The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind

March 2005 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity

Founded 1935

(206) 283-4276

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


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



From the President’s Desk by Cindy Burgett

Editor’s Comment by Peggy Shoel

WCB Board Meeting by Marlaina Lieberg

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill by Denise Colley

New South King Council of the Blind Chapter by Gaylen Floy

WCB Annual Convention by Janice Squires

WCB National Convention Loan Program

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in Kennewick by Joleen Ferguson
and Janice Squires

WTBBL Report by Gloria Leonard

WTBBL Patron Advisory Council Update by Doug Hildie

GDUWS Spring Fling by Joleen Ferguson

Valley Viewpoint by Joleen Ferguson

Dealing With Reality by Margaret Kickert

A Simple Plan by Cynthia Towers

Going Blind Ain’t so Bad by Bernie Vinther


Food For Thought

Around the State - Chapter Updates

Living Well with Macular Degeneration

Hats Off to You by Peggy Shoel

Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel

Recipes by Yvonne Miller



2005 Committees



From the President’s Desk
by Cindy Burgett

As winter attempts to turn into spring early, I find myself feeling excited about the year at hand and ready to spring into action. It’s a good thing too, because my new guide dog, Spud, is young and full of energy, and I need to be ready just to keep up with him.

A great beginning to this year was having the board approve the affiliation of the South King Council of the Blind (SKB) as our 18th chapter. Gaylen Floy, SKB President, was at our winter board meeting to request affiliation, and it was a real joy to hear the enthusiasm she and the SKB bring to our WCB family.

It’s always a pleasure when WCB can share our resources with worthy organizations. The board approved grant funding to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library to help the Radio Reading Service be streamed on the web and to the National Braille Press for the reproduction of the print/Braille book, A Picture Book of Louis Braille and half the cost for the initial production of a book for adolescent boys called, What's Going On Down There? The board also voted to move an additional $25,000 from savings into the grants line item of our budget so that we may be able to assist more people this year.

I’m very pleased to say that ideas from our President’s breakfast at convention in November have sprung into action. Chapter Presidents are now meeting on the first Thursday of each month via conference call to share and learn from one another and to encourage each other. They have also taken on a major task of putting together a President’s Handbook that will be made available on our website sometime this year.

Planning for our fifth annual Leadership Seminar is under way, and I know that there are over 70 members who can attest to the value of this weekend of learning, getting energized and experiencing growth as an individual and as a WCB member. Please read the information about the seminar in Marlaina Lieberg’s board report, check the calendar in this issue for dates, and consider taking part.

The leaders in WCB know that we also need to keep learning and growing too. February 18-22, Denise Colley, First Vice-President and Legislative Chair, and I attended the ACB Presidents Meetings and Legislative Seminar in Washington DC. This was a jam packed weekend which started out with presentations to motivate affiliate Presidents. I had the honor of participating in a panel on Sunday morning sharing about some of the things WCB is doing. We also learned about a fund-raiser being sponsored by the ACB board with proceeds benefiting the Braille Forum, our national magazine. In fact, I’m selling these tickets at $50 each with the grand prize of $5000 being drawn at the ACB convention. A second prize of $1000 or two third-place prizes of $500 wouldn’t be bad either. Think about buying one yourself, going in on one with a friend, or getting your chapter to purchase one. It’s for a great cause and who knows, you may even win. The President’s meeting ended in a solemn hour of remembrance as leaders recognized the immeasurable work and loss of ACB Financial officer, member and friend, Jim Olsen. You can read about the Legislative portion of our weekend in a separate article by Denise.

Now, it’s time to start thinking about Las Vegas and the ACB national convention, taking place July 2-9, 2005. WCB members planning to attend who have been members since July 2, 2004 or earlier and who have attended one of the last two state conventions, are eligible to receive a $300 stipend or up to a $500 convention loan. To request the stipend, call Shirley Taylor at (206) 362-3118; to request the loan, contact Doug Hildie at (206) 529-8247, both by May 15. A first-timer scholarship is also available for members meeting the same criteria but who have never been to an ACB convention. Letters of application and a letter of recommendation should be sent to Rhonda Nelson at by May 1 to be considered.

With spring approaching, it makes sense that our minds may wander to Spring Training, and then, to August 13. This is the day that WCB Mariner fans will be heading to Safeco Field to cheer the M’s on to victory over the Anaheim Angels. Game time is 1:05pm and we will be sitting in the Hit It Here Café. Ticket prices are $42, which includes an $18 food voucher for the cafe. I will begin taking reservations at the May 1 WCB board meeting through June 17. To hold your seat, $42 in full must be received by me by June 17, while seats are still available (I have 74 seats on hold). Please make checks payable to Cindy Burgett. You may mail orders to
Cindy Burgett
6686 Capricorn Ln. N.E.
Bremerton, WA 98311

Please, no partial payments. You will receive your ticket at the August 5 board meeting or it will be mailed to you per your request. Those wishing to sit together should order your tickets together, as I cannot guarantee seating assignments but will keep tickets ordered from one party as a cluster. Now, let’s Play Ball!

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Editor's Comment

By Peggy Shoel

A Happy Announcement: Yvonne Miller, President, United Blind of Whatcom County in Bellingham, is now a member of the Newsline Editorial Committee. Yvonne is a writer and a lover of words, and we are pleased to have her and the enthusiasm and skill she brings with her, as a permanent member of our team.

Calendar: If you read nothing else in this issue, do yourself a favor and check over the 2005 calendar of deadlines and events, located in the back of this issue. It is loaded with important and useful information regarding WCB, ACB and agencies serving the blind and visually impaired.

New ACB Special Interest Group: The American Council of the Blind has just formed a diabetes special interest affiliate. The group got off to a running start with its first open participation conference call discussion. I joined this call and was reminded of what a wonderful feeling it is to share information, experiences and frustrations and to be able to ask questions and receive answers from others throughout the country in the same situation. If you are interested in knowing when the next scheduled call will be, please contact me.

What do You Know about WCB committees?

Question: How many committees does the WCB currently maintain?

Answer: Twenty.

In the back of this issue is the WCB 2005 committee list. These committees are established and maintained for the benefit of individual members and our organization as a whole. Are you currently a member of one or more of these committees? If not, would you like to find out what they do, so that you can offer your participation for 2006? Well, check it out. This list includes names and contact phone numbers for each committee chair.

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WCB Board Meeting

By Marlaina Lieberg, WCB Secretary

The Winter 2005 Board Meeting was held on February 12, at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle. A call of the roll and guest introductions revealed that approximately fifty people were in attendance.

Minutes from the previous Board meeting were approved, as was the Treasurer's report.

WCB is off to a fast start in 2005. Our fund raising activities are doing well, enabling us to continue to provide and sponsor programs that help people who are blind.

Appointments: Berl Colley will represent WCB on the Board of Directors of the Washington State School for the Blind. Doug Hildie will represent WCB on the Patrons Advisory Council for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. Viola Cruz will manage the WCB web site.

Chapter Presidents can reach out and touch someone! How? Each month, the Chapter Presidents are invited to participate in a Presidents' teleconference call. WCB President Cindy Burgett asked that everyone encourage their chapter presidents to participate in these calls, which occur on the first Thursday night of the month at 8:00pm.

Take me out to the ball game! Again this year we'll be attending a Seattle Mariners game. It's scheduled for Saturday, August 13, against the Anaheim Angels. Stay tuned for more details and some possible surprises.

News you can use about WCB's Equipment Loan Fund. The Washington Assistive Technology Foundation will be administering WCB's Equipment Loan Fund. This means that all loan requests will be expedited through WATF, giving our members the privacy they deserve when applying for a loan.

Another Chapter in the WCB Book! Congratulations and welcome to the South King Council of the Blind, Gaylen Floy, President. We welcomed our 18th Chapter, and will charter them at our Convention banquet in October. SKB, which will be their abbreviation, meets on the first Saturday of each month at the Bridgeview Community Church in Des Moines. WCB is excited for the birth of yet another vibrant and energetic chapter!

Read all about it! The WCB Newsline celebrates 23 years of continuous publication! Our Newsline Editor, Peggy Shoel, reminded us to be certain any change of addresses are reported to Janice Squires and if possible, copy Peggy on these changes. We are seeing a number of Newsline issues returned for lack of correct addresses. Peggy also reported that she is in touch with editors of other regularly published ACB affiliate newsletters. They'll receive a great deal from our experience, and we'll learn from their's.

Three grants were approved. The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library received a grant to cover costs to stream programming from The Evergreen Radio Reading Service to the Internet. National Braille Press received one grant to cover the cost of reprinting a book about Louis Braille for children, and matching funds of up to fifty percent to cover the first publication of a book targeted for adolescents dealing with their physical development.

Our Advocacy Committee under the guidance of Sue Ammeter, is helping a member with a discrimination complaint against the Federal Government. The complainant was present, and thanked the organization for caring and for being there when he most needed help.

It's always great to celebrate, and we took time to celebrate the success of the United Blind of the Tri Cities, who were successful in getting accessible pedestrian signals installed in key intersections. WCB is proud to have been a funding source in this endeavor.

The 5th annual Leadership Training Seminar will be held on April 29-30, 2005 at the Executive Inn in Seattle. To attend, you must have been a member of WCB for six months, and not have attended a previous Leadership Seminar. Charter members of newly formed chapters are also eligible. If you are interested, you must submit a letter of request to attend plus a letter of recommendation from another WCB member no later than April 1. Letters may be e-mailed to Denise Colley at  and you may apply immediately.

Watch the WCB 800 number and listserv for information from the Legislative Committee. It's an active committee which regularly meets and is monitoring legislation in Olympia.

And speaking of watching for things, stay tuned for more information on both ACB and WCB convention loans, stipends and other information. Both conventions are shaping up to be pretty exciting, and you won't want to miss either one.

Mark your calendars for the week of May 5. During the week of May 5, the Aging and Blindness Committee will be asking all WCB chapters to disseminate Committee brochures and other relevant information by visiting senior centers, nursing homes, doctors' offices, etc. You can contact Carl Jarvis, the Committee Chair, at

Got a guide dog? Well, Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS) is planning its Spring Fling, which will occur on April 30 in Seattle. Contact Vivian Conger at for more information.

So as you can see, the Board meeting was packed with good news, exciting successes and lots to which we can all look forward. On a personal note, this was my first meeting serving as Secretary to WCB. I'm honored to serve in this capacity, and look forward to seeing you all at upcoming Board functions.

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What’s Happening on Capitol Hill in 2005

By Denise Colley, WCB Legislative Chair

This year I have taken on what I initially thought would be the daunting responsibility of serving as the chair of WCB’s legislative committee. However, it hasn’t turned out to be so daunting, and thanks to a great committee to work with, has actually proven to be an interesting and educational experience.

Although the Committee’s focus has been on monitoring legislative activity at the state level, I felt strongly that, as Chair, it was just as important that I have a good handle on national legislation occurring this year, important to ACB. Thus, my reason for applying and ultimately being selected to attend this year’s ACB legislative seminar.

On February 18th I had the privilege of accompanying WCB president, Cindy Burgett, back to Washington DC to first attend the Presidents’ meeting, and then to attend the legislative seminar, which began on February 20th. The first day and a half was spent getting updates on the status of bills ACB has been following since last year, and being educated on our legislative agenda for this year and preparing us for our day on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, February 22nd, we spent the day meeting with Congressional aids before returning home to Washington State. Due to the fact that it was Presidents weekend, and Congress was in recess, our meetings were with Congressional aids with Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representatives Norm Dicks and Adam Smith. All four asked good questions and were quite receptive to our issues and concerns.

This year’s ACB legislative agenda consists of six issues which I will briefly summarize here.

Social Security Reform

Anyone who has been listening to the news or heard President Bush’s "State of the Union" address knows that there is much concern over the Social Security Retirement Program as it currently exists, and Social Security Reform seems to be the hot topic. In the midst of the rush of concern over Social Security’s ability to continue to operate as a retirement program, what is being overlooked is its use as an insurance program for those people with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. People with disabilities have virtually been absent from any discussions as the Bush Administration begins to push private accounts for Social Security. The impact of changes to Social Security on the lives of people with disabilities has not been addressed. The American Council of the Blind encourages the creation of a Beneficiary Impact Statement to study the impact that changes to Social Security Retirement will have on Social Security Disability Programs and opposes any actions that would have a negative impact on workers who become disabled.


Medicaid is the nation’s largest healthcare program that meets the health needs of low-income Americans, including 11 million people with disabilities. Changes in the current structure of the Medicaid program are being proposed that include converting the program into a block grant to the states that would result in a huge cost shift to those states. Another way the federal government could alter its funding could be through entitlement caps which, because of lack of funds, would force states to limit the number of Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled or decrease the amount of services provided. The American Council of the Blind is strongly opposed to block grant conversions or imposing caps on federal funding. These measures would weaken the partnership between the states and the federal government, and put at risk the provision of quality healthcare to needy families and people with disabilities.

Video Description Restoration

In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required the major networks and cable channels in the top 25 television markets to show at least four hours of video- described programming per week. The FCC further required that video-described programs be made available where TV stations not in the top 25 markets had the equipment to do so.

The National Association of Broadcasters, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association successfully challenged those requirements in court, saying that the FCC exceeded its authority.

The Video Description Restoration Act would restore the FCC’s video description rules, expressly granting the FCC the authority to restore its minimum requirements, with increased access over time. It also specifically states that vital information such as weather alerts, public service announcements, and emergency information that is flashed up on the screen during newscasts must be made accessible to visually impaired viewers. The American Council of the Blind supports legislation to restore the Video Description mandate that ensures that video description programming will continue to be available to people who are blind.

Highway Reauthorization and Transportation

It is critical that transportation legislation ensures that people with disabilities have safe, affordable and accessible transportation to fully participate in community life. However, few federal transportation dollars are being spent on the maintenance and improvement of pedestrian safety and accessible public rights-of-way. At the same time, transit agencies across the country are facing revenue shortfalls because state and local governments cannot afford to adequately maintain or improve public transit. Less than one percent of federal transportation construction, operations, and maintenance funds are spent to ensure a safe and accessible walking environment.

The President’s New Freedom Initiative is a program intended to remove barriers and provide services beyond that required by the ADA. Examples include installation of accessible pedestrian signals and detectable warnings, accessible taxi, van-pooling, and ridesharing programs, and mobility management programs.

The latest extension of the current transportation bill expires on May 31, so Congress is moving quickly to pass legislation for a new transportation bill. The House introduced its bill, HR 3, on February 9, and the Senate will also soon submit a bill. The American Council of the Blind strongly supports the language in HR 3 that maintains the New Freedom Initiative as a separate and distinct program and encourages the Senate to adopt language maintaining that separation. The ACB also supports the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of transportation plans and projects.

Rehabilitation Reauthorization

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program is the primary federally funded employment and training program specifically designed to assist people with disabilities in overcoming barriers to employment. With the passage of the Workforce Investment Act in 1998 came the concept of a One Stop service delivery system through which federal assistance and services can be made available through partnership organizations, to include Vocational Rehabilitation.

This year Congress is moving forward with legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, in HR 27, which again includes the Rehabilitation Act. The Senate has not introduced a bill yet. The legislation includes significant programmatic changes in the rehabilitation system that include an option for states to be able to choose to consolidate the funding for the Rehab Act programs into a larger funding stream for employment programs in general, taking away VR’s separate funding. This would impact the provision of specific vocational and prevocational training services needed by people who are blind and visually impaired, and can only be addressed by the current state vocational rehabilitation system.

The current language in HR 27 also attempts to downgrade the current position of Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration to that of a director. If the position of Commissioner is changed to that of a director, then the hiring authority would be an internal process within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, decreasing the opportunity for open dialogue, communication and accountability.

The American Council of the Blind is committed to the preservation of a separate funding stream for VR and opposes any consolidation of funds that would direct capital away from programs that directly serve people with disabilities.

The Randolph-Sheppard Act

Since 1936, the Randolph-Sheppard Act has provided a means for tens of thousands of blind and visually impaired people to earn a living, compete and achieve, not just as employees, but also as entrepreneurs. At the very heart of the Randolph-Sheppard Act is language that stipulates that blind and visually impaired business people have priority in contractual bids at federal government buildings and military facilities. This priority has consistently come under attack by other interest groups, to include the most recent attempts to eliminate the Randolph-Sheppard priority in military cafeterias and mess halls. The American Council of the Blind is urging Congress to protect the priority granted by the Randolph-Sheppard Act for blind vendors on federal property, including military dining facilities.

For additional information on any of these issues go to  to see the 2005 Legislative Imperatives.

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New South King Council of the Blind Chapter

By Gaylen Floy, President

The new South King Council of the Blind (SKB) was welcomed into the WCB on Feb. 12th, 2005. Our constitution was accepted and we have five members. This is the culmination of many talks and meetings since the Council meeting in Bellingham.

After seeing what the Council accomplishes, a couple of OTC students decided they wanted to be a part of the action and start a chapter. Julie DeGeus is mentoring the new chapter through the process. "We are taxpayers and beneficiaries of an incredible training program at the OTC. We want to partner with them, educating ourselves and others. We want to keep meetings short and focus on community involvement."

Our next meeting is Saturday, March 12th at 10:30am. We meet at The Bridge Vineyard Community Church on 2819 S. 208th St., SeaTac. Centrally located at the intersection of 208th and International Blvd., the church is graciously allowing us to use their facility free of charge as we gain momentum. It's more like a Starbuck's inside than a traditional church, with small tables and chairs and wi-fi access. We provide coffee and pastries. Always looking for fresh ideas and energy, all are welcome. If you have any questions or thoughts call Gaylen Floy at (253) 217-9586 or email her at .

Our officers are as follows: Gaylen Floy, President, Ron Fredrickson, Vice President, Jan Klerekoper, Treasurer and Tanishia Tramble, Secretary. Telea Noriega has the unofficial title of "the man behind the curtain, the great and terrible Wizard of Oz." Ron is our veteran WCB member, lending his expertise. Jan works with Chartaris, a police chaplain's foundation. Gaylen and Tanishia graduate from the OTC March 4th. Gaylen plans a career in journalism and Tanishia, a career in child care.

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WCB Convention, Where and When, that is the Question!

By Janice Squires,
Convention Coordinator

The answer to this question is very easy, the WCB State Convention will be held on October 27, 28 and 29 at the spacious Red Lion hotel in the beautiful city of Pasco, Washington. The United Blind of the Tri-Cities will be hosting this year's convention and we are truly excited and geared up to bring you a very educational and fun filled convention.

We have an excellent convention team working hard behind the scenes to make this one of the most successful, conventions in WCB history! The following people are those members who are serving on the convention committee. So feel free to ask questions or bring up ideas or thoughts to any of them:

Janice Squires,
Convention Coordinator
(509) 582-4749

Bill and Nancy Smedley, Exhibit Coordinators
(509) 965-8897 

Committee Members:
Sue Ammeter
Frank Cuta
Kevin Jones
Debby Phillips
Cheryl Stewart and
Rhonda Nelson

Stand by for further updates on hotel reservations, stipend requests and any other pertinent information you may need for the convention. Remember to mark your calendars with the following dates to remind you when items need to be completed:

August 31: Deadline date for State Convention First Timer applications to be received.

September 12: Free room requests, one day only from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

October 4: Deadline date for registration, hotel reservations, bus reservations and stipend requests.

October 20: Last day late registrations will be accepted by snail mail or email.

This year, registration will cost $50.00, late registration will be $100.00 and banquet only will be $25.00.

Members from Snohomish, King, Pierce, Kitsap, Yakima, Benton, and Franklin counties, and anyone who will be utilizing the buses provided by WCB, will not be receiving a transportation stipend this year. The transportation stipend will be $75.00 per member

We hope to see all of you in the Tri-Cities in October.

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WCB National Convention Loan Program

The Washington Council of the Blind provides an interest-free loan to qualifying members for the purpose of attending ACB national conventions. This year's convention will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 2-9, and qualifying members may borrow up to $500 with a 10-month payback schedule. The first payment would be due August 1, 2005 and the final payment would be due May 1, 2006.

If you would like to request a loan, or find out if you are eligible to receive one, please call Doug Hildie in Seattle (206) 529-8247.

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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in Kennewick

By Joleen Ferguson, Member, Environmental Access Committee
& Janice Squires, Secretary, UBTC

Hello WCB Friends,

What a wonderful ribbon cutting ceremony we had recently to celebrate the installation of audible navigational devices at ten of the intersections in the city of Kennewick. I would estimate there were between 30 and 40 people present, including the Mayor, many City employees, members of WCB and the United Blind of the Tri-Cities, and many of our friends and neighbors.

A special thank you goes to Cliff and Joleen Ferguson and Judy Bradford for making the trip to Kennewick to share in our fabulous day. Joleen was representing the WCB Environmental Access Committee and I believe she made some very good contacts, as Walla Walla is also working on having these devices installed in their own city.

A podium was set up with a microphone and speeches were made by Alan Kowalski, our City Community Development Coordinator, one of our City engineers, the Mayor and by who else but Janice Squires! After this, the ribbon was cut by Mayor Jim Beaver and Paul Wilburn, our member who initiated this project. Then of course we all walked to the intersection, pressed the button and gave a demonstration of how we use these devices to cross the street.

After the ceremony, we were treated to huge Valentine cookies that were set up on a table with a pretty red tablecloth and balloons for decoration. We had coverage in the daily Tri-City Herald, radio and two television stations. All in all I would say it was a huge success and we certainly got our share of positive advertisement and community awareness of the independence of blind and visually impaired people.

Once again thank you WCB, for without your generous contribution to this project, it would not have been accomplished.

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Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Director's Report by Gloria Leonard

Streaming Radio Programming is on the Way

For some time now, a team of broadcasters at WTBBL has been exploring the feasibility of webstreaming or transmitting the Evergreen Radio Reading Service (ERRS) program via a computer connected to the Internet. Thanks to a recent grant of $6,523 from the Washington Council of the Blind, WTBBL patrons will move one step closer to making that dream a reality.

Soon ERRS listeners with Internet access will enjoy receiving barrier-free timely information from western and eastern Washington newspapers, hearing the weekly talk shows, and learning from presenters on a wide range of topics of interest to those with disabilities.

As many of you know, the current audio signal is carried via phone lines and microwave to three radio stations and delivered over a low powered sideband channel through a special radio receiver supplied to listeners free of charge. This method of delivery is outdated and ineffective. A heartfelt "thanks" from the staff, volunteers, and me for the Council's support. It will be used to take advantage of emerging telecommunication and technological resources to improve our radio reading service to eligible consumers.

Volunteer Book Inspectors Urgently Needed

Have a few hours to spare? Consider becoming a volunteer book inspector. Every day, approximately 2,000 Talking Books are returned to the Library. The Library has 11 work stations for volunteers to work in conjunction with staff to help ensure that returned cassette books are inspected before they are passed on to the next reader. The primary tasks of the volunteer book inspectors include opening each container, rewinding cassette tapes stored in each container, and checking to make sure that all Talking Books are complete and correctly placed inside the container for the next reader. Book inspection is a great project for individuals, as well as families, a network of friends, or organizations seeking a worthwhile project. If you are interested in becoming a book inspector, contact the Library at (206)615-0400, or toll free at 1-800-542-0866 or email at

Patron Advisory Council (PAC)

The February 26th meeting of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library signaled a shift in leadership to a consumer-directed organization led by officers and an Executive Board that includes Maria Edelen, Chair; Susan Kamrass, Vice-Chair; and Karen Johnson, Secretary. Meeting highlights included introductions of the five new members: Terry Atwater (Thurston County), Richard Deming (Cowlitz County), Signey Rose (Pierce County), Norman Townsend (Cowlitz County) and Mildred Rosenbaum (King County); and a proposed 2005 PAC work plan presented by Maria that included the announcement of an outreach and advocacy standing committee. In addition, Maria reported on Library Legislative Day in Olympia (February 17) and Gloria gave a brief status report on the WTBBL consultant study.

Digital Team Moves Forward as NLS Confirms Choice of Flash

In a recent newsletter to National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Digital networked libraries, staff information specialist Neil Bernstein confirmed the viability of flash memory technology as the medium for the digital talking book (DTB) of the future. For nearly a decade, NLS has watched developments in digital technology decline in cost. The price drop in the cost of flash technology confirms that NLS should go ahead with the design and testing of a solid-state digital player to replace the current C-1 cassette machine, the playback device used by most NLS patrons. A machine-design contractor will be announced in the near future. In the plan, flash memory cartridges, roughly the same size as a a credit card, but slightly thicker, will hold a complete book that readers will find easy to navigate.

Flash technology provides the alternative that NLS has long sought and answers the questions raised by NLS and its consultants concerning other digital systems in the marketplace. Unlike CDs, which NLS will bypass completely, flash memory cartridges are robust. They provide ample storage capacity; they may be replayed or recycled indefinitely; and, best of all, they have no moving parts and will be played on machines with no moving parts, minimizing annoying malfunctions and expensive, time-consuming repairs.

Upcoming Calendar Event

The next PAC meeting will be held at WTBBL on Saturday, July 9, at 11:00am.

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WTBBL Patron Advisory Council Update

by Doug Hildie, Member

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Patron Advisory Council (PAC) held its first meeting for this year on February 26. Maria Edelen, member and President of the PAC Executive Board, opened and directed the meeting through its agenda. As is customary, representatives were present from the Seattle Public Library (SPL) and the Washington State Library (WSL). WTBBL was represented by its Executive Director, Gloria Leonard.

General and routine business was conducted. A primary focus of the PAC continues in this new year to be "outreach" and "advocacy." The latter was defined specifically as "legislative advocacy." Committees have been formed and members appointed.

The major business of the day was a report on the analysis and study jointly funded by WSL and SPL of alternative governance and operating models for WTBBL. As the agencies responsible for funding (WSL) and administration (SPL) of WTBBL, the underlying purpose of the work being done by consultants is defining and recommending alternative administrative operating models that may be adopted by WTBBL, which would permit retention of essential services to patrons while simultaneously reducing operating and administrative expenditures.

The work of the consultants is not yet completed, and no conclusions have been drawn. The timeline for the project sets the date for issuing the final report on April 30, 2005. Subsequently, details of the consultants' recommendations will appear in the Newsline.

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Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

by Joleen Ferguson

Mark your calendars for April 30, 2005. That is the Saturday of our Spring Fling. We will be meeting at the Executive Inn during the weekend of WCB's leadership training seminar in Seattle. When you make your room reservations, tell them that you are with WCB. Your deadline for special hotel rates is March 31, 2005.

Room rates are $84.00 for single and double and $104.00 for triples and quads per night. This does not include tax.

We are planning to have snacks available for the breaks on Saturday and a box lunch for each registered participant on Saturday noon. Be watching the WCB list, our web page or our updates for information as it unfolds.

We are working with leads to find people to talk with us about the similarities and differences between raising and training guide dogs vs. service dogs, both at the puppy phase and during the formal training phase. We hope to have a service dog user speak to our group. There will be other surprises.

We are growing. If you have an interest in matters of guide dogs, feel free to join our ranks. We are now 33 members strong with some people making inquiries about membership at this writing. Send your $15.00 dues to Janice Squires, our treasurer, 502 W. 20th Ave., Kennewick, WA 99337

You may send your contact information to Joleen at

129 West Chestnut

Walla Walla, WA 99362

(509) 529-3415

Besides your name, address, and phone number, we would like to have your e-mail address if applicable, your primary WCB chapter if you belong to a local group, your dog school attended and your dog's name if you are a handler. We would like your preference for each of the three publications, Newsline, Pawtracks, and The Braille Forum. Also, we would like to know if you prefer to receive direct correspondence from us in print or braille. The last thing we need to know is if you are fully sighted or not. This is for mailing purposes.

Speaking of Pawtracks, your president was interviewed by Debbie Grubb a few weeks ago and Guide Dog Users of Washington State will be featured in "Affiliate Roundup". Be listening!

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Valley Viewpoint

by Joleen Ferguson, President, GDUWS

It turns out that it is "Who you know" after all.

One of my former co-workers suggested to her mother that she might think about asking me if I would consider being interviewed for a local TV program, Valley Viewpoint. I agreed to do it.

They suggested the topic of services available to blind people in our area.

The next step was to meet with the gentleman who would be conducting the interview with me. Joe Hewitt and I met for an hour several days before the actual event. This gave me an idea of how he might interview me on TV.

It was clear at that meeting that he was having difficulty taking accurate notes and the thought came to me to make an outline for the questions I would want to be asked on such a show.

I did some research, calling the various agencies for blind people including DSB, WSSB, WTBBL, and the Edith Bishel Center. I researched the Hadley School for the Blind on the Internet. My outline also included WCB and our local United Blind of Walla Walla chapter. I hoped to touch on accessible signals and other local projects such as braille menus, braille church bulletins at our church, and bus schedules and route information that can be downloaded onto a note taker for easy reference, even on the street corner.

The big day finally came and he drove me to the TV station. On our way, he told me that he had done some research of his own, and he shared some of the questions he proposed to ask me. I gave him a print copy of the outline I had written, and I did my best to gently persuade him as far as possible to stick to my notes. He admitted that he was new at his job.

We got to the station about an hour early. We went to the set and sat down to wait. Not wanting to appear to read my notes during the broadcast, I put them under the couch where I was sitting. They were close enough to pull out in an emergency; their nearness gave me confidence.

As time drew close, I was given a small mike to pin unobtrusively to my clothes by my collar. I had learned that wearing white causes a glare so I chose a cream colored top and a dark blue jumper. I put on make-up for the occasion. Earlier that day, I had had a hair appointment in order to look my best. They made no attempt to make me up themselves.

In the same large room, there was another set. It was the local news broadcast that was to air just before my interview. It was fun to sit and listen to their program in real time.

At last, the lights were on us and it was our turn to go.

My interviewer was obviously an amateur. Some of his questions were open ended and difficult to answer such as: "What would a typical day be like for you?"

It was soon over and my outline was hardly touched. Perhaps there will be another opportunity to educate our community. I learned today that there has been at least one rebroadcast of the interview.

Autographs anyone?

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Dealing with Reality

by Margaret Kickert, 2nd Vice President
United Blind of Tri Cities

Is this really happening to me? How will I cope? What will I do? Will I be able to live a relatively normal life? How can I tell anyone? Can I hide this or shall I just stay at home and hibernate? I'll never be able to drive again and I am totally dependent on others. Yuck!

These thoughts along with fear, fright, sadness, loneliness and depression were some of the thoughts I had when it was first confirmed that I was losing my sight. Last year when the doctor told me to get ready/prepared for vision loss or blindness, I had mixed emotions of anger, distrust (surely there must be something to help me) and fear for the future. My Retinitis Pigmentosa had gotten worse and was no longer stable, as it had been for years. My friend Lucy had gotten cancer several years ago, and wrote about how she had to walk in "cruel shoes." Now I felt that those cruel shoes had been given to me, and that it would not be an easy walk!

Since I did not get RP until 1986, I had managed to work and deal with it, and was always glad when told it was remaining stable. Now the doctor told me that my visual field was severely diminished and that I should start preparing myself for blindness or severe vision loss. This confirmation was so upsetting that I just wanted to stay in the house, crawl under the covers and be by myself. After all, who would want to be around a "blind person," or who would want to go to lunch with me when I fall over or bump into things and embarrass them and also myself? "Be careful" they all say, "didn't you see that?" and "you just have to take it slower." Worse yet, what about my relationship with my husband? How will he be able to stand living with this clumsy wife who at one time was so vivacious, energetic and independent? Now I had lost so much and felt so alone. I never really knew anyone who was blind, nor did I even have friends or family members who were dealing with vision loss. It was a sick feeling. How could this actually be happening to me? I wanted to be alone and away from everyone.

After crying and thinking about it for several days, I felt I could not keep up my usual activities. I dropped out of things and said "no" to more activities and groups. I felt I was being a burden, especially to my spouse, but how else should anyone expect me to feel? After many weeks, it felt strange that I was isolating myself and I thought that I had as much right to a good life as the next person.

Remembering the strong personality I had before this shock, I decided that I would not give up life just because I was losing my sight. I started to join groups again and tried to have fun. It was not always easy going, and not everyone was accepting of my vision problem, but now it was easier for me to see who my REAL friends were, and that was a wake-up call. Many people did not even seem to care about, nor were they interested in people with vision loss. Even though I felt alone in many situations, I realized that I would need to be my own advocate, trudge ahead, and start to think of resources to help myself.

Luckily, I remembered the Edith Bishel Center for Blind and Visually Impaired here in the Tri Cities. I called them and made an appointment for my husband and me. I still felt so alone and lost when we went down there, and was just miserable. The director, Larry, was very encouraging and while we were there, he introduced me to Bill Hoage. He explained that Bill has my same eye disease and had just recently lost all of his sight. Ah, that was the first person I ever met who had RP, and it felt good to meet and talk with someone who could share my problems.

Even though I still felt miserable, I thought maybe there was some hope for me after all. Bill was very outgoing and encouraging during our conversation. I couldn't believe he could be so happy and also be blind! He invited me to the United Blind of Tri Cities breakfast the following Saturday. Now, "why would I want to go to a blind group?" and "how can I get out of this?" kept popping into my mind. However, my husband thought that this would be a good start and encouraged me to attend. I said I would try it and I was so surprised to find myself in a roomful of blind and visually impaired people. But they all seemed so caring, open, friendly and capable of getting around and doing things, that I could not resist feeling that finding this group could maybe, just maybe, be a real blessing for me.

Oh, I was ever so slow to accept their invitation to go to lunch with them, as I was still hoping this vision loss would go away. You see, I still have a little bit of central vision left, so I wondered if I should really be with this group! But my husband encouraged me to keep attending the meetings and we kept talking about all of the things I could learn from these folks. By the second month, I decided to join, and slowly I could feel that this group was truly accepting, welcoming and the group for me.

Finding the Edith Bishel Center in Kennewick and the United Blind of the Tri Cities has been a great blessing for me. I am ever so thankful to Larry, Bill, and everyone else who was so accepting and took me under their wings. Diana and Rosemary kept calling me and inviting me to future events, and gave me the feeling that it will be okay to have this vision loss and that yes, I will be able to survive just fine and maybe, just maybe, live a full and active life.

I have found some great friends in the United Blind and Edith Bishel groups, have learned so much from them, and am continuing to learn more from them all the time. This has helped me to accept my new problem and deal with it a bit better. Oh, I still have some down days, or times when I feel so lost. I know as my eyesight worsens, I'll still be facing some difficult times ahead. Naturally, I would like to keep the small bit of central vision that I have, but I realize that it can diminish or be gone quickly, plunging me into total darkness. I realize that I must now get ready for the next steps, such as cane training, etc., and that I will have other hills to climb. I'm learning to face reality, and that I will need to make changes in my life, accept new challenges, adapt to new things, but that I will somehow manage to walk in those cruel shoes! It just might not be so bad after all.

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A Simple Plan

by Cynthia Towers, Member, United Blind of Seattle

As I was watching The Apprentice the other night, a show about people climbing the corporate ladder, one woman caught my attention. She kept demanding respect from her teammates. I got to thinking that respect is not something that can be demanded; it has to be earned. And so it goes with those of us in the blind community. We want respect from our family, coworkers and society at-large. But how do we go about obtaining it? Blind people are a microcosm of society, but just because of the added dimension that we do not see so well, or at all, we can be perceived as mentally challenged, unintelligent, sheltered, socially inept, unknowledgeable about the world around us, and the list goes on. You want more respect? Try my six C's approach.

C Number One - Carry your own weight. Whether at work or at play, you will gain more respect if you take responsibility for yourself. Bringing a dish to a potluck, being on time, being the first to undertake a duty such as taking notes at a meeting, leading a Sunday School session and the like will show others that you can handle life's day-to-day tasks.

C Number Two - Keep current. By being aware of the latest top news stories, the issues in your community, or even reading those annoying bulletins that come across your desk, you will be able to hold your own in conversations and offer your insights and opinions. This helps you to build a bridge across the wide ocean between the blind and the sighted worlds.

C Number Three - Conversation. As long as we are on the subject of talking, be mindful of the personal space with those around you and the art of conversation. We have a tendency to be too loud and stand too close. Proper proximity makes the listener feel comfortable. Nonverbal signals transmitted by our voice account for as much as 70 percent of what we say. Conversation give and take allows people to gradually get to know you and see that being blind does not mean you live in a cave in some far-off land.

C Number Four - Community. Leave the blind community - you can return, but just leave it for a while. So many of us spend too much time among ourselves. We eat, sleep and drink blindness. This often leads to a warped perception of the sighted world and vice versa, and tends to stunt our full growth as people. Just by singing in the choir, attending PTA meetings, book clubs, going to movies or even Toastmasters, you will encounter firsthand knowledge of how the sighted world operates and you will be able to understand how you can best navigate within it.

C Number Five - Contact - specifically eye contact. Yes, you heard me right. Blind folks need to have better eye contact. Too often, we look up, look down, look to the side or everywhere except where the sighted person is standing. This is very disconcerting, and makes others feel ill at ease. Eye contact regulates the flow of communication and signals interest. I am a classroom teacher and one of the most powerful tools I use is eye contact. Try to focus your attention in the direction of the person's face. Nod, smile, use hand gestures, and try to stand as still as possible. Rocking and leaning in are movements that brain research tells us put the listener in an "I am in danger" mode. Emerson once said, "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."

The final C is to ask for the check. That is, enlist the services of a trusted sighted family member and/or friend to help keep your "blindness mannerisms" in check. We are only human, and can slip from time to time. I have someone at work who will tell me when I am not making eye contact, a family member who will let me know that certain areas of my house need a little more attention, and a friend who will quietly take me aside when my makeup or something else is too much out of whack. Reaching out to others for help is a good thing, and can only lead to a more positive and productive you.

So - there you have it - the six C's to gaining respect. By implementing any or all of these, you may just find that you are more approachable, have more confidence, are seen as competent, and the world just may be a more fun place to live.

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by Bernie Vinther, Member, United Blind of the Tri-Cities

I grew up fully sighted and was able to do whatever I set my mind to do. When I was about six, I saw my first blind person. He was an old man with a full beard wearing a hat. He was standing on a corner selling pencils from a tin cup. While we were watching him from our car, a man quickly walked by, and dropped a coin in his cup. He took out the coin, felt it, and put it in his pocket. I didn't know there were blind people before that.

About seven or eight years later, my mom bought a huge old Hammond organ. She tinkered with it for a few weeks and decided that it was too different from the piano, and she was going to need lessons.

She soon learned about a guy named Lee who would come to our home and teach her. I was just blown away when he came in. He was totally blind and completely different from the old man we once saw standing on a corner with his tin cup of pencils.

At first no one knew what to say or not say to him, but we soon learned he was like the rest of us and you could talk and joke with him about almost anything. Over the years, I never stopped being surprised at his knowledge of things, even though he had been totally blind since birth.

One day he showed us where the nut was hidden that held the knob on for our new bathroom faucets. One of the knobs was loose, and no one could figure out how to tighten it; no one but Lee, the blind man, that is. He became one of my role models later in life. On the other side of blindness was our next door neighbor lady who was going totally blind. She was in her 50's and a pitiful sight because she didn't think she could hardly do anything, and had to have almost constant help. Because of Lee, I couldn't figure out why she was so helpless.

From watching Lee I learned that my hands could be my eyes, and would try doing some things like working on my cars with my eyes closed. It was fun. A few years later at the Boeing plant where I worked, most of the lights in our area went out for a while. Everyone stopped working but me. A couple of minutes later the supervisor came by, saw me, and told everyone else to get back to work.

About 20 years later, I started going towards total blindness. But because of Lee, I must have been prepared for it because the only things I had a hard time adjusting to was not being able to drive, not having enough to do, and having to get help with my shopping.

But soon I taught myself to read Braille, and got some basic lessons on using a white cane. Being an innovative person, I found it wasn't as difficult as I had first thought to do most of my favorite things such as square dancing, water skiing, hiking, and working on my truck and electronic projects.

A few years ago, I signed up for a two year machinist course at my local college. Unfortunately, because I was blind, they were determined to keep me out. But when the college learned they were going to get a black eye from my news media contacts, I got started just one week late. The very next week I turned things into a positive news media event and the college officials and I have been on excellent terms ever since. Fortunately, my wife encourages me, and I have the support of a top-notch case worker too.

I had to learn to read blueprints, so I came up with a way of making raised line drawings that were easy to change around. I also made math symbols that were easy to move around without falling apart, an audible electronic measuring instrument that instantly tells me tiny movements of a machine, and a universal warning beeper to let me know when to stop a machine.

I hate books on tape, so I did a lot of scanning and editing. I had my books read to me in person by a machinist while I took notes on the computer. I organized huge charts of numbers and printed them out in Braille on plastic paper because I can feel it better. These projects took me hundreds of hours of stubborn, determined work.

Like the other students, I spent over 22 hours a week learning to operate machine lathes, milling machines, grinders, and more. I surprised everyone including myself by keeping up with the other students, winning scholarships from the ACB and the WCB, and finishing with a 3.25 gpa.

About every quarter the instructor has me come to the machine shop because some students don't believe what they hear about me. The last time I was there he had me and one of his students center a bar of metal in a 4 jaw chuck on a lathe. I beat the student. I mostly get moans and groans when I tell them, "Most machining is so easy I can do it with my eyes closed, and I don't have to waste electricity on the lights like you handicapped guys do."

Unfortunately, job interviews are over when you show up with a dog guide or a white cane. As a consequence, I'm starting my own business. Before I went blind, I had my own industrial electronics business and I became very successful. Although I'm totally blind now, I know I will be successful again, even though I still need a digital read-out.

Yep, if it wasn't for blindness, I'd probably just be another person drifting along with the flow. But blindness has taught me to not sit "on a shelf" or be kept quiet in a closet, while others gossip and play dirty politics. I'm usually not a super-independent blind person either, but I do like to show that blind people are capable of leading successful, productive and happy lives!

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A pollster was working outside the U.N. Building. He approached three men, a Texan, a Californian, and a New Yorker. "Excuse me," he said. "I would like to ask your opinion on the current meat shortage."

The Texan replied, "Excuse me, what is a shortage?" The Californian replied, "Excuse me, what is meat?" The New Yorker replied, "What is excuse me?"

Food for Thought

If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, then let me do it now and not defer nor neglect it as I shall not pass this way again. - William Penn

The only knowledge that really counts in life is what you learn after you know it all.


Capital City Council of the Blind

King County Chapter

Peninsula Council of the Blind

United Blind of Seattle

United Blind of Spokane

United Blind of the Tri-Cities

United Blind of Walla Walla

United Blind of Whatcom County


By Berl Colley, President

We began the last three months with a very successful and fun-filled annual Christmas party at the Panarama City restaurant in Lacey. The room was filled with CCCB members and guests. After a good meal we had an active open or steal gift exchange.

Our January meeting saw me run my first CCCB meeting. Replacing Terry Atwater is a tall order. We had a guest speaker, Kim Wyman, the Thurston County Auditor. We had suggested to Kim that she should speak for about 20 minutes, but she ended up speaking for more than an hour. She talked about what Thurston County is doing to get ready for January 2006 when the Help America Vote act is supposed to be implemented.

Our county is looking at the Auto Mark voting machine. We tried to impress on Auditor Wyman that she should involve the CCCB when testing any machine, before giving the final okay for it.

CCCB adopted a schedule for the year and established several committees. In February, our speaker couldn't attend, because of an out-of-town commitment. Our meeting was pretty short, for us.

CCCB welcomes new members Donna Hultman and Dale Andrews. Also, Toni Collie and Catherine Golding have rejoined.

Our sad news is that our club secretary, Viola Cruz, had to put down her long-time guide dog Alberta.

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King County Chapter

by Becky Bell, Vice-President

The last meeting of 2004 was our December annual Christmas holiday party. We exchanged gifts, ate lunch, passed around homemade cookies and candy, and wished everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

"Braille Goes Cruising" was the topic of our guest speaker in January. Carolyn Meyer from the Louis Braille Center discussed providing braille for several cruise lines. Each cruise line has its own information about cabin instructions, all activities on board, and best of all - menus! Braille is only available when requested at the time you make reservations.

At our meeting in February, two representatives from the Seattle Monorail Project were the guest speakers: Susan Duncan and Diane Giese. The subject of transportation is always of great interest. Much detailed information was provided, along with answers to many thoughtful questions by the membership. Safety, accessibility and routes were significant issues.

We enjoy teriyaki lunch prior to our business meeting, and should you be in Seattle on the fourth Saturday of the month, please come join us!

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Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Eric Hunter, President

Due to snow, our first meeting of the year was delayed a month. At the February, 2005 meeting, the following officers were elected: Eric Hunter, President; Cindy Burgett, Vice-President; Stuart Russell and John Moberg, directors.

The 2003-2004 presidency of Meka White culminated in the establishment of the South Kitsap Council of the Blind, serving the residents of South Kitsap and North Pierce and Mason County. Congratulations to all concerned in the formation of this new chapter. It was accomplished in total amity, and the two chapters will work closely together in the future. This is a great example of the cooperation and positive attitude prevalent in WCB.

The men’s lunch for March will have a small difference. The men are inviting the ladies to join us at Don Ponchos in Silverdale, after which those who wish will give blood at the blood bank.

We’re looking forward to a great year in 2005, building on the solid foundation created by those who preceded us. We are going to target getting our name out into the public, especially in conjunction with the Aging and Blindness Committee, trying to reach the fastest growing portion of the visually impaired population.

This will by no means cause us to neglect our younger members. John Moberg and Amelia Wearstler will co-chair an under-30 committee dedicated to create programs specifically aimed at our younger members.

Many other exciting projects loom on the horizon, both at the local and at the state level, and PCB is delighted to be a part of this new activity in the blind community.

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United Blind of Seattle

by Doug Hildie, President

We neglected to file our chapter update for the last edition of Newsline, so I will give a brief description of events which occurred last Fall. These include election of officers and our annual holiday celebration.

Gina Lewis was elected Secretary, replacing Sharon Schauer, who served our chapter as Secretary for many years. Doug Hildie was re-elected President. Peggy Shoel was elected as a board director.

In December, we celebrated the holiday season with our traditional lunch at the Executive Inn, the location in Seattle for many WCB-related events. We had piano music provided by Mary Mohrman and singing led by Dan Tonge. Our special guests were Donna Amos and her husband. Donna retired from the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library last Fall.

Beginning this past January, we are holding our monthly chapter meetings at the Virginia Mason Medical Center. The WTBBL, where we held our meetings for many years, was forced by budget cuts to close on Saturdays. Therefore, we had to relocate. Thanks to our member Newton Jones, we have an accessible facility, and food service outside our door!

We have had two meetings in 2005. Our January meeting featured Kim Toskey, who spoke about the current funding resources for individuals with disabilities seeking to purchase a home. It was a very informative presentation.

Our last meeting (February) was dedicated to an open forum. We did not have a featured speaker, but focused on chapter business. The President announced the appointment of Kathe O'Neil as Chair of the Membership Services Task Force, a position in which Kathe has already demonstrated her perspicacity. And we acknowledged the achievement of our member Rebecca Bell, who captured a gold medal again this year as she flew across the snow in a cross-country ski race at the Canadian Ski for Light event held high in the Rockies of Alberta.

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United Blind of Spokane

By Dorothy Carroll, President

United Blind of Spokane meets the 3rd Saturday of the month at Cooper George at 11:00 for lunch and a Happy Birthday cake or treat for the members whose birthday is in that month. Our club mascot is Basquait Federspiel Nelson, who just had his first birthday February 13, 2005.

We had a wonderful Christmas Party at the Olive Garden in a private room all to ourselves. Pamela Rotolli, our Club Secretary, was given a generous donation to be used just for a Christmas Party for our Club.

Mariann Federspiel and Pamela Rotolli put it all together and had $500.00 to spend. For door prizes, a talking clock and talking thermometer, all wrapped as gifts, were given to each of the 20 members in attendance. The food was delicious and the wine too. The table was beautifully decorated.

We have attended two plays at the Civic Theater. We go to dress rehearsal. The last we saw was the Diary of Anne Frank. May 13, 2005 is Hello Dolly. Everyone who attends tries to sit together. It is handicap accessible for our members who are in wheelchairs. We sit in the first few rows. Paratransit is still picking up passengers until 10:30 so it works out just right.

Mary Thorpe got a new electric wheel chair and is overjoyed, she can get around much easier. We had some really cold icy weather for a couple of weeks so had to postpone our January meeting until the following week.

Bob Carroll is doing well after his major surgery in a Seattle hospital. He gave birth to twins - two eleven pound tumors - 22 pounds. He named them Bobby and Bobette. He says he can see his feet now. Dorothy and Bob thank you for all your prayers, cards and calls. It meant a lot to have so much support.

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United Blind of the Tri-Cities

by Janice Squires, Secretary and
Margaret Kickert, 2nd Vice-President

All of us in the United Blind of the Tri-Cities would like to welcome two new members, Irene Nielsen and Gerry Clark. We know these two wonderful ladies are going to be a true asset to our organization.

We are once again moving our monthly breakfast meetings to a new location. Peggy Jean's is the new spot and we hope this establishment will be able to more readily accommodate our needs, which are good and affordable food and a quiet place to conduct our meetings. The lunch group will be dining here in February. In January we went to the Double Dragon for Chinese food. The Double Dragon is always a popular restaurant with our group.

Our Sunday matinee at the Richland Players proved to be another successful venture out to the theater. We enjoyed the play, Dining With Friends, and we are all looking forward to their next theatrical performance.

The City of Kennewick and members of the WCB and UBTC attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the detectable navigational devices at many of our Kennewick intersections. The media was there to record this celebration and a great deal of positive publicity was given to WCB, UBTC and the entire blindness community as a whole. Thanks once again to Paul Wilburn who initiated this project and was given the honor of cutting the celebratory ribbon and to WCB for their generous contribution for this pedestrian safety project. Janice Squires spoke on behalf of the membership of the UBTC. We were very pleased that the Mayor of Kennewick along with many other city officials attended the ribbon cutting, and applaud them for their support. Another thanks goes to Joleen Ferguson for coming to Kennewick as the representative of the WCB's Environmental Access Committee. We had extensive coverage from radio, television and newspaper and felt that the coverage we received was a positive step forward in our relationship with the community.

Our business meetings on the 3rd Saturday of the month have been lively and well attended. Frank Cuta gave a short history of our chapter with several members adding additional insight into the early days of our group. We also keep trying to think of new ways, ideas and projects to further enhance our membership and the quality of our chapter.

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United Blind of Walla Walla

by Joleen Ferguson

Our United Blind of Walla Walla membership has been busy since last we wrote. Getting "business" done has been limited due to a Christmas potluck in December and icy conditions causing us to miss our January meeting. Still, we have a list of accomplishments to share.

Ernie Jones has had a court appearance due to a dog attack he and his guide experienced. The matter was resolved in his favor, and he now awaits restitution for medical expenses. We are glad that this stressful time for him and his family is resolving.

Cliff Ferguson drove Joleen and Judi Bradford to Kennewick for the United Blind of Tri-City’s ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating installation and upgrades to their pedestrian signals. They were funded, in part, by a generous WCB grant.

Joleen is currently serving on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory committee for Walla Walla, advocating for accessible pedestrian signals. We have a meeting scheduled with our city to prioritize installation of signal locations.

Joleen Ferguson, Phyllis Pulfer, Lea Yakovac, and Shirley Musick have volunteered to serve on a committee for the distribution of the Aging and Blindness brochures. We are first going to put a transparent label on the back of each, giving our chapter information and a local telephone contact.

Shirley Musick gets accolades for an effort she is making at this writing. Her vision loss is due to macular degeneration, and she, at 70 years of age, finds herself unable to see well enough to read her own writing except by the aid of her CCTV. President of Zonta, she was unable to use a written agenda to chair the meetings. She decided to learn to write braille and use a Braille-n Speak to assist her in management of her affairs.

A Braille'n Speak was made available by donation from St. Mary Medical Center when Joleen retired last October. Dodie Brueggeman, its new owner, was kind enough to share it, her backup unit, for the initial instruction phase. Joleen got ill enough to land in a recliner for several days. The stage was set. Shirley was provided the unit. By phone, she and Joleen worked from Friday to the following Monday. By then, they had written an agenda for Shirley's meeting that evening. Shirley was able to take the unit to her meeting and use it to follow the agenda she had written.

She is continuing to work to learn braille for input and to hone hearing skills for listening to its computerized voice. It is thrilling to see, not only her determination, but also her success.

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United Blind of Whatcom County

Na-Y-Yah, Yvonne Miller, President

At the December Christmas Social, the chapter held its Christmas party at the home of JoEllen Barton. Her newly renovated room downstairs had a Mexican style decor which was beautifully done by her son. Naturally, we chose a Mexican theme of Mexican food and music. Beth Marsau arranged a band to play Latino music at the party. It made for a fun and relaxing time. Betty provided Christmas carols with her omnichord. Everyone, even the band, joined in on the singing. Some of us, with some coaxing by Barb, danced to the festive Latino music. It was a wonderful party and we left with a $5 gift exchange.

After the 2004 WCB convention, we welcomed Sharon Stevens, who joined our chapter at our January meeting. As with all our members, we value your involvement. So it's great to have you aboard!

JoEllen Barton was replaced by Barbara Crowley as our Second Vice President; Betty Sikkema is First Vice President, Bruce Radtke, Secretary, Beth Marsau, Treasurer, and Yvonne Miller, President. The chapter continues to meet at the Health Support Center on every second Saturday and special weekday meetings.

Besides working on the membership dues list, Beth has stayed on top of the bookkeeping and budget spreadsheets, volunteered for the Pedestrian Safety Committee and Evironmental Access Committee this year.

Other state representatives are Barbara Crowley serving on the Aging & Blindness Committee and Yvonne Miller, Newsline and Merchandise Committee. Gary Burdette remains on the Legislative Committee. Gary has been excused from chapter meetings. Until then, we're hoping to see him come back soon. But we continue placing the Aging & Blindness brochures out in lobbies of optometrists and senior facilities.

The Bellingham Theater Guild scheduled first on their agenda a presentation by AVIA and UBWC at their January 18th board meeting.

The presentation was well received and had genuine interest. As a result, the Bellingham Theater Guild board approved a demonstration in June. AVIA will be audio describing Oklahoma and providing 20 tickets, making them available for blind or low vision guests to attend this play provided by a grant from AVIA. Many kudos go out to AVIA and Jenny for her volunteer work. We are all looking forward with much enthusiasm!

Our Pedestrian Safety Committee has been working to locate critical areas in Bellingham that are difficult or dangerous for the blind or elderly to cross at intersections. Late December, Judy Minks, Western Washington University instructor, contacted Beth Marsau about her class "Disability Literature". She would like to assign four students to assist our group with a project. The students will be learning about the blind's challenges and how we cope. They attended our January 18th meeting to meet our chapter and meet the members of the Pedestrian Safety Committee. They are helping with interviews from the members and community about the most areas of concern which are difficult to navigate or cross. The students are learning through their assistance about the issues, challenges and concerns that the blind face as they navigate about town. This not only concerns the blind but the senior population as well.

At the February 19th meeting, we had a guest speaker, Sue Hodges. Ms. Hodges is an A.D.A. Coordinator with the Department of Public Works for the City of Bellingham. She took careful notes of all the members who expressed their complaints about dangerous intersections or crossings in Bellingham or around the county. Ms. Hodges will be keeping in touch with Lisa Owen, Pedestrian Safety Committee Chair, with her progress.

Betty Sikkema, First Vice-President, attended the winter board meeting since Yvonne had to attend a family funeral. Giving an informative and well organized report, Betty said she had a really good time and enjoyed meeting new friends!

Bon Macy's will be hosting a fundraiser for non-profit organizations. UBWC was contacted and with a follow up by Bruce Radtke, we will be participating. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the tickets sold by United Blind of Whatcom County will remain with the chapter. Tickets are $5 each; ticketholders receive a twenty percent discount on most items in the store. They also may enter their ticket in a draw box for a $500. shopping spree at the Bon Macy's store!

Looks like March will blow in new projects running off to a good start!

Sorry I could not resist.

Hoping you all have a productive and fun Spring!

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Living Well with Macular Degeneration

from The Hadley School for the Blind

Have you or has someone you know been recently diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)? You may wonder how AMD will impact your life or that of your loved one. The Hadley School for the Blind's new, tuition-free, distance education course, "Macular Degeneration," explains the diagnosis and shows how people with AMD can continue everyday activities with limited vision.

The course covers various aspects of AMD. It not only compares 20/20 vision with AMD's symptoms and progression, but also lists risk factors for the condition. In addition, the diagnosis is discussed in light of the doctor-patient relationship. Ways to maximize vision and continue activities are suggested. Finally, the emotional impact of AMD is explored.

"AMD, by itself, does not signify blindness," says instructor Don Golembiewski. "Informing yourself about the disease and the many resources available can help immensely in the rehabilitation process." This course is currently available in large print and will later be available on audiocassette. It is open to students in the adult Continuing Education and High School Programs as well as those enrolled in the Family Education Program. At a later date, an online version of the course will be offered to students in the Professional Education Program.

So why not enroll in this course to learn more about this condition? To do so, contact Student Services.

Founded in 1920, The Hadley School for the Blind is one of the largest worldwide educators of persons who are visually impaired. Hadley offers more than 90 tuition-free courses to eligible students. The school's 10,000 annual students come from all corners of the United States and more than 90 countries. Courses are available to students who are visually impaired, family members and professionals. Visit us on the Web at

Note: If you have any questions, contact Student Services, as follows:
United States: (800) 526-9909
Hearing impaired: 847.441.8111 (TTY)
Fax: (847) 446-0855

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Hats Off to You!

by Peggy Shoel

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

Terry Atwater, Immediate Past President, Capital City Council of the Blind, on being appointed to the Talking Book & Braille Library Patron Advisory Council (PAC). Terry, who fills an at-large position, will serve a renewable three-year term.

Berl Colley, Immediate Past President, Washington Council of the Blind, and member, WCB board, on being selected as the WCB representative to the Washington State School for the Blind board of trustees. Berl will serve in an ex-officio capacity with a renewable term.

Denise Colley, First Vice-President, Washington Council of the Blind, and Chair, WCB Legislative Committee, who was selected to attend the American Council of the Blind (ACB) 2005 Legislative Seminar in Washington, D.C. Denise also attended the Affiliate Presidents Meeting taking place at that time.

Becky Bell, board member, United Blind of Seattle, for winning a First Place in the Canadian Ski-for-Light 2005 cross-country competition. The event was held in Alberta, Canada, and Becky is very proud of the gold medal she received.

Sharon Strickland and Bill Schauer, members, United Blind of Seattle, who were married last December and had their wedding ceremony in Selah, Washington with a reception in Yakima. Sharon and Bill, who both work at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle, met while riding home from work on the same Access paratransit bus.

Cynthia Towers, member, United Blind of Seattle, on her appointment to the American Foundation for the Blind’s Program Committee. This committee reviews AFB programs and offers recommendations to the board of trustees.

Cindy Burgett, President, Washington Council of the Blind, on her new dog guide, Spud, a 21-month old black and tan male German Shepherd weighing 75 lbs and measuring 26 1/2 inches from floor to shoulder. Cindy, who got Spud, her fourth dog guide, from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California, calls him her "sweet potato" and says he has quickly and easily become a member of the family.

Janice Squires, Secretary, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, who just received her second dog guide, Deena, a 22-month old female black lab, who weighs 55 lbs and measures 23 inches high. Deena, who is from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon, is sometimes called Teeny Weenie Deenie by her mistress, and is described as being a happy and spirited dog, and a good match.

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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 the WCB.

Motorcycle Volunteers. The Motorcycle Rider Volunteer Network (MRVN) was recently founded to make the sport of motorcycling more accessible. MRVN has launched a website and a public forum with the goals: first, to reach out to disabled people who would like to experience motorcycling and second, to help arrange riding partnerships with volunteer motorcyclists and disabled enthusiasts. Visit

A newly updated 125-page free booklet, "Rights and Responsibilities, a Guide to National and International Disability-Related Laws", is now available. It includes helpful information about disability rights law and compares the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) with non-discrimination laws in other countries. It is sponsored by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, and can be downloaded from . To order in print or alternative format, call (541) 343-1284

Home Readers Inc., located in Edgerton, Kansas, records a wide variety of catalogs on audio cassette tape for blind and vision-impaired individuals. Many of the tapes are distributed at no charge. To receive a free tape listing all of the recorded catalogs, call Home Readers at 877-814-7323.

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From the kitchen of Yvonne Miller, President,
United Blind of Whatcom County

Hawaiian Ginger Chicken

1-1/2 to 2 lbs chicken thighs
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups water
8 small slices fresh ginger (approx. 1/8 cup)

In large sauce pan, bring water, soy sauce and ginger to a boil. Add chicken thighs, simmer until tender (about one hour). Serve over white rice.


Buttermilk Biscuits

½ cup butter
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients. Use pastry blender or cut with fork until consistency of coarse meal. Add milk and stir with fork until soft dough forms.

Turn onto floured surface, knead, roll, cut into ½" thick biscuits. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes. Makes 12-15 biscuits.


Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by May 28, 2005.

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

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

E-Mail Submissions:
Submissions by e-mail are encouraged. Send your file to with a cc: to . Please indicate in the subject line that your message is for the Newsline. A print version should be mailed to Peggy Shoel, Editor, at 5171 S. Spencer St., Seattle, WA 98118.

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Correction: The WCB Seattle Spring Board Meeting will be held on
May 1, not May 2, as indicated in the December Newsline calendar.

NOTE: Calendar deadline dates reflect receipt of information, not postmark date.

Mar 18-19 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver
Apr 1 Deadline for receipt of WCB Leadership Training Seminar applications
Apr 29-30- WCB Leadership Training Seminar, Seattle
Apr 30 GDUWS Spring Fling, Seattle
May 1 Deadline for receipt of ACB Convention First-Timer application
May 1 WCB Spring Board Meeting, Seattle
May 15 Deadline for receipt of loan application for ACB National Convention
May 19-20 WSSB Career Fair, Vancouver
June Production and distribution of Summer Newsline
June 4 DSB Rehab Council meeting, Spokane
June 17 Deadline for purchasing Mariners tickets
July 2-9 ACB National Convention, Las Vegas
Aug 5 Summer Board Retreat
Aug 5 Summer Board Meeting
Aug 13 Mariners Game
Aug 31 Deadline for First-Timer applications to WCB Fall Convention
September Production and distribution of Fall Newsline
Sept 10 DSB Rehab Council meeting, Yakima
Sept 12 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. - Call-in Day to request free room for WCB State Convention
Oct 4 Deadline for Registration for WCB State Convention
Oct 4 Deadline to request travel stipend for WCB State Convention
Oct 4 Deadline for WCB Convention bus reservation
Oct 4 Deadline for hotel registration for WCB State Convention rates
Oct 27-29 WCB Annual Convention, Pasco
December Production and distribution of Winter Newsline


2005 WCB Committees



Phone Number

Advocacy Sue Ammeter

(360) 437-7916

Aging & Blindness Carl Jarvis

(360) 765-4239

Awards Marlaina Lieberg

(206) 243-1716

Constitution Frank Cuta

(509) 967-2658

Convention Janice Squires

(509) 582-4749

Crisis Shirley Taylor

(206) 362-3118

Environmental Access Lynette Romero

(360) 357-8706

Families with Blind Children

Cheryl Stewart

(509) 886-3863

Finance Glenn McCully

(253) 804-4246

First-Timers Rhonda Nelson

(253) 735-6290

Grant Seeking Eric Hunter

(360) 377-9917

History Becky Bell

(206) 526-0649

Investment Berl Colley

(360) 438-0072

Leadership Denise Colley

(360) 438-0072

Legislative Denise Colley

(360) 438-0072

Loan Doug Hildie

(206) 529-8247

Membership Julie DeGeus

(206) 547-7444

Newsline Peggy Shoel

(206) 722-8477

Scholarship Alan Bentson

(206) 527-4527

WCB Merchandise Carol Brame

(360) 895-0854



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

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

To Tim Schneebeck for providing the NEWSLINE via e-mail.

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

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

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