Reaching Out to Seniors – Page 9
The Business Enterprise Program Needs You – Page 20
Accessible Theaters in Washington – Page 32
Diabetes Support Group – Page 60

December 2008 Issue
Opportunity, Equality, Independence
Founded 1935

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

Gaylen Floy, Editor
Federal Way, WA
Table of Contents
From the President’s Desk........ 1
Editor’s Comments........ 3
List of WCB Committees........ 4
Dues and Membership Contact Information........ 7
Reaching Out to Seniors........ 9
Convention First Timer’s Report........ 12
Youth Conference Participants Report........ 15
Step Inside the Washington School for the Blind........ 18
The Business Enterprise Program Needs You........ 20
Pre-Convention Board Meeting Report........ 22
2008 Resolutions........ 25
Officers and Board Members for 2009........ 28
WCB History 1993........ 29
Accessible Theaters in Washington State........ 32
WCB and the Youth Conference a Success........ 34
Louis Braille School Report........ 35
Washington School for the Blind Report........ 38
Washington Talking Book and Braille Library Report........ 40
Around the State........ 43
In Memoriam........ 58
Bits and Pieces........ 58
Diabetes Support Group........ 60
Hats Off to You!........ 60
Calendar........ 63
Announcements........ 64


From The President’s Desk
By Denise Colley, WCB President

As I sit here getting ready to write this article, my thoughts are on the busy holiday season we are rapidly moving into, and the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one. I am ending my first year as your President, and looking ahead to a bright and exciting 2009 for WCB. The support, cooperation and friendship I have received from my WCB family have made my first year as President so much easier.

I want to reflect back on just a few of WCB’s successes in 2008. Our state membership reached an all-time high of 462 members. Chapters continued to grow and flourish. We were victorious in getting the supplemental budget request for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) into the Governor’s budget, as well as those of both the House and Senate. And in July we witnessed the successful transfer of WTBBL from the City of Seattle to the Washington State Library. We made some significant changes to the Newsline production process, which made the process more efficient while reducing production costs. Our advocacy efforts were significant this year and included assistance with employment, Social Security, housing and guide dog issues.

Our annual convention continues to boast registration numbers that are half of our entire membership. This year we had 214 preregistrations and 200 registered for the banquet. Twenty-one young people participated in this year’s Conference for Blind Youth.
There were some Constitution and Bylaw changes adopted at this year’s convention that you all need to be aware of.
Chapter dues are still due by February 10th, but WCB dues have been raised from $3 to $5. This means that each member will owe $10, to include $5 for WCB dues and $5 for ACB dues. This change applies to members at large.

A Constitutional amendment was adopted that changes the membership requirement to be eligible for WCB sponsorship to attend a state board meeting or state-sponsored seminar from 6 (six) months to 3 (three) months. 

A new Bylaw was adopted related to chapter stipends. Beginning in 2010, to be eligible to receive a chapter stipend, chapters must meet four criteria. They include:
(1)  The chapter must ensure that member dues and requested contact information for all chapter members is submitted by February 10 of each year;
(2)  The chapter must advise WCB of the dates and locations of all regularly scheduled meetings and must agree to hold 10 (ten) regular meetings per year. In the case of special interest affiliates, the affiliate must advise WCB of its meeting schedule and location, and must hold at least 1 (one) regular meeting per year;
(3)  The chapter must provide to the chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee an electronic copy of its current Constitution and Bylaws by February 10 of each year;
(4)  A chapter must have had representation at a majority of the previous year’s WCB scheduled board meetings.

Now, for all of you who have served on a WCB committee in the past, or who have thought about serving but just haven’t been ready to make the commitment, WCB needs you. I have set the deadline date of January 16 to hear from you about where you’d most like to serve this next year.
Don’t be shy. Everyone has something to offer. It will make my work easier if you don’t limit your request to just one committee, but give me a few that would interest you. You can contact me by e-mail at or by phone at (360) 438-0072. It is my desire to have all committees in place by the end of January, so the earlier you contact me the better.

Finally, the first board meeting of 2009 is scheduled for January 31, at the Executive Inn in downtown Seattle. Room rates are $94 per night plus applicable taxes and fees. I look forward to seeing a lot of you there.

Editor’s Comments

By Gaylen Floy

It never hurts to re-articulate the Council’s mission statement. “The Washington Council of the Blind is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to promoting opportunity, equality and independence in the blind community through education, public awareness and advocacy.”

This year I heard a few people be very critical of the Council. It was painfully evident that these people had not made an honest effort to attend a board meeting, or find out what our volunteers accomplish on a regular basis. It chaps my hide.

When board member Alan Bentson visited my chapter a couple years ago, he shared what prompted him to join and get involved. He observed that the Council affords people a safe and nurturing place to participate in a democratic process. If you’ve never attended a WCB board meeting, I would encourage you to give it a try.

As much as I dislike sitting through meetings, this is where a member sees the real work of our organization. It is accountability and transparency in action. We can be proud and grateful for how resources are managed and invested. Let your board members and committee members know how much you appreciate their time and hard work.

I would challenge each of you to consider serving on one of the state committees this next year. It is an opportunity to learn, get acquainted and contribute new energy. Oh, and, thank you!

Here are your WCB Committees.

You have until January 16th to request placement on a committee.

Advocacy Committee: Works on individual and general issues of discrimination that come to the attention of WCB throughout the year. Its members are called upon to do research and communicate on behalf of the organization with employers, businesses, other organizations and individuals in order to promote advocacy.

Aging and Blindness Committee: Focuses on the senior blind. It works throughout the year on ideas to improve the lives of senior citizens experiencing vision loss as well as tracks and reports on issues of concern to the board and members of WCB.

Awards Committee: Administers the WCB Awards Program by processing nominations for specific awards, making the selections for awards as they deem appropriate, and presenting the awards at the annual banquet of WCB.

Constitution and Bylaws Committee: Is appointed by the President no less than 60 days before the opening of the annual convention.  This committee is charged with working on proposed amendments to the WCB Constitution and Bylaws. Unless other arrangements are made by the President, this committee meets immediately following the preconvention board meeting to report the slate of proposed amendments.

Convention Committee: Is the planning group for the WCB state convention.

Crisis Committee: Administers the WCB Crisis Program.

Environmental Access Committee: Addresses environmental access issues specific to blindness. It tracks and reports such concerns to the board and members of WCB.

Families with Blind Children Committee: Addresses issues specific to children who are blind and addresses the associated concerns of family members.

Finance Committee: 1. Develops the WCB annual budget which is presented at the preconvention board meeting and voted on at the general membership business meeting.  Budget line items approved by the convention may be adjusted by the board of directors between conventions. 2. Processes all grant requests received by WCB and reports them to the board for action with a “do pass”, “do not pass” or no recommendation.

First Timers Committee: Administers the WCB First-Timers Awards Programs for both the state and national conventions by processing applications and selecting the award winners.

History Committee: Is responsible for preserving the history of the WCB and that of the organizations which preceded it.

Investment Committee: Tracks the financial investments of the WCB and recommends changes in our investment strategy to the board.

Leadership Committee: Plans the WCB state Leadership and Training seminars.

Legislative Committee: Tracks and reports legislative issues to the board and members of WCB.
Listserv Committee: Works as moderator of the WCB email list; oversees list activity, ensuring that the Listserv runs smoothly and keeping list rules up to date and relevant.

Membership Committee: Works to increase membership in the WCB, assists new chapters to get started and provides support and consultation to existing chapters.
Newsline Committee: Is the editorial body for the state Newsletter, the Newsline.  It reviews and processes all submitted articles and makes other editorial decisions regarding the next issue. With board concurrence it may also establish policy surrounding this publication.

Scholarship Committee: Administers the WCB Scholarship Program by processing applications, interviewing applicants, selecting the scholarship winners and presenting these awards at the WCB State Convention.

Dues and Membership Contact Information

By Janice Squires, Membership Data Chair

Hello to all WCB chapters and affiliates.

I am extending a friendly reminder to all WCB chapters and affiliates that membership dues are due for 2009. This means contact information on your members is to be collected as well.

The WCB is growing by leaps and bounds and as your membership data chair I need to ask that you please follow the subsequent rules. All membership contact information must be sent to me only in an electronic format. This means we will only accept membership information via email or on a computer disk or CD. Hand written lists are extremely difficult to read and will not be accepted. Also, a complete and accurate list of your newly elected 2009 officers must accompany your membership list. An up-to-date copy of your chapter’s constitution must be sent to WCB President, Denise Colley:

Also a current list of your officers with the time, place and date of your chapter meetings must accompany your membership lists.

All of the following contact information is required to make our data base complete: Name; address; city, state, and zip; phone (including area code); email address if any.

Also the following questions must all be answered:
Are you a lifetime member of ACB?  Yes or no
Are you a lifetime member of WCB?  Yes or no
Are you fully sighted?  Yes or no
How would you like to receive the following publications:
WCB Newsline: Large print, cassette, email, website or none
The Braille Forum:  Braille, cassette, large print, IBM-compatible CD-ROM, email, website or none
WCB mailings: email, large print or Braille

To receive the WCB Newsline via email, please send a blank message to:
To receive the Braille Forum via email, please send a blank message to:

All of the above contact information must be received by:
Janice Squires
502 W. 20Th Ave.
Kennewick, WA  99337
Dues money must be received by Eric Hunter at our WCB address:
P.O. Box 1085
Tracyton, WA  98393-1085
No later than February 10, 2009 in order for your chapter or affiliate to receive the $500.00 WCB stipend. 

Remember that WCB 2009 dues are now $5.00.

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 on which a new member has joined in order for them to be considered for WCB and ACB stipends and guideline requirements.

Thank you for your support and let’s try to exceed our grand total of 462 members from last year.

Reaching Out To Seniors

By Yvonne Miller, Vice President, UBWC

Back in 2007, Barbara Crowley and Bruce Radtke structured a program to help the newly-blind senior population. The result of their work: thirty-five Personal Assistance Kits (PAKs). The kits contain a variety of low-tech tools and accessories, including talking clocks or watches, magnifiers, check guides, signature stencils, tactile marking aids, etc. Each kit can be customized to each person’s need in dealing with vision loss.

In February, Barbara and Bruce submitted a proposal to the Mount Baker Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a fraternal insurance company of which Bruce is a member. The request was approved to help with a fundraiser.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans set guidelines for the fundraiser. United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC) would raise money and for every $2.00, Thrivent would match it with $1.00, with the maximum amount given $500.00.

A young graphic designer volunteered their time to create a full-color poster. UBWC ordered 500 flyers and 20 posters that were distributed around Bellingham and the county. The printing cost only $39.00 for these great posters and flyers. Press Releases were sent to the local radio stations and newspapers promoting this special event.

Edeleen’s Ice Cream gave a substantial discount at their cost for their gourmet ice cream. They are a local premium brand. All the toppings were provided.

Beth Marsau worked on providing the tickets for our members to sell for $10.00 each. Everyone was given tickets to sell to family and friends. Members volunteered to go to the local store fronts to sell. Barb coordinated the schedule of everyone’s jobs.

Our greeters were Shirley Steward, Diane Kirscheman and Lynn Schouten. Sharon Stevens scooped ice cream. Mickey Johnson helped with the toppings. Bruce helped with kitchen tasks and beverages. Mimi Freshley and Beth were floaters who made themselves available when needed. Barb and Margit Kingston collected tickets. Betty Sikkema and I demonstrated some of the devices at the Independent Living table. Thrivent volunteers assisted when needed with certain tasks. At the display table, Mimi and Megan Heinz provided low-tech items for people to examine. Also we provided UBWC and WCB brochures along with the new Aging and Blindness brochure.

On July 17, 2007, UBWC kicked off its Ice Cream Social Fundraiser at St. Luke’s Health Education Center. The Swing Connection performed a great selection of music. Barb reported that ticket sales were $852.00. A donation of $1000.00 was given by Gloria Schwartz in honor of UBWC member, Margit Kingston’s 85th birthday. We all sang happy birthday to her as the band played along. It was a wonderful evening.

Thrivent matched the funds with $500.00. Total PAK funding raised was $2,352.00. The Health Support Center provided office space to store PAK supplies and materials. Our members are so appreciative of all the support and generous donations from this event.

The PAK Committee is developing strategies to reach out to the community. Our first recipient was a woman from Sri Lanka formerly called Ceylon. Her friend read the article in the Bellingham Herald. She had been undergoing therapy and needed to take medications in a timely manner. She was experiencing vision loss. Unable to keep track of time from a regular watch, her friend contacted us. The PAK Committee was able to assist with a talking watch.

A total of 13 to 15 people have been helped. Two individuals were referred by the Independent Living Providers. It is noteworthy that most individuals only ask for one item, even though they can get up to $50.00 of products.

The PAK Committee plans to expand to other areas in Whatcom County with presentations and news releases. The kits are a means to reach those who feel isolated and offer alternative techniques to adapt, rather than just referring people to resources and services.

The PAK Committee seeks opportunities to network with other service clubs and non-profit organizations. The goal of reaching out has been to educate and create awareness about the blindness community. The Personal Assistance Kit is just one vehicle for outreach and to develop partnerships, contributors and potential members.

First Timer’s Report

By John McConnell, Member

October 23-25 was the annual Convention of the Washington Council of the Blind. My wife, Carol, and myself, John McConnell, were privileged to attend for the first time. WCB’ generosity paid for our hotel and some of our meals.

We shared a wonderful bus ride with members from South King and other chapters, such as the King County chapter, United Blind of Seattle, and Pierce County Association of the Blind. We arrived at the hotel raring to go. The rooms were very spacious, and the accommodations were very inviting, although the food was a little on the spendy side.

Thursday night, Carol and I took in the Board Meeting. It was run very well, with Denise Colley doing a very admirable job as President. We were able to go to the First Timers Breakfast on Friday. There was a very warm reception for us. It seemed that everyone was really genuinely interested in us; they were not just saying words.

The meetings were packed, but there was time for people to get together in the hospitality room at night after the meetings. Friday, we were welcomed by a Councilman from Vancouver, WA and by the Riverside Association of the Blind. The various committees gave their reports.

There was a talk on “Embracing Universal Design” given by Susan Duncan. She said that universal design not only deals with accessibility, but also how to enhance lifestyles for everyone. Whether a person is blind, in a wheelchair, or has arthritis, everyone benefits. This involves architectural design; buying appliances that look good, and work well for the people who use them.

We went on the tour of the Washington State School for the Blind.
We found out there are about 70 students; they are able to go home every week-end. Some blind people who have been to other schools have not had that privilege. The most interesting display was the Safari Room in the basement. There were headsets and placards, which told about various animals. There were even heads and stuffed animals on display. This was interesting, as most people never get close enough to these kinds of animals.

Several people spoke about the status of Braille in our State, and North America. Debbie Cook Lewis spoke on how people learn to live independently, and at lunch there was an awards presentation.

I went to the breakout session on Universal Design. This session dealt with how to solve problems, such as getting the word out that people need more audible signals, and better ways to help those who may have other disabilities use appliances.

Carol and I attended another session entitled “Becoming Job Ready.” We learned about resources available to job seekers. The speakers were Mark Adreon, Communication and Employer Consultant, from the Department of Services for the Blind, Brian Charlson, Vice President of Computer Training Services with the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Ma, and Denise Colley, Program Coordinator with the Employment Security Department of Washington State.

There was a reception honoring Danielle King, the new Program Manager for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The WCB talent show showcased many neat acts. The most exciting one was a person who took songs and blended them into a somewhat kind of comedic story. We also enjoyed a rather impressive vocal rendition of “You Light Up My Life.”

The hospitality room was swinging after the talent show. We were told we could learn many things about the WCB there. But, the place was packed and loud. People really had fun!

Saturday, we went to the Guide Dog Users of Washington State’s Breakfast, and attended their business meeting. There were quiet car demonstrations every 15 minutes. This was to show that people may not be aware of the car before it’s right upon them. Over 20 high school kids attended the Youth Conference. Kim Charlson, First Vice-President, of the American Council of the Blind, gave us a report of what is happening at the national level. There was a presentation about jobs that people hold, moderated by Sue Ammeter. Presenters included Ursula McCulley, Brian Charlson, and Dr. Chris Cook, a Naturopath. There were reports about the Department of Services for the Blind, Washington School of the Blind, and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.

We attended the GDUWS luncheon. The WCB business meeting started at 1:00 p.m. and did not adjourn until 4:00 p.m. All of the committees gave their reports. I was nominated for a Board position; I didn’t win, but did rather well.
We enjoyed the banquet, emceed by Eric Hunter, WCB Treasurer. There were scholarships presented by Alan Bentson. Julie Brannon handed out awards. Kim Charlson was the banquet speaker, and talked about concerns and activities of ACB. In my opinion, the highlight was that the blind and visually impaired can now get free credit reports in accessible formats, beginning in December. That is exciting!

All in all, again, the people at this convention were very genuine. They really cared that new people want to learn, and contribute to the cause of the American Council of the Blind. We will be back again!

Fun and Games Mean Work!

By participants of the Washington Conference for Blind Youth with support from Alan Garrels

For the sixth consecutive year the Washington Council of the Blind supported the Washington Conference for Blind Youth by offering their annual convention as the Conference host facility. “Sports and Recreation” was the theme for the 2008 Conference; activities were produced collaboratively by the Washington Department of Services for the Blind and the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes.

Less one think that all that the twenty-one youthful conferees were offered was fun and games—let it be known that there is always a corollary to the conference agenda. In 2008 our youth learned that fun and games can mean work! Students may have registered to attend the Conference because they would be introduced to judo, rowing, goal ball, social dancing, and poker. What they also learned was that participation in judo and rowing clubs, attending dances, and knowing how to join their friends in a board game or poker party are all means to integrate oneself into the social fabric of their community. Students learned that organizations such as the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes, along with the WCB and the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, help a person who is blind to learn new skills and develop the courage to take risks. Rephrased, fun and games mean employment!

Also, 2008 was the third year that Abigail Traverse has participated in the Washington Conference for Blind Youth. Asked why she decided to miss a day of school and subject herself to the added work of making up missed assignments, Abby, a junior at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School replied, “The reason I wanted to go to the conference was to meet more people that I didn’t know. My favorite activity was the dancing. It was loads of fun!” Perhaps part of what made the session on dance fun was the fact that our instructor was Greg Krolicki. A professional dance instructor, Greg teaches social dances, swing, country two-step and night club two-step.  Greg competes in dance competitions regionally and nationally. Social dancing can be awkward for many teenagers, sighted and blind. When Greg introduced himself to our youthful conferees the first thing they heard him say was, “I’m one of you.” “Guys, do you feel a little embarrassed learning to dance? “Does your blindness make it hard to participate at school dances?” “Hey, I’m one of you… I’m blind too.”

Much of the Conference planning and on-site logistics was the work of the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes. NWABA is a fairly new chapter of the United States Association of Blind Athletes; their officers are current or recently graduated high school students. To learn more about NWABA and to help them provide more opportunities for blind youth to participate in sports and recreation check out the website of the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes:

Twenty-one high school age youth from communities throughout the state of Washington participated in the 2008 Washington Conference for Blind Youth. Ten of the conferees attend the Washington State School for the Blind and eleven attend high schools in their home community. Two of the students who participated in the Conference have the dual sensory disability of deafness and blindness. For reasons that are unique to each student events such as the Conference provide an opportunity for students to participate in experiential learning. Conferees at the 2008 Conference learned that recreation not only benefits one’s physical health but also helps to promotes self esteem, provides avenues to social relationships, and provides opportunities for employment. Before we turn our attention to planning the 2009 Conference for Blind Youth we would like to thank the Washington Council of the Blind and the WCB Committee for Families of Blind Children for their continued and enthusiastic support.

Step Inside the

Washington School for the Blind
By Janice Squires

In the planning stages of the 2008 WCB convention held in Vancouver, Washington this year, a great idea became a reality. Having our convention in the same city as the Washington State School for the Blind made it possible for so many of us from former students to those who have never stepped foot onto the campus before, to be able to take a highpoint tour of the school.

As 15 members of the Washington Council of the Blind began in the morning to board the bus for the tour of the school, I heard much excitement in all of their voices. The school is ever so blessed to have such a gracious and cordial Superintendent as in Dr. Dean Stenehjem. Dean not only assisted me in the planning of the tours, but also took time from his very busy day to lead groups through the various highlighted areas of the campus. Upon entering the doors, we were given a brief history of the school and then off to the cafeteria we went. It was explained to us, how young blind children are taught as early as three years old, to eat properly and to use good manners. As the kids grow older, the independent values are set in. For example they are expected to go through the food lines and begin the process of taking care of their own needs.

A talking ATM was available to begin teaching finance and banking skills.  We were shown and told about the school store with the goal of having the students run the daily operations of the store in the future. The Braille Access center located on the school’s campus, produces more general Braille and Braille text books than does the American Printing House for the Blind. Once again the store and the access center instill in the children a sense of work ethics, so as they graduate they are being prepared to enter the real world.  Next we were taken to the newly created Safari room. It was filled with life sized and head only stuffed animals, with Braille and cassette headsets for full descriptions of each display. The Safari room will be open to the public for educational viewing and the WSSB students will be the museum docents. We then all went to the beautiful Emil Fries auditorium, where we listened to the angelic music of the pipe organ. The acoustics and décor were beyond belief and not only is this facility used by the students for voice and music, but by the general public as well.
Last but not least, we were able to take a walk through the manicured grounds over to one of the residential houses. What always amazed me was there was no place in the school that was not used as a teaching aid. These residential homes, teach the kids to cook, and clean and be responsible for their own laundry and personal needs. The new gymnasium, of which is still under construction, sounds like it will be another fabulous facility for each and every student to enjoy. I do believe the tours were such a huge success by the many questions that were asked and answered by Dr. Stenehjem. The only complaint that I heard was that there was just not enough time to fully take in every aspect of the school. Thank you WSSB for giving our blind and visually impaired children the opportunity to learn in such an amazing facility.


The Business Enterprise Program Needs You

The primary function of the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) is to present the opportunity for a legally blind individual to become a successful, independent, businessperson. The program is a part of the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB). The program provides increased employment opportunities for the blind citizens of our state while providing a visible demonstration of what blind people can accomplish.

BEP provides training and placement of blind individuals in food service operations located in government buildings. Thanks to the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1974 the program has cafeterias, deli/espresso cafés, snack/gift stands and espresso stands in federal, state and local government buildings. Besides an extensive 6-month training program, BEP provides the facility, the essential pieces of food service equipment for each specific location, as well as ongoing professional guidance and administrative support. 
The Business Enterprise Program is seeking entrepreneurial-spirited individuals with some business experience, strong leadership skills, a positive approach towards customer service and preferably some food service experience. In order to be eligible for the program a potential applicant must be: legally blind, a U.S. citizen, determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation, found to possess adequate adaptive skills to enable them to effectively perform the essential functions of the job, referred to the BEP by a DSB vocational rehabilitation counselor, pass the BEP entrance test, and complete BEP’s application requirements.

Candidates accepted for the BEP training program are provided with classroom and on-the-job training in the skills necessary to effectively operate their own food service facility. Upon successful completion of training, the individual is certified with a license that allows them the chance to bid on any available locations as opportunities arise.  Placement in a facility is not guaranteed and available opportunities may arise in areas that would require uncompensated relocation. Once placed in a facility there is the prospect to grow a fruitful business as well as the unlimited opportunities to make a positive impact in your community.

What does it take to be a thriving Business Enterprise Vendor? In order to be prosperous a vendor must invest themselves in the day-to-day responsibilities including administrative, staffing, marketing, financial, inventory, food service, sanitation, and safety management. All of the BEP blind operators are required to actively participate in the daily operation of their business. A day in the life of a vendor can include everything from food preparation, cashiering, creating menus, ordering product, banking, making espresso to interviewing staff. It can be a highly demanding job that requires a determined attitude, skillful leadership, excellent people skills, and the ambition to succeed as a business owner.

Currently, Washington State’s Business Enterprise Program has 21 sites, all of which are presently located in Western Washington. The largest concentration of sites lie in the state offices of Olympia, but there are cafes as far North as Everett and as far South as Vancouver. A list of locations can be found at the Business Enterprise Program section of the Department of Services for the Blind website at

If you are a motivated person with a past work history preferably in food service, managerial experience, strong leadership skills, reliable money management abilities, a willingness to work long hours and the relentless ambition to run a business, then the Business Enterprise Program has many opportunities for you. For more information about the program or the requirements, please contact Jeanne Gallo at (360) 725-3844. Please check out the DSB website for more details.

Pre-Convention Board Meeting Report

By Gaylen Floy, Editor

President Denise Colley called the meeting to order Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 7:10 p.m. During roll call, Meka White noted how encouraging it was to have several first timers attend.

The August minutes were accepted as submitted.

Eric Hunter, WCB Treasurer reported that our total inflow was $32,097.80. Our total outflow was $15,291.83. We’re left with a positive balance of $16,805.97.
Eric reported that our total assets are $948,265.43. Eric said that considering the current economic crisis, WCB’s losses have been smaller than most. This is because of our investment manager, Jim Patterson.

Berl Colley updated us on the Vehicle Donation Process Center (VDPC). In the month of October, we received 101 offers and 88 sales with receipts of $6,525.44. For this year-top-date, we received 834 offers and 745 sales with receipts of $23,929.03. This averages out to $2,991 per month. At the current rate, we project $35,893 to come in by the end of the year. This is significantly lower than past years.

Vivian Conger gave the Families with Blind Children Committee report.
We had 21 participants in the youth conference. The theme was recreation.

Meka White thanked members of the First Timer’s Committee. Lori Fink was selected to attend the ACB convention in Louisville, KY. The entire budget was spent to bring 8 first timers to state convention.

Alan Bentson reported we have 4 scholarship winners this year for a total of $11,000. The monies come from 3 trusts.

Chris Coulter said the Crisis Committee has given out nearly $6,000 this year. Their budget is shut down until the end of the year. The committee offers one-time only assistance to legally-blind residents of Washington for food or medical costs. People apply by calling the 800 number. The limit is $300 for one person.

David Egan gave the Environmental Access Committee report. They’re networking with other groups like the Bicycle Alliance of Washington State for pedestrian safety issues. Members have been active in various city council meetings. The committee wants to build better communications with the chapters across the state. They’re checking into “destination elevators” with digital readouts and hoping to get audio incorporated. Berl shared what the National Environmental Access Committee is doing on this issue.

The Washington Assistive Technology Foundation (WATF) provides low-interest loans to help Washington residents with disabilities obtain the technologies and business equipment they need to live independently and to succeed at school, at work, at play and in the community. Since 2005, WATF has been managing the WCB Loan Fund. Denise Colley reported that as of September 30, 2008, eight WCB member loans have been disbursed for a total of $32,589.58; four of these occurred in 2008.  As of September 30, the outstanding balance was $20,495.63, leaving $19,504.37 available for lending. The average loan size in 2008 was $4,295.62.

Finance Committee Chair, Berl Colley, walked us through the projected budget. We will be dipping into reserves.
Projected receipts: $129,900.00
Projected withdrawal from reserves: $13,852.60
Projected budget income: $143,752.60.
Projected expenditures: $143,752.60.  Berl explained that our investment advisor indicated that our reserves should generate about $27,000 in 2009. 

Sue Ammeter spoke for the Advocacy Committee. It’s been a busy year. They assisted an individual who applied to the WTBBL for a job. A member was assisted with reasonable accommodation. Another was assisted with workman’s compensation by gathering medical information. A person needed help with an independent business plan with DSB. A man who is deaf and blind needed help advocating with an insurance company for a hearing aide. A referral was recently made to the Washington Human rights Commission and the United States Department of Justice regarding inaccessibility of web pages. A woman experienced housing discrimination and a referral was made to the Human Rights Commission. Another blind person needed help with insurance.

Old business

Regarding WCB business cards, the Seattle Lighthouse no longer produces business cards. We need to check into other options, like an affordable printer. Perhaps a chapter could take on the printing end of things. was mentioned as an option.

New business

Frank Cuta thought people should get the slate of candidates out to the membership as soon as possible. There was a motion to post the nominating committee’s candidates to the listserv and phone system two weeks prior to convention. The motion passed with one opposed.

Two resolutions were passed at the business meeting on Saturday, October 25th.

Resolution 2008: 01

“The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008”

Whereas, legislation has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives (H.R.5734), “The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008”, concerning “quiet cars”, which would address the concerns about safety for blind and visually impaired pedestrians;
And, whereas, at least, one hearing has already been held concerning this bill; And, whereas, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has corresponded with Congress in support of this H.R.5734;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Washington Council of the Blind in convention assembled this twenty fifth day of October, 2008, in the city of Vancouver, Washington, that the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) shall adopt a position in conjunction with that of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and hereby authorizes and directs the President, and/or her designee, of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB), to expeditiously submit letters of support, for H.R.5734, to the Washington State Congressional delegation.

Resolution 2008: 02
“Access to On-Screen Emergency Information”

Whereas the mission of the Washington Council of the Blind is to ensure the independence, opportunity and equality of people who are blind;

And, whereas people who are blind and/or visually impaired have no access to emergency information which may be placed visually on the television screen giving directions and instructions on life-saving processes to follow in the event of an emergency;

And, whereas currently, FCC rules (47 CFR Part 79.2) on emergency programming only require an audio tone that alerts people who are blind or visually impaired of the need to access emergency information when emergency text is provided on televised programming;

And, whereas once the tone is heard, it is expected that such individuals will then turn to a second source (e.g., a radio) to obtain additional information about the emergency;

And, whereas The FCC has yet to begin implementation, through its rule-making process, the recommendations of the Consumer Advisory Committee that received formal adoption on June 27, 2008 regarding emergency information.

Now therefore be it resolved by the Washington Council of the Blind assembled this twenty-fifth day of October, 2008, in the city of Vancouver, Washington, that:

This organization directs its president or her designee to draft a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin no later than thirty (30) days after the close of its 2008 convention, strongly urging that the FCC take action to ensure that individuals who are blind or have low vision have access to televised emergency programming.

2.  This letter shall further urge the FCC to identify methods to make such on-screen-displayed text -- which includes written or other non-verbal information (whether scrolled or displayed as characters or images) that appears on a television screen -- accessible to this population. Such text should include information provided * during regular programming when such information is provided to afford viewers with warnings of and instructions on how to respond to emergency or hazardous conditions; * during local and national news bulletins; and * during the broadcasting of any other information the Commission deems appropriate.
3.  The President shall ensure that the WCB membership is informed about any progress on this issue, as it could represent a new beginning for video description on television.  And, there may come a time when WCB’s membership will be asked to write letters in support of this vital initiative, recommended by the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee.

Officers and Board Members for 2009

Denise Colley, President, (360) 438-0072, Lacey, WA
Sue Ammeter, First Vice-President, (360) 437-7916,
Port Hadlock, WA
Marlaina Lieberg, Second Vice-President, (206) 243-1716, Burien, WA
Frank Cuta, Secretary, (509) 967-2658, Benton City, WA
Eric Hunter, Treasurer, (360) 377-9917, Bremerton, WA

Board Members
Cindy Van Winkle, Immediate Past President,
(360) 698-0827, Bremerton, WA
Alan Bentson, (360) 943-9778, Olympia, WA
Julie Brannon, (206) 547-7444, Seattle, WA
Vivian Conger, (509) 526-4967, Walla Walla, WA
Carl Jarvis, (360) 765-4239, Quilcene, WA
Stuart Russell, (360) 377-2437, Bremerton, WA
Randy Tedrow, (425) 254-3931, Renton, WA


WCB History 1993

By Berl Colley, Chair, History Committee

WCB members returned from the 1992 convention in Spokane facing a very busy 1993. In January the Department of Services for the Blind held a Child and Family seminar at their Seattle office. First Vice President Sharon Keeran and Virginia Schneebeck, Chair of WCB’s Adopt-a-Kid Committee, attended. Virginia’s committee was busy during the early part of 1993 as they sent out sixteen hundred flyers about the Adopt-a-Kid program to DSB, the Library and WSSB. The committee received about 3 responses a week.

February saw five WCB members, Sue Ammeter, Sharon Keeran, Cynthia Towers, Peggy Shoel and Frank Cuta, fly to San Francisco to attend ACB’s midyear meetings. They all got a good feeling for how the national convention, in July, would be in The City by the Bay.

President Ammeter called for a special Leadership training to be held prior to the May 23 board meeting at the University Plaza Hotel in Seattle. The training was held on May 21-22, and WCB board members, committee chairs and chapter representatives were invited. Both the training and the board meeting were appreciated by those that attended; except, The University Plaza hotel didn’t have ADA signage. The organization decided to file a complaint with the Department of Justice, if the hotel didn’t take steps to install appropriate signage by the August 14 board meeting. No complaint was filed, because the hotel, working with Sharon Keeran, agreed to make the requested installation. 

WCB received a letter from past ACB President Grant Mack suggesting that WCB should become a member of the Affiliate Leadership League, an alliance formed by the American Foundation for the Blind. After a great deal of discussion, the board voted, not to join ALL. It would be the organization’s last communication from Mack. A friend of WCB, and an attendee at the March 1990 merger convention, Mack passed away at his home in Utah in July.
July 3-10 was the time for ACB’s annual convention in San Francisco, at the Airport Marriott Hotel. Sixty members, their families and friends attended the 1993 national convention, the largest Washington state delegation to ever attend an ACB convention.  Sue Ammeter, an ACB board member and Washington’s delegate, headed the large group. Dan Tonge was the Alternate delegate and Janice Squires received the 1993 First Timer award. 

As the 1993-94 Washington state legislature got ready to deal with another state budget short fall, Berl and Denise Colley testified at a hearing which was about combining the vocational rehabilitation programs of Labor & Industries, Division of Vocational Rehab within the super agency, DSHS, and the Department of Services for the Blind. DSB was the only agency with consumers to testify. Fortunately, there was vary little interest in the legislature to combine rehab services and vary little was heard about it after the fall hearing. While DSB and WSSB were working to reduce their budget requests, the library was still working out its remodel plans, and it was suggesting a new name to its patrons. It would change its name to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, (WTBBL).

The annual WCB fall convention was held at the Best Western Lakeway Inn in Bellingham, on October 21-23. At the pre-convention board meeting, the newly created Budget Committee, chaired by Sharon Keeran, submitted recommendations for the board’s consideration. It recommended that the board give priority to the scholarship and crisis programs, and everything else could be cut back. Carl Jarvis was the banquet emcee and introduced ACB President Leroy Saunders as the banquet main speaker. A number of WCB constitution changes were adopted. One of them created another board position for the Immediate Past President.
A special meeting was called by newly-elected President, Sharon Keeran, On December 10, to approve an officer transfer resolution that was required by Seattle First National Bank. We had our first President and Treasurer change since the merger.

WCB’s board, going into 1994, was:
President, Sharon Keeran, King County;
First Vice President, Peggy Shoel, UB Seattle;
Second Vice President, Shirley Taylor, UB Seattle;
Secretary, Frank Cuta, UB Tri Cities;
Treasurer, Joleen Ferguson, UB Walla Walla;
Immediate Past President, Sue Ammeter, UB Seattle;
Board Member, Terry Atwater, Capital City;
Board Member, Berl Colley, Capital City;
Board Member, Charlene Hunt, Pierce County;
Board Member, Virginia Schneebeck, King County;
Board Member, Arnie Schrock, UB Whatcom County;
Board Member, Cindy Wearstler, Peninsula Council.



Accessible Theatres in Washington
By Cindy Van Winkle

Whether expressing accessibility for the blind with "DA" (Descriptive Audio) or "DV" (Descriptive Video), the following theatres are listed at their respective national chain websites as having at least one auditorium equipped for providing description for those films with that feature. Please check the below websites for current films and show times and call your local theatre before going to verify the film is being played in the equipped auditorium. If description for the blind has not been used recently at your theatre, the staff member you speak with may not even know about it and you may need to talk with a manager.

AMC Theatres

Regal Cinemas

Bellis Fair 6 (Regal) 360-676-2280

Everett Mall Stadium 16 (Regal) 425-353-3337

Issaquah 9 (Regal) 425-313-5666


Kent Station 14 (AMC) 253-850-2684

Martin Village Stadium 16 (Regal) 360-455-0182

Lakewood Stadium 15 (Regal) 253-983-5019

Port Orchard
South Sound Cinema 10 (Regal) 360-871-2294

Bella Bottega Stadium 11 (Regal) 425-861-6880

The Landing Stadium 14 (Regal) 425-203-9264

Cinerama 1 (AMC) 206-441-3653
Experience Music Project (AMC) 206-367-5483
Meridian 16 (Regal) 206-622-2434
Pacific Place 11 (AMC) 206-652-8908

River Park Square 20 (AMC) 509-458-7578
Spokane Valley Stadium 12 (Regal) 509-922-2590


Cascade Stadium 16 (Regal) 360-882-5458
City Center Stadium 12 (Regal) 360-735-1223

If you do not have an accessible theater in your area or receive an unsatisfactory response to your query when contacting a theater listed here about their accessibility, please follow through and contact the national chain. It is through advocacy and patronage of these theaters that we will continue to enjoy equal access when going to the movies in our communities.

WCB and the Youth Conference a Success
By Alan Garrels, Program Manager,
Community Programs

Before our 2008 Conference for Blind Youth diminishes in our rear view mirror I want to acknowledge the time and effort that DSB staff and our community partners put into this exciting and fun event for our youth.

In 2003 Child and Family Services offered what we thought might be perhaps a once only, or possibly a bi-annual conference, for blind youth. Having now completed the
Sixth annual conference we have seen attendance grow from nine to twenty-one students.

Partnerships have always been vital and this year these partnerships included more individuals and organizations that ever before. Please join me in recognizing the good work put forth by the Child and Family staff along with our many community partners to make the Conference for Blind Youth an enlightening and entertaining event for our transition age youth.
For the sixth consecutive year the Washington Council of the Blind generously donated meeting space for the Conference, and provided two-three nights of lodging to our conferees. WCB's Committee for Families of Blind Children purchased pizza for the conferee's Friday night dinner. As always it was great for the WCB to open its state convention doors to the Transition Youth program and we thank you for your generous support.

The following individuals or organizations generously supported the Conference for Blind Youth: Julia Koyama, Judo Instructor; Kathryn Pierce, WTTBL; Washington State School for the Blind Nursing Staff and LIFTT Program; Washington School for the Deaf; Greg Krolicki, Dance Instructor; NW Adaptive Rowing and the Lake Oswego Rowing Club.

The 2008 Conference for Blind Youth would not have been possible without the active participation of two organizations. The Northwest Association of Blind Athletes helped to develop our agenda and directed two activities: Introduction to Judo and Introduction to Goal Ball. NWABA's Program Director and DSB-TR participant Billy Henry, was instrumental in all phases of this year's event. 

2008 will bring positive memories to the Youth that attended the Youth Conference and to all, “Awesome Job!”

Louis Braille School
By Eric Brotman, Director of Development

Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 21, 2009, as the date of the next annual benefit auction for the Louis Braille School in Edmonds. The event takes place in the South County Senior Center, on 220 Railroad Avenue, in downtown Edmonds. It will run from 1:00 until 3:00 pm, starting with a silent auction and followed by a live auction.

Last year's auction included fine chocolates, a ride on a fire truck, a travel book autographed by Rick Steves, an antique clothing chest, power tools, beauty products, and many different kinds of restaurant meals, to mention just a fraction of the total items. There was even an opportunity to purchase several yards of compost, with delivery to your garden included!

This year we expect to have an equally interesting, amusing, and useful selection of goods and services for your bidding pleasure.

In addition, we’ll be serving up a variety of tasty foods, including pizzas from Pagliacci’s.

While you're holding warm pizza crust in your hands and inhaling the fragrance of olive oil and tomatoes, you can listen to one of Seattle's finest barbershop quartets perform live. The SeaSharps will sing a capella harmonies at the auction and provide entertainment for all ages. If it's been a long time since you've heard a barbershop quartet—and especially if you've never heard one in person—don't miss this opportunity. We promise you'll have a smile on your face when you hear the music. The SeaSharps are talented, sentimental, and sing energetically. They are true showmen who can charm young and old alike.

We also plan to bring back the hands-on, educational exhibits from last year. People will have a chance to wear goggles that simulate vision disorders while performing different everyday tasks. Attendees can have their names written in Braille on a piece of paper they can take home.

Other educational activities are in the planning stage and we'll be announced in the near future.

The South County Senior Center is located along the beachfront in downtown Edmonds, a short distance from the ferry dock. At high tide, the waters of Puget Sound are just several yards beyond the large picture windows of the Center's dining room and create a spectacular view that periodically contains incoming and outgoing ferries.

Two large parking lots are conveniently located within a short walking distance of the Center.

All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Louis Braille School, a private, state-approved day school for children who are blind or visually impaired. The School provides a complete academic program presented in ways readily understood by children with vision challenges. The purpose of education for our children is to learn to live and love, to lead full and joyful lives, and ultimately to use one's education and talents in the service of others.

For further information on any of the auction details, visit our Web site: Auction items will be previewed on our site a few weeks prior to the event.

If you or someone you know would enjoy volunteering for the event call (425) 778-2384, or contact: Help is always welcome.

Washington State School for the Blind - Partnerships: A Key to Awareness, Networking, Opportunities, Involvement and Learning
By Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent

During my tenure as Superintendent at WSSB, I have often wondered which programs would not be in place if it weren’t for the strong partnerships involving hundreds of people in developing improved services for children. Helen Keller was right when she said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!” This statement has even more meaning right now when agencies and organizations are trying to figure out how to hang onto the good services that have been developed over the years for children, while moving forward on meeting unmet needs of students during difficult financial times.

We also need to remember—for each day a child doesn’t receive a needed educational service, that opportunity may be lost. How do we tackle these challenges in meeting all these needs?  Once again, as Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!”, but I would like to add and what is stopping us?  Is it a lack of creative thought, lack of willingness to work together, or just doing something different!

I have always been amazed by how many organizations work in isolation of one another or are afraid to share the credit for success, but never short on sharing the credit when things don’t go well. Maybe this is just human nature or maybe it is just a fact that it is easier to work in isolation. Developing partnerships is hard work. It takes willingness to give and take, to share, to recognize partners as part of the reason for success and being able to realize that working in a partnership may take longer, but will generally result in more sustainable systems that will have greater impact. Just think of the power of strong creative sustainable partnerships that can occur by many working together for common goals! It can be hard work, but also very energizing! 

Over the years WSSB has accomplished many good things for children, but I can’t think of a single one thing that wasn’t done in partnership with someone else. I was going to start listing these, but decided rather than list all the accomplishments, I should list a sample of projects that need partnerships if we are going to make it through these difficult financial times without slowing our pace in making a difference for students.

The above list is just a small example which could easily be expanded if partnerships are developed to improve services and create new services that make measurable differences in the lives of children.

Helen Keller also said, “While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done!” I would like to add, probably in partnership with someone else! 

Remember to share your creative ideas, and then be willing to put in the work that is required to make good things happen. You never know how many lives you can touch by any action that you take. Don’t wait, get involved and make a difference!

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library
By Danielle King, Program Manager / Librarian

Wow! The Washington Council of the Blind Convention in Vancouver was amazing! I want to thank you all for the incredibly warm welcome you gave me and the wonderful convention you put together. I felt at home and look forward to attending many more WCB conventions.

Our transition to State Administration has increased our visibility and helped us in a number of ways. For example, WTBBL had a page in the 2008 Voter’s Pamphlet and stocked the Voter’s Pamphlet in Braille and on cassette at the library. In partnership with the Alliance of People with disAbilities, we had the King County Election Department’s Accessible Voting Unit (AVU) in the WTBBL lobby on two occasions for people to try. WTBBL has a section in a Washington State Library publication called “A Shared Vision for Education: Connecting Educators, Families and Libraries” that will be distributed throughout the State. Finally, WTBBL materials and the word about WTBBL are getting out all around the State, thanks in large part to the Library Development staff of the WSL and significant outreach efforts on the part of WTBBL staff.

When I last wrote, I said we would be getting 1,136 digital talking book machines during 2009. Well, I’m delighted to say I was wrong and we will actually be receiving 3,304 machines over the course of 2009. This is great news. Once we know for certain when we will be getting our first batch of machines, we will let patrons know via our newsletter to contact us to be added to the machine lottery list. If you are a veteran or 100 years old or older, please feel free to contact us now to verify that we have your status correct in our system. These parties will be at the top of the list to receive the new digital talking book machines.

To tide you over until the digital talking book machines and books come (and from here on out), you can look into the NLS downloadable talking books service. Do you have a Victor Reader Stream, or another authorized digital player? Then you may already be one of the 137 WTBBL patrons downloading books from the NLS download project. There are currently over 12,000 books available for download and WTBBL patrons have downloaded 5,391 books since October 2007!

If you have an authorized player, high-speed internet connection, and a computer you can begin downloading books. To sign up for the download, go to You will need to fill out an application form with your name, address, and email address. You will receive your password and everything else you need to begin browsing and downloading the huge collection of digital talking books available to you as a WTBBL patron.

Do you have a burning reference question? Ask a WTBBL librarian your questions via live reference chat, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 pm. The AskALibrarian service is an accessible chat service provided by the Washington State Library through OCLC. WTBBL will be putting this chat box on our webpage soon, so in addition to phone or email reference services, you will be able to chat live with a WTBBL librarian. If you use the chat box outside of the WTBBL-staffed hours, you will be able to chat with one of the librarians on staff at the State Library. This will be a pilot project so be sure and give us feedback and ask any questions. Remember, you can also email us reference questions through the InfoEyes reference service at or call us at 1-800-542-0866.

Last but not least, Louis Braille’s 200th birthday is January 4th, 2009. WTBBL will be recognizing this historic birthday with an event. Stay tuned for details and don’t forget to borrow that Braille! As always, I welcome your feedback and comments, stay in touch and be well.

Around the State

Capital City Council of the Blind
By Berl Colley

Congratulations to Alan Bentson. Alan was a headliner in a performance of Wrinkles of Washington, a senior group that writes and performs musicals in the Thurston County area. Alan acted and played the piano in a lighthearted skit about the early days of Skagway Alaska.

Our September meeting was run by Gloria Walling since I was at a WSSB Board of Trustees meeting. In October we had the County Auditor’s office bring the Automark voting machine to our meeting and 12 of our members used it to vote.

In November we had our 2008 chapter elections. Capital City’s officers for 2009 are: Denise Colley, President; Gloria Walling, Vice President; Alan Bentson, Secretary; John Guydish, Treasurer.

CCCB is also working with a 501(c)3 specialist to get the ball rolling to obtain our IRS number. Hopefully, it won’t take too long.

The CCCB Christmas party will be held on Saturday, December 13th at Chamber’s Restaurant at Panorama City.

We want to welcome 2 new members to our chapter. Kevin LaRose moved to Tumwater and joined in October. Jackie Cabrera moved to the Lacey area and joined us in November. Congratulations to Jackie for completing her culinary degree. She plans to start a catering business in the Olympia area.

Guide Dog Users of Washington State
By Joleen Ferguson, Immediate Past President

GDUWS had a big presents at the WCB annual convention: staffing a booth in the Exhibit Hall, sponsoring a breakout session, plus conducting our business meeting and luncheon. 

Our table in the exhibit hall, manned by Fund Raising Committee members, Tina Leighton and Dodie Brueggeman, was a popular place. Sales were good. The Fund Raising Committee also includes Bill Hoage, who did a superb job securing items to sell. Once we achieve 501(c)3 status, there will be many more opportunities for fund raising. 

Dr. Chris Cooke, Naturopathic Physician was speaker at the GDUWS-sponsored, Friday breakout session. She focused on health and wellness. The event was very interactive and well received, judging from the many excellent questions asked. She was also our Saturday luncheon speaker with about 40 attendees. She told how her dog guides have played an important part in her becoming a naturopathic physician.

Forty people signed up for our Saturday breakfast business meeting. This was our largest attendance so far. Several attendees were new to GDUWS and they contributed much to the meeting.
Shirley Taylor gave a Nominating Committee report. Bill Hoage was re-elected vice president. Don Reiter vacated a board position when he was elected secretary, replacing Randy Tedrow. The second board position had been filled by Gina Allen. Several ran from the floor for the two board positions. Debby Phillips and Hayley Edick won these elections. Thanks goes to those going off the board. Their talent and dedication to the board will be missed. Congratulations to those elected to positions on the 2009 board. We will be working hard this next year to make GDUWS the best it can be. 

Thanks goes to Randy, Bill, and Gina for their work on the convention committee, making this convention one of the best ever.

Our website has moved to, and is now hosted by Go Daddy. Craig Phillips and I worked hard on the transfer from our previous host. Webmaster, Craig is now settled at his California snow-bird destination. He is better situated with high-speed internet to complete the upgrade of our website and keep information updated. 

Byron Kaczmarski, Treasurer, and Vivian Conger have started the long process of filling out and filing documents with the State of Washington for non-profit status and with the IRS for 501(c)3 status.

I want to extend my thanks to Holly Kaczmarski, and Marlaina Lieberg, members of the Public Relations committee, for working with me on our new brochure. One possibility we’re looking into is having dog guide schools distribute our brochure in the going-home packets of Washington state graduates returning home. 
Thanks goes to Craig, Dodie, and Don for their work on the Constitution and Bylaw Committee. We passed a constitutional change so that the Purpose Clause reflects specific, suggested language to accommodate the IRS.

GDUWS is planning to team with Guide Dogs of Oregon (GDUO) in 2009 to hold a regional conference, replacing our Spring Fling. I’ll be working with Debby and the Oregon people to get this event organized. Our membership, present at the meeting, gave its approval for this joint effort. This event will combine GDUO’s 15th annual Romp and GDUWS’ 6th annual Spring Fling. We are looking forward to seeing you all there.

There are many more people who deserve thanks for their willingness to serve GDUWS in whatever capacity was needed. Here is how you, too, can serve GDUWS and make a difference in this great organization. It is never too late to join our special interest affiliate. 

Send $15.00 dues payment now for 2009 to:
Byron G. Kaczmarski, Treasurer
P.O. Box 194
Dayton, WA 99328S

Send contact information to:
Janice Squires
502 W. Kennewick Avenue
Kennewick, WA 99337
(509) 582-4749

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind
By Chris Coulter, member

As I write the news of Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, I'm looking forward to a happy Thanksgiving, as are all of our readers. We in Everett certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

We’ve had speakers at all of our meetings this fall. They’ve all shared wonderful ideas. Our September guest speaker was WCB board member, Frank Cuta, on his annual chapter visit. Frank gave a vivid description of the ACB convention in Louisville this summer. He also brought along several accessible products to show, like the Victor Reader Stream.

Tom King, from Marysville, visited us in October. He discussed Audible Pedestrian Signals, explaining that several signals have been installed in the area. He also talked to blind people who live in and around Marysville to make sure that there are signals at all the intersections that they cross frequently.

Danielle King, Program Manager for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, was our guest in November. She talked about the library and changes as it transitions from the Seattle Public Library to the Office of the Secretary of State. She shared statistics about the library's patrons and she updated us on plans for the conversion to digital talking books. She showed us a digital talking book as we will receive it in the mail.

We will be rounding out the year by having a Christmas party on Sunday, December 14th, from 3 to 5 p.m. at I-HOP. I’m sure you’ll all be looking forward to hearing about the yummy delights that are served at the party as well as the gift exchange. But we can't reveal those details until after Christmas, so you'll have to wait for the next Newsline.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and the best New Year ever from your friends in Everett.

Jefferson County Council of the Blind

By Carl Jarvis, Secretary

Hang onto your hats, JCCB is on the move! 

Yup. After meeting for the past several years at the Fiesta Jalisco Restaurant in Port Hadlock, we leave for roomier quarters at the Road House in Port Townsend. Although we were well treated and well fed at our former location, we are growing to the point that the meeting room would no longer hold us. 

In fact, three new members joined us this past month: Bob Garing, Gunther and Lee Dohse. By the time all dues are collected we should have 20 members. We voted to send two $25 door prizes to our WCB state convention. Our usual faithful four—John and Sue Ammeter and Carl and Cathy Jarvis—represented JCCB at the Vancouver event. 

We learned that the American Council of the Blind established a new committee, the Health Initiative Task Force. Sue Ammeter was selected to be chair. Since Sue is doing nothing else, she accepted. Seriously, congratulations Sue! You are exactly the right person for the job. 

Our Christmas luncheon will be held at the Silver Water Restaurant in Port Townsend on Thursday, December 18. Then it will be time for family and festive Holidays. We’ll see you all again in the year 2009.

King County Chapter

By Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

Are they over? Are they really over? Well, not quite, but they will be by the end of this article.

In September, our favorite speaker from the League of Women Voters was here to discuss the many state and local issues on the November 4th ballot. Some initiatives were straightforward and others were confusing. We had time to ask questions, discuss the issues, and digest the information. I voted and with great expectations made all the right choices.

In November our chapter had its own election of officers for the next year. The outcome was as follows:  President, Rhonda Nelson; Vice-President, Shirley Taylor; Secretary, Heidi Campbell; and Treasurer, Marilyn Donnelly.

Now, I ask you again, are they over? Are they really over? The answer is yes. The elections of 2008 are finally over.
In October, 18 of our members attended the annual convention of the Washington Council of the Blind in Vancouver, Washington. It was a busy two days, with more than enough activities for any one person to enjoy. There was a choice of breakout sessions to go to, along with the regular meetings. Many went on a tour of the School for the Blind, and enjoyed that, too. And wasn’t that talent show great! Let’s do it all again next year in Pasco.

And now we come to one of my favorite times of year and I hope yours, too. It’s Christmas! Let’s take time to rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas and all the special events along the way. May you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Eric Hunter, President

Hello to everyone from PCB, whose members are getting ready for their Giant Christmas Party, to be held at Crossroads Church on December 13. This party is special, as it is going to be catered by Jackie Cabrera, formerly of the South Kitsap Council of the Blind. Jackie graduated from a culinary school in Portland, Oregon, and has moved to the Olympia area.

We have moved our monthly meeting. We now meet at the restaurant at All-Star Lanes, in Silverdale. They have a lovely room and excellent food.

PCB was, as usual, very noticeable at our WCB Convention, as there were umpteen of us there. As an aside, congratulations to Cindy for all the work she did. This was one of the best conventions we ever had. The hotel was excellent, and everything seemed to run like clockwork. It all looked simple, but, as any of us who have organized things, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to make something look easy.
We are doing the Kitsap Cards again, this year, as our major fund raiser, and the membership participation has been fantastic, and highly appreciated. We had set 100 cards as our target, and, according to Tim Van winkle, who is chairing the sale, we will surpass that figure.

Congratulations to Meka White, who is in training to become a masseuse, and is quite far along in her studies. Also, she has been giving free massages to PCB members.

Further congrats go to Sarah and Jeff Schweizer, who are expecting another addition to their family. One more kid and Jeff will have his own basketball team.

The membership voted to increase our dues (which hadn’t been raised in many years) to match the WCB increase, and to increase our own income.

In conclusion, PCB honored two long-time members; Cindy Van Winkle and Jack Pigott, with lifetime WCB memberships. These are well-deserved honors for two members who have contributed enormously to PCB over the years. Congratulations, Cindy and Jack.

Pierce County Association of the Blind

By Lori Allison President

Hello everyone!

As another year comes to a close, PCAB has been very busy. Most of our members are now attending school, working, or have their own businesses. Following the September meeting we decided to have a BBQ; the dogs and hamburgers were great. In October at the WCB state convention PCAB was well represented with 9 members. We had a great time and garnered some fascinating ideas and information. The chapter voted to award WCB lifetime memberships to Mildred Johnson, Gladys Emery and Lori Allison.

David and Hayley Edick found and made arrangements for our November meeting to be at the Oasis Café, owned by Gloria Walling, a member of the Capital City Council. We had a great time. Gloria and her staff put together a great lunch. PCAB has made plans to have our Christmas party at the Oasis Café with Gloria and her staff doing the catering. We have big plans for 2009 and are anxious to put them in action. Happy Holidays!

United Blind of Seattle

By Ursula C. McCully, member

It is so good that someone reminds us about deadlines. I thought that I had a few more weeks before the next chapter update. I was wrong, so I hope I cover the important dates of the chapter’s calendar.

August 30, 2008 (Saturday)—A UBS fund raising dinner took place at the Kona Kitchen in Northgate. Sixty-five people came and enjoyed the Hawaiian/Japanese cuisine. It was a very good fundraiser. We even had the 50/50 raffle and a drawing for a gift certificate (yours truly won).

September 6, 2008 (Saturday)—The Activity Committee organized another Seattle Art Museum tour. This time members viewed the works of the Impressionists and we even had an international guest. He was from Australia and happened to be in Seattle for a work conference. It was a good tour and the weather was great, it was sunny.
September 20, 2008 (Saturday)—we had our monthly meeting at Bayview Manor and Denise Russell was our guest speaker. She is the owner of the Speak-To-Me Catalog, online at She told us how she started her business. She explained that she is not in competition with Maxi-aids or Independent-Living. Her product line focuses on novelty gift items. Denise even won the 50/50 raffle that day.

October 18, 2008 (Saturday)—on our meeting before the state convention, we awarded a $50.00 stipend to 21 members. Our guest speaker was Kim, from King County Elections. Kim described how very accessible the voting machine is and encouraged each of us to go vote on November 4th.

November 15, 2008 (Saturday)—our monthly meeting time was changed from 10:30 to noon as Julie had a work commitment that morning. She wanted to be at the meeting since it was our election day. Here are our officers, board members, and committees’ chair: President, Julie Brannon; Vice-President, Clint Reiding; Secretary, Sharon Shauer; Treasurer, Glenn McCully. Board of Directors: Quincy Daniels, Steve Barnett and Kristen Miller. Activity Committee: Patt Copeland. Membership Committee: Kristen Miller. Fund Raising Committee: Steve Barnett. Outreach Committee: Julie Brannon

Shirley Taylor gave her update on our entertainment book fund raising. We’ve sold 125 books so far. The books are $20.00 each and UBS gets $8.00 for each book sold. The entertainment book sale is UBS’s annual fund raising event. Steve Barnett mentioned that the committee is organizing a UBS walk. It may happen in the spring.

December 20, 2008 (Saturday)—UBS will have their holiday gathering at Marie Calendar’s in Northgate.

Well my friends, this is all for now and I will see you in the next UBS update.

United Blind of Spokane

By Deborah Jenkins, President

We had a brief period of concern regarding reports of illness and injuries. But our stalwart members avoided the doldrums, so we again have an almost full house for our meetings. President Deborah Jenkins finalized planned and made reservations for a few festive hours of fellowship and Christmas culinary treats.

Karla Gibbons, of Spokane Transit Authority (STA), spoke at our last meeting. She shared welcome information, as many of us depend solely on STA for in-town transportation. It was interesting to note that in training blind people to ride the city bus, those born blind learn very quickly, whereas those who had some vision earlier in life found the training more difficult.

Happy holidays to all in WCB.



United Blind of Tri-Cities

By Janice Squires, member

Fall is upon us and soon the cold weather will begin to chill our bones. Thanksgiving is over and we the members of the UBTC family are ever so blessed to have each other as friends and supporters. Here comes the Christmas season and Carmen Walker is busy organizing our annual Christmas party. This year it will be held at Cousins Family Restaurant. Good food and gifts will be shared by all.
Ten UBTC members traveled to Vancouver for the 2008 WCB convention. We were able to share our experiences with those who were not able to attend at the November chapter meeting. We were so proud of Joann Riccobuono and Grace Spice for being our two first timers to the convention. It was fun to see through their eyes all the knowledge they gained and the admiration they had for everyone there. Congratulations go to Frank Cuta on being elected WCB Secretary and for being honored with the WCB Outstanding Service Award. Congratulations to Bill Hoage for being elected First Vice President of GDUWS. Mardel Kendall, who recently moved back to the Tri-Cities and joined UBTC, was presented the WCB Advocacy Award for her efforts on getting a damaged railing replaced on the bridge crossing over the Cedar River.

The 2008-2009 narrated-play season has begun. We’ve enjoyed 2 plays already this year. They were “Doubt” and “I Love You. You’re Beautiful. Now Change.” Our lunch group has had up to 32 members joining in the noontime dining and fellowship. The UBTC ladies still play cards once a month. With the money we lose, pizza will be purchased for a Christmas party. The book group read “Beneath the Southern Skies” and “Snow Falls on Cedars” for October and November. 
Every group needs to remember those who deserve a huge thank you for what they do for their local organization. Brenda Vinther, UBTC Treasurer, does more than just keep the books; she is always there to assist others with serving, reading, and doing anything we may ask of her. Also, my gratitude goes to our new Calling Committee: Joann and Grace for the lunches, Myra Wood for the meetings, Marlene Vandecar for the cards, and I do the calling for the book group. We are truly a team. In this way, a little help benefits ever so many.
UBTC elections are done and congratulations to the newly elected board: President, Bill Hoage; First Vice-President, Evelyn Crouse; Second Vice-President, Steve Vandecar; Secretary, Frank Cuta; Treasurer, Brenda Vinther; First Board Position, Myra Wood; Second Board Position, Marlene Vandecar.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

United Blind of Walla Walla

By Vivian Conger, Secretary

It has been a quiet fall for UBWW. In September we had a visitor who traveled extensively in the South Pacific. So we invited him to speak at our October meeting. He described his adventures, along with the culture and customs of the islands. It was a fascinating talk.

In November we held elections for Vice President and Secretary. Carla Brinkley and Vivian Conger were re-elected for their respective positions.
We voted not to hold a December meeting as it would fall during Christmas week.

United Blind of Whatcom County

By Betty Sikkema, president

Hello, everyone!

It seems like the months go so fast, and it’s time for another chapter report.
Some members in our chapter love to socialize and play, so along with having our regular business meetings, we hold socials. We get together and play cards. We always have fun, along with lots of teasing.
October’s meeting was a little different. We had a separate meeting called a round-table discussion. The reason for this discussion was to let everyone voice their opinion about our purpose. We discussed what we can contribute and get out of the group, and how we want to contribute to the community. The round-table discussion went over so well, there will be other such discussions in the future.

Four of us, Ron Bradshaw, Bruce Radtke, Yvonne Miller and Betty Sikkema, went to the WCB convention. Bruce and Ron worked very hard volunteering at the information desk and other duties. They still had time to go to some of the programs.

The convention was great! We enjoyed visiting the Washington School for the Blind. There was so much to see, we could have been there all day. The convention panel discussions were good as well as the breakout sessions. We enjoyed Kim Charlson’s banquet address, especially her humor and style. 

Bruce was invited and met with the ACB Convention Committee in Orlando, Florida for the upcoming convention in July 2009.

In November, voting was in order. Barb Crowley was re-elected treasurer and Hope Nightingale was elected Second Vice President. Congratulations!

We are happy to announce that Dr. William Freeman has joined us and become a member. Congratulations!

The United Blind of Whatcom County Christmas party will be held Saturday, December 13, at the Ankar Park Club House (where we had it last year). Stay tuned to read about this happy occasion in the next issue.
May you all have a blessed holiday season.

In Memoriam

The following WCB members were remembered by a moment of silence at the annual business meeting of the WCB convention:  Connie Couch, PCB; Dorothy Hull, PCB; Lillian Carner, PCAB; Shirley Steward, UBWC.

Bits and Pieces

Compiled by Randy Tedrow

Note: The listing of products and services in this column is not an endorsement by WCB; this list is for the benefit of our readers.

Braille Bibles International offers a solar powered Bible for $20:

Hadley is offering Christmas cards in print and Braille: or call 800-323-4238.

Free annual credit reports are available through These reports are now designed to be accessible to blind consumers. Each person is entitled to one free report each year from each of three different companies. By the end of December 2008 these companies will also provide the free reports in Braille, large print, and audio formats.

Fred’s Head Companion offers an accessible site for nutritional information about restaurants and much more. Scroll down past the search field. This site was mentioned in Dean Martineau’s Top Tech Tidbits (October 30, 2008).

A great source of Tech information can be found by subscribing to Top Tech Tidbits:

The ACB online store is open for business:

For that favorite canine in your life:

WCB Diabetes Support Group

By Peggy Shoel, Member

Do you have diabetes? Are you currently a member of the Washington Council of the Blind?

Did you know that we have a diabetes support group which meets monthly via telephone conference call? What do we do during these calls? We share concerns, problems, experiences and medical information and, above all, we support each other.

Some of us are recently diagnosed and some of us have had diabetes for 35 to 50 years. Good management is a critical health issue. Know that you are not alone.

Whether you are on diet control, oral medication or insulin injection, join us and be part of our group where our agenda is to help and support each other. Contact Peggy at 206-722-8477 or

Hats Off to You!
By Rhonda Nelson

Congratulations to the following individuals:

Calendar of Deadlines and Events

Jan. 16         Deadline for requesting placement on WCB committees
Jan. 31         WCB Winter Board Meeting - Seattle
Feb. 20-23         ACB Board meeting and Presidents'
                           meeting - Arlington, VA
Feb. 28         Deadline for March Newsline
March 7         DSB State Rehabilitation Council meeting
March 13-14         WSSB Board of Trustees meeting - Vancouver
March 21         Louis Braille School auction
May 1         ACB convention first-timer application deadline
May 15         ACB convention travel stipend request or loan deadline
May 15         WCB leadership training application deadline
May 30         Deadline for June Newsline
June 6         DSB State Rehabilitation Council meeting
June 11         WSSB picnic - Vancouver
June 12         WSSB commencement / Board of Trustees meeting - Vancouver
June 12-13         WCB leadership training - Silverdale
June 14         WCB mid-year Board meeting - Silverdale
June 30         Deadline for WCB scholarship applications
July 4-11         ACB national convention - Orlando, FL
Aug. 31         Deadline for WCB award nominations
Nov. 5-7         WCB annual convention - Pasco


Special thanks go to the Newsline Committee and production volunteers.

Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by February 28, 2009. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

Publication policy: to ensure accuracy, we require submissions be emailed to with a cc: Articles should be no longer than 750 words.


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