The Voice of the
Washington Council of the Blind
June 2003 Issue
Equality, Independence, Opportunity
Founded 1935
(206) 283-4276
Berl Colley, President
2305 Maxine St. SE
Lacey, WA  98503
(360) 438-0072	
Peggy Shoel, Editor
5171 S. Spencer St.
Seattle, WA  98118
206) 722-8477

From the President's Desk by Berl Colley
Editor's Comment by Peggy Shoel
2003 ACB Legislative Seminar by Glenn McCully
My Experience in DC by Lyle Burgett
Legislative Seminar in DC by Cheryl Danzl
Reflections of Washington DC by Lynette Romero
It's Not Too Soon by Cindy Burgett
WCB Leadership Seminar by Laura Beigh
The WCB Crisis Committee by Shirley Taylor
Families With Children Committee by Cheryl Stewart
We Need Your Help by Carl Jarvis
Saturday Morning by Sharon Keeran
I Was Just Wondering by Cynthia Towers
WCB May Board Meeting Highlights by Steve Heesen
DSB Report by Bill Palmer
WSSB Report (Part 2) by Dr. Dean Stenehjem
Library Notes by Gloria Leonard
WTBBL Announces Locally Produced WEB Braille Books
Louis Braille Center Report by Carolyn Meyer
Hands On Experience for the Ears by Doug Hildie
My Fair Lady - An Auditory Experience by Meka White
Thank You's
Seeing Shoes (excerpt)
DeafBlind Web Site
Community Outreach by Carl Jarvis
Student Succeeds Without Power of Sight (excerpt)
Summer Camp in Oregon
Hats Off to You by Peggy Shoel
Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel
That's Funny


From the President's Desk
by Berl Colley

    I held off finishing this article, hoping that we would know what our state lawmakers were proposing for the three agencies that serve us blind people in Washington.

    I have to say that I have heard from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, but I don't know any more about the budgets for the Washington State Services for the Blind and Department of Services for the Blind.

    The good news is that it appears that the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library is going to be maintained at its current level. Thank you to all who called or talked to your legislator supporting our agencies.

    This session has seen a couple of other beneficial bills passed. The voting bill, introduced by the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and supported by the Washington Council of the Blind, is now law. Blind people will be able to go to their polling location and vote independently.

    DSB's bill to bring state policy language to conform with Federal law passed, reducing the risk of cutting funds for its programs. The key author of the bill was WCB's own Debbie Cook. Good going, Debbie!

    WCB will have another large delegation attending our national convention in Pittsburgh. It looks like we will have about 45 members attending our caucus breakfast.

    Congratulations to Vivian Conger, who received the First-Timer grant from WCB to attend our national convention. Look for her thoughts in the September NEWSLINE.

    Congratulations to Cindy Burgett, Sue Ammeter and Glenn McCully for conducting another very successful Leadership Training in early May. There were 14 members in this year's group. Brian Charlson was this year's facilitator.

    I want to remind you that if you plan to attend the summer board meeting and retreat in Olympia, August 8/9, you must call me and let me know about your sleeping room needs and which meals you will be attending by July 13.
(360) 438-0072 or you can call Cindy Burgett with the same information:
(360) 698-0827

    If you are going to ride on the WCB bus from Seattle, you need to call Shirley Taylor (206) 362-3118 by August 1.

    There are some disturbing trends occurring these days that require our attention. There have been two nominations to U.S. Appeals Court positions that do not bode well for disabled people. Both Bush nominees, Jeffry Sutton and William Prior, have histories of opposing civil rights legislation, particularly the ADA. We run a big risk of having the ADA gutted if the publicly stated beliefs of these two jurists prevail in decisions where they sit in judgment.

    On another front, I hope to provide a copy of a very disturbing article in the September NEWSLINE. This article was published at Clark College, and the author received national notoriety for what he wrote. It was an attack on blind students at the college, and I urge all of you to read it very carefully. I don't want to sound as though this negativism is a major groundswell, but we have worked for years in WCB to create a positive environment for blind people to work and live in - in this state and across the nation. If we continue to see our rights taken away, and blind people depicted as menacing because they choose to engage in a variety of activities in which other citizens engage as a matter of course, then blind Washingtonians will have to decide whether to speak out as an organized voice, or be engulfed in negative stereotypes that accept those actions listed at the first of this message as something blind people should quietly accept. I call on all blind Washington citizens to protect our right to be equal, to be independent, and to speak out against incorrect stereotyping.


Editor's Comment
by Peggy Shoel

Hi Newsliners

I'd like to bring your attention to two things in this issue.  The first is the added telephone number listed on the front cover immediately below our WCB tollfree 800 number.  It is area code (206) 283-4276 and it functions in exactly the same way as the toll-free number.  The difference is that it is far less costly to WCB than using the 800 number.  Therefore, if you live where dialing a 206 area code represents no cost to you, please use this new number for your WCB calling.   If you cannot, please do continue using the 800 number.

Second are the articles describing successful community interaction of chapters or individual members.  I know that there are other chapters who have done, are in the process of doing, or are planning on doing similar things.   If you submit this kind of information to the NEWSLINE, we will print it.   Many of the articles that appear in each issue deal with things that affect us as a state, i.e., legislation, state agency budget cuts, and conventions.  I believe that it is equally important for the NEWSLINE to inform about chapter community involvement, existence and updates of regional issues, and significant area projects geared to improving the lives of blind and visually impaired individuals.  The NEWSLINE is the voice of WCB.  Give us your words so we may speak them.

    In the March NEWSLINE, we featured an article on the WCB Membership Committee.  In this issue, we feature the Crisis, Families with Blind Children, and NEWSLINE committees.  We will continue this "Know Your WCB Committee" feature in each issue to acquaint members with our committee structure, and to promote interest and participation.

    Another reminder:  Tim Schneebeck, who manages our NEWSLINE email distribution list, is still being notified of undeliverable material due to full mailboxes.  Tim resends the NEWSLINE two or three days following notification and upon a second return, eliminates that address from his group mailing.  Tim's email address is

    Finally, remember the deadline for material acceptance for the next NEWSLINE always appears in the back of the current one.

   Thank you and happy reading.
    Contact Information:  (206) 722-8477


2003 ACB Legislative Seminar
by Glenn McCully,
Board Member, WCB

    This year, the American Council of the Blind is supporting several very important legislative issues at the national level.  Each of them will have a direct impact on the blind community for years to come.  The purpose of this brief outline is to introduce you to some of the most important issues so you can advocate for them when contacting your legislative representatives.  It is impossible to go into any great detail about these issues here in the NEWSLINE.  The documentation on the ACB legislative agenda is lengthy and could easily fill an entire issue of the WCB NEWSLINE.  For a full explanation of any of these issues, please check out the ACB Website at

    The following issues were designated as priorities for ACB's attention and action:

    I. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Workforce Investment Act

    II. IDEA and Related Special Education Legislation

    III. Access to Information through DVS

    IV. Access to the Secret Ballot

    V.  Highway and Transit Issues

    The 2003 agenda is very full.  With the efforts of every member of the ACB, positive changes that will benefit blind Americans' lives for years to come can be accomplished.

My Experience in DC
by Lyle Burgett, Member, Peninsula Council of the Blind

    I applied to go to this year's Legislative Seminar in Washington, D.C. because I wanted to learn more about the legislative process.  I had no idea what I was really in for.

    I had never traveled to our U.S. Capitol before and had never as much as spoken with a Senator or Congressperson.

    The ACB leadership spent much of the seminar time informing us of the hot issues concerning the blind on a national scope.  When it was time to go to the Hill, they gave us folders with fact sheets about these burning issues.   The four of us broke into two teams to cover the most ground.  Glenn and I did a lot of walking, but we were able to hit many offices.  I was especially pleased when Patti Murray came out of sessions to meet with us in the hall.  She seemed truly interested in what we had to say.

    Besides the education I received, including a deeper insight of our national organization, the ACB, I feel a bond was built among the four of us who traveled together from WCB.  In off hours, we went out to dinner together, and even got lost together.

    I highly recommend that other members apply for such an experience if the opportunity comes their way.


Legislative Seminar in Washington, DC
by Cheryl Danzl, President
Lower Columbia Council of the Blind

    For someone like myself, who knows nothing about politics, the trip to Washington, DC was a real adventure, to say the least.  It was a great experience for me and one I'll never forget.

    The amount of experience and knowledge that our speakers shared with us was almost overwhelming, and way too much to absorb in a day and a half.   I was so happy there wasn't a test afterward.  But it was definitely a motivator to become more deeply involved in the struggle to get things changed for the better for the blind and disabled population.  I learned as much as my brain could absorb in such a short period of time.  I took a recorder but not nearly enough tapes.  This seminar was a start and with continual exposure to such events, I'm sure I'll eventually be able to discuss issues of blindness with confidence from the knowledge I'm certain to gain.  I look forward to seeing my newly acquired ACB friends at any future events that I'm lucky enough to attend; they're good folks.


Reflections of Washington DC
by Lynette Romero, Board Member 

    I had a wonderful time at the 2003 ACB Legislative Seminar, and I want to thank all of the members of the WCB for giving me the opportunity to go.  My goal was to learn how to effectively interact with our Congressional representatives in Washington DC.  I want all of you to know I took my responsibility as your delegate to heart, and I did my homework even before setting foot in Washington, DC.  I think it is the responsibility of every member who gets the chance to attend an ACB Legislative Seminar to prepare themselves to the best of their ability.

    But first, I should explain the reason why I wanted to go.   At last year's ACB Convention in Houston, I was fascinated with the political structure of a national convention.  I listened very closely to the political issues facing the Council, and I vowed to myself that I would learn everything I could about the politics that affect our blind communities at our national and state levels in hopes that I could help make a difference.  I also took Sue Ammeter's speech at the 2002 WCB Convention in Kelso very seriously.  She said in order for us to be effective as blind citizens in changing what was happening to our state budget and the legislation that was being considered this year, we, the members of WCB, needed to be more politically involved.

    So, the first thing that I did after the convention was join the WCB Legislative Committee so that I could learn as much as I could about what was happening at our state level.  I did research on how bills become laws and why certain laws were passed in our state and others weren't.  I also took a workshop at The Evergreen State College where we role-played as lobbyists, legislators, and committee members to actually see the process of law making.  On my own, I went to the state Capitol to learn about Washington state legislators and their political interests.  I attended many of the legislative and senate committee hearings on bills that would have an impact on blind citizens.  I also had the opportunity to go with our WCB Legislative Chair, Gary Burdette, as he and I spoke to our representatives in Olympia and to Governor Locke's Budget Committee Advisors.  As a result, going to Washington DC was another step in helping me reach my goal of understanding legislation at the national level.

    Although the ACB Legislative Seminar was only a two-day conference, I learned a lot about major pieces of legislation that Congress was considering, and what our concerns were about these issues.

    Washington DC is like no other city.  What a magnificent place our nation's Capitol is. Everywhere you go reminds you of a picture post card.

    We connected with Glenn and Lyle (team number one) right before we were to meet Senator Murray.  Although she was in a Senate Hearing, her aides treated us like royalty.  They escorted us to the Rotunda, so that we could meet her during a break in the hearings.  What added to the experience of being in the majestic Rotunda was the genuine kindness and warmth that Senator Murray showed us.   She truly was glad to see other Washingtonians, and out of all of the representatives that I have talked to, Murray seemed to understand our concerns the best.

    All in all it was a wonderful trip and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  I would encourage all interested members to apply for the 2004 ACB Legislative Seminar because it is an experience you will never forget.  Realizing that an adventure like this might be a little overwhelming for some of our WCB members, Glenn and I have already asked to be part of a training session to help prepare the teams we send to Washington DC next year.  And thanks again for sending me.


It's Not Too Soon
by Cindy Burgett, Convention Chair

Mark off November 6 through 9 on your calendars, because Spokane is the location for the WCB event of the year.  Many fun and exciting things are being planned for this year's convention, and you will want to be a part of it all!

We'll be staying at the Doubletree Hotel Spokane City Center, with room rates of $80 for singles & doubles, $90 for triples & $100 for quads, plus applicable taxes.  This is a full-service hotel with spacious sleeping rooms and plenty of meeting space.  Room reservations can be made by calling Doubletree Reservations at 1-800-222-8733 or by calling the hotel direct at (509) 455-9600.  Be sure to let them know you are with the Washington Council of the Blind to receive our special rates.

There will be two buses transporting conventioneers this year.  One will be leaving from Seattle and the other from Bremerton.  These buses are courtesy of WCB;  reservations are required.  Qualifying members living outside of Kitsap, King, Pierce, Snohomish & Spokane counties may apply for a $75 travel stipend.  The deadline for bus reservations and stipend requests is October 10, and calls should be made to Shirley Taylor, (206) 362-3118.

Preregistration for this year's convention is $25 if postmarked by October 10.  After that date, registration will be $75.   Registration includes a five-meal package - breakfast and lunch on Friday, and breakfast, lunch and the banquet on Saturday.  You can expect to receive your convention bulletin by September 1.  You will also be able to register online by going to:

WCB is pleased to be able to offer grants to its members attending their first state convention.  To apply, submit a letter stating how the grant would assist you, as well as benefit you as a member.  The application deadline is August 31, and individuals must have joined WCB prior to May 6, 2003 to be eligible.   Send letters to:
    Janice Squires
    502 W. 20th Ave.
    Kennewick, WA  99337

    There will be two free rooms available for those members who need such assistance - one for two men and one for two women.  Marilyn will be taking calls during business hours the week of September 8-12, (206) 283-4276 or 1-800-255-1147.   First priority will be given to those who have not used the free room before and then others will be placed in a drawing for any available space.  Members applying for the free room must make calls to Marilyn individually during the specified times and must meet the six-month membership requirement.

    The United Blind of Spokane is excited to be hosting this year's big event and Lynette Romero is coordinating Exhibits.  Our Convention Committee is working hard to provide you an exciting agenda and a sneak-peak at our Friday luncheon reveals none other than Eric Sanvold, talking book narrator from Denver, Colorado as our guest speaker.

I hope this has whet your appetite enough that you will begin now to plan for the 2003 WCB state convention.  We're all going to be there and we don't want you to be left out!


WCB 2003 Leadership Seminar
by Laura Beigh, Yakima Valley Council of the Blind

I received a call from Seminar Coordinator Cindy Burgett telling me that my request, along with that of Sally Mayo and Bill Smedley, to attend the Leadership Conference coming up in May at the Executive Inn in Seattle had been accepted - and it's a good thing because I already had my suitcase packed!  After talking and laughing with Cindy on the phone for a while, I was even more excited about going to Leadership.  Bill booked the flight and reserved our rooms.  We each had to chuckle a little while, wondering how the flight attendants and taxi drivers would deal with not just one blind person and a dog, but three of us all at the same time!

Along with Sally, Bill and me, there were representatives from Seattle, Olympia, Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Lower Columbia, 14 representatives in all.   Brian Charlson, American Council of the Blind board member, flew in from Massachusetts and served as a very entertaining and fun keynote speaker.  Brian started off the weekend by engaging the group in "ice breaker" activities that had us laughing together and having fun while getting to know one another.   Throughout the weekend, WCB President Berl Colley addressed our group about the fundamentals of fundraising.  Constitution and By-Laws Chair Frank Cuta spoke to us about chapters incorporating and nonprofit IRS filing.  Finance Chair Glenn McCully addressed legislative processes.  Advocacy Chair Sue Ammeter shared her expertise in this area, and Membership Chair Julie DeGeus discussed the importance of not only empowering others, but allowing ourselves to be empowered.  Each day ended with an evening of hospitality.  Presenters and participants mingled while enjoying refreshments and building lasting partnerships.

The weekend was rounded up by the WCB Board Meeting.   What a wonderful opportunity to meet more members and to see what was happening at the state level.  Leadership 2003 was a great experience! We became better acquainted with WCB, its history, its members, its goals.  We learned new ways and improved upon old ways of helping to lead our local chapters.  We got to know other WCB leaders, board members, and others.  While all of the information shared is essential to the operation of WCB, we learned something even more valuable - we learned about unity.   Helen Keller once said, "Alone we can do so little.  Together we can do so much."  Leadership participants left that weekend feeling welcomed - feeling needed and appreciated.  We bring back to our local chapters new skills and knowledge.  We bring back the understanding that each member is uniquely important in maintaining the strength of the tightly woven web that is ultimately ACB.

The WCB Crisis Committee
by Shirley Taylor, Chair

The Crisis Committee was originally formed in 1991 to assist blind people in the state with emergencies.  The committee consisted of a chair and one member from each chapter.  The chair and two committee members were required to approve a grant.

Grants were given for emergencies of almost any type.   Questions were raised about the best use of WCB funds, and the 1994 convention voted to discontinue the committee.

With an increase in fundraising, the 1999 convention voted to reinstate the Crisis Committee, but with much stricter rules.  A one-time-only grant of not more than $300 may be given for food, utilities or medical expenses.   Later, a $1,000 grant was added for a major emergency such as fire, flood, etc.   In 2002, a request was approved to add a major medical expense for a working guide dog to the original three emergencies.  This would not cover ordinary vet bills or those covered by a guide dog school.

The committee consists of a chair and any number of members throughout the state.  It still requires the chair and two committee members to approve a grant.  Most requests begin with the WCB toll-free number.  At times, there will be no requests for a month or more.  Then there may be two or three within a few days.  Since one facing an emergency needs an answer quickly, the committee does its best to make a decision within a day or two of the request.  This year there are seven volunteers on the Crisis Committee.  This means that I, as chair, can almost always reach two members on the first day.

Committee members are Ron Frederickson of the Pierce County Association of the Blind; Frank Johnson of the King County Council of the Blind; Karen Johnson from the United Blind of Seattle; Kevin Jones from the Peninsula Council of the Blind; Newton Jones of the United Blind of Seattle; Marlee Naddy of the United Blind of Spokane; and Diana Softich from the United Blind of Tri-Cities.  I am a member of the United Blind of Seattle.

We do our best to serve the organization and assist blind people in Washington State with emergency needs.  If you would like more information, please call me at (206) 362-3118 or leave a message for me at 1-800-255-1147.


A Bird in Flight - 
Families with Blind Children Committee
by Cheryl Stewart, Committee Chair

	A bird in flight - a child's dreams - what do these have in common?
	A child without the skills of independence is like a bird in a cage, whose wings have been clipped. The desire of the bird to freely fly has not changed, but its ability to do so, unhindered, has. Though the door on the cage be opened, and the bird given opportunity of flight, its wings will carry it only so far, and that with great effort, the bird becoming weary in the process. A bird, who acts upon instinct, will continue to try again and again, whenever the cage door is opened, but what about a child whose process of thinking, as well as his self worth, is being formed by his ability to succeed and achieve in whatever it is he puts forth his hand to do? 	Just as the bird is surrounded by a cage that says, "because of me, you cannot even try," so is a child who is surrounded by those who, through ignorance as well as a lack of understanding, do not allow him to reach his full potential.

The vision of the Committee of Families with Blind Children is to empower the child, as well as his family, with the encouragement, friendship, success stories, skills, information and resources to enable that bird to fly, unhindered, unencumbered by a cage of fear.

This year our committee consists of Pam Dickey, Lower Columbia Council of the Blind; Bonnie Sherrell, Jefferson County Council of the Blind; Cindy Burgett, Peninsula Council of the Blind; and I am a member of North Central Washington Council of the Blind.  We hope to provide local chapters of WCB with the tools that they will need in order to reach out to the families with blind children in their respective communities. We hope that through interaction, via game nights that can be held at local libraries, picnics in the park, to state wide tournaments such as chess, these children, as well as their families, will find support and encouragement.

This committee is not a stand alone committee. We desire to be the fuel that ignites a flame in each chapter of WCB enabling us to all work together as a whole in order to reach out and touch the lives of those around us.

As we hear so often in our media, "Children are one of our most vital resources," and we who belong to the committee of Families With Blind Children hold this to be no less true for the child who is blind, or visually impaired. WCB needs the freshness and vitality of the youth that it serves, just as much as the youth need WCB.

We hope that as you see the activity of this committee and the progress it can make in the lives of those around us, you will be inspired and next year, when it is time to choose on what committee you would like to serve, that you will choose Families with Blind Children.

If this committee can be of any service to you, please contact me, either by phone: (509) 886-3863, or via email:


We Need Your Help
by Carl Jarvis, Chair
Aging & Blindness Committee

The Committee on Aging and Blindness is building a contact list of all known low vision and blindness support groups in our state.  But we cannot do it without your help.   In these critical times, WCB can play an important role in the lives of older blind and visually impaired people by providing vital information, knowledge, skills training and services.  One way of doing this is to connect with existing support groups.  

You can help in two ways.  First, send us information on any support groups that you know about.  Include the name, meeting time, location, and a contact person, if possible.

Second, contact your local Senior Centers and retirement apartments to find out if they know of any support groups.

Please send all information to:
Carl Jarvis, Chair
Aging & Blindness Committee
2510 Snow Creek Road
Quilcene, WA  98376
Phone: (360) 765-4239


Saturday Morning
by Sharon Keeran, Member,
NEWSLINE Committee

The four of us are gathered on a Saturday morning to edit the NEWSLINE, our Washington Council of the Blind newsletter.  For the last several years, it has been Peggy Shoel as editor, Cynthia Towers and myself as committee members, and a great reader, Avis Plough.

Peggy has worked to contact members for articles throughout the three months between meetings.  She has articles and supplies with her.  As we move from one of our houses to another, I think that Peggy can't carry all the stuff we need to put together a current NEWSLINE. 

We meet at 10:00AM, but are usually there earlier to talk strategy.  Avis lets us know what we have and we decide what we will read first, second, etc.  You must understand that this is a full day of work for three committee members and Avis, who is reading, other than lunch time, throughout the day.

We begin with the President's Message.  We all listen carefully so if there is duplication in another article, we must delete as our space requirements by the printers is very specific.  Also, cassettes are expensive and it's not advisable to use a second cassette and spend more.

We also try to give credit to the authors of articles, as well as their titles in their chapters.  Example: "Jane Doe, Secretary, Big Foot Chapter."

Sometimes folks forget to mention names and titles, and we don't always know.  Election of new officers is at different times of the year for each WCB chapter.

The Chapter Updates are so important.  We try to include events of members, such as weddings, new jobs, new dogs, retirements.  If we don't know about it, we can't publish it.

Of course, Peggy has found jokes and recipes, or one of us has.  If we have space, we include them.  After the reading, our big task is to organize the material.  Our President's Message is first, followed by Editor's Comment, and then national, state, and local articles.   After that, we decide, based on the material and the space we have, what else to include.  Somewhere around 5:00 to 6:00, we pack everything into a big envelope to send to our typist, Lorraine.   We always have questions, such as "Is this the right phone number?" or "Is the name spelled correctly?"  We try to be careful, but do help us with all the information you have.


I Was Just Wondering
by Cynthia Towers, Member
United Blind of Seattle

We all live with blindness and visual impairment every day.  The techniques we use to do daily tasks are commonplace.  The equipment we utilize to read and write is no longer considered unusual.  Our knowledge of everything from transportation systems to how to get groceries is encyclopedic.  As ACB's National Convention Coordinator, I am constantly explaining to hotels and convention bureaus how we as blind and visually impaired people accomplish duties that they deem to be so impossible.  It is still amazing to me in this world of mass media and disability awareness, how so many people have had no contact with blindness or blind people.

So, I got to thinking, just what do I really know about the statistical side of blindness and visual impairment.  I conducted a Google search - that's computer talk for a means to locate information - and turned up some interesting facts.  Being a math teacher, I was intrigued by the numbers related to this "condition" that the sighted world finds so fascinating and that we handle with ease on a day-to-day basis.

Although estimates vary, there are approximately 10 million blind and visually impaired people in the United States.  Of that number, there are approximately 5.5 million older individuals who are blind or visually impaired.   This is why it is so important that our national organization has the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss.  Here in Washington State, Carl Jarvis chairs our Aging and Blindness Committee.  This is a huge segment of our population that has its own specific needs that state and federal governments need to address.

At least 1.5 million blind and visually impaired Americans use computers.  And I think about 1.4 million of those, or so it would seem, are on WCB's and ACB's list serves - that's computer talk for groups that chat via the Internet.   With only 10% of us using computers, it may need to be a goal of both the state and national organizations to increase computer use amongst ourselves.  Nowadays, having a computer is akin to having a telephone.  Without it, one is simply out of the loop on so many levels.  How about starting an affiliate called PACE?  It could stand for People Acquiring Computers for Everyone.  Our motto:  "Blind People Need to Keep Pace with the Rest of the World."  This is just a thought.

Currently, approximately 42% of blind and visually impaired Americans are married, 33% are widowed, 13% are separated or divorced, and 13% have never married.  Where do you fall?  I am in the latter 13% category and may some day move to the 42% group, but hope to never be the other 13% of those who are divorced.  These stats prove that blind people are a microcosm of society.   These figures are not that much different from what is true of the sighted population.

Approximately 45% of individuals with severe visual impairment or blindness have a high school diploma, compared to 80% among fully sighed individuals.  Among high school graduates, those with severe visual impairment or blindness are about as likely to have taken some college courses as those who were sighted, but they are less likely to have graduated.  Well, this is a challenge for state services.  With all the technology and education laws, that 45% figure should be more on a par with the sighted group.  It is no wonder that there continues to be so much unemployment in the blind community.  We need to ensure that from day one, blind and visually impaired students are accessing the tools they need to succeed.

Well, there you have it, blindness by the numbers and a call to action.  There has never been any shortage of work to do in WCB.   Working with the aging, monitoring the progress and policies of state services for the blind, and making computers commonplace for blind people will certainly give us some challenges to meet.  While all of you are working on such issues, I personally will be starting a new affiliate called SPAM - Single People Awaiting Marriage!  This too is just a thought.


WCB May Board Meeting Highlights
by Steve Heesen, Board Member

    There was lots of excitement in and around the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle at the Washington Council of the Blind May board meeting.  A good-sized crowd was on hand which included 14 participants of the Annual Leadership program sponsored by WCB. All 14 of them were proudly clad in their official 2003 WCB Leadership t-shirts!  I'm sure you will agree that we certainly have many wonderful things to look forward to in the coming years in adding to the already strong leadership that currently exists in the WCB. Thank you Cindy Burgett, Sue Ammeter, Glenn McCully and others for making yet another successful program possible.

This year, we were honored to have Brian Charlson join us all the way from Watertown, Massachusetts. Brian did an outstanding job facilitating the leadership program. In addition, he gave a brief update regarding some of the happenings at the ACB national office in Washington D.C. Also, Cynthia Towers informed us about what to expect at the ACB convention in early July. Berl then gave us a glimpse of some of the tours that will be available this year in Pittsburgh.

Congratulations to Vivian Conger! Vivian was selected as this year's recipient of the First-Timer award to the ACB convention in Pittsburgh.

The board passed a motion to host a bus from Seattle to the August 8-9 summer board retreat in Olympia. If you would like to reserve a seat on the bus, or for more information, please call Shirley Taylor at: (206) 362-3118.

The deadline for reserving a room for the board retreat at the Phoenix Inn is
July 15.

Cindy Burgett talked about the WCB state convention being held in Spokane in the fall. She also mentioned the possibility of an Orientation and Mobility conference for youth that may be taking place in conjunction with the state convention. Everyone seemed to be interested in the prospect.

Calling all college students! WCB scholarship applications are now available for download only, by surfing on over to:   Good luck to all applicants!

WCB President Berl Colley is in the process of putting together a committee to explore some ways that WCB can have more involvement in White Cane Day, which takes place on October 15.

The board also agreed to spprove a grant request from the National Braille Press for production of 500 copies of a book of analogies for blind students and 500 copies of the Braille Speller.  WCB will also be purchasing 10,000 Braille alphabet cards from National Braille Press.

NOTE: The items listed above do not in any way represent everything that occurred at the meeting. However, I hope this will give you a good idea of what took place.

I look forward to seeing many of you in August at the summer board retreat. By the way, my birthday is on August 9. I couldn't think of a better way to spend it than with my friends from WCB.


by Bill Palmer, Director

Senate Bill 5705 passes both chambers and signed by Governor Locke.

The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) agency request legislation has passed the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Locke on May 20, 2003.  The passage of this bill, Senate Bill 5705, represents a major accomplishment for our agency.  I want to commend Debbie Cook, Assistant Director for Workforce Accessibility, for the fine work that she did on developing our proposed legislation.  I also want to commend Larry Watkinson, Chair of the Business Enterprise Program Vendors Committee, for the assistance he provided to Debbie and to me in stewarding the legislation through the legislative process.

As the DSB Director, this was my first attempt at proposing legislation, and it was a big learning experience.  First, Debbie Cook developed significant changes that modernized the general tone of our legislation and brought our enabling statute into conformance with the Federal Rehabilitation Act.   Debbie incorporated new sections to require criminal background checks for employees and other service providers who have unsupervised access to persons with significant disabilities.  She also added a new section regarding the confidentiality of the personal information of our clients.  A significant revision defines the term priority as it applies to the Business Enterprise Program, clarifying our priority to provide food services in government facilities.

The draft revisions were shared with all stakeholders, and discussed with the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, the Washington Council of the Blind, and the National Federation of the Blind of Washington.  I want to thank all the stakeholders for their support in developing the proposed legislation and for supporting the passage of Senate Bill 5705.  We could not have done this without your support.  Once the stakeholder review process was completed, we submitted our proposed legislation for review by the Office of the Governor.  With the approval of the Governor's Office, Debbie and I set out to find sponsors to sign on to our proposal in both the House and the Senate.  This also provided us with an opportunity to inform legislators about the mission of DSB and the work we do throughout our state.

Once the bill was dropped in both legislative chambers and referred to the appropriate committees for consideration, Debbie and I represented DSB by testifying at committee hearings.  Larry Watkinson also provided testimony as a major stakeholder in support of the legislation.

On the last day before cut-off for bills to be passed, a member of the House added an amendment to include the Telphonic Reading Service bill (HB 1838) into the DSB legislation.  The Governor approved all revisions that were passed by the House and Senate, including the language commonly known as the NFB Newsline bill.

The next step in the process is the work of implementing these changes.  Changes to the DSB Washington Administrative Code (WAC) sections will need to be drafted and public hearings will need to be conducted.  DSB policies will need to be developed for implementing background checks.  There is still a lot of work ahead of us to implement the legislation, and stakeholder involvement opportunities will be provided as we proceed.

Budget for 2003-2005

At the time of the deadline to submit this article, the legislature had not taken final action to pass a new budget for the new biennium starting July 1, 2003.  By the time the NEWSLINE is circulated, the budget will have been passed.  What we know for certain is that the budget proposed by Governor Locke for DSB will be reduced further by the time the House and Senate agree on a final biennial budget.  We also know that our authority to employ people will be reduced by 4.3 staff positions.  The reduction in staffing levels is painful.  We will do our utmost to take the reductions in administrative areas and avoid cuts to direct customer service programs.  We will continue to search for ways to improve service delivery processes and to improve the quality of services our customers receive.  It is a tough year for budget writers and legislators.  The revenue does not exist to support all the services and programs state government wants to provide.  I want to thank our stakeholders for their support during the budget and legislative process.  I do believe that our agency is being treated fairly during these difficult times.

Senior Week Held in Spokane

As this article goes to print, our Independent Living Program staff are in Spokane working in partnership with the staff of the Lilac Center for the Blind.  They are conducting a one-week training session for older blind citizens in the Spokane area.  A similar event was held in Grays Harbor last year and received rave reviews by the community.  We hope the Seniors Week in Spokane is equally successful.


Only the Strong Survive
(WSSB Report Part 2)
by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem

The Braille Access Center was established on WSSB's campus originally to assist state agencies in providing access to Braille materials for blind consumers.  (Washington was the first state in the country to have Braille on demand for blind consumers.)   This was initially done in partnership with the Office of the State Printer.   The program expanded over the years, resulting in over 7,000,000 pages of Braille provided to improve access for the blind.  Approximately five years ago, WSSB expanded this partnership at the advice of an itinerant vision teacher, Kelly Kerr, to include the women's prison.  The end result of this has been a partnership resulting in textbooks for blind kids throughout our state, saving districts over $200,000 over the past two years, at a cost to WSSB/IRC of approximately $12,000.

The Instructional Resource Center (IRC), a project of OSPI, moved to WSSB approximately seven years ago.  WSSB has taken this project and tremendously expanded services to districts.  The only way this was possible was by diverting some of WSSB's resources to this important program.  The center provides services to over 1,500 children in our state.  Originally, only books, materials, and supplies that were on hand, secured from the American Printing House for the Blind, materials produced by volunteers, or borrowed from other states were available to districts without large fiscal impact.  This service has expanded in the production of textbooks to children because of partnership with the Braille Access Center and other partners mentioned in the previous paragraphs.  The loan of specialized computer-related equipment, improved inventory systems, and training in Braille through the K-12 system to areas of the state that have not been able to meet the current state's Braille bill have all resulted since the IRC moved onto the campus.  Currently, WSSB is in the process of building a new facility to house the Braille Access Center/IRC, providing a state-of-the-art facility, which will allow us to make even more gains in efficiency, resulting in improved services for children and districts throughout our state.

- WASL test production in Braille is done at the Braille Access Center;

- Administration and tracking of those passing the Braille Literacy Exam is currently done at the IRC.

    Summer school programs have continued to expand in order to better serve children throughout our state in helping kids gain necessary skills so they don't need to come to the campus during the regular school year.   Thanks to organizations like the Washington Council of the Blind, this program will continue this summer.

Youth Employment Solutions I - transition and career development program for blind children as a result of a partnership with the Department of Services for the Blind.  This was expanded with the addition of YES II, which is operated directly by DSB in the Seattle area.

Sports Camp for the Blind - Partnership with Michigan State University.  Providing blind kids the opportunity to compete in sports and gain necessary skills to assist them in improved integration in their local districts.

WSSB on campus program was revamped approximately 12 years ago with an emphasis on short-term intensive services to children. (All children on WSSB campus are on a 24-IEP, with a transition plan that assists with the return of the child to the LEA, once skills are developed.)  A strong concerted effort has been made to recruit the best teachers in the country onto the campus.  The end-result of this is a tremendously strong faculty that has been very efficient in improving students' skills levels.  NOTE:  Graduate success since 1998 is 87.5%.  This includes children who are severely and profoundly disabled to the gifted blind.

WSSB has been a safety net for many districts and under 'ESEA - No Child Left Behind." WSSB should be viewed as a resource facility to districts to help kids who have deficient skills gain necessary skills in a shortened period of time.  We are very good at this!

As a small state agency, the school has been awarded three Governor Quality Awards based upon Baldridge Criteria.  These have been in the areas of: 

1. Access Technology,

2. Transition services in partnership with the Department of Services for the Blind, and

3. Braille Transcription Services in partnership with the Office of the State Printer, Corrections, and WSSB.

If we ask the question, "Do Only the Strong Survive?" I would have to say that with your support, anything is possible.  We need to be supportive, creative, and continue to question, "What is Basic Education for Blind/Visually Impaired Children?" and what needs to happen to make sure that strong services that have demonstrated success continue to be strong and provide educational opportunities so that blind and visually impaired children can have a bright future.


Library Notes
By Gloria Leonard, Acting Director

	Director Position Re-Advertised

    The position of WTBBL Director re-opened on June 4th and closes on July 11th.  The original selection process concluded with a job offer made and accepted by Greg Carlson from the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Greg's starting date was to be May 12th.  However, due to personal reasons, Greg has withdrawn his acceptance of the position, deciding instead to remain in Florida.  Rather than offering the job to one of the remaining candidates, City Librarian Deborah Jacobs decided to re-post the position, instead. My appointment as Acting Director has been extended.

    Enhancing Library Services through New Technology

    WTBBL's Migration to KLAS: The Keystone Library Automation System (KLAS) has been selected to replace the current DRA computer system for registering consumers and managing circulation and patron files and the records of all Braille, large print and talking book materials.  Benefits of the KLAS system include improved on-line searching by author, title, subject and series titles via the Internet; and better system reliability that includes staff access to 24/7 technical support. The KLAS implementation schedule includes the following time line:

    September 30th through October 12th:  No books mailed to patrons
    October 6th through October 30th: Staff training
    October 13th: KLAS up and running

    In early September a letter will be sent to our users that describes the new circulation system, its benefits and installation schedule.

    National Library Service (NLS) and the Digital Talking Book: By 2008, NLS will change from the existing system of analog cassette tape to digitally produced talking books. Planning for the introduction of a digital talking book requires many systemic changes. Certainly, one of the key issues being explored by an NLS Long Range Planning Committee focuses on the "functional incompatibility" of the analog and digital talking book systems.  Because the change to digital will require a transition period in which both systems are in use, the time frame for the introduction of new equipment will depend on the commercial development and availability of adaptable consumer electronic hardware and software products. Implementation of the digital book will undoubtedly require an allowance of a sufficient transition period, possibly five years. NLS has established a Talking Book Standards Committee that has defined and prioritized specialized digital talking book features. A request for proposal has been prepared for a prototype of the digital playback unit. And NLS studios are testing digital recording, editing and duplicating methods.  Performance reports on direct-to-disk systems, such as Telex and Otari are in the process of being evaluated.

    Patron Advisory Council (PAC)

    WTBBL has a patron advisory council comprised of 15 members.  Over the past few months, the bulk of activities have been focusing on lobby efforts, largely through an advocacy sub-committee.  During the June meeting, a new sub-committee was established to develop an outreach plan and implementation process.   The major thrust will be to establish specific activities and performance measures with timelines regarding how PAC members can help build outreach capacity that attracts new WTBBL consumers beyond what staff are able to do within the existing operating budget. Other agenda items included Judy Dixon, NLS Consumer Relations Officer.  Judy provided an update about "What's new at NLS." The next PAC meeting will be held on September 13 where they will take a closer look at their internal organizational structure as compared to other groups as they revisit the "guidelines of the patron advisory council."

    Report from the National Library Service (NLS) Western Region Conference

    In May, the 16 region/sub-regional libraries in the western sector of NLS network libraries held their bi-annual conference. On Tuesday, a pre-conference was conducted on the art of audio book production. The Wednesday - Friday sessions included workshops on the following areas of interest: how to get the media coverage; proven techniques to improve outreach to schools, health care providers and human service agencies serving similar populations; implementing the "No Child Left Behind" initiative and the challenges for special education due to the periodic school reporting requirements.

    Seattle to Host Western Region Conference

    Seattle has been selected as the site of the May, 2005 Western Region National Library Service Conference.   Not only will this be a great opportunity to share with our colleagues in the west but this will be a joint conference with the Midland Region states as well. We are looking forward to hosting this important event!


WTBBL Announces Locally Produced WEB Braille Books

The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library is proud to announce the addition of locally produced web Braille books to its current list of available services. These titles are available to registered WTBBL patrons who read Braille, and can be accessed via our website at: Click on the link entitled "Services Offered by the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library" and then follow the links to Adult books, Children's books, and the 2003 Seattle Mariners schedule in Braille.

For those who have been using the Web Braille service offered through the NLS website (located at, you will find that WTBBL's Web Braille service works in the same way as far as saving and reading the file. The only differences are that WTBBL's service provides locally produced Braille books which cannot be obtained via the NLS website, and you will also not need a user ID and password to download these locally produced titles.

If you need assistance, or have any questions as to how to access the Web Braille books, contact the library by telephone at (206) 615-0400 or 800-542-0866


Louis Braille Center:
Baseball and Books
by Carolyn Meyer, Director

I wish to introduce Mike Cavanaugh, new Executive Assistant at the Louis Braille Center.   Mike's excellent braille skills, learned through the WTBBL literary braille transcription class, are just what we need.  You will be enjoying some of his good work in the months to come.  Mike serves on the Washington State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind.  His son, Bobby, is one of our Second Saturday club children.   Please call Mike and introduce yourself.

Second Saturday Club

Our May Second Saturday Club had a sports theme.   Some of the sports we especially enjoy following or participating in are downhill skiing, football, baseball, basketball, stock car racing, swimming, and track events.   We made a tactile baseball field using plastic ball players and wikki sticks for the bases and running lines.  There were those special "ah ha" moments as young hands explored the arrangement and the overall scheme fell into place.   Everyone agreed they would like more opportunities to participate in group or individual sports.  We hope to have that chance at our June picnic in the park.

Here are a few baseball jokes that brought big laughs:

Catcher: You look a little nervous out there today.
Pitcher: Whenever I pitch against the Cubs, I just can't bear it.

Catcher: You seem to be lacking confidence today.
Pitcher: Whenever I pitch against the Giants, I always feel kind of small.

	First Baseman: Why did the pitcher thrown a baseball across the table?
	Second Baseman: the manager told him to put one over the plate.
	Why is it good to have frogs in the outfield?
	They never miss a fly!

The children are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  It will be released in print June 21, and in braille by National Braille Press the middle of July.   We have preordered our copy, which is expected to be 14 volumes delivered in two boxes.  The children are putting their names on a waiting list.

    Project Scan-A-Book

    Our 2003 project is designed to prepare books for brailling with the help of volunteers doing the scanning and cleanup.  The focus of Project Scan-A-Book is students in the fifth through eighth grades, as there often are not enough choices for braille readers in that age group.  We will concentrate on The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis and a group of books by David Patneaude.  The first of the Narnia books, The Lion, the Witch and the Broomstick, is completed, as are two of Patneaude's books.   Patneaude, who lives in the Seattle area, places much of the action of his novels in Northwest settings.

	Volunteer Needed

We are seeking a volunteer to manage and maintain our library of braille books for children.  The groundwork is done.  Most of the books have been entered into a database, labeled, and shelved.  We need someone to learn to use ResourceMate, the library software database (it's easy); enter new books in the database; keep track of books checked out and returned; and see that the books are properly shelved.  The time schedule is flexible and negotiable.  A morning or afternoon once a week or every other week should be sufficient.  Unfortunately, ResourceMate is not yet fully operable from the keyboard.  The company listened with interest to our request they make the program speech-friendly, but at present, use of the mouse is required.  Call Mike or me at (425) 776-4042 for information.


Hands On Experience for the Ears
by Doug Hildie, President,
United Blind of Seattle

I recently attended a workshop in Seattle that provided a "hands on" introduction to the inner workings of an audio production studio, its technical operation, and the often unique paraphernalia utilized to produce sound effects. The workshop was a collaborative effort of two organizations, Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA) directed by Jesse Minkert, and Jack Straw Productions directed by Joan Rabinowitz.   This was the first time the workshop has been offered to blind and visually impaired adults.  For some years now, the workshop has been offered to blind and visually impaired youth as a potential, accessible vocational goal.

Generally, the participants in the "adult version" of the workshop were probably not there to survey a potential vocational goal.  There were a couple of participants whose work can be classified as "sound production", but primarily, participants shared an abiding interest in learning about the techniques and technologies employed to produce myriad forms of sound, to which we are all exposed in formats ranging from commercials to musical compositions to stories performed on radio.
The workshop was frankly fascinating.  It was a valuable experience that gave all of the participants an opportunity to connect with the equipment and the methods used in audio production in studios, on the radio, in concerts, and live theater.  For each of us who participated, the experience added another dimension to our personal repertoire of life.  Finally, the workshop was laudable because it introduced to a new segment of the blind community the accessibility and feasibility of employment in the arena of audio production.   For information, contact Jesse at AVIA (206) 323-7190 or Joan at Jack Straw Productions (206) 634-0919.


My Fair Lady - An Auditory Experience
by Meka White, President,
Peninsula Council of the Blind

On March 15, I was whisked away from my normal weekend happenings to take part in a very special birthday present that had been planned for me by Cindy Burgett.  She had purchased tickets through Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA) to see a showing of My Fair Lady at the Fifth Avenue Theatre.  How exciting!  Not only would I be able to experience an incredible musical, but because of AVIA, we would hear descriptions of what was happening during the play from a narrator.

So, let us backtrack a bit, and I will tell you what that ticket offered.  Some of us, already in Seattle, were picked up by a limousine.   We were soon at the Fifth Avenue, full of anticipation of what was to come.   Jesse Minkert, AVIA Executive Director, met us there and assisted us in getting our headsets.  The headsets would enable us to listen to descriptions being read by an AVIA narrator.  On each headset is a dial for volume control and an on/off switch.   The equipment is not cumbersome, making for easy travel through a busy theatre.

After being seated, and waiting somewhat impatiently for the play to start, I switched on my headphones and was greeted by a female voice as the lights in the house dimmed.  For the next two hours, I was experiencing life in England as the play began to weave a tale.  The narrator in my headset added to that tale by describing outfits, facial expressions, and actions on the stage when there was no dialog.  It was an incredible time, and I am excited that I had the opportunity to participate in such a fun-filled day!

After the play was over, the limousine picked us up again, and whisked us off to the Cheesecake Factory.  Note: dinner at the Cheesecake Factory is not offered in the package, but it would be a great way to end any outing.

AVIA offers audio-description for several plays throughout the year.   Some of them will be part of The Package, which includes transportation to and from the play and the tickets at a discounted price.  If you are interested in more information, you may call AVIA at (206) 528-2085, or contact Jesse Minkert at (206) 323-7190, email


Thank You's

The following thank you to WCB was received by Glenn McCully, Chair, Finance Committee.

Greetings, Glenn,

This is really, really terrific!  Please thank all of the board members for supporting braille literacy.  These publications are important stepping stones for young blind children who want an equal chance to compete in today's society and need the tools to do so.
Diane Croft
National Braille Press    

	The following was received by President Berl Colley:
Dear Berl:

On behalf of the staff, Washington School for the Blind Foundation, and students state-wide, I would like to thank the Washington Council of the Blind for their most generous donation of $10,000. 

As you know, the current state of the economy made it impossible for the Washington State School for the Blind to operate a Summer School program.  The school is now able to provide a wonderful program to students from all over the state who are in need of intense services.

We appreciate the donation and cannot thank the Washington Council of the Blind enough for helping make the Summer School program a reality!

Dean O. Stenehjem, Ed.D.


Seeing Shoes

	The following is an excerpt from a Boston Globe article:

Lowell, Mass. -- These boots are made for walking -- and seeing, too.

Richard Castle has developed shoes for the blind that see where they're going. The shoes contain infrared sensors that detect objects up to about a yard away. As the walker approaches a wall, for example, part of the sole starts to vibrate. The vibrations correspond to the direction and distance of the object.

Castle is a recent engineering grad of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He came up with the idea last year as part of a senior project and already holds a provisional patent for his invention.

Castle says it's so simple, he's surprised nobody came up with seeing shoes for the blind before.


INFORMS THE PUBLIC is a new online directory of worldwide resources for and about people with combined vision and hearing loss.

St. Paul, MN:  Helen Keller is a household name. But do you know about... Laura Bridgman, Danny Delcambre, or your elderly neighbor? ...the modern technology and communication methods deafblind people use in daily life? ...where to find information and assistance if you experience vision and hearing loss?

The general public has little knowledge about what it is like to be deafblind. People who are deafblind themselves have limited access to sights, sounds, and information.

    A new web site,, is designed to close the information gap for both populations. showcases a vast collection of deafblindness information and resources in Minnesota and from around the world. Its Consumer Resource Guides aim to inform and empower adults, youth, families, and senior citizens with dual sensory impairment.

    Adrienne Haugen is one of several deafblind Minnesotans who provided feedback during the development of Haugen noted, "Everything's all in one place and it's WONDERFUL to see this web site providing so much information that is necessary for every deafblind [person] to know about."

    The site's logo features many hands of different sizes and colors reaching toward an open book. Designed to represent making deafblindness-related information accessible, the image also draws attention to the human hand, used by deafblind people to communicate, listen, read, navigate, sense and shape their environment. was developed with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division. The site was launched on December 2, 2002.

    Information about local deafblind services can be found at


Food for Thought

    You can always tell a real friend.  When you make a fool of yourself, he doesn't think you've done a permanent job.

    A wise woman's words:  Although the world is full of suffering, Helen Keller said, it is also full of the overcoming of it.


King County Chapter 
Lower Columbia Council of the Blind  
Peninsula Council of the Blind  
United Blind of Seattle  
United Blind of Spokane  
United Blind of Tri-Cities  


King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

I begin this report while Willie Nelson is serenading me with the promise that blue skies are coming my way.  This chapter has had more than its share of heartache and illness this past winter and spring.  Summer can't come too soon, and may it be filled with special events for everyone.

The King County chapter has had a variety of speakers so far this year.  Bob Sahm from the Access van program spoke to us about the ongoing purchasing of new equipment.  He brought along a computerized monitor that will be installed in each van, which will provide the driver with exact times and locations, including directions, so we riders may enjoy even more of those timely pickups and deliveries.

Carolyn Meyer from the Louis Braille Center is always a joy to hear because of her enthusiasm and love for braille.  These attributes also extend to blind children and their families in her Second Saturday program.  Carolyn plans to open a school in Edmonds for blind children some day.

Tim Schneebeck described a cruise to Mexico which he and Virginia, along with family members and friends, had recently enjoyed.  At ports of call, they experienced many of the local sights and sounds, plus shopping, food and both bottled and mixed beverages.  Remember dear friends, don't drink the water.   This is the same cruise that many of you took several years ago.  Tim also had the pleasure of teaching a local how to sight guide a blind person.

The WCB board has begun an outreach program where each board member is assigned a specific chapter to visit periodically.  We were pleased to welcome Lynette Romero, WCB director from the Lower Columbia Council, as that designated person to our chapter.  She will be our special liaison to the State Board.

We look forward to visiting with many of you at the upcoming WCB convention in Spokane.  King County member Julie Miller is busily knitting a lovely afghan in shades of blue which will be given away as a door prize in loving memory of Barbara Nelson.

	Hey Willie, sing it again: blue skies all the day long.


The Lower Columbia Council of the Blind
by Pamela Dickey, Secretary/Treasurer

We are busy here in Longview.  We started the year off with elections.  Congratulations to Cheryl Danzl, our new president, Ginger McCallum, vice-president, and I was re-elected secretary/ treasurer.

We have formed some new committees and reactivated others.   We now have six committees, which are: By-Laws, Environmental Access, Fundraising, Membership, Social, and Scholarship.

At our March meeting, we enjoyed hearing about Lynette and Cheryl's trip to Washington DC.  What an awesome opportunity for WCB members.   After the meeting, we enjoyed an ice cream social and Sheila shared with us how busy she's been on her computer (donated by Easter Seals) researching all the organizations that help the blind and visually impaired get computers and assistive technology.  You go girl!

We started our April meeting with a potluck.  We had two guests who will probably become members later this summer.

We met at Longview's beautiful Lake Sacajewea for our May meeting.  It was a long meeting because we have a busy summer ahead of us.  We are raising money to help a Longview middle school buy a CCTV for their visually impaired students.  We have rented a booth at Longview's annual 4th of July celebration July 2nd through the 5th to raise money and do some community outreach.

July 12th is our third annual summer picnic.  We will have plenty of great food and games.  We realized too late that this is at the same time as the ACB convention.  We would like to invite all our friends from WCB who can make it.  We would love to see you.

    We want to congratulate Lynette Romero; she graduated from The Evergreen College in June.   Great job!  We're very excited for her.

    On a personal note.  I had eye surgery on April 24th at Casey Eye Institute in Portland.  I have been truly blessed.   I have been given my eyesight back!  In 1984 I lost the sight in my left eye to an inflammatory disease.  I had many surgeries on that eye, but they were unable to restore the sight.  In 1990 I started losing the sight in my right eye to the same inflammatory disease, as well as glaucoma and cataracts.  I adjusted well over the years and learned how to do all the things I needed to do.  Like all of you, I wasn't going to quit living a full life just because my vision was gone. 
A few years ago, the doctors told me they could remove the cataracts, which would restore some sight, but because of other problems they gave the surgery only a 30% success rate.   But back then I wasn't willing to take that risk. 

    Then earlier this year, I lost the rest of my sight and decided it was time to make a move.  They still gave me only a 30% to 50% chance of success, but I had nothing to lose now and everything to gain.

    The day after my surgery, I could read the second line on the eye chart.  Today I can read the fifth line down, and on June 16th I will be fitted with contact lenses.  Hopefully I'll be driving real soon.


Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Cindy Burgett, Past President

    We begin this article by announcing our 2003 core of officers.  Meka White, President; Kevin Jones, Vice President; Michelle Denzer, Secretary; Mike Denzer, Treasurer; Eric Hunter, Jack Pigott and Stuart Russell, Board of Directors; and I am the Past President

    We are not only under new leadership, but we also have a new place and time to hold our meetings.  We are now meeting on the second Saturday of each month at Denny's restaurant on Wheaton Way in east Bremerton.  Not only is the food good, it's reasonably priced and the service is outstanding.

    Our hot topic so far this year is transportation.   Members commuting to Seattle are concerned about the possibility of time changes to their morning run, due to the State Ferry System eliminating the Passenger Only ferries.   We're also working with Kitsap Transit Access on ways they can better meet the needs of their blind passengers, and we are asking them to work on a fairer prioritization of their services.

    Thirteen ladies from our group got together the Friday before Mother's Day for our annual Mother's Day Luncheon.  We met at Just Your Cup O' Tea.  The guys have now taken the ladies' lead on these get-togethers and held a Men's support group lunch at the Family Pancake House back in March.  They enjoyed it so much, they're talking about scheduling another.

    At the beginning of this year, we started talking about the state convention being held in Spokane, and brainstormed for ideas on how we could raise money to help our chapter members attend.  We decided to hold our first-ever yard sale.  This profitable event took place the weekend of May 17-18, and was held at the Denzer's home.  Over 12 of our chapter families donated items ranging from knick knacks, stuffed animals, fabric and jewelry to exercise equipment, vacuum cleaners, TVs and miscellaneous computer components.  We also had the barbecue going, with hot dogs, hamburgers & cheeseburgers for sale, as well as an ice chest full of assorted pop.  We placed ads in a couple of the local papers, but I think it was the awesome signs posted at the major intersections, along with the good weather and the fact that it was payday weekend that kept the garage sale hoppers hopping down our path.  We had no idea how this sale would turn out, but I know for certain the $822 that we cleared was beyond any expectations any of us may have had.  Thanks so much to the Denzers for their willingness to host this fund-raiser, as well as picking up items from members donating to the sale.  We couldn't have done it without Mike & Pat.  I hope we'll do this again.  Not only was it a successful fund-raiser, but it was a fun social event, too.
Another fun and special time we shared was the baby shower for members Jeff & Sarah Schweizer.  Twenty-five members came to celebrate with this special young couple as they anticipated the arrival of their first child.  What a joy it was to have baby Kyle at our May meeting.

    Our annual Easter Brunch was another fun event, with 40 members and friends in attendance.  An egg hunt was held for the kids, and lots of delicious food was brought for the potluck.  Mike even brought a brand new waffle iron to break it in, and Stuart brought his espresso machine to treat attendees to a latte.

    Now as we head into summer and look forward to our annual camp-out at Camp Harobed and our group picnic, we encourage all of you to consider visiting us if you're ever in the area.   We promise you'll be made to feel right at home!


United Blind of Seattle
by Doug Hildie, President

    In March and April, United Blind of Seattle (UBS) continued its meeting routine with emphasis on essential business, and presentations by speakers from the community discussing a variety of topics. 

    This period is also the time of year when UBS focuses on preparations for "Friends Day", an annual celebration held in May, when UBS members invite guests to share food and hear presentations about WCB organizational structure and history.  This year, the presentations included one by a speaker from Sound Transit, which gave prospective members a sample of a regular feature of UBS.   "Friends Day" was again successful this year.  UBS gained several new members, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Many people help make "Friends Day" interesting and enjoyable.  My thanks to them all.


United Blind of Spokane
by Bea Shinnaberry, Secretary

It's finally spring here in Spokane.  We have been working very hard on convention.   Planning our work and working our plans.  We are looking forward to all of you coming to Spokane for a great convention November 6-8, 2003.

Shirley Taylor and her guide dog Velma came to visit our chapter for our May meeting.  She was an excellent speaker and very informative.   Shirley had attended Guide Dog School training with one of our new members, John Hennessey and his guide dog , Monty.  After our meeting, we took Shirley to lunch at Northern Quest Casino.  They sent a van to get us.  We had 12 people and three guide dogs traveling in the van.  We are planning a picnic for July.

We have two new members:  John Hennessey and his guide dog, and Danille Maher Osman and her guide dog.

Three of our members went to the Leadership Training in Seattle in May.  They were Marlee Naddy, Frances Spolski and I.  We all learned a lot about WCB.

Mary Thorpe has been in the hospital for surgery.   Clara Donder moved to a new house and then went on vacation.  Dorothy and Bob have three granddaughters graduating from high school in June - Sarah Leason, Central Valley High School; Alicia Anderson, Mount Spokane High School; and Heather Smith, Gonzaga Prep.


United Blind of Tri-Cities
by Janice Squires, President

The United Blind of the Tri-Cities is looking forward to the warm sunshine of summer in the Eastern part of Washington State.

The lunch bunch has been busy with socials at local restaurants such as Tony Roma's, Casa Chapalla, and the Double Dragon.  This summer we will once again have our annual summer picnic in August, which is always so much fun.

The play committee has once again organized a narrated play with our local theater group, and it is enjoyed by so many of our members.  The play Prescription Murder was done in April and our last play of the season will be Over the River and Into the Woods.

Diana Softich was our representative to the WCB Leadership Training seminar and she gave a great presentation on her experiences at our May meeting.   Diana is one of our newest members and is turning into one of our finest!

We would like to welcome our newest member, Rosemary Estes, into the United Blind of the Tri-Cities family.

Paul Wilburn and Frank Cuta have been working hard with the block grant committee with the City of Kennewick to put together a grant proposal to the WCB for the installation of locating devices at intersections, which have already been fitted with audible signals.  Also, another request may be made to the WCB for grant money to support one or two Senior Companions in this area.  This is a program that has assisted so many visually impaired and blind people for many years to remain independent by providing transportation and many other types of services.

Happy summer!


Community Outreach
by Carl Jarvis, Jefferson County Council of the Blind

April 23 was "Assume a Disability Day" in Port Townsend.  Four members of Jefferson County Council of the Blind took part as Assistants in the day-long activity.

DASH (Disability Awareness Surveillance and Health) organized the event.  Lynn Gresley is on the DASH board and Kay Bohren is a past member.

This "First Annual" event included all three Jefferson County Commissioners, Port Townsend Mayor, Director of Olympic Area Agency on Aging, Managing Editor of the Port Townsend Leader, the head of Jefferson County Transit, and several other noted community leaders.

The event was well organized and promoted.  Lynn, Cathy and I assisted the three individuals who were selected to be "blind."   We provided them with travel canes and sleep shades.  Participants were required to do all the work, asking directions, planning routes, shopping, locating businesses, determining where to have lunch, what to order, and how to eat it, etc.

Our travels took us around all of Port Townsend by public transportation.  For many, it was their first trip on a bus.  Kay Bohren assisted an individual with a physical disability.  It was very cool to see a number of blind people doing the assisting.  Of course we all wore huge name tags around our necks so the entire community could see who we were and what we were doing.

At the end of the day, during the debriefing, it was very encouraging to see that the participants looked beyond the experience of the disability itself, and talked about the need for improvements in their community to make it accessible to all people.

We want to thank DASH for putting together a very impressive event, and also the members of Jefferson County Council of the Blind for creating such a positive image.


Student Succeeds Without Power of Sight
by Sara Anderson
from the Central Kitsap Junior High Cub Chronicle
(Reprinted with permission)

Webster's New World Dictionary's definition for "blind" states "without power of sight."  But spending a half day with Nicole Torcolini, a blind seventh grader at Central Kitsap Junior High showed me that she can do just about anything.   She states, "Being blind doesn't mean I'm not smart."

Torcolini plays the violin in the orchestra, which she's been doing for three years.  She has to memorize her music.  When asked if it's hard, she replies, "It's not hard, but not easy."

Torcolini has one sister, Angela, in ninth grade.   She has a dog, Dolly, and two goldfish.

At four years old, Torcolini lost her vision due to cancer.  She says the biggest disadvantage to being blind is not being able to see movies.  Torcolini is determined to get a guide dog.  She informed me that she has to be 16 or older to be eligible to receive a guide dog.  The most common kind of guide dogs are Labrador Retrievers.

Torcolini uses other methods for help, such as her aide, Mrs. Cindy Bayard, and a cane to get through the crowded halls.  As for working on the computer and surfing the Internet, computer program JAWS reads to her what the screen says and tells her what she is typing.

Blind means without sight, and strictly just that.   Torcolini gets around and does everything that everyone else can do.  1.1 million people in the U.S. are blind, and 50,000 each year become blind, but being blind may be not so bad.   Sure, blind people can't see, but it doesn't stop them from doing things.


Summer Camp in Oregon

    The Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind announces its summer 2003 camp dates.  Adult camp (21 yrs. up) will be in session from July 19th to July 26th.  Youth camp (10 to 20 yrs.) will meet from August 16th to August 23rd.

    The 23-acre site offers the visually impaired nature walks, swimming, fishing, sports, good food, and great camaraderie.

    The cost is $300 for the week and camperships are available for both camps.

    There is no obligation in requesting an application.  Write to Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind, PO Box 157, Sandy, OR 97055.  Or call (503) 668-6195 or Ria Ehrheart at (503) 520-9384.


Hats Off to You
by Peggy Shoel, Editor

    Congratulations to the following WCB members:

    Berl Colley, President, WCB, on his retirement after 38 years in the workforce, most recently with OCLC, an international online library service.  Berl is looking forward to some activity in the travel industry, and will be getting more involved in community affairs in the Lacey area, with a focus on the needs of blind people.

Denise Colley, member, Capital City Council of the Blind, on her Governor's appointment as a voting member to the Board of Trustees for the Washington State School for the Blind.  Representing Congressional District 9, Denise will be completing an existing 3-year unfulfilled term, after which she will be eligible for reappointment to a 5-year term.

Cynthia Towers, member, United Blind of Seattle, on her award of a Fulbright Memorial Teacher Fund Scholarship for a 3-week travel/study overseas.   Cynthia will be spending three weeks in Japan in the fall of 2003.

Julie Lynch, member, Capital City Council of the Blind, who performed with the Panorama City Folkdance Group, upon request, at the recent Folklife Festival in Seattle.  The program included dances from other countries.

Vivian Conger, President, United Blind of Walla Walla, on her selection as the WCB First-timer grant recipient for national convention.  Vivian will be attending the American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention in Pittsburgh.

Lyle Burgett, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on his new job with the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle.  Lyle is employed in the government surplus administration department, which produces canteens for the military.

Jeff and Sarah Schweizer, members, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on becoming first-time parents.  Kyle Eric arrived at a birthweight of 6 pounds 14 ounces, and mama Sarah says he is just a perfect baby.
Janice and Bob Squires, President and member, respectively, United Blind of Tri-Cities, on becoming first-time grandparents with the birth of Andrew Jeffrey Gibbons.  Arriving at a birthweight of 8 pounds, 13 ounces, with reddish hair, Andrew lives with his parents, Carey and Dan, in Spokane.

Michelle Denzer, Secretary, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on her graduation from Olympic High School.  Michelle received the "Shirley Smith Technology Scholarship" for $800, and will use the money to purchase JAWS for Windows.

Lynette Romero, Board Member, WCB, on her graduation from the Evergreen State College in Olympia with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Lynette will be studying for a Master's degree to become a rehabilitation counselor.

Dorothy & Bob Carroll, member, WCB Board and Vice-president, United Blind of Spokane, respectively , on becoming third time great grandparents.  Emanuela Bentley arrived at a birthweight of 6 pounds and 13 ounces, with a full head of hair.


Bits & Pieces 
by Peggy Shoel, Editor

Chess for Beginners, a new course offered by the Hadley School for the Blind, provides a way for blind and visually impaired individuals to enjoy this game.  This free course teaches the basics of chess in braille and on audio cassette tape, explaining how to identify the chess pieces and how each piece moves.  Winning strategies are covered, and a quick reference guide lists braille chess notation abbreviations.  For more information, call Hadley Student Services at 800 526 9909.

Large print books (Weekly Publishers Magazine).   Because of the increase in age-related vision loss, more and more national and international commercial publishers are reprinting their more popular books in large print.  It is believed that these books have a big future and will enable the publishers to hold onto this expanding consumer market.  The large print books, mostly fiction and biographies, should be available in the marketplace soon.

A new publication on cassette, Horticulture Magazine, will soon be available through the National Library Service (NLS).  It is published six times per year.  If you are a Talking Book & Braille Library patron and would like a free subscription, contact the Library at (206) 615-0400 or 800-542-0866.

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) is a national organization providing free services and assistance to veterans who are legally blind.   For more information about this organization, call 800-669-7079.


That's Funny

A law of employment - when leaving work late, you will go unnoticed.  When leaving work early, you will run into your boss in the parking lot.

When I was a child I could roast marshmallows using the candles on my birthday cake.  Now I can roast a turkey.

A family was having company for dinner.  At the table, the mother asked the six-year-old child to offer the blessing.  "I don't know what to say," replied the little girl.  "Just repeat what you heard mommy say."  The little girl took a deep breath, bowed her head, and calmly said, "Dear Lord, why did I ever invite these people to dinner?"



(Serves 6 or more. Good warmed up)
Recipe Taste Tested by Sharon Keeran, 
Member, Guide Dog Users of Washington

Dump all of the ingredients listed into a 2 quart casserole. 
2-3 Tbsp butter, margarine or oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz) mushroom pieces
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup uncooked wild rice
½ cup uncooked barley
Chopped celery, including leaves, to taste
Optional: A small carrot finely chopped just for the color.
Grated cheddar cheese to taste.
Bake at 325º for 1½  hours 
(May need to uncover and bake a bit longer until all liquid is absorbed.  
About 15 minutes.)


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 1, 2003.
Articles may be edited for purposes of clarity and space considerations.

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

July 5-12
ACB National Convention in Pittsburgh, PA
July 15
Deadline for receipt of Education Scholarship application
Aug 1
Deadline for bus reservations for WCB retreat
Aug 8
WCB Retreat in Olympia
Aug 9
WCB Board Meeting following Retreat in Olympia
Aug 31
Deadline for receipt of First-Timer grant application for State Convention
Sept 6
DSB Rehab Council in Wenatchee
Sept 8-12
Request for free room at State Convention
Sept 13
WTBBL PAC Meeting in Seattle
Oct 10
Deadline for receipt of bus reservations and travel stipends for State Convention
Oct 10
Deadline for pre-registration for State Convention
Nov 6-8
WCB State Convention in Spokane
Dec 6
DSB Rehab Council Meeting in Tacoma



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

To Sue Sather, for duplicating the tape version of this issue.

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.

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

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