December 2006 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935


Cindy Van Winkle, 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

Editor’s Comment

Vehicle Donation Program Fundraiser

ACB National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida 

WCB Board Meeting Highlights

WCB State Convention – First-Timer Report

Summary of Resolutions Passed

WCB Honors and Recognitions

WCB Scholarships Awarded

Access to Paper Currency for the Blind

Thoughts on Accessible Currency

Looking for Nominations

Louis Braille School

Washington State School for the Blind Report

Blind Youth Build Mentor Library

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Report

ACB Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL)

Around the State

Hats Off to You!

Bits & Pieces

In Memoriam

WCB 2007 Directory of Officers & Board Members





From The President’s Desk

By Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President

As 2006 draws to a close, it is a time for reflection and vision. WCB has accomplished many things due to the work of many people, but we are also reminded that we have much more work to do.

Our active participation with the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library with representation on the Patron Advisory Council and the newly established Transitional Advisory Board place us in a role of ongoing communication and input. The future of WTBBL and library services is very important to WCB and blind people throughout Washington, and our membership recognized that by not only passing a strong resolution at our recent convention which you will find elsewhere in this issue, but by passing a motion on the floor which strengthens our role by requiring the WCB Board and Legislative Committee work with the Legislature and numerous other entities to explore funding mechanisms which will not only assist in maintaining services as we know them, but to also increase them. So the work continues on with the library!

We have WCB representation on the Board of Trustees for the Washington State School for the Blind. As the fiscal needs for this state-run school have been met with concerns by the Legislature and studies have been done to judge the overall value of such a residential program, we know that our continued support and participation with WSSB has been and will continue to be of paramount importance.

Representatives of WCB also sit on the Rehabilitation Council for the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind. In this way, we were alerted to the needs of the Child and Family Program to receive dedicated funding and a statutory mandate to exist as part of DSB and we passed a resolution in support of this need.

Many members of WCB have given countless hours to doing the work of their respective committees in the name of our organization. Whether it’s putting together our largest convention ever, assisting someone in a financial crisis or one of personal discrimination, building and strengthening membership or recapturing our history, meeting the needs of blind people young and old alike, or hands in the numerous communications of WCB, we need every willing partner to put work into action.

WCB is a team. We learn, we grow, we work together and together we make things happen. Now I’d like to share a few opportunities for you as a WCB member to take an active role on the WCB team.

2007 WCB committees are being formed and I need to hear from all interested persons by January 5. Whether you wish to continue on a particular committee or are interested in trying your hand at something new, I want to hear from you. This deadline is firm and required so that a formal list can be created in all necessary formats in time for our Winter Board meeting.

The Winter Board meeting will be held at the Executive Inn in Seattle on January 27. Those wishing to join us for the lunch that day must sign up with a $10 payment by January 20. This can either be done on our website or by mailing a check to WCB, P.O. Box 1085, Tracyton, WA 98393.

February 25-27, 2007 will be the ACB Legislative Seminar. If you are interested in attending and committing to this work, please look through the guidelines passed at convention with Bylaw 6 and send a letter as described to no later than January 15 to be considered.

It’s not too soon to be thinking about the 2007 Leadership Seminar, which will be held May 4-6 in Everett. Any member of WCB as of November 4, 2006 or earlier who has not attended this training previously is encouraged to consider attending.

There is a host of important dates listed in the calendar section of each Newsline issue. Please be sure to have these dates read at your chapter meetings to serve as a reminder to all members of deadlines and events.

Finally, I close with my sincerest wish that each of you will have a joy-filled holiday season and that good health and a renewed commitment to WCB will see you through 2007.

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Editor’s Comment
by Peggy Shoel
We Say Thank You

On Friday Oct 27th I attended a memorial service for Ron Fredrickson, long-time member of WCB and President of the Pierce County Association of the Blind chapter. The service was held at the Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle and was very well attended. Among those present were many library staffers, both current and retired, and as we went around the room sharing our memories of Ron, one thing stood out in staff tribute and that was Ron’s frequency of volunteer time contributed to the library. He reliably appeared at least once a week, week after week, month after month, year after year, to rewind books and be helpful and useful in any way he could. And always with sincere pleasure.

This made me wonder – how many more Ron Fredericksons do we have out there? - members who give continually, tirelessly and quietly volunteer their time and energy. They do their thing, neither receiving nor requiring fanfare or accolades. They bring visibility, honor and respect to our organization. We thank you all.

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Vehicle Donation Program - Fundraiser

The WCB needs your help to get the word out about our Vehicle Donation Program.  This is a major fund-raiser for WCB and by letting your friends, family & acquaintances know about it, you could be helping them get rid of that car that's just sitting unused and unwanted, and in turn, they can help WCB.

We contract with a processor who has all the facilities to pick up donated cars, sell them at public auto auctions, handle all the DOL paperwork and provide donors with tax deduction documentation, all done with professionalism.

Keep the following number handy and be ready to share it with others, as there are many vehicle donation programs out there and we want donors to consider giving to the WCB.  Call 800-576-2956.

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ACB National Convention in Jacksonville Florida

From a First Timer’s View

By Michelle Denzer, PCB Secretary

I got really excited after hearing the news of being chosen to attend the ACB national convention as the First Timers Scholarship winner. Thank you WCB for giving me the opportunity to attend!

I traveled with Cindy and Tim Van Winkle. We were supposed to arrive in Jacksonville during the morning but didn't get there until late afternoon on Friday. Once checked into my room, I went to get my packet, which didn't take a long time because of pre-registering online.

The Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel was easy to get around and there were volunteers to assist if I got a little lost with finding the different meeting rooms. During Sunday afternoon, I attended the First Timers Seminar, which had 16 other first timers. Carla Ruschival explained that there are lots of meetings and seminars taking place along with the main items of the ACB convention, which are the general sessions. She suggested that we read through the program and figure out what events to attend.

I also went to the general sessions from the 9th through the 14th. As I entered the Grand Ballroom where they took place, I noticed that each of the affiliates had their own tables, with Braille and printed signs on them. Washington had a smaller attendance this year, but we still cheered proudly after hearing our state get mentioned!

On Friday, elections took place for new candidates and different board positions. Congratulations to Cindy Van Winkle on being reelected to the Board of Publications for a two-year term.

I volunteered in the Communications Center a couple of nights to help the National Alliance of Blind Students get the Jacksonville Suns Convention newspaper ready for delivery to hotel room doorsteps. I helped organize the pages, taking off the edges before stapling them together

A highlight for me was going to Exhibits. There were so many booths to visit. I bought a Braille alphabet bracelet from the ACB store with a Braille ACB charm on it. I also bought 2 new DVS videos. Oh yes, and that reminds me, on Monday night, I attended the DVS movie showing of Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which is one of the videos I bought.

On Thursday morning, I attended the WCB caucus breakfast. Later that afternoon, I went to the Membership Seminar, where I won a door prize,- a Braille book, People of Vision, the history of ACB.

I went on a few tours and learned a little about Jacksonville. Jacksonville was named for Andrew Jackson, who was the temporary governor. The island of Amelia, only a short drive away, is a popular tourist destination, with a rich historic district looking much as it did in the 19th Century.

I cannot write everything about what happened during the nine days, but will say that I had a wonderful time and I'm planning to attend more conventions in the future!

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WCB Board Meeting Highlights
by Gaylen Floy, President, South King County Chapter

· Treasurer’s Report: For the first time in Council history, our assets exceed one million dollars. This is the time of year when inflow is diminished, but income is down overall. This was offset by A.G. Edwards activity.

· President’s Report: It’s been a very busy quarter with the WTBBL issue. The convention is growing; there are 100 more registered than the convention 5 years ago. At least 30 people were involved in convention planning and logistics.

· VDPC Report: Berl Colley projected 1,880 cars donated for the year from January to December. In 2002, we had 3,700 cars donated. That is a 50 percent drop. It is projected that 1,550 cars will be sold, providing revenue between $39,000 and $40,000. Bus ads did not trigger more donations. May ask members to post flyers in auto body shops.

· Families with Blind Children Committee Report: 17 visually-impaired high school kids were sponsored for the convention; 15 mainstreamed and two from the School for the Blind. Jack Straw Productions introduced them to interview and sound-editing techniques to compile a CD. They got to experience an audio-described play.

· First timers Committee Report: There were six first timers. We welcomed the largest number of OTC students, 13.

· Scholarship Committee: We had 8 winners, 4 were new applicants, 7 men and 1 woman.

· Crisis Committee Report: We assisted 11 people for $1,150. There were questions about the Sanderson Group that puts on a holiday variety show. The Council gets a percentage. The show is in the Everett-Kirkland area.

· 2007 Proposed Budget: Glenn McCully called this a "painful process." We have a projected budget of $148,000 next year. This is $20,000 less than last year and expenses are going up. Much of our million-dollar assets are dedicated funds for scholarships. We may have to drop stipends for the Minneapolis convention. Registration for the Spokane convention will be $75.00 and a bargain at that. Fund raising ideas are being discussed. The budget was approved.

· Old Business: There was a motion to direct people asking about Community Services pickup using our 800 number to their number, but it failed. A letter from Mayor Nickels was read in support of the WTBBL. The new 800 number voice system was demonstrated, offering better options and a much more affordable contract.

· New Business: A Guide Dog Policy was adopted. There was a motion to form a fund-raising committee. They want to secure more prizes for a raffle besides Marlaina’s Mariners baseball. Cindy appointed Glenn McCully to chair the committee. Ardis Bazyn, Chair, ACB Independent Visually Impaired Enterprisers, pitched a fund-raising opportunity with GT Trends travel website. A motion was passed to take this up at the winter board meeting. A problem with the state’s personnel site was referred to the advocacy committee.

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State Convention First-Timer Report
by David R. Egan

As a First-Timer, I am amazed and delighted to have been a participant in our state convention at Sea-Tac this year. It is an honor to have been selected. I know there are many who labored long and hard to make this our largest and best convention so far and I for one am appreciative of their hard work. I am proud of all that WCB/ACB stands for.

Perhaps I've come at this a bit backwards, having attended two national conventions, participated in Leadership training last spring, and have been a WCB/ACB member for the past year and a half. Before that I was totally absorbed in my work for more than thirty years without a connection to WCB. The end result is still the same. WCB is certainly heading in the right direction. There is still much to be done, and I want to do my part in all this.

Having a Convention Buddy helped to make the convention meaningful. We were able to discuss issues, learn together, and make choices that kept us actively in touch with most every scheduled event.

The registration process was smooth, and packet information concerning scheduled events, locations, and hotel information was most helpful throughout the convention. There seemed to always be knowledgeable helpers at the Information/Volunteer desk where copies of the constitution, brochures, and other pertinent information could be found.

I did not know until later that the Pre-convention board meeting, Resolutions, Constitution and Bylaws committee sessions were open to all members so did not listen in on them this time.

The Hospitality hour was a huge success attended by many WCB members. I found myself using that time to give my Seeing Eye pup, Wekota, some special play time outside in the rain with his football.

Meet and Greet was truly a time to rekindle old friendships. Many of my schoolmates from the Washington School for the Blind were there. It has been 36 years since we’ve been together. What a joy it is to see everyone happy and doing so well. I was even able to meet up with a friend from my college days in Bellingham.

There was a first-timers meeting that nearly took place in the hallway, as it took some time to find someone with a key to let us into the room where the event was scheduled.

Our general sessions were informative and inspirational with reports and guest speakers. The presenters were professional and well-prepared. I especially took note during the Employment panel session, Michael Hingson's presentation on "Surviving the World Trade Center", as well as the presentations on our Talking Book and Braille Library.

There were several break-out sessions from which to choose. My convention buddy and I selected the session on what to say and how to say it, a writer's workshop. It is refreshing to be with people who really care about writing and styles of presentation.

The Library question and answer session gave much insight to all of us who were able to participate. This is one of several very huge challenges that we are facing this year.

Everyone enjoyed the presentation of internal awards during our WCB luncheon. The room was packed.

The Guide Dog Users of Washington State group sponsored several activities during the convention including a breakfast/business meeting, and later a box lunch and program.

The energy and enthusiasm of our young people this year will ensure a bright and strong future for WCB. Many participants in the youth conference will become our leaders in the years ahead.

WCB is bursting with talented individuals. This was most certainly evidenced through the sharing of music, humor, and poetry during the talent show Friday evening.

Our important work was most certainly brought to reality during the WCB business meeting. At this time constitution and bylaw changes were made, elections were held, and resolutions were passed. During this time one is reminded of how committee work is so essential. Our elected officers are knowledgeable, articulate, personable and caring individuals.

Our WCB annual banquet was well-attended. Alan Bentson did a mighty fine job presenting the scholarships. Awards were appropriate and tastefully given.

There are many important issues affecting the lives of persons who are blind. Participation in the WCB state convention reaffirms the fact that we can all learn from one another about the gifts and strengths within our chapters, and WCB.

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Summary of Resolutions Passed at the 2006 WCB State Convention

By Denise Colley, Chair, Resolutions Committee

Three major resolutions were passed at this year’s WCB state convention, held in SeaTac Washington. The following is a summary of those resolutions and the action to be taken by the WCB.

RESOLUTION 2006-01 addresses issues around visual bias in the math and science sections of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) for blind and low vision students, and that, by 2008, in order to graduate from high school with an academic diploma, students will be required to pass the WASL examination given in the 10th grade. The resolution directs WCB to strongly request that the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and any other relevant test sanctioning bodies work closely with knowledgeable professionals in the field of instruction provision to blind and low vision students, both at the Washington State School for the Blind and throughout the state, to create WASL test versions in alternate media that accurately and reliably test the academic skills of blind and low vision students. It also directs this organization to request that blind and visually impaired students, within the state of Washington, who have not passed the 10th grade WASL not be denied an academic diploma until visual bias has been eliminated from these examinations, and that, as an alternative, trained teachers of the blind and visually impaired, along with a qualified educational psychologist, help put in place another instrument, approved by OSPI, that could be used until visual bias in the WASL has been eliminated.


RESOLUTION 2006-02 addresses The Department of Services for the Blind Child and Family Program and the fact that there is currently no statutory mandate to provide services to families of blind children and youth, nor funding dedicated specifically to a Child and Family Program. The resolution directs the WCB to urge the Washington State Legislature to support families of blind children and youth through a statutory mandate, that the Department of Services for the Blind shall maintain a Child and Family Program with dedicated and appropriate funding.


RESOLUTION 2006-06 addresses the current situation at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) and its future in terms of location, staffing and service delivery. The resolution directs the WCB to call upon the Office of the Secretary of State and the Washington State Library to assume the administration of the WTBBL, and that all legal steps be taken to assure that the WTBBL remains in its present location and all assets be given over to WTBBL. It also directs that the blind citizens of Washington State be given concrete assurances that the state of Washington recognizes and agrees with their needs for full public library services on a level with those being offered all other citizens.

Note: These resolutions with entire text appear on our website,

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WCB Honors and Recognitions
by Marlaina Lieberg, Chair, WCB Awards Committee

This year, WCB recognized five Board members whose terms of service were complete. They were Julie Brannon, Second Vice President, myself as Secretary, and Sue Ammeter, Frank Cuta and Glenn McCully, Directors.

Certificates recognizing chapters whose membership increased by ten percent or more between the date of the last WCB Convention and the current Convention were given to the Capital City Council of the Blind, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, South King Council of the Blind, and the United Blind of the Tri Cities. Keep up the great work, and maybe next year we’ll have the joy of presenting a certificate to each WCB Chapter.

Any WCB chapter that provides an update for each issue of the Newsline between conventions receives honorable mention. This year, the chapters providing these updates were: Capital City Council of the Blind, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, King County Chapter, United Blind of Spokane, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, United Blind of Walla Walla, and the United Blind of Whatcom County.

The Newsline Editor’s Award is given in acknowledgement of an article published in the Newsline which is considered to be outstanding in reporting of a blindness-related event, activity or program or for an article of original content commenting on issues, concerns and realities of daily life for blind and partially sighted people. This year, Debby Phillips was honored for her article, "Trekker: A Global Positioning System Through The Seeing Eye." Debby’s portrayal of her Trekker training experience at the Seeing Eye was fascinating. Congratulations, Debby!

The Employer of the Year Award was given this year to Walla Walla Community College. This award is exclusively intended for those employers who are not involved in the training or rehabilitation of or direct service provision to people who are blind or partially sighted, and who has taken proactive steps to recruit and hire qualified blind and partially sighted people as well as create a working environment in which these individuals can advance. The College took a great interest in hiring one of its own blind students, ensuring she had the technical support she needed and allowed her to advance her career by entrusting her with increased job-related responsibilities.

The Alder Trail Animal Hospital located in Bremerton received the Business of the Year Award. This award is given to a business that has provided outstanding customer service to people who are blind or partially sighted and which has demonstrated its consideration of blind and partially sighted customers by providing appropriate and respectful service to these customers and where appropriate, has made its publicly available materials accessible via Braille, recordings, large print, or accessible web sites. Alder Trail honors guide and service dogs by providing a fifty percent discount for their care, and works in conjunction with other agencies offering stipends for veterinarian care for guide and service animals.

WCB was proud this year to present the One World Award to Carolyn Meyer, a long-time friend of this organization and Director of the Louis Braille School in Edmonds, Washington. Carolyn has provided WCB with brailling services for many years, and we were proud we could thank her in this manner. This is an award given to an individual or entity whose actions have a direct result of minimizing the impact of blindness by creating an opportunity of equal access such as providers or sponsors of described movies, plays, or museums and describers and narrators of sporting events.

Each year, WCB honors one individual with the Outstanding Service Award. This award is meant to express appreciation to those members whose consistent donation of their skills, services and time have contributed to the successful operation of the Washington Council of the Blind. This year’s award was presented to Jack Faulkner, who since the early 1990’s has served WCB as our accountant, managed our Equipment Loan Fund and so much more. Jack was nominated by several WCB members, and WCB is the richer for his ongoing contribution of his time and talents.

I want to thank my Committee members, Ann McCay and Bill Hoage, for their hard work. They made a great team with which to work. It is always a joy to shout out our accomplishments and say thank you to those who make WCB the finest organization of the blind anywhere. Start thinking now of those deserving members of your community and WCB whom you think should be recognized next year in Spokane and stay tuned for a request for nominations from the 2007 Awards Committee.

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2006 WCB Scholarships Awarded!
by Alan Bentson, Chair, WCB Scholarship Committee

On August 29, 2006, the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) Scholarship Committee met to select the recipients of the 2006 WCB Scholarship. The winners were presented with their scholarships at our State Convention in SeaTac on Saturday, November 11. The winners are listed below.

Robert Taylor, a senior at Corban College in Salem, Oregon, majoring in Intercultural Studies with a minor in Computer Science, received $2,500. This is his third WCB scholarship. He hopes to pursue a career in missionary work and teaching overseas.

Hongda Sao, a sophomore at Pierce Community College in Lakewood, majoring in psychology, received $2,500. He plans to become a counselor for at risk youth.

David Haney, a senior at the University of Washington at Tacoma, majoring in Education, received $2,500. David hopes to go into Special Education, teaching elementary school students.

Trevor Nix, a sophomore at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, majoring in Education, received $2,500. This is his second WCB scholarship. He wants to pursue careers as a special education teacher and a high school athletics coach.

Sati Wullabbs, a junior at Heritage University in Toppenish, majoring in Computer Science, received $3,500. This is his second WCB Scholarship. He received a scholarship from the American Council of the Blind (ACB) in Jacksonville earlier this year. Sati envisions either a career in computer network administration or as an assistive technology trainer.

Chris Bickert, who was recently awarded a B.A. in English Literature and is now in a graduate program at Western Washington University in Bellingham, received $3,500. He plans to obtain a position teaching English at the community college level.

Natalie McCarthy, a sophomore at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, with a double major in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology and a minor in Spanish, received $4,500. She hopes to go on to law school.

Garrett Swanburg, a sophomore at Gonzaga University in Spokane, majoring in Finance and Business Administration with a minor in Math, received $4,500. This is his second WCB scholarship. He has also received two scholarships from the ACB. Garrett hopes to operate his own business.

I would personally like to thank the members of the Scholarship Committee for their hard work and invaluable insights, including: Denise Colley, Janice Squires, Shelly Pryor, Hayley Agers and Debra Phillips. Also, thanks go to all the WCB officers and members who contributed to the successful completion of this year’s scholarship program. Kathy Bentson was chosen to present the certificates to the winners at the banquet to recognize her many hours of work making cassette recordings and compiling e-mail of the scholarship application materials for the committee’s use and her tireless assistance at the conventions over the years. I would also like to thank WCB for its ongoing financial and moral support for the Scholarship program, which not only awards the achievements of an intelligent and accomplished group of blind and visually impaired students, but recognizes their importance to the future well-being of our organization and the blindness community as a whole.

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Access to Paper Currency for the Blind
by Day Al-Mohamed
ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs

As some of you may know, in 2002 the American Council of the Blind filed suit against the Department of the Treasury (Civil Action No. 02-0864 (JR)) alleging that the Department of Treasury violates section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, by its repeated and continuing failures to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired people.

On November 28, U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled that "It can no longer be successfully argued that a blind person has 'meaningful access' to currency if she cannot accurately identify paper money without assistance."

Below are a few of the highlights.
Background - Most people with low vision, and all blind people, are incapable of looking at American currency and distinguishing one denomination from another. In order to know whether the bill in her hand is worth five dollars or fifty, a blind person must ask someone for help or use a machine that can identify the denomination and speak it out loud.

Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations. The Euro varies in size based on denomination: the greater the value of the note, the greater the length. The Swiss Franc contains intaglio digits and a perforated numeral that can be identified by touch. In Japan, a new design for the Yen has incorporated a tactile feature in the ¥10,000, ¥5,000 and ¥1,000 notes, different for each note, that has a rougher texture than the rest of the bill. The Canadian Dollar also contains tactile features according to denomination. Australia's dollars differ in color and size. English Pound notes vary in color and size and contain tactile symbols. Chinese currency differs in color and possesses a tactile symbol, as does the currency in Argentina and Israel. Saudi Arabia's currency varies in color and size.

Even Congress has expressed interest in changing U.S. currency to accommodate the visually impaired. In 1997, the House of Representatives "strongly encouraged" the Secretary of the Treasury and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to incorporate cost-effective, tactile features into the design changes, thereby including the blind and visually impaired in independent currency usage, to no avail.

From Judge Robertson's Memorandum (November 28, 2006) - There was a time when disabled people had no choice but to ask for help - to rely on the "kindness of strangers." It was thought to be their lot. Blind people had to ask strangers to push elevator buttons for them. People in wheelchairs needed Boy Scouts to help them over curbs and up stairs. We have evolved, however, and Congress has made our evolution official, by enacting the Rehabilitation Act, whose stated purpose is "to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society." 29 U.S.C. § 701(b). It can no longer be successfully argued that a blind person has "meaningful access" to currency if she cannot accurately identify paper money without assistance.

In response to the government's suggestion that any changes to the currency would "significantly complicate any effort to add a tactile feature to U.S. currency," Judge Robertson wrote: "This suggestion is unsupported argument, and it is utterly unpersuasive. The government offers no reason to think that the addition of a tactile feature would render U.S. currency more vulnerable to counterfeiting, and indeed the use of foil and raised print on the Euro is considered a security feature, as is the micro-perforated number on a Swiss banknote." And in response to the argument that any "drastic or sudden" changes to the currency could undermine international recognition and acceptance of U.S. currency "as a common medium of exchange throughout the world," he stated that the contention was not only "unsupported, but, on its face, is fairly absurd."

This is a wonderful victory not just for ACB, but for all blind and visually impaired people. The order is available at:

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My Thoughts on Accessible Currency
by Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President

There's been a lot of discussion taking place on this topic on e-mail lists and I'm sharing my thoughts here.

I believe that making currency accessible will benefit all, not just blind people.  It will assist those who are fumbling with money in the dark or who are in a hurry to identify their money easily by touch.  It will give the sighted person an additional way of verifying their money.  It will assist those who are in the process of losing their sight, whether they are young or old.  It will allow a person who cannot read a bill to be able to identify it on their own without having to trust a stranger to tell them.

This is no different from all of the other accessibility issues people have fought for over the years.  I've always been able to have someone read my ballot to me and mark my ballot as I vote in an election, but now that accessible technology is available, the Federal government agrees that I should be able to vote privately.  Accessible technology is being installed in ATMs and Point of Sale machines in banks and stores all over the country because it is understood that I as a consumer should be able to have security with my pin number and account information just as my peers do.  Braille signage is required in all public buildings because the federal government understands and believes that I should be able to move through my environment and have access to that information.

Yes, I could have someone read the menu to me, help me find my room in a hotel, assist me with casting my vote, use an ATM for me by my telling them my pin, use a POS for me so that I can make a purchase while sharing with them my pin, and the list goes on and on, but I am certainly glad I don't have to do these things.

I depend on others for transportation, with shopping and other visual aspects of my life. Money, however, is a very personal thing. Most sighted people would not want someone else handling their money for them. The technology to make money accessible is out there. Other countries have it. We should, too.

Supporting this issue is not in lieu of fighting for employment; in fact, making currency more accessible may even help a blind person get a job that requires handling money. It will not make people pity us, but will make them more aware of our needs.

We do have to live in our environment, but thank goodness many people recognize that it's okay to make changes to allow more people access to this environment. Curb cuts and ramps are part of intersection planning, originally there for wheelchairs, but everyone has benefited from them. It's okay for us to make our environment better for all people.

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Looking for Nominations
by Nola McKinney, Chair, ACB Awards Committee

Hello, Washington, just a short note to remind you that I want some nomination letters from your state for the National ACB awards. Please take the time to look around your local and state affiliates. Isn’t there someone in that group that you admire for all the work they do for the blind? Does one person stand out for doing so much to make your state convention truly great? These are the ones that I, as Awards Chair, want to know about.

Wouldn’t you be proud to hear me call their name at the awards part of the convention? We have so many truly great individuals in ACB and some of them are in your state. Be the one to write that nominating letter.

Send your letter to the national office and address it to the awards committee. I’ll be looking forward to that cheer of joy and pride from Washington.

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Louis Braille School
by Carolyn Meyer, Director

What I Hear from My Desk

As I work at my desk, I hear the sounds of joyful learning expressed in many ways. There is the gentle clicking of plastic manipulatives (little frogs, bears, and cubes) as students place them in and take them out of containers – counting, adding, subtracting.

A time of quiet discussion about calendars is punctuated by a song: Days of the week (clap, clap) Days of the week (clap, clap) – to the tune of the Adams Family theme song.

The gentle balance of activity and calm continues throughout the day—a quiet time of phonics, a rousing rendition of Hokey Pokey, a peaceful rest-time story, an exuberant reading of Green Eggs and Ham.

It is recess time, and a young boy stops by my office to get the keys that unlock a shed holding the outside toys. He takes a detour to inch beside me onto my chair and snuggle close. He admires my red sweater, gives me a big hug, then takes the keys and skips on out.

Later in the day I overhear a conversation between student and teacher. The lesson was opposites: hot/cold, up/down, big/little, happy/sad.

Teacher: "What is the opposite of dirty?"

Student: "Shower."

A recent science experiment about liquids, gases, and solids involved three balloons, one filled with water, one filled with air, and one filled with ice. The serious beginning of the lesson suddenly turned to surprise and much laughter when the water-filled balloon popped, giving those nearby an unexpected shower and a dramatic illustration of liquid.

"Can we do it again?" a young student asked.

I don’t go to work each day. I go to school, where the necessary paper work of running an organization is interspersed with laughter, songs, field trips, and hugs. What fun!

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Washington Learns
A Major Opportunity for Continued Growth and Change

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

In November, 2006 the "Washington Learns" report was released, which I believe can be a golden opportunity to continue to implement gains in service delivery for all children in our state, including those who are blind and visually impaired. This report provides a road map as to where Washington will be headed within the educational system for all children - birth (early learning) through post secondary education FinalReport.pdf.

The report focuses on five major initiatives as basic strategies to reform the education system in Washington (basic outline is listed below from the report):

1) Investing in early learning so children start off as lifelong learners

2) Improving math and science teaching so that our citizens have a competitive edge

3) Personalizing learning so that every student has the opportunity to succeed

4) Offering college and workforce training for everyone

5) Holding the system accountable for results

How are we going to stack up and be part of Washington Learns, provide leadership for programs providing services to the blind and visually impaired students, families and those working with the blind? Below is a sampling of performance measures that are part of WSSB’s strategic plan ( 202003-2009.htm). These are the targeted measures that have been requested by the Governor’s office.

· Ninety percent of those individuals using services from WSSB will rate services 4.0 or higher, based upon a Likert Scale from 1-5 with 5 being the highest rating possible.

· WSSB will develop 9 new Digital Learning classes and/or resources available to the public by December 31, 2007. (On-line classes/resources or special classes with a focus on assistive technology for the blind/visually impaired)

· Ninety seven (97) percent of all braille transcribed material will be delivered on time.

· WSSB will increase braille production by 5% over the current year. (This past year WSSB transcribed more new braille textbooks titles than the American Printing House (APH) for the Blind, which is the largest printing house for the blind in the world).

· Eighty percent of all WSSB graduates will be successful upon completion of their program. (This is benchmarked against unemployment rates of over 60% in the adult blind community.)

· WSSB will have a zero (0) percent drop out rate.

· Eighty percent of WSSB students will gain 1.5 years of skills within one school year, based upon academic performance and expanded CORE competencies (specialized courses related to blindness and visual impairment).

· Fifth year program (skill recovery program – Living Independent for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT)) will have an 85% success rate. (Note: This program was started at the request of school districts where students graduated, but didn’t have all the specialized training to be independent.)

The above performance targets along with our continued focus on examining better and more efficient ways of reaching, teaching and preparing young people for tomorrow can be attained within the defined areas of Washington Learns, but we will keep vigilant to guarantee that as systems evolve, they do so in such a way that blind and visually impaired children are included in the beginning and not brought in as an afterthought. Please take time to check out the links provided and become well educated about Washington Learns and WSSB’s Strategic Plan for 2007-2017.

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Blind Youth Build Mentor Library

By Mark Adreon, Department of Services for the Blind
Communication and Employer Consultant

During the WCB State Convention held at the DoubleTree at SeaTac November 10th to the 12th, you could hear the laughter and "high fives" emanating from the 17 students attending the convention’s Washington Conference for Blind Youth. These students, ages 14 to 20, were part of the 4th annual partnership between the Department of Services for the Blind’s Child and Family Program and the Washington Council of the Blind.

As the students arrived from all across the state, they were excited to meet and connect with their peers for learning, socializing, sharing and getting away from their parents for three days. "The students were given responsibilities to take care of themselves and they enthusiastically met the challenge," says Alan Garrels, the Child and Family Program manager. For some of the students this was the first time they had spent time on their own, away from home. They were amazed with the hotel, at the number of pillows on the bed and that they were treated like adults. They said this was "sweet!"

The students had three days of activities including a pizza party hosted by the Committee for Families of Blind Children (WCB), and an audio described play of "Jason and the Golden Fleece" at the Seattle Children’s Theatre. Arts for Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA) provided the audio description. In addition, six students wowed the WCB convention goers at the annual WCB Talent Show. Awesome!

The students spent much of their time learning about digital audio production including editing, production, creating format and how to conduct an interview. Jack Straw Productions contributed two days of their time for this structured activity. They volunteered their time to provide audio production and learning opportunities. The students with two sound engineers, worked with screen reading technology to learn how to record, edit, create sound balance and how to stylize and add artistic qualities to the end product.

The students worked with an arts outreach specialist to learn the skills of conducting a team audio interview, how to ask questions, how to make the interviewee comfortable, and techniques to form open ended questions to get quality information from the interview. The focus was to make students comfortable and give them the confidence and techniques to provide a mature and quality interview.

On Friday afternoon the students conducted interviews with eight volunteer adult mentors/interviewees. The interviews were focused on Career Education. The students’ purpose was to get information on how people choose their careers, what kind of activities or tasks are part of their work, what they like about their jobs and what technologies they would use to do their work well.

On Saturday the students worked in post production. They worked with two sound engineers to create the CD. This involved audio editing equipment and creative input to develop the career focused CD product.

Jack Straw will do the final production of the Career CD and provide a master copy with the combined interviews to all the students, any family of a blind child (through the Child and Family Program), and will be available to teachers of the blind throughout the state.

The CD will be available for various web sites including WCB, ACB, the DSB web site and American Foundation for the Blind – Career Connect site.

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Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL)
By Gloria J. Leonard, Director

During this Thanksgiving Season, it is an ideal time to say "thank you, WCB" on behalf of the staff, volunteers and patrons for your dedicated commitment to the long-term sustainability of WTBBL. In my 33-year library career, I cannot recall a library program receiving as much support and caring concern as was displayed during the Conventions held in the first two-weeks of November by the Washington Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Washington. In particular, you made WTBBL a high priority item on your Convention agenda. You set aside several opportunities to dialog about the future directions for WTBBL, which included a wonderful forum with the State Librarian, Jan Walsh, and Transition Coordinator, Cathy Turk and me. During the Convention, you took action, which included a resolution to transition to Washington State Library. And after that, your Legislative Committee and Board of Directors passed a motion to seek increased funding for WTBBL during the 2007 Legislative Session. Thank you so much to so many including, Cindy Van Winkle, Sue Ammeter, Jim Eccles, Terry Atwater, Lynette Romero and Denise Colley for your leadership and hard work. Your advocacy and outreach efforts are greatly appreciated!

For those of you who were unable to attend the WCB Convention and hear a demonstration in the Exhibit Area of an enhancement to our Evergreen Radio Reading Service (ERRS), there’s something new we want you to know about. If you have a computer with an Internet connection, you can now listen to ERRS with crystal-clear sound from anywhere in the state!

Over the next 24-months, WTBBL will be piloting the feasibility of web streaming as an alternative delivery method for ERRS listeners. Many of you know that the ERRS radio signal is aired 24 hours a day on sub-carriers of radio stations in Seattle, Spokane, and the Tri-Cities area. A pre-tuned special radio receiver is required, which is provided free of charge as long as it is needed. What you may not know is that the demand for them exceeds the supply. Due to changes in the telecommunication and technological industries in recent years, the Telecom Pioneer volunteers who had the technical skills to repair the specially tuned receivers have fewer members today. When combined with inadequate operating funds, it is unlikely that new and improved receivers will be purchased in the foreseeable future. At the same time, feedback from patrons encouraged staff to explore web streaming as an alternative broadcasting option.

One of the goals of web streaming is to help preserve and protect WTBBL’s 32-year old ERRS that is made possible by great staff and the talents of over 100 volunteers who donate thousands of hours and their voices to hosting programs that include reading the daily newspapers from around Washington state, magazines, short stories, and a weekly live call-in talk show that focuses on aging and disability issues. A complete schedule is located on our website,

Today, thanks to a generous gift from you, WTBBL is pleased to offer this enhancement, which also allows us to bring our valuable ERRS to a much wider audience. If you would like to sign up, receive instructions on how to listen over the Internet, or want more information please visit our website at or contact us toll free at: 1-800-542-0866 or (206) 615-0400.

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ACB Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL)
A Special Interest Affiliate
by Nola McKinney, President

Hi to all my ACB friends in the beautiful state of Washington. I am so proud to be asked to tell you about AAVL. AAVL was started to help those ACB members who are 50 years old or older. It was designed to help those visually impaired people who are having special problems due to their age and time in life, problems such as losing a spouse, retirement, or serious health issues. AAVL offers encouragement and support to older people newly diagnosed with permanent vision loss. We have started a program called "Share the Vision," where an experienced blind person agrees to phone regularly a newly-blinded person to help with coping problems and give suggestions for daily living skills. We publish a great newsletter called The Hour Glass, which gives many suggestions for new aids, books, or just funny stories. It comes in all formats and we think it’s one of the best newsletters in ACB.

Our meetings at convention are fun and informational. We also help ACB National with money to the Scholarship fund, and by buying a special transmitter to help the hard of hearing. We are always looking for new members, so if you feel you would enjoy the things I have described, please join us at the 2007 convention. We start off with storyteller John Dashney as our guest speaker. If you have ever heard him or his tapes, do make it a point to come. On Wednesday, we have a great program on the experience of being married to a sighted person. We also are planning our wine and cheese singalong with George Correy, the pianist at the Cincinnati Hyatt for 25 years. For more information, contact me at (870) 356-5344 or email

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Around the State

Capital City Council of the Blind

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

Guide Dog Users of Washington State

King County Chapter

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind

Peninsula Council of the Blind

Pierce County Association of the Blind

South King Council of the Blind

South Kitsap Council of the Blind

United Blind of Seattle

United Blind of Spokane

United Blind of Tri-Cities

United Blind of Whatcom County

Yakima Valley Council of the Blind


Capital City Council of the Blind
by Berl Colley, President

August 26 was the date of this year’s CCCB picnic. It was a pot-luck and all of the food was good, but the award winner was Kathy Matsen, who brought three different prepared dishes. Everybody liked the chicken, including the late summer bees. Three of our picnickers got stung. A few folks took a hike, literally. They walked through ball fields and back yards, learning the lay of the park.

At our October meeting we were visited by Alan Bentson representing the WCB board. In November we held this year’s elections. The CCCB officers for 2007 are: Berl Colley, President; Gloria Walling, Vice President; Denise Colley, Secretary; Howard Ferguson, Treasurer.

The 2006 CCCB candy sale was another successful fundraiser. We sold during the last weekend of September and the first weekend in October. We raised about $1,300, one third of which will go toward the 2007 WCB Scholarship program.

CCCB was pleased to enjoy a welcome dinner with WCB convention national representative David Trott and his wife, Rhonda, on November 8. Unfortunately, it was one of those one-inch-or-more rain days, which wasn’t that enjoyable.

We are initiating the process of filling out the paperwork to obtain a 501(c)3 federal tax number. Thanks to Howard Ferguson for undertaking this project.


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

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind is continuing to find ways that we can reach out into the community and reach inward to find new strength among ourselves. After a summer break full of fun we met on September 11 to talk about our summer experiences and begin getting ready for our Fall and Winter activities.

After attending the Aquasox game in August we talked about the stadium and its food service. We bought a package which included a buffet with hot dogs and burgers before the game. At our September meeting a great deal of our discussion centered around ways of making it easier for us to deal with the buffet more efficiently if we buy that particular package again.

Sue and John Ammeter were our guests at the meeting in October. Sue is our contact person on the WCB board. She gave us a very comprehensive presentation on the WCB convention and on concerns related to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. We left the meeting feeling excited about the upcoming convention.

John Common, Miki Hopper-Estrada, Dave Mason, Allan and Donna Patchett, Nancy Lind and Chris Coulter attended the convention, along with Victor Harris, who is thinking about joining our chapter in January. We all enjoyed the full range of activities that were presented, from the focus group for patrons of Washington Talking Book and Braille Library to the speech given by Michael Hingson about his ordeal during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Chris was the host of the talent show and, after all the work of putting it together it turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone.

GEACB is looking forward to a wonderful holiday season and a happy and productive New Year. We will be holding our December meeting as a Christmas celebration at Allan and Donna Patchett’s home. It’s the first Christmas party we’ve ever attempted and we’ll let you know how it turned out later.

We sincerely hope that we can keep finding new ways to give service and compassion to our community, to each other and to ourselves.


Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

By Joleen Ferguson, President

We had another successful breakout session, breakfast business meeting, and luncheon program during the WCB convention this year. Keith Rapp, former hostage crisis negotiator for Washington State Department of Corrections, Founder of Survival Resources, spoke at our breakout on surviving a hostage situation. Mick Autuchovich, Port of Seattle Police Department Explosive Detection Division, talked about his work with bomb detection dogs at the Sea Tac airport. Both speakers were interesting and informative. Denise Colley joined us from the WCB board during our business meeting and shared information about WCB activities.

Elections were held again during our business meeting with the following results: Vivian Conger, Vice President, Debby Phillips, Secretary, and Randy Tedrow, Board Member. We are pleased to have each of these people willing to serve. Thanks to Shirley Taylor for her term as vice president, Vivian Conger as secretary, and Debby Phillips for her term as board member.

Holly and Byron Kaczmarski and Tina Leighton worked with Vivian Conger to man our display table in the Exhibit room. We sold t-shirts with our logo, lights for nighttime visibility, terry pouches, and APH large print/Braille calendars. There are still calendars and t-shirts available. Contact Vivian Conger at or (509) 526-4967 to place an order.

Frank Cuta oversaw the recording of all our meetings as he does throughout the convention. We are greatly appreciative of his continuing efforts on our behalf.

Marlaina was our representative to work with the hotel to plan the details of the relief area at convention. We thank her for that work. We regret to say that we lost a beeper again this year. This makes several that have disappeared from WCB conventions and meetings. The beeper is helpful to all of us who visit the relief area with our dogs as it signals the location of the garbage receptacle. The replacements have been donated by some of our members at $30.00 each. If anyone has information about what may have happened to any of our beepers, please contact Joleen Ferguson at or (509) 529-3415. We would also welcome suggestions for securing the beepers against future loss.

Don and Kelli Reiter, puppy raisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind and GDUWS members, were present at convention helping in our meetings and with the general WCB membership as well. We thank them for their volunteer efforts.

Five of our members will be serving on the WCB board beginning in January. Debby Phillips was elected to a WCB board position joining Cindy Van Winkle, Marlaina Lieberg, Viola Cruz, and Vivian Conger. Congratulations to Debby for winning that election.

We received awards again for submitting an article to each issue of Newsline during the past year. We also received an award for demonstrating a growth in our chapter of more than 10 percent. We were both surprised and pleased when Debby Phillips won the Newsline Award this year for her article, "Trekker Training at the Seeing Eye," September 2006.

In addition to our two meetings per year, we continue to have a weekly update by e-mail. Members should contact Joleen Ferguson at if these are not coming regularly each week.

Details about our Spring Fling are not yet available. Announcements will be made in Newsline and on the weekly updates as they are finalized. We have had about 20 members attending and hope that this number will increase this year. Please make plans to join us.

Craig Phillips collected 2007 dues from 28 people during convention. Comparing this with last year, we had received dues from only 19 members at the meeting. Several who paid this year are new members and we welcome them. Now, the only way to pay dues to GDUWS is to send the $15.00 to Janice Squires, 502 W. 20th Ave. Kennewick, WA 99337. Three additional members have already done this. If you have been thinking about joining our ranks, but have not made the move to do so, now is your chance. You do not have to be a guide dog user to join; you just have to have an interest in matters of guide dogs.


 King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

‘Twas the deadline for the Newsline and all through the house, not a brain cell was stirring, not even my mouse. But alas, duty calls.

Wasn’t that a great WCB convention? There was so much to do and experience in such a short time. I hope you enjoyed it all and still had time to meet and greet old and new friends. By the way, I have announced my retirement from selling Yummy Yummy Grab Bags. I sold my first Yummy Yummy Bag at the convention held in Fife in 1991 and I sold my last one at this convention to a lovely lady named Ursula. I want to especially thank all of the people who made this recent convention such a success.

A recent guest speaker at the King County Chapter was a disability contact person for Sound Transit. He described both the audio and tactile procedures being installed for the safety of the disabled.

Our October speaker was a volunteer from the League of Women Voters. She explained all the issues on the November ballot, both pro and con, in an easy to understand language.

Election of officers was held at the October meeting. The winners are as follows: President, Tim Schneebeck; Vice-President Shirley Taylor; Secretary, Maria Fabian; and Treasurer, Marilyn Donnelly.

From our chapter to your chapter, may you have a merry merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.


Lower Columbia Council of the Blind
Karen Kay Lewis-Keverline

Dale and Erla Coleman – Dan, the grandson of Dale and Erla, will be getting married next month. Congratulations to Dan and also to Dale and Erla.

Ginger McCallum – Ginger is organizing a bus trip for LCCB to ride around and view the Christmas show of homes and Christmas lights. She is also helping to plan our annual Christmas party as well as our Christmas parade.

Linda Jacques – Linda is helping with the planning of our annual Christmas party and gift exchange, which will be held at one of our local restaurants.

Maurine Coon – Maurine actually used the new voting machine to cast her ballot for this past election. Way to go Maurine! She said that she liked being able to wear a set of headphones and hear how she voted. Unfortunately, Maurine was the only person to use this new technology for voting. Maybe more people will use this machine next election.

Lynette Romero – Lynette will soon be graduating from Western Washington State College. Way to go Lynette! She is still working at Evergreen State College, and if this is not enough, she was just elected as co-secretary of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Patron Advisory Council. Understandably, Lynette can’t wait until she graduates.


Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Eric Hunter, President

It was a busy summer for the PCB, what with our garage sale at the Schweizers’ home, and our picnic at Evergreen Park in Bremerton.

Eric paid a visit to the Jefferson County chapter with Cindy and Tim, and got to visit the Ammeters lovely home in Port Hadlock. He also spoke at meetings of the East Bremerton Kiwanis, along with Stuart Russell and Nevada, and at the East Bremerton Rotarians. The Kiwanians were especially attentive to Stuart and Nevada, and he was able to explain much to them about the problems of the blind, and the logistics of having a guide dog. Eric mainly talked about the vision problems which occur as we get older, and how he copes with them.

A bunch of us also spent time at Jack and Fran Piggotts’ Camp Harobed. Every year that place is getting more and more attractive, what with fishin’ and campin’ and eating the delicious food. If any of you are looking for a chapter event for next summer, contact Jack, you won’t regret it. And this recommendation comes from someone who believes that roughing it is slow room service at the Maui Hilton.

Chelsea Armstrong gets home occasionally from the WSSB. She gets prettier every day. Speaking of pretty, Michelle Denzer, the 2006 Bopit queen, is now in San Rafael, California, getting her guide dog. She promised she would e-mail us, and we’re all waiting expectantly.

A bunch of PCBers at convention: Myself and Joanne, Cindy and Tim, Meka, Michelle, Jess, Cathy and Nicole, Carolyn Younker, Jim and Connie Hollis, Connie Couch, Jack and Fran, Stuart, Amanda and Amelia, Don, Kim and John Moberg…I know I’ve forgotten someone, so I apologize in advance. Speaking of John Moberg, he is over at OTC, and evidently having a ball. I saw him several times at convention pushing someone around in a wheel-chair…good for him.

Good to see David Edick at the convention. He and Hayley rejoined PCB. Great to have them.

We are all looking forward to our annual Christmas party. Cindy claims that she is a personal friend of Santa Claus, and promises his appearance.

All in all, 2006 was an exciting year, and we’re looking forward to even more fun in 2007. We hope the same for you.


Pierce County Association of the Blind
by Mildred L. Johnson, Secretary & Dave Fullerton, Member

Greetings from Pierce County. This year we have lost two dear members, Betty York, who was a member for 67 years, and Ron Fredrickson, who has been our president for six years. Ron was born at Waldo Hospital in Seattle on March 6, 1942 and passed away on October 13, 2006.

As most of you know, Ron did not have an easy childhood and somehow along the way he figured out his own way. When I first knew Ron, he carried a large bag, which included his headphones, tapes, books, etc. Whenever he was bored, he’d just put on his headphones and let the rest of the world go by. As time went on, he found the blind association and gradually made friends and the need for the headphones became less and less, until no longer needed.

Ron attended the School for the Blind in Vancouver. Later, he took some courses at Seattle Community College, along with some correspondence courses. For a time after finishing school in Vancouver, he operated his own vending machine, which did not work out as planned. Then he worked at the Lighthouse in Seattle, going door to door selling products. At the time of his passing, he was working at the Talking Book & Braille Library, rewinding tapes and books.

Ron has been a member of various organizations. He was president of Pierce County Council of the Blind, member of United Blind of Seattle, also member of Meridian Grange, where he earned six degrees out of seven. He also belonged to several Lions Clubs in Hood Canal, Kent, Maple Valley, and Covington. For a two-year period, he was appointed to the State Independent Living Council by then-Governor Locke. While working at the Seattle Library, with the help of Cleo Brooks he learned how to operate computers.

Ron is survived by one brother, one nephew, and a host of friends. While president of PCAB, Ron never missed an important meeting or convention. I have never known anyone with a memory like Ron’s. He could recall phone numbers, figures and dates without even thinking. His life was the blind association.


South King Council of the Blind
by Gaylen Floy, President

There’s nothing like hosting a convention to light a fire under your collective chairs. What a year. Our chapter will celebrate our second anniversary with the Council in February. We have been blown away by the support and guidance from the Board, Convention Committee, other chapters, and friends outside the Council.  Thank you so much. I can’t help but think that Ron Fredrickson must have been smiling to see all that was accomplished in one weekend together.

Did everything go smoothly this past year? No. We weren’t able to raise enough money to hire the jazz band, but it was a learning experience. We got discouraged with the lack of response to donation letters. But we got our name out in the community. And I thought Maida Pojtinger was going to faint when I called Thursday night from the hotel to say there were more door prizes coming in. A friend who helped us with door prizes commented on the generosity within the Council. It all worked out.

Working on the host-chapter tasks took us out of our comfort zones. With help from UBS, the Lions, and Quincy Daniel’s church, we put together a pretty fantastic picnic last summer. Again, with help from UBS, we put on two car washes. These were a lot of hard work, but we had fun doing it. Katharine Richardson has some unusual techniques for getting driver’s attention. My members met with business managers and delivered donation letters.  The Mayor of SeaTac learned about our organization. We are getting connected with resources within the blind community and the community at large. Marlaina hit a home run with the Mariner organization, pulling in some great door prizes. The police chaplain who gave the invocation got a slew of door prizes donated from Starbucks. Many individuals bought door prizes. I had never facilitated a panel discussion, but it went well and only one person noticed that my satiny, new slacks were on backwards. (That’s how nervous I was.)

When first asked to be the host chapter, there were only eleven of us and we were a bit overwhelmed. It seemed beyond our capability, but this pulled people together as a team. Cindy Van Winkle says we need to build on that momentum by setting specific, attainable goals for 2007.  It would be cool if we could get our 501(c)3 status this year. It was encouraging at the President’s Breakfast, to hear that other chapters are making that happen. We definitely need to follow up with outreach to doctors’ offices and schools.  I hope that Evergreen Eye Center in Federal Way will be our first presentation.

People within our chapter are sharing job opening information, connecting beyond the monthly meeting. The Renton WorkSource appears to be the most active in the area. Nels Barth is optimistic he’ll find good part-time work through them. Our congratulations go to Howard Jones for completing training at the OTC and getting hired at The Lighthouse.

South King is anxious to work with the other Seattle chapters on more picnics and game days.  I remember a speaker at the UBS Friend’s Day talking about the good old days in Seattle when the blind had a community center. What would it take to make that happen again? Within the three chapters we have a broad skill set and range of connections. We’re all learning as we go and open to new ideas.  We also plan to see more people attend and participate in the Spokane convention. It will be here before we know it.


South Kitsap Council of the Blind
by Carol Brame, Treasurer

Where to begin; there’s so much to share. This has been a wonderful second year and we look forward to the third year with elections coming up in January.

Our President, Kevin Jones, was interviewed by P.J. Scott, who is visually impaired and does free lancing. They talked about how Kevin went blind when he was 34. Kevin was asked why he came to the States? He came when his child was born, who had to have surgery. He also was asked about his guide dog, Dickens, who may soon retire. He got Dickens in 1991, his guide who is still helping him, from Boring, Oregon. The interview was shown on Comcast cable 3, 4 times in the month of November, the last one Nov 27th. Last month we voted on stipends to help with extras of going and getting a Guide Dog.

We learned that five from our Chapter would be going to convention. Due to a fund raiser commitment, Chris and I could not attend. We sure did miss all of you.

This month we had a guest speaker from the Lions Club, Diane Rickmin, who shared how they started, their goals and how they can help with free testing for diabetes and other things that we might need. We talked about helping them with White Cane Day and what else we could do together to help the community. They mentioned a camp and Val Siler shared with them about Camp Harobed. The fishing pond is well stocked for next year’s campers. Thanks Jack and Val for stocking the Fishing Pond. Tim Smith, John and other fisher people will love it.

After the meeting we went and bought a plant for Betsy Jennings, who in September lost a leg to diabetes complications. Five of us went to visit her. We found her in the bingo room; her spirits are great and she is mending well. We took her a plant and a get well card. Betsy, we wish you a speedy recovery and we all miss you. Also want to say we enjoyed Irene Witte joining us, who due to ill health can not join us often but is a pleasure to have around.

Now on to the Fund Raisers. Next year we will again be back at Retsil that was canceled this year. We made crafts and sold them at the Holiday Extravaganza at South Kitsap High School. We learned that Irene, who is in her 80's, goes out on her hands and knees, finds cones and then makes beautiful holiday corsages and bows to hang on doors; she and others who make hats, scarves, and candy canes of yarn are a wonderful inspiration to me as well as others. We are again selling the Kitsap books, and we had a raffle at the convention. And with the three fund raisers we are over the $500 dollar mark and climbing. This next year we want to have a walk-a-thon in the spring. Also we will be making more crafts that will be sold at a market place in Belfair. Thank you to everyone who has been helping with the fund raising through buying, selling and donations.

We had two new guests at our meeting and I am sure PCB will see them sometime soon as they live closer to their group. They found me on our outdated web site that we have to get updated. Nice to meet you Judy and Fran. Fran is Judy's mother, 84 years old, and is blind now. We enjoyed having you join us.

Our last social was a lunch at the pancake house and it was so much fun. I think there were 10 of us there.

We have a Christmas Party coming up December 16th and I know it will be a lot of fun. We will have a gift exchange and surprise for everyone. Our group is providing the ham and drinks and it’s a potluck on the rest of the food.

We want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We look forward to hearing how your clubs are doing. May we all learn to empower and support each other and may every chapter grow and thrive.


United Blind of Seattle
by Doug Hildie, Outgoing President

This brief update includes the period that should have been covered in the last "Chapter Update," but was not, because we did not submit one. So, we begin with summer.

UBS has an Activities Committee that arranges a myriad of opportunities for chapter members. These range from chamber music, to picnics, to hiking, a tour of the Woodland Park Zoo, and more. These activities occur in every season of the year.

We usually have a presenter at each meeting from a variety of areas. These include new rules and regulations for airport security, pedestrian issues for people using white canes and dog guides, voting machine accessibility, and more. The range of issues and resources for speakers are virtually endless.

At our last meeting, November 18, UBS hosted Marlaina Lieberg from the WCB board, who spoke about the organization’s function, and the relationship of chapters to the state organization.

We also held our annual election of officers. Elected were Julie Brannon, President; Sharon Schauer, Secretary; and Quincy Daniels, Director.

UBS will enter the new year continuing the work of its Outreach Committee and Constitution Review Committee, moving forward. The Activities Committee, which identifies and schedules recreation and leisure activities for UBS member participation, will continue its good work. We will continue to seek more new members in 2007, a high priority for President Julie Brannon.


United Blind of Spokane
by Dorothy Carroll, President

We had a visit from our Board Member Berl Colley on November 6, 2006, It was three days before WCB Convention at SeaTac DoubleTree, so we got the latest update about the Convention on November 9-11. Berl talked about many interesting programs going on in WCB. We were very impressed with his visit.

We had six members attend the 2006 WCB Convention Our member Debby Phillips was elected to the WCB Board of Directors. Debby also won the outstanding article in the Newsline award. We're very proud of her.

Our club has been trying to work on some money raising. We sold candy, chances for next year's registration to Convention in Spokane at the 2006 Convention. Another money raising project was the Festival of Giving held each year at the Spokane Valley Mall, Northtown Mall and Silver Lake Mall.

Marlee Naddy is still very seriously ill. Mary Thorpe is home from the hospital and is recovering well from a broken hip. Danielle Maher is doing better after her recent surgery.

Our Christmas Party is scheduled for December 7th. We always have a delicious dinner followed by singing. We are already making plans for the WCB 2007 Convention in Spokane, Washington.


United Blind of Tri-Cities
by Janice Squires, Treasurer

The members of the United Blind of the Tri-Cities at the November chapter meeting, elected a new slate of officers for 2007.  It is so exciting to see new members take charge and bring new and innovating ideas to the chapter for us to build upon. The newly elected officers are: President; Margie Kickert; First Vice President; Evelyn Crouse; Second Vice President, Diana Softich; Secretary; Frank Cuta; Treasurer; Janice Squires, First Board Member,  Irene Nielsen; and Second Board Member,  Steve Vandecar. A special thank you is extended to Bill Hoage for serving as our President for the last three years and to Rose Shenk for serving as a board member.

The summer picnic was one of the best picnics we have ever had, not only in attendance, but in the fun time we shared with each other.  A thank you goes to Shannon and Dixie McDaniels for opening up their home for this event and to Kathy and Frank Zaloudek for picking up the food.  Now we are on to scheduling our Christmas party to be held at the Shilo Inn on December 2.  Thanks to Margie Kickert for making the arrangements for the holiday party and for organizing all of the fun monthly luncheons.

We are still having a ball with our card playing group and also with sharing and discussing a variety of books in our book group.  We have already participated in two narrated plays this season, "Over My Dead Body", and "Weekend Comedy".  A few of our members are also participating in a pottery class at the Kennewick Senior Center.  The instructor is Paul Wilburn, a blind potter from Kennewick.

Many of our members voted for the first time with the new accessible voting machines for the primary and the general elections.  Bobbi Gagner, Benton County Auditor, and three of her staff members brought the machines to our October meeting for all of us to touch in order to familiarize ourselves with them.  Frank, Bill, and I were featured in an article about this topic in the Tri-City Herald and Bernie Vinther and Steve and Marlene Vandecar were filmed for a TV newscast as they voted in the general elections.

Five of our members attended the WCB convention in SeaTac this year.  Congratulations to Frank Cuta on being re-elected to the WCB board and to Rose Shenk for being selected from our chapter as a first timer.  On the final day of the convention, one of our dearly loved members,  Evelyn Crouse, suffered a heart attack and had to be taken to a local hospital.  She is now back at home in Richland and all of our thoughts and prayers are with her.  A sincere thank you goes to Chris Roemeling and her Mom, not only for providing the transportation for UBTC and UBWW, but for being there to assist Evelyn in her time of need.

Some of the members of the UBTC are certainly becoming world travelers.  Rosemary Estes recently took a trip to Greece and Bob and Janice Squires were off on a tour of Italy.  Everyone had a marvelous time and brought back many stories and memories to share with all.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Seasons Greetings to all of our WCB family.


United Blind of Whatcom County
by Betty Sikkema, President

I hope everyone who went to the convention had a good time and learned a lot! Five members of the UBWC attended. Jo Ellen Barton was one of the vendors and she sold chocolates and Joann Mancinelli’s knitted and crocheted items. Bruce and Betty took turns filling in so Jo Ellen could take a break.

Elections were held in October. Shirley Steward was elected Second Vice-President, and Barb Crowley, Treasurer.

Another pot-luck Christmas party will be held at Jo Ellen Barton’s residence in December. Jo Ellen had her 83rd Birthday October 17. Congratulations, Jo Ellen! I hope everyone will have a blessed holiday.


Yakima Valley Council of the Blind
by Bill Smedley, President

Hello WCB, please remember.  I can make baskets out of sticks.  Turn a lump of clay into a pot or bowl.  Putting words on paper, well let’s just say, I was too busy thinking about a girl named Nancy when I should have been thinking about verbs or something else.

In the past three months the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind has been working on all the regular things that we do.  Like our blind bowling team, buying used laptops for the blind or vision impaired, and then teaching them how to use them. 

Back in September we started a trial program called, Help for Those Who are Bus Challenged.  The object was to teach these people how to use the city’s bus system.  On September 28th we left the Senior Center with five students.  The Senior Center is on the west side of town, and after a few bus transfers, we made it to our goal, the Valley Mall in Union Gap.  The tour group had lunch and with no trouble made our way back to the Senior Center.  The trip was so good that we thought we would do another one in October. 

   On the 26th of October we started the second with nine students.  Again, the trip to the Mall went well.  We had lunch and started back with five students.  Wait a minute, did we not have nine students to start with, and yes we did.  One student had to leave early, and then three went to the restrooms and never returned.  So we said to ourselves on the trip back to the Senior Center "we only lost four".  With a little extra work on communication, the classes will go on in the spring.

By the time you read this, we will have had our Christmas party, which is being held on the 9th of December.  Those of us in the YVCB wish you all the happiest of holidays, and we will talk later.

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Hats Off to You
by Peggy Shoel

We are pleased to offer our congratulations to the following WCB members:

· All individuals newly elected and re-elected to the WCB 2007 state board. See Directory of Officers and Board Members with contact information in this issue

· Julie Brannon, President, United Blind of Seattle, on being voted our state alternate delegate to the ACB 2007 convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

· Debbie Phillips, Secretary, Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS), for receiving the WCB 2006 Newsline Editor’s Writing Award. Debbie’s article, Trekker Training at Seeing Eye, appeared in the September 2006 issue.

· Gary Lieberg, member, GDUWS, on his appointment to the King County wheelchair accessible taxi advisory committee. This nine-member group will be working in a King County two-year study, with input from area cab companies to improve on the current non-wheelchair accessible taxi situation.

· Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary, WCB, on her new dog guide, Agnes, a 20-month old 55 ½ lbs, 21-in high, female reddish brown golden lab/yellow retriever cross. Agnes is from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon, and Marlaina says she gets along very well with retired guide Madeleine, loves to be next to her mistress, and steps out as a proud young lady when guiding.

· Randy Tedrow, Director, GDUWS, on acquiring his 2nd dog guide, Nevada, a 2-year-old, 61-lb, 24-in high male black lab. Nevada is reliable, playful, and like his master sometimes acts like a goofball, so Randy says they are a good personality match.

· Dodie Bruegerman, Secretary, United Blind of Walla Walla on her new dog guide, Noodles, a 54 lb. two-year-old 24" high black standard poodle from Pilot Dogs in Columbus, Ohio. Noodles is a non-shedder, does not aggravate allergies, has a frisky nature and he and Dodie have thoroughly bonded.

· Diana Turley, member, United Blind of the Tri-Cities on her new dog guide, Clay, a 54 lb, 22" high, two-year-old male Vizsla from Pilot Dogs in Columbus, Ohio. Diana reports that Clay is a little hyper, a fast walker and very fun-loving.

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Bits & 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 WCB.

· Washington State Legislative Hotline Number: 800-562-6000. Call this number for the name and contact information of your district legislators.

· Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, Illinois has introduced a new tuition-free online course in Internet access and security. "Internet: Beyond the Basics" walks students through activities such as research and information, shopping on line, and making travel plans. For more information call 800 526 9909 or visit

· The 32nd annual Ski for Light cross country international week will be held Jan 21 through Jan 28 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The program is available to beginners through advanced skiers; visually impaired participants are paired with a sighted volunteer guide. For more information, visit or contact Lynda Boose at 906 370 7541.

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In Memoriam

The following WCB members were remembered by their chapters at our business meeting during In Memoriam.

Florabell Booth, UBTC

Geraldine Clark , UBTC

Dee Forsberg, JCCB

Ron Fredrickson, PCAB, SKB & UBS

Beverly Green, UBWC

June Royston, JCCB

Dorothy Stein, UBTC

Betty York, PCAB

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Officers and Board Members - 2007



Cindy Van Winkle, 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

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

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

Eric Hunter, Treasurer                                    (360) 377-9917
373 NW Brookwood Ln, Bremerton, WA 98311

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


Board Members

Alan Bentson                                                 (206) 527-4527
7356 34th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Sue Ammeter                                                 (360) 437-7916
P.O. Box 118, Port Hadlock, WA 98339

Vivian Conger                                                (509) 526-4967
1519 Whitman St, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Viola Cruz                                                       (360) 754-8193
300 Kenyon St NW, #R4, Olympia, WA 98502

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

Debbie Phillips                                               (509) 684-1266
1375 Aladdin Road, Colville, WA 99114

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2007 Calendar of Deadlines and Events

Jan 5 Deadline - Committee assignment requests due

Jan 6 WTBBL Patron Advisory Council – Seattle

Jan 15 Deadline - Application for Legislative Seminar

Jan 27 WCB Winter Board Meeting - Seattle

Feb 24-25 ACB Presidents Meetings

Feb 25-27 ACB Legislative Seminar - Washington DC

March Production & distribution of Newsline – Spring

Mar 3 DSB Rehab Council Meeting - Seattle

Mar 10-11 ACB Mid-Year Board Meeting - Minneapolis

Mar 31 Deadline - Application for Leadership Seminar

May 4-6 WCB Leadership Training Seminar and Spring Fling – Everett

May 6 WCB Spring Board Meeting – Everett

June 2 DSB Rehab Council Meeting - Spokane

June 9 WTBBL Patron Advisory Council - Seattle

Jun 30-Jul 7 ACB National Convention – Minneapolis

Aug 12 WCB Summer Board Meeting - Bremerton

Sept 8 DSB Rehab Council Meeting – Eastern WA

Nov 1-3 WCB Annual Convention - Spokane

Dec 1 DSB Rehab Council Meeting – Bremerton



Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by February 24, 2007. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

Publication Policy: To ensure accuracy, we require typed, double-spaced submissions or preferably e-mailed articles to with a Articles should be no longer than 750 words (approximately 2-2½ double-spaced pages, standard print).


To Brady Layman and Sherrill Lee of the Tri-Cities, for reading this issue onto tape

To Tim Schneebeck for providing the NEWSLINE via e-mail and disk

To Bill Hoage for duplicating and mailing the cassette version of the NEWSLINE

To Viola Cruz for transforming the print issue into a Web version on the website

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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