garrels from DSB to put on a workshop with 16-20 year-olds on mobility. This included introduction to GPS orientation and use of a compass. Mindy was there as the sample guide dog for those who wanted to see what working with a guide dog would be like. What a cute little German Shepherd she is! We were very pleased that they joined us for breakfast. 

Nick Terrones from Guide Dogs for the Blind was our luncheon guest speaker. We learned about the "B.E.S.T." training method that Guide Dogs for the Blind has been using for the past few years. Dogs on treadmills! Using treats to train dogs! You should have been there to hear the exciting and innovative new concepts in training he shared. 

We are planning a spring Fling that we hope will be held in Seattle along with the WCB leadership training weekend and board meeting in April or May. We have ideas for speakers and other fun activities. Watch future NEWSLINE issues for details as they unfold. 

We would like to thank our out-going officers for the hard work they have done. Many of them have faced serious illness and we wish them well. Thanks to Marlaina Lieberg with Madeline, Past President; Gary Burdette with Jabar, past Vice President; and Susan Kamrass with Captain, past Treasurer. 

Contact Information: President, Joleen Ferguson, (509) 529-3415 
Vice President, Susan Kamrass, (360) 757-3510 
Secretary, Vivian Conger, (509) 526-4967 
Treasurer, Janice Squires, (509) 582-4749 
Board Member, Shirley Taylor, (206) 362-3118 
Board Member, Viola Cruz, (360) 754-8193 
Immediate Past President, Marlaina Lieberg, (206) 243-1716

Back to Around the State

King County Chapter 
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer 

'Tis the season to be jolly and reason to be thankful. From our chapter to your chapter, we wish you all happy holidays and a bright and prosperous new year. By the way, ladies, 2004 is a leap year. 

Our guest speaker in October was a member of the League of Women Voters. She explained and we discussed the statewide and local issues that can be so cumbersome at times. It's nice to know that all those thousands of words in the voters pamphlet can be boiled down to basic, understandable facts, both pro and con. 

Seventeen of our members attended the WCB convention in Spokane. It was enjoyable, interesting and informative. Many thanks to the convention committee and the Spokane chapter for all your hard work. 

Election of officers was held at our November meeting with the following results: President, Tim Schneebeck Vice-President, Becky Bell Secretary, Rhonda Nelson and I am Treasurer.

United Blind of Seattle 
by Doug Hildie, President 

United Blind of Seattle (UBS) did not submit a "chapter update" for the last issue of NEWSLINE. Consequently, this installment includes our summer activities. We have been busy! 

UBS meetings, like other WCB chapters, are a mix of business and pleasure. We have formed task forces, committees assigned various tasks to involve and serve the membership. They are in various stages of development. They include the Membership Services Task Force, the Financial Development Task Force, and the Community Outreach Task Force. The latter task force is just now forming, and it will set its agenda for 2004 in January. Initially, it will address a number of issues, which will be described in later issues. The Membership Services Task Force provides support to the membership in ways that assist the membership to achieve its goals. The Financial Development Task Force has been, as its name implies, creating new fundraising mechanisms for UBS. 

We have continued to have presentations from various segments of the community. Most recently, we had an encore presentation by students from the Dental Assistant Program at Seattle Vocational Institute, a program that provides dental care to low-income and disabled persons, and also teaches techniques for the dental care of guide dogs. 

ln January, we will have a presentation that addresses the subject of advocacy and access for pedestrians in the Puget Sound region. This will include materials and techniques that cities can install to rectify mobility impediments that have resulted from redesigned curbs at intersections. Hopefully, a member of the Seattle City Council will also be present, who has taken an active role in promoting and facilitating pedestrian safety and accessibility for all citizens. 

UBS held an election at its November meeting. Officers are: President, Doug Hildie; 1st Vice President, Howard Martinson; 2nd Vice President, Robert Miller; Treasurer, Karen Johnson; and Secretary, Sharon Strickland. Board members are Dorothy Gill, Becky Bell, and Glenn McCully. 

We concluded 2003 on December 13th with our annual luncheon to celebrate the holiday season, and to wish everyone well in 2004.

United Blind of Spokane 
by Dorothy Carroll, President and Marlys Gerling, Co-Secretary 

Our chapter has been very busy with our part of the Convention of 2003. When we were told the Convention was going to be in Spokane, we were honored and excited and then we took a deep breath and said, "Can we do this?" 

We were to be the host chapter. We are a small chapter of 20 members. We were given a list of what was expected of us as the host chapter, so we did have an outline to follow. But little did we know how much work and time it would take to complete our task. Each member volunteered to help gather door prizes. Bob Carroll, John and Marlee Naddy were Co-Chairmen. We started in June to November 8th and gathered 90 door prizes from doctors, lawyers, judges, businesses, individuals, and chapters. We were overwhelmed. They ranged in value from $300.00 to $1.00. 

Clara Donder and Frances Spolski were cochairmen of the goodie bags for a total of 200 bags. It took two weekends to put all the goodies in the bags. We had quite an assembly line going. We really worked together. 

Sue Ammeter and Cindy Burgett came to Spokane October 9th to meet with the River Ridge Relief Society of the LDS to instruct in greeting and guiding the conventioneers. Peggy and Marv Jones were co-chairmen. Thirty-nine volunteers helped at the convention. They did an outstanding job. Our chapter had dinner with Cindy at the Azteca. 

Councilman Steve Corker did a wonderful job with the opening speech to officially open the convention. Mr. Corker has sight problems in his family so he spoke from the heart. Leonard Nelson, a Lions member and Manito Lodge chaplain, gave the invocation. The River Ridge Boy Scouts presented the colors. Their leader is Keith Glander. 

There were 72 first timers 63 dog guides and 243 attendees The hospitality room goodies, cookies, pretzels, pop, and trail mix were gathered by our club. Our wonderful volunteers helped to keep the trays full. 

None of us could keep up with Sue and Berl managing their respective hospitality rooms. The information table suggested by Cindy Burgett was a huge success and very much needed. It was staffed by many volunteers. The walkie talkies kept everything running smoothly. Berl was interviewed on KXLY TV. 

The casino trip was very successful. The play at the Interplayers had many people wanting to attend. O&M Youth was very successful; two members from Spokane were in attendance. Marlee Naddy gave the Banquet Invocation. We had outstanding speakers, and a scholarship presentation to 10 scholars for a total of $27,000 in Scholarships. Denise Colley always does a beautiful presentation. Margret Harvey played the piano and celebrated her 91st birthday with us. All the banquet attendees sang Happy Birthday to Margret. 

Comments from conventioneers: "It was the best convention I ever attended;" "I was treated so well and had many good conversations;" "I know I have made some good friends in Spokane." We had four new members join our Chapter after the convention. 

After the convention our chapter met and voted in new officers: President, Dorothy Carroll; Vice President, Mary Thorpe; Co-Secretaries, Dannelle Osmon and Marlys Gerling; Treasurer, Mary Ann Federspiel. 

We had a picnic in August and a Christmas party potluck on December 13, both at the Edgewater Village Clubhouse. Bea Shinnaberry left for Tri Cities after being a member of our chapter for 19 years. She will be missed. 

This was our small part in helping with the convention and it takes many people to put on a convention of this size. Cindy Burgett did an outstanding job as Chairman of the 2003 Convention. Three cheers for Cindy.

United Blind, Tri-Cities 
by Janice Squires, President 

The United Blind of the Tri-Cities is looking forward to the upcoming holiday season to spend good times with family and friends. When I think of family and friends, I cannot help but include the WCB as a part of this world. Eight of our members attended the WCB convention in Spokane, and we all know personally how much we mean to each other. 

I thank you for the honor of serving as this year's Mistress of Ceremonies. We want also to thank our members Sue and Paul Sather for all of their work on registration, and for Sue's dedicated work as Treasurer of this organization. Also, our gratitude goes to Frank Cuta as Secretary of WCB, and for all of his constant work with the microphones and sound systems. Another thank you to Diana Softich for serving as our membership contact person. 

Our lunch bunch is like our support group, and we meet once a month at local restaurants. Our summer picnic was held in the backyard of members Shannon and Dixie McDaniels, and it is always so much fun. Diana Softich and her play committee have once again organized a narrated play with our local theater group, and it is enjoyed by so many of our members. The play, Arsenic and Old Lace, was done in September, and the next play of the season, A Lion in Winter, was performed in November.

Paul Wilburn and many other United Blind members have worked hard with the block grant committee with the City of Kennewick to put together a grant proposal for the installation of locating devices at intersections that have already been fitted with audible signals. We were extremely delighted to find out that the block grant committee of the City of Kennewick gave a grant of $35,000 for this project. We then went to the WCB and asked for some additional funding, and to our overwhelming happiness, the WCB gave funds of $21,000 in order to retrofit three more intersections with these devices. We cannot begin to thank WCB for this more than generous contribution and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The City of Kennewick is one municipality that works with the blind and visually impaired in so many ways, and we are planning a presentation ceremony to them with this check to say "Thank you."

The UBTC works hand in hand with our local transit system and many of our members have attended public hearings to voice our opinions on a variety of issues. My guide dog Kenner and I have just been featured in a Ben Franklin transit TV and radio commercial to show the disability community that the Paratransit and regular bus systems are a safe and efficient way to travel. 

Here's wishing you a safe and happy holiday season.

United Blind of Walla Walla 
by Ernest Jones 

United Blind of Walla Walla is growing and thriving! In September, we had a representative from the Red Cross talk to us about what it does for the people here in our valley and what we can do for them. He was very informative and gave us much to think about. 

Our October meeting was long, with a lot of information to digest. Bill Hoage from the Tri-Cities came and told us of the work going on at the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind. There is now someone to teach computer skills Monday through Friday at a small charge. His talk was very interesting. Jim Mitchell, from Valley Transit, also came to talk about improvements in our local bus system. There are now a few special runs up to 9:00PM or later, providing transportation for the disabled from the colleges or work places to and from their homes. He told us how the Valley Transit was working to help all people, including the disabled. 

We voted to use some of our bank account to purchase canes for Annee Hartzell's cane bank. Annee works with about 50 blind children from age 3 to 19 in southeastern Washington. We voted to buy $300 worth of canes in varying sizes and to give them to Annee. At our November meeting, we presented 17 canes to Annee Hartzell's cane bank. 

Annee told of the children she was helping. She told of a three-year-old, who would be so happy to receive a cane just his size. Annee hopes to always have enough canes of different lengths so whenever a child needs a longer cane, he/she can turn in the old cane for a new one, thus always being able to walk with a cane of the correct length. Also, there will be replacement canes for those who break them. Our plan, as a unit, is to be sure Annee will always have the needed canes for the blind children. 

We had ordered these canes from California Canes. They sent us two extra ones, and also several extra tips free, plus they did not charge us shipping. California Canes gave us a great reduction in price, so we were able to purchase more canes than originally thought. For others who might be interested in ordering canes from this company, their address is: California Canes, 16263 Walnut Street, Hesperia, CA 92345; Phone: (866) 332-4883 

Annee also told of the great need for computers, so these blind students will not fall behind the sighted students. We are hoping to find computers for these students to use. 

We elected Vivian Conger to another two-year term as President, and Joleen Ferguson as Treasurer.

Here is a wish to all that your holidays are wonderful and your new year filled with hope and pleasure.

United Blind of Whatcom County
by Yvonne Miller, President 

Hello to all our southern and eastern chapter neighbors! Evelynne (Mickey) Johnson and Rosalee Radonski attended our state convention in Spokane. They enjoyed themselves and learned about WCB. 

Getting back to our chapter meeting, we elected two new officers, Rose Radonski is our new Secretary and Beth Marsau will serve as our new Treasurer. Gary Burdette announced his resignation as President due to health reasons. With great empathy, his resignation was accepted. I will serve out his remaining term. Betty Sikkema will replace me as 1st Vice-President. For most of the summer, Gary has been seriously ill. He had a ruptured appendix, undiagnosed for about three months. It is quite amazing that he survived. It still is a long road to recovery. He must heal from the inside out. It may take a year to heal completely. We offer Gary our best wishes and prayers to get well. 

We have two new members who joined us in November, Lisa Owen and Mary Allen. As you may recall, Lisa Owen is a WCB scholarship recipient. She attends Whatcom Community College. She would like to work on advocacy issues. It's great to have her aboard. Mary Allen is 65 years young. She enjoys meeting with our group for support. We welcome them both to our UBWC chapter. 

In December, we began our Christmas campaign with a "World's Finest Chocolate" fundraiser. They make great stocking stuffers. We hope 2004 is a prosperous year. We will have other events when spring and summer roll around again. 

Our Christmas potluck was at the home of JoEllen Barton, with a short meeting in the afternoon. After adjournment, it was a social time for visiting, playing games, or singing Christmas carols. Betty Sikkema of Lynden brought a musical instrument to inspire caroling. There was a gift exchange tree, so no one left without a gift. We thank JoEllen for opening her home to host the party. Thank you, JoEllen! 

From all of us of United Blind of Whatcom County, we wish you Happy Holidays! A special greeting to Arnie Shrock of Tennessee. We all wish you well. 

We also must sadly acknowledge the passing of a dedicated member, Adolf Griffith, who died November 16, 2003. He had served as our Treasurer until he was taken ill. He is survived by his wife, Annabelle. He will be missed. 

Should you happen to be in Whatcom County, join us at our monthly chapter meetings. We meet every second Saturday at 1:00PM on 1212 Indian Street. We welcome you - come visit us!

WCB Committee Assignments 

If interested in serving on any WCB committees for 2004, please contact Cindy Burgett, no later than January 8, to let her know of your wishes, (360) 698-0827 or Committee members will be notified of their appointments within two weeks of January 15, with committee lists being available at the January 31 board meeting. A finalized list of committees and members, with chair contact information, will appear in the March NEWSLINE

Membership dues are due. Can your chapter use $500? Affiliates wishing to earn a $500 stipend must submit a complete membership list, along with the appropriate dues for each member on their affiliate list. Membership information and dues should be sent to Sue Sather, P.O. Box 6996, Kennewick, WA 99336. The membership packet must be complete and postmarked no later than February 10, 2004.

Our new database manager, Janice Squires, will be in communication with all affiliate presidents to make sure that each one knows what information must be included on the membership list. At the time of this writing, the criteria are still being worked out, but presidents can expect to hear from Janice by January 10, 2004. If you need to contact Janice about the membership information, she can be reached at (509) 582-4749 or

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Hats Off to You 
by Peggy Shoel, Editor 

We are happy to extend our congratulations to the following WCB members: 

  • All the newly elected and re-elected members of the 2004 board. Please see Directory in this issue.

  • Glenn McCully, WCB board member, on being elected Alternate Delegate to the ACB 2004 National Convention in Birmingham, Alabama.

  •  Viola Cruz, Vice-President, Capital City Council of the Blind, as a backup delegate should Glenn not be able to attend.

  • PCB members Andy and Missie McDermott, on the birth of their daughter, Britney Joann, born November 18, 2003. Weighing in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces and 19 inches long, Britney has already brought much joy to mom and dad and 5-year-old Alek, who loves being a big brother.

  • JoEllen Barton, 2nd Vice President, United Blind of Whatcom County, on the occasion of her 80th birthday. JoEllen enjoyed a celebratory party with 50 family members and friends.

  • Don Simonson on receiving his third guide dog, Irah, from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Don was presented with his dog on his 80th birthday.


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Kennewick Gets $21,000 for Crossing Signals 

The following article appeared in the Tri-City Herald Newspaper on December 9, 2003. 

The Washington Council of the Blind is giving $21,000.00 to the city of Kennewick to help install audible pedestrian signals at intersections to help blind and visually impaired people. 

The grant was requested by the United Blind of Tri-Cities, which worked with the city's Public Works Department to receive $35,000.00 from Kennewick's community development block grant funds for the same purpose. 

Kennewick was one of the first cities in Washington to use the audible pedestrian signals, beginning in 1995. The city currently has 23 audible signal devices, which give sounds indicating when it is safe to cross the street. 

The newest devices do even more by having audible locators, which emit a sound to help in finding signal poles. 

The $21,000.00 grant will be combined with the $35,000.00 block grant to retrofit a total of eight intersections. 

The grant check was presented at the Kennewick City Council meeting on December 2, 2003 with a group of UBTC members in attendance. 

Note from UBTC: We have received a great deal of media attention, not only in the local paper, but also TV and radio news coverage.

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Bits & Pieces 
by Peggy Shoel, Editor 

  • Are you making your first entry into the world of computers and technology and feeling overwhelmed? Consider enrolling in the free Hadley School for the Blind Distance Learning course entitled, "Access Technology - Beginning." The four-lesson course explains the workings of a typical personal computer (PC), deals with access issues for visually impaired individuals, recommends how to choose a computer system with software, and suggests ways to finance your purchase. For more information, call their student services office at 800-526-9909

  • Travel and Leisure has been added to the recorded magazines available at no charge through the Talking Book & Braille Library. For more information or to subscribe, call the WTBBL at (206) 615-0400 or 800-542-0866.

  • Freedom for the Blind - the Secret is Empowerment (RC55216) is a newly recorded book written by a blind attorney and rehabilitation professional. It outlines ways in which the lives and careers of blind people can be enriched and enhanced using new philosophies and strategies that challenge conventional rehabilitation methods.

  • Union Bank of California has now installed talking ATMs in all of their locations in California, Oregon and Washington. In addition, monthly statements and other documents are readily available in other formats upon request

  • Cruises for the Visually Impaired through DAMAR Travel Carnival Cruise Lines. Particularly designed to accommodate blind persons with guide dogs. Contact Doug Hildie on WCB-L for details, or Dave Kronk at DAMAR Travel, 1-800-999-6101, or e-mail


  • Panasonic now offers braille manuals for most of the products they sell - for more information, call 800-833-9626 

  • Guide Dog Users Inc has just introduced GDUI Gazzette, a recorded message informing listeners of issues and events affecting dog guides and their human partners. The information is updated the first of each month and includes GDUI product reviews. The access phone number is (206) 333-3598 or for more information, call 888-858-1008.

  • Lighthouse International, located in New York, publishes a print pamphlet entitled What to Do When Your Spouse or Partner Becomes Visually Impaired. It offers advice and techniques on understanding and coping, and is available free of charge. For information, call 1-800-829-0500.

  • The ACB Internet Committee has just created ACB Chat, a free forum list without a moderator. Participants police themselves and concerns can be directed to the Internet Committee for possible action. To join the list, go to and choose the link that says "Join our email Discussion and Information List." Then select ACB Chat.

  • ACB Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have just been approved for air time and distribution by ABC and the Disney Radio network. Other major networks are considering following suit. The PSAs may be seen on the ACB Website - see above bullet

  • The ACB Store is ready to take your orders for fully accessible versions of People of Vision: a History of the American Council of the Blind by James and Marjorie Megivern. The book is available in several versions: braille, cassette, hard-cover and soft-cover print, and the computer-based CDROM. Supplies of the braille version are extremely limited; so if you think you would like a braille copy, order immediately. The cassette edition is a nicely repackaged set of tapes with the same narration as the NLS edition. The braille edition sells for the price of the hardcover print book, $43.95. The cassette edition sells for the price of the paperback book, $30.95. Orders can be shipped by the store within 7-14 days. Contact the ACB Store by calling 1-877-367-2224 or visit and click on the ACB Store.

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In the Finance Committee report in the last NEWSLINE, Karen Johnson's name did not appear in the committee member listing. Karen is also a member of the Finance Committee.


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, 2004. 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.

Recipe from the kitchen of Sue Sather, WCB Treasurer 

Sue says this pie is delicious, easy to make, and great year-round. 

Self-Crust Pumpkin Pie 

2 large eggs 
2 cups pumpkin 
1 cup milk 
2/3 cup brown sugar 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ginger 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 cup flour (white or wheat) 

I use a mixer to mix all ingredients well. Pour in greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until center is done. 150 calories per serving.

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Jan 31   -    WCB Board Meeting, Seattle 

Feb 7    -   WTBBL Patron Advisory Council Meeting 

Mar 6    -   State Rehabilitation Council 

Mar 12-13   -    WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting 

April 30-May 1   -   WCB Leadership Training, location to be decided 

May 2    -   WCB Board Meeting, location to be decided 

June 10    -   WSSB Open House 

June 11    -   WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting 

June 19    -   State Rehabilitation Council 

June 25-27    -    WSSB All School Reunion 

July 3-10    -    ACB National Convention, Birmingham, Alabama 

Aug 6-7    -    WCB Board Retreat 

Sept 11    -    State Rehabilitation Council 

Nov 11-13    -    WCB State Convention, Bellingham 

Dec 11    -    State Rehabilitation Council

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Officers and Board Members 2004


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

Denise Colley, First Vice-President   -  (360) 438-0072 
2305 Maxine St SE, Lacey, WA 98503 

Julie DeGeus, 2nd Vice-President   -  (206) 547-7444 
7064 35th Ave NE, Apt 34, Seattle, WA 98115 

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 

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

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

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

Glenn McCully - (253) 804-4246 
635 7th St NE, Apt 218, Auburn, WA 98002 

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

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  • 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 Tim Schneebeck for providing the NEWSLINE 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.



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