December 2010 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President


Lacey, WA


Randy Tedrow, Senior Editor


Renton, 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 501(c)(3) organization.


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

Table of Contents


Editorial: Membership Responsibility

From the President’s Desk

WCB Convention Business Meeting

Brady Layman Saluted for Service to the Blind

An Outreach Activity That Is Fun and Exciting

Teaching English in Japan: An Interview With Sandra Burmester

A Traveler in Egypt

From the Senior Side

WCB History, January–June 2000

Where Are the Youth?

Louis Braille School

Department of Services for the Blind

Washington State School for the Blind

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Around the State

2011 Officers and Board Members

WCB Committees

In Memoriam

Hats Off to You

Bits and Pieces

From My Kitchen to Yours

2011 Calendar


Membership Responsibility

Editorial by Denise Colley

WCB President


I want to just talk briefly about what I see as WCB’s greatest internal challenge: that of maintaining and growing WCB’s membership. In March we turned in membership information for 393 members to the American Council of the Blind’s national office and at the time of this writing we are at 424. This is a bit down from last year at this same time. However, as I’ve said previously, I believe there are a lot of former members just waiting to be encouraged by someone to come back and a lot of people out there who are just waiting to be invited to join such a vital and hard-working organization. More and more Americans become blind and visually impaired every year. As our fellow baby boomers age, as more of us experience vision loss, there are more individuals who need to learn about and join the Washington Council of the Blind.


Mainstreaming and other factors have led to the isolation of blind and visually impaired people from one another. Today’s youth and young adults have had almost no exposure to their blind and visually impaired peers, and hence, to the necessity of becoming part of WCB. Those who lose their vision later in life bring to that experience the myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes about blindness and blind people foisted upon them and us by society.


Recruiting new members to WCB isn’t easy. However, I challenge each of us to reach out and invite one person we know to join. If our local chapters are going to survive, WCB must become creative in attracting blind and visually impaired people of all ages. We need to do whatever it takes to adapt to a changing world in order to remain a thriving organization.


Given the challenges I’ve described, no member of this organization has the luxury of becoming complacent or apathetic. Every member has a tremendous responsibility to the visionary men and women who founded this organization as far back as 1935, a responsibility to our contemporaries who have yet to fully grasp the importance of the work we do on their behalf, and a responsibility to those blind and visually impaired young people whom we hope and pray will follow in our footsteps. We must not let them down!


From The President’s Desk

by Denise Colley

WCB President


We are coming into another busy holiday season and I am looking ahead to a bright and exciting 2011 and the support, cooperation, and friendship I continue to receive from my WCB family which has made my time as president so much easier.


My remarks for this article are taken from my report given to the membership at the WCB Convention. For those of you who were not there or unable to listen via American Council of the Blind (ACB) Radio, I trust that my remarks will adequately fill you in on our activities since the 2009 convention.


This year marks WCB’s 20th anniversary since the merger in 1990. Approximately 185 of us gathered in Vancouver to celebrate the establishment of a truly democratic, grass-roots state organization of blind and visually impaired people, the largest such organization in Washington. I want to spend a little time highlighting our activities since the 2009 convention.


ACB president, Mitch Pomerantz, in his report at this year’s national convention, said that the challenges facing all of us fall within the categories of education, rehabilitation, employment, transportation, and access to information, of which those same challenges exist here in Washington.


In the area of education, we are experiencing an unprecedented low rate of Braille literacy, estimated at around 10% among blind children. We are seeing the closure and/or consolidation of a growing number of schools for the blind, a shortage of qualified teachers, and the elimination of teacher preparation programs. Rehabilitation and lack of employment continue to be concerns for us.


Regarding rehabilitation, the most serious issue facing our country is maintaining existing separate state agencies, departments, or commissions for the blind, to include our own separate state agency. The ongoing economic crisis affecting most states is offered as justification for this consolidation. The National Governors’ Association has released a document calling for the elimination of all small, separate agencies and commissions to cut costs within state governments.


As early as the beginning of December 2009, we learned that as part of balancing the state’s 2.6 billion dollar budget deficit, the governor proposed a restructuring and streamlining of state government. Contained in this streamlining proposal was the elimination of the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) as a separate state agency and the transferring of all of its functions to the Department of Social and Health Services, and also transferring the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. There was no evidence that the proposal would save money and no assurance that our services would remain intact.


Other proposed budget impacts affecting blind Washingtonians included:

·      A 20% reduction in the state-only Independent Living dollars. If this cut were to come from the Older Blind Program, there would be only one option: reduction in services.

·      A 19% cut in staffing at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL).


The result of all this was a whirlwind of activity to include visits to legislators, phone calls, emails, meetings with the governor’s policy staff, and testifying at town meetings and hearings. Informational fact sheets were developed and distributed that focused on the programs and accomplishments of the above organizations and how the proposed budget would impact all blind people in this state. 7,800 letters were sent to WTBBL patrons asking them to contact their legislators by flooding the legislative hotline and legislator’s offices with phone calls and emails. WCB played a major role in funding this mail campaign. And the result was that neither the bill transferring the functions of the DSB to the Department of Social and Health Services or the one transferring the WSSB to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction came out of their respective committees and died for the session. Governor Gregoire’s proposed budget cut more than $100,000 from the Independent Living Older Blind Program. WCB asked that the budget be amended so that DSB could apply this cut across the board and this did happen. Also, despite the fact that the legislature abolished sixty-eight boards and commissions, DSB’s State Rehabilitation Council was retained intact. WTBBL was given back two of the six positions they had to cut.


On March 2, more than forty people gathered in Olympia to celebrate Braille Day at the Capitol. This was an event being sponsored by the Washington State Library and WTBBL. The National Braille Press has produced a traveling display, in print and Braille, that takes a viewer through the highlights of Louis Braille’s life, the Braille production process, and why Braille remains important today. Courtesy of the Schuman Trust and the Washington State Heritage Center Trust, this informative Louis Braille Bicentennial Exhibit was displayed at both the Legislative Building and WTBBL.


Along with celebrating Braille Day, WCB members took time to visit their legislators. As we talked with our House and Senate representatives we stressed how important library and rehabilitation services are in our lives and the positive impact that DSB’s Independent Living Program has for the older blind population. Through our hotline calls, emails, and personal visits to legislators we were definitely a “presence” in Olympia and we made a difference!


At our winter board meeting a proposal was approved to change the format for this year’s Leadership Seminar to focus on the current leaders of WCB and presidents of all our chapters. The purpose of this year’s leadership seminar would be to strengthen WCB by providing key training to our members who actively hold leadership roles by strengthening the working relationship between the WCB board and chapter presidents and developing greater leadership skills for both. The board is already planning to hold such a training event again in 2011. It will be at the beginning of the year when new board members and chapter presidents are taking office so it will not conflict with our regular leadership training held in the spring.


With the continuing decline in our state’s economic forecast the governor mandated another across-the-board cut of 6.3% in state general funds, to be implemented October 1, 2010. On top of this, state agencies had to submit a decision package for a 10% state fund reduction for the 2011–2013 biennium by September 30. Both DSB and WSSB should be okay this year because of how DSB has leveraged and carried forward our Social Security Administration reimbursement funds. Due to an informal partnership that WSSB has with local districts in Oregon and the influx of a small amount of out-of-state students, they have gained some flexibility which can be used to help off-set this reduction. However, these are only stopgap measures that may not even exist next biennium, resulting in major changes in programs and impact to basic education for blind and visually impaired children. The WCB board has already begun discussing our strategy for the upcoming session. On November 18, representatives from WCB, National Federation of the Blind of Washington, and the Rehabilitation Council will be meeting with the fiscal analysts for the House and Senate fiscal committees and the Human Services and Housing Executive Policy Advisor to begin to talk about some of our concerns. Stay tuned for more information to come on how you can all be involved.


WCB Convention Business Meeting

by Julie Brannon


As we do annually, WCB held its business meeting on the Saturday of convention, November 13, at the beautiful Vancouver Downtown Hilton. It’s hard to believe that all the business was concluded within the three–hour allotted time; kudos to President Denise Colley!


First on the docket were the 2010 WCB elections. The positions up for election this year were: 2nd Vice-President: currently held by Marlaina Lieberg; Secretary: currently held by Frank Cuta; three director positions currently held by Stuart Russell, Randy Tedrow, and Julie Brannon.


After lively speeches and voting, the following individuals were elected to these positions: 2nd Vice-President: Julie Brannon; Secretary: Frank Cuta; Director positions: Bill Hoage, Alco Canfield, and Stuart Russell.


Thanks was given to those persons vacating their positions and congratulations given to those elected to fill them.


We interspersed the counting of votes with the discussion and passage of amendments to the WCB Constitution and Bylaws. Those that were passed by the convention body are summarized as follows.


·      Amendment 2010-1: Confidentiality Policy. Passage of this amendment creates policy language prohibiting officers, directors, and service personnel from disclosing, divulging, or making accessible confidential information belonging to, or obtained through their affiliation with WCB, to any person, unless such person has a legitimate need for such information and WCB has authorized disclosure. Board members and service personnel may use confidential information solely for the purpose of performing the services associated with their positions in WCB. The obligation to keep information confidential continues after the board member or other individual leaves office or service within WCB. This policy becomes Bylaw 14.


·      Amendment 2010-2: Conflict of Interest Policy. Passage of this amendment provides a policy to protect the interest of the WCB when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or board member of this organization. This policy is intended to supplement, but not replace, any applicable state laws governing conflicts of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable corporations. In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an Interested Person must disclose the existence of his or her Financial Interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts relating to his or her Financial Interest to the officers and board members considering the proposed transaction or arrangement. This policy becomes Bylaw 15.


·      Amendment 2010-4: Number of Board Meetings. Article VII – Directors. This changes the language in Article VII, Section 2, to state that The Board of Directors shall hold open board meetings no less than three times a year at the call of the president or by written call signed by any three of the board members. In addition, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee should make whatever editorial changes are necessary to bring the rest of the document into conformance with this terminology.


·      Amendment 2010-5: Removal of “Face to Face” Terminology. Passage of this amendment deletes all occurrences of the phrase “face to face” from the Constitution and Bylaws.


We then reviewed and adopted the 2011 budget as referred to the convention body at the pre-convention board meeting the previous evening.


The business meeting was concluded with a resounding vote to pass the resolution regarding the Independent Living Older Blind Program, submitted to the Resolutions Committee by the Aging and Blindness Committee. This resolution calls upon the members of the WCB to reaffirm our commitment to promote and defend the opportunities, equality, and independence of the Older Blind and Visually Impaired, and that WCB communicate with the Department of Services for the Blind, Governor Christine Gregoire, and the Washington State Legislature regarding the importance of services for older people with vision loss and the need to preserve funding for these unique services.


Brady Layman Saluted for Service to the Blind

by Frank Cuta


Brady Layman is a passionate, caring person. His passions extend from his love for music, animals, and baseball to a keen interest in hydroplanes and winged aircraft, in particular planes associated with World War II.


Brady was born in Yakima and raised in Toppenish, Sunnyside, and Ephrata. He contracted polio in 1952, while visiting an aunt in Walla Walla. He graduated from the University of Washington in the early seventies.


In 1975, he was working at Shakey’s Pizza but was having trouble standing all day due to the weakened condition of his legs. A friend of his dad’s owned a local radio station and when he learned of this situation offered Brady a job as a disc jockey. For Brady this was a dream come true. “I had collected records from high school and college. Listening to music was (and is) my favorite pastime. Spinning discs at KQOT 93 in Yakima was very demanding but also great fun. The downside: the pay was terrible.”


Brady IV came along in 1978, followed two years later by daughter Kelly, and then the marriage fell apart making him a single parent. It was time for Brady to get a “real job.” He finally took a job in retail and landed in Kennewick, managing a shop that sold music and stereo equipment and eventually wound up later as a manager at JC Penney’s. He met his present wife and soul mate, Peggy, a school librarian, in 1984.


For years Brady worked hard to see a no-kill animal shelter established in the Tri-Cities. “I worked retail until 1998, when I got a job with the local Humane Society. My love of dogs and cats has always been as strong as my love for music. However, my strong opinions led to a rift with the board of directors and in 2001 I lost that job. I finally landed a job driving bus for the local transit. I loved it but my gimpy legs finally caught up with me.”


He did not retire until 2005. However, for the previous twenty years Brady had worked tirelessly in support of people who are blind. While a manager at Penney’s he succeeded in obtaining over a $1000 in grants from his employer for the local radio reading service. He first volunteered at the Tri-Cities Radio Reading Service when it was started in 1986, and has been the service coordinator for the past twenty years. As coordinator he constantly needed to keep finding new readers; he recorded the weekly hours for 15–20 volunteers and he had to be concerned about buying newspapers and maintaining equipment on a budget of whatever he could scrape up.


For nearly twenty years he has read the Newsline onto cassette for distribution across the state. Also, for five years early in the nineties Brady produced a weekly music catalog show for the Evergreen Radio Reading Service called Mail Order Music. For the past twenty-four years Brady has worked tirelessly to assist people who are blind and at our fall convention he was honored with the WCB’s 2010 award for Outstanding Service to the Blind.


Brady is in general a generous, tolerant, loving man but he does have limits. He draws a line when it comes to the New York Yankees!


An Outreach Activity That Is Fun and Exciting

by Lori Allison


Outreach, letting others know about your chapter or sharing information about blindness, is a constant challenge. However, I’ve discovered a method that is free and fun as well as very exciting.


Every summer and fall most counties in Washington hold a local fair. These fairs offer nonprofit organizations an opportunity to share information such as when and where they meet and what they do. This is an excellent venue for WCB chapters to share information on activities as well as issues faced by people who are visually impaired or blind.


During the 2010 State Convention, President Colley challenged us to increase the number of WCB members, thus further empowering WCB as a consumer organization. You ask, how can we do this? It’s easy. The first step is outreach and your local community fairs are a free and fun way to get the word out. It is not hard and it can be very rewarding. And I think the best part of it all is the opportunity to interact with the public and educate people about what blind and visually impaired folks can accomplish with a little knowledge and some technical equipment. This truly fascinates and draws visitors to your booth and increases their understanding of our potential and capabilities. Most people have questions regarding where they can go or how they can help. What a door this opens for you to share information about your chapter’s activities and existence! Many people have family members or friends who are visually impaired or going blind and looking for resources.


Working a community fair sounds a little scary but it actually is fun and the people who are in charge of the fair exhibits are excited to have an organization that is willing to participate and share such important information that in some way will touch everyone someday. Start getting ready now by establishing a chapter committee to do a different type of outreach.


I extend an invitation to WCB members to participate in the Western Washington State Fair held in September at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. You’ll get the opportunity to visit the fair free, including selected concerts held during that day. Parking is free and a friend can join you at no cost. Next year’s goal is to inform the public of WCB’s existence and give information on how they can join us in our important work. So let’s meet and exceed President Colley’s challenge and make WCB an even stronger consumer advocacy organization.


Teaching English in Japan:

An Interview with Sandra Burmester

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


On Saturday afternoon of the WCB 2010 Convention, I sat by Sandra Burmester from the Everett chapter. This was her first WCB convention. Sandra casually mentioned that she had been in Japan the last nine years teaching English. Of course the gavel sounded and the business session was called to order, but I had many more questions to ask. Later, Alco Canfield encouraged me to get an interview and, fortunately, Sandra consented.


Sandra was born in Goldendale, Washington. She had useable vision until 1989. Retenopathy of Prematurity, Glaucoma, and cataracts left her with limited light perception. Because her father was in the military, the family moved to Germany from which she spent most of her growing-up years traveling back and forth. In 1968, the family returned to Centralia, Washington, where she attended Centralia High School. She went on to attend Bellevue Community College and earned two Associate of Arts degrees. “I met my husband, Doug, during my senior year of high school at a Bible study. My dad said we couldn’t marry until I graduated, so we waited until the day after graduation. We have been together for thirty-eight years and have three daughters and ten grandchildren.”


Doug worked in the aerospace industry and upon his retirement took classes at Fuller Theological Seminary while researching opportunities to serve overseas and working full time. They became affiliated with Mission to Unreached Peoples based in Texas.


Sandra and Doug taught at an English school in Hiroshima, about a ten-minute walk to Peace Memorial Park where the atomic bomb was dropped. Over nine years they had students ranging in age from three to 75. Doug was the main instructor and Sandra assisted. Once a week Sandra prepared lesson plans and taught an English class at a church school.


Then her friend, Mieko, from the Hiroshima Harness Club, invited her to attend an English class for blind students. The instructor asked Sandra to be her assistant. Sandra said, “It was great to be around some fellow blind people.”


She admits, “I was a little nervous about the move to Japan, but with my upbringing I was used to travel in foreign countries. All we took with us for a long-term stay was what we could put in our suitcases and some books.” To keep in touch with family and friends, Doug acquired a computer for email. Eventually, Sandra got a computer with adaptive software.


Sandra noted, “Blind people in Japan are much like us but there are differences because of the culture. They don’t usually go out by themselves but have a volunteer or family member to help them with shopping and travel. The government allots these assistants 80 hours a month of paid time.


“Because of my limited Japanese, I was provided with a helper who knew quite a bit of English. Sadako and I became good friends as we went shopping. Doug and I didn’t have a car, so she sometimes would take me on errands and to appointments.


“From what I understood, the only jobs a blind person could get in Japan would be as a massage therapist or acupuncturist.


“Another major difference in Japan is that guide dogs are not allowed access everywhere like here, but that may change. It is a social problem for them like it was here 40 or so years ago.


“What I miss most are my friends. When the Japanese make a good friend, they believe it is for life.


“One of the reasons for returning to the states was that the laws changed in 2005: if you stay in Japan for more than five years without a six-month absence, you are required to pay into the Japanese retirement system. Also, we have family stateside and I needed to replace my guide dog.”


While Sandra plans to pursue more Braille training and involvement in the blind community, she says, “I’m also having a great time just being a grandmother after missing a big piece of nine years. Our ten grandchildren are keeping me busy!”


A Traveler in Egypt

by Bruce Radtke


Although I, a sighted WCB volunteer, could babble endlessly about my wonderful tour of Egypt this October, instead I shall focus on two experiences tourists almost never have.


First of all, I benefited from a visit to a school for the blind, El Nour Wa El Amal Institute, near Cairo, Egypt. When I searched for such a school on the internet before leaving home, I noticed it was located in a suburb of Cairo called Heliopolis, but the nonspecific address told me only what building it was behind. The first taxi driver dumped me miles from my destination, but the second taxi brought me closer to this modest school. Would it be worth all this?


Although I was an unexpected visitor, the director welcomed me warmly. Everyone there seemed puzzled why a foreigner, calling himself a volunteer, would want to see the school. First the assistant principal ushered me to an English class of about eight second-graders in a make-shift classroom. There I learned that this was a school for girls only. The blind female teacher attempted to teach the proper usage of “must” and “mustn’t.” She used an audio-visual program and supplemented it with questions to the girls. The English taught in that school struck me as very British.


Next I went to a class of roughly eleventh-grade girls learning English. The blind male teacher spoke forcefully, but the girls answered timidly and softly. While the teacher used Braille, the students answered orally. All the girls except for one wore the Muslim hegab; probably the girl with hair exposed was a Coptic Orthodox Christian. The girls were dressed in spotless white.


Later, a young blind music teacher apologized because the girls did not have a music class that morning, but she told me their school orchestra played Mozart in concerts in Europe and Canada recently. I wish I could have heard them! My experience with other Egyptian students convinced me their culture has a different approach to melodies and participation. The teacher also told me they hope to teach mobility skills in the future.


Several days later I decided to venture solo on a train to Alexandria. Young friends Amr, Mohy, and Bassem taught me survival skills on the Cairo subway and minibuses, so a second-class train ticket appealed to me, even though the train depot was chaotic while under reconstruction.


One highlight of my visit to this revitalized city appeared when I entered the modern Alexandria (Public) Library and found the Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired inside. A sighted woman welcomed me and introduced me to some services offered, including a bank of computers using JAWS programing and another dozen computers using a software program in Arabic called “Ibsar.” While I was there, three young people began using the Arabic program and another blind woman came with a relative to study and listen in a study room. The library also will make a cassette or CD copy of a book upon patron request; I understood them to be gifts, not loans.


My impression was that this was a government-funded regional library, but I don’t know how many patrons used it. A print handout for sighted people demonstrated Braille in English as well as Braille in Arabic, but the dots were not raised. Learning Braille in both formats must be challenging.


Because traffic in major cities usually is daunting, I doubt that blind people venture across a street without personal assistance. Sidewalks are often crowded with pedestrians and sidewalk vendors, so mobility is extremely limited. I only saw one blind man on the street and he was accompanied by a relative. The lives of blind people in Egypt requires exceptional courage in traffic, in my opinion.


Email me at if you have further questions.


From the Senior Side

by Carl Jarvis


Nancy Kelly-Patnode may be a senior citizen and she may have lost considerable eyesight, but Nancy has not lost her desire to be independent. After receiving training from Peninsula Rehabilitation Services, Nancy went about her full, active life. Here is a letter she sent us a short time ago.


Hi Carl and Kathy. Thought I’d tell you what happened to me last Friday after our Jefferson County Council luncheon. I was walking to QFC like I always do with my trusty cane and all of a sudden a huge boxer dog came up behind me and attacked me, biting me on the upper leg. I whirled around and started smacking him with my trusty white cane and he came at me from the front snarling and lunging. I kept smacking him with all my might and finally he decided I was the bitch from hell and took off. Not one darned person stopped to help me and there were many driving by. That made me as mad as the dog attack. I walked on down to the used clothing store close to the corner and asked them to call 911.


I explained what had happened and asked for the animal control to come. When he got there I explained what had happened and that I was okay. My pants were wet where the dog had bitten me and it stung but didn’t break the skin. I wasn’t scared but boy was I mad. I never realized that I am a FIGHTER!!! Yea Nancy. So if you need someone to go with you in a fight, than I am your woman. The animal control didn’t find the dog so I called my husband, Pat. He came right away and then set about trying to get the animal control guy to tell me I can’t walk alone.


Then we called the animal control, told them the address and what the owner had said. He said, “. . . well the dog has got to go.” I haven’t seen it since but boy do I look closely as I go past her house. The funny part of this is that I never knew I was so tough—guess the weight lifting has paid off. Boy am I lucky I am sight-impaired and have that wonderful white cane. Yea for all us un-handicapped folks. I’m woman, I’m invincible, I’m a fighter, and I’ll always be independent. So to the two of you—I thank you very much for the white cane. I use it with pride.



WCB History, January–June 2000

by Berl Colley


The first year of the Berl Colley presidency started on January 9, 2000, with a board meeting conference call. The board authorized the signature changes for its investment provider, A. G. Edwards. It also dealt with three advocacy issues: Jaunita Garcia, a Western Washington University student was being denied the student teaching that she needed to graduate, David Eagan was loosing his bus route in Redmond, and WCB was asked to join with others in a rally for better transit services. It was agreed that WCB would try to assist Jaunita, but we found that later she didn’t want to pursue getting the Office of Civil Rights involved. It was recommended to the membership to get involved in the transit rally, but not to make it a WCB activity. Sue Ammeter worked with David.


Jim Eccles was named as the convention coordinator for 2001. Later, Wenatchee beat out Silverdale and Spokane as the 2001 State Convention site.


Sharon Keeran, Cynthia Towers, and Berl Colley went to Louisville, Kentucky, February 19 and 20, to attend the American Council of the Blind (ACB) midyear meetings.


The first board meeting of the year was held at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle, March 3 and 4. Gary Haug, director of the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), came to explain to the board that he was resigning as the director of DSB to return to New Mexico to be with his wife. Later, Washington Governor Gary Locke would appoint Bill Palmer to replace Haug on July 1. Jim Patterson spoke to the board about developing a business plan. Peggy Shoel, in her Newsline report, recommended to the WCB board that the WCB Newsline be shortened and produced quarterly instead of three times a year. The board agreed.


The board also learned that through structured negotiations the Albertsons stores would have accessible point of sales keypads for blind customers to enter their own pin numbers.


Marlaina Lieberg, president of a special interest group, presented a constitution, membership list, and dues for eleven members who were requesting affiliation to WCB. The new group, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, was accepted into the organization and they were given a startup grant of $500. Julie DeGeus, chair of the Membership Committee, said that her committee had adopted a visitation scheme that was sent to people to visit chapters or prospective new affiliates.


Carl Jarvis and Denise Colley visited a group in Longview who were interested in joining WCB. Two grants were approved. One paid for the spring large print version of Dialogue Magazine and the other provided independent living equipment to the Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals With Disabilities agency. Another policy change made by the board was to require members who obtained ACB convention loans to pay them back in ten months instead of twelve. The board adopted another policy change from the Scholarship Committee. It expanded granting to those going to a vocational or four year college in Washington State and in cities contiguous to Washington’s borders. Also, priority would be given to applicants who were applying for the first time.


This was the first year for WCB’s Listserv chaired by Kevin LaRose. At the March meeting there were twenty-eight people using it.


A new project was established in Washington in 2000. It was the Lions’ Low Vision Project. The Lions were looking for someone to be its director. Their purpose was to be a one-stop location for all questions relating to low vision.


Jo Ellen Barton, a member from Whatcom County, filed a complaint against Greyhound Bus Lines because of a company policy requiring people with guide dogs to sit in the back of the bus.


Later in March, four members, Cindy Hollis, Marlaina Lieberg, Ann McKay, and Ron Frederickson, flew to Washington D.C., to attend ACB’s Legislative Seminar which was being held in conjunction with the Josephine Taylor Conference on the nineteenth and twentieth of the month.


The next board conference call was held on May 7. They learned that WCB and the National Federation of the Blind of Washington would be receiving a bequest from the Willy and Dora Kaiser family. The money was to be used to educate blind people in Washington State. However, one of the family members filed a suit to retain some of the money so that he could continue going to community college. The board voted up to $3000 to retain Olympia lawyer Bob Lungaard to protect WCB’s interest.


Where Are the Youth?

by Ursula McCully

Chair, WCB Families With Blind Children Committee


I have been honored to chair this committee for two years. Alan Garrels, former director of the Child and Family Program offered by the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), was my mentor until he suddenly became ill and was no longer able to carry on his valuable work at DSB.


The Families With Blind Children Committee continues to work closely with DSB. In early 2010, we were involved in the Easter Egg Hunt for school-aged blind children, sponsored by DSB and the Telephone Pioneers. It was a joy to interact with those children and their parents, and our presence there let parents know that their children have futures and choices.


Our next successful event in cooperation with DSB was sponsoring the Welcome Dinner on the opening night of the Youth Employment Solutions (YES) Program. We met twenty fabulous YES Program participants. Thanks to Becky Sherman for her help in getting this event under way. WCB member and chef extraordinaire, Jackie Cabrera, was able to cater the dinner. Jackie is a role model for all of us, especially those young adults in the YES Program.


But we didn’t stop there! In the summer, we were honored to sponsor a camping experience for a family whose child is a pupil at the Louis Braille School.


And then it was on to planning our annual Youth Conference at the WCB Convention which, with the exception of last year, WCB has sponsored for the past seven years. This is a fabulous opportunity for WCB members and blind youth to interact and communicate. While this year our attendance was quite low, we are already looking forward to working with Kevin Nathan, DSB’s Acting Child and Family Program Coordinator, or whomever may be in that position for the 2011 convention.


So, where are the youth you may ask? They are all around us attending schools at all levels, loving all the same kinds of things sighted youth seem to love—technology, movies, pizza, you name it! The Families With Blind Children Committee is looking for new and innovative ways to interact with the youth we serve. Let us hear from you with any ideas you may have! Meantime, get ready to see lots more young folks at next year’s WCB convention!


Louis Braille School

by Carolyn Meyer, Director


They say that music is a universal language. We at the Louis Braille School have been speaking that language often this fall. Tuesday afternoon guests are members of The Huckabillys, a small country music group based in Edmonds, Washington.


For the first session, Vern Percival, founder of The Huckabillys, sang and played his guitar. Vern’s relaxed, charismatic style immediately won the enthusiastic participation of the group.


Old favorites such as “You Are My Sunshine,” “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” and “Honky Tonkin’,” as well as spontaneous jamming, had everyone singing along, tapping toes, and swaying to the beat. Student Alan joined in the jamming by playing along on the piano with harmonizing chords.


Students eagerly accepted Vern’s invitation to examine his guitar. One by one they placed their hands on his hand as he fingered chords, strummed, and explained how to make different sounds from the strings.


The following week, two more Huckabillys, Alice with her harmonica and Priscilla with her mandolin, joined Vern at the school. The students joined in with harmonicas and one strummed on a mandolin, all in the key of D for harmonious music making.


The full Huckabilly ensemble includes Vern Percival, guitar and vocals; Alice Day, harmonica; Priscilla Huck, mandolin; Jim Henry, guitar; Dan, bass guitar; Glen, musical saw; and Gaylen Lee, guest vocals and recorder. The Huckabillys perform regularly at locations in the greater Puget Sound area.


For more information about The Huckabillys, contact Vern Percival at 206-272-0236.


The Louis Braille School now has a school song, a motto, and an emblem. Students have been thinking about a motto since the start of the school year. When student Alan suggested “Louis Braille School: where dreams take flight,” we all knew that was it. We decided on the bald eagle for our mascot.


Alan composed lyrics and music for a school song he titled, “Let Your Dreams Take Flight.” The lyrics are below.


Let Your Dreams Take Flight

(Louis Braille School Song)

Words and Music by Alan Bridgeford

Louis Braille School Student


Verse 1

Every day we walk into this place

And meet the teachers happily with smiles upon our face.

They’ll help with education and getting our degree,

So listen to this message as we say:



Let your dreams take flight in our school

And be sure to obey every rule.

We’ll do great in our class, hoping to pass,

Let your dreams take flight in our school.


Verse 2

They’ll teach you how to read and write and spell

And in the end when math time comes, you’ll do it all so well.

All it takes is time and effort to get on your way.

So listen to our message as we sing:


Repeat Refrain


Verse 3

And when the time for graduation comes

Your mom and dad will be so proud.

You will get the diploma that you worked so hard to earn,

There are things to look forward to everywhere you turn.

Don’t just stand there and hesitate,

You know the time is now.

Let your dreams take flight in our school.


Repeat Refrain


Department of Services for the Blind (DSB)

by Lou Oma Durand, Director


Some of the WCB community may have already seen the Governor’s November 18, announcement following the state’s most recent revenue forecast. The message stated:


“The projection takes $385 million from this year’s budget and $809 million from the 2011–2013 budget. While the projection has immediate consequences, it also creates a $5.7 billion deficit for the next biennium. . . . With the revenue lost today, across-the-board cuts would add another 4.6% to the 6.3% reductions I ordered last month. That is not workable . . . I have asked legislative leaders of both parties to provide to me by November 29, their options on how to address the shortfall. The Legislature will need to act.”


The situation in state public services becomes ever grimmer. We don’t know what this means for DSB, our services, and the communities we serve, yet. The governor’s budget will be published on December 20.


Nevertheless, I remain optimistic. And, during this holiday season, we have a lot for which to be thankful. Our State Rehabilitation Council, community leaders, and advocates are already educating and advocating on behalf of the people we serve. We are grateful that the Deaf Blind Service Center, if all goes well, will have a new home with the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, away from the chopping block of continuous state cuts. We have an outstanding and talented staff at DSB, awesome and dedicated consumer activists, and powerful community partners. We will get through this difficult time and emerge ever-focused on the work we know is so important.


The governor invites input from Washington communities, its citizens, and the people to whom we are committed to serve.


Thank you, WCB, for your strong commitment to our work, for your creativity, and collaboration with each other and with community partners. You make a real difference in our communities and in individual lives. I am grateful to you for your involvement and dedication. I wish you all a safe and festive holiday season.


Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB)

by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent


It seems like every time we get another piece of news lately, it’s titled, “More Bad Budget News.” I’m sure all of you, like me, are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. This is true especially when parents needing services for their children are wondering what the next day will hold; and also staff want to know when they can feel more sure and confident about tomorrow. This past November, Washington State voters gave a clear message that they did not want additional spending to help solve the budget problems in our state. Unfortunately, this means about the only way to reduce the state’s budget deficit is by implementing more reductions. Since the beginning of this biennium, WSSB has lost 11.3% of its budget, which is a huge reduction when you consider that almost 100% of our appropriated dollars are state funded. WSSB receives very little federal support, so the only way we can make up the loss of state dollars is to restructure to reduce costs, reduce services to children, and/or generate more revenue, which is not an easy task at any time, but especially during these financially difficult times.


WSSB is proud to announce that due to numerous partnerships, we have not had to lay off staff who work directly with children; reduce the number of days students attend school; implement furlough days; all while meeting the state’s reduction targets. This has only been possible due to the fact that WSSB diversified services years ago in an attempt to provide students more options in receiving appropriate services, formed some out-of-state partnerships (which have helped spread our costs), continued an aggressive energy management plan targeted at reducing operating costs, and opened our campus to numerous user groups. All of these things have assisted WSSB to recover some of our operating costs. This has been very effective, and in the past gave us additional dollars that were used to help plan on how we could gain additional efficiencies, help us with funding curriculum development, continue summer school programs, etc. However, we have cut as deeply as we can while trying to keep the reductions away from students and staff that in the end affect students/parents.


The simple act of carrying forward some of these cuts into the next biennium will be to begin to eliminate services to children unless these programs receive some protection under the “Basic Education Act,” similar to the protections that blind/visually impaired children receive while attending their local public school systems. Due to the fact that WSSB is both a public school and state agency, we often fall into the unknown area of being neither fish nor fowl and therefore have taken reductions when our counterparts have not. On top of this we also have not had access to stimulus (ARRA) funds which have assisted local districts in continuing to provide services.


Maybe it’s time for us to examine our funding structure to see if a different system could gain us better protection under “Basic Education.” Perhaps we should consider changing the school’s name from the Washington State School for the Blind to the Pacific Northwest Service Center for Blind and Visually Impaired, which actually does a better job of describing the full array of services that we have been providing for over twenty years, while retaining the WSSB for the on-campus program.


Needless to say, a lot will be changing over the next two years and we as educators and consumers need to be in charge of how these changes happen. WSSB has developed a great reputation for providing wonderful services over the years and we do not want to see these services deteriorate, but rather modify them in such a way that more can be done and hopefully a larger percent of the services gain protection under the “Basic Education Act” which within Washington’s constitution is a paramount duty of the state. We want to make sure that blind/visually impaired children also receive this same protection.


Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL)

by Danielle Miller


Despite the snow and ice and lots of budget uncertainty, I find myself reinvigorated and determined after spending time with you at your convention. Having the opportunity to be there the whole time and participate as fully as possible means so much to me. As you know, most of the WTBBL patrons are scattered all over the state, or transportation is difficult if they do live near the library. Your convention is the one time of year I get to see in person the many people I know as voices on the phone or through email and I love it!


I am thankful that you are part of the WTBBL family and I thank you for welcoming me into yours. I am also thankful for all the support you have given us as we moved forward with the transition to digital talking books and digital talking book machines. I have heard from many of you and I am so pleased the new player and downloading books from BARD and our website are working so well—we love the sound of the player and the freedom and immediacy of the downloads. We are now using some of our blank cartridges to download books from BARD to mail to people that don’t download. We are also excited to see our survey results and discover what other services we can provide that will improve your library experience. There is still time to take the survey at:

Or call WTBBL for assistance or to give your answers over the phone or request a print copy. Your thoughts matter!!


Next time I write, we will have heard some news on the budget and will have some idea where we stand. We will also have new Patron Advisory Council members and a new year ahead of us. As always, feel free to contact me at: or 206-615-1588.




Capitol City Council of the Blind (CCCB)

by Alan Bentson


CCCB held its annual fundraising candy sale over the weekends of September 25–27 and October 2–4, in front of three Olympia grocery stores. The profits were about the same as last year’s, but we sold the candy much faster and more efficiently, and now it’s all gone!


At the October meeting, the Thurston County Elections Office brought in the AutoMark voting machine so that members could cast their vote in the November election.


Fourteen members attended the WCB Convention and worked enthusiastically to co-host the conference. Special recognition to Denise Colley for presiding over long complicated sessions, Gloria and Tim Walling for assistance in Hospitality, Alan Bentson for participation in the talent show, Dee Delgado and Jackie Cabrera for providing the goody bags given out at registration, and to Catherine Golding who nominated The Lacey Animal Clinic, the recipient of the Business of the Year Award. CCCB awarded Immediate Past President Berl Colley a lifetime membership in WCB and it was presented to him at the convention banquet. The chapter has voted to follow other affiliates lead and fund a first-timer to the WCB 2011 Convention.


The CCCB Annual Christmas party is at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olympia on December 18. The party will be catered by member Jackie Cabrera and there will be a gift exchange.


At its November meeting, Denise Colley was re-elected chapter president and John Guydish was returned to the office of treasurer.


Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

by Holly Kaczmarski


Guide Dog Users of Washington State is a special interest affiliate of the Washington Council of the Blind. GDUWS strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life of working guide dog teams. GDUWS provides peer support, advocacy, and information to guide dog users in Washington State.


We have many interesting things to tell you about so pull up a chair, get a cup of your favorite beverage, and read about all the exciting events that have been happening with our group. We have everything from a member getting a new dog guide to other activities happening since the last article. We also have convention news to report from our GDUWS meetings at the WCB 2010 Convention. We always have a good time and learn a lot.


This past week, November 11–13, we sponsored a “guide dog test drive” at the WCB 2010 Convention at the Hilton Downtown Vancouver. GDUWS came to the hotel with two dogs and two trainers, worked with a total of 16 people, and instructed the people on how to handle a dog. This was a new experience for many participants and they seemed to enjoy the “test drive.” It was much like when you buy a car when you take it out on a “test drive.” This is a trial run for people who may someday want or need a dog guide. They learned what it is like to be led down the halls and outside the hotel with a harness in your hand and a dog in harness. I had done this in the recent past at a conference I was attending and it was a great experience. I assume that our participants enjoyed their outing and will have more information to help them when and if they get a dog guide.


Now to some exciting news. We have a new dog guide in our group. As you may or may not know, Vivian Conger was not able to attend the convention this year because she was at Guide Dogs of the Desert at Palm Springs, working with her new dog guide, Barbee. We all missed her presence at the GDUWS meeting but Vice-President Bill Hoage did a fine job running the meeting in Vivian’s place. Thank you, Bill, for your super service to GDUWS.


According to Vivian and posts to her Facebook page, she and her class and her new guide dog had a great time. The weather was nice, warm but not too hot, pleasant for outings into Los Angeles, night walks around Palm Springs, and other events to get her used to her new dog, and her dog used to her. Vivian did escalators, buses, subways in Los Angeles, walked in heavy traffic for street training, went into crowds, and various places of business. She and Barbee worked well together. Barbee was a bit stubborn but as I told Vivian, she and Barbee make a perfect match. What, Vivian being stubborn? Never! Smile! She said that Barbee has a nice pace and handles well. She is a bit pudgy and will be put on a diet when they get home.


We will all have a hard time getting used to Vivian with a different guide but life happens and you must retire your former guide and replace him/her with a successor dog when the time comes. Blaze, Vivian’s former guide, is enjoying her retirement in Ontario, California, and is being loved and adored by her former puppy raisers. Barbee, also called “Barbee Dog,” will provide Vivian with many years of guide work and Vivian will be able to visit with Blaze when her people come to Walla Walla on vacation. They travel in a motorhome with Blaze and a career change guide, “Paloma.” Blaze and Paloma are fast friends.


Other news of GDUWS concerns the business meeting held on Saturday morning, elections, and door prize drawings by Byron, Holly, and Tina. Thanks to all who donated door prizes. Many nice items were donated—everyone went home with a prize.


Elections were held with the following new officers: our new Vice-President is Stuart Russell; our new Board Member is Debbie Phillips; our continuing Secretary is Don Reiter. Congratulations to these new officers.


Jefferson County Council

by Carl Jarvis, Secretary


As we mentioned in our last report, and with great trepidation, we held our September chapter meeting in the Valley Tavern. And as feared, the weather was not conducive to meeting outside. But since the tables were set alongside the busy highway, this probably was a blessing. Still, our meeting was brief because the noise level inside was about as bad as the rumbling trucks just beyond the front door. So we are back at the Roadhouse Restaurant in Port Townsend for our regular meetings.


Our meetings could easily be mistaken for a chapter of AARP. So, while we are very concerned that our state maintain separate Vocational Rehabilitation Programs for the Blind, our major focus is with the Independent Living for Older Blind Services (ILOB).


Our president, Sue Ammeter, is also chairing the WCB Legislative Committee and Carl Jarvis is chair of the WCB Aging and Blindness Committee. These two committees are working together and assisting WCB as we prepare to defend our state services.

The Braille edition on breast cancer, put out by the American Cancer Society in cooperation with the National Braille Press, has given out their last copy. It cost $3,100 to Braille 100 books. We voted to contribute $200 to the fund for a second edition. Sue said this would put the fund at more than halfway to its goal.

Sue also reported that the governor has confirmed her appointment to the State Rehabilitation Council.

Sue reported to us that she, state President Denise Colley, and Cindy Van Winkle met with Andi Smith from the governor’s office and staff members from the Senate and House. They were also joined by a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington. Sue said that they were given an hour and discussed the needs of the older blind as well as the school for the blind. She said they gave the staff members copies of our resolution and the brochure “Living With Fading Vision.” Sue told us that the group felt it had been a productive meeting and our concerns were listened to and heard.
Sue said it would really help if we gathered some stories about how the ILOB services help older folks. Bonnie Sherrell read a letter from Nancy Kelly-Patnode, telling of her encounter with a large dog and her sturdy white cane. We all agreed that stories do make the point more clearly. (Nancy’s letter appears in the article, From the Senior Side).
We’ll close out the year 2010 with our Christmas luncheon at the SKP clubhouse on December 17. Have a joyous Holiday and we’ll see all of you with sleeves rolled up on the frontline next year.

King County Chapter

by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer


I have been looking around and wonder whatever happened to the year 2010. In September, our guest speaker was from the League of Women Voters, discussing the many initiatives on the November ballot. Some initiatives were straightforward and others complicated. We had plenty of time to decide and to mark our ballot. I hope you did.


Election of officers always happens in October for the King County chapter. Newly elected officers for the next year are: Tim Schneebeck, President; Shirley Taylor, Vice-President; Chris Coulter, Secretary; and Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer.


Many thanks to Alco Canfield and Heidi Campbell for their time and effort while serving as officers this past year.


November was a busy month for some of our members. Congratulations to Ken Nelson, who celebrated his 90th birthday on November 10. Family and friends gathered the following weekend to share a special time with a special gentleman. This is our second member to celebrate Number 90 this year.


Twelve of our members attended the WCB State Convention held recently in Vancouver, Washington. There was something for everybody to do, including special speakers, breakout sessions, exhibits, and the business meeting. Congratulations to Alco Canfield who was elected to the board.


Three of our members performed in the Friday night talent show. They were Nancy Lind, Connie Gil, and Alco Canfield, among many others in this all-star show.


Marilyn has been and still is grumbling about the fact that she did not win a door prize, a raffle, or even a silent auction item. Oh, well, there’s always next year in Pasco.


Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB)

by Cindy Van Winkle, President


This update is dedicated to four very special members of PCB, and they happen to be married to each other. Okay, not exactly, it’s two couples who are each married respectively. Hopefully that makes a little more sense.


Eric and Joanne Hunter are our first couple. On November 30, 1985, at a Masonic Hall in Bellevue, Washington, Eric and Joanne were married. No, this is not the first marriage for either of them, but after 25 years together, they’re both pretty confident they found the right person this go-round.


Joanne is fondly known to our members, especially the kiddos amongst us, as Granny Jo. Eric is affectionately known as Shrek, a nickname that is truly befitting him as many people get to know his ogre-like exterior personality, but upon getting to know him better learn what a softy he really is on the inside.


As of this writing, the Hunters aren’t sure what they’ll be doing on their anniversary since Eric is convalescing at a local facility, but he’s on the mend and I’m sure will make good for Joanne as soon as he can. Another little side celebration for Eric is that a few months ago he celebrated his 35th AA anniversary. He and Joanne joke that they’ve not only put up with each other for 25 years, but it’s all been while sober. They are true gems in our chapter and we love them dearly!


The other special couple is extra special to me because they are my parents. Jim and Connie Hollis were married September 17, 1960, at Maria Regina Church in Gardena, California. If you’re working on the math, let me help you. That was 50 years ago. Since then they have had four children, survived the unexpected death of a child at age three months from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and raised a blind child before children with disabilities were protected by laws, before the internet was around to act as a resource, and before it was easy to link up with other blind adults or parents of blind children. Today they have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren with one on the way.


Jim spent all of his working life as an electrician and moved his family to Washington 30 years ago. Connie worked off and on as a secretary when the kids were growing up, but was home with them a great deal of the time and did all the Girl Scout leader stuff, school plays, chauffeur, whatever it was to support her kids.


The Hollises celebrated their golden anniversary in Bremerton at a Masonic Hall with around 60 family and friends in attendance. Siblings came from California to be here with them and it was an incredible time of sharing memories and making new ones.


As you can tell, the PCB is a very lucky chapter to have these two precious couples as members, and for this issue, we proudly salute them with a wish for many more years together! Congratulations Hunters and Hollises.


Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB)

by Lori Allison, President


Wow, the end of the year is almost here and PCAB is having a great and busy time. In September, PCAB and other affiliate chapters helped to host the WCB booth at the Puyallup Fair for two days; what a great outreach. The volunteers who worked in the booth interacted with many people, handed out all kinds of information, and showed off some of the equipment that we as visually impaired use to accomplish our jobs and everyday tasks. WCB has been invited to participate in the September Western Washington Fair in 2011.


On September 29, PCAB members had an opportunity to attend the 2010 Voting Forum held at the Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals With Disabilities (TACID) center in Tacoma. Most of the local districts were represented with candidates who were up for re-election or running for a legislative seat either in the state house or senate. The candidates were great and answered all kinds of questions that were thrown their way. The disabled communities were also able to register to vote, try out an accessible voting machine, and collect information and resources for the disabled in Pierce County. PCAB did hand out information about what we are and what we do as well as information for WCB.


At our September meeting PCAB welcomed new member Hope Rose to our family. Also during our October meeting two more people joined the PCAB family: Sarah Bowen and Robbi Lambert. In November at our holiday party, Christine Zack also joined the PCAB family. We want to warmly welcome them to our group.


November 4, PCAB handed out information at the Low Vision Fair held at the TACID center. This outreach allowed some of our members the opportunity to visit and interact with other visually impaired people. Those of our members who attended played a major part in making the community aware of PCAB. All in all the PCAB membership is doing a great job in reaching out to the local communities and making great friends.


South King Council of the Blind (SKCB)

Marlaina Lieberg, Vice-President


SKCB is the little chapter that could and so it did! Read on and see what we’ve been up to!


At the time of this writing, SKCB President John McConnell is dealing with some health challenges. I know all of you join me in wishing him well and sending supportive thoughts and prayers to him and his wife, Carol.


After our elected vice-president resigned, I was elected to finish out her term and it has been a joy to work with each member of this chapter. SKCB meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:30 am. We’d love to have you join us.


During the month of October, SKCB presented at the Highline Community College. Nhi Duong, John McConnell, and Gaylen Floy fielded questions from faculty and students regarding accessibility and universal design.


Two of our members, Nhi Duong and Dan Porter, are getting married next spring. We are so happy for them both.


Gaylen Floy participated in the Department of Services for the Blind’s job hunting boot camp in Tacoma. She thought it was a great opportunity.


Maida Pojtinger is interested in developing an active network of folks who love to read, so stay tuned—who knows, a new book club just may emerge!


John and Carol McConnell, Gaylen Floy, and Gary and I continue to work on rewriting the SKCB Constitution and Bylaws. We are nearly done, and like all good things worth their salt, it has taken longer than we ever imagined!


For more information on the South King Council of the Blind, including our meeting location, please feel free to contact me. My email address is: or you may phone me at 206-433-6565. We are in the process of looking for a different meeting location so be sure to check with me or another SKCB member before you join us!


United Blind of Spokane

by Deborah Jenkins, President


I would first like to take this opportunity to thank my chapter for the last two years and nine months that I have been their president. We’ve been through quite a bit, but our chapter is starting to grow again and I hope it continues to do so.


In October, we were invited to attend a luncheon at Heritage Funeral Home, and I have to say I was a little skeptical at first, but when I got there I was able to talk with the funeral director and she immediately put me at ease. She said that they put these luncheons on at least twice a month for different groups in town, just to let the community know that they are out there and a little about their services. The luncheon itself was very impressive. From the Noritaki dinnerware and silver flatware to the homemade rolls, soup, and desserts. Those of us that went enjoyed it very much.


We had elections at our November meeting and our new President will be Bea Shinnaberry. I will take the Vice-Presidency, Mary Thorpe, Recording Secretary, Claire Warren, Correspondence Secretary, and Frank Federspiel, Treasurer.


Our member, George Davis, is continuing to heal from shoulder surgery this past summer. It is taking a long time, but he seems to finally be getting better.


In December, we will be having our Christmas party at the Steam Plant Grill which is a high-end restaurant in downtown Spokane. One of our guests will be Kevin Daniel, executive director of the Inland Northwest Lighthouse. I am looking forward to having him there to meet our chapter.


United Blind of Spokane should know that I am not leaving; I am just stepping back a little to pursue other interests and to let someone else have the reins for awhile.


United Blind of Seattle (UBS)

by Ursula McCully


On September 25, the UBS Fundraising Committee had a beer tasting event at the Rock Bottom Restaurant. Maria McCully and Nelly Barnett organized this to raise funds for UBS First-Timers to go to the WCB Convention. The event was a success and we were able to send three members to the WCB Convention in Vancouver. The Fundraising Committee decided to have another beer tasting event next year to continue sending First-Timers to the WCB convention, which will be held in Pasco next year.


The Activity Committee opened October with a tour to a Flight Museum, which was an enjoyable experience for UBS members. The tour was a combined effort of the UBS Activity Committee and Pat Copeland’s Vision Loss Organization.


We had our usual monthly meeting at the Virginia Mason Hospital on October 16. Our guest speaker was not able to make it because she had a scheduling conflict. The Outreach Committee updated the membership about the Cooking Class for newly blind individuals, which will start October 20, from 4:45 to 6:45 at Central Park Kitchen. The Committee also reported that they started meeting and planning for the Braille Challenge, which UBS will be sponsoring.


The Membership Committee informed everyone that Kathe O’Neil and yours truly were able to put together a UBS basket for the Silent Auction to be held at the WCB Convention. The Items were all products made in Washington.


Along with being able to send three UBS members as First-Timers, there were sixteen UBS members who attended the convention in Vancouver. One of them was Connie Gil who recovered recently from a medical ordeal. She even participated in the Talent Show!


At the convention, we received an award for being a local chapter having 10% membership growth and the recognition of getting First-Timers to go to the convention. What a wonderful feeling of knowing our hard work paid off!


The time of our November meeting was changed from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm for a work schedule conflict our president, Julie Brannon, had because she did not want to miss the election of new officers. The meeting was memorable since members who attended were in high spirits and kept a warm heart, despite snow in the forecast. The membership did not mind coming at 6:00 that night since it was our election night. Julie Brannon brought in pizza to show her appreciation to the members because it was her last meeting as the UBS president.


Our new UBS Officers are: Clint Reiding, President; Nathan Brannon, Vice-President; Malissa Hudson, Secretary; Craig McCully, Board Director. Congratulations to our new Officers!


Our First-Timers, Ramedra Sharma and Tim McCorcle, spoke to the members about their experience to the state convention. They had a good time and learned a lot about the council. They both said they would go again.


The Outreach Committee asked the membership to extend the Cooking Class to three sessions of six lessons. We voted to continue the Cooking Class. Nathan Brannon, who is one of the three students, told us about his positive experience going to the cooking class. We teased him about having a sample of his cooking skills and preparing a meal for the chapter.


Tim McCorcle updated us that the UBS Braille Challenge will take place on February 26. The Outreach Committee is already beginning to prepare and plan in coordination with the Department of Services for the Blind. The committee will keep us posted with any updates as this event unfolds.


The Activity Committee has a few events lined up, such as a Shopping Spree on November 27, at the Northgate Mall. Shoppers can come together at the Macaroni Grill Restaurant to have lunch and then go shopping. Another activity is to attend a musical version of A Christmas Carol at the Fifth Avenue Theater on December 4. The viewers can get together at the Rock Bottom Restaurant for lunch and then watch the show.


Finally, the Membership Committee announced the Holiday Gathering at Marie Calendar’s Restaurant on December 18. The restaurant has been reserved and menu preference has been placed. UBS members can bring a gift for the gift exchange.


Our chapter has indeed had a marvelous year! As my final thought, I, too, have had an awesome year as a writer telling you all the work and the activities that our chapter was able to be involved in.


United Blind of the Tri-Cities (UBTC)

by Janice Squires, member


All of the UBTC members want to extend our congratulations to the following newly elected 2011 UBTC board: President, Bill Hoage; 1st Vice-President, Steve Vandecar; 2nd Vice-President, Cheryl Stone; Secretary, Frank Cuta; Treasurer, Brenda Vinther; 1st Board Position, Holly Kaczmarski and 2nd Board Position, Myra Wood. Thank you all so much for your dedication to our local chapter.


Our monthly support groups are all rolling right along filled with fun and fellowship. The lunch group, thanks to Cheryl Stone, ate a delicious Mexican lunch at Azteca in October and then off we went to Magill’s in November, organized by Bill Hoage. Next on our agenda is the card group, and even though the attendance has been a little down, the volume of noise seems to be even louder! It has been suggested to buy the Bishel Center staff earplugs! With the money collected over the past year, the card group will have its annual Christmas pizza party on December 14.  Bingo is still a big hit on the third Monday of the month and then we move right into the book club on the third Wednesday. We read Tall Grass and The Glass Castle during the past months. We do fit a chapter meeting in on the third Saturday and of course, we eat breakfast prior to the business meeting. The November narrated play this month was Bell, Book and Candle. We all truly love the plays and are so thankful for the transportation provided for us by our local Kiwanis Club.


The UBTC members want to personally thank Brady Layman for reading the WCB Newsline onto tape for over 15 years. Holly Kaczmarski has volunteered to take over this job. Thanks to Judy Cuta for reading one issue during the transition period and gratitude to Bill Hoage for continuing to be tape duplication and mailing czar.


Most of our members are diligent in their civic duty by participating in their right to vote. Many still use the paper mail-in ballots, but also many of us continue to use the accessible voting machines. Steve Vandecar and Bill Hoage were even featured on the TV news as they cast their votes on the voting machines. Zona Lenhart, Franklin County Auditor, was our guest speaker at the October chapter meeting. She was diligently looking for members to serve on the Accessible Voting Advisory Committee.


Eight of our good members not only attended the WCB State Convention in Vancouver, but also gave of their time and efforts to make things happen. Holly served as the exhibit coordinator and hubby Byron called out the door prizes. Bill Hoage kept the silent auction moving along and Frank Cuta made the sound happen. Janice and Hubby Bob worked on the tours to the Washington State School for the Blind and Carmen and Cheryl were just there for anyone who needed a little extra hand.


We will hold our annual Christmas party at the Hanford Red Lion Inn on December 4. We always have good food, a gift exchange, and friends to share the Christmas spirit with.


United Blind of Walla Walla

by Joleen Ferguson


The offices of vice-president and secretary were up for election at our November meeting because Carla Brinkley and Vivian Conger were not eligible to serve another term in these positions. We want to thank them for their service. Newly elected are Ernie Jones, Vice-President, and Ferd/Libby Swenson, Secretary. They will be joining other officers: Joleen Ferguson, President, Dodie Brueggeman, Treasurer, and Shirley Musick, Immediate Past President.


The primary focus of our chapter meetings has been on the digital player from the National Library Service. This is in anticipation of our members reading a book and discussing it at a future meeting. In so doing, we learned that some of our members are not making full use of the player. We have purchased five cartridges for purchase or to borrow by our members and Dodie Brueggeman has agreed to download books for those of us who will be involved in this reading project.


It was natural that some did not know that the digital players are available and have requested and received their players after learning about them at our meeting. We have now shown our members how to access multiple books on a single cartridge.


Dennis Foster of Vision Matters was in our area meeting with various students and we were able to have him come to our November meeting to show us the electronic devices he has for people with low vision. We had one guest visit because of his program.


Vivian has returned with her new guide, Barbee, a yellow lab from Guide Dogs of the Desert. Barbee arrived just in time for the temperature to dip below freezing and the snow to fly. What a culture shock for this Palm Springs girl. Otherwise, our members are doing well, gearing up for the Christmas season ahead.


We are looking forward to a social gathering in December. We plan to have dinner at a restaurant with the details still to be finalized.


United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)

by Barb Crowley


Today is the first bright sunny day for nine days and that’s something to celebrate. Before winter officially started, our neighbors to the north sent arctic winds, snow, freezing rain, and ice to our fair city. Many events were cancelled including our November meeting.


Prior to the December holiday party, we will hold a meeting to elect new officers.


Three members of UBWC went to the state convention in Vancouver: Bruce Radtke, first-timer David Engerbretson, and Barb Crowley. The consensus? A great convention. Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to make it so informative and pleasant. And yes, we got the message. The upcoming year will be challenging for us as we advocate for Services for the Blind and Low Vision Residents of Washington State.


UBWC chosen by Bellingham Food Co-op for 2011 event.

The Bellingham Food Co-op is Bellingham’s natural cooperative grocer with 12,000 members. It was established in 1972, and has two locations. Each year, the food co-op selects twelve organizations to participate in a community awareness and fundraising event. Each organization is allowed to put up a one-month display about their services and programs and receive 2% of the sales for one Saturday. UBWC chose October, which is white cane month.


Our goal is to provide grants for up to 33% of the cost of assistive technology for six visually impaired individuals. These grants could be supplemented with loans from the Washington Assistive Technology Fund for the same purpose. The goal is to help six visually impaired individuals to function more easily with their communication and achieve computer literacy. Some items eligible for these grants include zoom text software, victor stream reader, pocket GPS navigational system, and note taker.


Bruce, the intrepid one, known to most of you as Bruce Radtke, made contact with the co-op and wrote the proposal. Then he went to Egypt. Our email tracked him down riding a camel in the desert and related the good news. Way to go intrepid one.


2011 Officers and Board Members



Denise Colley, President, 360-438-0072, Lacey

Sue Ammeter, 1st Vice-President, 360-437-7916, Port Hadlock

Julie Brannon, 2nd Vice-President, 206-547-7444, Seattle

Frank Cuta, Secretary, 509-967-2658, Benton City

Glenn McCully, Treasurer, 206-706-0434, Seattle

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


Board Members:

Alco Canfield, 206-783-7036, Seattle

John Common, 425-335-4031, Lake Stevens

Bill Hoage, 509-586-8901, Kennewick

Eric Hunter, 360-377-9917, Bremerton

Stuart Russell, 360-377-2437, Bremerton

Meka White, 360-689-1678, Bremerton


WCB Committees


Here are your WCB Committees. You have until December 31, 2010, 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: This committee is charged with working on proposed amendments to the WCB Constitution and Bylaws. It is appointed by the president no less than 60 days before the opening of the annual convention. 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: 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: This 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 to get started, and provides support and consultation to existing chapters.


Newsline Committee: 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.



Fund-Raising Committee: This committee explores and identifies fund-raising activities and brings recommendations to the board and convention.


In Memoriam


The following WCB members were remembered by a moment of silence at the annual business meeting of the WCB State Convention: Wayne Tysver, PCB; Marilyn Otoupal, UBS; Marlene Vandecar, UBTC; Fran Rogers, UBTC; Martha Taler, UBTC.


Hats Off to You


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

·      Jim and Connie Hollis, members, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary on September 17. Congratulations! You’ve reached a major milestone.

·      Bill Hoage, president, United Blind of the Tricities and newly elected WCB Board Member who celebrated his 70th birthday on October 1.

·      Berl and Denise Colley, member and president respectively, Capitol City Council of the Blind, on celebrating their 30th Wedding Anniversary on October 4. The Colleys had a night in Seattle where they had an exceptional dinner at Daniel’s Broiler and stayed at the Executive Inn where they were treated to a bottle of champagne by hotel staff.

·      Sue Ammeter, president, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, on her appointment to the Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council. Sue will serve as the disability advocacy group representative. Congratulations Sue.

·      Berl Colley on his appointment to the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee. This is a three year appointment and he will serve on the Short Distance West Subcommittee and the Disability and Senior Taskforce. He has already attended his first national meeting and says he is very impressed by the people on the committee and the work they all do.

·      Vivian Conger, president, GDUWS, on getting her new guide dog Barbee from Guide Dogs of the Desert. Barbee, a female yellow lab, is almost white and very stocky.

·      Connie Hollis, on celebrating her 70th birthday on November 21. Happy birthday, Connie.

·      Eric and Joanne Hunter, members, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary on November 30. Since Eric is still recuperating, we hope they will do something spectacular once he is on his feet again. Happy anniversary, Eric and Joanne.


Bits and Pieces

Compiled by Randy Tedrow


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 some Bits and Pieces for the Newsline send them to with Bits and Pieces in the subject field. Remember to have fun!


If you enjoy art, this link will take you to an article about museums that offer tactile art for the blind.


Social Security says no cost of living increase for 2011:


B Canes of Fremont, Nebraska, is a new company employing the blind and marketing canes. or email when you’re in the need of a new cane.


Saturday Morning Oldies with Deb and Rick Lewis (from WCB). Join Deb and Rick as they take a trip down memory lane and get their groove on. 7–10 am, PST.


ACB Tweets! Now you can tweet on the national level:


EBay is now more accessible to blind and low-vision users.


Cruise with the ABC! May 7–15, 2011, aboard the Carnival Freedom to the Panama Canal. For questions and reservations call Dave Kronk at 618-409-0143 or email


From My Kitchen to Yours

by Denise Colley


Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Serves 4


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 zucchini (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cans (19 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 cup water


1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.


2. Add zucchini, carrots, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and 1 cup water. Simmer until slightly thickened and carrots are soft, 8 to 10 minutes more.


2011 Calendar of Deadlines and Events


December 31, 2010: Deadline date for submitting WCB committee assignment requests to President Colley


January 11: WSSB Board of Trustees conference call


January 28–29: Leadership training for WCB Board and Chapter presidents, Executive Inn, Seattle


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


February 10: Deadline date for submitting 2011 chapter dues and membership lists


February 26: Deadline for submission of articles for the March issue of Newsline


February 26–27: ACB mid-year president’s meeting, Holiday Inn National Airport, Arlington, Virginia


February 27–29: ACB Legislative Seminar, Holiday Inn National Airport, Arlington, Virginia


March 4–5: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver


March 5: SRC Meeting, Seattle DSB Office


March 12: Office hours at 12 pm with President Colley


April 29–30: WCB Leadership Seminar, Executive Inn, Seattle


May 1: WCB Spring Board Meeting, Executive Inn, Seattle


May 1: Deadline to apply for the First-Timers’ Scholarship to the ACB convention


May 15: Deadline to apply for stipend or loan to ACB convention




The Newsline is available in large print, half-speed four-track cassette tape, via email, and on our website at Subscription requests and address changes should be sent to or by phone, toll free at 800-255-1147.


Special thanks goes 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 March 26, 2011. 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.


WCB and all chapters want to wish you the merriest Christmas and happiest New Year!

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