The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind


June 2002 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity

Founded 1935



From the President's Desk by Berl Colley
Editor's Comment by Peggy Shoel
WCB Website by Ann McCay
10-4 Good Buddy by Cindy Burgett
Leadership Training a Huge Success by Glenn McCully
Board Meeting Notes by Dorothy Carroll
Legislative Seminar - A Trip to Washington, DC by Becky Bell
Tips for Meeting With & Writing To Your Legislator (reprint)
Library Notes by Jan Ames
"A Once In a Lifetime Opportunity for Students by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem
Know Your Department of Services for the Blind by Mark Adreon
Services for the Blind - 25 Years, Still Going Strong by Carl Jarvis
Check Out the Czechs by Cynthia Towers
Take the Bus, Critique It and See How it Works for Disabled Passengers (reprint)
Blind Briton May be Blair's Heir (reprint)
Around the State
Thank You from Shirley Gray
Hats Off to You! by Peggy Shoel
Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel
Recipe from the Kitchen of Cindy Burgett
My Magic Vacuum by Peggy Shoel

From the President's Desk
by Berl Colley

Exciting Times
More than 40 members of the Washington Council of the Blind will be at the American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention in Houston, Texas, June 29 through July 6, 2002. This will be the largest Washington Delegation to attend an ACB convention east of the Rockies. Some of our members will be participating in this year's convention program and activities.

Our own Cynthia Towers is the convention coordinator. Cindy Burgett is, for the second year, running the kids center. Denise Colley will be participating on an employment panel, as well as presenting at the summary session. I will be the ACB representative on three tours.

We will be holding our summer retreat and board meeting at the West Coast Bellevue Inn August 9-10, 2002. Melanie Brunson from ACB's national office will be here to review the national legislation scene. Gary Burdette will be talking about possible voting access legislation that will be introduced in the upcoming state legislative session. Plus, we are working at having an additional presentation from one of our attorneys.

The retreat will start at 1:00 pm on August 9 and end around 4:30pm. The retreat dinner will be at the hotel that night. The next day we will have our regular WCB board meeting. It will start at 9:00 am. If any member wants to attend the meetings, and is not a board member or chapter representative, please contact Cindy Burgett to reserve your room and meals.
Phone (360) 698-0827.


The Washington Council of the Blind was honored on June 11, 2002 by the National Braille Press, of Boston, Massachusetts, for sponsoring two books for kids.

Ms. Judy Cannon, President of the Bay State Council of the Blind, was there to receive the award for WCB. Several years ago, WCB helped produce the Spelling Book for elementary-age kids. This book combined Braille and large print on the same page for the first time. Even though WCB's sponsorship resulted in one of the largest productions in the history of the National Braille Press - 1,050 books - both the original edition and a second edition have sold out.

Last year we supported the Humpty Dumpty book for pre-school kids. This book had Braille, large print, and raised line illustrations of nursery rhymes. It is also sold out.


We want to invite everyone to check out our new brochure, Web page and Braille Alphabet cards.

In May, we received the first printing of the new brochure, with lots of them already requested. Chapters, members, agencies, and interested groups and individuals wanting to know more about our organization can request a brochure by calling WCB at (800) 255-1147.

We also have a new Web page,

Ann McCay's Web Page committee has a number of informational items in place, with more to come. If you want to know more about WCB, our board, WCB committees, or blindness-related events, including chapter events, check the Web page. You can also read issues of the NEWSLINE and find out how to contact the American Council of the Blind.

Finally, we have received the 1,000 WCB Braille Alphabet cards printed up at the National Braille Press. These cards have WCB contact information, along with the alphabet and numbers in Braille and print. The cards are 8" by 3". They can be ordered by calling the WCB 800 number.


Elsewhere in this NEWSLINE you will read about our fall convention at the West Coast Red Lion Inn in Kelso, October 24-26. 2002. I want to urge people to make their room reservations early. As I write this article, there are four plus months until convention, but already one-third of the rooms that we have blocked are gone. The cutoff date is a big ten four. Cindy and this year's convention committee are putting together a great agenda for us.

Several months ago, Jan Ames, the Director of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, announced that she would be retiring this summer.

Jan has worked for WTBBL for over thirty-two years. During that time, Jan has seen the development of the Evergreen Radio Reading Service, the purchase and remodeling of the new facility, and the conversion of WTBBL's respected recording service from analog to digital.

WCB has submitted Jan's name to ACB to receive the Robert Bray award. This award is given to an individual who has given outstanding service to the blind community. Robert Bray was a past Director of the National Library Service. Jan's commitment to consumerism and her involvement with consumer organizations have been very noticeable since she became Director of the Library.

Thank you, Jan. WCB sends its collective hug to you for what you have done for the blind library users.


Editor's Comment
by Peggy Shoel
Information Plus Interest Equals Involvement

I believe that a WCB member who is well informed about our state agencies, service providers, support groups and related entities, including their respective consumer boards and councils, will feel more connected, more interested, and will be more likely to become involved in our state organization.

The NEWSLINE has a responsibility to promote that process. To that end, Sharon Keeran, Cynthia Towers and I are very conscientious about providing such information.

In this issue, Carl Jarvis, President, Jefferson County Council of the Blind and Member of the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) Rehab Council, gives us the first of a two-part article describing its history, makeup, functions and goals. The second part will appear in the September NEWSLINE. There is also an article from DSB describing that agency's services, various locations, programs, and current program managers, with contact information.

We will continue to provide this kind of information, plus WCB organizational listings, i.e., the annual directory of officers and board members and state committees with their respective chairs and contact information in the belief that information plus interest results in involvement. We sincerely hope that this will prove useful and helpful to new members and to new NEWSLINE readers, and will act as a memory refresher for those of us who have been around the WCB block a few times. Thank you.


WCB Website
by Ann McCay, WCB Secretary

Up And Running

There's now another way to find information about the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB). Since the American Council of the Blind's (ACB) Website problems last year, we have not had a Website. Our Website was hosted by the ACB, and it was some time before they were able to help affiliates with their Websites again.

In the meantime, we purchased a name for ourselves (called a "domain" in Internet lingo) and we have located a local blind Webmaster who hosts Web space and is able to put up Web pages himself. He's doing a great job for us, and we're on the Net again!

If you have access to the Internet and would like to check us out, you can cruise to our Website with your screen reader or your rodent. Go to

and you'll find us. We have a listing of our local chapters and their meeting times, a calendar of our events and a calendar of other events of interest to blind and visually impaired people in our area. Jeff Harris, our Web-master, Berl, and I have spent a lot of time putting the calendars together and getting them on our Web page. We can receive e-mail from people who visit our Web page, as well.

The page will keep changing and growing. Your Web committee consists of Viola Cruz, David Edick, and myself. We'd love to have your ideas and input for the Web page. If you're online, check us out.


10-4 Good Buddy
by Cindy Burgett
WCB Convention Chair

The 2002 WCB State Convention is on its way and we want all of you to get ready for a wonderful and exciting three days. To help you do this, please spread the following detailed information and share it with your chapter members and friends. 10-4?

This year's convention will be held at the West Coast Red Lion in Kelso, October 24-26, 2002, with room rates of $55 per night plus tax. To make your reservation, call (360) 636-4006, and be sure to let them know you're with the WCB convention by using our group number, 267914.

We have a block of 76 rooms set aside for us, the majority of them in the South Tower. All of the convention activities will be taking place in the North Tower, which has limited sleeping rooms available. Please request the North Tower only if you have mobility issues that would require your being close to the meeting rooms. Over 25 of the blocked rooms are already spoken for, so you'll want to make your reservations soon! 10-4? Yes, the deadline for guaranteeing the low $55 room rate is October 4.

There will be a bus provided, courtesy of WCB, leaving Seattle around noon on Thursday and making some scheduled pickup stops along the way to Kelso. This bus will reverse its route come Sunday morning, leaving the hotel around 10:00am. To reserve your seat on this convention-bound bus, please call (206) 362-3118 and either talk to Shirley or leave her a message, no later than October 4, 2002. 10-4?

Now here's a bit of a run-down of what you can expect during the WCB Convention.

Thursday night of the convention is taken up by the preconvention board meeting, which is then followed by Resolutions, for those who want to participate in that process. Friday at 9:00 am is when the convention officially begins, and the day will be filled with many program items, a variety to tantalize all taste buds. I promise! And then, Friday evening will offer free time and a variety of options, including a fun game night.

Saturday programs begin at 9:00 am with more program items, including the national report from our ACB rep and hearing from our three state agencies, WSSB, WTBBL and DSB.

After lunch, we dive into the annual business meeting. This is where the membership has their say in the direction of the organization, electing new officers and board members, passing resolutions or constitutional amendments, approving a budget, and other important decision-making items. The exhibit hall will be open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, and from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday. The hospitality room will be open each night for socializing.

The following benefits are offered to WCB members who joined by April 24, 2002, which is six months prior to the start of the convention. This is in accordance with guidelines passed on the convention floor in 2001.

A travel stipend of $50 is available upon request to members living outside of the following counties: King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Cowlitz, and Lewis. Qualifying members must make their request individually, by calling Shirley Taylor at (206) 362-3118 no later than October 4, 2002. 10-4?

To apply for a first-timers stipend, send a letter to Janice Squires, chair of the First-Timers Committee, saying why you'd like to go and how it will assist you. You'll also need a letter of recommendation from a WCB member. The deadline for the First-Timer application is August 31, 2002. Contact Janice at:
502 W. 20th Ave.
Kennewick, WA 98336

There are two free rooms available for members who cannot afford to pay for a room of their own, one room for men and one for women. Priority goes to those who have not applied previously. To be considered, you must call directly to Marilyn at the WCB 800 number, 1-800-255-1147 between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, the week of September 9-13, 2002.

Registration packets for convention will go out at the end of August and are due October 4th to be considered for pre-registration. Registration this year will be $50, and includes five meals: breakfast and lunch on Friday; and breakfast, lunch and the banquet on Saturday. Registrations received after the October 4 date will be charged the full registration of $75. No exceptions! 10-4?

I know, with your cooperation, we will all reap the rewards of the efforts of your 2002 Convention Committee: Sue Ammeter, Kay Bohren, Berl Colley, Frank Cuta, Jim Eccles, Sally Folsom, and Lynette Romero.

So, mark your calendars for October 24-26, 2002 and remember that the deadline for all aspects of convention, with the exception of the First-Timers stipend being August 31 and the free room being September 9-13, is October 4, 2002. 10-4? That's right! 10-4!


WCB Leadership Training
a Huge Success!
by Glenn McCully
Board Member,
United Blind of Seattle

The second annual WCB leadership training seminar took place in Seattle on the weekend of May 17-19. The event took place at the Best Western Executive Inn, near the Seattle Center. Fifteen members of WCB from around the state participated in this comprehensive and interesting training.

A man who lives in a purple house and wears a purple suit, along with leaders from WCB, did an outstanding job in putting on the presentations. You may be asking yourself, "a man in a purple suit who lives in a purple house... who on earth was this guy?" No, it wasn't Barney. It was ACB's own - the always colorful and flamboyant Michael Byington from Kansas. Michael did such an outstanding job last year, the leadership training committee decided to invite him back to lead this year's session.

After opening comments from WCB President Berl Colley, the Friday evening session was handed over to Michael Byington, who did a great job with the icebreaker portion of the program. By the time it was finished, he had memorized the names of everyone in the room and everyone had learned at least one interesting fact about the rest of the participants. After the icebreaker, Sue Ammeter joined Michael in giving the participants an overview about the history of ACB and WCB. The evening concluded with a hospitality room, which gave everyone a chance to relax and visit with friends old and new.

The Saturday session started around 8:30 in the morning and lasted until 5:00 pm, with a wonderful luncheon in the middle of the day. Julie DeGeus, Doug Hildie, and Cindy Burgett joined Sue, Berl and Michael for the Saturday presentations. Sections on chapter development, communication, parliamentary procedure, understanding resolutions and constitutions, working with different personality types, WCB committees and activities were all presented to the group in a concise and understandable format.

In the late afternoon, we formed breakout groups. We discussed ideas for activities at the WCB state conventions and chapter socials. We made lists and prioritized issues. The afternoon concluded with the presentation of certificates of completion and comments from the participants. The day wrapped up with another evening hospitality room. On Sunday, all participants of the leadership training attended the quarterly WCB board meeting.

Everyone who attended this year's training came away energized and excited about the future of WCB. To a person, everyone wholeheartedly enjoyed the experience. Here are some brief quotes taken from the comments made by each of the participants during the presentation of certificates.

"I want to thank WCB for letting some of us old-timers in this year. I learned a lot and have a lot of renewed enthusiasm" - Shirley Taylor

"This has been a great weekend for me. I love being around a positive environment and positive people" - Sue Sather

"I want to give a special thanks to Cindy, who encouraged me to apply. It's been a great weekend" - Stuart Russell

"It was such a great icebreaker to learn things about people you never knew before. Michael Byington has a great memory" - Rhonda Nelson

"I've been inspired by the empowerment and hope to get really motivated when I get back to my chapter" - Yvonne Thomas Miller

"It was a great weekend for me. I especially appreciated the history lesson" - Glenn McCully

"I learned a bunch about WCB and met some very interesting people that I hope to meet again in the future" - Cheryl Danzl

"I learned a lot of things this weekend that I did not know. It was a lot of fun" - Joan Ladeburg

"I am so thankful to WCB for giving me this opportunity. I'm taking away so much and have such a renewed focus" - Kay Bohren

"I'm glad I got to come. I'm taking away so many things" - Mardel Kendall

"I want to thank WCB. I've learned a lot that I can take back to our club" - Kevin Jones

"It's been great to spend a couple of days with wonderful people" - Eric Hunter

"I have a confession to make. Originally I did not want to be here. But, now I am so happy I came" - Marilyn Donnelly

"I enjoyed the weekend and will go back to my chapter more enthused" - Bob Carroll

"I learned a lot this weekend and I think a lot of doors were opened for me" - Lyle Burgett

"I'm taking back to my chapter a solid understanding of all the work that has been done in the past for us today" - Terry Atwater


If the WCB offers the leadership training next year, this year's participants would like to encourage everyone to apply. If you have any questions about the seminar, don't hesitate to ask. Anyone who has attended over the past two years would be happy to talk to you about it.

If you attend and are not completely satisfied, it comes with a money back guarantee. Oh, that's right, it's completely free to participants so you wouldn't be out one red cent. A free weekend-long training session at a nice hotel in downtown Seattle sounds like a "can't lose" situation to this writer.

Plan now to attend next year if it's offered. You'll be glad you did.


Board Meeting Notes
by Dorothy Carroll
Member, WCB Board

The Washington Council of the Blind held its spring quarterly meeting May 19, 2002 at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle, Washington. President Berl Colley called the meeting to order. The minutes and treasurer's report were approved.

The Leadership Training seminar, "On the Job with WCB," preceded the board meeting on May 17-18. There were 15 in attendance. Presenters were Sue Ammeter and Cindy Burgett. Michael Byington was an excellent key speaker. Julie DeGeus gave a wonderful talk on empowerment. Certificates of graduation, T-shirts with "WCB Leadership 2002" on the front, and a tote bag with the individual's name printed on it, were given to each participant.

See article elsewhere in this issue of the NEWSLINE for more details about the leadership training.

Berl reported that there are 45 WCB members planning to attend the national convention in Houston June 29 through July 6, 2002. Two first-timer scholarships were awarded this year. The winners, with only five points difference in their scores, are Lynette Romero and Meka White.

Five thousand brochures are finished and ready for distribution. Berl gave 10 to each of us to take back to chapters. If we need more, we are to call and request them.

Last March, WCB board officers met with John Learned, who represents the Vehicle Donation Program, to review the process and to have the board be more aware of the process. John wants to expand the operation to the Spokane area, and a motion was approved to do so.

To keep better informed, the board has resumed monthly conference calls. The next one is scheduled for June 16, 2002.

Legislative Committee. Gary Burdette and Becky Bell went to Washington, D.C. for legislative training. See the article following by Becky Bell for details.

WCB State Convention Committee. Cindy Burgett reported on the program and deadlines. She has contributed an article for this issue of the NEWSLINE.

Convention 2003 will be held in Spokane, Washington at the Double Tree Hotel.

Membership Committee. Julie DeGeus reported on membership maintenance and membership development. Yakima is developing a new chapter.

Budget Committee. Rhonda Nelson had five requests for grants. Two were approved; two did not pass; and one was postponed until the August board meeting.

Crisis Committee. Shirley Taylor received six requests for assistance.

NEWSLINE Committee. Peggy Shoel pointed out that officers and board members sometimes are unaware of information that has been published in the NEWSLINE. She would like to see the NEWSLINE be required reading for officers and board members.

Aging and Blindness Committee. Peggy Shoel reported that this committee is planning a program for convention at Kelso on area support groups.

Berl adjourned the meeting at 3:15 pm.

Legislative Seminar - A Trip to Washington, DC
by Becky Bell, Member,
United Blind of Seattle

Gary Burdette and I were honored to represent WCB at the Legislative Training Seminar sponsored by the American Council of the Blind in Washington, D.C. for four days, March 2 through March 6, 2002. We arrived on a Saturday evening. We stayed at the Capitol Holiday Inn, along with other representatives from around the country. Our meetings were held there also.

On Sunday morning, the Legislative Training Seminar was officially opened with a welcome from Chris Gray, National ACB President. Each state representative was introduced. Gary is the chair of the WCB Legislative Committee.

This was my first experience attending the legislative training process. It was interesting to meet new people and to visit with friends. We listened with interest to the exchange of ideas and issues addressed by national ACB speakers. It was important for us to have pertinent information with a recognition of concerns facing the ACB allowing us to go forward with a probability of success in the lobbying process with our state representatives. I felt excited and glad to be a part of both ACB and WCB.

An informal reception was held Sunday evening. The reception line offered us the opportunity to greet national representatives and honored guests. We enjoyed a casual evening, visiting and talking with representatives from many state; a discussion of issues broadened our interest and enabled us to take home ideas with similar issues which would be helpful to our state.

Monday morning we prepared for the actual beginning of the training session. We listened to speakers from many backgrounds of interest and expertise in their field, and representatives from ACB National. They stressed the importance of our lobbying skills, focusing on objectives for change.

Lobbying concerns are as follows:

1. Drugs: Medicare Coverage for Visudyne therapy to treat "wet-occult lesion" macular degeneration.

2. Work: Freedom to choose one's work place and to have that choice supported by Federal Rehabilitation Funding.

3. Textbooks: Timely access to textbooks for blind school children.

4. Voting: Access to a private, independent, verifiable ballot

5. Cane: Promoting the safety of blind pedestrians through a Congressional Resolution in support of White Cane laws.

Monday evening we attended a lovely banquet. National ACB President Chris Gray welcomed us and introduced our guest speaker, Jennifer Sheehy, from the Department of Labor. We enjoyed her presentation and many of us could relate to her life experience in becoming physically challenged. She stated she was now open to a greater understanding of the needs of the disabled community and is honored to serve as an important link in this way.

Tuesday morning, Gary and I went to Capitol Hill to attend various Legislative meetings. We went to several offices and were welcomed by greeters. We proceeded to lobby, building on the presentations by speakers of the previous day. We listened, asked questions, and discussed important needs for our state with the office staff of Senators and Congressmen.

Tuesday evening we had time to relax and share with others.

Wednesday morning Gary and I attended a coffee hour hosted by Senator Patty Murray and staff. The staff was cordial and courteous, receptive to our questions. Representatives at the table thanked Senator Murray for her work. We also were privileged to meet Congressman Brian Baird and Senator Maria Cantwell.

We were surprised and honored to have an individual picture taken with Senator Patty Murray.

We felt very encouraged when our Congressmen and Senators said they would like the opportunity to come to our chapter meetings in their districts. We both encourage each of our WCB Chapter Presidents to contact their Congressman in their District and invite them to come to one of their monthly meetings.

I returned home with a renewed interest and high expectations for myself. I realized that in working together we could effectively build on a continued process of integrating changes helpful to our national and state councils.

Gary and I want to express our appreciation to the Washington Council of the Blind for the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. and participate in this ACB Legislative Seminar.


(excerpts from Federal Government Brochure)


When meeting with your Senator or Representative or their staff, remember that you are there to advise and give them information. They want to talk to you.

Although you need to know basic facts about a bill, you are not expected to be an expert on legislative details. You will be most effective when you speak from your own personal experience and as a voting constituent in your member's district or state.

Points to Remember:

Be candid. Your Representative or Senator recognizes your self-interest, and you need not apologize for it, but if you can also explain how others will benefit, or be harmed, the stronger your argument will be.

Be honest. Tell him/her what you think and why. Your representative is interested in what you say, and wants your honest appraisal.

Be brief. Your time with the Representative or Senator is limited, and you must make the most of it.

Be to the point. Avoid getting into discussions of extraneous subjects.

Be a listener. Listen to what is said so that you can respond to it.

Be informative. Make sure your Representative/Senator understands the situation you are talking about. Personal anecdotes can help make your point and will be remembered.

Be constructive. If you oppose something, offer a positive alternative, if available. Your representative is looking for solutions.

Be accurate. Know your facts - your strongest weapon. Answer questions with facts. If you do not have an answer, don't guess, but promise to provide him/her with one - and follow up.

Be understanding. Do your best to present your side favorably and persuasively, but understand there may be times when your Representative/ Senator cannot support your position. Keep the meeting friendly, and the relationship going. He/she might be able to support you the next time around.

Be gracious. Do not impugn the Representative's integrity or motives. Thank him/her for meeting with you.

Letter Writing Tips

Personal letters are the basic tool for expressing your views to your Representative. Telegrams and mailgrams can be used when timing becomes crucial on the action of a bill. All members of the House and Senate can be reached using the following addresses:


The Honorable (full name)

United States Senate (or United States House of Representatives)
Washington, DC 20510 (or Washington, DC 20515)

Dear Senator "lastname": (or Dear Representative "lastname"):

When contacting a member of Congress about a legislative issue, it is important to remember the following:

1. Keep your comments short and to the point. Cover only one issue per letter.

2. Use personal stationery and write legibly or type.

3. When writing about legislation, identify the subject clearly. Use the House and Senate bill number and sponsor, if available.

4. State your reason for writing. Explain how the issue affects you. Personal anecdotes are particularly effective.

5. Be polite but firm. Do not use threats or wave the power of your vote.

6. Take a position and ask your Representative/Senator's position on the issue.

7. Avoid clichés that give your letter the appearance of a form letter.


Library Notes
by Jan Ames, Director

As some of you already know, I am retiring later this summer, so this will be the last Library Notes I'll write for the NEWSLINE.

I leave with very mixed emotions, because I've always loved this job. I had the privilege of working to help put my husband through graduate school, staying home when my daughter and son were young, later returning to school to get my library degree, and then finding a position that has given me immense pleasure and satisfaction.


Library service today for individuals in Washington State who can't read print looks much different from the service offered when I started part-time as the braille librarian in 1969. At that time the only program available was the basic talking book program from the National Library Service. Since then we've been able to add a local taping service, a local braille transcription program, a radio reading service, a children's program, and a reference service.

In addition, we've utilized technology to move to an automated circulation and inventory system. We're also using a digital system for both our taping service and our radio service. Finally, we have a functional and attractive renovated building of our own.


The expanded service has been possible with tremendous support from the State Legislature, Federal and private grants, a dedicated staff, and a committed corps of volunteers that now numbers over 400.

However, what has really made a difference in what we've been able to do is the support that has come from all of you. Your input, your leadership, your advice, and your volunteer work, as well as your generous financial support, have made a difference as we worked together.

As Helen Keller wrote, "Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much." I truly feel that together we have done much to improve your library service, and I leave with a good feeling. I also leave with the feeling that I have many, many true friends. Thank you.


"A Once In a Lifetime Opportunity for Students"
by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent
Washington State School
for the Blind

As we prepare for the end of another great school year, I reflect on the many positive activities that the students at WSSB have been a part of. This spring, six students had the privilege of touring the East Coast. The acapella choir's (In Harmony) major focus was to perform for the Firefighters in New York and staff at the Pentagon. The tour started out with the students being asked to perform at the Church of the Nativity in Silver Spring. This is a large old Catholic Church, with about 90% of the members being of African-American descent. The program occurred on Easter Sunday, with about 1000 people at the first service. The songs the kids sang were very inspirational and the priest asked if they could also help with the next service. Monday was a series of small, informal but great concerts from the steps of the Capitol, Brian Baird's office, and the Vietnam Memorial, where numerous veterans appreciated the kids and thanked them for providing the music at this very special place.

Next it was on to Philadelphia and performances at the Overbrook School for the Blind. The interaction with our kids and the Overbrook School for the Blind's kids was tremendous.

After Philadelphia, it was on to Jersey City and a performance at St. Joseph's School for the Blind, and then on to New York. Once in New York, the kids sang in the subway, at the top of the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Hard Rock Cafe, Pattie's Cafe (close to Broadway), and numerous other informal concerts. One of the most moving concerts was for the firefighters at Metro Central Headquarters in Brooklyn. The security was unbelievable, and the appreciation was remarkable. Chief Dan Nigro, the highest-ranking officer in the New York Fire Department, stayed for the full concert, and presented each child a poster with a picture of each firefighter who lost their life on 9/11. After Metro, the kids performed at Ground Zero. This concert was very moving.

After New York, the group was on our way back to Baltimore and performances were held at Peabody Conservatory, "Oldest Music Conservatory in the U.S." Next, a concert for the students at the Maryland School for the Blind was held, and then back to D.C. The two final concerts were at the Pentagon. I believe the WSSB kids were the first group to get into the Pentagon. The grand finale was at the Kennedy Center. If you would like to view the concert, go to

to watch a live broadcast of our kids' performance.

Capital Projects will play a big role at WSSB. Currently, we are in the process of restoring the Fries Auditorium. This Auditorium houses an 1819 Estes Pipe Organ. A series of concerts and an open house is being planned for the week of September 16. More details will follow soon.

The Instructional Resource Center/Braille Access Project is moving along nicely. The project went out to bid in May, with construction beginning in June. This will be the first state building that will include passive and active solar.

The Distance Learning Project (Irwin) project will be out to bid in July, with construction to start in August. Anticipated completion is scheduled for June 2003.

WSSB continues to look for ways to improve services to our students and we welcome your opinions. Please feel free to visit our Website at or contact me at (360) 696-6321, extension 130 for more information.


Know Your Department of Services for the Blind
by Mark Adreon, DSB Staff

People who are blind or visually impaired go to work successfully in all kinds of jobs, live independently, support their families, and contribute to their communities. The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) works in team effort to assist people to achieve these personal goals. Our new "tag line" which appears wherever our logo appears states "Choice-Challenge-Confidence-Careers." These 4 C's focus our programs and services. Let me briefly describe the programs and services at DSB.

Employment Services: DSB helps individuals with visual disabilities gain the necessary skills and access opportunities to reach the employment goal of their choice. Our Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) staff assist participants as they explore career possibilities, plan their career future, and gain the necessary alternative skills of blindness, academic training, and specific job skills. Program manager is Lou Oma Durand.

Assistive Technology (AT): Our AT specialists help participants evaluate their technology and skill development needs. We provide training on use of computers and a wide range of access technology, including low vision aides. Program manager is Arlene Itou.

Business Enterprise Program (BEP): Our BEP program trains and licenses legally blind people to manage snack/gift shops, espresso stands and food service facilities in government buildings. Program manager is Jeanne Gallo.

Orientation and Training Center (OTC): Our Seattle training center provides a comprehensive and intensive training program in communications: Braille and computers, orientation and mobility, home management and adjustment to blindness. The program offers many opportunities for social, recreational and confidence building challenge activities, as well as real work experience. Program manager is Keiko Namekata.

Independent Living (IL): Our IL program provides instruction and equipment to people with visual disabilities who are not seeking employment, primarily those who are age 55 and older, so they can maintain or improve their independence in their home and community. Program manager is Kevin Nathan.

Child and Family (CF): Our CF consultants provide assistance to families and schools to assure blind and visually impaired children receive the services necessary to achieve full educational, social and vocational integration in their school and community. For parents of blind children, services include in-home consultations, parent education workshops and newsletters. The CF program also sponsors career education and work experience programs for middle and high school age youth. Program manager is Scott Truax.

DSB has five field offices that serve the state. They are Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Yakima and Spokane. You can reach any of these offices by calling our toll free phone number: 1-800-552-7103.

You can also get more detailed information about DSB on our Web page by going to:

The program mangers can be reached by calling our 800 number.


Services for the Blind - 25 Years, Still Going Strong
by Carl Jarvis, President, Jefferson County
Council of the Blind

May 11, 2002 marked the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Commission for the Blind Bill, by Governor Dixie Lee Ray. With the stroke of a pen, actually a handful of pens, Governor Ray proclaimed the establishment of the Washington State Commission for the Blind, bringing an end to seven years of tireless labor by blind Washingtonians.

The call for a separate agency first went out in 1970. In part, it was a response to the establishment of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) the previous year. According to Sid Smith, first Secretary of DSHS, the new agency would be a "one stop shopping center." There would be no more running from agency to agency, no more confusion, no question as to who provided what to whom. Simply come in, sit down and be served.

However, as DSHS began to take shape, the Office of Services for the Blind was buried deep within layers of bureaucracy. If blind consumers felt they had been under-served or ignored in the past, they soon found this new Office of Services for the Blind was even more removed and better insulated from public influence than it had been when under Public Assistance. The head administrator, called Chief of the Office of Services for the Blind, had limited authority over Office programs, and even less influence within DSHS. The Washington State Association of the Blind (WSAB), at that time the only state-wide consumer organization of blind people, began to voice concerns. Services already considered to be inadequate could deteriorate or even be eliminated with no recourse for blind consumers using those services. Even as WSAB protested, DSHS was formulating a plan that would completely disband the Office of Services for the Blind. With the exception of the Orientation and Training Center, and the Business Enterprises Program, blind consumers would receive services from integrated programs serving all disabilities.

At the WSAB 1970 State Convention, held in Hoquiam, we met with three members of the Office of Services for the Blind: Dr. Dunham, Chief; Ike Meyers, and Lloyd Smart. They proposed that we join together in recommending to the state legislature that the Office be preserved within DSHS. While we were in agreement that we must do all within our power to keep services for the blind intact, we did not believe that consumers would have a voice in determining programs and services as long as the Office continued under DSHS. After a long debate, the members voted for a resolution calling for a separate agency, a Commission for the Blind.

Not all blind people in Washington agreed with the resolution. The establishment of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) in 1971, provided a strong voice for those in support of maintaining Services for the Blind within DSHS.

For nearly six years, WSAB and WCB held firmly to their positions. As a result, neither the House nor the Senate voted the Commission Bill out of committee.

By the 1977 legislative session, the two organizations had worked through their differences and presented a united front in support of a Commission for the Blind. At long last the years of experience in the political arena, coupled with the newfound solidarity, paid off. The Bill passed out of committee, through both House and Senate, and on to the Governor.

Under the newly formed Commission, the Governor appointed a five-member Board of Commissioners. In turn, these Commissioners hired the Director of the Commission. Ed Foscue, Irving Smith, Frank Cuta, Laurie Shwager and Luddie Martinson were the original Commissioners. Ed served as the Board's first Chair. Ken Hopkins, at the time Chief of the Office of Services for the Blind, was employed as the Commission's first Director.

The Commission Board had broad powers, including setting policies and regulations, and establishing programs. The public Commission meetings were lively and well attended. They became a forum where consumers brought concerns, discussed recommendations and debated issues - at times into the wee hours of the night.

For the next five years, the Commission oversaw Programs for the Blind. In the September issue, I will discuss what brought about the transformation from Commission to Department, and how the Rehabilitation Council serves the agency and the public today.


Check Out the Czechs
by Cynthia Towers, Member,
United Blind of Seattle

How would you like to be able to be more successful at getting around town, such as being able to locate entrances to public buildings, shops, underpasses, health services and Metro stations, all by using a transmitter to activate various beacons? Well, all you have to do is visit Prague in the Czech Republic and you are on your way to doing just that.

In 1994, legislation was instituted in Czechoslovakia for new and certain reconstructed public buildings. Such buildings were to have beacons as well as tactile guide strips for this orientation system. There were also provisions to assist partially sighted persons, such as color contrasting. There are two models of transmitters used. One is small enough to put into a pocket or bag and the other can be fitted into the handle of one type of white cane. Both have buttons on them that activate tones or speech. Each button has a distinct function. Button number one of the transmitter is used to activate the beacon, which is usually positioned high up, and thus it does not cause problems to anyone, nor can it be easily vandalized. Button two is used to give more detailed information. Button three is used to give information on the number of public transport vehicles which are approaching the stop and the destination of each. Button four will alert the driver to the fact that a blind person wishes to board. Button five is used to activate audible crossings which may normally be silent. Button six is available for additional features. In the future, this function will open the door of a vehicle, which will alleviate the need for a blind person to feel around for the door-opening button which is placed on the side of the vehicle. About 2,000 blind people are now using the system, where from a population of ten million inhabitants, there is estimated to be 10,000 totally blind people. More than 3,500 vehicles in eight towns have been fitted with this new technology.

When you go onboard a bus and are on your way, there is an announcement within the vehicle giving the name of the next stop for all passengers. Between stops, if you forget where you are, pressing button one on your transmitter will cause the information to be spoken again. Since this system is used by buses coming from the airport, there is an English translation.

The European Blind Union Commission recommends this audible system to enable blind people to walk and travel more independently throughout Europe. There are other such systems in use, and thus standardization is needed to minimize confusion on the part of the blind traveler. Viktor Dudr, who is totally blind, designed the system.

As local, state and our national organization, the American Council of the Blind, continue to work on the issue of pedestrian safety, we now have other places to turn to for ideas and advice. I think some of us should sojourn in Prague to try out the system firsthand for ourselves!

So, the next time you are unsure as to whether you should cross the street or not, remember that hopefully coming soon to a pocket near you will be the ability for you to know when to go just by pressing a button. As time progresses, so will our ability to meet the day-to-day challenges of way finding for America and the world's blind and visually impaired citizens.


Take the Bus, Critique It and See How It Works for Disabled Passengers

Reprint from the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
by George Foster

The location of grab rails on public buses rarely tops the agenda in transit board rooms. Nor do many riders give the matter a second thought. Cliff Schulman will tell you this is a critical convenience. The Tacoma resident, who is legally blind, is a member of Sound Transit's Citizen Accessibility Advisory Committee. Yesterday, as his 15-member committee checked out the demonstration model of a $400,000 Motor Coach Industries commuter bus outside Sound Transit headquarters, Schulman noted that a higher bar at the bus entrance would be beyond the reach of many with physical difficulties. "You must have a (continuous) handle support that allows you to climb the entire stairs," he said.

Schulman's criticism illustrates broader concerns. Advocates for the physically challenged worry that other transit agencies may be softening their commitment to disabled-friendly access. "I think people have become complacent and some government agencies are taking a ho-hum attitude," said JoAnn Fritsche, executive director of the Washington Coalition of Citizens with disAbilities. She said she is seeing more complaints among disabled transit patrons, partly because of her organization's efforts to encourage riders to speak up.

Among the major complaints, she said, is that wheelchair-bound customers in King County and Pierce County have been left waiting at bus stops because the lifts on coaches weren't working.

"The problem is that the drivers don't bother to report the lift not working and they don't think it is a high priority," said Fritsche.

King County's Metro bus agency has a policy that "if a bus develops a broken lift that the bus be kept in service until the end of the run" and then turned into the maintenance shop, spokesman Linda Thielke said yesterday. The rider must wait for the next bus or "a supervisor with a (lift-equipped) van" will be summoned, she added.

Other complaints concern the reluctance of drivers -- fearing animal fights -- to allow guide dogs or service dogs on buses when other dogs are on board. Also, Fritsche mentioned the topsy-turvy condition of pavement near bus stops.

But she said the 4-year-old Sound Transit ST Express bus service has not been the subject of any complaints to her organization. And yesterday, when Schulman's group spoke, Sound Transit's bus manufacturer listened.

"If you can dream it up, we can provide it," Motor Coach Industries sales executive Michael Melaniphy responded yesterday when the committee was verbally picking apart the 45-foot MCI bus. Patricia Lange, a former state community nursing specialist who suffered a head injury in 1980, tried the wheelchair lift on the new bus and gave it her stamp of approval.

"I've got a $10,000 rig here," she said, pointing to her 400-pound electrically-powered conveyance that allows her to travel from her Port Orchard home. Some older transit lifts, she added, can't handle the newer and heavier motorized chairs.

Jim Bush noted that the door on the demonstration bus where the wheelchair lift comes out was not very visible. Another committee member said the destination sign over the front window did not have enough color contrast for those with sight difficulties. And the "stop" button above each seat was too small, a few said.

"Basically, this group is helping Sound Transit plan, design and purchase buses that reduce barriers to accessibility," said Lana Nelson, who oversees the agency's program for accommodating bus riders with disabilities. Sound Transit needs to eventually replace older buses in its express fleet with comfortable coaches that will take commuters on longer runs between Lakewood, Tacoma and Seattle, or between Everett and Bellevue. The MCI 45-footer is one of several buses the agency will evaluate.



In the March NEWSLINE, the author of the article "Accessible Voting" was inadvertently listed as Chris Schulman. It should have read Cliff Schulman.


Blind Briton May be
Blair's Heir

Reprint from the Seattle Times
March 6, 2002

By conventional wisdom, David Blunkett should not have made it to the top of British government.

The home secretary - similar to the U.S. attorney general - doesn't suffer fools. He is unflinchingly blunt in an administration that weighs every word. And Blunkett, the country's chief law-enforcement officer, is blind.

Add to that the fact his guide dog threw up in the venerable House of Commons debating chamber, and Blunkett should be back in working-class Sheffield, where his early teachers suggested a career as a piano tuner.

Instead, he has risen to one of the most powerful posts in Britain and is among the most effective members of Prime Minister Tony Blair's Cabinet. Blunkett, 54, is mentioned as a potential heir to Blair and the Labor Party leadership, particularly by those who dislike Gordon Brown, the ambitious chancellor of the Exchequer.

But could he - would he - do the job at No. 10 Downing Street? And would Britain elect a blind prime minister?

"Unfortunately, there isn't a vacancy," Blunkett said.

"It is unlikely that Britain would be ready for a blind prime minister because it takes a long time for people to get used to the idea that someone with a disability can work at the level I am working at now," he said.

Blunkett's stature is all the more remarkable given the times, during which he has taken responsibility for controversial issues including immigration, law enforcement and national security. He assumed the Home Office portfolio last summer as Britain's worst race riots in decades broke out in northern England and a few months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Blunkett offended many traditional Labor Party supporters by threatening to use water cannons against rioters of South Asian ancestry. He insisted immigrants should learn English and adopt British ways when coming into "our home," although most of the rioters were British-born.

And he introduced detention centers for asylum seekers, a move long favored by the opposition Tories.

But he proposed a liberal, green-card-style scheme to allow skilled and unskilled workers into Britain to fill labor shortages. And although he opposes use of recreational drugs, Blunkett has in effect decriminalized marijuana to free police resources.

Britain's skeptical public and highly critical news media give him good reviews. Some people assert that reflects his political skill, while others say no one wants to beat up on a blind man.

Blunkett stands tall and moves confidently with the assistance of his dog, Lucy, a black, curly-coated retriever mix. He refuses to adapt his language to his disability, often speaking of having "watched" a television program or offering to "see you later."

Blunkett was born blind to loving parents who lived in one of the country's poorest housing projects in the dreary city later made famous by the 1997 film "The Full Monty." He was sent to boarding school at age 4 because there were no day schools that could cope with his disability.

Blunkett has no patience for sentimentalism, least of all about his own life. When asked about the hardships he has overcome, he pulls a handkerchief out and wipes away mock tears.







King County Chapter by Marilyn Donnelly &
Virginia Schneebeck 35
Peninsula Council of the Blind by Meka White &
Michelle Denzer 36
Riverside Chapter by Sally Folsom & Judi Sorter 38
United Blind of Seattle by Doug Hildie 40
United Blind of Spokane by Marlee Naddy 41
United Blind of Tri-Cities by Janice Squires 43

King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer
& Virginia Schneebeck, Member

It's time for conventions, vacations, and picnics and most of us will enjoy one or all of these summer activities.

A recent guest speaker, Lorraine Scott, and her husband were invited to witness the latest Atlantis space shuttle launching in Florida. She described the massive pieces of machinery to prepare for a launch and the endless amount of time and technology to ensure a safe journey. One of the astronauts aboard this shuttle was a relative of the Scotts. He not only had an opportunity to walk in space, but helped to connect the railings to the top of the station. The Atlantis returned safely to earth and maybe someday we will hear another account of our man in space.

Three excellent reports were given by members who attended meetings far and near. Becky Bell attended a legislative seminar held earlier this year in Washington, D.C. She visited all the offices of this state's U.S. Representatives and Senators with a message about the needs and concerns of blind people. She had an opportunity along with other Washingtonians to spend an hour with Senator Patty Murray. She also managed a brief visit to both the U.S. House and Senate while they were in session.

Joan Ladeburg and other members attended a leadership seminar held recently in Seattle. We learned that leadership is not sitting behind a desk issuing orders. Leadership is encouraging and empowering ourselves and others to do the best we can. Joan gives this seminar a thumbs up.

Rhonda Nelson gave us a wonderful detailed report regarding the latest WCB board meeting.

My brief summary included people and places, issues and answers, money in and money out. Ladies and Gentlemen, you just had to be there to enjoy this marathon, but it did include a complimentary lunch.


Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Meka White
& Michelle Denzer

The past few months have been very busy and exciting for our chapter. Over 40 people attended this year's Easter brunch, which was held at the Denzer home. Wayne kept busy at the waffle iron, while everyone enjoyed the waffles, along with the wide variety of other foods brought by our members. There was plenty of good conversation as well. There was also an Easter egg hunt for the kids, who had a great time. Thanks to Charlyn Armstrong, we have a slide show complete with music, which can be viewed by visiting

May kept us very busy! On the 10th, we had a wonderful Mother's Day women's social at Just Your Cup o' Tea. We enjoyed delicious food, wonderful tea, and each other's company as mothers and daughters spent a couple of hours sharing special memories about our mothers.

Then, on the 17th, the Under Thirties Crowd met for a Game Night. Monopoly and card games were played, and delicious snacks were enjoyed. They are looking forward to their next outing, Rocket Bowling.

Then, on the 25th, the men of our chapter got together for breakfast at the Family Pancake House. They not only ate well, but had a time of sharing and support, and are looking forward to planning their next gathering.

Congratulations to Lyle Burgett, Eric Hunter, Kevin Jones, and Stuart Russell for being selected from our chapter to attend this year's Leadership Seminar. We are looking forward to reaping the benefits of their participation.

On June 8, our chapter hosted a booth at Kids Day, a community event at the Fairgrounds. Once again it was a great success, as our booth, set up with Braille books, PCB pencils, and WCB brochures, brought many visitors to our booth. The children also enjoyed petting the guide dogs that attended this event with their owners. Thanks to Kevin Jones and all of those who worked so hard to set everything up and work the table. Afterwards, 12 of us met at the Golden Mum restaurant for a delicious meal. Paul and Sue Sather, visiting from the Tri-Cities, joined us and we were pleasantly surprised to see Pat and Bob Whitlow, a couple affiliated with the PCB many years ago and who recently moved back from Arkansas!

On June 9, many of us boarded that 10:20 ferry to Seattle to meet up with over 40 WCB members and friends for the Mariners game. We had a wonderful time, and although our M's may not have won, Cindy's great coordinating efforts and the wonderful staff at the stadium made this event a home run! Thank you, Cindy, for all of your hard work.

Now summer is upon us and we are getting ready to hold our annual picnic on July 13, and our newly established annual camp-out the weekend of July 26-28. Both of these events will be at Camp Harobed (pronounced hair-o-bed), which is the new camp for blind adults and their families, created in memory of Debbie Pigott, charter member of the PCB. If you or your chapter are interested in learning how you can hold a camp-out of your own, give Jack a call at (360) 372-2735. The beautiful woodsy property with private lake for paddle boating is the perfect setting for such an event. And we'd even love it if you decide to join us for one of our scheduled outings there.


Riverside Chapter
by Sally Folsom & Judi Sorter

Welcome fellow ACB and Washington Council friends. It is an honor to address you as a new president and member of the Riverside Chapter of our organization. As this message is being written, all hope that you are having a good spring.

We are off to a good start. In January, our chapter started out with only three or four members who came to the meetings, but then in February we had five members, plus one new person who had been in ACB for awhile. Her name is Pat Shreck, and she joined our chapter at that meeting. Pat originally grew up here, but has lived away for some years. Last fall she returned. Then in March we had five members present plus one visitor. In April our visitor came again and joined; his name is Terry Ward and if you don't know him, you need to.

At our April meeting, we decided to have a raffle for an afghan, which Judi Sorter, one of our members, is going to make. We will be selling tickets soon so be sure to ask about them. You could win a beautiful piece of work and help our little chapter grow.

We also planned a party for one of our wonderful members, Wilda Fries, who has served as treasurer for the last ten years or so, and did an outstanding job. She was the wife of Emil Fries, the founder of the Piano Hospital and Training Center. His school has been responsible for graduating some 250 persons who are earning their own living as independent business people.

At our May meeting, we elected officers. They are as follows: President, Sally Folsom; Vice-President, Judi Sorter; Secretary, Pat Shreck; Treasurer, William Benjamin. We are looking forward to a great and very busy year. My goal is to grow as much as we can; this will take help and includes visitations from the state level.

I wanted to share these things with all of you because if you ever had a chapter that was struggling, it means a lot when things take off. I hope by the time we go to the state convention in Kelso we will have doubled our membership. So now we have a total of eight members. And at the last few meetings, five or six have been there. I know this may seem like a small number to many of you. Truly we are very proud to be growing. I know it's because a few people decided to keep on going and not give up, especially Jim Eccles and Judi Sorter. Many thanks to you all who have had faith that the Vancouver Riverside chapter would continue to be a viable part of the Washington Council of the Blind.


United Blind of Seattle
by Doug Hildie, Vice-President

During March, April and May the United Blind of Seattle (UBS) held its regular chapter meeting at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL). Normally, UBS meetings are held on the third Saturday of each month. The meetings, which were well attended, featured guest speakers, new members, and food!

Following completion of routine business at the March and April meetings, we heard presentations from various sources. In March, we witnessed a demonstration of new and developing technology that will, in various configurations, affect the lives of blind people. At the suggestion of Jan Ames, WTBBL Director, UBS invited a Bellingham company to demonstrate the use of telephone technology and computer software to provide access to different types of information. This could be anything from weather reports to books. Someday soon, such technology could replace the "talking book" as we know it. We could find ourselves using the telephone to access recorded material of all types, and with cellular telephones and satellite transmission, we could connect from virtually anywhere on the planet.

In April, our guest presenters were from the Port of Seattle. Rachel Garson told us what is going on at SeaTac Airport, and how it affects blind travelers. Not only are there new airport procedures subsequent to the tragedy on September 11, 2001, but SeaTac Airport is undergoing renovation and expansion. The most important advice for people with disabilities and special needs when traveling - "work with your airline ahead of time." Contact your airline to arrange escort through security and construction before you get to the airport.

Following the April meeting, many members walked to the Sixth Avenue Inn for lunch. We were escorted by "Safety Ambassadors" from the Metropolitan Improvement District (MID). This is something new for UBS, and will continue on a monthly basis. It is an activity of the Social Committee. After the June meeting, we will be trying a different restaurant. It has proven to be a popular activity, giving everyone the opportunity to socialize and to become better acquainted with fellow members.

Finally, our May meeting was devoted to "Friends Day." This annual gathering of members and guests over a catered lunch gives prospective members an overview of UBS, WCB and ACB. Steve Heeson organized the program, which featured several UBS members discussing different topics, organizational history, and the benefits of membership.


United Blind of Spokane
by Marlee Naddy, Secretary

There is no doubt about it - we are a coming and going group. Before her next chemo treatment and two-week family visit in Puyallup, Mary Goetz brought a visitor. We are happy to announce that Frances Spolski is now our new member. With a Gerontology degree, she has worked in the medical field most of her life. She also has worked for SNAP and Meals-on-Wheels. Frances raises Chinese Sharpei show dogs.

Bea Shinnaberry can see! - much better after cataract surgery. Mary Thorpe is stronger now after another several days in the hospital. Lester is able to walk with a walker most of the time as he regains his strength. He is the long-time Bingo caller for the Day Outers. Dorothy Carroll had eye laser treatment.

After having a stroke, hospital stay, and pneumonia, Loretta Tyler is now living in the new V.A. nursing home, part of St. Lukes Hospital. That fighting spirit to live and enjoy life is in each of us.

Bob Carroll brought back even more enthusiasm, ideas and information from the Leadership Training Session. He appreciated the experience and we are happy for the increase of information we are getting in a variety of ways from WCB. Even though Bob got kicked out of the board meeting because his talking watch got out of control, Dorothy was able to bring back all the interesting and necessary facts.

Bob, Dorothy, Mary, Lester, John and I attended Career Day, sponsored by Washington School for the Blind at Lilac Blind Foundation. Dorothy got five names for scholarship applications.

The Carrolls worked two three-hour shifts for the Lions Club White Cane Day. DSB's Community Meeting and Rehabilitation Council were well attended.

John and I spent a week in the California mountains at Donner Lake with our son and family. Clara Donder's whereabouts will be shared in the next NEWSLINE.

You can see that the WCB training and attitudes keep us going - and coming. See you at the convention!


United Blind of Tri-Cities
by Janice Squires, President

The UBTC was very proud to have two of our members, Mardel Kendall and Sue Sather, to be selected for the second annual Leadership Seminar in Seattle. At our May meeting, Mardel and Sue told us how inspirational and motivating the seminar was for both of them. Their enthusiasm could be felt by all of us, and I know it will help to make our local chapter grow in membership and development.

Because of open heart surgery to our Lunch Bunch leader, Mary Wolverton, Mardel Kendall has stepped up to the plate and turned the lunches into a super-fun activity. She gives each lunch a theme and then purchases a few door prizes to add to the excitement. Our largest lunch group in many months was in April at the Bamboo Gardens, where 23 members and guests were in attendance.

Once again, with the illness of Pam Padilla's mother, Mardel has taken over the narrated play committee and is doing a great job. Frank Cuta arranges for the narrator and is in charge of the phonic ear system. Mardel organizes the tickets and seating of the members. The last play was "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof," and the final play of the season, "Tom Jones," will be in June.

Our March meeting provided us with a special treat! Mardel arranged for one of the Olympic torch bearers from our local TV station to come in and talk to us about his run. He also allowed everyone to touch and feel the torch, and it was just amazing to be able to share in that experience.

Many of our members worked diligently to pass the transit initiative to restore our transit system to pre-I695 days. The tax did pass by quite a large margin, and now we are hoping our transit board will use the money wisely and serve the people who are so in need of this service. One of our members, Teri Reinkens, was in one of the promotional commercials, and we were so very proud of her.

Frank Cuta and Mardel Kendall will be our two representatives to the National ACB convention in Houston. Mardel will be celebrating her 70th birthday in June, and this will be the first national convention she has ever attended!

Have a wonderful summer!


Thank You from Shirley Gray, Member, King County Chapter

I would like to thank everyone for your many expressions of sympathy to me and my family on the recent loss of my eight-year-old great grandson, Michael Busby (Mikey), who was recently killed in Bellingham. Your many calls, cards, and notes were warmly received and deeply appreciated. Thank you.


by Peggy Shoel

Congratulations to the following WCB members:

  • Sharon Keeran, former WCB President and current member of the Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS) affiliate, on her retirement from the Internal Revenue Service. Sharon and dog guide Falla are enjoying walking and reading, and will be exploring community volunteer opportunities.
  • Sue and Paul Sather, Treasurer, WCB and Member, respectively, of United Blind of Tri-Cities, on becoming first-time grandparents. Sophia Noel Sather arrived at a birth weight of 8 lbs. 7 oz., with a full head of black hair, and Grandma and Grandpa say she looks like her daddy and is the most beautiful baby they've ever seen.
  • Nicole Torcolini, a 12-year-old 6th grader in the Central Kitsap School District, and a junior member of Peninsula Council of the Blind, for placing 3rd in an individual student math Olympiad competition for her grade. There were an estimated 75 to 100 starting contestants and Nicole was allowed to use her Braille Writer to respond to the test, which had been provided in Braille.
  • Don Simmonson on receiving his third guide dog, a golden retriever named Irah. He attended Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California, and graduated on his 79th birthday.
  • The Wolvertons, on the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. Barney and Mary, long-time members of the United Blind of Tri-Cities, recognized their commitment to the blind community in their published newspaper announcement.
  • Don Simmonson, on receiving the Jim Burton award. This was in recognition of his long and faithful service of time and talent to the piano technician's guild.
  • Allan and Donna Patchett, Vice-President and Secretary, respectively, of the Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, on their 55th wedding anniversary. Married in Richmond Beach, Washington, the Patchetts will celebrate this happy event in Houston, Texas, where they will both be attending the ACB national convention.
  • Betty York, Treasurer, Pierce County Association of the Blind, on her 91st birthday, which occurs on July 4th. Betty has been active in the Washington State blindness community for over 60 years and will celebrate with a bang at an annual family gathering on Hood Canal.


Bits and Pieces
by Peggy Shoel

  • Slot machines made accessible: Bally Gaming Systems Machines has manufactured and is currently distributing user-friendly slot machines for blind and visually impaired players. The machines give audio cues and have Braille button decks. This product is endorsed by legendary blind entertainer Ray Charles and allows users to deposit their money on an equal footing with sighted players.
  • WWW.WALOVISION.ORG is an up-and-running Website which provides a compendium of state agencies, service providers, support groups and equipment resources for blind and visually impaired individuals. It is a particularly useful reference for newly blinded people.
  • The National Library Service (NLS) provides free subscriptions to 32 magazines produced in Braille. Included are magazines on music & entertainment, cooking & homemaking, health & medical research, sports, news & finance, literature & poetry, and a variety of children's magazines. For more information, contact the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library - local (206) 615-0400 or toll free 1-800-542-0866.
  • The American Council of the Blind (ACB) has produced a guidebook on making printed material available in alternate formats required by blind and visually impaired clients, customers and patients. This guidebook is intended to assist government and private agencies, manufacturers, banks, utility companies, etc. who have wanted to make their materials, their bills, their operating manuals, etc. accessible, but have not known how to go about doing it. An AT&T grant provided the necessary resources to develop this guide. For more information, call ACB at (202) 467-5085 or 1-800-424-8666; or email Charlie Crawford at
  • is a Website which offers access to a wide variety of books including the newest best-sellers. For information on how this program works, visit the Website or call Pat Price at 1-800-431-1739.
  • Speak To Me, located in Renton, Washington, carries a talking Rx (drug) device, which speaks out loud the name, dosage, etc. of the medication in the container placed in the device. It sells for $19.95 plus $5 shipping and handling, and a separate unit is required for each medication container. For information, call 1-800-248-9965.


Food for Thought

If some part of a relationship does not work quite right, either I am taking too much responsibility for someone or I'm allowing someone to take too much for me.

from the kitchen of
Cindy Burgett,
1st Vice-President, WCB

Quick Cake Dessert

Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 13 inch cake pan

Completely line the bottom of the pan with small marshmallows.

Using a white or yellow cake mix, make batter according to directions on box.

Pour cake mixture over the marshmallows.


Take one can of cherry pie filling (or another of your choice) and scoop the filling over the cake mixture.

Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

This is a great last-minute, throw-together dessert. It's not only easy, it's delicious!

There's no need to frost or ice this cake. The pie filling will naturally mix into the cake, and the marshmallows will rise to the top, forming a glaze. It's especially yummy right out of the oven, warm.


More Food For Thought

The fact that you cannot influence everybody does not mean that you do not influence anybody.

My Magic Vacuum
by Peggy Shoel

I have a magic vacuum - did you know that it can see?

It is constantly finding objects that are invisible to me.

Clickety clack, it found my earrings. I'm so happy I could blubber.

Oh, no, it broke the drive belt. Can you smell the burning rubber?

It sucks in anything that lays on my living room floor.

With such a powerful unit, who could ask for anything more?

But exploring through the dust bag is something I'm loath to venture,

Alas, I have no choice - since I'm missing my upper denture.




Article Deadline:

To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions, chapter news, and other information for publication must be received by September 7, 2002.

Articles may be edited for purposes of clarity and space considerations.


Publication Policy:

To ensure accuracy, we require typed or printed double-spaced submissions. Articles should be no longer than two pages.




  • To Brady Layman of the Tri-Cities, for reading this issue onto tape.
  • To Sue Sather, for duplicating the tape version of this issue.
  • To Ann McCay for providing mailing labels.
  • To Tim Schneebeck for providing the NEWSLINE on disk and via e-mail.
  • To the individuals who contributed articles and materials to this issue.
  • To the NEWSLINE Editorial Committee for their many hours of work.


Washington Council of the Blind
Peggy Shoel, Editor
5171 S. Spencer Street
Seattle, WA 98118

Copyright © 2002-2004 by Washington Council of the Blind -- All rights reserved.

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