The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind


December 2004 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity

Founded 1935

(206) 283-4276


Cindy Burgett, President

6686 Capricorn Lane NE

Bremerton, WA  98311

(360) 698-0827


Peggy Shoel, Editor

5171 S. Spencer St.

Seattle, WA  98118

(206) 722-8477




From the President's Desk by Cindy Burgett

No Blind Person Left Behind by Peggy Shoel

Pre-Convention Board Meeting by Shirley Taylor

First-Timer Highlights/Impressions by Margaret Kickert

We Did It: 2004 WCB Convention by Rhonda Nelson 

WCB 2004 Resolutions 

And a New Chapter is Born by Kevin Jones 

Does Your Chapter Need $500? by Janice Squires

Nevada Council of the Blind by Rick Kuhlmey 

Playing a Part in the Future of Students by Denise Colley

Goodbye to a Four-Time Scholarship Winner

History Committee Project by Berl Colley 

Thank You from AVIA

Around the State 

Another New WCB Chapter? by Gaylen Floy 

WTBBL News by Gloria Leonard 

Got Purpose? Got Passion? by Dr. Dean Stenehjem 

Louis Braille Center News by Carolyn Meyer 

Transcriber’s Corner by Carolyn Meyer 

Hats Off to You by Peggy Shoel 

Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel 

The Accessible Seattle Public Library by Barb Weisman 

Unlikely Career Comes to a Close (reprint) 

New Entertainment Service in Spokane 

Shop and Support ACB by Billie Jean Keith




Officers and Board Members 2005 


From the President’s Desk

by Cindy Burgett, WCB President

First of all I want to thank each of you who have joined WCB this year. Whether you are one of the over 50 new members to WCB or have been a member for many years, without you, we would not be in existence. I hope that as you reflect on this past year, you will be able to share with me and the rest of the board those areas where we have done well, and maybe give suggestions on those areas where you think we can do better. WCB is about each and every one of you and I want to do everything I can to help you feel an ownership in this organization.

Many members work behind the scenes to keep WCB productive. Over 70 people took time this year to serve on one or more committees. Committees truly are the backbone of this organization. We do not have staff people to do the things the membership would have us do. So it is the committees that follow through with such work. I am currently taking down names of those interested in serving on WCB committees and wishing to represent WCB on the Board of Trustees of Washington State School for the Blind for 2005. Please let me know by December 31, 2004 on which committees you would be interested in serving. If you’re not sure which committee or committees would be right for you, give me a call at (360) 698-0827 or drop me an email and let’s talk about it ( . All of our committees are listed on our website.

The WCB annual convention is always an incredible event, and this year was no exception. I know you’ll read more about it in other articles within these pages, but I would like to highlight a few events that stand out in my mind.

This year we had 16 high school students participate in the second annual Washington State Youth Conference. These young people were able to tour Western Washington University, hear about distance education and our scholarship program, talk about issues they’re dealing with as visually impaired teens, and mingle with adult members of WCB at meals and in hospitality. We also had over 40 first time attendees this year including eight students from the Orientation and Training Center at DSB. I even heard of strong interest in forming a new chapter from some of those first timers.

Speaking of a new chapter. WCB had the honor of chartering its seventeenth chapter, the South Kitsap Council of the Blind. This was just another part of the celebration at our banquet. A banquet filled with cheers and tears. Nine students were presented a total of $22,000 in scholarships and this was the first year that WCB was able to recognize our members and chapters and people in the public sector for the many contributions to promoting the ideals of WCB through their time, talent and service. Six chapters were recognized for their chapter updates throughout the past year. Officers and board members who had completed their term were recognized with certificates of official service. And two members were presented plaques: Sue Ammeter, the Outstanding Advocacy Award, and Marilyn Donnelly, the Certificate of Outstanding Service to WCB. What a joy it was to be a part of this event.

Truly the next best thing to saying "thank you" to our own is saying thank you to someone who many of our own have known through his gift of words. The One World Award was presented to Dave Niehaus, veteran announcer for the Seattle Mariners. We were all taken to the ballpark as a recording played with a series of sound bites of Dave calling the play by play and then we listened to a phone conversation with Dave and Marlaina as he accepted his award and thanked the WCB for such special recognition. His pride and love for his work, his commitment to the fans and sincere understanding of the impact he makes on all of us, including those who are blind, was obvious in his heartfelt response. It is a real pleasure for me to convey that the membership voted at our business meeting to make the awards ceremony an ongoing program of WCB.

It was also at the business meeting that six resolutions were passed, all giving clear directives to your leadership for some action on behalf of WCB. We also passed two other important motions, one that will create a working relationship with the Washington Assistive Technology Foundation to manage our equipment loan program and the other to seek outside grant funding for the creation of a Telephone Reading Service.

A convention of this magnitude does not happen by chance. Many hands worked hard, and although I do not have the space here to acknowledge everyone, I do want to extend a special appreciation to Rhonda Nelson and her convention committee and to Yvonne Miller and the United Blind of Whatcom County for their extraordinary efforts.

There are many things for us to look forward to in the coming year. The legislative seminar is a wonderful opportunity for participation on a national level. Selected persons make a commitment to write an article about their experience in D.C. and to serve on the Legislative Committee for the following year. All important deadlines and meetings are listed in the calendar section of this publication.

As this year comes to a close, I cannot help but reminisce about all those things for which I am thankful, many mentioned here in this article. I have also been very blessed with a supportive family and a board that is as committed to working as a team as I am. I could never do this alone, nor would I want to, and because of all of you, I don’t have to.

No Blind Person Left Behind
by Peggy Shoel

When I was a Kindergartner, if someone spoke the word "mouse" I thought "Mickey." Say the word "mouse" to a kindergartner now, and the child will think "computer." I remember a political statement made many moons ago – a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage. Do we now add to that a computer in every home? Not necessarily. There are a number of reasons why an individual may not have a computer. It can simply be the desire to not have one, or the feeling of being overwhelmed by the necessary training, or the existence of one or more medical conditions that make operating a keyboard not an option.

I retired six years ago from a job where I earned my bread and butter productively and competitively operating a computer. I fully intended, upon retirement, to dip my feet into the pool of non-work-related computership. When I discovered that medical problems affecting my fingers would not permit this, I determined that I would not be left behind. If a computer is not a part of your life, either temporarily or permanently, you can access information, enjoy interaction, and maintain communication through systems using your telephone keypad. Here are just some of the many opportunities that are out there.

· AOL by Phone – 800-466-5463. Several years ago, America Online established this service as an accommodation to its regular customers who wanted to access e-mail when they were not near a computer, but were near a phone. This is a receive-only system, with a 60 second audio response feature. I use mine to receive personal e-mails, to receive confirmation and shipping information for mail orders and with a one-time-only assist from a computer user, and with the permission of list owners, I am subscribed to several group distribution lists, including WCB and BlindCook. AOL has been providing a 30-day free trial period for this phone service. By the way, a feature offered to subscribers is a wake-up call. I know this is not unique, but it does come in handy, and it is nice to answer your ringing phone and hear your own voice telling you, "Get up!" FYI – my AOL e-mail address is

· Philmore Productions Voice Mailbox – 877-638-2974. Based in Chicago, Illinois, this is a voice mail system that provides subscribers a mailbox where messages up to 20 minutes can be left and received and to participate in group distribution boxes with other subscribers who share your areas of interest such as cooking, books, radio of yesteryear, sports, technology, the arts, guide dog users, blindness issues, and much more. A directory of groups is provided. All this is done with human voice. Caveat –you can subscribe via the above toll free number; however, the system access line is not free. Therefore, this is a good opportunity for individuals who have flat rate long distance. I use Quest, which offers unlimited toll and long-distance calling for $20 a month.

· Net By Phone – 877-638-2974. This is an Internet access program offered by Philmore Productions, which allows subscribers to be Internet users. It is my understanding that at this time, all five Washington state area codes have a local access number.

· Net-Echo/Internet Speech – 877-312-4638. Based in San Jose, California, this is another system offering Internet access.

· Laser Voice Mail – 206-376-5000. Based in Seattle, this is a free service that gives subscribers a box number where a 90-minute message can be left and then accessed by others. It can be useful to individuals who live in or have free access to the 206 area code. It is used by groups to post and update relevant information regarding events and activities, and can be a good tool for chapters and committees to disseminate information.

· American Council of the Blind 800-424-8666. ACB holds monthly free access open participation topical discussions. It is an opportunity to hear and be heard. For more info, call the above toll-free number weekdays from 2:00pm to 5:00pm Eastern Time, or call 202-467-5081.

· Tell Me - 800-555-8355 (Tell). This is a free information access source that provides callers with updates about weather, sports, entertainment, stock quotes and travel. It also has a feature called driving directions; the caller speaks a departure and a destination address in or out of the same city or state, and is given precise driving directions and mileage distances for each segment. Since it took me from my front door in Seattle to my old home in Los Angeles, California correctly, I can vouch for its accuracy.

These are just a few of the doors which open to communication, information and interaction that are available to those of us who want to remain in the loop using our telephone keypad. I offer a caution – when inquiring into these services, please be sure you ask all possible questions, and be certain that the service, usage, limitations, and costs are completely clear to you before you decide to subscribe.

We are at the beginning of a new year, and we belong to an organization that is growing in energy, enthusiasm, and participation. I would like to end with the following comment I recently heard. If nothing in your life lights your fire…. then your wood must be wet. Happy New Year, everybody!

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The Pre-Convention Board Meeting
by Shirley Taylor, Board Member, WCB

The Washington Council of the Blind board convened on Thursday evening, November 11. The meeting was called to order by President Cindy Burgett shortly after 7:00pm. After roll call and introductions, the minutes from the previous board meeting were approved. These had been sent by mail to board members, so did not have to be read. Sue Sather gave the treasurer’s report for the past two quarters. Cindy dispensed with the president’s report, as it would be heard on the convention floor, and the agenda was very full.

Berl Colley reported for the Investment Committee and on the vehicle donation program. The latter program is bringing in somewhat less revenue than in previous years, but is still a good source of funds.

The next agenda item was the equipment loan program. This caused a great deal of discussion. There was concern that so few members take advantage of this opportunity. It was suggested that part of the reason could be the personal information required of each applicant, and the knowledge that other WCB members serving on the committee were receiving this information. Francie Pennell, of the Washington Assistive Technology Foundation, spoke to the board. She suggested that her group handle equipment issues for us, to eliminate this problem. Cindy will appoint an ad hoc committee to work with Francie on the details before a decision is made.

There was only one grant request brought before the board. This request was denied at the present time.

Next on the agenda was the budget for 2005. The proposed budget had been sent to board members, so all were prepared to discuss it. With a few minor changes, it was voted to present it to the convention body for approval.

Viola Cruz reported on plans for a telephone reading service. The board voted against funding this activity at this time. A motion was then made and passed that the Grant Committee seek outside funding for the program. If found, it would become a program of WCB.

Julie DeGeus reported from the Membership Committee. Kevin Jones was introduced as President of a newly-founded South Kitsap Chapter. Rhonda Nelson spoke briefly about convention matters.

Under old business, a question was asked about the WCB’s telephone system. Cindy answered that she is working on the problem, and hopes that we can find a better, less expensive system soon.

After brief announcements, the board meeting adjourned.

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WCB Convention First Timer Highlights/Impressions
by Margaret Kickert, United Blind of Tri-Cities

First Timer Scholarship recipients from the Tri-City area were Stan and Leslie Clark, Evelyn Crouse, Margie and Ron Kickert, and Carmen Walker, along with Fernando Ramos from Yakima and Miki Hopper-Estrada from Everett. We were all very impressed with the high quality of the WCB Convention in Bellingham. "Wow, Fantastic, Very Friendly, Overwhelmed, Wonderful, Great Convention/ Experience, Inspiring, Motivational, Overwhelmingly Wonderful, Very Informative," were some of the words given to describe the WCB Convention from the First Timers. Everyone is extremely GRATEFUL to Janice Squires and her First Timer Scholarship Committee for providing this wonderful opportunity to attend. We could shout from the house tops about the importance and meaning that this convention had for us, and it seems we were still telling everyone about how much we learned and gained from the convention weeks later. Sure, we have a few suggestions, but each of us felt it was a fantastic opportunity for us to learn, be motivated, and inspired. When I asked the First Timers for the highlights or their impressions of the convention, they shared some of the following comments:

Stan: "I have Retinitis Pigmentosa and have lived my entire life with diminishing vision, but have not spent much time around visually impaired people. The convention was a wonderful opportunity to network with others in similar situations and learn of creative adaptive techniques people use. The speakers were very informative and inspirational. I had the opportunity to be on the Arts Panel and demonstrate my scroll saw woodworking. I have done many 'shows' but found it rewarding to demonstrate to others in my same visual situation how to do a craft I love that most would consider a visual craft. The hotel did a wonderful job accommodating our group. My recommendation is that vendors stay for the entire time as listed. The convention was well planned, executed, educational and enjoyable. It is already on our calendar for next year".

Leslie: " I am a sighted spouse and one of the most remarkable people I know is my husband who has RP. He deals with vision loss with honesty and dignity. Attending the WCB convention allowed me to meet many people who share his demonstration that vision loss is not a disability. It requires adaptability, but it is not something that should keep people from achieving their personal growth potential. As an educator I was very impressed with the accomplishments of the scholarship winners. They know no bounds. I enjoyed the speakers and found myself listening with my eyes closed to the depth and quality of the presenters. I discovered how much I depend on my vision and have taken it for granted. I felt very accepted and humbled by the people I had the opportunity to meet and observe".

Evelyn: Evelyn said that she was impressed with all of the helpful people, the greeters and hotel staff included. All went so well and smoothly. She felt so comfortable and really enjoyed meeting new people and said it was just wonderful to mingle at the Meet/Greet Receptions. She was also very impressed with the hotel food service staff, who knew that the correct placement of food, plates and utensils is extremely important to us. She thought it was an outstanding convention.

Margie: " I was so overwhelmed with joy that this convention was so inspiring and motivating to me. I have been to many conventions, both for business and for civic organizations, but this was the friendliest and most motivational I have ever experienced. I learned so much and met so many friendly people who shared so many great stories. It opened up a new avenue of hope for me to be around these kind and caring people. From the wonderful, friendly greeters to the hotel room, staff and food it was all great. I enjoyed the Meet and Greet opportunity, seeing the dogs together and at work, the banquet and scholarship reception, the speakers and all the fun things like the talent show, going out to dinner together, etc. It was a wonderful learning experience and the best convention I ever attended".

Ron: "As a sighted, retired scientist and spouse who has attended many other conventions in the United States and Canada, I was impressed by the spirit-lifting behavior of many of the speakers and attendees. It was very well done, inspiring and a great motivator. The volunteers helping greet us were very friendly and gave a great first impression. Everything was great from beginning to end, except that the vendors left early or did not even come".

Carmen: Carmen told me that she was inspired and overwhelmed by all she saw and experienced and all of the friendly people. She was also impressed that the dogs were so well-mannered and good, and said she left the convention with a different outlook on life. Keep learning and make the most of life no matter what is dealt us, is what she learned from the speakers and the participants. The scholarship reception at the banquet brought tears to her eyes as it was such a joyous occasion to hear how the recipients overcame adversity. She found their determination heartwarming.

Fernando: Fernando was very appreciative of being a First Timer Scholarship recipient and felt very welcomed. He felt especially welcomed at the First Timers Breakfast and had a good time. He thought the entire convention was enjoyable and that everyone was very friendly.

Mikki: Mikki said she learned so much from the guide dog schools and is interested in getting a guide dog in the future. The panel she enjoyed the most was 'On the Home Front'. Not only did she feel it was entertaining, but she also learned so much. She said that it was a great convention.

In summary let me say that this convention was a wonderful opportunity to lear more about WCB, learn more about adapting to the challenges of diminished vision and/or vision loss, have great experiences, meet an exceptional group of people, make new friends across the state and glean lots of information that will be useful to us all in the days ahead. In a nutshell, this was an outstanding convention!

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We Did It: 2004 WCB Convention
by Rhonda Nelson, Outgoing Convention Committee Chair

It’s all said and done now
Convention is through
So very successful
And thanks go to you
The Bellingham members
Who locally planned
The statewide committee
Who had a big hand
The artists, the speakers
Exhibitors too
You brought us enjoyment
We learned much from you
Musicians with talent
And not just a few
Remarkable students
Award winners new
The folks with the prizes
The lucky who won
The hosts and the buddies
Who helped us have fun
And all who attended
To make this thing great
Next year we’re in Pasco
And I cannot wait!

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2004 Convention Resolutions

Resolution 2004-01

Whereas, the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) initiated a program of vehicle donations in March of 1997, and has continued this fundraising activity from that time to the present; and

Whereas, receipts from this fundraising activity have provided WCB scholarships for blind and visually impaired students, paid for educational opportunities for WCB members, provided for one-time crisis assistance for Washington’s visually impaired residents, and has helped with expenses to state and national conventions for our members; and

Whereas, Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted (CSBPS) has benefited for years from the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB)’s telephone message which refers those wishing to donate clothing to CSBPS; and

Whereas, CSBPS has started its own vehicle donation fundraiser in 2004, without offering WCB the courtesy of discussing the problems that two vehicle donation programs, within the blindness field, might have on organizations and agencies trying to raise money for their group needs; and

Whereas, other organizations and agencies have considered using vehicle donations as a means of raising money, only to drop the idea when they discussed with WCB having two blindness vehicle donation fundraisers.

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Washington Council of the Blind, in convention assembled this 13th day of November, 2004, in the city of Bellingham, Washington, instruct its president to contact Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted (CSBPS) to express our concerns about having two vehicle donation fundraising programs within the field of blindness; and

Be it further resolved, that a letter be written to other blindness organizations and agencies expressing our belief that this additional vehicle donation fundraiser breaches good, ethical behavior between entities in the blindness field; and

Be it further resolved, that the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) telephone message be changed to exclude the referral message to Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted (CSBPS) for those considering the donation of clothing, until such time as the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) president and Board believe that Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted (CSBPS) has given the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) the courtesy of discussing its vehicle donation fundraiser.

Resolution 2004-02

Whereas, Braille is the basic communication tool for people who are blind, just as print is for the sighted; and

Whereas, despite its versatility, Braille is often difficult to obtain or simply not available when requested as an alternative format; and

Whereas, the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind and the Department of Services for the Blind employ and serve many blind and visually impaired people throughout the State of Washington; and

Whereas, these agencies continue to fall short in the area of providing Braille material as an equal option, despite the opportunity and ethical responsibility to promote equality and accessibility to their blind employees and participants.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Washington Council of the Blind, in convention assembled this 13th day of November, 2004, in the city of Bellingham, Washington, that the president of the Washington Council of the Blind appoint a committee to meet with the Directors of the Department of Services for the Blind and the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, to express our expectation that these agencies meet their ethical responsibility by providing to their employees and participants who are identified as Braille readers, all literature, including agency memos, awards, certificates and plaques, and other personal correspondence, in Braille, which are currently provided in print or large print.

Resolution 2004-04

Whereas, Bill Palmer has served as Director of the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind since 1999; and

Whereas, the Department of Services for the Blind, during the time of his Directorship, has continued to solicit input from the Washington Council of the Blind; and

Whereas, vocational rehabilitation participants being served by the Department of Services for the Blind have continued to reach successful employment outcomes in a variety of occupational fields.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Washington Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 13th day of November, 2004, in the city of Bellingham, Washington, that the Washington Council of the Blind, its officers and directors take all necessary steps to encourage the newly-elected governor of the State of Washington to retain Bill Palmer as Director of the Department of Services for the Blind.

Resolution 2004-05

Whereas, Dr. Dean Stenehjem has served a Superintendent of the Washington State School for the Blind since 1990; and

Whereas, the Washington State School for the Blind, during the past fourteen years, has evolved in to one of the most highly respected educational institutions for blind children in the United States; and

Whereas, the Washington State School for the Blind has adopted a number of innovative educational outreach programs.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Washington Council of the Blind in convention assembled this 13th day of November, 2004, in the city of Bellingham, Washington, that the Washington Council of the Blind, its officers and directors take all necessary steps to encourage the newly-elected governor of the State of Washington to retain Dr. Dean Stenehjem as Superintendent of the Washington State School for the Blind.

The complete text of the WCB Resolutions 2004 can be found on the website.

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And a New Chapter is Born
By Kevin Jones, President,
South Kitsap Council of the Blind

At the 2004 WCB convention, a new chapter received its charter. The South Kitsap Council of the Blind will be meeting on the third Saturday of the month at the Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in Port Orchard. Meetings will begin at 11:00am and our first meeting is scheduled for January 15.

At this time, 13 members make up our new chapter, but none of us are new to WCB. We have all been active members of the Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB), and it was at the November meeting of the PCB that we decided to form a new chapter.

The PCB had grown to over 60 members and one-third of that chapter lives in the South Kitsap area. We decided that the best way to reach out to more blind people is to actually have a chapter that meets locally in Port Orchard.

We have every reason to believe that more WCB members will decide to join the SKCB and we plan to do an outreach day in the near future to let others know about us.

If you have questions about the South Kitsap Council of the Blind, call me at (360) 674-3254; David Haggen, Vice President, (360) 876-2332; Shelly Pryor, Secretary, (360) 876-6831; or Carol Brame, Treasurer, (360) 895-0854.

We hope this will encourage other chapters to take a chance and help WCB grow by planting new chapters outside their area.

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Does Your Chapter Need $500.00?
by Janice Squires, WCB Database Coordinator

If your chapter can use $500.00, here is a sweet and simple way to receive your money! Your chapter needs to submit your membership lists to me and your dues money to Sue Sather no later than February 10, 2005.

Here are some easy and simple rules to follow:

All dues must be sent to:

Sue Sather
P.O. Box 6996
Kennewick, WA 99336

The membership list must be sent, preferably via e-mail, to:
Janice Squires
or to
502 W. 20th Ave.
Kennewick, WA 99337

The contact information must include the following:

City, State and Zip Code
Phone Number
e-mail address
Fully Sighted, yes or no
Lifetime member, yes or no

Newsline Format: Cassette, large print, disk, e-mail, web site, or none

Braille Forum Format: Braille, large print, cassette, e-mail, web site, or none

Mailings and Convention Bulletin: Large print, Braille or web site.

Then, throughout the year, please contact us with any additions, corrections, or deletions to your membership list and the changes can be made immediately. After the initial lists have been sent, please include the date when the new member joined in order for them to be considered for WCB and ACB stipends and guideline requirements.

Thank you so much for helping your membership database committee become a more effective team.

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Nevada Council of the Blind in Nevada, the Silver State
by Rick Kuhlmey, Vice President

Hello from Nevada and the Nevada Council of the Blind. Founded in Reno in 1972 and having just celebrated its 32nd anniversary, NCB is stronger and livelier than ever. Nevada has been the fastest growing state in the nation since 1960. Presently, nearly 70% of the approximately 3 million people live in one of Nevada's seventeen counties - Clark County (Las Vegas). In this seventh largest state with 110,540 square miles, population centers outside of Clark County are sparse. The next largest population center is Reno and Carson City, some 479 miles from Clark County and Las Vegas. Think you have transportation problems? Imagine walking the 479 miles to Carson City. One member of NCB did just that in 1975, wearing 2 inches off his white cane in the 18 days of walking.

Given the distances involved in reaching out to Nevada's rural areas, NCB has begun a program of disseminating information through the library system. There are 92 libraries supporting Nevadans, therefore reaching more of our visually impaired that tend to stay home and just make do in our rural counties.

Education is a high priority for NCB because it leads to independence. The scholarship program is offered to visually impaired high school graduates continuing their education, be it at University or trade school. An effort is underway to procure grant funding to enlarge the program. By the way, after an unsuccessful attempt to hire a grant writer, members of NCB learned how to write grant applications themselves.

Another vital service NCB provides is assisting individuals who need eye exams, glasses and operations. This is NCB's Last Source Fund. Coordinating with other organizations to provide services broadens NCB's ability to assist in providing services.

To tie the membership together, we use the Silver Banner, a quarterly publication devoted to local and state news. A visit to the NCB website at fills in between editions of the Silver Banner. Editions of the Braille Forum bring national news from the American Council of the Blind, with which the NCB is affiliated. Telephone and computer e-mails allow constant day-to-day communication.

Through its Legislative Committee, the NCB is kept aware of matters affecting the blind and visually impaired at the state and federal level. By law, the membership is not allowed a voice in formulation of laws affecting them through lobbying. NCB is a 501(c)3 organization and it must be careful in its lobbying and political activities. This is where networking with other organizations plays its role and NCB is very active with other groups.

Field trips are popular events. NCB members participate in educational and health fairs. NCB also sponsors booths in other towns around Nevada as time and money permit. The last trip to Goldfield for "Goldfield Days" was awesome. Goldfield was celebrating its 100th anniversary. NCB had a booth right on the main highway - the main street of the town. The Highway Patrol shut down traffic on the only main road between Las Vegas and Reno for some two hours for the parade through Goldfield - a distance of about a half mile. Boasting some 20,000 residents in its heyday, now there may be 350 hardy souls. Brailed alphabet cards were handed out and visitor's names were brailed for them. It was a grand success. One of the NCB members, a Randolph-Shepperd Vendor, even bought a gold mine at the tax auction held the day of the parade.

The NCB is a hub of information exchange. Many of the members are involved in other organizations. This is a tremendous asset for anyone seeking services and information. With such an active membership, problems are solved far more easily. One Board member re-vitalized the Blinded Veterans Association several years ago, serving as President until last year. The same is now President of Nevada GEMS, a retired military ladies group and is active in other organizations. Several members are charter members of the Nevada Council of Blind Lions, which is the third Lions club in the U.S. to be comprised principally of visually impaired individuals. Another Board member has started an organization that does direct referral for needed services and has grown to have an office and volunteer staff. Still two more Board members are founders of the Purple Sage Chapter of the Red Hat Society. Yet another Board member has founded a PAC through which the blind may be politically active and an organization geared to lobbying. These two organizations protect the 501(c)3 status of the NCB and other organizations.

Other members are active in Goal Ball. NCB supports Goal Ball for youngsters with an active program in conjunction with the school district. Another member has put together a team of college age young adults and is coordinating a multi-state regional Goal Ball Tournament in Las Vegas in early December.

Las Vegas will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. NCB will be a part of it, as a grant has been obtained by one of our Board members to do an awareness day. Everywhere you go, NCB is there. We welcome you to come see us in '05.

Note: WCB provides loans to help qualifying members attend national conventions. More information on this program will appear in the March Newsline.

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Playing a Part in the Future of Students
by Denise Colley, WCB Scholarship Committee Co-chair

Once again this year members and friends of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) were privileged to meet and honor highly qualified and motivated blind and visually impaired college students through the awarding of scholarships. WCB was proud to award $,22,000 in scholarships to nine deserving students from around Washington State at the WCB convention held in Bellingham.

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. And, again this year it was WCB members and friends who helped make the reception the largest so far. Good food and conversation were enjoyed by all. As always, this year’s winners come from diverse backgrounds and are venturing into vastly different professions.

Colin Dow, a returning scholarship winner from 2003, 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. Colin will complete his BA degree in December 2004, and looks forward to beginning the new year by starting to work on his Masters Degree, with an emphasis on marriage counseling. Colin was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Audrey Jolley is a returning scholarship winner from 2002. She recently completed her Associate of Arts transfer degree from Lower Columbia Community College, and is now a junior at Washington State University through their Vancouver Distance Learning Program. Her major is Human Development, and she says it is her dream to become a counselor, either in the gerontology or psychology field. Audrey, an active member of the Lower Columbia Council of the Blind, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Bruce Visser is a graduate student at Western Washington University, majoring in rehabilitation counseling. To my knowledge, he is the first deaf/blind student to receive a WCB scholarship. His career objectives include becoming a deaf/blind specialist, leader, advocate, counselor, advisor, and educator. Bruce was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

The following was received in time for this issue: "Thank you for the generous scholarship. It was an honor to be selected and I truly appreciate the financial help to further my education. I look forward to learning as much as I can and then applying that to my career. Thank you so much." Bruce Visser

Yelena Davidenko is a freshman, attending Everett Community College. Yelena was born in Kiev, in the Ukraine, and came to the United States at age 11. After having to postpone her education due to health concerns, she resumed her studies in 2003, focusing on computer skills, Braille, mobility and the English language. Upon completion of her courses at Everett Community College, she plans to transfer to Whitman College where she is hoping to receive a Liberal Arts education with a concentration in technology. Yelena was awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

Robert Taylor is a junior at Western Baptist College in Salem, Oregon, majoring in intercultural studies with a minor in computer science. After graduating he plans to attend seminary to extend his studies and get a Master’s Degree in ministry. He would like to teach in a school for the blind in Russia. Robert was awarded a scholarship in the amount of $2,500.

Lynette Romero, member of the Lower Columbia Council of the Blind and the WCB Board, previously received scholarships in 1999 and 2001. She is a graduate student attending the Western Washington University Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation Counseling, located in Mountlake Terrace. Lynette graduated from the Evergreen State College with a BA Degree in the fall of 2003. Lynette was awarded a $2,500 scholarship.

Tristen Breitenfeldt, a WSSB graduate, is a freshman at Clark College, and hopes to major in education. She would like to become certified as an elementary school teacher. She expects to finish her Associate of Arts degree at Yakima Valley Community College. She then would like to obtain her Bachelor of Arts degree at Central Washington University. Tristen was awarded a $2,500 scholarship.

Stephanie Mellor, a scholarship recipient in 2002 and 2003, is a junior at Eastern Washington University, majoring in Vocational Rehabilitation. Expecting to obtain Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, she is interested in working with underprivileged youth. Stephanie was awarded a $3,000 scholarship.

Mariann Federspiel, a member of United Blind of Spokane, previously received scholarships in 2002 and 2003. She is a senior at Eastern Washington University, majoring in Children’s Studies, and in five years she expects to be working in a special education classroom and focusing on the rights of children with special needs. Mariann was awarded a $3,500 scholarship.

This year Robert Taylor and Tristen Breitenfeldt were the recipients of the educational scholarships sponsored by the Vehicle Donation Processing Center. Lynette Romero was the recipient of our newest scholarship, the Sheldon Family Educational Scholarship.

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, Walla Walla Council of the Blind, the Riverside Association of the Blind and the King County Council of the Blind for their financial contributions toward this year’s scholarship effort. 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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WCB Says Goodbye to a Four-Time Scholarship Winner

Those of you who have been part of our scholarship activities for awhile will remember Jerry House, a recipient of WCB scholarships from 1999 through 2003. Jerry graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services, and had begun his Master’s Program in Rehabilitation Counseling. At last year’s convention, the Scholarship Committee presented him with a plaque for maintaining a 4.0 GPA for the entire four years.

In September, WCB received a message from his partner, Richard Tucker, informing us of Jerry’s death. The Scholarship Committee would like to share with all of you an excerpt from this correspondence, reminding us of just how important our scholarship program is.

"In March, Jerry was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and after two rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of home hospice care, Jerry passed away on June 2, 2004. He was two days shy of his 46th birthday. Jerry was two quarters away from graduation and had an internship lined up with DVR in Tacoma when he died. He fought his battle with leukemia the same way he approached life - with all his energy and strength but he always stopped and took the time to thank the nurses and doctors who worked with the both of us through this difficult time. Jerry loved coming to the WCB conferences and was looking forward to going to his first national conference in Birmingham this summer. We had airline tickets purchased and ready! Before he died, he had me move certain pictures and objects next to his bed so he could be reminded of how full his life had become. One of the things he requested to be brought to him was the plaque WCB awarded him last year in Spokane.

On behalf of Jerry, I want to thank the WCB for your support to him in his endeavor to fulfill his dream of returning to school and embarking on a new career helping others. He was a remarkable man, a supportive and loyal colleague and a loving friend and partner. I admired him tremendously and miss him. I know that he will be in Bellingham in spirit this November to cheer on the new scholarship winners."

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History Committee Project
by Berl Colley, Committee Chair

Have you been hearing stories of people talking about themselves on long phone calls? If you were at the 2004 WCB convention, in Bellingham, did you wonder why some members were closeting themselves in the Cascade Room?

Well I can assure you that there is nothing going on to call the Homeland Security agency about. And there wasn't any hanky-panky going on at the convention. No, what has been happening over the last nine months is that the WCB History Committee has been conducting oral history interviews with WCB and non-WCB members to compile an oral history library in the state of Washington. As of the end of November 2004, the committee, Becky Bell, Marilyn Donnelly, Carl Jarvis and I, have recorded 50 interviews. People have answered questions like: "Tell us about yourself, birth to present."

"How, why, when and where did you hear about your organization?"

"What changes have you seen, since you started having vision problems, in the areas of, technology, environment and attitudes, yours and others?"

"If you were listening to this oral history of yourself sometime in the future, what would you like to hear yourself say?"

It is the intention of the History Committee to place the biography portion of each interview on a history page on the WCB website. Other pieces of interviews will be used to compile a history of WCB, and a history of blind people and blindness in Washington. We are finding that many documents have been lost and people who had a lot of knowledge about how we have evolved in the area of blindness in Washington have passed away.

The committee will continue to conduct oral history interviews in 2005.

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Thanks from AVIA

President Cindy Burgett received a note from Jesse Minkert of AVIA (Arts for Visually Impaired Audiences) thanking the WCB for the donation memorializing Sharon Keeran. AVIA subscribers attended the Intiman production of Our Town in late October.



Capital City Council of the Blind

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

GDUWS Report

King County Chapter

Peninsula Council of the Blind

United Blind of Tri-Cities

United Blind of Walla Walla

Note: Due to the time lapse between the writing of chapter updates and the distribution of the Newsline, some of the referenced future activities and events may have already taken place.

Capital City Council of the Blind
by Berl Colley, Member

Well, we finally have it. The Thurston County Regional Planning Council has sent an official notification to members of the CCCB Traffic Safety committee, informing us that the TRPC has awarded a grant of $42,000 to CCCB, WCB and the City of Lacey, to install audible traffic signals in six or seven locations in Lacey. This is a success story that started in 1984 when I was hit by a car while crossing 6th Avenue in Lacey. Several years later, Terry Atwater and a friend were hit at the same location. Installation will occur in the spring of 2005.

For a number of years, we have been working with the City of Olympia, and a few audible pedestrian signals with the bird sounds have been installed. This effort took on new momentum a couple of years ago when CCCB member Gary Ernest was hit while crossing at a non-APS intersection.

In recent conversations with Olympia Public Works staff, CCCB is confident that new talking APS will be installed in 2005. Recently, a letter to the editor of the Daily Olympian asked, "How does a person get audible signals installed?" The response from the City of Olympia was that there is a city budget line-item each year to install wheelchair ramps, audible signals, etc. When Olympia is considering a location for APS intersections, they consult with the Capital City Council of the Blind. Needless to say, we are quite pleased about this.

At our September meeting, 19 members and visitors were in attendance to hear from WCB president, Cindy Burgett. Of the four visitors, all joined. Cindy talked to us about the upcoming state convention in Bellingham.

CCCB held another successful candy sale. The last weekend in September and the first weekend in October, CCCB conducted its 10th annual and most successful candy sale, netting around $2,300. All members participated, including our four new members, Lee and Christi Hagmeier and Missie and Andy McDermott.

Thirteen CCCB members attended the state convention in Bellingham. This number included four who went to a WCB convention for the first time, Lee and Christi Hagmeier, Gloria Werstein and Tim Walling.

Elections were held at our November meeting and the following members will hold club offices in 2005:

President, Berl Colley;

First Vice President, Gloria Werstein;

Secretary, Viola Cruz;

Treasurer, Howard Ferguson;

Immediate Past President,Terry Atwater.

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind
by Chris Coulter, President

The GEACB had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Let me list just a few of our blessings in the last six months of so.

In June, Sue Ammeter visited us in her capacity as WCB Board Liaison. We thank her and her husband John for taking the time to talk to us about everything from membership challenges to getting a state convention in our area.

I attended the Board Retreat in August. Thanks for all the great information about fundraising, membership and the telephone reading service.

In September, Nancy Lind gave us her life story. She presented the same speech in the employment panel at the convention. Thanks to Nancy for her good, strong voice and her positive attitude.

Miki Hopper-Estrada was our First-Timer at the convention. We are very thankful for Miki’s enthusiasm, wit and wisdom.

Our thanks also go to Marilyn Donnelly and others for referring possible members and speakers to our chapter.

We’ve had a good year here in Everett. We don’t know yet what adventures are waiting for us in 2005, but when Thanksgiving rolls around again, we’ll have many more things for which to be thankful.

The chapter is looking forward to a December presentation by Michael Miller from Sound Transit about talking signs.

Please call us for more information at (425) 775-1305 during the day or (425) 231-3801 evenings.

Guide Dog Users of Washington State
By Joleen Ferguson, President

Imbedded in non-stop activities at the WCB convention were meetings and events sponsored by GDUWS. It was one of two times we get together each year. For us, it was truly a convention within a convention. Thanks to the many people who made it so.

Karen Mueller, DVM, gave an informative presentation on chiropractics Friday afternoon at a WCB breakout session attended by about 12 people with some coming and going. She spent time at the end to talk briefly with those who could stay.

Several of us had dinner together Friday evening at the hotel without a formal program. We enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each other better; we hope to repeat this in the future.

We adopted changes to our constitution and elected Debby Phillips with Cleo to a GDUWS board position at our business breakfast. No other offices were up for election. We thank Shirley Taylor with Velma for her years of service on our board. She promises to continue to work hard for GDUWS in the future.

Andy Krusoe, Director of Admission Services at Guide Dogs of America, gave the luncheon presentation Saturday. She told of her ten-day experience spent under blindfold. This is a part of the program for trainers, but she is not a trainer, and in her case, there were no students in the class obtaining dogs. All were sighted people there for the blindfold experience. It was a very informative and sometimes moving presentation.

Marlaina Lieberg with Madeline has been elected WCB secretary. Congratulations and best wishes to her in her new responsibility.

We sold 50-50 raffle tickets, throws, calendars, and candy at our exhibit booth and around the convention hotel. Vivian Conger with Blaze was the lucky winner of our 50-50 raffle this year. There are still calendars and candy to be sold. All the throws have found new homes. Thanks to Vivian for coordination and work at the display table and for all those who offered to help during the weekend. If you want a 2005 large print-braille calendar, contact Vivian at (509) 526-4967 or 

The relief area motion detectors worked well and we had bags aplenty at each spot. Thanks to Susan Kamrass with Captain, Viola Cruz with Alberta, and Marlaina Lieberg with Madeline for making the relief area arrangements and doing the leg work to make the directions to the relief areas available in large print and braille.

Marlaina was in charge of our GDUWS Liaison beeper and I have heard of no need for her help. This would be good if true. Thanks to Marlaina for taking on this important responsibility during the WCB convention.

GDUWS was recognized at the banquet as one of six WCB chapters who had submitted an update for each of the four preceding Newslines. Marlaina did a great job of making the award presentations at the banquet.

All of this behind us, we now need to look ahead. We voted to have our 2nd Spring Fling and business meeting. Debby Phillips and Vivian Conger will be working on it. Make plans for the first weekend in May, 2005. Share ideas you have for interesting and informative program material with them.

It is time to send your $15.00 dues to GDUWS Treasurer Janice Squires with Kenner at 502 West 20th Ave., Kennewick, WA 99337 if you did not pay at the convention. We will need to send our membership list to WCB and GDUI in early February. New members welcome.

Susan Kamrass fell and cracked her pelvis and is, at this writing, at a care facility receiving rehabilitation services. Prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

GDUWS officers and board members are:

Joleen Ferguson, President

Susan Kamrass, Vice President

Vivian Conger, Secretary

Janice Squires, Treasurer

Viola Cruz, Board Member

Debby Phillips, Board Member

Marlaina Lieberg, Immediate Past President

News from the King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

We send Season’s Greetings to one and all. It’s a wonderful time to be joyful, to be thankful and to share. Life is good.

Some members have been busy little beavers lately. In August our speakers were our very own Joan Ladeburg and John Drane. Joan went to Disneyland and enjoyed many of the attractions that are found there. She had bid on this trip at a church bazaar and won. John went to Maui, and regaled us with stories about sun, sand and poolside festivities.

In September we had one of our wild and woolly open forums and a game we call Remember When. In October our guest was a representative from the League of Women Voters. She explained in detail all of the issues, both state and local, that were in the Voters Pamphlet. Does your vote count? You’re darn right it does. We certainly found that out on November 2nd.

We had elections of our own in October. Officers for next year are: President Tim Schneebeck; Vice-President Becky Bell; Secretary Gina Lewis; and I am Treasurer. Congratulations to all. Thank you to Rhonda Nelson for her dedicated work as Secretary this past year.

Fifteen of our members attended the WCB state convention in Bellingham and several of those were part of the program. Rhonda Nelson was convention chairperson and did a magnificent job. Many thanks to Rhonda and her committee for a full-time job well done. Becky Bell was on the arts panel and displayed her pottery for all to enjoy. She is also the one who runs all around the room with a wireless mike so that all can be heard properly. Nancy Lind was on the employment panel and gave a heartfelt speech about the opportunities available for a person with multiple disabilities.

One of the speakers on the "On the Home Front" panel, who shall remain nameless, has motivated a member of this chapter. The "Queen of Clean" has met the "Captain of Clutter." The captain is peering into cupboards, drawers and closets in the vain hope of unburdening herself from all this stuff!

I spent some time in the exhibit hall happily selling my yummy yummy grab bags.

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful award that I received at the Saturday night banquet. It’s a beautiful plaque that I will cherish always. This award was given to me for my work on the 800 number, which has been a labor of love for many years. Thanks to Marlaina Lieberg and her committee for this special recognition.

Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Gary Beck, Member

On November 5, the Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB) held its monthly meeting, where a blessed event occurred. After reading the Constitution, it was voted and passed that a chapter of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) would be "spawned" by the PCB. The new chapter will be named the South Kitsap Council of the Blind (SKCB). The SKCB weighs in at a whopping 13 members. The umbilical cord will not be cut for awhile, since SKCB members will have dual membership in the PCB for the year 2005. The SKCB will hold its first meeting on the third Saturday of January 2005 in Port Orchard.

Over 20 members of the PCB attended and participated in the WCB convention in Bellingham. PCB members Eric Hunter and Pat Whitlow both presented on a panel called "On the Home Front." Meka White coordinated the information table and was the MC for the first WCB Talent Show, where she also performed, along with Cindy Burgett, Amanda Wearstler and Amelia Wearstler. Michelle Denzer finally won the Bop-It Tournament, and many of our other members helped out by volunteering their time at the convention. At the banquet, the SKCB charter was presented and accepted. This officially christened the SKCB as the newest chapter of the WCB. Congratulations, SKCB!

(See separate title in this issue.)

At our November 5 meeting, Eric Hunter, Fundraising Chair, and his wife, Joanne Hunter, handed out the Kitsap Cards. Members will sell these for $20 each. The chapter will retain $8 for every card sold. Our goal is to sell 200 cards this year. The Kitsap Card is used to receive discounts at over 180 participating businesses throughout Kitsap County.

On October 11, the ladies met at Cindy Burgett’s home, where they were treated to a "pampering party." They even had a foot soak and facial for the ladies, but guide dogs were excluded. It was reported that all had a good time.

The men had a social gathering on October 16 at Don Poncho’s Mexican Restaurant. The food and service were excellent, but the salsa was not hot enough for some of the men. Mike Denzer than added hot picante sauce from the bottle on the table. About eight drops provided the salsa with the proper heat and flavor for the more hearty. The men also met at a Mexican restaurant on November 20. Both were good and entertaining events.

The PCB held our annual Christmas party on December 4 at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Bremerton. The local Rainbow Girls, as a fundraiser for the organization, catered this event. Over 50 members and their families and friends joined in the festivities, with a visit from Santa bearing gifts for the kids, a gift exchange for the adults, a piñata for the kids and young at heart, and lots of singing, socializing and laughter. This day turned out to be a special way to end our year.

United Blind of Tri-Cities

Janice Squires, First Vice-President

Once again the United Blind of the Tri-Cities has had another very busy quarter. At our last business meeting held in November we elected our new slate of officers. They are as follows: Bill Hoage, President; Frank Cuta, First Vice-President; Margie Kickert, Second Vice-President; Janice Squires, Secretary; Rosemary Estes, Treasurer; First Board position, Diana Softich; and Second Board position, Evelyn Crouse. Congratulations to each one of them.

One of our members, Paul Wilburn, is now conducting a pottery class at the Edith Bishel Center. We are beginning with creating coil pots and small boxes. The cost is only $27.00, which includes two days a week of instruction, tools and clay. The class is small right now, but Paul hopes to see it grow into a very successful program.

Oh yes, the lunch and play groups are busy again. For the last three months, we have eaten our way through Chinese, Mexican and Italian foods! Our last play was entitled The Sisters Rosensweig and 11 play goers enjoyed an evening out of fine entertainment.

Can you believe that we had 14 of our UBTC members attend the fabulous WCB convention in Bellingham. Six of these members were first timer award winners and we are so very proud of each and every one of them. We attribute our large numbers in part to the WCB for providing the transportation for us to easily and affordably get to the convention and we all thank you so much for this.

Oh my goodness, the audible locating devices are beeping away at many Kennewick intersections. A huge thank you to WCB for partnering with our city's block grant money to make all of this happen.

We are all anxiously waiting for the holidays to be upon us. We will have our annual Christmas party to share the love and joy of our wonderful chapter. We too will participate in the Target disability shopping day. The Edith Bishel Center is offering a holiday get together and card signing party. So as you can see, the fun never seems to end around here!

Of course as you all know, the 2005 WCB convention is going to be held right here in our own back yard. Start making your plans to be with us for another fantastic convention in Pasco.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each and every one of you.

United Blind of Walla Walla
by Ernie Jones

At our October 2004 United Blind of Walla Walla meeting, Vivian Conger, our chapter President, introduced our four guests from the Delta Gamma Sorority at Whitman College: Peggy Curtis, Delta Gamma Alumni President, and Erin Farrell, Kelli Kraft, and Eva Kersty, who are college students helping Peggy. Peggy and the three Sorority members then spoke to us, informing us of their projects and activities. Peggy gave us the history of Delta Gamma as well as her personal history with the Sorority. She has been active with Delta Gamma since the 1960's. We were thrilled when Kelly, Vice-President in charge of Community Service, informed us that they recently signed a contract with the City of Walla Walla and will be working to raise money for accessible signals for many of the intersections in Walla Walla. They will be able to make pitches for this project at Community meetings.

November 2 was the date for the UBWW to elect its vice president and secretary. Shirley Musick was elected Vice President and Dodie Brueggeman will continue as Secretary for another two years. Even with our nation's general election being held the same day, we had a nice turnout for our meeting/election.

Three members, Vivian Conger, Joleen Ferguson, and Dorris (Dodie) Brueggeman, attended the WCB convention the weekend of November 11-13.

Our next meeting will be held December 7, which will be our annual Christmas potluck, always a fun time for our group.

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18th on the Way – Another New WCB Chapter?
by Gaylen Floy

January 2005 will see the formation of a new chapter in South King County. We have a meeting place chosen in SeaTac, right on the bus line. We are working on the by-laws and mission statement.

Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact either Gaylen Floy: (253) 217-9586,  or Darla Hatfield: (253) 946-9419, We will provide more details as we solidify a time for the first meeting.

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by Gloria Leonard, Director

Great news! I am happy to report another busy year of activity at your Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL), which saw circulation exceed 520,000. This increase means WTBBL loaned nine percent more books and materials to readers in fiscal year 2004 over 2003!

Talking books represented 95 percent of the total circulation (up by five percent over 2003). Large print books represented four percent and Braille books made up about one percent of the total number of items WTBBL checked out to library users in 2004.

Our ability to help change and improve lives through access to information, library resources and reading materials would not be possible without our dedicated staff and volunteers. WTBBL served a total of 11,672 readers this year (up by nine percent over 2003).

Key factors to our success:

Knowledgeable, responsive and courteous staff

400 incredible volunteers who contributed over 28,000 hours of service

Upgraded automated circulation system

A new on-line catalog

We look forward to continuing to provide you and other consumers across the state with excellent service through staff and volunteers, and a rich collection of materials, innovative technology, and exciting programs.

More great news! WTBBL's Patron Advisory Council (PAC) has become a consumer-driven organization with elected officers and an executive board. PAC's 2005 officers are: Maria Edelen (Spokane County), Susan Kamrass (Skagit County), and Karen Johnson (Walla Walla County).

In 2005, staff and PAC will move ahead with a marketing plan to double the number of customers WTBBL currently services through publicity, promotion, outreach and education (target: 11,000 new patrons). It is estimated that 2.68 percent of Washington State's population aged 40 years and older is blind or have low vision.

The next PAC meeting will be held on Saturday, February 26, 11:00am to 3:00pm in WTBBL's meeting room.

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Audio Cassette Books Created at WTBBL
by Theresa Connolly

Three years ago, thanks in large part to a generous grant from the Washington Council of the Blind, the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library installed a networked computer recording and broadcasting system into the studios for the Evergreen Taping and Radio Reading Service. It is a tremendous success! Each week, volunteers and staff work to produce audio books and radio programs that are shared with patrons throughout the state. As coordinator of the Taping Service, I want to tell you about the audio cassette books and the volunteers who work with me to create them.

We have completed 400 audio books using the Dalet digital recording system. There are generally 40 books in progress at any given time, with another 20 in the queue. Completed recordings are stored on compact disk (CD) as compressed digital data and downloaded as analog audio cassette books that can be played on the equipment provided to our patrons by the National Library Service.

The CD masters are important for several reasons; they retain the superior sound quality of digital audio; they save shelf space at WTBBL; and they give us flexibility to produce audio books in other formats in the future.

In our Taping Service, every volunteer has completed several computer training sessions in order to use the Dalet system. Narrators and reviewers have also taken an audition to test their facility with the English language. When a patron listens to one of our books, he hears one person reading, but each book actually represents the effort and skills of at least three volunteers. Fifty-five narrators record our books, four post production volunteers assemble the sound files and six reviewers listen and mark things to be corrected. You can see how the time involved for producing a book mounts up.

An example of the process will appear in a future Newsline.

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Got Purpose? Got Passion?
by Dr. Dean Stenehjem, Superintendent

Washington State School for the Blind

Have you ever thought back over the years about those teachers and other adults who made a difference in your life? Recently, I have thought a lot about this! I would say that every one of these individuals had something in common. Not only did they have a focused purpose, but a passion for what they were doing. The dedication and love they had as part of their purpose in life was evident. They didn’t have to tell anyone, but those around them knew this silent focus was part of the person’s being. The enthusiasm and positive atmosphere radiated from the individual, emphasizing their pure enjoyment of making a difference in someone’s life, seeing the joy of discovery radiate from that child when something new was learned, or seeing a child explore a new environment and express the wonderment of the unknown. I would say that these individuals had purpose and passion for what they were doing. Without this purpose, there is no passion and without a passion for what one does, there is no purpose. People with both these ingredients (purpose and passion) radiate a positive atmosphere that is catching. Did you ever notice that people like this are an absolute joy to be around? Kids seem to sense this immediately and have a tendency to seek out these positive role models.

Working at WSSB has been an absolute joy in watching children on a daily basis gain new skills and explore what they have not done before, express the wonderment of discovery, and develop a positive "can do" attitude. Part of WSSB’s purpose is instilling in each child the skills through specialized training that help open doors to opportunities which can be exciting, challenging, rewarding and enjoyable. Believe me, much of this does not come easily, and sometimes children might believe that we push too hard, or expect too much. However, it is important to realize that we set high expectations for each child as well as for staff members in helping reach - reachable goals which some may not think possible.

WSSB has worked hard at gathering input from all stakeholders in helping to establish our school’s mission, purpose and values that provide us daily direction assisting families and students to succeed. This would not be possible without a dedicated staff of individuals who believe in what they are doing and have a purpose and passion in working with blind and visually impaired children from throughout our great state. It also takes dedicated focus from parents in believing in their children’s abilities to accomplish goals, and a passion and desire from the children to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Putting this all together at the right time can be a very complicated process when you consider all the human variables that need to fall into place in order to result in successful outcomes. Along the way, a lack of purpose or passion for what we are doing can affect the outcomes. Lack of support and confidence from parents and/or lack of belief in a child’s abilities or potential can affect outcomes, as can a lack of the child’s belief in him or herself. When you closely examine all these variables, it further emphasizes how important it is to establish a strong partnership if goals are to be met. Strong communication is paramount in facilitation of goals and objectives if success is to be achieved. But, it all comes back to two basic factors: Do each of us have a commitment towards a purpose and a passion for what we are doing? Without these two factors, the rate of success is hampered, growth and independence is slowed, and enjoyment in the process of learning and enjoyment in the process of learning and helping children discover themselves is absent.

I believe that every so often we need to ask ourselves, "What is our purpose, and do we have a passion for what we are doing?" The power that exists in those two words, when put together, is amazing.

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Louis Braille Center News
by Carolyn Meyer, Director

Braille Restaurant Menus

One of the pleasures of eating in a restaurant begins before the food is served. For many diners, the first course is a thorough reading of the menu and discussion among dining companions as to what to order. Braille readers are denied this pleasure if a print menu is all that is available.

The very first menu we brailled was for a Seattle restaurant at the request of its enthusiastic manager who kept us well supplied with coupons for free lunches. The manager offered a braille menu to a blind customer and the woman burst into tears. It was the first time in her life she had been given a menu that she could read for herself. She placed her order, and then read the menu from cover to cover while she enjoyed her meal.

Braille menus are great fun to prepare. Many print menus turn out to be small books in braille. We make the menus easy to navigate by putting a table of contents at the front, using the restaurant’s own menu headings such as "From the Grill," "Appetizers," "Desserts." We present the selections in the familiar braille list format: each entry starts in cell 1 with the name of the dish, followed by the price, and then the description; runovers are in cell 3. There are times when the print layout defies any predetermined format and we must be creative. As we work on a menu, we imagine what we would order should we go there for lunch. It definitely is better not to braille menus when we are hungry.

We recently brailled menus for the Canyons Restaurants located in Redmond, Mountlake Terrace, and Bothell/Canyon Park. A fourth restaurant is scheduled to open in Monroe, with braille menus available on opening day, of course. Canyons is actively publicizing its new braille menus and extends a hearty welcome to all NEWSLINE readers.

Hopefully braille menus are now the norm rather than the exception. When you dine out, be sure to ask for a braille menu with the expectation that surely they have one to offer. Should they say no, consider giving them a resource where they can get their menus brailled. It will help make dining out more pleasant for everyone.

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Transcriber’s Corner
from the Louis Braille Center Newsletter, Fall 2004

Braille readers on board Holland America and Princess Cruise Line receive first class treatment when it comes to menus and cabin directories. These two cruise lines, which are corporately related, provide this information and other cruise-related material in braille.

It is great fun to receive a request to prepare the braille for a particular cruise. As we work, we can almost hear the drone of the ship’s engines and smell the fresh saltwater air. We imagine what we would select from the menus, which reflect the various ports of call. We learn from the cabin directory about ship-to-shore phone calls, how to request room service, safety instructions, and special events that happen on this miniature city at sea.

Because English is not the first language for many of the ship’s staff, answering passengers’ questions about information in the brailled materials can be challenging. Braille takes more space than print and, therefore, doesn’t line up with the print publications. To solve this problem, we intersperse print pages between the braille pages. The print matches the braille line-for-line, page-for-page. We transcribers would happily come along as braille-to-print translators, but the print/braille option seems to work just fine.

Recently a group of nearly 100 people and their guide dogs cruised to Alaska with Princess Cruise Lines.

Thank you, Holland America and Princess Cruise Lines, for this very special service.

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Hats Off to You
by Peggy Shoel

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

Cindy Burgett, President, WCB, on her governor’s appointment to the Dept of Services for the Blind Rehab Council, filling the slot designated for a past or present client/participant. Cindy will serve a renewable three-year term.

Carl Jarvis, President, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, on his governor’s appointment to another three–year term on the DSB Rehab Council. Carl, who is director of Peninsula Rehabilitation Services, will again fill the slot representing a community rehabilitation services program provider.

Denise Colley, First Vice-President, WCB, on her governor’s appointment as a voting member on the Washington State School for the Blind Board of Trustees, representing District Nine. Denise, who was previously filling out an existing unexpired term, will now serve her own five-year renewable term.

Joleen Ferguson, President, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, on her retirement following 35 years employment as a physical therapist at St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla. Joleen says she is being kept very busy with her responsibilities as a church elder and with her efforts to acquire accessible pedestrian signals in her area. Editor’s Note: Joleen is on record as the first blind physical therapist trained and licensed in this country.

All the newly elected and re-elected members of the WCB 2005 board. Please see directory in this issue.

Shirley Taylor, Board Member, WCB, on being voted WCB Alternate Delegate to the 2005 National ACB Convention to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Terry Atwater, President, Capital City Council of the Blind, was elected as a backup should Shirley not be able to attend.

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Bits and Pieces

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

Accessible Magazines. The Smithsonian Institution, America’s national museum, publishes a number of magazines about history and technology, such as Smithsonian and Air and Space. Blind and visually impaired subscribers can now receive these magazines on audio-cassette tape for the normal subscription cost. For more information, call the Smithsonian Accessibility Program at 888-783-0001

Enrichment Audio Resource Services (EARS), a non-profit organization, offers free of charge cassette tapes that teach and reinforce new ways to accomplish tasks for people losing vision. The tapes focus on areas such as functioning in the kitchen, indoor mobility, medication management, and more, and can be especially useful to seniors. For more information, call 800-843-6816. offers resource information, experiences, challenges and rewards and mentoring opportunities for blind or visually impaired individuals pursuing careers as mental health professionals in areas such as psychology, family therapy, social work and family counseling.

Insulin manufacturers provide toll-free customer service numbers where questions are answered, problems can be resolved, and new products are discussed.
The three leading pharmaceutical companies are:

Eli Lilly 800-545-5979

Aventis 866-452-6887

Novo-Nordisik 800-727-6500

Descriptive Video Service (DVS) provides narrated descriptions of key visual elements for home video films. For more information or to hear or request a current catalogue of their over 200 VHS and DVD items, including recent additions, call 800-333-1203

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The Accessible Seattle Public Library
by Barb Weisman

The Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) of the Seattle Public Library began in 1986 with the goal of making printed materials accessible to blind and partially sighted library patrons. The "LEAP Room" then featured a Kurzweil Reader, which converts text to speech, and a closed circuit television magnifier.

Cleo Brooks, Senior Librarian and LEAP Coordinator, says "over the years, LEAP has come to embody the important emphasis that the Seattle Public Library places on equal access for people with disabilities." Today, LEAP has over 20 adaptive systems that meet the needs of blind, deaf, deaf-blind, partially sighted, physically disabled, and other special needs library patrons. Blind and partially sighted patrons can use updated reading systems, closed circuit televisions, and computers that feature text enlargement, braille, and text to speech software programs. Deaf patrons can use online video-relay telephone services, and deaf-blind patrons utilize braille display systems and can make braille copies of their work with Versapoint Duo Embossers.

The library’s collection contains audio-described videos, large print books, and books on tape, and will soon contain audio-described DVDs for patrons with vision impairment. A majority of the library’s video and DVD collection have a closed-captioned option for hearing-impaired patrons’ use.

The new downtown library building itself affords state-of-the-art accessibility, with wireless access throughout its ten public floors. "Several blind patrons have begun to use their personal notebook systems containing JAWS speech access in areas other than the LEAP resource area," says Brooks. In addition, the auditorium is wired with an assistive listening system.

Patrons can request an interpreter for any library program, and many have taken advantage of sight-guided and ASL-interpreted tours of the new library building, when arranged in advance with the SPL tours office.

Future program plans include an online reading group and the expansion of ESL classes for blind and low vision patrons, and introductory computer classes interpreted for deaf seniors. In addition, LEAP is sponsoring an adaptive equipment expo in April, 2005, to display resources for low vision individuals.

"Our goal is equal access to the library’s wonderful resources for every kind of patron," says Brooks. "We want to reach more people every year."

Volunteers are available to assist patrons with adaptive systems and in outreach to assist in promotion of library services. Cleo Brooks can be reached at or (206) 386-4690.

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Unlikely Career Comes to a Close

By Sheila Hagar

The following is excerpted from the Thursday, October 14, 2004 issue of the Union-Bulletin:

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." Second Corinthians 5:7

Joleen Ferguson was told that blind people can't be physical therapists. She proved the skeptics wrong.

Ferguson, 58, with guide dog Sydney, will say goodbye to a career that spanned 35 years in physical therapy. At age four, Sydney isn't as vested, but in golden retriever years, it's close.

The duo is far from done helping others. Ferguson, legally blind since birth, has advocated for the visually impaired community in Walla Walla since moving here in 1969 to work at St. Mary Medical Center, her University of Washington degree still warm from the printer. Since then, Ferguson has worked with others to make city officials aware of street crossings that are dangerous for people unable to see signals and traffic and to educate the public about blindness. As the first person in Walla Walla to use a guide dog, she had many opportunities to train people about working dogs.

Moving forward into unseen, territory is part of who Ferguson is. She was born with determination to test boundaries. At five, she attended the state school for the blind in Vancouver, where she soon began helping others. Some students had birth defects, such as cerebral palsy, requiring more than Braille and white canes. A career assembly in the ninth grade introduced her to the possibility of physical therapy, but she was told blind people couldn't be physical therapists. Well-meaning adults wanted to steer her into speech therapy, a seemingly natural choice for someone with honed hearing skills. Disappointed, she tried to accept the advice.

She was determined to attend college, regardless of career choice; to her, it was plain - "Blind people are just not as employable," she said. Speech therapy wasn't a bad choice. It just wasn't where her heart was leading. Then, a wonderful thing happened. A teacher asked her, "Why don't you be first?'

Ferguson gives credit where due. "God opened that door," she said. With faith, she set sail into uncharted waters. Not only was the physical therapy field very competitive, but there was no groundwork laid for a blind student. The difficult curriculum finished with a day-long test.

After passing, she graduated, the first blind physical therapist in the nation, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Next, she needed to find an employer who could look beyond stereotype and give her a chance. A college instructor knew St. Mary had been looking for a physical therapist. With his good word on her behalf, she landed the position.

Tim Conley, Director of Rehabilitation Service at St. Mary Medical Center, said Joleen has shown it's possible to overcome the adversity society places on handicaps of all kinds. That, in turn, has spoken to her clients. "She is truly gifted in her clinical skills. She sees more with her hands than I ever could with my eyes." Her ability to coax action from others wasn't wasted on Conley, either. "Joleen has challenged me to see where we put up barriers within the hospital. We've broken some down, not just visual impairment but all accessibility needs."

Conley estimates Ferguson has impacted hundreds if not thousands of patients in her 35-year career. "She has, literally, touched the lives of those people." Not without some sacrifice. It takes her longer than a sighted person to do paperwork; she's not always able to see gait variations in patients, and she's not comfortable assessing wounds. On the other hand, stroke rehabilitation is a natural fit. Her clients, dealing with paralysis and motor skill problems, see that life isn't always accessible for her, either.

Her days of making things better for people won't be over. She hopes to combine her therapy skills with her spiritual life, in a way that shows others the love of God. "I've trusted Him ... God is very real to me."

Joleen has been advocating for the local blind for years. She, with the United Blind of Walla Walla, has identified intersections that pose a risk for blind pedestrians; they need audible signals that indicate when the walk sign is lit. She has successfully taught St. Mary administrators the need for an accessible signal near the hospital.

A tea was held at St. Mary Medical Center in honor of Joleen’s retirement.

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New Entertainment Service in Spokane

CityCable 5, the City of Spokane's government-access cable channel, is launching a new entertainment service designed to appeal to the blind or persons with poor vision.

Starting Friday, Oct. 29, CityCable 5 began carrying the old-time radio programming of Radio Entertainment Network (REN), of Seattle. The programming runs seven days a week from 11:00pm to 1:00am REN's audio programming will run along with CityCable 5's Metroguide Readerboard service, which provides a host of government information.

Radio reading service stations provide news and entertainment for people who are blind, visually impaired or have other difficulties reading. These radio reading service stations are on the air in most parts of the U.S. They typically broadcast on local public FM and TV stations. Many of these broadcasts are available only with special receivers that tune an encoded signal. However, REN broadcasts now also are available as audio on public and government access TV stations, like CityCable 5, and on the Internet.

CityCable 5 is found on channel 5 on the Comcast cable system in Spokane. More information on CityCable5 is found at More information on REN is found at

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Shop and Support ACB
by Billie Jean Keith

Note: The following is an excerpt from material submitted about ACB fundraising:

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it is time for holiday shopping. I have just baked a batch of lemon scones made from a mix purchased from the Pacific Northwest Gourmet Dessert Company-and ACB gets 40% of the price I paid for them, as well as all items purchased from the Alaska Smokehouse and Sleepless in Seattle. A partnership between ACB and the World Wide Food Company, it was developed by the ACB Resource Development Committee.

There is a little hitch though. For ACB to receive payment, you must specify that you want ACB to receive 40% of your purchase price. It is important that the purchase is made online through the website, . If you go online yourself, you can enter code 1094 to designate ACB. If you find this website difficult to use, the very friendly staff at Alaska Smokehouse will complete the order online for you. Call them at 1-800-422-0852 Monday through Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Items available at this toll-free number include wild smoked salmon from the Alaska Smokehouse, dessert items from The Famous Pacific Dessert Company, and specialty coffee from Sleepless in Seattle, all great products, and you contribute to ACB as you shop.

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Scotty, a German Shepherd, was bored with his life and wanted to become a police dog. He showed up at the recruitment center and was told that he would have to prove himself qualified by answering three questions.

The recruiter asked Scotty Question One: "You have to be able to type 60 words per minute. Can you do that?" Scotty moved his head up and down and barked.

"Good," said the recruiter. "Question Number Two: You have to be able to jump a three-foot hurdle. Can you do that?"

Scotty moved his head up and down and barked, and the recruiter said, "Good. Now the final question. You have to be bilingual. Are you?"

Scotty moved his head up and down and said, "Meow."

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Red Raspberry Cake

(Festive and easy to prepare)

1 package white cake mix

1 10 oz thawed container red raspberries with juice

1 3 oz package dry red raspberry Jello

4 large eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients and beat three minutes on medium.

Bake in 13"x9" pan at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until it tests done in the center.

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Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by February 26, 2005. 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.

E-mail Submissions: Submissions by e-mail are encouraged. Send your file to with a cc: to  A print version should be mailed to Peggy Shoel, Editor.

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Calendar of Deadlines and Events 2005

Dec 31 Deadline for receipt of WCB committee assignment requests
Jan 29 Deadline for receipt of ACB Legislative Seminar applications
Feb 10 Deadline for receipt of chapter membership lists and dues
Feb 12 WCB Winter Board Meeting, Seattle
Feb 19-20 Affiliate Presidents Meeting, Washington, D.C.
Feb 20-22 ACB Legislative Seminar, Washington, D.C.
Feb 26 WTBBL Patron Advisory Council Meeting, Seattle
Mar 18–19 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver
Apr 9 Deadline for receipt of WCB Leadership Training applications
Apr 30–May 1 WCB Leadership Training, Seattle
May 2 WCB Spring Board Meeting, Seattle
May 19–20 WSSB Career Fair, Vancouver
June 10 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting/School Commencement, Vancouver
July 2–9 ACB National Convention, Las Vegas
Aug 5–6 WCB Retreat/Summer Board Meeting, Seattle
Oct 27–29 WCB State Convention, Pasco

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Officers and Board Members 2005


Cindy Burgett, President (360) 698-0827
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

Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary (206) 243-1716
632 S 189th St, Burien, WA 98148

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

Frank Cuta (509) 967-2658
58903 N Sweetwater Rd, Benton City, WA 99320

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

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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 and disk.

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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