December 2009 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President/Senior Editor

(360) 438-0072


Lacey, WA



Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Glenn McCully, at PO Box 30009,

Seattle, WA 98113-0009.

To remember the Washington Council of the Blind in your Last Will and Testament, you may include a special paragraph for that purpose in your Will or Trust. If your wishes are complex, please contact the WCB at (800) 255-1147.

The WCB is a 501C-3 organization.


For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our Fund Raising page found at


Table of Contents



Editorial: The Blind of Washington Get Broadsided

WCB Committees

Membership Database

Another Successful Convention

From the Senior Side

Seeing Federal Way in a New Light

Officers and Board Members for 2010

WCB History 1997

My Very First Rehabilitation Lesson

Louis Braille School Report

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Schools Working Together for Students

Washington State Department of Services for the Blind

Around the State

In Memoriam

Bits and Pieces

Hats Off to You

From My Kitchen to Yours

2010 Calendar of Deadlines and Events





by Denise Colley, President


We are approaching the end of another year and it seems like it was just January 1. Where does the time go? We are coming into another busy holiday season and rapidly moving into the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one. I, too, am ending my first term as your president and looking ahead to a bright and exciting 2010 for WCB. The support, cooperation, and friendship I continue to receive from my WCB family have made my first term as president so much easier. I thank all of you for who you are and what you collectively bring to this great organization we call the Washington Council of the Blind.


I want to reflect back on just a few of WCB’s successes in 2009. One of my goals for this past year was to establish my version of Office Hours. This is a concept that was first introduced by American Council of the Blind (ACB) president, Mitch Pomerantz, after he took office in July 2007. Office hours is a time when you, the membership, can call in and ask questions and/or talk with me and other officers and board members about things you would like to see WCB doing, concerns you may have, or providing us with positive feedback about those things you think we are doing right. In short, it is another way of keeping the lines of communication open between the board and the general membership.


We held office hours on the first Saturday in March, May, July, and September. Board members joined me on each call and I thank them for that. Our participants grew from one in March to about six of us in September. Topics discussed included everything from the shortage of teachers of the visually impaired and orientation and mobility instruction to happenings at the ACB convention and getting our members more involved on a state and local level.


What started out to be a quiet legislative session turned out to be quite fast-paced as our three state agencies for the blind were forced to make some major budget cuts due to the significant down turn of the economy. One of the proposals first presented to us by the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) was to make a major shift in the way services are being provided. This was to include closure of the residential apartments which are a part of the Orientation and Training Center. We were victorious in getting DSB to rethink and reverse their decision.


After experiencing some major issues with our website, a website oversight committee was appointed and our website was rebuilt and redesigned. It has a new look and feel and is a site we can all be very proud of. Go take a look if you haven’t already done so at We encourage feedback and ideas from all of you about what you would like to see on the site. With the passage of a bylaw change the website oversight committee has become another one of our standing committees.


Our advocacy efforts continue to be significant and this year included assistance with employment discrimination issues, Social Security, housing, and guide dog issues.


156 WCB members have graduated from our leadership training over the past nine years. Their leadership is continuously being demonstrated as they take on new responsibilities in their local chapters and as members of WCB committees.


We just held our annual state convention November 5–7, and while our attendance was smaller this year, the energy was high and everybody came back recharged. At the Saturday afternoon business meeting Denise Colley and Sue Ammeter were re-elected to the positions of president and first vice president respectively; Glenn McCully was elected to the office of treasurer; and John Common, Eric Hunter, and Meka White were elected to the WCB Board of Directors. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Eric Hunter for keeping our treasury in good order and Alan Bentson, Vivian Conger, and Carl Jarvis for their service to WCB as outgoing board members.


ACB president, Mitch Pomerantz, was our national representative and banquet speaker and he did a fantastic job. Convention attendees commented that they thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet and talk with him one-on-one.


Special congratulations goes to Berl Colley for receiving the Newsline Editor’s award for his WCB history articles and to Bruce Radtke for receiving the Distinguished Service Award for his many hours of volunteer service to both WCB and ACB at their respective conventions.


If you remember, there were some constitution and bylaw changes adopted at the 2008 convention that I just want to remind you of. Chapter dues are still due by February 10, but WCB dues have been increased 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 also applies to members-at-large.


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 15 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 2010 is scheduled for January 30, at the Executive Inn in downtown Seattle. Room rates are $79 per night plus applicable taxes and fees. I look forward to seeing a lot of you there.

Back to the table of contents



The Blind of Washington Get Broadsided

by Berl Colley


December 1, 2009, will be a day of infamy for blind and visually impaired people in our state. It started when Denise and I received a call around noon from the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) requesting an emergency meeting of the board of trustees. The school had received a call from Olympia telling Dr. Dean Stenehjem that Governor Gregoire would be holding a press conference on Thursday, December 3, regarding a proposed restructuring of state government. That night we learned that as part of balancing the state’s 2.6 billion dollar deficit, the school for the blind would be eliminated as a separate agency and it would be placed as a reporting agency under the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The same proposal was going to be made for the Washington State School for the Deaf. We would also learn that same day, that the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) was going to be abolished and placed under the super agency of the Department of Social and Health Services.


When the governor made her announcement on the 3rd, she said that her staff had given long and careful consideration to these moves. The evidence doesn’t support that statement. The governor’s cost saving budget was released on December 9. It had the school placed under OSPI, but didn’t indicate what the administrative structure would be. WSSB had to cut its operating budget by sixty-four thousand dollars. DSB was buried within the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and was to cut about one hundred thousand from its current operating budget.


We are now learning, as I write this on December 10, that there is a twenty-one percent reduction for the Washington State Library. There is a good chance that the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) will have to cut some services.


What does all of this mean?


It means that the State of Washington, often considered as one of the best states for services for blind and visually impaired people in the United States, will find our highly regarded services drastically reduced or taken away. If WTBBL has to cut back, and DSB’s Independent Living program goes away, blind and visually impaired seniors will feel the greatest change.


What about the governor’s statement that long and careful consideration was given before her suggested restructuring was made public?


The WSSB Board of Trustees has been told that in the administrative models for schools for the blind around the United States, being housed under the K–12 agency was one of the worst. They do not have any experience with residential facilities and their educational mind-set does not include specialized education in areas such as Braille, mobility, daily living skills, etc. WSSB, along with the Texas School for the Blind, are two of the most highly respected academic institutions for teaching blind kids. There are much better administrative models for WSSB. If the governor wants to save money, she could allow the school to become a regional facility, taking students from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, D.C., and Alaska, with support income coming from those areas. The best administrative model for the school would be a public, private school under a foundation.


What about DSB?


There are reams of information from other states where blind services are housed within DVR that prove that blind clients get very little in services and job placement. A counselor with a diverse case load can make case closures easier for those with other disabilities. Our DSB, last year, had one hundred and forty-two competitive employment placements, one of the highest, per capita, in the country.


What about WTBBL?


I haven’t talked about our library services because most of us became pretty knowledgeable in recent years while we were fighting to move them under the State Library system. At this time we do not know what impact WTBBL will feel. There are lots of rumors. Last year WTBBL was rated as the second best library serving its users in the United States.


Why not accept these possible changes for services to blind and visually impaired people in Washington State? After all, the governor and legislature are mandated by law to develop a balanced budget each year and these are tough times.




1.  There seems to be a lack of knowledge as to what savings will occur. At her December press conference, the governor was asked how much money would be saved by her staff’s proposals. Her response was that they didn’t know and the staff was still working on it.


2. For more than forty years blind consumers have been working to obtain and maintain an environment where the best services possible are available to the blind and visually impaired of our state. This includes administrative models which have given our agencies the ability to develop quality service delivery. Now, because of some behind the scenes bureaucratic bean counters, it could all be destroyed.


For the first time in my memory, a proposal is being made that will affect the lives of blind and visually impaired kids, students, those who are working, and seniors in a negative way. All three state agencies and a number of smaller non-profit agencies and private contractors will see their ability to serve blind and visually impaired clients reduced. This is not only because of the lack of dollars, but because the ability to provide services will be diminished in the way they are allowed to be administered.


If you are a member of the Washington Council of the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, an employee of WSSB, DSB, or WTBBL, you should be mad. Damn mad at the apparent little regard that your state government has for the blind in Washington. Consumers, unions, and parents should be ready to contact their legislators and write to the governor when called on to do so. The WSSB Board of Trustees, the DSB Rehab Council, and the WTBBL Patron Advisory Council should be requesting meetings with the governor.


This is a time when all the blind and visually impaired, our families, and friends need to join forces and defeat the proposed changes.

Back to the table of contents


WCB Committees


Here are your WCB Committees.

You have until January 15, 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 pre-convention 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 pre-convention 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 keeps list rules up-to-date and relevant.


Membership Committee: Works to increase membership in the WCB, assists new chapters in getting 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.


Website Oversight Committee: This committee acts as the WCB's principle agent for maintaining a website that is informative, secure, and accessible.  Responsibilities shall include but not be limited to supervising our domain name registration, selecting the web hosting service, directing a website developer, reviewing all website content, and maintaining frequent independently stored backup
copies of the site.

Back to the table of contents


Membership Database

by Janice Squires, Membership Database Chair


Hello to all WCB chapters and affiliates. Dues are due and so too, is your membership contact information.


I am extending a friendly reminder to all WCB chapters and affiliates that membership dues are due for 2010. This also means contact information on your members is to be collected as well. 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. Also, a complete and accurate list of your newly elected 2010 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 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 database 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, Braille, or email.


To receive the Newsline via email, 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, , and dues money must be received by Glenn McCully at our WCB address no later than February 10, 2010, in order for your chapter or affiliate to receive the $500.00 WCB stipend.


Washington Council of the Blind

P.O. Box 30009

Seattle, WA 98113-0009


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 427 members from last year.

Back to the table of contents


Another Successful Convention

by Cindy Van Winkle, Convention Chair


Pasco, Washington, was the location for our 2009 WCB State Convention. The Red Lion Pasco was the hotel providing ample meeting space, comfy sleeping rooms, and some of the best food we’ve ever eaten at a convention ever! Our two host chapters, the United Blind of the Tri-Cities and the United Blind of Walla Walla, did a spectacular job on finding some incredible volunteers, door prizes, treats for hospitality, fabulous goody bags, and so much more! The silent auction raised over $1100 for WCB and WCB presented over $1800 in scholarship awards to five deserving blind Washingtonians.


This was a convention filled with high energy and lots of activity! General sessions on both Friday and Saturday mornings provided information from the light to the serious, the humorous to the inspirational; with presentations on self advocacy, protecting oneself from identity theft, tips and tricks for around the home, a panel of three working blind people, our three directors sharing about their respective state agencies, and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) president giving a full report of the activities on a national level. And most certainly, we can’t forget the lively games of WCB Jeopardy brought to us courtesy of the History Committee.


Friday afternoon gave members many choices. There were six breakout sessions split amongst two time-frames allowing members to take in presentations and discussions on digital books, extracurricular activities for your chapter, employment, exercise programs, public transportation, and diabetes. Some people opted to go on a tour of the Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science, and Technology that afternoon. Then all day Friday, conventioneers could choose to check out the many vendors present who were displaying, informing, and selling products and services, most for the blind but not all, in the exhibits room. The final offering that day was the sixth annual WCB Talent Show where thirteen acts displayed an array of musical and comical talents.


Saturday’s business meeting was lively as discussions took place, decisions were made, a budget was approved, and elections were held. One of the most impressive things about this meeting is the overall participation of our WCB membership: nearly one-fourth were present and voting.


Congratulations go to Denise Colley, reelected president, Sue Ammeter, reelected first vice president, Glenn McCully, elected treasurer, and Eric Hunter, John Common, and Meka White, each elected to the board of directors.


The convention culminated at a celebration banquet where scholarships were presented. The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Bruce Radtke; and we were all reminded through the compelling words of the President of the ACB, Mitch Pomerantz, the importance for us to be more than takers of services, admonishing us to give back when and where we can.


This was, without a doubt, a successful weekend with over 150 conventioneers in attendance. One major thing missing though was the Youth Conference for Blind Youth. WCB extends warm wishes for a speedy recovery to Alan Garrels, the mover and shaker of that program, and looks forward to welcoming a new group of high schoolers at our convention next year in Vancouver.

Back to the table of contents


From the Senior Side
by Carl Jarvis


The following article sounds the alarm. Our Vocational and Independent Services are at risk. Every dollar cut from the state budget will impact someone’s life. The coming months will be a critical test for the Washington Council of the Blind. Because the majority of blind men and women in Washington are over the age of fifty-five and many are on fixed incomes, they find themselves among the most vulnerable.


November 17, 2009

Gregoire Won’t Call Special Session

by Brad Shannon

The Olympian


Governor Chris Gregoire rejected new Republican calls for a special legislative session in early December to deal with the growing budget shortfall, despite her prediction it might hit $2.5 billion after Thursday’s revenue forecast.


Gregoire, a Democrat in her second term, said the budget crisis is so dire the state’s safety net is at risk as she tries to cut as much as $2 billion from a smaller and smaller part of the budget.


Constitutional limits that protect basic education, state debt services, and pensions put close to 59 percent of the budget off-limits, and the more than $3 billion in federal stimulus money for public schools, universities, and welfare aid came with strings that put other programs also off-limits. The result: Cuts must come out of just $9.3 billion of the $31 billion operations budget adopted in April, Gregoire said.

“This is not something you do overnight. It’s something you do thoughtfully,” she said, rejecting Republican Senator Joe Zarelli’s renewed calls for a special session in early December when lawmakers are in town. Gregoire contended special sessions would cost money and that budget-writers in the Legislature that she’s talked to “haven’t
gone in-depth” on the budget and don’t want to do anything piecemeal.

Gregoire, who spoke during one of her periodic briefings with reporters at her Capitol office, said she has not made a decision whether to submit one budget in December or whether to add a second one that includes new revenue. She has heard from hospitals and nursing homes that have suggestions for raising funds and gaining larger federal matches for health-care spending.

But those proposals would not apparently help close the gap the governor is looking at. She said the gap is huge and puts unprotected programs at serious risk of cuts—including any discretionary programs fully-funded by state dollars. Examples include the Basic Health Plan, which after budget cuts this year is projected to give subsidized health insurance to about 65,000 low-income working adults.

Another program facing threats of cuts is the General Assistance Unemployable program that gives cash stipends of about $339 a month and health care to people who are disabled or in some way unable to work. That program has been retooled into a managed-care health-delivery system; however, that is supposed to save $40 million in the next 18 months, unless it is scrapped.

Financial aid to college students is also at serious risk.

The governor said that to cut $2 billion, the state could eliminate all community colleges, close the Department of Commerce, and close the Department of Revenue, and it would still only eliminate $1.72 billion. Cutting all state funds for the
University of Washington and Washington State University would save $1 billion.

And closing the Department of Corrections would be $1.6 billion. She did not advocate doing any of those things.

Back to the table of contents


Seeing Federal Way in a New Light

by Gaylen Floy, Member, South King Council of the Blind


My involvement in Federal Way’s Advancing Leadership program began over a cup of coffee with a state legislator. Representative Skip Priest promotes this program because it connects diverse people and develops a new pool of talent. Before taking this class, all I knew of the city where I lived was what I heard on the news and my perceptions from bus travel. Did you know that students in our district speak over 100 different languages?


The application process was easy. A scholarship enabled me to participate. There were twenty-four people in our class, several of whom volunteered to give me rides to the classes. This proved to be a great way to get acquainted. We had tech people, engineers, firemen, a policeman, a counselor, a banker, a teacher, an ad rep from the Federal Way Mirror, a public relations consultant, a fitness trainer, people who worked for the schools, the city, St. Francis Hospital, Comcast, the blood bank, and Weyerhaeuser. What could I possibly contribute to such a capable group? My laptop and note taking ability proved to be assets in class and outside—working on our community project.


Starting in September, our class met one day a month for nine months. There was homework and we collaborated by email. Each month had a different theme, such as the economy, government, human services, recreation, and diversity. The class of 2007 facilitated the program on these days and packed in a lot. We never knew whether we would be interviewing a high school principal, organizing donations at the Multi-Service Center, or touring a Buddhist temple. We met in a different location each month, such as city hall, the Weyerhaeuser campus, and World Vision headquarters.


Our guest speakers included community leaders—immigrants and people who had come out of poverty. We heard from former gang members working with families to get kids out of gangs. We had lunch with a panel of councilmen. We toured the wetlands walk as well as the city by bus.


During each class day we were divided into groups. There were team-building games to break the ice and provide teaching points. After fact-finding tours, each group gave a presentation to the rest of the class. (It was a relief to learn that everyone was exhausted at the end of class.) And every class meeting allotted time to work on our community project.


We brainstormed ideas for our project based on needs in the city. Then we narrowed our choices to three, researched and made a five-minute “News at 11” video to persuade others at the December meeting. We knew from previous classes that the discussion and voting could get intense. There was some friction and debate, but our class worked matters out well. We settled on bringing the Senior Center together with the Communities in Schools mentorship program.


I served on the marketing and events committee. One committee managed recruitment, the paperwork, and training of seniors to become mentors. Another committee focused on an after-school program with a nearby elementary school, coordinating transportation, activities, and supplies.


We weren’t sure we could raise enough to purchase an expandable greenhouse for the Senior Center’s five-acres, but area service groups and Weyerhaeuser came through. Our big event at the Senior Center in May 2008, was well attended. The greenhouse was up and plants were sprouting. The seniors had snacks ready for the kids and projects to work on. Increased awareness of the mentorship program brought in new people.


The incoming class of 2009 was the most diverse ever. Our class helped facilitate class days for them. I chose Government Day at city hall. One member of our day team got a new job and moved away. That left Teresa and me. We were so nervous, but it went okay. I kept score in Excel for Government Jeopardy with everyone watching my screen on an overhead projection. One of the team-building games involved communicating detailed information through someone under sleep shades. I got to explain how to approach and describe things to a vision-impaired person. It was cool to see people using blind etiquette.


Nathan Brown, Executive Director of the Federal Way Senior Center, made the comment, “Supportive relationships are the key to coping with major life changes.” Relationships are also the key to doing more than we ever dreamed possible.


To find out if your community has a leadership program, call the chamber of commerce. The website for the National Community Leadership Association offers resources and a directory:

Back to the table of contents


Officers and Board Members for 2010



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

Glenn McCully, Treasurer, (206) 706-0434

Cindy Van Winkle, Immediate Past President, (360) 689-0827, Bremerton, WA


Board Members:

John Common, (425) 335-4031, Lake Stevens, WA

Julie Brannon, (206) 547-7444, Seattle, WA

Eric Hunter, (360) 377-9917, Bremerton, WA

Stuart Russell, (360) 377-2437, Bremerton, WA

Randy Tedrow, (425) 254-3931, Renton, WA

Meka White, (360) 689-1678, Bremerton, WA

Back to the table of contents



by Berl Colley, History Committee Chair


After a quiet January, the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) became very active. The American Council of the Blind (ACB) mid-year board meeting and president’s meeting was held February 14–17 in Houston, Texas. Sue Ammeter, Cynthia Towers, and Berl Colley attended from WCB. In addition all three had responsibilities for the national organization. Sue as an ACB board member, Cynthia as the national secretary, and Berl as a member of the national convention committee. Sue appointed Berl to stay and attend the ACB president’s meeting.


The following weekend, WCB’s winter board meeting was held at the Grovenor House Retirement Center in Seattle. President Ammeter established two new committees. Julie De Geus was appointed to chair a committee for families of blind children and James Eccles to chair the committee advocating for accessible voting. Denise Colley, newly appointed to the Department of Services for the Blind’s Rehabilitation Council (RC), was designated as WCB’s RC representative. She was also appointed to serve as the WCB ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees at the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB). Sharon Keeran was the WCB representative on the Patron’s Advisory Council to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). Peggy Shoel was the WCB representative to the State Independent Living Council.


The board heard a presentation from John Learned, CEO of the Vehicle Donation Processing Center (VDPC) about a fundraiser which resold donated vehicles. He was referred to WCB by the California Council of the Blind. Berl Colley was appointed to chair a committee to review and investigate the information given to the board by the VDPC. The board gave President Ammeter permission to inter in to a contract with the VDPC, if the findings of the review committee were favorable. They were and WCB started taking vehicle donations in March and the first auction took place in Lacey, in May. WCB would earn over $35,000 in 1997 from this fundraiser. The organization would receive about $30,000 from its Christmas children’s show. In addition WCB received a bequest of about 23,000 from the Ester Van Weydevelt estate.


The organization was notified in June that Emil Fries had passed away. Fries was a long time member of WCB and was one of the founding members of the Riverside chapter in Vancouver. Fries founded the Piano Hospital in Vancouver in 1949. He wrote the autobiography, But I Feel It. Several years later, the auditorium in old main at WSSB was named the Fries auditorium.


The national convention was held in Houston, Texas, July 5–12. Carl Jarvis was WCB’s delegate and Sue Sather was the alternate delegate. Steve Brommers, from United Blind of Whatcom County was the recipient of the First-Timer award. Cynthia Towers was elected for a second term as ACB’s secretary.


James Eccles, Berl Colley, and Cindy Wearstler met with Secretary of State Ralph Monroe on July 18, to discuss ways of making voting accessible. Debbie Cook also attended via telephone.


The WTBBL moved back into its refurbished building at the corner of 9th and Lenora in Seattle, on July 26–27. Again the Boeing Company employees were a big help. In 1997, WTBBL mailed to its patrons about 2,000 books a day and it had distributed about 1,700 receivers for its Evergreen radio reading service.


The DSB was undergoing some shaky times. Washington State Senator Slade Gordon introduced an amendment to the Department of Education bill that would divert two billion rehab dollars to K–12 education. The amendment passed the Senate 51 to 49. Shirley Smith asked the blind of Washington to contact the senator’s office and request that it be reversed. As one senate aid stated, “The response was massive.” The amendment was deleted from the final budget.


At WSSB, the new Outreach program was serving an average of 233 blind students a month and the Braille Access produced 1 million 500,000 pages of Braille during the year. The school had 76 students in residents.


There were three pieces of state legislation that WCB was tracking in 1997. Legislative Chair Debbie Cook reported that the bill extending the rights of service animals was expected to pass. Another bill would grant wavers to school districts to allow adaptive equipment to move from one district to another with a student. A third bill would create an information location service to include accessible libraries.


The summer WCB board meeting was held on August 2, again at the Grovenor House. Shirley Taylor and Marlee Naddy co-chaired the 1997 State Convention Committee. At the meeting a group from Sequim requested affiliation with WCB. Because of proxy conflicts between their constitution and WCB’s, they were denied.


The board voted up to $1,000 for a WCB reception for ACB President Paul Edwards during his trip to Seattle on November 15. The reception was a great success.


The state convention was held at the Shiloh Inn in Spokane, formally the Gateway Inn, November 6–8. The host chapter was the United Blind of Spokane and its president, Bill Ulmer, gave the welcoming presentation. Oral Miller was the banquet speaker. He talked about his trip to China and his visit to their schools for the blind. Berl Colley was the banquet MC. Janice Gray, from the American Printing House for the Blind, was invited to talk about her life as a talking book reader. At the business meeting, a budget for 1998, of $58,000 was accepted by the membership. This was an increase of $14,000 as presented by budget committee chair Joleen Ferguson and referred on at the pre-convention board meeting. The convention voted to give WSSB $1,000 to train Braille transcribers and $1,000 to purchase low vision equipment for Peninsula Rehabilitation Services to give to its clients. The convention also voted to give the WCB board authority to alter budget line items at any regularly scheduled board meetings between state conventions. The membership requested that a committee be named to establish guidelines for a new crisis program and the president be instructed to write a letter to Bill Gates reminding him that Microsoft missed its timeline to make its products accessible to blind people.


A conference board meeting was held on November 21. The board decided to accept the request of the Washington Protection and Advocacy Service to withdraw from the WCB kiosk litigation and to retain David Beney from the law firm of Preston, Gates, and Ellis to represent WCB. Berl Colley and Frank Cuta had signed on to the litigation earlier as private citizens.


The WCB board, going in to 1998 was:

President, Sue Ammeter, United Blind of Seattle;

First Vice President, Berl Colley, Capital City Council of the Blind;

Second Vice President, Shirley Taylor, United Blind of Seattle and King County Chapter;

Secretary, Frank Cuta, United Blind of Tri Cities;

Treasurer, Debbie Cook, United Blind of Seattle;

Immediate Past President, Sharon Keeran, King County Chapter.



Julie De Geus, United Blind of Seattle;

James Eccles, Riverside Association of the Blind;

Joleen Ferguson, United Blind of Walla Walla;

Carl Jarvis, Jefferson County Council of the Blind;

Bee Shinnaberry, United Blind of Spokane;

Peggy Shoel, United Blind of Seattle.


Delegates to the ACB convention in Orlando, Florida:

Sue Ammeter, delegate;

Julie De Geus, alternate delegate;

James Eccles, substitute alternate.

Back to the table of contents


My Very First Rehabilitation Lesson
by Carl Jarvis

Blind or sighted. Male or female. Black, white, or any color in-between. We Americans are all products of the same culture. Who we are, in great part, is shaped by the cultural beliefs about us. We have certain stereotypes that define certain members of our greater society. We do not discard our stereotypes easily because they are the foundation from which we make sense out of our world.

At 30-years of age I became totally blind. Even having been a person of limited vision, I had never allowed myself to think in such terms. I was sighted. I had to be sighted in order to fit into my perception of who I was. Now, at 30 and totally blind, I referred to blind people as, “Those people.” I was not one of them because I did not fit my beliefs of who blind people were. If I were to be rehabilitated as a blind man, I had to learn far more about blindness than how to wave a stick in front of me, or how to run my fingers over bumps, or how to flip a burger on a hot grill, or how to run a board through a table saw. I had to unlearn all that my culture had taught me about who we blind people are.


My greatest single step on the road to rehabilitation came not through hours of walking with an Orientation and Mobility instructor, or days of drilling Braille, or making a chess board in shop, or making a Denver Omelet. It was that day, early in my new world of blindness, when Harry Trabaugh, a totally blind rehab teacher, appeared at my door. I was shocked to open the door and find Harry standing there all alone and even more, he’d taken a bus across Seattle to reach my house. I explained to Harry that I was unable to do any of the things that were important to me. Certainly I would never work again. I was afraid that as time went on I would begin to

“look blind.” This meant to me that I would begin to look like an idiot, since that was my innermost unspoken image of blind people. But I also told Harry that I loved to run. I would never be able to run again.


Harry, a short wiry man, jumped to his feet, grabbed his cane and told me to take his arm. We went out the door, across the front yard, and down into the middle of the street. Harry turned to the East and said, “Here we go.” With that he took off at a dead run with me clinging to his arm like a frightened rabbit. After about half a block Harry stopped dead in his tracks, looked up at me and asked, “Just how much faster do you want to go?”


And so began a new picture, a different stereotype, inside my brain. As I went through the Orientation and Training Center this little rehab lesson grew and flourished and bloomed into the person I now am. Was there risk in doing what Harry did? You bet! But so was the fact that he, a totally blind man, jumped on a bus in the south end of Seattle and traveled the length of that city, crossed a very busy highway, and came to my door. Living life is a risk. But if we lay all our fears at the door of blindness it tells me that we are not overcoming our cultural fears about who we are.

Back to the table of contents


Louis Braille School Report

by Carolyn Meyer


We at the Louis Braille School believe that a well-rounded education involves not only academics, but also social and community activities both in and out of the school.


I wish to share with you three such events in which our students participated this fall: a music program presented at our school by a young man who shares some of the challenges our students experience, an afternoon of crafts at a nearby senior residence, and an afternoon at a grocery store soliciting food and cash for the local food bank.


Music with Alan

We first met Alan Bridgeford when he was a little boy in primary school. He was a member of the Louis Braille Center’s Second Saturday Club, where children with vision impairments and their families enjoyed social, recreational, and academic pursuits.

Alan loved to sing. He seemed to know every word of every verse of every song we sang, and his voice rang strong and true.

Alan, now a fine, young man of seventeen, still loves to sing. What a treat it was when he came into our classroom last week for an hour of music. Not only did he sing, but he accompanied himself on his big, red accordion to the delight of everyone present.

A versatile musician, Alan’s repertoire ranged from the Alphabet Song, to Christmas Carols, to Yankee Doodle, with lots of songs in-between. We couldn’t resist dancing when he surprised us with a polka.

As a special treat, those interested were invited to feel his accordion. Thank you, Alan. We hope you come back soon.


Painting Alligators

When Louis Braille School students and staff received an invitation from Rosewood Courte Marketing Director Sylvana Rinehart to visit for an afternoon of crafts, the unanimous response was, “Yes, let’s do it!”

Rosewood Courte, a short walk from the Louis Braille School, is a residential facility for people with Alzheimer’s and related disorders. Our first visit to this warm, friendly community happened last year when students and residents enjoyed a songfest accompanied by Ginny Burger on her harp.

This time the activity was painting wooden alligators, eight-inch-long articulated wooden alligators, whose bodies move back and forth.

Working in teams, and guided by program director Karen Davis, each student was paired with a resident who assisted with the painting project. Paint of yellow, green, blue, and red found its way from pot, to brush, to alligator, producing creatures that would surely take first place in any alligator fashion show.

Although the alligators were great fun and a unique treat, the highlights for all ages were the warm conversations and gentle sharing.

The visit ended with an invitation to return each month for another activity. Again, we said, “Let’s do it!”


Collecting Food for the Food Bank

Continuing a tradition started last year, Louis Braille School students braved cold weather and went to a nearby QFC grocery store to collect food for the Edmonds’ Food Bank.


Students and staff divided into two teams and, armed with flyers, big smiles, and polite voices, greeted customers at the two main doors of the store. They returned to school an hour later with many bags and boxes of non-perishable items. Some people chose to donate cash to be given to the Food Bank along with the food.


Later in the day, a lady who was shopping at QFC when our students were there stopped by the school with further donations. Recently diagnosed with diabetes, she removed from her shelves all of the non-perishable items she could no longer eat and brought them to us.


The children will again be at the Edmonds’ QFC store November 25, December 2, and December 9, from 12:30 to 1:30 each day, to collect more food.


It warms our hearts to note that the children are as excited about collecting food for others as they are about activities for their own pleasure, and maybe even more so.

Back to the table of contents


Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL)

by Danielle (King) Miller


I would like to extend a huge thank you to WCB and all those involved in putting on the 2009 convention in Pasco. One of the favorite parts of my job is visiting chapter meetings, attending events, talking to patrons, and seeing people when they visit the library. Attending the WCB convention and getting to see so many patrons, library advocates, and friends all in one place is definitely a highlight. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to talk to me and share with me how you think the library is doing, how your service is working, and what we can do to improve things and get the word out about our wonderful library.


The question that I heard the most from library patrons at the convention was, “When will I get my digital player?” As I mentioned in my presentation, we had just dipped into the General Patron Lottery in early November. At this point, we have completed serving veterans and centenarians and are drawing names from the General Patron Lottery with each shipment of machines we receive. If you are a veteran, and did not get on the original list of interested veterans, it isn’t too late! Please contact the library and let us know and you will still receive priority in the allocation of machines. For the rest of you, we’ll be sending out about 320 machines each month and if you are on the list and in good standing, you have a chance of getting one any time!


An aspect of the new digital talking book machines (DBM) I would like to highlight is the USB port on the right side of the player. You can purchase your own USB storage device (flash drive, thumb drive, etc.) and download books from BARD or the WTBBL website and play them on the player. If you are already making use of downloads with a commercial player like the VictorReader Stream, you may wonder what the value in getting a DBM is . . . Well, you can use the DBM at home and utilize the wonderful speaker and excellent sound quality to enjoy listening to your books. It also travels well in a bag or pack and has a great battery life of over 29 hours when fully charged.


I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and a fantastic New Year. I look forward to talking to you soon and keeping you posted on what WTBBL has on the horizon for 2010. As always, please feel free to contact me at 206-615-1588 or my new email address: .

Back to the table of contents


Schools Working Together for Students

by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent

Washington State School for the Blind


When I look around our state, region, and the country I see so many positive things happening for blind and visually impaired children. I’ve always thought if we could just package these wonderful services together in such a way that would allow access by all children, families, and schools, what a system we would have!


Often we have pockets of excellence in various disciplines located throughout our state and country and people need to become aware. We have great professionals whose knowledge and skills need to be shared in order for all of us to continue to improve services for students who are blind and visually impaired. Just imagine if we could link everyone together in a way that allowed for the easy sharing of knowledge, access to this information, and fluid exchange of ideas.


Maybe we could approach the fictional community of Lake Wobegon, created in the mind of Garrison Keillor, the great humorist, where everything is perfect.  We are not there at this time, but let’s not stop trying! It can happen!


If we look at what students need, put aside narrow philosophical views, and start measuring growth, outcomes, and success, we can build such programs and systems that will not only help blind and visually impaired children, but possibly become a better model for all of education.


However, this takes courage, trust, the willingness to partner with others, share the successes and learn from our failures (hopefully not too many of these), and develop the willingness to work as a team toward a unified goal of providing the best services and programs possible. We also need to look beyond our local community and state and work through all the artificial barriers that keep us from doing the right things for students. Some call this working outside of the box; I would like to think of this as just opening the doors of opportunity and taking a large step. The technology is almost there, we just need to make the leap.


I believe Schools for the Blind can help be the facilitators of such a bold move that will help students in every state, resulting in state by state service improvement, which will result in better outcomes for students, lower unemployment in the blind/visually impaired community, and help position Schools for the Blind as lead organizations in each of our states.


 Over the years people have wondered why a blind or visually impaired student should attend a school for the blind. Is this the right program? Do they offer what is needed? Because of size, are the schools capable of meeting all students’ needs? And can we measure the difference that is made in such a way that people begin to understand everything that happens while students attend the intensive on-campus programs? 


Schools for the Blind are nothing more than Magnet Schools within a school district/state and/or maybe a region. We are not isolated centers, but centers of excellence, demonstration centers, highly specialized magnet schools that can assist students in making substantial gains in short periods of time that can lead to success. I’ve seen this over the years and know that through intensive programs students can and will become successful. However, we can’t do it all and we must work in harmony with our local schools and have flexible systems in place that allow for fluid flow of students to and from the residential school based upon needs in helping develop confident, independent students with all the skills to succeed.


Students must have access to the best of the best, must be challenged, high expectations need to be maintained, and students need to develop all of the skills needed to be successful. These skills are not only academic, but self-advocacy skills, social/emotional, confidence, and all of the specialty skills needed if you are a blind and/or visually impaired person.


Can you imagine what things would be like if we could pull from the best of the best throughout the country and have students and families access everything? We are getting closer to having this become a reality, but in order for this to occur, we must continue to develop accessible and usable systems through digital networks that will link schools and resources so we can do a better job of sharing.


As we continue to evolve, let’s not place artificial barriers in the way that will limit access to any resource. Let’s develop the networks that will allow the sharing of specialized resources and let’s develop partnerships based upon trust and unity realizing that if we are to be the best, we need to work together.


Please check out some of the recent work that has been completed through a Sloan C grant in helping to develop systems and software that can begin to make the above happen.

Back to the table of contents


Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB)

Director’s Update

by Lou Oma Durand


As we know, the governor and the legislature prepare for the budget process in what continues to be a sobering economic environment—a 2.6 billion-dollar deficit.


The message from the governor to small agencies like ours recognizes that we’ve tightened and streamlined as much as possible. So, if further cuts become necessary, policy decisions at the governor and legislative levels will determine what services the state will stop providing.


We are asked more and more to demonstrate the cost-benefit of our programs. You, the WCB community, know that our services play a critical role in how blind and visually impaired citizens of Washington participate economically, socially, and culturally in our communities. Sometimes the scale of how our services have empowered citizens and challenged and changed lives has been difficult to capture with summary data because of the uniqueness of each story, and how those stories speak to our hearts.


But, to the governor and the legislature, who face an unprecedented challenge of governmental and economic reform, we offer the bottom line—DSB has the ability to demonstrate a return on the dollar and cost-benefit for every customer who goes to work in competitive employment. We provide data about both the long-term benefit to the customer through earnings and the benefit to society at large by payback in state and federal taxes. We demonstrate the case for early intervention with children and families to better prepare them for education and employment. We make the case for helping older blind individuals to remain independent in their homes, avoid nursing homes, to participate in their communities.


We now have the opportunity to generate more successes through Stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funding and have launched a number of new projects, including paid internships, more support for self-employment and small business startups, job search boot camps, and an eye doctor referral network. For the older blind population, we are conducting outreach to underserved populations, providing additional assistive technology, and a training program for the Independent Living providers.


We know the stories of our customers that embolden us to continue our work; but we also know the facts. We know that what we do makes a difference to each blind and visually impaired citizen and to the lives of each Washingtonian through the economic, cultural, and social contributions of our customers.


We, DSB, have unique expertise and a common interest. Our mission: Inclusion, Independence, and Economic Vitality for People With Visual Disabilities guides us through the challenges we face now and in the months ahead. I would like to express my gratitude for all that you, the WCB community, have done by being actively-involved, consistently-heard, and enduringly-dedicated to our mission.


In my last update, I used the words, “heart-felt and head-driven” to describe you and our stakeholders and every one of our employees. I use those words to describe you for your advocacy and for making your voice, the voices of blind and visually impaired Washingtonians, heard loud and clear through what is now a sobering and difficult time for many throughout the state.


The seriousness of the economic environment is real. But our dedication to our mission, to the lives and choices of blind and visually impaired Washingtonians, is just as real and just as sobering.


I hope that we can use this time through the holidays, to reflect on our mission, our vision and values, to have gratitude, and to continue to come up with bold and creative solutions for the challenges we face today to continue to serve the communities of tomorrow. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season. I look forward to the brightness of your ideas and to the sounds of your voices.

Back to the table of contents


Around the State


Capital City Council of the Blind (CCCB)

by Berl Colley


After a great summer picnic in August, CCCB members settled in for our fall activities. The book club continues to meet every four to six weeks. Under the guidance of Alan Bentson, the club continues to maintain a core group of six to seven members with one to three guests each meeting. They meet at Apollo’s Pizza. The computer club has met once since this summer. We have had ten members at each meeting.


Our September meeting was one of the shortest in our history. Vice President Gloria Walling ran a 38-minute el-Speedo meeting in the absence of CCCB President Denise Colley.


Fall is the time for our annual candy sale. For the second year we sold See’s Candy. We had fifteen store dates this year and will net around $1200 for our treasury. Almost all of our members sold this year.


At our October meeting we had a guest speaker, Dottie Dummett, who is a resident of the Panorama Retirement Community. She told us about her and her husband’s harrowing experiences while surviving hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.


We had fifteen members traveling to Pasco to attend our state convention. Two of them, Kathrine Golding and Jackie Cabrera, were presenters on the popular employment panel on Saturday morning. At the business meeting, Denise Colley was elected to a second term as our state president. Congratulations and thanks to CCCB member Alan Bentson for serving for four years on the WCB board.


One of our members, Kevin LaRose, winged his way back to Morristown, New Jersey, to get a guide dog named Kenya. She attended her first meeting on November 21, where she saw her master, Kevin, win a close election for the CCCB vice president. CCCB officers for the coming year 2010 are:


Denise Colley, President

Kevin LaRose, Vice President

Alan Bentson, Secretary

John Guydish, Treasurer


Jackie Cabrera is going to be catering our Christmas party banquet. She has quite a spread planned for us.


We want to welcome two new members to our chapter.

Sid Ramsey has re-joined after being gone for several years. Tristan Breitenfeldt, a former WCB scholarship winner, has joined and is a student at Evergreen College.


Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind (GEACB)

by Wes Derby


 It’s actually been something of a busy couple months for the Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind chapter. Here we go. 

1.     We had, if memory serves, six members attend the state convention in Pasco from November 5–8. A great time was had by all. 

2.     At said convention, chapter President John Common was elected to the WCB board. Congratulations to John and all of the other newly elected board members. 

3.     At the November 14 chapter meeting, John Common was re-elected as president. Nancy Lind is our newly elected vice president, replacing Dave Mason. 

4.     The chapter paid for Alan Patchett to become a lifetime member of the organization.

5.     We have a new member, Cindy Stormo. Welcome, Cindy.  6.        And finally, in the fun department, we’ll be holding our Christmas party on Saturday, December 12, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM at our regular meeting location, Patty’s Egg Nest in Everett. The party will be in lieu of a monthly meeting. The chapter is paying for members’ meals; guests are welcome, but will need to self-pay $11, which gets you dinner, a beverage, and dessert. Contact John Common for details.  Until next time.


Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

by Joleen Ferguson


We are now all safely returned from our second business meeting of 2009. Held at the WCB convention in Pascoe, we had twenty-one present at both our breakfast business meeting and at our luncheon on Saturday. We learned from the IRS in advance of the meeting that we needed yet another constitutional change to complete our paper work for 501C-3 status. This new language passed unanimously. We also elected officers for 2010 as follows: Vivian Conger has been re-elected to a second term as president. Bill Hoage has another year to serve as vice president. Don Reiter also continues his first term as secretary. Byron Kaczmarski was re-elected to a second term as treasurer. Our charter president, Marlaina Lieberg, was elected to the board position vacated by Hayley Edick. She had been elected to fill the unexpired term of Don Reiter when he was elected secretary. Debby Phillips continues to serve in the second board position. Thanks go to Hayley for her service to our affiliate.


We voted to host the Spring Fling in Washington and invite the Guide Dog Users of Oregon to join us this year.


Our presence was also felt in the exhibit hall with Tina Leighton and Dodie Brueggeman manning our table. We had some new items for sale again this year along with some that we have had in previous years. The word is that sales went well. Thanks to all who participated.


Bob Wendler, Director of Canine Operations at Guide Dogs of the Desert, spoke at our luncheon about a guide dog class they completed specifically for veterans. He spoke of the special bonds that were forged and the uniqueness of that group because of their common military experience. It is a plan that they expect to continue since it was so very well received.


Two people joined GDUWS at the convention and by the end of the weekend twenty members had paid dues for 2010. How about you? Current and prospective members may pay dues by sending a payment of $15.00 for 2010 to: Byron G. Kaczmarski, Treasurer, PO Box 194, Dayton, WA 99328.


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


GDUWS Immediate Past President, Joleen Ferguson, was elected to be the WCB alternate delegate at the ACB convention in 2010. Holly Kaczmarski sent the following information about herself.


“Holly has received an art scholarship at WWCC. That is a done deal—I heard from Lisa today. It is for taking art classes due to the fact that I am talented in that area and had my work on a school calendar and in the last art show, so they are giving me a scholarship to pay for my art classes. That can be announced in the Newsline and make sure to mention that it is leading to my working with the blind and teaching them Art Therapy when I am certified. I will not only use Orientation and Mobility but also Art Therapy.”


Jefferson County Council of the Blind (JCCB)

by Carl Jarvis


Out here on the Great Olympic Peninsula the New Year begins in September. After a month’s summer vacation, smelling the clover, and chasing butterflies, JCCB is back in full swing. Attendance was good despite the absence of our treasurer and secretary. No, the Jarvises did not head south with the treasury; Carl was home recovering from hip surgery and Cathy was nursing him back to health.


At the September meeting Ann Bradbury announced that she has already received one of the new Talking Book players. Ann is a veteran. President Sue Ammeter suggested that we give $200 to the WCB scholarship fund and two $25.00 door prizes to the WCB convention in Pasco, November 5–8. It was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously.


In October, we heard from Sherry Perry, our district representative to the School for the Blind Board. We all agreed that under the guidance of Dr. Dean Stenehjem our school for the blind is the premier program in the nation. Four of our members attended the WCB convention: Sue and John Ammeter and Cathy and Carl Jarvis.


As always we are looking eagerly toward the holidays and our December 18 Christmas luncheon at the Silver Water Restaurant in Port Townsend. But by the time you read this it will be too late to join us. Still, we do meet on the fourth Friday of each month at the Road House Restaurant in Port Townsend and you are all welcome to drop by.


King County Chapter

by Rhonda Nelson


In September we suspended the normal chapter business meeting in order to devote as much time as possible to our topic of the day: para-transit. Melony, Joyce, and Bob Sahm of King County Metro Accessible Services gave us a very informative presentation. Prior to the meeting a committee of chapter members had drafted and submitted in advance a lengthy list of questions and concerns that we wished to have addressed. This did provide a little more structure than sometimes exists in a discussion of transportation services, which can be a volatile topic.


We received useful information and gained some good perspective on the challenges of operating a very large para-transit system. Our guests had the opportunity to consider and respond to many situations faced by riders. Unfortunately we ran out of time with chapter members still having individual issues they wanted to bring up.


In October, we caught up on chapter business and held elections. Congratulations to our new president, Alco Canfield. Our other officers remain as they were: Vice President Shirley Taylor, Secretary Heidi Campbell, and Treasurer Marilyn Donnelly.


Fourteen King County Chapter members attended the WCB convention in Pasco. While I was not one of them, I’ve received very positive reports of good presentations, good food, and good friends. On a very sad note, we lost a long-time chapter member in September, as William Manke passed away following a lengthy illness. 


The Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB)

by Cindy Van Winkle, President


As a busy year nears an end, we in the PCB have so much to be thankful for. Seventeen of our members attended this year’s WCB convention in Pasco. We could be found as vendors, working at the registration desk, singing in the talent show, serving on a panel in the breakouts, hosting a scholarship winner at the banquet, enjoying hospitality, and the list goes on. Our two first-timers, Lorea and Lynda, say they had a great time and are already talking about the next convention.


Our very own Carrol Gray won the grand door prize and has her hotel covered for 2011.


We’ve just kicked off our major fundraiser of the year: selling the Kitsap Card, which should bring in at least $800. And we’ve begun plans on a fundraiser for March 27, at Outback Steakhouse in Bremerton where all proceeds will benefit the Louis Braille School in Edmonds. It’s our way to give back to the blind community and we hope that as the time nears, many of you who live in the Puget Sound area will consider coming over to the peninsula to enjoy a fun and delicious luncheon and help us help blind students. We’d also love to encourage other chapters to join us in our efforts by holding a similar fundraiser in your area.


Speaking of food, the PCB seems to always have it around. Whether it’s talking about the current month’s book as the All Ear’s Book Club meets at Applebee’s, also the site of our monthly social in September. Or feasting on Tamales, tea sandwiches, home-baked cookies, pumpkin pie, you name it, whatever happens to be brought by our members to share at the support group on the last Saturday of the month, you will find us eating. Even our monthly meeting on the second Saturday of each month at the restaurant of Allstar Lanes in Silverdale (excluding December and July) has tasty chow.


But food is more than calories or nourishment. In fact, it was at our most recent gathering of the support group that three guests joined us; two of them paying their dues and neither of them ate the pumpkin pie either.


A big PCB Welcome to Randall and Debra Nozawa. Now, if we can just keep everyone well. I mean, we do have a Christmas party to attend. And oh, how we can’t wait to C What’s Cookin by Jackie Cabrera who’s catering our Christmas party. But I guess we’ll have to tell you all about that in our next update. Wishing our extended WCB family the merriest and happiest Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever this season celebrates in your heart. 


United Blind of Seattle (UBS)

by Ursula McCully, Member


My, oh my, how time flies. I did not realized that today is the deadline for chapter updates. Thanks for having Glenn remind me of the deadline.


As summer was getting to its last leg, UBS membership is getting ready for fall. Eighteen members were present in the monthly meeting at the Rock Bottom Restaurant. Ariel Gilbert was supposed to be our guest speaker, however, she had a time conflict with her meeting with three new members of Guide Dogs and was not able to come for our meeting.


The Entertainment books were received and membership is gearing up for the sale. The sale of Entertainment books is our chapter’s number one fundraiser. If you live in King County or the South Sound area, you are welcome to buy a book, which is loaded with savings coupons for a year in grocery stores, restaurants, movie houses, hotels, etc., and many more.


Twenty-one members were present at our October chapter meeting, which was held at the Seattle Public Library. The speaker was going to be Christine Mortar, Crisis Clinic Development Manager, to speak in line of our yearly speaker theme of volunteerism, but she got sick at the last minute and could not find a replacement.


We had no luck with guest speakers this year, however, with quick thinking and flexibility of our president, Julie Brannon, instead we had a round-table discussion about how we handle the holidays as blind people and what each member does for the holidays.


Craig and Maria McCully were announced as the first-timers from our chapter to go to the state convention in Pasco this year. In addition, membership is preparing for the next month’s election. The officers’ positions were vice president, treasurer, and two board directors.


Our November chapter meeting was held at East Seattle Public Library for the last time; our chapter has had difficulties in finding a permanent meeting location this year. Membership finally was able to negotiate with Virginia Mason for our chapter to come back and have our monthly meetings there. We are hoping that we will be able to meet at Virginia Mason for the next ten months.


Twenty-one members were present at the November meeting where our elections were held. Clint Reiding remained vice president and Glenn McCully remained treasurer by acclamation. Five members put in their intention to run for the two board positions, namely Quincy Daniels, whose term is up, Pat Copeland, Kay Holdaway, Craig McCully, and Jan White. Quincy Daniels and Pat Copeland were voted for the board positions. Congratulations!


A dozen of us went to the state convention and Maria McCully reported to the chapter their experiences as first-timers. Craig and Maria encouraged membership to go to the next state convention.


Pat Copeland, Activity Committee Chair, organized a shopping spree at the Northgate Mall on November 28. Vision Lost Connection is doing the musical White Christmas at the 5th Avenue Theater this December. The White Cane Entertainment is coordinating with the Princess Cruise Line for an Alaskan cruise from September 4 to September 11, 2010; Jan White organized a group to see the Messiah on December 19, at Benaroya Hall. In addition, of course, December 5, we are having our holiday gathering at the Marie Calendar Restaurant. Fun, fun, fun for all these activities!


Before our meeting was adjourned Julie Brannon mentioned to the membership that our theme for next year’s goal is to have a chapter identity. This will have members be part of smaller groups and think about/discuss/get involved to make United Blind of Seattle a stronger chapter to support WCB.


We had a dry day for our November chapter meeting and we are hoping that our holiday gathering will be the same.


This is the United Blind of Seattle chapter update and I will see you next year. Have a wonderful holiday, folks!


United Blind of Spokane

by Debra Jenkins


Seasons greetings from United Blind of Spokane.


As I reflect on the past year, I realize that it has been kind of a sad one for us. We lost two long-time members and one former one. Lester Thorpe passed away on June 15, and Bob Carroll and Alden Gerling both passed away on September 20. Both Mary Thorpe and Dorothy Carroll would like to thank the WCB family for all of their thoughts and prayers.


What’s new? We finally got our new brochures and business cards done which we have been working on most of the year. Now hopefully, we’ll be able to get them distributed which will then encourage new members to join us. Our chapter is also working on other ideas to generate new membership.


In November, Bea Shinnaberry and I attended the WCB State Convention.


In December, we will be enjoying our annual Christmas party at Perkins Restaurant. I anticipate a good attendance.


All of the members of United Blind of Spokane would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in WCB a happy holiday season.


United Blind of the Tri-Cities (UBTC)

by Janice Squires, UBTC Member


Hello WCB friends and family! Thanks to all of you who made it over the highways and byways to join us in this year’s WCB State Convention. And what a convention it was! The numbers were down, but the enthusiasm and excitement were still there. One thing I learned from Cindy at the extra curricular breakout sessions, is that quantity of numbers does not matter, it is the quality of the event.


Where do I begin to thank people for all they did to make this convention such a huge success? On our own local level, Bill, Holly, and Lori were the tops at door prizes and hospitality. A big thank you to Kitty Hoage for grab bags and niece Linda for working the silent auction. Appreciation to Debbie Gregoire for heading up the volunteers and to all of our members and others who helped in this way. Gratitude to our own Frank Cuta who seems to do about three jobs at one time and to all of our twenty-four members who helped with committees, breakout sessions, and oh, so much more.


Now that convention is over, we are back to our many social and business activities. Congratulations to the following newly elected 2010 UBTC board: President, Bill Hoage; First Vice President, Steve Vandecar; Second Vice President, Marlene Vandecar; Secretary, Frank Cuta; Treasurer, Brenda Vinther; First Board Position, Holly Kaczmarski and Second Board Position, Myra Wood. 


Our narrated play program has something new added to it. Our narrator, John Yegge, has arranged with the Richland Kiwanis group to provide transportation to and from the plays and are we ever excited about this! We enjoyed Ah Wilderness in September, and Leading Ladies in November.


The lunch socials and card groups are rolling right along and so too, is the book club. Marlene Vandecar has given a name to our reading group which is temporarily being called “Steve’s Harem.” Red hatters for their lunches, decorated witches hats for Halloween and are doing the same with Santa caps for Christmas.


Speaking of Christmas, our UBTC family will be celebrating it together with a holiday lunch and gift exchange on December 5, at the Richland Red Lion. We also will participate in the Target Senior and Disability Day for shopping and fellowship. The card group will also have its annual Christmas pizza party on December 8, and lots of laughs and fun will be had by all.


Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


The following is a post-script to this update provided by President Bill Hoage.


At the UBTC Christmas party, Janice Squires was surprised with a lifetime membership to WCB. She also received the first lifetime membership in UBTC.


At the September meeting, at which Janice was absent, the members decided to take up a collection to pay for her lifetime membership.


After I returned home, I counted the money I had collected and realized members had given me $50 more than we needed. At the October meeting (thanks Janice, for missing the October meeting also) we decided to pay for a lifetime membership in UBTC. We had to change our constitution to make this possible.


Congratulations Janice and Thank You. We appreciate all you do for us.


United Blind of Walla Walla (UBWW)

by Vivian Conger


Our September meeting had a presentation by Zach Lattin. Zach spent two years in Peru teaching young students how to read and write Braille. The village Zach taught in had no electricity so the youth didn’t have any sort of technology to use. They learned to write Braille using slates and styli. Zach is a new comer to Walla Walla and recently attended the WCB convention.


In October, Freda Tepfer, one of our own members, gave us a presentation on Medicare Part D. Freda is not only an orientation and mobility intern, she is also a SHIBA volunteer and we were the first group to experience her presentation on Medicare Part D.


We had five members and two other Walla Walla residents attend the WCB convention. There was lots of information received and all had a great time. Joleen Ferguson and Zach Lattin participated in the talent show.


November’s meeting consisted of elections and convention discussion. Joleen Ferguson was elected president and Dodie Brueggeman was elected treasurer. The folks that attended the convention eagerly shared their thoughts, experiences, and enthusiasm gained at the convention.


We will be having a potluck in December and of course, there will be lots of great food and company for all.


United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)

by Yvonne Miller


In September, our guest speaker was Danielle King from the Washington State Talking Book and Braille Library. She introduced the group to the new digital players and explained how they worked. There are two types, standard and advanced and brought models to show us. She demonstrated and passed them around for everyone to try.


Distribution had started with veterans and thereafter a lottery will be held to determine who shall receive the players. Danielle suggested that those interested in receiving a player put their name on their list. She also encouraged subscribers to keep the cassette players because there are still many more titles on tape. There are only about fifty books currently in digital format. Danielle was asked about the possibility of visiting the library and she said tours are available.


A large-print recipe book donated by the Bellingham Low Vision Group was contributed to the WCB Convention Auction.


The Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment Community Outreach was held at the Lynden Public Library to discuss the challenges of life and work that people with disabilities must face. They were seeking ideas for change. The public was invited. Many state agencies, organizations, and individuals met to discuss a variety of topics. Ron Bradshaw, Bruce Radtke, and I attended.


Catherine Bachen, a Western Washington State University student, has been working with Betty Sikkema on a school project. She interviewed Betty. Her paper focuses on the daily challenges of people living with blindness.


On October 28, Catherine video-taped Betty and me using the accessible voting machines at the Whatcom County Courthouse. The election’s staff were very helpful. Although one of the machines had problems. So Betty had to use the other one I had just finished using.


Our annual luncheon social was scheduled on this day as well. We met everyone at Best Chopsticks, where we enjoyed talking over good Chinese food. Betty told us that they took out the accessible voting machine that was not working. Despite all these technical problems, she was glad she was able to vote.


In November, I had the opportunity to go to Pasco for the WCB Convention. This year, UBWC had three volunteers, Bruce, Ron Bradshaw, and Peggy Miller. Kudos for your good work! It was wonderful to have Peggy return grown-up to help out at the silent auction and serve as timekeeper.


Bruce received the WCB Distinguished Service Award during the banquet. Congratulations!


UBWC also received an award for getting their chapter reports in each and every quarter to the Newsline Committee. Congratulations to all the chapters for a job well done!


We also held our elections for new officers as follows. Barbra Crowley, President; Betty Sikkema, First Vice President; Sharon Von See, Treasurer, and myself as Secretary.


UBWC voted in new member Noel Newby. Welcome aboard!


We welcomed Dan Tonge, who joined us from Mount Vernon. We’re glad he made it!


On the November 17, Whatcom County Transportation Board of Directors held a public transit meeting at the courthouse. Representatives from the community such as WWU, WCC, Bellingham Voc Tech, and Northwest Indian College reps made comments to save the city transit services from cutbacks. National Federation of the Blind President Jennifer Merkie and Ron Owens made comments against the cutbacks. I joined many other individuals and groups to make my comments to keep our transit services and expressed its vital importance to seniors and people with disabilities.


Those who could not attend this public meeting were encouraged to call the comment line to express their concerns.


The Transportation Board decided to put on the April election’s ballot a sales tax increase of two-tenth of a percent toward the transportation 2010 budget.


UBWC will be meeting at Ankar Parkway Clubhouse for our annual Christmas party. We’ve decided to forego the $5.00 gift exchange. Rather, we have decided to bring donations of canned goods. The collection of non-perishables shall go to the local food bank.


Betty, Ron, Miriam Freshley, and Beth Marsau are attending the “Festival of Trees” gala fundraiser scheduled at the Leopold Inn on December 5, 2009. A dinner and auction has been planned with beautifully decorated trees lit up. All proceeds shall benefit the Health Support Center for which United Blind of Whatcom County has been a member.


Wishing you all a blessed holiday and Happy New Year!

Back to the table of contents


In Memoriam


The following WCB members were remembered by a moment of silence at the annual business meeting of the WCB State Convention: Ann McKay, GDUWS; Bill Mankey, King County Chapter; Ginger McCallum, LCCB; Charles Dunkle, PCB; Millie Lind, UBTC; Lester Thorpe, UBSpokane; Bob Carroll, UBSpokane; Alden Gerling, UBSpokane; Hilton Grandstaff, UBWW.

Back to the table of contents


Bits and Pieces


This column is presented for your information and enjoyment. Inclusion of information, products, and/or services does not constitute endorsement by the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB). If you have something that belongs in Bits and Pieces, send it to Randy Tedrow: Have fun!


Evergreen Radio Reading Service (ERRS) has timely up-to-date topics. Each Wednesday evening is the ERRS talk show where you can participate. For more information go to: and select: “Listen to the live webstream of the Evergreen Radio Reading Service.”


Marlaina Lieberg hosts a new program on ACB Radio Mainstream, beginning January 5, 2010, from 3 to 5 Pacific. She'll interview interesting guests and discuss topics relevant to blindness. To listen, visit:


Marlaina also hosts, “Coffee with Marlaina,” at:
8 to 10 AM Pacific, 11 Eastern, and 15 UTC. This two hour show is interactive. You can call or email Marlaina with requests, questions, and . . .? Phone: 866-666-7926, email: .


Verizon has an accessible site with manuals and billing options.


More books! Find lists of e-books in one spot. Whether for pleasure reading, or school work, or whatever, head to:

Back to the table of contents


Hats Off to You


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


·      Kevin LaRose, Vice President, Capital City Council of the Blind, on making his trek back to The Seeing Eye to get his new guide dog, Kenya. Kenya is a 52-pound female black lab. Kevin says she is “definitely the economy-size model.” Kenya attended her first CCCB chapter meeting in November.

·      Meka White, member, PCB, on receiving her license as a massage practitioner. She officially became licensed at the end of October and says she is very much looking forward to the new opportunities that this presents for her. Congratulations Meka! We’re all very proud of you.

·      Denise Colley, President, Capital City Council of the Blind and Sue Ammeter, President, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, on their re-election to the offices of WCB president and WCB first vice president, respectively.

·      Glenn McCully, Treasurer, United Blind of Seattle, on his election to the office of WCB treasurer. Welcome back to the WCB Board.

·      John Common, President, Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind; Eric Hunter, WCB Immediate Past Treasurer; and Meka White, member, PCB, on their election as new directors to the WCB Board of Directors.

·      Joleen Ferguson, President, UBWW, on being elected as alternate delegate to the 2010 national convention to be held in Phoenix, Arizona.

·      Bob and Janice Squires, members, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, on the October 3, arrival of their third grand child. Benjamin Timothy weighed in at 7 pounds 10 ounces and 22 inches long. He has a full head of very soft medium brown hair and is the first baby for daughter Christy and son–in-law Alan Masterman.

·      Karen Johnson, Kevin LaRose, and Janice Squires for being selected to serve on the WTBBL Patron Advisory Council.

Back to the table of contents


From My Kitchen to Yours

by Marlaina Lieberg


If you purchase a nice glass jar, you can place all dry ingredients into that jar and tie a lovely ribbon around the neck of the jar. This makes a great holiday gift. Be sure to include the actual recipe for making the cookies!


Applesauce Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

These light cookies are very much like apple cake—only crisper.

In the Jar


Layer the following ingredients in a clean glass jar then tightly cover for gift-giving:

1 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dark raisins

3/4 cup chopped walnuts


To make the cookies, add these additional ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 cup applesauce


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Place all of the jar ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until well combined; set aside.

3. Place butter, egg, and applesauce in a large bowl and cream with an electric mixer set on low speed or with a fork.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and blend with a mixer set on low speed or with a spoon until well combined.

5. Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.

6. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Back to the table of contents


2010 Calendar of Deadlines and Events


January 15: Deadline for requesting 2010 WCB committee assignments.


January 30: WCB Winter Board Meeting, Executive Inn in Seattle.


February 6: Office hours conference call at 12pm with President Colley.


February 10: Deadline date for submitting 2010 chapter dues and membership lists.


February 19–21: ACB mid-year board meeting and president’s meeting in Washington D.C.


February 27: Deadline for submission of articles for the March issue of Newsline.


March 5–6: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver.


March 6: SRC Meeting, Seattle DSB Office.


March 20: Louis Braille School Benefit Auction, Snohomish County Senior Center.


May 1: Office hours conference call at 12pm with President Colley.


May 29: Deadline for submission of articles for the June issue of Newsline.


June 5: SRC meeting, Seattle DSB office.


June 11: WSSB student graduation and Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver.


July 10–17: ACB National Convention, Phoenix, Arizona.


August 28: Deadline for submission of articles for the September issue of Newsline.


September 4: Office hours conference call at 12pm with President Colley.


September 10–12: ACB Board meeting, Reno, Nevada.


September 11: SRC meeting, Seattle office.


November 9–11: WCB State Convention, Vancouver.


December 4: SRC meeting, Seattle DSB office.

Back to the table of contents




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 27, 2010. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.


Publication policy: to ensure accuracy, we require submissions be emailed to our new Newsline address at . Articles should be no longer than 750 words.

Back to the table of contents


Change the font size: + Larger Font | + Smaller Font