June 2007 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935


Cindy Van Winkle, President
6686 Capricorn Lane NE
Bremerton, WA  98311
(360) 698-0827

Peggy Shoel, Editor
5171 S Spencer Street
Seattle, WA  98118
(206) 722-8477



From the President's Desk

The Rally in Olympia 

The Merger, Before and After

Spring Board Meeting Highlights

Leadership Seminar 

Come Join Us in Spokane

WCB Awards Program

Environmental Access Committee Report

Special Interest Spotlight:  Braille Revival League

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Report

Snapshots from Department of Services for the Blind

Washington State School for the Blind Report

Louis Braille School News

Louis Braille School Auction Action

Guide Dog Users of Washington State Spring Fling

Around the State

A Dream Realized

Career Exploration & Evaluation Workshops

AFB Senior Site: A Unique Web Resource

Hats Off to You!

Bits & Pieces





From The President’s Desk
by Cindy Van Winkle

Spring is a time of rebirth and new life.  For some of us, this means getting our green thumbs active, while for others of us it means getting into a regimen of medications to counteract the effects on us of the overactive growth encouraged by those green thumbs.  Sadly I’m amongst the latter, but that doesn’t lessen my appreciation for nature and all she has to offer.

So as it is with spring, WCB has been experiencing growth in numerous ways.  At the time of this writing, our membership now sits at 430 – an all-time high.  One hundred and twenty-five WCB members have graduated from our leadership training seminars over the past seven years.  The theme this year was TEAM WCB.  How proud I am, knowing that we can truly demonstrate the meaning behind that theme as we continue to draw from our growing and developing membership as members take on new responsibilities in their local chapters and through WCB committees or other tasks.

WCB is a garden made up of individuals with differing strengths, physical attributes, needs, etc.  Some are native to our organization, while others have been replanted here.  And sometimes, we do some rearranging to help our garden grow stronger, look more beautiful, be more fragrant or useful.  Often this is what happens when committees are appointed at the beginning of each year, elections are held, or new chapters are being developed.

So what do a garden and team have in common?  They are each individuals working together to create something special.  And just as each flower, plant or tree help complete a garden, each one of you help make WCB a real team.  I have often spoken about our power in numbers and the need for us working collectively to make the strongest impact, but over and over again this year, I have been reminded about the individual who makes a difference.

Whether it’s making a reminder phone call to members about an upcoming meeting or event, talking to a stranger in your community about your chapter or providing support or information about blindness, coming up with and sharing an idea for a fund-raiser or social event, taking the lead on a project, visiting a shut-in – a member who can’t come to meetings any more because of poor health, writing a letter or making a phone call concerning an important legislative issue, and the list goes on, you have been a valued contributor to our team.  The work you do may sometimes seem as though it goes unnoticed, but I want to offer you some food for thought.  In a garden it is the weeds and the flowers that no longer bloom or trees that no longer bear fruit which are the ones signaled out and removed.  For it is the actively growing flowers, plants and trees which continue to make a positive difference in keeping the garden vibrant.  And it is each of you who, as individual members, keep WCB alive and well.

None of this though is to dismiss the responsibility of the gardener with the aid of good weather conditions, or in the case of WCB, the responsibility of your leadership to nurture and empower our membership.  This usually occurs most successfully through a pass it on approach.  We hold the annual Leadership Seminar and monthly President’s conference calls with the hopes of building up key leaders in all of our chapters that they will find ways to pass on what they’ve learned to their chapter membership.  Another way members may find empowerment is through participation on the WCB email list.  Unfortunately though, none of these are foolproof methods.  But this shouldn’t mean we don’t continue doing them.  In fact, I think we should keep on doing them and continuously be exploring new ways to reach out and encourage members to get more involved.

This is where I would like to invite each of you who have, for whatever reason, felt defeated or unsure of how you can be more active in WCB to step into my greenhouse.  Now, here is a packet of seeds.  It doesn’t matter what kind they are.  What matters is knowing that with good soil and the right amount of sunlight and water, these seeds will grow and find their place in our garden.  Imagine now, you are those seeds and WCB is the soil.  It is the people around you who will provide sunlight or water.  However, because the people around you don’t know what kind of seeds you are, we need you to tell us how much of each you need.

On that same premise, as an individual member, you have the power to be the gardener who nourishes the seedlings and empowers growth in other members.  So now I need you to pick up your watering can and be ready to help our garden grow.

Back to Table of Contents


The Rally in Olympia
by Gaylen Floy, President,
South King Council of the Blind

“Can we pull it off?” That was the nail-biting question before the legislative committee. It was Friday, March 30th in a committee conference call that included Sue Ammeter and Cindy Van Winkle. A weightier question loomed, “What will become of our library if we don’t do something big now?” We decided to go for it. A full-court press ensued with a tsunami of phone calls, emails and preparations.

We knew the NFBW would come, but were there other groups out there that might support this on such short notice? The committee took heart when Bill Hoage, of United Blind of Tri-Cities, arranged a live radio interview for Cindy. Folks who couldn’t make it to the rally emailed their encouragement.

Wednesday, April 4th dawned with perfect weather. Nearly 60 sign-carrying people gathered on the capital steps in Olympia. Cindy, with bullhorn in hand, and Mike Freeman, NFBW President, stood on the steps above us. At first, we seemed dwarfed by the massive building complex. Once the chants of “No blind left behind!” began, sixty people sounded like 600.

Bobbie Singer, 83, from the Low Vision Support Group in Seattle, observed, “I come from an old MPD family, which stands for march, picket and demonstrate. We made an awful lot of noise on the capital steps – so much that they heard us in chambers.”

Lawn chairs and water bottles were available in case anyone got frazzled. But our crowd was energized, especially when 107-year-old Daisy Murphy, of Lacey, rolled in to support her WTBBL. The Secretary of State, Sam Reed, came out to talk with us, followed by Rep. Phyllis Kenney, of the 46th district.

A TV camera crew set up nearby. It was KOMO 4 News and they wanted an interview. Putting Sue on the spot seemed like a good idea. She was a bit nervous, but spoke well. Then Kurt Ackerson, a reporter for The Olympian, connected with Gloria Walling of the Capital City Council of the Blind. Gloria was firing on all six cylinders -- an excellent local spokesperson.

Reporter Kathie Durbin, of The Columbian, got some good quotes from Jim Eccles. Jim pointed out the importance of our library as demand increases, referring to baby boomers. “They’ll start experiencing vision loss as part of the aging process,” he predicted. “We're going to see a dramatic increase in the number of people needing these services.”

After two hours of chanting and speeches, fact sheets were handed out and people headed indoors to see their legislators. Becky Bell, of UBS, opted to sit in the gallery and watch proceedings. “The rally was well organized,” Becky said. “Cindy’s family did a great job with the signs. I’m glad we went down there and were so visible.”

Randy Tedrow reflected on the rally. “The important thing is, we gathered together. Had I not gone, I would have missed out on all of that: the waiting outside the chambers, the nervous anticipation of talking with someone at such a level in government, the camaraderie of doing something with a bunch of other crazy, sign-waving people who wanted to make a difference.”

Gloria Walling noted, “Viola Cruz and I were featured in a front-page photo, chanting ‘We believe in literacy.’ People have recognized me from that photo. It’s opened up opportunities to talk about the library and other concerns.”

The rally was a huge step in getting the library on Olympia’s radar. In early May, Marlaina Lieberg met Rep. Shay Schual-Berke at Starbuck’s to chat and verified that the rally got their attention. Without the rally, there would have been no extra funding. Gearing up for next year, legislators and the WCB committee are fact finding. Chapters are urged to build on their contacts.

Getting a handle on the library issue has proved a steep learning curve. But it is preparing us for future challenges. We experienced ups and downs in getting the word out to chapters. Our new phone system is up and running. Some of our members have emailed and talked with a legislator for the very first time. Sharing what we learn with members is vital. That’s empowerment.

Recall the closing words of the letter Cindy read from Christopher Gray, ACB President, “Thank you again for your participation today and don't give up this fight. It’s worth it, not only for you personally, but for so many newly blinded people that you represent.”

Back to Table of Contents 


The Merger, Before and After
by Berl Colley

The event was a merger between the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) and the United Blind of Washington State (UBWS).  It occurred on March 3, 1990 at the Best Western Executive Inn, in Seattle, Washington.  The merger ended six years of effort by several people to bring the two organizations together.  In 1989 the Presidents of the two organizations, Tim Schneebeck (WCB) and Sue Ammeter (UBWS), appointed three members from each group to draw up a suggested constitution.  Now it is March 3rd 1990 and blind people from around the state of Washington gathered to decide if these two organizations should merge or stay separate.  Oral Miller, Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), from Washington D.C., facilitated the meeting.  LeRoy Saunders, President of ACB from Oklahoma, and Grant Mack, immediate past President of ACB, from Utah were also present.  It was time to vote, the vote was called for and the decision to merge was unanimous. 

What does the history of (WCB) look like?

If you place your right hand out in front of you, curl your middle, ring and little fingers under, you will have your thumb and index finger showing.   With these two fingers spread out, you will find that the inside of the (V) represents your organization’s history.  The inside of your thumb represents the original (WCB) and the longer index finger represents the (UBWS) and its two previous names. 

The original WCB started in 1971 by a small group of people wanting an alternative to the existing organization.  It was incorporated in 1972 and during its 18 years had nine presidents.  Its first President was Ed Donnelly.  The UBWS was formed in 1935 as the Washington State Association of the Blind (WSAB).  There were active groups in Spokane, Seattle, Everett, Tacoma and a little later in Vancouver.  The primary focus was to raise the amount of public assistance for blind people from the state legislature.  WSAB joined the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in 1942 and was incorporated in our state in 1953.  It changed its name to the NFB of Washington in 1972, but in 1979 relations between the national organization and NFBW became strained and NFBW was expelled.  The name was changed to the United Blind of Washington State and it continued with that name until March 3, 1990. 

In the 17 years since the merger, WCB has had four presidents.  They are: Sue Ammeter, 1990 through 1993; Sharon Keeran, 1994 through 1995; Sue Ammeter, 1996 through 1999; Berl Colley, 2000 through 2003; Cindy Van Winkle, 2004 through 2007.  Since the merger, WCB members have worked to pass a bill to give school kids the right to choose Braille as their mode of learning, a voting bill, making sure that counties provide voting machines, helping several puppy dog bills to fail and working on an ongoing effort to help the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library to be administered by the state library.  The merger created an organization that has almost tripled in size and has greatly increased its resources.  

To learn more about the (WCB) and other Washington state organizations and agencies, go to and arrow down to the history page.

Back to Table of Contents 



Spring Board Meeting Highlights
By Chris Coulter, Vice President,
Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

The Spring board meeting of the Washington Council of the Blind was held on Sunday, May 6th, 2007 at the Holiday Inn in Everett. This meeting was held in conjunction with two other WCB events, namely, the 2007 Leadership Training Seminar and the annual Guide Dog Users of Washington State Spring Fling.

The board meeting was called to order at 9 AM. The roll was called; the minutes were read and approved and the treasurer’s report was read and accepted.

Cindy Van Winkle gave the president’s report, in which she thanked all of the WCB chapters for stepping up to the plate and contacting our state representatives and senators about the various bills in this legislative session that have an impact on the lives of blind people. Cindy also recognized the sixteen Leadership Training Seminar participants for their work during the weekend’s training activities. In her report she made the first of many references to specific seminar participants volunteering to serve on WCB committees.

WCB’s various committees have been busy recently. In February Alan Bentson, our scholarship committee chair, gave a presentation at the Washington State School for the Blind in which he informed students of our scholarships and how to apply for them.

The convention committee has been working hard to make sure registration and the convention itself run smoothly.

Marlaina Lieberg reported that the membership committee has been working on an organized procedure for doing outreach events. She also said that the membership committee will be putting on a luncheon program on Saturday during convention.

Other committee reports tackled a wide range of subjects. These subjects included everything from the problems encountered when blind pedestrians try to deal with roundabouts to the twenty boxes of documents dating from 1932 that were found by the Pierce County Association of the Blind.

Sue Ammeter, in her capacity as our representative on the WTBBL Patron Advisory Council, gave us the latest information on the library’s transition. Sue also told us about the April 14th auction at the Louis Braille School.

Cindy Van Winkle serves on the State Rehab Council. She told us that there are open positions on the Council for which we may apply.

The officers and board members officially thanked the Everett Holiday Inn for its outstanding service to WCB during this eventful weekend. The meeting was adjourned at 2 PM.

Back to Table of Contents 



Leadership Seminar Article
by Mary Jean Hoover, Member At-Large

I have been a member of ACB for many years in other states. I moved to Aberdeen in 2002 and became a WCB/GDUWS member last year. I thought my attending the Leadership seminar would give me more insight into how WCB worked and who the people are that run such a large affiliate. I was very happy I chose to attend! There were 16 participants from all over the state. It was exciting to meet so many nice people throughout the weekend! We spent Friday night getting to know each other both in small and large group activities.

The theme of the weekend was Team WCB. We each received a bag with our name on it with a CD of the materials from the many presenters and a print or brailled copy of information needed during the weekend. I would find out how important teamwork is in any leadership role as the weekend went on. Julie Brannon spoke on personality styles and empowerment and how we can use what we learn in the seminar in our local chapters. We learned about the four types of contributors in a group such as: The Promoter, Driver, Supporter, and Analyst. We had a chance to apply what Julie spoke about in a small group activity. It was a great way to get to know each other and to apply what we were learning from Julie’s presentation.

Once our meeting was over, we had a chance to socialize with each other in the hospitality room. What great fun to hang out with a bunch of blind people, have a drink, and get to know each other informally. I was not sure what to expect with this event as I get nervous meeting new people. I felt comfortable right away! I had forgotten how important it is to get support from other people who struggle with the same issues as I do regarding blindness. Hospitality is a great way to meet new people and it is ok if you cannot remember someone’s name or forget where you put down your drink glass! Being with other people who are blind is affirming to me and gives me a sense of identity that I do not get with sighted people.

Saturday’s events began with Berl Colley, who talked about the history of WCB. I was glad to get this information as I love history and it is important to understand where we have come from in order to know where we are going. Frank Cuta gave a great presentation on parliamentary procedures and how to run an effective meeting. We learned about how motions are made, seconded, have discussion, and taking a vote. Sue Ammeter talked about resolutions and how they help WCB define the issues it wants to work on during a year. Resolutions are made at the state convention for WCB. We learned how to write a good resolution including all the ‘whereas’ and ‘be it resolved’ language.

Our team was forming and we were learning how to play ‘the game’. We spent the rest of the morning talking about chapter membership and ideas for bringing in new members. There was much discussion about how to include everyone and to use the talents of each chapter member wisely. Gaylen Floy talked about press releases. We learned how to write one, and where to send it. This is a great way to get the word out about chapter events and special activities.

After lunch we learned about all the committees there are in WCB from Marlaina Lieberg. WCB is very busy, with 18 standing committees and two ad hoc committees. There are many ways to be involved in WCB!

Chris Coulter talked about the role of officers and new members becoming officers and the role of officers leaving their office. Our final task was to get into groups of four and come up with a WCB slogan and a public service announcement. This was a great way to apply what we had learned about leadership and teamwork!

Saturday night we had a wonderful pizza banquet and each of the four groups presented their public service announcement and slogan. We were given a Team WCB T-shirt and certificate of completion to culminate the seminar. After breakfast with some newfound friends, we attended the WCB Board meeting on Sunday morning. Overall, it was a great weekend! I learned much about WCB and met some new friends along the way.

Back to Table of Contents 



Come Join Us in Spokane  -  2007 WCB Convention
by Denise Colley, Convention Committee Chair

Do you look forward to visiting with old friends and meeting new ones?  Do you enjoy honing your advocacy skills?   Would you like to know more about how the legislative process works?  Are you curious about the latest adaptive technology?  If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, I hope you’re making plans to join us for the Washington Council of the Blind’s most exciting event of the year, our annual convention. When and where does all this take place, you ask?  Read on to find out more.

When?  November 1 through 3, 2007

Where?  The Doubletree Hotel Spokane City Center, 322 North Spokane Falls North, Spokane, Washington.  You may make hotel reservations by calling (509) 455-9600.  To obtain the WCB hotel rates, please let the reservationist know that you are with our convention.  Our room rates are $84 per night for singles and doubles, plus 10.8% tax.  The cost is $10 per night additional per person up to four people per room.

The WCB Convention Committee and our host chapter, the United Blind of Spokane, are working hard to bring you a weekend that’s interesting, informative, and fun.  Details are not finalized, but here are the tentative plans. Thursday evening there will be the traditional Board, Constitution and By-laws and Resolutions Committee meetings.  Plenary sessions will be held Friday and Saturday mornings.  On Friday afternoon we will once again be hearing from a dynamic employment panel, and there will be several break-out groups, where you will have a choice of various smaller seminars and meetings focusing on specific topics, such as technology and our ever-popular history roundtable. Friday evening possibilities are still being decided, so watch the Newsline and your convention bulletin for more information.  The business meeting will once again be held Saturday afternoon and will be followed by a reception for scholarship winners, and the usual social hour and banquet.  And if you need to relax after all of that, hospitality will be open all three evenings.

Debby Phillips is heading up the always-popular Exhibit Room this year, and hopes to have the room packed with a diverse group of exhibitors.  Our Exhibit Room hours will be 10:00am to 5:00pm on Friday, November 02.  If you or your chapter would like to show your wares in our exhibit room this year, Debby would love to hear from you.  She can be reached at (509) 684-1266 or  Please note that this year there will be a $10 administrative fee for each exhibitor.

Below are a few very important dates for you to remember, so mark your calendars today:

August 31: Deadline date for State Convention First Timer applications to be received by Viola Cruz, Chairperson:

If you have been a WCB member since at least May 1, 2007, and have never attended a WCB convention, we may be able to assist you with transportation, hotel and registration expenses, with grants available through the First Timers Committee.  If interested, please send a letter, briefly outlining how the grant would benefit you.  E-mail is the preferred format for sending such a letter.

September 12:  Free room requests, one day only from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Once again this year, one free hotel room will be available for two women and another for two men. First priority will go to individuals who have never utilized this benefit.  You must call Marilyn Donnelly personally at:  (800) 255-1147 or (206) 283-4276.

October 4: Deadline date for Convention Registration and Hotel reservations - This year’s convention registration cost is $85.  This includes a $10 administration fee and up to five meals:  Friday breakfast and lunch, and Saturday breakfast, lunch and banquet.  If you wish to just attend the banquet, the cost for a ticket will be $45.  Late registration for those registering between October 4 and October 15 will be $135.  Registrations will not be accepted after October 15.

October 4:  Deadline date for reserving a seat on the bus and making transportation stipend requests - WCB will be providing two buses this year to transport convention attendees to and from the hotel. They will leave from Seattle and Bremerton, and will be picking up passengers at other locations along their routes.  A $50 travel stipend is available for qualifying WCB members who choose to not ride one of the buses.  Those not eligible for the stipend include individuals who live in Spokane County or anyone who chooses to ride one of the buses.  Details as to how to reserve a seat on one of the buses or to apply for a travel stipend will be available in the next Newsline and in your convention bulletin.

Please be looking for your 2007 convention bulletin in August.  When you get it, mark those events and activities that you plan to attend.  This helps us have an idea of what size meeting room we’ll need.  It also helps us let the hotel know how many meals to prepare.


Back to Table of Contents 



WCB Awards Program
by Julie Brannon, Committee Chair

If you're at all like me, through the year you often think of people, both inside and outside WCB, who give of their time, talent, resources and passion to blind and visually impaired persons in a variety of ways. It was so exciting to first be aware of the awards committee which was developed as an ad hoc committee at the suggestion of President Cindy Van Winkle at the March 2004 board meeting. Marlaina Lieberg and her committee members, along with input from other WCB members, developed an all-inclusive array of both internal and external awards, and those of us attending WCB convention banquets have witnessed the joy and appreciation from those much-deserving recipients.

It's time again to start taking action, and contacting the awards committee with your ideas about deserving persons. This year as in years past, we will continue to give:

1. Certificates of appreciation to those who have completed their board/officer tenure within the year

2. A certificate to chapters honoring ongoing growth with 10 percent or more membership increase in the past year

3. Honorable mention to chapters who have submitted a chapter update quarterly for the past year in the WCB Newsline

Internal awards will again consist of:

1. Certificate for outstanding service to WCB

2. Chapter of the year award (to a chapter that has demonstrated actions of outstanding community outreach)

3. Outstanding advocacy award

4. Newsline editor's award (to a writer who has written an outstanding article in the Newsline within the last year on some aspect of blindness)

External awards will again consist of:

1. Employer of the year award (going to an employer who has employed blind/visually impaired persons along with allowing for access and upward mobility, who isn't in the rehab/blindness field)

2. Business of the year award (given to a business that has provided outstanding customer service to blind/visually impaired persons)

3. One-world award (given to a person or entity who has assisted in minimizing the impact of blindness in some way)

If you would like further explanation regarding the criteria for each award, feel free to write me at with your questions, or go online to the WCB website, and look at the Newsline article from June, 2005, written by Marlaina Lieberg outlining detailed explanations of each award.

There will be more information posted on the WCB website, including a letter you can send out to your families, friends and organizations for their suggestions for possible recipients for the external awards.

Your submission for award considerations must not exceed 350 words; and contact information for both the recipient and yourself must be included. Please either e-mail or send via phone e-mail your nominations to my e-mail address of:

The deadline for the receipt of your award nominations is August, 31, 2007!

The awards committee, Vivian Conger, Bill Hoage, and I, look forward to this being the year with the greatest number of award nominations. This is your chance to translate your thoughts of appreciation and gratitude into action!

Back to Table of Contents 



Environmental Access Committee Report
by David Egan, Chair

The Washington Council of the Blind – Environmental Access Committee members for 2007 are Joleen Ferguson, Doug Hildie, Marlaina Lieberg, Barbara Sainitzer, and David Egan.  We are reaching out to involve chapters in local actions. It is our desire to enlist individual member and chapter’s involvement, and commitment in this process.

Our work this year is centering on PEDESTRIAN CONCERNS.  Many things can, and should, be placed under this broad heading.  We have considered outreach activities such as contacting ophthalmologists, medical services, transportation entities, and the media.  We are focused on getting started on something that deals directly with the global aspects of pedestrian mobility/safety by looking at specific access issues throughout the state.  Our goal is to be able to help direct chapters to their local municipal resource person in order to discuss, and resolve the issue.  We do however recognize that at times additional interventions must take place.  It is essential that we have a solid, trustworthy working relationship with local and state entities.

A survey conducted this past winter gave us results that are prioritized in this order. 

a)  Pedestrian issues – safety, signals, sidewalks, pits, and curbs  

b)  Public Transit - announcing stops, accessible schedules, bus stop layout 

c) Accessibility in public buildings    

Below is a sampling of topic discussions and activities that we have focused on so far this year.

- Accessible Currency

- Accessibility within private, government, and public buildings

- Accessible Pedestrian Signals and development of contact network

- Drivers Training Manual - White Cane Law

- Pedestrian safety – crossings, signals, sidewalk hazards including - tree pits, curbs, roundabouts, and parking lot openings,

- Web site Accessibility

In the big picture - There is room for many approaches to communication with the general public on access issues and conditions affecting legally blind individuals in the various Washington communities. 

Pedestrian safety concerns range from dealing with roundabouts, sidewalk/street construction, parking lots, to signals, obstacles and much more.  It is obvious that Environmental Access covers a great deal beyond pedestrian safety. We recognize the value in working cooperatively with governing agencies to resolve concerns.  Your feedback on access issues that you encounter will assist us in truly representing our membership.

Back to Table of Contents 



Special Interest Spotlight: Braille Revival League
by Lynne Koral, President

First, I want to thank Peggy Shoel for getting in touch with the Braille Revival League.  It is a great idea to showcase and highlight special-interest affiliate programs and priorities.

The Braille Revival League was formed in 1981, when people felt that Braille was on the decline.  Roger Petersen, one of the founders of this affiliate, explained that people were actually envisioning a world without Braille.  There was no requirement that schools teach Braille to those who were academically able, or had the dexterity and aptitude for it. There were no “Braille bills” to guarantee access to Braille.  There was no wide access to relatively affordable note taking and portable Braille devices and computers.  When the Braille Revival League started, reading machines were just coming into notice, and computers were not household items either.

The purpose of the BRL is to support the use, production and teaching of Braille as a tool for literacy for blind children and adults who are mentally and physically able to use it as a practical means of reading and writing in their daily lives.  The affiliate wants us to be educated in the latest changes in Braille contraction use, production and new products which make Braille more usable and readable.

Per our constitution, the Braille Revival League is striving to:

a)          engender a proper sense of pride among blind people in the fact that Braille is a method of reading and writing that can render them as literate as sighted people;

b)          stimulate in blind people a keen awareness of the practical uses and importance of Braille in their daily lives; 

c)          encourage all blind people to read and write Braille; 

d)          make Braille instruction mandatory in schools and other educational facilities for the blind; 

e)          make the mastering of Braille an integral part of the curriculum for training prospective teachers of the blind;

f)            achieve a substantial increase in the output and availability of Braille material from our printing houses and libraries with a high degree of excellence and accuracy;

g)          encourage maximum availability of information in Braille for consumers by providers of goods and services.

We have two program sessions during the convention.  The first session, on Tuesday, always has elections and a business meeting.  Thursday is our other session.  As President, I have made sure we have two additional board meetings during the year to speak about the program.

For the second year in a row, we will be having Braille Bunco. Judy Jackson brought this activity to the Board, and it is now part of our fund-raising effort.  We have also sold raffle tickets. In the past, we had a Computer Braille Code class.  We always hear about the Braille Authority of North America, and we will do that this year, also with the new President, Judy Dixon.

We have membership dues of $10, and life membership dues of $250.  Feel free to get in touch with me by e-mail at  Thank you for allowing me to tell you a little about the Braille Revival League.

Back to Table of Contents 



Washington Talking Book & Braille Library
by Gloria Leonard, Director

Over the past few months, WTBBL and its patrons, volunteers, partner agencies, support organizations and corporate sponsors have been demonstrating that we are a TEAM where T = together, E = everyone, A = achieves and M = more!  Here’s some of the evidence.

Braille Challenge   Recently, WTBBL’s Young Adult Librarian, Kathryn Pierce, received the following email messages:

·   “Thank you for posting a note on TOVI about the sleepover at the WTBBL.  What a great idea!  I am always amazed how much we can do to support the needs and interests of our blind children when we all work together and commit our resources.”  - Alan Garrels, Program Manager, Child and Family Services, Washington Department of Services for the Blind

·       “I have a 6th grade student, Anastasia Riddle, who is interested in the [Braille] Challenge.  The extra enticement of the sleepover made it all seem possible.” - Kathryn Kier, a teacher of the visually impaired on Orcas Island.

The overall aim of the Braille Challenge is to build enthusiasm among braille readers by providing a family event that celebrates excellence in braille literacy skills.  We wanted to eliminate any financial or distance problems for those families who lived outside of the Metro area.  We wanted to provide the opportunity for blind students to interact with their peers. Therefore, we offered a “sleepover” at WTBBL the night before the event.

Following the lead and model of California’s Braille Institute’s Challenge, Washington’s Braille Challenge targeted all of the 138 active braille readers from grades 1 – 12.  Program announcements were sent out to these WTBBL readers and an announcement was posted on the listserv for Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TOVI).  Three students, three relatives, and one VI teacher took advantage of the sleepover.  These participants were an enthusiastic bunch -- for one family, the sleepover was the deciding factor in their involvement in the Braille Challenge.  It is hoped that as the event becomes an annual occurrence, attendance will increase.  The positive response of partner agencies to WTBBL’s participation is an additional reason to repeat the sleepover activity in the future.

WSSB Career Fair  On Friday, March 2, the Washington State School for the Blind held its annual Career Fair.  With the Department of Services for the Blind providing transportation, approximately 40 visually impaired high school students from all over the state attended the event.  Once again, Kathryn Pierce and Alan Garrels were among the talented professionals who spoke to the teens.  While attending the Career Fair, Kathryn distributed to the teens booklists on exploring career and college choices specifically created for the WSSB Career Fair.  Five boxes of excess Print/Braille titles from the WTBBL collection were donated to the WSSB Library.  The WSSB librarian was thrilled at the additions to the collection (522).

Volunteer Use Statistics. During the First Quarter of 2007, 223 volunteers contributed 6,217 service hours at WTBBL, which represents a 16% increase in volunteer hours. This increase is partly due to the restructuring of the monthly volunteer recruitment plan and orientation and training sessions which began in December 2006. 

Thirty-two prospective volunteers attended one of six new orientation sessions at the Library.  Of these, 27 were placed in positions. 

Lobbying and Legislation.  Over the past few months, there have been lots of creative individual and collective lobbying and advocacy activities on WTBBL’s behalf. These include the Library's Patron Advisory Council as well as joint WCB and NFBW lobbying of legislators to maintain high visibility of WTBBL with lawmakers and their aides during the 60th Legislative Session, which included Library Legislative Day in March and the April rally.  Individuals also helped. Locally-produced book narrator Edward (Ed) Kennedy wrote letters to his district representatives to solicit support of increased funding. Civic leader and library supporter Alene Cisney took snapshots of volunteers and special features of the WTBBL.  Combining the photos with narrative information, she created a booklet which she hand-delivered to all of the members of the House Appropriations Committee.  Due to these lobbying efforts and others, WTBBL received a $72,000 increase in its 2007-2009 biennium operating budget.

These are just a few examples that demonstrate how Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM)! 

Thank you WCB for helping to ensure that the book, information and reading-related issues of WTBBL patrons are satisfied.  Special accolades go out to several WCB members who played a critical role during Washington’s 60th Legislative season: Cindy Van Winkle, President, Denise Colley, Alan Bentson, Sue Ammeter, Lynette Romero, Jim Eccles and Terry Atwater.  For further information about the Patron Advisory Council contact your WCB representative, Sue Ammeter, Tom Gillespie, Chair@ or call the library toll-free at 1-800-542-0866 or locally at 206-615-0400.

Back to Table of Contents 



Snap Shots from DSB
by Mark Adreon
Communications & Employer Consultant

Remember when your family and friends would go on a great vacation or attend an important life-changing function like a wedding or graduation?  Soon after, they would show up at your door with several envelopes of pictures or even better, a complete slide show with an original musical score!  Even if you could not see the snap shots, your family and friends would spend hours telling you what they had captured for posterity.

This quarter’s article is entitled “Snap Shots from DSB” and it is intended to give you some snap shots of how this year at DSB is going. (Year end is 6/30/07)


VR Snap Shot

·          The Vocational Rehabilitation program has served 1,116 participants to date.

·          The number of participants that have started competitive employment to date is 112.

·          The average hourly wage is $15.66.

·          There are 203 participants enrolled in post secondary training. This includes technical and 4 year colleges. 

The VR program is on target to meet or exceed last year’s numbers on participants served and competitive employment outcomes. Look for a more complete summary of the VR program in upcoming issues of the Newsline.


OTC Snap Shot

The Orientation and Training Center has currently worked with 34 fulltime students and 15 part-time students for a total of 49 participants. 

Family and Friends:  On Saturday, March 31st, the OTC staff held the first Family and Friends event of the year. This event gives students a chance to bring along family members and friends who then get to experience the classes with sleep shades on and then talk with a larger group about how they can best help their family member/friend now that he/she is blind. Families have always enjoyed the experience and stated afterwards that they felt that their ability to communicate with loved ones was truly enhanced. 


IL Snap Shot

The Independent Living program has served 1,764 clients as of March 2007.

DSB, with the support of our community partners and stakeholders, worked with the legislature to attain direct funding support for the Independent Living (IL) program.   This means that the IL program will be funded at actual cost instead of tapping into funds from other agency resources.


Child & Family Snap Shot

In the 2007 legislative session our Child & Family Birth through 13 program acquired its own targeted base level funding.  This is news as this is the first time the program has had these targeted funds.  In addition to the targeted operating funds, the Birth through 13 program also received three additional fulltime staff.  This is very exciting because it means that DSB can now provide enhanced services to this important population. 

Currently there are 652 families involved in the Child & Family program from Birth to 21 years old.

There have been 33 Transition youth applicants since June 2006.  These are youth receiving services to transition from school to work or school to higher education.


DSB and GHC Referral Project Snap Shot

The Group Health and DSB Referral Project, designed to increase early referrals to DSB from eye care professionals, is moving forward.  To date there have been 30 referrals to DSB from Group Health.  Nineteen (19) of the referrals were for the Independent Living program, 10 were for VR program and one was referred to the Child & Family program.  Some great early results include three people referred to our VR program to assist them in keeping their employment.  All have been successfully closed and are still working.  They included a vice principal, nurse and a teacher’s aide. 

That concludes snap shots from DSB.  For all those going to national convention this year; be sure to take some great pictures to keep for your memory album and I’ll see you in Minneapolis.

Back to Table of Contents 



Washington State School for the Blind Report
Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent

Rather than have me provide you with an update on WSSB, I want to introduce Vaughn Brown, who is both deaf and blind.  The following is Vaughn’s message. 


Animal Versus Human Massage

My name is Vaughn Brown and I am a Senior at WSSB. I am also a certified Equine (horses, donkeys, mules and zebras) therapeutic and sports massage therapist. I achieved this certification last July at Bridgecreek Equine Massage School in Oregon. When I returned to Washington I found that I could not practice my massage business. A Washington State law prevented me from doing this by stating that an animal massage therapist must be trained in human massage first.

Months went by and the massages I offered were free, due to the law. I wanted to make a change to the law, so I contacted Dr. Stenehjem, WSSB Superintendent, and he knew who to send me to. Senator Brandland and I met while he was in town touring WSSB. I asked Senator Brandland if he could help me and he said yes.  The next thing I knew, Dr. Stenehjem called to tell me that Senator Brandland wanted me to testify at a hearing regarding Senate Bill 5403 regarding this subject, on January 25th. 

Our principal, Craig Meador, and two WSSB students traveled to Olympia. I brought along copies of the testimony, in both print and Braille, my five-volume-long horse anatomy book, and a copy of my certificate and massage notes.  I then met with Senator Brandland. He once again struck me as a kind, warm gentlemen and I felt at ease right away. “Vaughn,” he said confidently. “You will do wonderful. All you need to do is smile, be natural and tell them your case.”

A reporter from The Columbian asked me questions and took notes. My Guide Dog, Sprocket, received positive remarks for his behavior and appearance. Next, Senator Rasmussen introduced herself to me. Her presence was warm and caring. She reminded me that all I had to do was smile, go with the flow and spell out my argument.

Once I reached the table to testify I felt freed of my jumping nerves and I calmly and firmly testified.  Outside as we waited for the shuttle I had a chance to talk with Senator Brandland’s Assistant, Bunny. She is a delightful woman.

However, the story does not end here. For the last two months the Senators, lobbyists and I have been debating and addressing issues regarding Senate Bill 5403. During the process I learned a great deal about politics. The most important lessons I learned were how good relationships with officials can help, how to be patient, when to stay quiet, and overall how not to take personal matters too personally. Despite any frustrations that I may have felt during the process it has been a very positive experience.

Thank you, Dr. Stenehjem, for finding the right Senator for me.  Thank you to Dr. Stenehjem’s assistant, Janet, for keeping me posted.  Thank you, Mr. Meador, for coming with me to Olympia.  Thank you to my Mom for editing and revising my letter, testimony and helping me to stay positive. I also would like to thank the staff and members of the Braille Access Center for helping me become successful by producing my textbook and handouts into Braille for the course. To those who wrote letters or supported me in their respective ways, I am grateful for it!  To be silent is to be unheard.

Well, I’m back again to complete the story.  Shortly after the end of the session Vaughn was requested to come to Olympia for a one-on-one meeting with the Governor, as she wanted to meet him.  The Governor asked him about his plans for next year and he told her he was thinking about running for Governor.  She smiled and told him to go for it.  Immediately after this meeting with Vaughn, we accompanied the Governor into the conference room for the official bill signing ceremony.  Both Senators Brandland and Rasmussen were present and Governor Gregoire signed Vaughn’s bill into law, which removed most of the obstacles that Vaughn spoke of above.  As Vaughn stated, “I got most of what I wanted in this change and I will be back next year to finish the job.”  Vaughn will be graduating on June 15 and plans on continuing his education, along with working in Equine Therapy.

Back to Table of Contents 



Louis Braille School News - Students Visit Fire Station
by Andre Middleton, Teacher, Louis Braille School

To teach our students the importance of fire awareness and safety, the Louis Braille School staff took the students to the Shoreline Fire Safety Center.  The students had a wonderful time exploring a real (decommissioned) fire-station while they learned about fire safety.

Our students were able to wear real fire fighting gear, slide down a real fire pole, and explore a real ambulance and fire pump truck. They had a great and educational experience. As a result of visiting the facility, our staff now conducts a weekly fire drill using a smoke alarm donated to the school by the Shoreline Fire Department. It is our goal to teach our students how to respond to the sound of the smoke alarm correctly and safely.

Children with visual impairments must also be taught the importance of fire safety in their homes. There are a variety of adaptations we can create to assist children with visual impairments to survive a fire in their homes.

1.      Create a tactile map of your home and designate an outdoor meeting place.

2.      Familiarize the child to the sound and shape of the smoke alarm.

3.      Conduct fire drills in your home to establish a safety routine.

4.      Install door or window decals to inform first responders that there are special needs children on the premises.

Our host, Community Education and Information Specialist Melanie Granfors, taught our students some important fundamentals of home fire safety:

1.      To recognize the sound of a smoke detector.

2.      To crawl low under smoke and get out immediately when a smoke alarm sounds.

3.      To feel the bedroom door before opening it and if it is hot, use a second way out.

4.      To have a place outside where the whole family can meet.

5.      To never re-enter a smoky or burning building.

Everyone here at the Louis Braille School would like to send our warmest thanks to Ms. Granfors and the Shoreline Fire Department.

Back to Table of Contents 



Auction Action
by Shirley Taylor, Vice-President, King County Chapter

The conference center in Edmonds was a busy place on the afternoon of April 14.  It was the scene of an auction to benefit the Louis Braille School.  Many WCB members attended, for an afternoon of fun and to support the school. 

A few of us were asked to help with hands-on exhibits.  Velma and I were there to demonstrate a working guide dog team.  We shared space with volunteer Linda Krogh, who manned a table with braille writers, slates and a variety of other aids.  With the help of volunteer Nancy Hopkins, we encouraged people to write their names in braille and to check out the other items. 

Next to us there was a group of puppy raisers with their charges of various ages.  The public was much more interested in the puppies than in a working guide dog.  Velma's feelings weren't hurt, however.  She seemed to think the puppies were much more interesting, too. 

To our left sat Karen Johnson Hildie, with a table of vision simulators.  The Lighthouse for the Blind was also represented and there was a special corner for children.

The auction was scheduled to begin at 1:00 P.M. but when I arrived at 12:30 there was already a line of people checking in and others looking over the silent auction items.  There was a great variety in this category, everything from coffee and candy to artwork and home crafted items.  Shortly before 2:00 the silent auction closed and the live auction began.  Those who had not already done so helped themselves from the snack table and found places at one of the round tables in the center of the room.

Auctioneer duties fell to WCB member Doug Hildie and Paul Rucker, who is director of alumni relations with the University of Washington Alumni Association.  The two worked well together and did a great job of stirring interest in various offerings.  Among other things, there were beautiful paintings by well known local artists, a ride with a police canine unit and a tour of Edmonds on a fire truck.  Four tickets to a Husky football game caused some very lively bidding.  Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist David Horsey donated two of his autographed books to be auctioned.  During a break in the bidding Mr. Horsey spoke about braille, and old and new methods of transcribing.  He asked for donations for the purchase of a tactile image enhancer, and was successful in raising funds for this piece of equipment.

The afternoon ended with happy people settling finances and picking up their bargains.  The first auction to benefit the Louis Braille School had been a success.  We can look forward to bigger and better auctions in future years.

Back to Table of Contents 



GDUWS Spring Fling
by Randy Tedrow

May 5, 2007 was the fourth annual Spring Fling sponsored by GDUWS.  Twenty-five people registered for a great time of education, fun, and food.

The theme this year was, “Special Needs, Special Guides.” Sheila Spencer of Guide Dogs for the Blind based out of San Rafael, CA was our keynote speaker. She talked about the selection and training of a wheel chair guide. Her talk was engaging, informative and well received. While guide dogs are the best of the best, wheel chair guides are the cream of that group. Thank you, Sheila, for talking with us and answering all those questions.

GDUWS President Joleen Ferguson and Secretary Debby Phillips led a panel discussion on positive reinforcement training. Each shared how they used positive training methods to work around and through problems we all encounter with our guides. Marlaina Lieberg shared about clicker training. This is a method of associating a click sound, food and praise to reinforce and mark desired behavior in a guide.

The food was wonderful! We had a nice Continental breakfast with pastries, fruit and coffee (lots of coffee!). The hotel provided the breakfast, two breaks and a very good box lunch. The afternoon break had fresh soft pretzels and fragrant, delicious, warm, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. I am really sorry if you missed that!  But, come next year and maybe…

Sue Ammeter talked with us about our relationship with WCB and ACB. It’s good to belong to such a dynamic organization that cares about blind people.

We heard from Carolyn Meyer, who told us about the Louis Braille School and the difference it makes in the lives of blind children. Carolyn told a delightful story of how guide dogs make a difference in the lives of these children. One young boy was terrified by dogs. But, because of a guide’s gentle acceptance and patience, this young man wants a guide of his own someday.

I suppose the business meeting should be mentioned. It happened right after the Continental Breakfast. It went well and was completed in good time.

Thank you to all the volunteers! Without the help of Gary on sound and others running the microphone it would have been difficult to understand all that was said. Thank you to the others, who ran errands, took care of all the people and made the day a success.

Hope to see you at this year’s fall GDUWS convention in Spokane with the WCB! Stay tuned to Newsline for updates coming soon!

Back to Table of Contents 



Capital City Council of the Blind 

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind   

Jefferson County Council of the Blind 

King County Chapter 

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind 

Peninsula Council of the Blind 

Pierce County Association of the Blind 

South Kitsap Council of the Blind 

United Blind of Spokane 

United Blind of the Tri-Cities 

United Blind of Walla Walla 

United Blind of Whatcom County 


Capital City Council of the Blind
by Berl Colley, President

CCCB keeps on growing, along with the enthusiasm of its members.  We have had three new members join us since our last update and one person rejoined.  We want to give a warm welcome to Dale and Lisa Hudson, who live in Shelton.  Also to Jackie Crow, who started coming to our meetings in January, then joined in April.  Bonnie Holmes was a member last year, but didn’t rejoin until April. 

In March, eight of our members attended the Gattlin Brothers concert at the Lucky Eagle Casino.  Tim and Gloria Walling, Dan and Kathy Matsen, Viola Cruz, Gary Ernest and Denise and Berl Colley enjoyed the music, but found that trying to play the slots or getting something to eat, when there are large crowds, isn’t doable.  We will know better next time. 

At our March meeting, Jack Piggott talked to our members about Camp Harobed.  Hopefully, some of our members will visit this camp in the Belfair area. 

In April, Charlene Woodring, from DSB, spoke to us.  Charlene has been the Olympia area counselor for about one year.  She has recently been appointed as a Braille ambassador by the Hadley School in Illinois.

We held our spring pizza feed on the 28th of April.  There were 27 members and friends in attendance.  It took us a little more than an hour to consume 7 large pizzas, 10 pitchers of pop and an unknown number of salads. 

CCCB has been working with the Lacey Lions at several events during the last year.  So far this year, we have been at the March pancake feed, at the May White Cane days and worked in their booth at the Lacey Fun Fair, where we handed out several hundred CCCB flyers, WCB brochures and Braille alphabet cards with people’s first names brailled on them.

Condolences to Rich Dirk on the loss of his sister in March and best wishes to Tim Walling who had major surgery in May. 


Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind
by Chris Coulter: Vice-President

Hello from Everett.  Our chapter has had a wonderful spring and we are looking forward to a great summer as well. Our meetings have been interesting and we’ve been very active between meetings.

At our March meeting we were treated to a presentation from two representatives of Eagle Wing Ministries, which is an organization dedicated to helping disabled people by providing outreach services and social activities. They are located in Marysville. The speaker was Kinder Holdaway. She was accompanied by Sarah Hawkins, who passed out fliers and handouts.

Our April meeting featured Lynn Iverson from the Everett Herald. She talked to us about the paper’s emphasis on local news and events. She encouraged us to advertise our chapter’s meetings and special happenings in the Community Extra section, which is now published on Wednesdays, but will soon be available every day.

Marlaina Lieberg and her husband Gary attended our May meeting. They brought Agnes, the A-1 guide dog along, too. Marlaina is Secretary on the WCB board and this was her official chapter visit. She discussed the ACB convention in detail and gave us some preliminary information about the WCB convention in November.

The weekend of May 4-6 was very exciting for us. The Holiday Inn in Everett held three WCB events simultaneously:  Guide Dog Users of Washington State held its annual Spring Fling, WCB conducted its annual Leadership Training on Friday evening and all day Saturday, and on Sunday WCB held its Spring Board Meeting. We would like to thank the Holiday Inn for its outstanding service and warm welcome.

Congratulations are in order to John Common for being one of the participants in the Leadership Training Seminar. We would also like to welcome our newest member, Carolyn Harrison of Lake Stevens. Carolyn is very kind and helpful and she promises to be an enthusiastic member.

We will be taking a break from meetings in July and August but we won’t be slowing down during the summer. We will be attending the Aquasox game on July 8th. More information will be coming to you soon about that; in fact you may already know about it by the time you read your June Newsline. We will also be holding a picnic at Allan and Donna Patchett’s home in August.

We meet at IHOP in Everett on the second Monday of each month with the exception of July and August. Meeting time is at 10:00AM, but we encourage everyone to come early for plenty of social time over breakfast before the meeting starts. For more information please call me at 425-775-1305.


Jefferson County Council of the Blind
by Sue Ammeter, President

Greetings from Jefferson County.  April was a busy month for JCCB.  Juanita O’Hara, Bonnie Sherrell, John Ammeter and I traveled to Olympia to participate in the library rally.  Following the rally we met briefly with one of our Representatives, Lynn Kessler, who is the Majority Leader in the House.

On April 18th Lynn Gressley, Carl Jarvis, Bonnie Sherrell and I participated in the fifth annual Disability Awareness Day sponsored by DASH (Disability Awareness Starts Here).  Port Townsend High School students, a teacher from Chimacum High School and a Port Townsend School Board member donned sleepshades or used wheelchairs and crutches to assess the physical accessibility of Port Townsend High School, government offices, the City library and local businesses.  The students’ energy and enthusiasm were very infectious and it made the event a great success.  We received excellent newspaper coverage with feature articles appearing in the Port Angeles Daily News and the Port Townsend Leader.  Lynn Gressley was prominently pictured on the front page of The Leader.

On April 24th I participated in a training session for the staff and volunteers at Centrum.  Centrum contracts with Fort Warden State Park to manage a variety of shows and training workshops held at the Fort.  Approximately seventy-five people attended the session and we discussed ways to improve access and accommodation options for people who are blind and visually impaired, for individuals with mobility limitations and for those persons who are hard of hearing.  I distributed WCB brochures and a hand-out entitled “When You Meet a Blind Person”.  The audience had several questions and JCCB, DASH and John Allen from Connections have been invited back to do a longer training session in June.

Jefferson County Auditor Donna Eldridge and Chief Deputy Auditor and Coordinator of Elections Karen Cartmel were the presenters at our April meeting.  As a result of the Passage of HB2479 counties are required to establish a Disability Advisory Committee to determine ways to improve access for voters with disabilities.  Chapter members expressed their hope that such a committee would be established in Jefferson County in the near future.  Donna and Karen had brought the AutoMark voting machine to the meeting and we had time for a hands-on demonstration of the machine.  Following our meeting I was notified that I will be appointed to the Disability Advisory Committee and our first meeting will be on June 22nd.

At our May meeting we discussed strategies for improving outreach to our community.  For several years Molly Jacobson had been coordinating the taping and duplicating of the Port Townsend Leader newspaper.  Due to ill health Molly cannot continue with this project so JCCB has decided to assume this responsibility.  Juanita O’Hara has agreed to assume this task with help from other chapter members.  We are hoping to record a sample issue of the Leader along with information about our chapter and to distribute the tapes to Jefferson County library patrons who use audio books and to senior citizen centers.  We are also exploring the idea of having a booth at the Jefferson County Fair in August.

WCB Immediate Past President Berl Colley will be our guest at the June meeting and we will hold our annual picnic in July.  Have a terrific summer everyone!


King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

Whoopee and hurray!  I'm on my way to the land of the Vikings to visit family and friends in Osakis, Minnesota and then on to Minneapolis to attend the ACB annual convention.  Double my pleasure and double my fun, and here comes a triple, when in early August many of my cousins and I will meet, greet and eat for a long weekend in downtown Bothell.  This is our first reunion west of the Rockies.  Can this summer be anything less than a home run?

Glenn McCully, WCB second vice-president, gave us an overview of his trip to Washington, DC to attend the ACB legislative seminar.  He encouraged us to be involved in legislation, and we certainly have been.  This has been a very busy winter and spring for members of the WCB and local chapters during the legislative session in Olympia concerning funding for the Library for the Blind.  There were many phone calls to the legislative hotline asking our State senators and representatives to back the bills funding the library.  There were visits to the Capital and even a rally.  We'll try again when next the legislature meets.

Each year we warmly welcome Carolyn Meyer from the Louis Braille School to come and speak.  She updated us about the school, the children, the auction and the upcoming summer Braille camp.  This is one dedicated woman when it comes to the education of blind children and the use of Braille.

We recently learned that a grand old lady of WCB and the King County Chapter has passed away at the age of 91 in Chugiak, Alaska.  Sarah Grace McSparran was raised on Bainbridge Island, the middle child of five girls.  She graduated from the School for the Blind in Vancouver and the University of Washington.  She worked for many years at Langendorf Baking Company and also was a teacher for the Department of Services for the Blind.  Sarah was a charter member of WCB and served as state president in the mid 1970's.  In recent years she was a member of the Alaska ACB affiliate.  I will miss her wit and friendly banter.


Lower Columbia Council of the Blind
by Karen Lewis-Keverline

Our members have been busy finishing up our candy sales. We are thankful to have done so well and we sure enjoyed the interaction with the public.  Our Treasurer, Tom Brackman, managed the sales for our group. Thank you Tom!

Our President, Linda Jacques, is so excited about the recent Leadership Conference she attended in Everett. She loved the conference and all the people that she met. She says the information she acquired is going to be very helpful to her as our president.

Linda also announces the birth of her fourth grandchild, Thomas Christopher, who arrived the Monday after the Leadership Conference.

Pam Dickey, our secretary, is gearing up for our annual picnic on June 23, at Riverside Park in Lexington.  Dale & Erla Coleman have been getting the game prizes ready. This event is for members, families and friends.

Albert Backman has moved across the street from Ginger’s, which is where our group meetings are held.

Member Maurine Coon was awarded a Gold Pin for a President’s “Call to Service Award” for giving over 500 hours of volunteer service for 2006.

Fern Kelly had a wonderful time in China. She enjoyed seeing silk being processed from the cocoon/worm to be spun into thread. Later she saw it spun for embroidering and silk rugs. There were many more cars than when she was there last and also much air pollution. Fern recently went to Silver Falls State Park near Salem, Oregon, for a wonderful weekend with her hiking club.

Bill Keverline works in the yard and walks to downtown and the Senior Center. He finds walking, meeting new people and sampling food new to him, a part of his daily routine.  He enjoys cooking and does a good job. He is now even being careful not to cremate my dinner on B.Q., only his.


Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Eric Hunter, President

The PCB has had a busy three months, what with socials and other projects.  We try to have a social every month, dining at different restaurants.  Stuart Russell does a great job finding places.

Three of our members, Joanne Hunter, Tim Van Winkle and Jess Landby, took part in the Leadership Training at the Holiday Inn in Everett.  All three had a wonderful time, gaining great information and new friends among the other members.  Joanne has already volunteered for a WCB committee.

Congratulations to Michelle Denzer for acquiring her new dog, Pacific, and also  to Nicole Torcolini, who is going to Boring this fall for her new dog.  Congratulations to John Moberg, who recently graduated from OTC.  Congratulations, too, to Lyle Burgett on his marriage.  Best wishes to you both, Lyle.

An excellent visit last month from Alan Bentson , who told us a lot about WTBBL and did an unusually creditable job, even though he maintained he was intimidated by the President and Treasurer of WCB being there.  You were one of our better speakers, Alan.

We capped things off with our annual garage sale, which netted $560, and allowed a lot of fun, visiting and camaraderie between members… even in the face of very unspringlike weather.


Pierce County Association of the Blind
by Mildred L. Johnson, Secretary

Greetings from Pierce County.  We are very excited about the Year 2007.  We started out by moving from our meeting place on 6th Avenue to TACID in February.  Our meetings have also been extended and are now from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.  This proved to be a very smart move, as we have gained eight new members.

Along with a lot of new ideas regarding fund raisers, getting new members, setting up a regular monthly agenda, etc., we also hope to have a speaker for each month.  In May, we had a speaker from Social Security.  We are also working on the constitution, along with more discussion on the idea of our chapter getting white t-shirts with a logo on them, and hopefully get better known in the community.

Some of our new members came up with some good ideas, such as a picnic, participation at the food booth at the Puyallup Fair, attending the Sound to Narrows Run, and perhaps going to some schools and explaining Braille.

Another ongoing problem seems to be that the general public is unaware of the importance and meaning of a white cane.  We hope to contact the License Bureau and see if perhaps something can be put in their manual.

We are getting ready for another week-long fund raiser for our scholarship program.  People have been so generous with their donations.

Have a safe and healthy summer, one and all.


South Kitsap Council of the Blind
by Carol Brame, Treasurer

Bob Herman has been in the hospital with a bad infection but he is home now and will be homebound for a couple months fighting this illness.  On a good note, Bob went to Leadership Training before his trip to the hospital.  He enjoyed being there and we look forward to hearing all about it.

We are working on a walk-a-thon.  It’s a little slower pulling it together, but we will have one this year and it will all work out.

Also, we are working on a T-shirt sale.  The shirt has an image of a lighthouse, and SKCB on the front; it has the Braille alphabet on the back.  They are ten dollars each up to 2x, and thirteen dollars for 3X.  If you would like to order a shirt, email me at If you want it shipped to your address, it will be five dollars more per shirt.

If any one wants Chris to make the wind chimes that seemed to be a great hit, email me on that too.  We hope to have a couple of sets at convention to raffle.  We would like feedback from those people who liked his work.

SKCB is still standing strong and that's all from us this time. Take care.


United Blind of Spokane
by Debby Phillips, President

The United Blind of Spokane chapter has been experiencing some changes in how we conduct our meetings, in that we have had some wonderful speakers.  Our April speaker was Paul Kimble, a member of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.  He gave us some great safety tips, and then allowed anyone who wished to look at his equipment.  He also put on his helmet and air mask so that we could hear what the firemen would sound like in a fire situation.  His voice was slightly distorted, and we could hear the sound of the air going in and out.  He said that sometimes people are frightened by that sound, and he wanted us to be comfortable with it in case we were ever in a fire situation.

Mr. Kimble also encouraged us strongly to make sure that we have smoke detectors, and to change the battery once a year, at least, but to check it twice a year.  When asked if he had a specific smoke detector to recommend, he said that the cheaper ones were just fine, as the expensive ones that use electricity might not work even though they claim to have a battery backup. 

We are working on door prizes for the convention in the fall, and are looking forward to Denise Colley’s visit at our June meeting in her capacity as Convention Chair, though she is making a Board visit.  After the meeting, a few of us will go to the Doubletree with Denise to "get the lay of the land."

This summer, we are planning a picnic at a local park.  See you all in the fall.


United Blind of the Tri-Cities
by Janice Squires, Treasurer

Well, summertime is almost upon us and once again the United Blind of the Tri-Cities is making plans to enjoy our summer days in a variety of ways. The monthly lunch bunch organized by Diana Softich will be eating pizza in June and Chinese food in July.  Thanks ever so much to Diana for arranging these fun outings and to Marlene Vandecar for making all of the phone calls to inform everyone the time and place to meet.  Irene Neilsen is organizing the card group and this is a new activity that really is full of laughter and brings so much joy to all of those who join in the game.  We'd have to call it a "roaring success" story.  The book club has recently read “Our Mother’s War” and the selection for June is “Memory Keeper’s Daughter”.  Sixteen of our group enjoyed the last narrated play of the season, entitled “I Love You, You are Perfect, Now Change”.  So much gratitude goes to Margie Kickert and Frank Cuta for keeping this program running for another full season. 

The program for our March chapter meeting featured Rick Burnett, director of Dial a Ride services for our local Ben Franklin Transit.  Rick was very informative and our members had many questions for him.  We are looking forward to our visit from Vivian Conger in August as our chapter representative from the Washington Council of the Blind.  What a great chance this gives us to listen and learn from Vivian and also to share with her some of our issues and ideas.

Our President, Margie Kickert, is trying to promote awareness and publicity for our UBTC chapter this year.  We had some wonderful flyers and business cards printed to help promote our local organization.  We would like to thank Brenda Vinther and her printing business, Budget Print, for donating these items to us. We are also attempting to inform the community of our chapter and events by using the newspaper, PSA’s, and cable TV notices. 

In our opinion, sometimes change is good and so we are shaking up things a bit by moving our Saturday breakfast meetings to a Saturday lunch meeting for the summer months.  We are hoping by doing this to attract more members to attend the business meetings and also to try to bring in new members with this time change.  Our chapter meetings are always on the third Saturday of the month and the new time will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Old Country Buffet.

In closing, we want to welcome our two new members, Loretta Falk and Paul Wilburn.  We know they will both be valuable assets to our group and we look forward to seeing them often.  Have a great summer,


United Blind of Walla Walla
by Vivian Conger, Secretary

Since UBWW’s last update, we have lost one of our members.  In February, our newest member, Marianne Ring, passed away unexpectedly.  Marianne joined us in December and had already jumped in with both feet into doing things for the chapter.  Her enthusiasm has been missed greatly by all.

We didn’t have a special guest at our February meeting.  Some of our members brought items to share such as an article out of Dialogue Magazine giving suggestions for gifts for visually impaired people.

In March we had Jim Williams from Valley Transit speak to us on changes and other information about our transit system.  He told us about our fixed routes, our connector which transports folks in the evenings and Saturday afternoons, and our Dial-A-Ride services.

UBWW obtained non-profit status in December and participated in Macy’s Shop for a Cause fund raiser in March.  Becoming non-profit has already benefited us with this fund raiser and a sizable donation from an anonymous donor.

A long-time worker for the American Red Cross, Dixie Ferguson, was our special guest in April.  Her talk focussed on the Red Cross in general.  Her information was very interesting to us all.

WCB’s own Debby Phillips was our guest speaker in May.  As she is a WCB board member, she was being our chapter’s board visitor.  Debby was very thorough in presenting information about WCB and ACB.  Debby and her husband Craig stayed over in Walla Walla for a few days and ended up transporting people to and from Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities to the Leadership Training Seminar, GDUWS Spring Fling, and WCB’s Spring Board meeting.  Many, many laughs were had by all while traveling in the van.

Chris Roemeling, WCB’s Volunteer Coordinator and good friend and member, will be our speaker in June.  She will be speaking to us on emergency preparedness, the Red Cross, and the visually impaired.


United Blind of Whatcom County
by Betty Sikkema, President

Hello Newsline readers.  I hope you’re enjoying the weather as much as I am.  There’s lots of news to tell this time.

We made over $800 dollars with the candy sale, which made us very happy! For our next fund raiser, we are making plans to have an ice cream social which will be held at St. Lukes Health Educational Center Conference Room in July. With a lot of hard work by all, this should be a success. With this fund raiser, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will help us by matching $500 if we make $1000 profit. Stay tuned for more news of this project.

We are planning a trip to the Sight Connections store in Seattle in August. This should be a fun and relaxing trip.

Frank Cuta was our guest speaker at our meeting this month, and he was very informative. He spoke about WCB, different programs offered, and the descriptive program. Time was allotted to ask questions.

Jo Ellen Barton and her guide dog Suki have moved from her home to Leopold Retirement Community. Although she misses her home, she is enjoying new friends and activities.

Bruce Radtke is extending his volunteer services to other lands.  In April, he was in India, and in May, he was in Spain.  Bruce also plans to volunteer at the ACB convention. Our members enjoy reading his newsy postings about his adventures far and near.

I hope you all have a great summer! See you in August.

Back to Table of Contents 



A Dream Realized
by Rebecca Bell, Member, United Blind of Seattle

My dream came true this past March as I joined other skiers with Ski for Light Canada in a cross country ski adventure to the annual Ski for Light Ridderrennet in Beitostolen, Norway.

We traveled by plane, bus and bullet train to reach the mountains and gentle slopes of Norway, the country where skiing originated.

The Ridderrennet gives blind and visually challenged skiers and skiers of all disabilities opportunities to enjoy skiing and participate with dignity and a competitive spirit.

My ski guide, one of many college students studying in Oslo, was my escort guide as a part of his academic program.  We participated in three ski races, including a twenty kilometers final event.

Skiers were represented from around the world, including the Canadian Ski for Light Canada, U.S. Ski for Light International, and a variety of Ski for Light regionals, including Ski for Light of Puget Sound.

It was a privilege and an honor to ski in Norway.  The Norwegian people expressed a gracious hospitality and many courtesies were extended to us.

My dream came true and the dreams of hundreds of skiers were realized thanks to the Ridderrennet and those who made it possible.

Back to Table of Contents 



Career Exploration and Evaluation Workshops
at the School of Piano Technology for the Blind

Participants in the workshops will have an opportunity to explore the career potential of the piano technology field. .

The School received a grant to cover the cost of tuition and to provide each prospective student with a stipend to help with the cost of transportation, room and board while attending the workshop.  The funds will be distributed during the workshop.

Workshop Schedule:

June 26 & 27

July 24 & 25

August 21 & 22

September 25 & 26

October 23 & 24

November 27 & 28

For more information, please contact the School of Piano Technology for the Blind at 360-693-1511 or 1-888-693-1511 or

Back to Table of Contents 



The AFB Senior Site: A Unique Web Resource
for People with Age-Related Vision Loss

A major public health issue is brewing in America. Over the next two decades, rates of vision loss from diseases like age-related macular degeneration are expected to double as the nation’s 78 million baby boomers reach retirement age. To help prepare for this dramatic increase in Americans with vision loss, and to help the 6.5 million Americans over age 65 currently experiencing age-related vision loss, the American Foundation for the Blind has created the first web resource of its kind – a proactive, virtual vision center that encourages older adults to live independently and productively with vision loss.

Available via a prominent link on AFB’s home page, AFB Senior Site focuses on common sense and daily living solutions to help seniors with vision loss better adjust to their changing eyesight. It will also connect seniors and family members to local services and spotlight the wide range of assistive living products available to people with vision loss.

The site has five main sections:  Understanding Vision Loss, Finding Help and Support, Daily Living, Changing Your Home, and Fitness and Fun. Visitors to the site will also find inspiring video testimonials from seniors who aren’t letting their vision loss slow them down as well as sections on exercise, travel and recreational opportunities for people with vision loss. In the near future, Senior Site will also contain message boards, blogs and support group links designed to foster a sense of community among seniors with vision loss and family members.

Like the rest of the AFB web site, Senior Site is designed with adjustable text, color and contrast to make it accessible to those with low vision. The site also meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines so blind or low- vision users can navigate the site using voice browser technology.

Please send your comments to

Back to Table of Contents 



Hats Off to You!

·        Cindy Van Winkle, President, WCB, on her election as chair of the Department of Services for the Blind Rehab Council.  Cindy will serve a one-year renewable term.

·        Alan Bentson, Director, WCB Board, on being selected as WCB First-Timer to the 46th American Council of the Blind National Convention.  Alan will attend the event in Minneapolis, MN in July.

·        Lyle Burgett, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, and his wife, Melinda, on their recent marriage.  Both Lyle and Melinda are employed at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle and are living in the West Seattle area.

·        Debby Cook and Rick Lewis, members at large, on their recent marriage.  Debby and Rick, recently relocated from Phoenix, Arizona, were wed in a ceremony shared by family and close friends followed by a celebratory dinner and the couple will be residing in Seattle.

·        Maurine Coon, member, Lower Columbia Council of the Blind, on her local and national recognition for volunteering over 500 hours in 2006 in various community projects.  Maureen received a certificate from the Cowlitz and Wahkiakum County Retired Senior Volunteer Persons (RSVP), as well as a pin and certificate from the President of the United States as part of our national volunteer service awards program.

·        Becky Frankeberger, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, on her new dog guide, Jake, a 2-1/2 yr old male long-haired Golden Retriever, weighing 66 lbs and measuring 24 inches high.  Jake is from Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, and Becky reports Jake is a strong worker, matches her stride, and they are bonding well.

·        Janine Prindle, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, on acquiring her first dog guide, Cranberry, an 18-month-old female yellow lab weighing 60 lbs and measuring 22 inches high.  Cranberry is from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon, and Janine says she takes her work very seriously, is very responsive, and they are a good match.

Editor’s Note:  Events appropriate for mention in this column are as follows:  the birth of a child or grandchild, a marriage, a new job or important job promotion, retirement, graduation from school,  appointment to an agency, or community board or council, an award or recognition for community participation and contribution, recipient of a WCB or ACB award or scholarship, birthdays, starting with the 75th and in 5-year increments, wedding anniversaries, starting with the 25th and in 5 year increments.

Back to Table of Contents 



Bits & Pieces
by Peggy Shoel

The goods and services listed here are offered for the interest and benefit of our readers and should not be considered as endorsed by WCB.

·        ADA Centers.  The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) has established 10 research centers throughout the U.S. to educate people with disabilities about their rights under the ADA, and to make these rights known and understood by the general public.  Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, these centers provide a range of services and programs including technical assistance, education and training, materials, information and referrals.  Visit for more information and a free introductory course, ADA Basic Building Blocks, describing basic principles and concepts of the ADA.

·        Website for Seniors.  To help older people who are losing their vision and for their families and caregivers, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has established a new, accessible website, AFB senior site  See article in this issue for more information.

·        The Lighthouse Center for Education in New York provides at no cost a brochure entitled “Family and Friends Can Make a Difference” to assist and support individuals losing vision.  For more information, call toll-free 1-800-829-0500.

Back to Table of Contents 



2007 Calendar of Deadlines and Events

June 9

WTBBL Patron Advisory Council - Seattle

June 15

Deadline for Purchasing Mariners Tickets

June 30

Deadline for Receipt of Scholarship Applications

Jun 30-Jul 7

ACB National Convention – Minneapolis

July 16-27

Louis Braille Camp

July 28

WCB Mariners Day - Seattle

Aug 10

Summer Board Retreat, 1:30-4:30, Bremerton

Aug 11

WCB Summer Board Meeting - Bremerton

Aug 31

Deadline for receipt of WCB Award Nominations

Deadline for Convention First-Timer Applications

Sept 8

DSB Rehab Council Meeting – Yakima

Sept 12

Call-in Day for free room for Spokane Convention


Oct 4

Deadline for Convention & Hotel Reservation for Spokane and reserving a seat on convention buses and state stipend request

Oct 20

WTBBL Patron Advisory Council - Seattle

Nov 1-3

WCB Annual Convention - Spokane

Dec 1

DSB Rehab Council Meeting – Bremerton




Article Deadline:  To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by August 25, 2007.  Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

Publication Policy:  To ensure accuracy, we require typed, double-spaced submissions or preferably e-mailed articles to with a cc:  Articles should be no longer than 750 words (approximately 2-2½ double-spaced pages, standard print).



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

·                 To Tim Schneebeck for providing the NEWSLINE via e-mail and disk

·                 To Bill Hoage for duplicating and mailing the cassette version of the NEWSLINE

·                 To Viola Cruz for transforming the print issue into a Web version on the website

·                 To the individuals who contributed articles and materials to this issue

·                    To the NEWSLINE Editorial Committee for their many hours of work

Back to Table of Contents 


Web site visitor preferences: + Larger Font | + Smaller Font