June 2010 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President


Lacey, WA


Randy Tedrow, Senior Editor


Renton, WA


Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Glenn McCully, at PO Box 30009, Seattle, WA 98113-0009.


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


The WCB is a 501 (c) (3) organization.


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

Table of Contents


A Note From the Editor

From the President’s Desk

2010 Spring Board Meeting

2010 Legislative Wrap-Up

Assistance With Your Education

Runaway to Vancouver

Acknowledging Excellence

From the Senior Side

Mexico Mission Experience

WCB History 1999

Louis Braille School Report

Department of Services for the Blind Report

Washington State School for the Blind

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Exciting News From Your 2010 Fundraising Committee

Around the State

Description of a Miracle

Member Profile

Hats Off to You

From My Kitchen to Yours

2010 Calendar




Dear Newsline Readers,


The editor and Newsline Committee apologize for the lateness of this issue. We recognize and acknowledge that the Newsline is the primary vehicle by which important information is disseminated and have put processes in place to ensure that to the greatest extent possible, all future editions of the Newsline will arrive on time in all formats. We value each and every one of you and regret any inconvenience the delay of this issue may have caused.


by Denise Colley


As I sit here writing this article I am reflecting on how quickly May will be sliding into June and summer will be upon us sooner than we think. It seems like it was just New Year’s and now WCB members are already preparing for conventions, chapter picnics, baseball games, and other summer fun.


And speaking of conventions, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) National Conference and Convention will be here before we know it. July 9–17 are the dates and Phoenix, Arizona, is the place. Twenty-two WCB members requested convention stipends and so Washington should have a good showing with around 25 in attendance.


A big congratulations goes to Carol Gray from the Peninsula Council of the Blind for being selected as this year’s WCB First-Timer. Several of us got a chance to get to know Carol at last year’s leadership training and I know she’ll be a great addition to the Washington delegation.


For those of you who can’t attend in person, don’t forget that the convention will again this year be streamed on ACB radio, and I encourage everyone who can to at least listen to the business sessions. I will also be checking in with you daily as I leave updates on our WCB phone system on the National Convention menu.


In March we turned in membership information for 393 members to the ACB national office and at the time of this writing we are at 404. This is a bit down from last year at this same time. However, as I’ve said previously, I believe that there are a lot of former members just waiting to be encouraged by someone to come back and a lot of people out there who are just waiting to be invited to join such a vital and hard-working organization. I challenge each of us to reach out and invite one person we know to join.


The legislative session is finally over and proved to be one of the busiest yet for WCB. Two of this year’s greatest challenges were working to ensure that our Department of Services for the Blind and Washington State School for the Blind remained separate agencies. While this was no small feat, we were successful and have every reason to celebrate. (See the legislative update later in this issue for more information.)


This year’s leadership training was held on April 23–24, in Everett, and the Spring Board Meeting was held on April 25. In an effort to strengthen the working relationship between the WCB board and chapter presidents and develop greater leadership skills for both, this year’s leadership training was an advanced training specifically for board members and chapter presidents. The theme of the weekend was “WCB Leaders Unite.” The training consisted of such topics as your role as a leader, conflict resolution, mentoring, and transitioning. This training venue was felt to be very successful and the board is already considering the idea of holding such a training event again in 2011, but at the beginning of the year when new board members and chapter presidents are taking office. This would also not conflict with our regular leadership training held in the spring.


Just a reminder that the Summer Board Meeting will be held on Saturday, July 31, at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Bremerton, located at 150 Washington Avenue. The phone number is 360-405-0200. Room rates will be $109 plus tax. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am and end at approximately 3:00 pm.


Are you beginning to make plans to attend this year’s WCB State Convention? The dates are November 11–13, and we will be back in Vancouver at the Vancouver Hilton Hotel. Let’s make this the biggest and best state convention yet. (See the convention article later in this issue for more details.)


This is shaping up to be another positive year for WCB. As we move forward, however, we can never let down and just coast. It is through the work of strong chapters and a committed membership that we can meet whatever challenges that may face us in the future. It is all of us doing our part, no matter how large or how small, that makes us who and what we are.


2010 Spring Board Meeting

by Holly Kaczmarski


The 2010 WCB Spring Board Meeting took place on Sunday, April 25, at the Holiday Inn Downtown-Everett. President Denise Colley called the meeting to order. Chapters and affiliates were represented by chapter presidents for this meeting since it was held the same weekend as the Leadership Seminar for Chapter Presidents.


Roll call revealed all officers and board members present. Chapters were announced and representatives were introduced and welcomed. The agenda was read by President Denise Colley listing all items to be covered at this board meeting.


A motion to approve the minutes from the January Board Meeting was carried and seconded with one additional comment that the minutes be corrected to reflect the location of all future board meetings.


Treasurer’s Report January 1, 2010March 31, 2010 was read and approved.


Cindy Van Winkle thanked people for their service at this weekend’s activities. Holly Kaczmarski was thanked for being the mike runner at the Leadership Training and Board Meeting. Also thanked were Joann, Tim, and Holly for helping with morning breakfasts.


Dates for the 2010 WCB Annual Convention are November 11, 12, and 13, 2010. A bus will travel from Seattle to Vancouver, stopping in Federal Way and Tacoma to pick up passengers. The same bus will leave Vancouver on the last convention day and stop in Tacoma and Federal Way and then arrive in Seattle. Details and times will be provided at a later date.


The Convention Committee gave its report: A motion to allocate $2,000 for a celebration commemorating WCB’s 20th anniversary was carried.


The Scholarship Committee has revamped the application cover letter and process. Various scholarship issues were discussed including scholarship eligibility requirements, referral letters, and procedures required of applicants to obtain a WCB scholarship. The deadline date by which applications must be received has been changed to July 31, from this year forward.


The Advocacy Committee reported on several situations that had occurred and required attention. One concerns an internship program refusing to allow a guide dog; second was a woman whose guide dog was bitten by another “service” dog on a metro bus; the third involves a Kennewick man hit by a vehicle resulting in him being injured and his guide dog killed; the fourth issue is regarding an employed woman on medical leave who is seeking re-employment; and the last issue concerns the Department of Social and Health Services’ failure to provide information in Braille for a Medicaid recipient.


The Constitution and Bylaws Committee report discussed conflict of interest, a confidentiality policy, and certain wording in documents. Clarification was made that WCB is a non-profit charitable corporation.


The Newsline Committee report discussed various formats for distribution of the Newsline. We now have a professional editor who is working on the formatting of the Newsline.


The Crisis Committee described the duties of the committee as providing, when possible and appropriate, a one-time grant to help in emergency situations such as medical, utilities, food needs, etc.


The Environmental Access Committee discussed its position paper regarding roundabouts. Information was shared on the work the committee is doing concerning pedestrian signals, quiet cars, technology access information, universal design, and accessibility.

The History Committee reported on articles and projects being worked on. There should be some exciting and informative articles to come.


The Fundraising Committee discussed types of donations and numbers of auction items requested by each chapter. It was requested that each chapter donate one auction item for the convention. WCB logo shirts were proposed.


The Families With Blind Children Committee discussed a gift certificate to Camp Harobed and the Louis Braille School Auction.


Berl Colley reported that the Washington State School for the Blind graduation will be held on June 11, with eleven seniors graduating. The ceremonies will be broadcast worldwide via American Council of the Blind Radio. Check the WCB list for more information or contact Berl directly. The school is working on publishing a document celebrating its 125th Anniversary. We’ll keep you informed. Thanks to the hard work of the staff at the school and our own efforts, several programs which were potentially slated to be cut were not. The school is attracting students from other areas such as Alaska, British Columbia, Canada, and Oregon.


The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library report, given by Sue Ammeter, chair of the Patron’s Advisory Committee, indicated that all people requesting digital machines have received them, with preference to veterans and centenarians (over 100); 1,800 have been distributed with more books being produced digitally. Other important news will be forthcoming.


The Department of Services for the Blind report, given by Cindy Van Winkle, chair of the State Rehabilitation Council, discussed public meetings and the requirements these must meet. Cindy stressed that there are important vacancies on the State Rehabilitation Council becoming available. WCB members were asked to strongly consider applying for the opportunity to serve on this vitally important council.


WCB brochures were discussed and a motion carried to allocate $1,000 for the purpose of reprinting more brochures with the possible help of Holly and others in redesigning current brochures.


The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 pm.


2010 Legislative Wrap-Up

by Sue Ammeter, WCB Legislative Chair


This legislative session was a very, very busy time for WCB. The following is a summary of the bills and issues which we tracked during this legislative session.


HB 2953 would have transferred the functions of the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) to the Department of Social and Health Services. WCB opposed this bill and it did not come out of committee. Also, despite the fact that the legislature abolished sixty-eight boards and commissions DSB’s State Rehabilitation Council was retained intact.


Governor Gregoire’s proposed budget cut more than $100,000 from the Independent Living for Older Blind Program. WCB asked that the budget be amended so that the DSB could apply this cut across the board instead of just targeting one program. The final budget allowed DSB to manage the budget cuts across the board thanks to our input to the legislature.


SB 6491 would have transferred the Washington State School for the Blind to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. On January 20, a hearing was held in the Senate Early Learning and K–12 Education Committee. Berl and Denise Colley, among others, testified against the bill. The bill did not pass out of committee so it is dead for this session.


The governor’s proposed budget also severely cut staff at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). Six positions were cut from the WTBBL staff, in response the Patron Advisory Council voted to send a letter to all WTBBL patrons asking them to contact their legislators and request that funding be restored to WTBBL. 7,800 letters were sent to WTBBL patrons and the Legislative Hotline and legislator’s offices were flooded with phone calls and emails.


On March 4, more than forty people gathered in Olympia to celebrate Braille Day. A charter bus came from Seattle and several other WCB chapters were represented. (See Danielle Miller’s article elsewhere in this issue.)


Along with celebrating Braille Day, WCB members took time to visit their legislators. As we talked with our House and Senate representatives we stressed how important library and rehabilitation services are in our lives and the positive impact that DSB’s Independent Living Program has for the older blind population. We were definitely a “presence” in the Capitol on that day just as we had been a “presence” when we attended the House Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee hearing on February 2, when we testified against HB2953.


The WCB Legislative Committee wants to thank you for the Hotline calls, emails, and personal visits to your legislators. We were definitely a “presence” in Olympia and, I believe, we made a difference!


Assistance With Your Education

by Julie Brannon, Scholarship Committee Chair


As the economic times get more grim and as low and high technical items, which are continually becoming more of a necessity for blind and visually impaired college students, become more prevalent, it’s nice to know there are organizations who champion the cause of these students by providing scholarships for college and/or vocational/technical training.


This year, as in the past, the WCB is one of those organizations. We will again be awarding college scholarships up to $4,000, to deserving residents of Washington State.


To learn about the criteria for applying for a WCB scholarship, please read the cover letter on the WCB website. Just click on the link entitled announcements. You will also find the WCB scholarship application along with an explanation of what other documents are required. The selection process will include the committee previewing all applications and other required documents along with telephone interviews being conducted with each applicant asking more in-depth questions. These will be used by committee members to fill out an objective rating scale.


The WCB website is located at:


If you have any questions or need clarification of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact me at:



Please consider applying this year. We have a passionate, competent, and very skilled Scholarship Committee awaiting your application. Applications and other required documents must be received by July 31, 2010.


Runaway to Vancouver

by Frank Cuta


As the months go by do you ever wonder why you yearn for November’s quick return? And as the weeks roll on are you wishing for what we did together under Pasco’s burning sun?


Yes, it’s time to pack up your heart while it’s still young and plan to runaway to Vancouver for our WCB State Convention this fall. This year the dates are November 11–13, and you don’t have to wah-wah-wonder where you will stay. It’s the great Hilton Vancouver Hotel that we found so hospitable in 2008.


On the program expect to see all of the regular updates and reports from our state service providers as well as technology updates and some new and exciting surprises. You can look forward to a dynamite talent show and tours of the Washington State School for the Blind. This year we are lucky to score with our National Representative, Eric Bridges, from the Washington Office—he is great!


Room rates will be $92 plus tax. Registration comes in three flavors: registration only: $15; registration plus banquet: $45; and registration and five major meals: $95. The deadline for registration and most special requests is October 15. Late registration costs $25 and late registration with the five meals is $125. There is a free bus available going down from Seattle with stops at Federal Way and Tacoma. Monetary travel stipends are available to those not on the bus and not living in the immediate area around Vancouver.


Call the WCB information number at 800-255-1147, to hear amounts and qualification details on these monetary stipends. The deadline for First-Timer awards is August 31, and the call-in date to request a bed in a free room is September 13. Call the WCB hotline for details on these offerings as well.


Call the Hilton now at 360-993-4500, to make your reservations and plan to run-run-runaway to Vancouver in November. If you don’t you’ll be walking in the rain, feeling the pain, and wondering why, why, why!


Acknowledging Excellence

by Alco Canfield


It is my pleasure and privilege to remind you that the Award’s Committee is looking forward to your nominations to be presented at this year’s November 2010 WCB Convention. This is a great way for us to publicly acknowledge the many individuals both inside and outside WCB who have worked to enhance the lives of blind people. You will find contact information for Award’s Committee members at the end of this article.



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

2.  A certificate to chapters who have increased membership by 10% this past year.

3.  Honorable mention to chapters who have submitted quarterly chapter updates to the Newsline.




This award is given to an individual whose activities have protected or promoted the rights of blind/visually impaired people through legislative work, mediation, etc.


This award is given to an individual who has contributed an outstanding article, either dealing with blindness-related issues or an event important to people who are blind or partially sighted.


This award speaks for itself. It is given to individuals whose many contributions of time and effort have promoted the successful operation of WCB.


This award is given to a chapter whose outstanding outreach activities have promoted a positive public awareness of blindness through presentations at schools, meetings, and public events.




This award is given to an employer who has been proactive in recruiting blind/visually impaired employees and who has provided a working environment which promotes equal opportunity for advancement. Agencies which serve the blind and those agencies which contract with them are not eligible for this award.


This award is given to a business which has provided outstanding customer service to people who are blind or partially sighted. Mention should be made of any provision of materials in accessible format as well as any blind/visually impaired persons employed by this company.


This award is given to an individual or entity that has ameliorated the negative impact of visual impairment by providing audio description to movies, plays, or other public events.


I am sure that many people come to mind as you read this article. Here is your chance to nominate someone special and honor them as they deserve. Submission deadline is August 31, 2010. Electronic submissions are preferred.


Please send your nominations to:

Alco Canfield,

Randy Tedrow,

Vivian Conger,


From the Senior Side

by Carl Jarvis


For many older men and women significant loss of vision turns their Golden Years into lonely, fearful ones.


The Independent Living for Older Blind Program (ILOBP) is the only state-wide program providing training, counseling, adaptive devices, and information to enable older people to maintain or increase independence in their homes and community.


The program, administered by the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), serves people 55 years of age and older whose vision loss is interfering with their normal activities.


In the year 2009, the program assisted 976 individuals in gaining the confidence and skills to perform tasks such as meal preparation, managing medications, household chores, getting around at home and in the community, reading, writing, banking, recreational, and other activities. In other words, to live full, independent, meaningful lives.


During 2009, 63% of those served were at least 80 years of age, with 23% over 90 years old. 87% of ILOBP participants lived in a retirement community or in their own home. With the assistance of the ILOBP services all of these individuals were able to remain in the community.


The cost for this assistance is less than $1,000 per individual. The major share of this money is federal dollars.


Recent budget cuts have already strained the ILOBP. Today some parts of our state are not fully served. And now DSB’s budget has been reduced an additional $100,000 state dollars. This cut will be spread across the agency, but it will certainly impact services to the ILOB. This means that a growing number of older blind people will not receive services. Unable to remain independent, they will be forced to turn to more restrictive and costly options, such as nursing homes and adult group homes.


According to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB):

“Low vision affects more than 6.5 million Americans aged 65 and older. If you have been told by an eye care professional that you are visually impaired in a manner that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses, but you still have some usable vision, you have low vision.” Using AFB’s figures, Washington State has approximately 135,000 older adults with low vision.


WCB believes that people with low vision who are 55 years of age and older represent our greatest underserved population.


There are two basic issues needing to be addressed.

1.      Identifying those adults who have low vision.

As people become older and their fading eyesight begins to interfere with their normal activities, they tend to withdraw from their community. They are fearful of falling, becoming lost, or simply looking confused and foolish. In time they become invisible, isolated, and cut-off from the very information they need to enable them to reestablish themselves.


2.      Develop the funding and staff that will enable the ILOBP to effectively serve the entire state with comprehensive services and training.


Older blind and visually impaired people need to learn new ways to accomplish routine daily tasks. These new skills enable older people to live independent and productive lives, minimizing the need for more costly in-home or nursing home care. Specially trained rehabilitation teachers, orientation and mobility specialists, and low-vision therapists teach essential skills, including:


·    Independent living skills—using specialized adaptive devices and techniques for personal and household management.

·    Communication skills—using large print, writing guides, time-telling devices, and using Braille for reading or labeling and making notes.

·    Mobility skills—using specific orientation and mobility techniques, long canes, and other mobility tools for safe and independent travel.

·    Low-vision therapy—using special low-vision optical and adaptive devices.


The WCB Aging and Blindness Committee is looking at what steps we can take to reach low vision folks who are not aware of the ILOBP services, as well as ways of partnering with DSB to bring attention to the need for both funding and staffing.


Mexico Mission Experience

by Joleen Ferguson


It was a year ago that I began thinking about participation in a short term mission experience with “Joni and Friends.” She is a quadriplegic who was involved in a diving accident in 1970, and now has a passion to deliver wheelchairs to people with disabilities in underdeveloped countries. Wheelchairs are collected and refurbished in prisons around the United States and shipped to the various places. Teams go to assess each person’s needs and custom fit each chair. There are therapists, mechanics, and people who sew covers for custom-fit cushions.


Joni put out a plea a year ago for physical therapists (PT) and those who are mechanically inclined to consider participation during one of her short radio programs. I met the call and contacted their main office. In turn, they put me in touch with Judy Redlich. She is also blind and a Seeing Eye graduate. She encouraged me to apply and go with her on the trip to Mexico last month.


She and I were two of seven, a small subgroup, a pilot program to offer physical therapy assistance for Mexico. We consisted of four therapists, a videographer, Judy, the manager of “Joni and Friends Gateway” in St. Louis, and the international outreach director for “Joni and Friends International.” We learned shortly before leaving home that we would be serving in Ameca and Tala, about 75 miles away from the larger group that was dispensing wheelchairs in Guadalajara.


We were brought together to help fulfill a dream of Noemi, a physician who had just completed her residency in psychiatry. She had met with Joni a year earlier to begin working toward this outreach in her community. Who but God could have laid it on each of our hearts to become involved at this specific time and place? Though there were four therapists, each of us brought a different skill set. Each of us had an inspiration to collect items to bring with us. We could not have come up with a better assortment of “tools” if we had planned together.


Patients came with all kinds of disabilities and we each were able to work with those that fell within our area of expertise. Pediatrics for my roommate, pain concerns for others, and I saw many adult stroke patients, post polio, spinal cord injuries, and others. Each time I prayed that I would have something to offer. I prayed with each of them before beginning to work with them and after each session.


It was prearranged that I would have a fulltime interpreter and a PT technician with ten years experience during the first two days. My concerns that people would not trust me because of my blindness were not an issue. My anxiety about getting around in an unfamiliar territory and clinic setting were never realized. Even when my white cane broke in the Texas airport, God provided a person who could fix it for me when I arrived in Guadalajara.


One of the therapists on our team had worked at the Washington State School for the Blind many years ago and I had met her then. She and I traveled together from Portland and I stayed in her home the night before the early flight. I liked her immediately when I met her long ago and we hit it off well on our re-acquaintance for this trip. Neither of us knew that the other was going.


I was constantly amazed at the many details that came together to make this a wonderful and meaningful experience for me. It was a stretch, but I really enjoyed having an opportunity to work with patients again. It was nice to have another blind person along. She and I could share files including schedules and other documents on our note takers.


Judy has a weekly program on American Council of the Blind Radio Mainstream called “Christian Connection.” She devoted three weeks to our trip and I was interviewed the second week.


To listen to the interview go to: and select Mexico Outreach 2010.


WCB History 1999

by Berl Colley, History Committee Chair


The year 1999 started with President Sue Ammeter announcing the committees and their chairs in January.

Committees and their chairs in 1999 were:

Ballot Access, James Eccles

Constitution and Bylaws, Frank Cuta

Convention 1999, Shirley Taylor and Frank Cuta

Convention 2000, Marlaina Lieberg

Environmental Access, Tim Schneebeck

Equipment Loan, Rhonda Nelson

Exhibits, Julie DeGeus

Finance, Berl Colley

History, Berl Colley

Legislation, Debbie Cook

Membership, Julie DeGeus and Carl Jarvis

Newsline, Peggy Shoel

Nominations, Sharon Keeran

Parents of Blind Children, Julie DeGeus

Public Service Announcement Review, Sharon Keeran

Resolutions, Debbie Cook

Scholarship, Denise Colley


February 13–15, Sue Ammeter and Debbie Cook went to the American Council of the Blind’s (ACB) midyear meetings in Los Angeles. Debbie was asked to make a presentation for ACB’s Information Access Committee.


On February 23, Sue Ammeter, Debbie Cook, Carl Jarvis, and Peggy Shoel met with the acting director of the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), Bill Palmer, to talk about the state of the agency and the search for a new agency director. They felt that their discussion was relaxed and went well.


Four WCB members went to Washington, D.C., in early March to attend the ACB Legislative seminar. They were: Cindy Wearstler, Marlaina Lieberg, Ann McKay, and Ron Frederickson. The issue that the WCB members took to Washington State senators and representatives dealt with pedestrian safety and accessible cell phones.


The first board meeting of the year for WCB was held on March 27, at the Grovener House in Seattle. President Ammeter presented the committee list and the board made several decisions regarding the Fall convention in Richland. It was announced that WCB, for the first time, had a web page that contained information about the organization, contact information for the board and chapter presidents, and some previous Newslines.


The board accepted a request from the East Pierce County Council of the Blind to become an affiliate. Its president was David Wermuth.


Sue also announced that WCB sent to ACB dues for 239 members. This was our highest membership count to date. It gave us nine votes at the Los Angeles Convention.


A second board meeting was held on April 27, via conference call. The primary reason for the meeting was to discuss curriculum ideas to pass on to the DSB Rehabilitation Council’s Orientation and Training Center (OTC) Taskforce. Denise Colley, the Rehabilitation Council chair, had appointed a taskforce to discuss the Orientation Center’s curriculum and the proposed change from living at the Lion’s Insight Center to students living in apartments. Carl Jarvis represented WCB and Dan Fry represented the National Federation of the Bind of Washington on this taskforce.


The board was given an update on the nationwide search for a new director for DSB.


Later, Gary Haug from New Mexico, was hired to fill the director position. He started work on July 1. July 1 was the starting day for the 1999 ACB Convention in Los Angeles, at the Airport Westin Hotel. Sunnie Kittleson was selected as WCB’s First-Timer and she joined President Ammeter and Alternate Delegate Cindy Wearstler and 27 other WCB members that attended the ACB convention. Cynthia Towers was re-elected as ACB’s secretary.


WCB’s Summer Board Meeting was held on July 30–31, at the Best Western Tumwater Inn, in Tumwater. Steve Spiecher was the guest facilitator. On Friday afternoon the group developed 27 areas of concern. The next day at the board meeting they chose three issues to focus on. The new DSB director, Gary Haug, visited the meeting and spoke about his plans for DSB.


WCB held a special membership meeting in Spokane, on September 25, at the Lilac Blind Foundation for the United Blind of Spokane. Carl Jarvis and Julie DeGeus represented WCB.


The three agencies for the blind were looking at a variety of changes. DSB, besides changing the OTC process and looking for a new director, was fighting to keep its budget in the state legislature. The Washington State School for the Blind set up a foundation to collect donations to purchase items for the school and for its students. It also received a $100,000 grant to finish refurbishing Fries Auditorium, the original school auditorium. Jan Ames at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) was testing different digital recording systems to convert to. It took a couple of tries with different companies before WTBBL found what it liked.


The WCB Fall Convention was held on November 11–13, at the Best Western Tower Inn in Richland. Steve Speicher and Pat Beattie were the two guests representing ACB and Roy Avers was the talking-book narrator. The membership, at its business meeting, lowered the age for someone to become a member from 18 to 16. Steve gave the banquet address. Sue Ammeter was given a crystal gavel for her years as WCB president.


There were five scholarship winners in 1999. Cindy Wearstler, Lynnette Romero, David Wermuth, David Freeman, and Jeremy Stanton received a total of $14,000. WCB gave out six grants during the year. They went to Jack Straw Productions, the Kaizen project, Louis Braille Center, National Braille Press, Senior Companions of the Tri-Cities, and Vision Worldwide.


On November 28, a long-time member and leader of WCB and the Pierce County Association of the Blind, Dorothy Inks, passed away. Dorothy first joined the Washington State Association of the Blind in 1945.


The Board of Directors going into 2000 included:

President, Berl Colley, Olympia

First Vice President, Cindy Wearstler, Bremerton

Second Vice President, Shirley Taylor, Seattle

Secretary, Frank Cuta, Tri Cities

Treasurer, Debbie Cook, Seattle

Immediate Past President, Sue Ammeter, Seattle


Julie DeGeus, Seattle

James Eccles, Vancouver

Joleen Ferguson, Walla Walla

Carl Jarvis, Quilicene

Peggy Shoel, Seattle

Mary Thorpe, Spokane

Alternate Delegate to the ACB Convention in Louisville, Marlaina Lieberg, Burien.


Louis Braille School Report

by Carolyn Meyer


“Animals, the Environment, and YOU!” is the theme of the Louis Braille School 2010 Summer Program. The program takes place July 12 through July 23, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.


The summer school is for students entering kindergarten through grade 12 who have special needs arising from vision impairment or other challenges. It is taught by Louis Braille School teacher Kristin Broten, a teacher of the visually impaired, with an M.S. in Special Education. The program qualifies as an Extended School Year Program.



Students will receive small group and individualized instruction in core curriculum areas. Drawing from the Washington State K–12 Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards, focus is on reading, writing, and arithmetic with a touch of social studies and science, all within an environmental theme.



Integrated throughout the day is instruction in everyday living skills that promote self-esteem and independence. Instruction is individualized and may include basic skills such as tying shoes, zipping a jacket, social skills, technology pointers, and other skills as needed.



A tradition on the first day of the summer program is a visit from Guide Dogs for the Blind puppies-in-training. Their trainers guide the children in petting and playing with the pups, walking them on a double lead, and giving them simple commands.



PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) will present two, one-hour interactive workshops each week.



Appreciating dogs and cats as companions and friends. Learn how animals talk and other fun facts. Learn how to care for a pet. Learn about service dogs and meet a guide dog. Make toys for cats that are in the PAWS shelter.



Understanding wild animals and birds through sound, taste, and scent. Learn where wild animals live and how they get their food. Learn how PAWS cares for injured and orphaned wild animals. Make items that will help wild animals at the PAWS shelter re-learn how to find their own food.


Location of Summer School:

Louis Braille School

10130 Edmonds Way

Edmonds, WA 98020


Tuition: $250. Assistance is available. Children bring a sack lunch.


For questions or to register a child, call 425-776-4042 or


Please see our website at: to download registration forms and a brochure.


What People Say About Our Summer Program:

“This is a safe place with caring people.” –Summer Program student.

“You guys do it right. Here everything is for everyone.”

–Summer Program student.

“I want to stay all night at Braille Camp.” –Summer Program student.

“My son counts the days between one summer program and the next.” –Parent.


Department of Services for the Blind (DSB)

Director’s Update

by Lou Oma Durand


Despite our economic environment, DSB remains a separate agency, reporting directly to the governor as established by state statute. Bravo to the WCB and our customers for caring about the future of services for their community, for being organized, and spending time and energy toward the best outcome for blind and visually impaired Washingtonians.


Thank you for sharing your stories, for communicating what we do, and what we can improve to further our mission—“Inclusion, Independence, and Economic Vitality for People With Visual Disabilities.”


Although we continue to face budgetary challenges, DSB is analyzing how to continue to produce customer-focused outcomes that improve the quality of life for Washingtonians who are blind and have low vision.


We have been gifted with Recovery Act funds that have allowed us to take on several new and innovative projects. The numbers are exciting: nine paid internship experiences initiated and six self-employment plans funded with a combined result of nine competitive employment outcomes. By the end of May, over ninety customers were served with Recovery Act funds.


We have created new jobs and increased the agency capacity through targeted trainings and by upgrading the Seattle office and the Prichard Business Enterprise Program facility (Olympia). Most-recently, thirty-eight customers completed intensive three-day Boot Camps in Seattle and Tacoma designed to re-energize and move their job searches forward. The Independent Living for Older Blind Program has served ten individuals in a minority outreach project, developed curriculum for new provider training, and procured items to help customers make informed decisions about Assistive Technology.


Through these projects and the work that we do, we build infrastructure for individuals, our agency, and every community we serve. The process of completing these projects has been challenging, invigorating, and educational to staff and customers alike. We are focusing on not just successful outcomes but the sustainability of those successes for generations to come.


Once again, thank you, the WCB community, for all your hard work in ensuring that your voices, the voices of Washingtonians who are blind or have low vision, be consistently heard. Your involvement and dedication and the passion of your expertise not only changes lives but also serves as a foundation for the future.


Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB)

by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent


It’s hard to believe we are quickly approaching the end of another school year with a great group of students ready to graduate and move into their next adventure in life. This year, Mr. Berl Colley, WSSB graduate of 1960, will be the guest speaker at commencement. I know all of you know Berl and it’s hard to believe that Berl graduated in 1960 (sorry Berl the secret is out!).


We also have a committee working on a coffee table-style book that will be ready for WSSB’s 125th anniversary which will be celebrated July 15–17, 2011, as part of an all-school reunion. Mr. Dan Tolva, retired editor with the Columbian, Judi Sorter, James Eccles (former students), Norma Heiden, Sue Bishop (former staff), WSSB volunteer Brian Regimbal, Janet Merz, and myself will be working on the book. It will be great to preserve part of WSSB’s rich history and have it available to all. Many events will be held during the 2011 calendar year to help celebrate this important milestone. More information to come.


In the last issue of the Newsline I mentioned we were getting ready for the onsite review for National Accreditation. This occurred and WSSB came through with flying colors. Recommendations focused on increasing short-term programs that have been successful in other parts of the country. We have tried this but realized in order for this program to expand we needed to have designated staff devoted primarily to this and not an add-on to courses they were already teaching.


WSSB also completed its Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) monitoring, which also went very well. Results are as follows:


Perfect transition plans: All federal and state requirements are being met.

Excellent use of Distance Learning: Creative thinking to meet needs of students and finding resources for students (a math teacher in Seattle).

Fit for Life Program: Lifelong approach to fitness, individualized for students.

Contracted Counselor: Meets the needs of students by providing help with self-advocacy, self-improvement, and self-esteem.

Student Evaluations: Extremely comprehensive evaluations.

Student Counts and OSPI reports: Nothing out of compliance.


Also noted: WSSB has beautifully maintained facilities, the Sensory Safari is a great learning opportunity, the strength of our Individualized Education Program process (good input from all parties), and positive remarks regarding the amount of change that has occurred in programs during the last seven years was very impressive.


All this information will be used to help tweak our Strategic Plan in preparation for the development of our 2011–2013 budget, which will be completed by the fall of 2010.


The state’s economy has been tough on many programs/services, but so far we have been able to keep this invisible from students. Staff has done a great job in doing more with less, and WSSB has continued to try and diversify services in an attempt to help students gain the skills they need through this diversified service delivery model. Thanks to the hundreds of partnerships that WSSB has developed, this has helped lessen the impact on students. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” This really has become a working motto for WSSB.


Upcoming events:

·      Summer School was canceled but thanks to partnerships we were able to secure enough money to keep this program going (June 20–25).

·      Summer Institute: A program that has become self-supporting with the help of a private grant and provides training to public school teachers, assistants, and parents (July 25–30).

·      Assessment training: Woodcock-Johnson (Braille version) training occurring on campus (June 18–19).

·      Curriculum Development work.

·      Outreach services expanding to the greater Spokane area (operational fall of 2010).

·      WSSB working with universities on research:

·      University of Oregon: Spatial relations and Tactile Mapping.

·      University of Southern Illinois: Audio Computer Programming for blind/visually impaired middle/high school students—pilot computer camp this summer (July 12–16).


As you can see things have been busy and good things are happening for kids, families, and school districts throughout our state. As part of our next budget development, we will be exploring new partnerships, more efficient ways of reaching out to those in need of service, and continuing to strengthen services. All of this can be a challenge in these difficult times, but we need to continue to be creative and do the right things. Thank you for your continued support of blind and visually impaired children.


Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Update (WTBBL)

by Danielle Miller


June 21 is the first day of summer and July 1 is the first day of our new fiscal year. As I look out my window at pouring rain, I’m eager for both dates to arrive. Perhaps most eager for July 1 . . .


Thanks to the incredible outpouring of support from council members and WTBBL patrons, WTBBL will be able to hire two full-time staff positions and increase our outreach efforts effective July 1. We had a rough year and had to cut significant portions of our budget as well as the six layoffs in February. Despite the difficult fiscal situation, staff and volunteers at WTBBL found creative ways to do more with less and keep up the best possible service for our patrons.


We are enthusiastically moving forward with the transition to digital talking books. We finished serving everyone on our waiting list that was in good standing and we are now sending digital players to new borrowers and taking steps to get them out to the remainder of our patrons. We receive shipments of digital players every two weeks so the wait time for a player is very, very short. I encourage you to contact the library to get one and to motivate your friends to contact us for a player as well. We are also receiving more and more digital books and were able to lift the limit on books from one to two, and we’ll be raising it again soon. The downloading of digital books is also growing and growing. The number of books downloaded by WTBBL patrons on the Braille and Audio Reading Download last month increased by 35%!


With the help of the Schuman Trust and the Heritage Center, we were able to bring the National Braille Press Traveling Louis Braille Bicentennial Exhibit to Washington for a month. For the first two weeks, the exhibit was on display between the Senate and House Chambers at the Legislative Building in Olympia. About 40 people attended our Braille Day at the Capitol.


Highlights included viewing the exhibit, demonstrations of Braille writing methods, Braille books, and comments by Sue Ammeter and Secretary of State Sam Reed. Alan Bentson and I staffed one table, while volunteers Terry Atwater and Viola Bentson staffed another. Eura Ryan and John Pai of WTBBL also made the event seamless. The remainder of the month, the exhibit was on display at WTBBL. We had many visitors to the library and they were thrilled to be able to read and view an exhibit themselves.


I wish you all a wonderful spring and summer and hope to see some of you at chapter meetings or in the library. And again, I would like to thank you all for continued support of your library! I hope to hear from you and please let me know how we can enhance and improve your library service. Feel free to contact me at or 206-615-1588.


Exciting News From the 2010 Fundraising Committee

by Lori Allison


The WCB 2010 Fundraising Committee, chaired by John Common, has some great and fun things planned for this year’s WCB Convention. The committee would like for all chapter affiliates to participate and to think up some interesting fun items for the silent auction this year. Let’s see how creative the WCB members can be.


Next is a chance to win a 50/50 drawing. If everyone participates then one lucky person will win a bundle of money. To buy a chance for the 50-50 drawing look for any member of the Fundraising Committee: Lori Allison, John Common, Jim Eccles, or Bill Hoage.


If you are not into the 50-50 drawing and you have a sweet tooth than you can buy a chance to guess the amount of M&Ms in a mystery jar. Each try is a dollar. If you feel lucky and want to try for both the 50/50 and the mystery jar, you could go home with a jar full of wonderful candy and a pocketful of money.


This year when you register to attend the WCB Convention you will have the opportunity to order a royal blue T-shirt with the WCB logo in white. The cost is only $15.00, and the shirt is available in short and long sleeves. Shirts will be ready for pick-up at the WCB Convention.


Remember, whatever you decide to do all of the proceeds will go to help WCB. So put on your thinking caps and bring some great items to donate to the silent auction. Also be sure to bring along your pocket change and show how clever and lucky you can be.



Capitol City Council of the Blind (CCCB)

by Berl Colley


It has been a busy five months here in Thurston County. There have been lots of hearings, meetings with agency heads, and policy people to talk about Washington’s three agencies serving blind people and it looks like there will be much more to come during the next legislative session. We hope many of you will be joining us as we advocate keeping the great school, library, and services that we have.


Emily Bergkamp, from Intercity Transit, visited our March meeting and gave CCCB members a lot of interesting information about transit use during 2009. The Intercity Transit System was named as the number one medium-sized transit system in North America last year.


There was no guest speaker at our April meeting and in May we had a local film company take video of some of us for the Thurston County Auditor’s office. These 30-second film clips will be used to promote accessible voting in the county.


Jackie Cabrera is doing more and more catering and Howard Ferguson, Shirley Atwater, and Dottie Simonsen are doing more traveling. Our new Social Chair is Kathy Matsen. She replaced Gloria Walling who has to spend quite a bit of time with her vending business. We are also seeing Rich’s Computer Solutions, a business started last fall by Rich Dirk, attracting more and more business.


We had some sad news in April. Anna Ernest, mother of Gary Ernest, passed away in her home in the Tri-Cities.


CCCB will be having its summer picnic on August 21, at LBA Park in Olympia. If anyone wants to join us, please let Kathy Matsen know. Call 360-249-3248, and let her know so she can arrange for enough food.


Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind (GEACB)

by Cindy Stormo


Listening to the Newsline brings back memories. Some names I recognize while others are new to me. Some of you may recall, I was a member of the United Blind of Snohomish County which folded years and years ago. I didn’t know about the GEACB until early last year. I’m glad I’m here.


Our chapter meets the second Saturday, 2:00 to 4:00 pm, September through June. In July, we have our annual picnic. September our season starts with the annual fishing derby held by the Everett Lion’s Club. During our May meeting, a new secretary was voted in. We talked about the expo held on the fifteenth, our picnic, and the annual fishing derby. There was discussion on fundraiser projects. There are currently 17 members in the GEACB.


Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

by Holly Kaczmarski


Congratulations to GDUWS for officially becoming a 501 (c) (3) organization. All the work involved in achieving this status was worthwhile. We are now a tax-exempt, nonprofit association. You may ask why we needed to be a 501 (c) (3) organization. There are several main reasons why organizations decide to incorporate and become 501 (c) (3) federally non-profit corporations. These are as follows: limited liability for individual members; donations made to our group are tax deductible for donors; we are eligible to take donations without paying taxes on such, up to a certain amount; we are allowed to use Public Service Announcements on local radio and television stations; we have the ability to use discounted space from internet service providers; and we have lower postal rates on third class bulk mailings.


Concerning recent activities of GDUWS, we have several committee assignments as follows:


Fundraising – Tina Leighton, Dodie Brueggeman, Janine Prendle

Advocacy – Sheri Richardson, Randy Tedrow, Shari Burns

Membership – Janice Squires, Josette Kernaghan, Carol McConnell

Public Relations – Holly Kaczmarski, Marlaina Lieberg, Joleen Ferguson, Gary Lieberg

Convention Planning – Stuart Russell, Bill Hoage, Holly Kaczmarski

Legislative – Randy Tedrow

Constitution and Bylaws – Craig Phillips, Sheri Richardson, Dodie Brueggeman


If you have anything you would like to bring to one or more of these committees, please email me or call 509-526-4967 and I will forward your message on to the appropriate committee. The committees and their chair people will be on our web page, which is


It is that time of year again and our Convention Committee is working on the details of our annual Spring Fling. This year our Spring Fling will be held in conjunction with the Guide Dog Users of Oregon Romp, in Portland, Oregon, at Portland State University. The GDUWS and Guide Dog Users of Oregon (GDUO) boards hope that you are able to join us for this fun-filled weekend, July 2 through 4, 2010.


Due to the fact that last year’s event was so successful and very well received by all participants and by the staff of Portland State University (PSU), we have decided to hold our event at PSU again. PSU provided us excellent accommodations and service last time we met, so we have therefore decided to hold our meetings there again this year.


As happened last year, we are being housed in Ondine Hall, a dormitory facility located at 1912 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, Oregon. This dorm has comfortable overnight accommodations with private baths in each room, a nice dining hall, well-trained and friendly staff, and several conference rooms all located in the same building which is very convenient for everyone. Being downtown, it is also close to many city amenities, parks, cafes, restaurants, pubs, and other places of interest to our attendees.


If you have any questions contact Vivian Conger, President GDUWS at 509-200-0599 or or contact Kae Seth, President GDUO at 971-221-8260 or



Other Affiliate News:

GDUWS wishes to announce the arrival of a new guide dog in Eastern Washington. Bill Hoage of Kennewick, is the proud handler of his new guide dog, Tully, whom he received in January, at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. Tully is a tan-colored male Labrador Retriever full of energy and fun. Tully will not be two until July 8th so he is still a young, bouncy fellow. Bill is enjoying the pace of a younger guide and they are doing fine as a great team. Tully is very bright and is learning his way around the Tri-Cities. He was also able to attend Leadership with Bill in Everett and did just fine. Congratulations to Bill and Tully. Dondi, Bill’s retired guide, will stay at home and enjoy his retirement with the other family dogs.


On a sadder note, we have news to report of the passing of one of our trusted and loved guides. Bernie Vinther was walking home one evening from a volunteer meeting at the local Kennewick Police Department and as he crossed the intersection, he was struck by a pickup truck. Bernie was injured and his guide dog, Kaber, was struck and died a few minutes after the accident. Bernie was hit by the side mirror of the vehicle and pushed to the ground, but Kaber took the brunt of the accident. Bernie spent some time in the local hospital with bruises, sore ribs, chipped teeth, and internal injuries. He is doing better but still is suffering after-effects from the accident. Kaber was rushed to the local emergency veterinarian but he could not be saved. Bernie and Brenda miss Kaber very much and all of us who knew Kaber will miss him. All of Bernie and Brenda’s friends in United Blind of the Tri-Cities are very sad about this recent accident. Bernie will eventually get a new guide dog but nobody will replace the love and service that Kaber gave Bernie. Kaber, who loved people, was loved by all who knew him as a gentle and loving soul who enjoyed his job guiding Bernie around the Tri-Cities. We are all very sorry, Bernie, for your loss.


News From the North Olympic Peninsula

by Carl Jarvis


The members of Jefferson County Council of the Blind (JCCB) gave a happy sigh of relief as the legislature closed up shop and headed home.


At our March and April meetings we were still pretty much focused on the comings and goings in Olympia. President Sue Ammeter kept us tuned into the soap opera antics as our representatives and senators wrestled with the budget deficit. Many of us had sent emails, letters, and made phone calls to our representatives and senators, so when Sue told us that the Department of Services for the Blind and Washington State School for the Blind had come through the budget ordeal in pretty good shape we all cheered. Still, it was bittersweet news. The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) had taken a crippling blow, losing 6.5 positions from an already lean staff. Sue will bring good news to our May meeting. WTBBL was just given back their receptionist and a part-time shipping clerk.


Carl reports that the Aging and Blindness Committee is working on a White Paper for the Older Blind. Its purpose will be to define who the older blind are and identify their unmet needs. This is a first step by the committee toward doing an outreach to make the older blind aware of the services available to them.


Lynn Gressley continues to direct the Disability Awareness Starts Here program (DASH). Only Lynn and Bonnie Sherrell participated in this year’s Disability Awareness Day. But Lynn reported that the Port Townsend Leader had a good article about the April 21, Disability Awareness Day sponsored by DASH. The article showed the difficulties for blind people trying to get to the hospital from the street. The article reported that the city is putting sidewalks in along Sheridan but it still does not address the problem of getting from the new sidewalk to the hospital. Lynn asked us to tell him of any problems we had getting into the hospital, but since most of our members would arrive by Dial A Ride or private car this did not generate any discussion.


There was some concerns expressed over whether blind people were being refused admittance to the exercise class and Ann wondered if this was why she was sent to a physical therapist away from the hospital. She said she was told that they had no room for her at the hospital. Lynn said he would talk with the hospital board and report back to us.


We now have Braille and large print menus at three of our area’s most popular restaurants. Well, that is if the Roadhouse finds where they “mislaid” them. Naturally, that would be where we hold our JCCB meetings.


We welcomed two new members, Nancy Kelly-Patnode and Pat Patnode. They live at the SKP Senior Park on Lake Anderson. Nancy offered the use of the community center for our May meeting. She said she would like to prepare lunch for the chapter. We all thought that this would be a great plan and asked Nancy how much it would cost us. “50 cents a person,” she said. This, it turns out, is the amount the community center asks for each person. We offered to provide a check for the food, but Nancy said this was what she wanted to do for us. Now let’s see, how do we find more new members like Nancy and Pat?


Hopefully as you are reading the news from JCCB, you are basking in the sun on a warm spring day.


King County Chapter

by Marilyn Donnelly and Rhonda Nelson


In the last issue of the Newsline, Alco Canfield told you about our new chapter activity which is collecting contributions for a local food bank. We’re happy to report that from December 2009 through May 2010, our donations total 62 pounds of food and $70. Thank you to Carrie Long for collecting our items, taking them to area food banks, and keeping track of our success.


In March our guest speaker was a representative from the Red Cross, who discussed disaster awareness and how to be prepared for emergencies. She encouraged us to gather items, both necessary and useful, to have ready at a moment’s notice.


Virginia Schneebeck has come up with a method of taking this from simply a good suggestion to an actual activity we can accomplish. She has distributed “grab and go” backpacks to chapter members. Each meeting we’re adding a specific item to our packs, something we would want or need in the case of a hurried evacuation. We’re all either receiving the item at the meeting or being encouraged to add it when we get home. So there’s a strong likelihood that within a few months most or all chapter members will have a very usable pack filled with emergency supplies, something many of us might not actually have put together if left to our own initiative.


In May, we were privileged to have Carolyn Meyer give us an update on activities at the Louis Braille School. It sounds like such a wonderful place at which to receive an education, with lots of practical experience and hands-on learning. We were happy to present Carolyn with a contribution of $500 in support of the school and the upcoming summer program.


Summer is here and we’re looking forward to picnics and barbecues!


The Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB)

by Cindy Van Winkle


With 40-plus members, there’s always some sort of excitement or activity happening with the PCB. Our All Ears Book Club has been busy reading, discussing, and socializing, not necessarily in that order. This quarter we read Lottery, which received raved reviews; Julie and Julia, which included our watching the movie (with audio description) and then comparing the two. Our Digital Book Committee is working on assisting members in learning how to download their books.


Social events have included a delicious Yankee Pot Roast with all the fixin’s at Cora’s Diner, yummy Philipino cuisine at Lin’s Teriyaki, good ol’ BBQ at Famous Dave’s, and our annual Spring Brunch, where we also held a short business meeting. In March, Cindy auctioneered at the Louis Braille School Auction and our chapter contributed $150 to the school.


At our May meeting, our member spotlight was placed on PCB Secretary, Sarah Schweizer. We learned about Sarah’s love for music, her growing up in South Carolina, being raised by her aunt and grandmother while her mom battled an illness which took her life when Sarah was just 6-years-old, and her meeting and marrying Jeff when she was just 19. Almost nine years later, the young couple have a beautiful family with four precious children, three of whom celebrated birthdays this spring. Jeff, a Navy Veteran, received a huge promotion in his civilian job and Sarah has just embarked on a new sales venture with a product called Scentsy, and seems to be doing very well. In fact, this busy mom is now making plans to be at the convention as a participant and a vendor.


In our chapter we have two very special ladies who make up our Sunshine Committee. Unfortunately, in the recent months, they’ve had to take turns sending cards to each other and members have been busy praying and holding good thoughts for both of them. Sarah has undergone surgery on her one good eye to help relieve the pressure and pain; and Kim gave us all a scare with an infection that landed her in the Intensive Care Unit for a few days with several weeks of recovery. The good news is that both are doing better now.


One of the monthly events that are continually strong in our chapter is our Support Group. Even though we had to adjust our meeting date a couple of times, we still try to hold it a week earlier or later. Because of our bus transportation becoming more limited on Saturday and non-existent on Sunday, we are adjusting our meeting time for the Support Group and our chapter meeting, both now running from noon to 2:00. The Support Group is usually on the last Saturday of the month and is held at the Hunter’s home with yummy food and superb sharing time. Our chapter business meeting is on the second Saturday of the month and is held in the restaurant of Allstar Lanes, 10700 Silverdale Way, in Silverdale. We welcome visitors at any of our events.


Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB)

by Mildred Johnson


Somehow our article didn’t get in the last issue and so I will try to pick up some of the highlights. We ended 2009 with an excellent dinner prepared by two of our members, Jimmy Jacks and Tami Dawes. At the dinner we had a white elephant gift exchange, which was very exciting. The Pierce County Community Big Band also provided live music with member David Edick playing music.


PCAB officers for 2010 are President, Lori Allison; Vice-President, Sabrina Beeler; Secretary, Mildred Johnson; and Treasurer, Arnold Kammeyer.


PCAB has four new members: Nick Martindale, Michael Edwards, Marie Janes, and LaKenia Garnes, and honorary member Nichole Martindale.


On February 6, 2010, PCAB hosted the 2010 Braille Challenge in Puyallup. The students who participated did very well in overall standings. PCAB would like to give a special thank you to Janet George and Becky Sherman from the Department of Services for the Blind for proctoring the tests. We would also like to thank Braille transcriber Carol Studer for monitoring the grading of the test. A fine continental breakfast and lunch was prepared by Tami Dawes and Jimmy Jacks. PCAB would not have been able to host the Braille Challenge this year without the generous donation from the Tacoma Delta Gamma Alumni.


The members of PCAB have been doing several fundraising projects such as candy sales and pizza cards. In February, PCAB had the opportunity to work at the SeaTac Safety Rest Area serving coffee and cookies to the many travelers. What a great outreach opportunity and fundraiser. PCAB could not have taken on this fundraising opportunity without the help of the King County Pomona Grange and the Meridian Grange.


PCAB gave a generous donation to the Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals With Disabilities Independent Living Program to update equipment in their low-vision diagnostic kit. The diagnostic kit is used to evaluate new clients so that they can continue to live independently.


Our chapter will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of PCAB with a picnic on Sunday, August 1, 2010, at Spanaway Lake Park. We are inviting all members of WCB to come and join us.


South King Council of the Blind

by John McConnell


We at the South King Council of the Blind have had some happenings within the last two months that we would like to share: In April 23–25, President John McConnell attended the Leadership Seminar, along with representing our chapter at the Spring Board Meeting. The Leadership Seminar had a warm feel to it. Everyone seemed to want to get to learn about each other and how the chapters are doing. One very outstanding presentation was given by a person named Ryan, who spoke about Conflict Resolution. The material he taught would realistically cover eight hours. We can always learn more about this subject whether we are a leader or not. I’m sure someone else will cover this in more detail in this issue.


We also learned about the temptations that come to those who are in leadership. I can remember one especially: passing on responsibilities to others when the leader should actually be involved with the decision-making process. I really felt privileged to get involved with the several focus groups we had. The one that stands out was burnout. We learned that we should actually share more with each other and get ideas about possibly doing things to de-stress ourselves and delegate some of the tasks.


We also identified struggling chapters and felt that the whole organization should stand as one, then help them out in whatever way we can.


To summarize, I felt energized to know that others were going through the same things I am. We are all swimming together rather than just treading water.


Our thanks to Cindy Van Winkle and to her Leadership Committee, and Berl Colley, for the excellent job they did.


On May 8, Jackie Cabrera, a person who is a caterer and is visually impaired, brought a cooking demonstration and ideas on how we as blind/visually impaired, can do more than just the basics in cooking. She helped us prepare fried rice with vegetables and we even made our own flampias, flat lumpia rolls. They were good! We owe many thanks to Jackie and her assistants for their patience, understanding, and answering all of the questions fired at them. We think she is a member of the Capitol City Chapter. If so, you are blessed to have such a knowledgeable member.


United Blind of Seattle (UBS)

by Ursula McCully


Often times I ask myself, “What to write, what to write this time.” I often pause and try to make the UBS update accordingly so Newsline readers can clearly picture the essence of the UBS chapter; it is a very vibrant and actively involved chapter of the WCB.


The March meeting was the gearing up of the chapter for spring. The chapter’s various committee chairs with their members focus their minds on what activities they like to organize and accomplish; phone conferences were in place and attended.


In the April chapter meeting, the Outreach Committee was spotlighted because we had Nan Hawthorne as our guest speaker. She talked about how she started the Reader’s Program at the Community Services for the Blind and Partially-Sighted (CSBPS). Nan is willing to be our Outreach Committee consultant to establish a Reader’s Program since many of us blind folks are in need of good and trusted readers to assist us with printed materials we receive in the mail. This is good, very good indeed that Nan Hawthorne will be our mentor to this enormous yet important venture that the Outreach Committee put into action.


In the month of May, the Fundraising Committee had its turn to be in the limelight. The Entertainment Book sale will still be the main fundraiser of the chapter for the Scholarship Fund. The Wine Tasting and Raffle Ticket sales are still going for the Super Picnic Fund and UBS T-shirts are almost sold, only 13 are left. Lastly, the Scholarship Fund Committee is discussing a Beer Tasting.


At this month’s chapter meeting, Julie presented an Outreach Committee project, which is sponsoring a Cooking Class that Donna Lawrence, a current Home Management Instructor at  the Department of Services for the Blind, will be teaching. This project is for working visually impaired individuals who would like to learn how to cook. The chapter voted for it.


UBS members volunteered to man the WCB table at the Low-Vision Fair sponsored by Community Services for the Blind and Partially-Sighted in Lynnwood while other members went to the monthly meeting.


In June, the Membership Committee is next to be in the spotlight. They will be preparing the chapter’s Friends’ Day. It will be on June 19, 2010, and will be held at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). The Committee is working hard to attract and invite people who may be interested in joining UBS. Julie challenged UBS membership to invite two to three guests to come for Friends’ Day. Invitations and flyers were mailed out to various agencies and organizations. The Membership Committee did a public service announcement to the Evergreen Radio Services and another to churches in which UBS members are connected. They are targeting colleges and universities. Ophthalmologist and optometrist clinics will be receiving our invitation and flyer. As we say, “The more the merrier. The more we may gain new members.”


Remember, our Friends’ Day will be on June 19, 2010, Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00, at the WTBBL. You are welcome to come and join us.


With this, I end my UBS update and hope that I gave you all a very clear picture of the essence of UBS. As I say, “Keep smiling, better yet, keep laughing makes you younger!”


United Blind of Walla Walla (UBWW)

by Joleen Ferguson and Freda Tepfer


Vivian stepped in at the last minute to provide a program for our March meeting since our original plans did not materialize. She demonstrated her Talking Bible. This electronic Bible is shaped like a very small book and has several navigational buttons to quickly locate books and chapters. Her presentation sparked many questions and much discussion.


Jean MacConnachie, a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Teacher of the Visually Impaired working in Educational Service District 123 spoke at our April meeting about her work. She brought a graduating senior and potential new member with her. Their informative program gave us a closer relationship to students in our area including College Place, Walla Walla, Dayton, Dixie, and Richland. Jean told us about her job duties and described the diversity of her work. Most of the students she serves have at least one additional disability other than blindness.


Here is a breakdown of the students Jean serves according to ages:

Early Intervention; 0–3 years old; 1 student

Preschool; 3–5 years old; 2 students

Elementary; 6–11 years old; 8 students

Middle School; 12–14 years old; 1 student

High School; 15–21 years old; 10 students


She listed ways we can help:

Purchasing equipment such as canes, monoculars, and magnifiers. Providing scholarships for SPACE CAMP in Huntsville, Alabama. Helping to fund summer camps and vans to take kids to track meets, or goal ball meets.


As a result of Jean’s visit to UBWW, we set up a process for Jean to make formal requests for support for these students. Since this process was implemented we approved purchasing: a watch for a graduating senior who is visually impaired, a white cane for a grade school student who has outgrown her previous cane, and funding to buy materials for an individualized, in-home summer school experience for one grade school student. The summer school experience will include simple cooking and shopping activities.


Freda Tepfer returned from her five-month internship in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) at the Veterans’ Administration Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center in West Haven, Connecticut, in time for our May meeting. Joleen was back from her week-long Wheels for the World mission trip to Mexico through Joni and Friends. They shared the program, each telling of their time away. Freda stressed that anyone who is blind and is a veteran should contact Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator Spencer Peterson in Richland, or their local area. In addition to O&M, the Veterans Administration also provides excellent training in low vision, manual skills, and living skills as well as disbursing devices like closed-circuit televisions and monocular telescopes. Freda also told us that O&M is a good career choice for someone who wants to make a difference and help people who are blind or have low vision travel independently.


We have some possible new activities in the planning stage for this summer. We are considering a book club experience, audio description for a summer play, and a meal out or a picnic.


Congratulations to Freda for completing her education at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, internship, and passing the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professions exam. She expects to receive her Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist certification by June 30. We wish her well on her career as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. We will be sorry to see her move out of our area to begin employment. Freda had several job offers to choose from, demonstrating that O&M is a good field to consider.


We are excited to see what guide dog will be matched with Joleen with her class date beginning June 19.


United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)

by Barb Crowley



In April, Whatcom County voted on a transit proposition to increase the county sales tax by 2/10th of one percent. If the proposition failed, it would result in drastic cuts in service—including all Sunday service. When the votes were counted, the proposition was defeated by a narrow margin—just under 300 votes. In an analysis of the vote, the local newspaper reported that while Bellingham residents voted 65 percent in favor of the proposition, residents outside of the city voted 70 percent against the proposition.


Because of the closeness of the vote, Whatcom County Transit Authority held another public hearing after the election to again solicit ideas from the community. To date, no final decision has been made. If no decision is made before September, the cuts will be put into place. UBWC members are continuing to work on this project.



You know that all work and no play makes us dull so we are also engaging in some fun activities. Our newly formed book club is continuing to meet every six weeks. After reading and discussing Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth and Oliver Sack’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, in June we will be discussing The Camel Bookmobile.



In April, longtime UBWC member Beth Marsau, lost her husband, Roger. They had been married for over thirty years. Beth reports that she is doing well but misses Roger.



Again, UBWC members will be participating in the Human Race Walkathon fundraiser on June 12. The walk will include a 2.9 mile walk along Bellingham’s beautiful bay. All UBWC members are encouraged either to walk or support a walker. This walkathon is a way to help nonprofit organizations raise funds for its projects.


Description of a Miracle

by Barbara Crowley


Miracles do happen! One occurred in Bellingham on Sunday, May 23, at 2:00 pm.


For many years, Western Washington University (WWU) has been providing sign language interpreters and enhanced audio for deaf and hard of hearing audiences, but no audio description for the blind and visually impaired. So there were no plans in place to provide an audio description for its May production at the Performing Arts Center (PAC).


Two days before the opening, a marketing intern sent out a press release saying that sign language and “vision interpreters” would be provided for the production. Hmmm – might this mean audio description? Calls to the WWU box office and theater department for clarification produced none. The next day, Patrick Dizney, an instructor in the theater department and director of the play, called. He was apologetic about the incorrect press release but clearly intrigued by the idea. He would, he said, try to make it happen.


Patrick asked for some resources he could contact and was referred to Jesse Minkert, who provides audio description services for several theaters in Seattle. Unfortunately, Jesse was not available on such short notice.


Patrick then put out calls to PAC’s facility manager and to WWU’s services for disabled students to see if there was any equipment to provide audio description. He also put out a request for a volunteer to provide the narration, which was quickly answered by Karee Wardop, who has provided sign language services for previous plays at the PAC. So far so good, but no one seemed sure about the technology—starting with what it was called.


More people got involved, more calls went out. Yvonne Miller contacted Marlaina Lieberg, who referred her to the American Council of the Blind’s website, which had information about audio description services. Barb Crowley contacted Frank Cuta, who supplied the needed term: an assistive listening system. With that in hand, Patrick was able to determine that the PAC, indeed, had an assistive listening system—but it was only used for enhanced audio for the hard of hearing. The technicians would have to assess the system and determine what modifications, if any, could be made.


Four days before the Sunday matinee, Patrick called United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC) with the good news—there would be an audio description of the play for that performance.


On Sunday afternoon, UBWC members Yvonne Miller, Hope Nightingale, Diane Kirscheman, and Barb Crowley, along with Bellingham low vision support group member, Ardith Kling and Ally Matt, a postdoctoral intern at WWU’s Student Counseling Department, attended the audio-described play. Ally’s guide dog, All Star, accompanied her. Two other UBWC members, Betty Sikkema and Beth Marsau, were unable to attend that day, so Patrick, ever helpful, forwarded the script to Betty so she could download it to her Braille note taker in advance of their seeing a different performance.


Those in attendance agreed that Patrick, Karee, and the technicians did an awesome job. All Star had the only complaint, apparently feeling that he could do a better job than the yellow lab who played a supporting role in Act Three. Turns out the lab is a retired guide dog and All Star was assured that when he was retired, he, too, could go on stage.


So that’s the whole story. Wait, something’s missing . . . Ah yes, the play! Are you ready for this? It was The Miracle Worker.


Member Profile

by Chris Colter


Can you guess who this is?


She has been blind since birth and she may have been born an advocate. She spent her youth in Massachusetts. Her voice can often be heard on American Council of the Blind Radio. Have you guessed who she is? If you guessed Marlaina Lieberg you’re right.


Marlaina’s life has had many, many highlights. One of her earliest memories is of her mother taking her roller-skating when she was five-years-old. When Marlaina would fall down and start crying, her mom would say, “Your bum doesn’t hurt any more than the rest of the kids’ so stop your crying.”


Marlaina worked with a Braille teacher during her school years who helped her develop self-reliance and an ability to advocate for herself. She says that during her school years this teacher gave her all the tools she would ever need.


When she was twelve and worried about whether she would have Braille paper and Braille textbooks, Marlaina approached the principal before the beginning of the school year to make sure these essentials were provided for her. At that time she also insisted that an orientation and mobility instructor begin working with her in August, so she would know her way around the school before classes started.


When she found out that she wouldn't be able to take physical education classes she wrote to then President Kennedy, who had started a campaign for better physical fitness in this country. President Kennedy not only replied to her but also sent a letter to the school principal telling him that every child must be allowed to take gym classes.


On moving into a house closer to school for her to walk, Marlaina applied for a guide dog. At that time children of twelve were considered too young for acceptance into guide dog schools but Marlaina continued writing to the head of Guiding Eyes for the Blind until finally, at the age of fourteen, she was accepted. Her first guide was a 40-pound German Shepherd named Scamp. She is now working with her 8th guide, Agnes.


Marlaina says that the most exciting years of her early life were the years when she was twenty to twenty-seven years old. This was when she became involved in the work of the organized blind, first joining the Blind Leadership Club of Boston. That organization was merged with the Bay State Council of the Blind and Marlaina became one of its more active members along with Charlie Crawford and others who are well-known to people who are involved in American Council of the Blind (ACB).


Marlaina's life has been very rich and full. She is now secretary of ACB and is involved in many committees and projects at the national level. She is WCB’s Membership Committee chair and works on other committees at the state level.


She says that she often receives emails from people who say that she is one of the lucky ones among blind people. Her belief is that while this may be partly true, she credits her success to her mother’s belief that she could do what other children could do and to the Braille teacher who taught her about advocacy, although, as she says, she didn’t know the meaning of that word when she was making sure she had the proper tools and training at the age of twelve.


Oh, and one more thing: Marlaina is acquainted with Ronnie Milsap! She has interviewed him on ACB Radio and they have maintained a connection ever since then. It just goes to show us that we can walk through the world with confidence in ourselves. She has done it and counts famous people, as well as people whose names we wouldn’t recognize, as her friends. As she says, her life is a wonderful journey.


Hats Off to You


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


•    Carrol Gray, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind and WCB life member, on being selected as this year’s recipient of the First-Timer’s award to attend the National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Carrol is very excited about being selected and wants to learn everything she can.

•    Berl Colley, member, Capitol City Council of the Blind, on being invited to be the commencement speaker for the 2010 graduation ceremonies at the Washington State School for the Blind. Berl and his classmates graduated from the school 50 years ago and the members of that graduating class were invited to these ceremonies.

•    Carl Jarvis, secretary, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, on celebrating his 75th birthday on April 10. His wife, Cathy, held a surprise party for him at the Olympic Timber House. He says that about 41 friends and family members helped him through the crisis of becoming 75. Unfortunately his elder sister figured a way to tip him off. But the party was wonderful.

•    Meka White, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind and WCB board member, on starting her own radio show on American Council of the Blind Radio Interactive in May. The show is called the “Musicscape Café,” and is a show with all different types of music from country to R&B to rock, and a lot of things in between. The show can be heard on Tuesday nights from 5:00 to 8:00 Pacific Time. You go girl!!!

·         Freda Tepfer, member, United Blind of Walla Walla, on completing her training and becoming a certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist. Not only did she receive her certification, but she has also accepted a position as an Orientation and Mobility Instructor/Rural Outreach Coordinator at the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in Anchorage, Alaska. She will be traveling statewide in her new position. She says the work involves some amazing opportunities for interesting work and unusual travel.


From My Kitchen to Yours

by Marlaina Lieberg


Hurray! Winter is leaving, we’ve moved our clocks forward to spring into good weather and fun with friends! This recipe is sure to please friends and family at any get-together!


2 cups “O” shaped cereal or spelt sesame sticks, some plain and some Cajun.

3 cups Rice Chex

3 cups Wheat or Corn Chex (optional)

1 cup thin pretzels

1 cup nuts


Melt a stick of butter in a glass cup in the microwave and then mix in 1/4 cup Worcestershire, a generous dash of Tabasco, 1 tsp. seasoned salt, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, and 1/2 tsp. onion salt.


Cook on high for 2 hours in an open crockpot stirring often. If you want the mix cooked more, turn crockpot to low and keep stirring occasionally for a couple of hours. Pour into a container and cover.


2010 Calendar of Deadlines and Events


June 5: SRC meeting, conference call meeting


June 10: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver


June 11: WSSB student graduation, Vancouver


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


July 31: Deadline for WCB Scholarship Application


July 31: WCB Summer Board Meeting, Bremerton


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


August 31: Deadline for submission of WCB award nominations


August 31: Deadline for First-Timer applications to attend the WCB State Convention in November


September 4: Office hours conference call at 12:00 pm with President Colley


September 10–12: ACB Fall Board Meeting, Reno, Nevada


September 11: SRC meeting, conference call meeting


September 13: Call-in day to apply for free rooms at WCB convention


September 17–18: WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver


October 15: Deadline for requesting travel stipend, making hotel reservations, and registering for WCB State Convention


November 5–7: ACB Fall Board Meeting, Reno, Nevada


November 11–13: WCB State Convention, Vancouver


November 27: Deadline for submission of articles for the December issue of the Newsline


December 3–4: WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver


December 4: SRC meeting, conference call meeting


December 11: Office hours conference call at 12:00 pm with President Colley




The Newsline is available in large print, half-speed four-track cassette tape, via email, and on our website at


Subscription requests and address changes should be sent to or by phone, toll free at 800-255-1147.


Special thanks goes to the Newsline Committee and production volunteers.


Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by August 28, 2010. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.


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



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