March 2007 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935


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

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



From the President's Desk

Editor’s Comment

How to Impress the Council

WCB Board Meeting Summary

2007 Legislative Committee Off & Running

Walking & Talking on Capital Hill

ACB Council of Citizens with Low Vision International

What is the MMS Program?

Independent Living Expands Community Service Options

Washington State School for the Blind Report

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Report

Louis Braille School

A Scavenger Hunt with Braille Clues

Answered Prayer of a Young African Boy

WCB Scholarship is a Great Deal

WCB New Infoline

VDP Fundraiser

Around the State

Seattle Public Library LEAP Program

Memorial Day Weekend Get-Away

Writing for the Newsline

Hats Off to You!

Bits & Pieces

WCB Committees & Contacts






From The President’s Desk

by Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President

A winter season of wild weather and unwanted illnesses may be what’s at the top of most people’s minds, but as President of WCB, I’d say that snow and flu bugs don’t hold a candle to our library and the legislative scene.

For over a year now, we’ve been tracking activity surrounding concerns over WTBBL and have asked you the membership to stand by and wait for our call to action. Well, action is what we’ve been getting. It’s hard to know what will be the status of things in the legislature at the time you read this, but here’s what I do know. The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) is transitioning from Seattle Public Library (SPL) to the Washington State Library (WSL) and WSL will assume the operation and administration of WTBBL effective July 1, 2008. I know that as we’ve called upon you as members of WCB and patrons of WTBBL, you have called and written your legislators and some of you have even made at least one trip to Olympia. WCB is doing everything it can to ensure that our library stays at its present location. For clarification, I am including at the end of this article the fact sheet which we have been sharing with legislators concerning the building, and hopefully by the time you read this, we’ll all be celebrating victory.

Now on to something I do know plenty about. That's right. Our seventh annual WCB Leadership Seminar is being held May 4-6, 2007 at the Holiday Inn Downtown Everett. This informative weekend of learning and sharing is intended for any WCB member who meets the 6 month membership requirement and who has not previously attended one of our Leadership Seminars. It is for the newer member who feels as though they know nothing about WCB, for the old timer who's been around the block a time or two and for anyone in between. Participants will gain a better understanding of the Washington Council of the Blind as our state affiliate, with a glimpse back at our rich history and a glance into the future. Committees and other activities of WCB will be discussed which should help participants find their niche. Learning about leadership is the goal, but this weekend involves so much more. It's about working as part of a team, sharing with others within WCB from around our state and growing as a WCB member.

To apply, a letter of application must be received via email at

no later than March 31, 2007.

WCB will cover hotel accommodations for 2 nights (based on double occupancy), reasonable transportation costs and meals on Saturday and Sunday, including a continental breakfast both mornings, lunch both days and dinner on Saturday. Folks will be on their own Friday night.

Participants are expected to be at the hotel by 6:00pm Friday night and stay through the Sunday board meeting.

Okay. Now that we’ve talked about some of the serious work of WCB, how about some plain old fun! On Saturday, July 28, at 1:05pm, WCB members and friends will be meeting up for one of America’s favorite pastimes. That’s right, we’re going to a baseball game. But not just any baseball game. We’re going to Safeco Field to cheer the Mariners on to victory over the Oakland A’s. Once again we’ll be sitting in the Hit It Here Café and we want you to join us. Tickets cost $45 each, which includes an $18 food voucher for the café and a $2 service fee. We have 64 tickets reserved, and once they’re gone, they’re gone! Reservations can be made by bringing payments to the Spring Board meeting or by sending checks to:

Cindy Van Winkle

6686 Capricorn Ln. N.E.

Bremerton, WA 98311

And e-mailed inquiries may be sent to:

Reservations must be received by June 15.

As Winter nears an end, here’s hoping that Spring brings each of us a renewed sense of commitment to WCB and a rebirth of energy to continue the work at hand.


Editor’s Comment

You Can Help Us Out
by Peggy Shoel

A goal of our state board and our Newsline Editorial committee is to see to it that the Newsline is provided to any individual or group finding it enjoyable, informative and useful. That goal is not changing. It is possible, however, to maintain it while operating SMART. Here are some ways you can help us do that.

Bottom Line: Every WCB member wishing to receive his or her own individual Newsline issue will continue to receive it. I remember that childhood admonition, "Waste not, want not." Our purpose here is to minimize waste, by operating smart. Thank you for your help.

My contact information is (206)722-8477 and

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How to Impress the Council
by Randy Tedrow, Member, GDUWS

Here’s a recipe for impressing a legislative committee.


25 people

6 guide dogs

One small 28 passenger bus.

Load people and dogs into bus (with driver) in no particular order and head off to Olympia from Seattle. Arrive 45 minutes early to hearing site. Fill the hearing room with people and dogs. Add 10–15 people from the blind/disabled community of the local area and points distant. There should be enough people to cause the staff to open additional seating. Begin the meeting on time with the Chairman requesting that people keep testimony to two minutes due to large numbers. Then with the full support of the attendees (except one) provide ten witnesses from both consumer organizations.

The ride to Olympia was fun. We reviewed our strategy for the day. Cindy welcomed the people from NFB-W and thanked them for joining us. She didn’t try very hard to recruit them. The journey there seemed over almost before it began. It was enjoyable to meet people I’ve only heard of or from on the WCB list. Of course we had cheers led by our president!

We were met by volunteers from the State Library, who helped direct us to the hearing. All of the volunteers were friendly, interested and helpful. The few I spoke with were impressed with our number and surprised when I thanked them for their work with the State Library. The brave volunteers were great to work with. We had fun traveling the legislative buildings together.

The bill was read by the sponsoring representative. Then the witnesses spoke.

Cindy Van Winkle (President WCB), Jan Ames (retired WTBBL Director), Mike Freeman (President NFB-W), Bill Wipple, Mary Jean Hoover, Chris Carnell, and Libby Winzer, plus a couple others from the Secretary of State’s office who spoke in favor of HB 2058 passing. The testimonies were clear, concise and covered the importance for WTBBL continuing under state management at its current location. My impression is that the chairman, Bill Fromhold, was impressed by the testimony and even surprised that such a strong showing of support was given.

The lone dissenter was Dwight Dively, Director of the Department of Finance for Seattle. His testimony was surprising. It countered documentation presented by the City of Seattle and the State concerning the property the library sits on.

After the hearing many of us went off to visit our legislators. I spoke with the assistants of Rep. Rodne and Anderson. Cindy had printed out the position of WCB on some nice card stock. This really impressed one of the assistants. She assured me the rep. would receive the position statement.

Fortunately, there was time for a cup of coffee. Several of us were inside a nice, dry cafeteria area waiting for the bus. One of the volunteers told us that part of our group was waiting outside in the rain for the bus. I much preferred warm and dry. We left a few minutes early, our mission accomplished. Several in our group had face to face meetings with their representatives. My impression is that it was all positive and no one spoke in the negative concerning HB 2058.

This was my first time as a lobbyist and I’m glad I could take part in such an important excursion. In the future, follow the recipe above to impress a legislative committee!

Editor’s Note: We have just learned that HB 2058 did not pass out of the House Capital Budget Committee so the bill is dead for this legislative session. However, thanks to your phone calls, emails, and our trip to Olympia, our visibility was very high and very positive. Thanks to everyone for your hard work.

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WCB Board Meeting Summary
by Rhonda Nelson, Member, King County Chapter

WCB held its first quarterly Board of Directors meeting of 2007 on Saturday, January 27 at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle. All board members were present and all WCB chapters were represented except Lower Columbia. After approval of minutes and our Treasurer's report, Cindy Van Winkle gave us her enthusiastic President's update. The remainder of the meeting mainly involved reports from the chairs of various WCB committees and from our representatives on other statewide boards.

WCB is monitoring several legislative issues, the primary one being the situation with the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. Sue Ammeter presented a chronology of events surrounding our support of the transition of the operation and administration of the library from the City of Seattle to the Office of the Secretary of State. She impressed upon us the necessity of our contacting legislators when requested to do so. It's important that each of us know which legislative district we are in, and the names of our senator and representatives. That information can be obtained by calling the legislative hotline at (800) 562-6000.

WCB's annual leadership seminar will be held May 4, 5 and 6 in Everett. Applications should be submitted electronically to Cindy.

This year's WCB Mariner game outing is scheduled for July 28, the opponent is Oakland, and we'd really like a win!

The American Council of the Blind national convention will be June 30 through July 7 in Minneapolis. First timer applications should be submitted to Viola Cruz by May 1. To request a $200 travel stipend, contact Shirley Taylor by May 15. For the loan of up to $500, contact Eric Hunter, by May 15. To be eligible for any of these national convention benefits a person needs to have joined WCB no later than June 30, 2006.

Speaking of conventions, it's not too soon to start planning for this year's WCB convention, November 1 through 3 at the Doubletree Hotel Spokane City Center. If that location sounds familiar, it's because that's where we were in 2003. Room rates this year are $84 plus tax, based on double occupancy. Convention Chair Denise Colley challenged every chapter to bring at least one new member who has never before experienced our convention.

The board passed motions to send letters of inquiry and concern regarding the following two projects for which WCB previously provided funding: There has been a delay in the installation of accessible pedestrian signals in Walla Walla, and we are requesting a resolution of that matter. There has been disappointment in the quality of the internet streaming of the Radio Reading Service; we want to know the results of the test streaming and what plans the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library has for the continuation of that project.

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2007 WCB Legislative Committee Off and Running
by Glenn McCully, Chair and Second Vice-President

The 2007 WCB legislative committee hit the ground running in January just as soon as President Van Winkle had appointed it. This very important part of WCB is charged with tracking legislation at all levels of government that have an impact on blind people. As legislation is introduced the committee evaluates it and with the help of the WCB board decides what if any position WCB as an organization will take on the issue. Since the state legislature is in session in the early part of the year the committee’s main focus has thus far been on state issues but national issues can be just as important and can arise at any time. The committee’s primary focus this legislative session has surrounded the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL).

This year I chair the committee, which includes First Vice-President Denise Colley, Secretary Marlaina Lieberg, SKB President Gaylen Floy and Stuart Russell, member of the PCB. Board member Sue Ammeter has also provided valuable assistance with the library issue.

The legislative committee can’t do all the work and often will call on some or all members of WCB to make legislative contacts with their various representatives regarding specific issues. The committee also counts on members to alert them to issues that may need to be watched. If you want to contact the committee the best way to reach them is by sending an email to me at You can also leave messages at my cell number 206-719-1426.

Being involved in the political and legislative process is important so when the committee calls on you for assistance be prepared to respond. If you do not know who your representatives are for the state legislature it’s easy to find out. Simply go to and look the information up or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000. The United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate both have websites as well. They are and

We urge all WCB members to take the time to get involved. A great idea is to invite your local representatives to a chapter meeting to speak. They can learn about your issues and you can learn about the political process from them. You can also volunteer to serve on various state and local citizens boards and panels, which often will give you interaction with leaders in the community.

If you have any suggestions or comments for the WCB legislative committee feel free to contact anyone on the committee and they will bring your ideas to the next committee meeting.

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Walking and Talking on Capital Hill
The ACB Legislative Seminar Experience in Washington, D.C.
by Gaylen Floy, President, South King Council of the Blind

If our organization is about empowering the individual, then this workshop is the embodiment of that philosophy. About 114 people from across the United States participated. Close to half were first-timers. The first session addressed why we were there. Dr. Patricia Heberer, Senior Historian at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, walked us through the language and policy of the Nazis that led to the murders of disabled people. They were deemed "unfit" and "invaluable" (as opposed to citizens of value). The German medical community of the 1930s fell right in line with government policy. Today, some of that same language is cropping up in the area of bioethics. Anyone interested in the bioethics notes, contact me at (253) 217-9586 or We need to be vigilant. Words do matter, because they can impact our lives.

Although there is no specific bill at the moment, the Council wants us to be proactive and urge our legislators to act. Besides getting a better grasp of the topics, we learned of other groups working with us. Denise Colley and Glenn McCully explained some of the acronyms and organizations. More research of my own is needed.

Achievements of the past year:

  1. Inclusion in every phase of post-disaster case management with HR5411
  2. The Congressional Report stated that video-description is important. Eight deaf organizations have signed on to support video-description. The AT&T merger acknowledged the need for accessibility provisions.

  3. Pedestrian safety: Resolution HR 235 passed, and tells the states that it is the sense of Congress that states should require that drivers know what a white cane is and to use caution around them.

  4. The Randolph-Sheppard Act and the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act: The fact that there was no legislation was positive. Congress and the public need better information before enacting change that would affect blind vendors and those working for the Lighthouse.

National imperatives for this year:

  1. The Randolph-Sheppard Act and JWOD Act: Some abuses of the system came to light and we propose that the Commerce Department manage the programs, rather than the Department of Education. We want accountability, job development and verifiable results. If other disabilities are to be included in the vendor program, we don’t want the blind squeezed out.
  2. Telecommunications: We want the FCC to enforce accessibility across the board – cell phones, DVD players, radios, iPods, CD players, etc.

  3. Verified Voting Access: the trend is for states to require paper ballots to check the digital vote, in spite of what happened with paper ballots in the 2000 election. Blind people can verify their digital vote, but they need to be able to check that darn paper trail, too.

  4. Accessible currency: We are encouraging legislators to send the ACB letters of support that can be included in a litigation brief if the Treasury Department is able to appeal. The numbers from the online petition will also be used to show public support.

  5. ADA Restoration: We want clear language that will protect those with epilepsy and diabetes from discrimination in the workplace.

  6. Social Security: Right now, if a blind part-time employee works over the $1500 monthly limit, all their benefits are cut. This is called the cliff, a disincentive to work. We propose a slope – for every dollar over the limit, they lose a dollar of Social Security.

Tuesday, we dropped off packets of information at several representatives’ offices. The appointments with aids at the two Senators’ offices were very fast-paced. I only made a few points in these discussions. Denise and Glenn are very familiar with the issues and got right to the point and sailed through. By the time we rested in the muster room, we were more than ready for a good foot massage. But this is just the beginning. We need our members to be familiar with these issues and be equipped to call and write their representatives in D.C. and Olympia.

Is speaking with a legislator something that I could do myself? Yes. Seeing it done well makes me want to learn and do more. We got good information into the hands of people who construct national policy. We were able to say that we represented 400 blind people across the state of Washington. If our members can be as well-informed and persistent as those in the deaf community in achieving closed-captioning, then we will go far.

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The ACB Council of Citizens with Low Vision International
by Bernice Kandarian, CCLVI President

"Tell me what you can't see." "Why are you smelling the paper?" "The menu is right up there on the wall." These are a few of the comments that people with low vision hear regularly. Talking with other people who live with low vision and sharing strategies for handling various tasks and situations make a person feel less alone and different from either the sighted or the blind world. The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) provides these opportunities within the context of ACB.

CCLVI was organized in the late 1970s, ratified a constitution at the 1978 ACB convention in Salt Lake City and chartered as a Special Interest Affiliate of ACB at the 1979 convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its purposes, according to the constitution, include:

CCLVI is an advocacy membership organization, the purposes of which are:

A. To establish the right of persons with low vision to make full use of their vision through all available aids, services and technology.

B. To provide a mechanism through which low vision people can express their individual needs, interests and preferences.

C. To educate the general public, professionals, and low vision people themselves as to the potentialities, capabilities, and needs of low vision people.

D. To establish outreach programs to ensure that all individuals with low vision have access to necessary services.

E. To promote research to prevent blindness, improve maximum utilization of sight, and improve environmental conditions and access for low vision people.

F. To support the development of and expansion of pre-service and in-service training programs to improve the quality and quantity of medical and rehabilitative low vision services.

Thus, besides bringing to the attention of ACB issues concerning those of us who have usable vision and wish to use it, we have raised the level of awareness within ACB of medical research and the causes of blindness and vision impairment.

Each year at the ACB convention, we sponsor program sessions of interest to people with low vision, as well as a mixer, two dances and a game night. We publish a quarterly magazine, Vision Access, and offer scholarships to college students. We will be awarding three $3000 Fred Scheigert scholarships for the 2007-08 academic year. The vision limits for these scholarships are higher than the legal blindness required by other organizations. The CCLVI constitution permits the formation of chapters in states or localities, and we have a few around the country.

If any of this interests you, you can call me on our toll-free information and referral number, 800 733-2258 or visit our website at

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What Is The MMS Program?
By: Dr. Ronald E. Milliman, Chair, MMS Program Committee

The MMS or ACB Monthly Monetary Support Program is a way for each of us to financially support our organization to whatever amount we can afford on a regular, monthly bases. An amount we designate and completely control is automatically deducted from our bank, credit card or debit card account each month by the ACB and is used to fund the many critical needs of our organization, including advocacy and legislative work.

When you take part in the MMS Program, the funds are deducted from the account you designate, on a regular, monthly basis. You can designate to have all of the funds go to the national organization or you can designate an amount up to 50% of the net amount of your deduction to be given to an affiliate of your choice. The affiliate you choose can be any of the state affiliates or any other ACB affiliate you wish. All donated amounts are appreciated.

To get started, you can call the ACB financial office at 1-800- 866-3242 and have a form sent to you or you can access the forms on our ACB website at:

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Independent Living Expands Community Service Options
by Mark Adreon, DSB Communications & Employer Consultant

DSB is pleased to introduce an exciting new approach to providing some of our Independent Living Program services.

The DSB Independent Living Program (IL) is always seeking ways to improve the quality and capacity of our services to the IL community. Many of our customers have expressed the desire to receive more intensive training to augment the services provided by our excellent IL community partners.

"We developed the Partnership for Adaptive Life Skills (PALS) program to serve more people in a meaningful way," says Kevin Nathan, Independent Living Program Manager. The PALS training opportunity is geared to serve small groups of people on topics of their own interest as well as the important skills of living independently.

The PALS workshops are designed to provide tailored workshops to groups of 4 to 8 people in your local community setting. The workshops are created to serve your group’s needs and can be very specific like a comprehensive sewing workshop lasting 4 hours. Or, your group may decide you want a longer workshop to work on all the basic skills of Independent Living; including cooking, cleaning, transportation planning and community involvement.

Kevin wanted to build on the success of the week-long skills building workshops that were held at different locations throughout the state. He indicated that often these week-long skills building retreats were very well received and the attendees felt they were very helpful in getting the adaptive skills to live independently. IL customers across the state indicated they would like something similar to the retreat and that a week was too long to work with their schedules. So, the 2 day PALS skills building workshop is designed to give participants the same intensive training on adaptive skills with less time commitment from those attending.

Elise Pugh, a Rehabilitation Teacher with the IL Program, recently conducted a skills workshop on sewing crafts. The workshop included techniques for needle threading, knitting, crocheting, basic mending skills and machine sewing. Elise is planning more sewing craft workshops in early March, one in Kennewick and another in Yakima. She is also planning a one day workshop on cooking and cleaning to be held in Burlington toward the end of March. Elise promises to make this workshop fun while sharing practical adaptive skills on this exciting subject.

Part of the magic of the PALS workshops is the opportunity to learn from each other and the workshop instructors. The PALS workshops are excellent ways to start or build peer support groups around similar interests or needs.

Interested in having a PALS workshop in your community?

PALS workshops are coordinated at the local level with our IL community partners. You can get more information on how to arrange a workshop by calling the DSB toll free number at: 1-800-552-7103. Ask for Kevin Nathan and mention the PALS workshops.

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

We are currently into the middle of the legislative session that will determine the 2007-2009 budgets for all of state government. Below is a brief overview on the status of WSSB’s budget submission and the decision packages that are included in the process.

Operating Budget: The school’s budget proposal came out looking very good in Governor Gregoire’s budget and we anticipate that both the House and Senate’s budgets will be very close to the Governor’s. If this occurs, things will look good for blind/visually impaired children being served by WSSB. Some of the additional requests that were funded in the Governor’s budget: (1) Day Student Transportation - additional funding to assist with budget shortfalls in this important area. (2) Safety Training - minimal additional funding to safety training dollars for staff to cover required safety training. (3) Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow Program (LIFTT) – WSSB, in partnership with the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) and at the request of local districts, piloted a 5th year program beginning approximately three years ago to determine if this special transition program is a viable service that needs to continue. After examining the positive outcome result, a request for permanent funding was made. The total funding requested was not provided and we were asked to help fund the remaining components through expanded partnerships with DSB since these students are Vocational Rehabilitation clients. However, the funds that we were provided will help move this program forward. (4) Regional Program Pilot - funding was also provided for WSSB in partnership with Educational Services Districts 105 and 123, to develop a pilot regional service delivery program that will assist in stabilizing services in the greater Yakima and Tri-Cities areas. (5) Braille Transcribers/Prison Program – WSSB was provided additional funding to help expand this very successful program. In addition to this, WSSB continues to expand services on campus and through Digital Learning options. Please check out the "Video Clips on Blindness Tips" on our website: Recently, WSSB received grants for approximately $20,000 to develop more of the video clips, which are short lessons on specialized training skills for blind and visually impaired students. Since they are on our web, they can be accessed by anyone throughout the world.

Capital Budget: We anticipate that two major capital requests will move forward this session. (1) Replacement of the Kennedy (P.E. Building), which has major seismic issues. The new building has been designed and if funding is provided, WSSB would be able to begin construction the summer/fall of 2007, with completion of the building the fall/winter of 2008. This will be a great building that will allow us to expand programs for students and the facility should provide many years of very efficient service to the citizens of our state.

Legislative: Two bills worth tracking are:

  • HB 1548 – this is a bill that would establish a commission to review all residential programs under Chapter 72 in the state’s administrative code every ten years to determine whether the program should remain as is, consolidate services, and/or whether a facility should be closed. WSSB’s Board of Trustees has requested that WSSB be removed from this bill since all residential programs other than WSSB and the School for the Deaf is either custodial care or correctional facilities (under this bill).
  • HB 2246 - this bill doesn’t impact WSSB but makes changes in the way that the School for the Deaf operates. I believe that the current state law provides the School for the Deaf the opportunity to do everything that is spelled out in HB 2246, but this bill is somewhat prescriptive. Currently, I believe WSSB is doing or will be doing everything that is mentioned in HB 2246.

I believe the school has good legislative support, support from the Governor’s office, and also from local public schools, parents and consumers. The support each group provides to WSSB is greatly appreciated.

As I have mentioned in the past, WSSB always has an open door and takes pride in providing information about services offered by the school. We also take great pride in gathering input from all stakeholders about additional services that are needed in our state and how to continue to improve upon the services we do provide. Remember, Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!" Thank you for your continued support.

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Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Update
By Gloria Leonard, Director

I am delighted to give this update on WTBBL’s web-streaming project, transition plans, and a recent Patron Advisory Council meeting. I recently broke my wrist and am recovering at home. If you have questions or need further information about anything in this report, please contact my assistant, Rosemary Adamski, who is in charge during my absence.

Evergreen Radio Reading Service (ERRS) Web-Streaming. The 2-year pilot project to provide online access to the ERRS has been up and running for nearly five months. Because of shortages in broadcasting staff, and the fact that this service enhancement is offered over and above the normal duties and responsibilities performed by two part-time people, this is a "work in progress." Currently, there are 162 listeners. Based on feedback received, listeners are pleased with the high sound quality and minimal downtime, when compared to the broadcasts via the specially tuned radios.

While there are many satisfied listeners, I have received a letter from Cindy Van Winkle, President, WCB, regarding "technical and accessibility issues that several WCB members" have reported to her and the Board of Directors. I want to assure you that WTBBL staff is troubleshooting with individuals on a case-by-case basis as technical or software issues occur. The following update summarizes a key decision that was made as well as planned improvements. However, if this response does not address your concerns, please let me know. I hope to be back at work around mid-March. A written response to the WCB Board will follow shortly thereafter.

A set of requirements were identified on which we based our decision to offer Abacast this pilot project. WTBBL’s criteria included improved sound quality, convenience, ease of use by persons with a wide range of Internet expertise, and capability for multiple simultaneous listeners. In addition, WTBBL preferred a vendor that had the capability of electronically collecting and analyzing ERRS use statistics, including popular listening times, frequency of visits, preferred programs, and other data critical in designing, planning and evaluating ERRS, data staff are presently unable to collect.

However, what staff discovered in this process is that if we monitor audience activity, which requires the use of digital rights management (DRM) software, access problems occur for patrons, including hardware and software incompatibility, and a frustrating login procedure, especially for screen reader users. Because the staff and I are steadfast advocates for the removal of barriers to literacy, library use, and access to information for all our patrons, we are working together with Abacast to resolve these issues.

I am happy to report that staff is in the process of testing a simpler delivery method that avoids the use of DRM. We are anticipating that technological problems and related access barrier issues will be resolved as a result. Further, to assist patrons with support, staff have prepared detailed login instructions, now available on our website, for JAWS users. Please e-mail or call the library - toll-free at 1-800-542-0866, locally at 206-615-0400 - if you need assistance or to sign up for service.

Thank you WCB for your patience and enthusiasm for this project.

Library Transition. The activities and meetings of the Transition Advisory Board (TAB) have been on hold since October 31, 2006. Here are some recent highlights:

  • The Office of the Secretary of State (OSOS) has decided that WTBBL and patrons will best be served by transferring administration to the state.
  • OSOS has also introduced legislation that would transfer ownership of the current library facility to the State of Washington and establish an account to ensure that funds resulting from any future sale, lease or rent of the facility, would remain dedicated to supporting the WTBBL.

  • OSOS has submitted a budget request for one-time only transition costs totaling $239,372.

Patron Advisory Council (PAC). Recent meeting highlights include State Librarian Jan Walsh reaffirming that during the first year of the next biennium (July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008) administration of WTBBL will remain status quo. However, as of July 1, 2008, Washington State Library, under the OSOS, will assume the administration of the WTBBL. Marilynne Gardner, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer and City Librarian Deborah Jacob’s representative, stated that the Seattle Public Library is willing to run the program with adequate funding.

Additional meeting highlights included a decision to send a letter with updated transition information to patrons and volunteers.

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Louis Braille School News
by Carolyn Meyer, Director

We at the Louis Braille School are planning two special events that we wish to share with you. The first is an auction in April. The second is our children’s summer program in July.


The first Louis Braille School Benefit Auction will be April 14, 2007, from 1 to 4 in the afternoon. Held at the Edmonds Conference Center, the event will feature light refreshments, live and silent auctions, and hands-on exhibits with information about visual impairment. Suggested donation: $15.00. RSVP by April 1, 2007, 425-778-2384.

Braille Camp 2007

Children from kindergarten through grade eight who are blind or visually impaired are invited to join us for two weeks of summer fun and learning. Activities include crafts, songs, games, stories, special guests, and a field trip.

Date and Time: July 16 through 27, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 2 pm.

Location: Louis Braille School, 10130 Edmonds Way, Edmonds, WA 98020

Tuition: $250. Assistance is available.

We have planned the following special events for Braille Camp 2007:

  • Special Kick-Off Event: July 14 at noon, place to be announced. Seahawks Blue Thunder Drum Line. The Blue Thunder Drum Line volunteered to do this performance especially for our Braille Campers.

  • Musical fun with Blues in the Schools. Curley Cooke and Annette Taborn will be with us twice, one day each week, to perform blues and country music with songs, guitar, and harmonica. We look forward to some fun hands-on participation. Curley was a member of the original Steve Miller Band in the 1960’s.

  • A trip to the Edmonds Fire Department. This will be our third trip to the Edmonds Fire Department. The firefighters tell us they enjoy our visits as much as we do.

  • Clay with Michael Tanis, a professional Edmonds ceramic artist. Enjoy making a "can’t fail" creation with Michael.

  • Swedish folk songs and dances with Ruth Pirie. Ruth will wear her Swedish native costume for us to see and touch.

Every year, Braille Campers agree that the best part of camp is meeting new friends.

For questions or pre-registration please call 425-778-2384 or email For more information about the Louis Braille School, check our website at

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A Scavenger Hunt with Braille Clues
by Maida Pojtinger, Member,
South King Council of the Blind

When I reluctantly admitted to myself that I could no longer read print, when I was around 25, I knew I had to learn Braille. Learning Braille was easier said than done. I first had to sort out the emotions of vision loss and adjust to the changes in my life. By my early thirties, I did learn Braille and now I can read and write it quite well.

My two children grew up seeing a Braille book or magazine next to my favorite chair, or a Braille cookbook on the kitchen counter, and my Braille note cards with telephone numbers and addresses. However, my growing family, consisting of my children’s spouses and my grandchildren, really did not know much about my use of Braille. I wanted to introduce Braille to them in a meaningful and fun way, perhaps by creating a game.

We were having a family reunion in October, and I decided to have a scavenger hunt using Braille clues. I first wrote the Braille alphabet on cards. My husband then wrote the corresponding letter in print. Each family member was handed the alphabet card along with instructions written in Grade 1 Braille. After each person figured out the clues using the alphabet cards, they found their gifts in a hidden place.

The clues were quite simple for the two younger grandchildren. For instance, Mia, who is 5 years old, had a clue that read, "Knock knock. Welcome." Her clue indicated that she should go to the front door. At our house there is a brightly painted cedar box with the word WELCOME written on it. That is where Mia found her bag with a book, a puzzle, candy, and plastic jewelry that she likes so much.

For my oldest grandchild, Marisa, who is 11, her clue was that she had to go outside to look in the bed of her grandpa’s pickup truck, where she would find her present. The adult’s clues were a little more complex. For example, for my daughter and her husband their clue was, "Sweet dreams are made of this." A card was hidden beneath one of their pillows with a check for their trip to Hawaii. The adults as well as the children had fun and enjoyed our scavenger hunt. It was a great way for my family to gain understanding about the importance of Braille in my life.

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Answered Prayer of a Young African Boy
By Joleen Ferguson, President, GDUWS

When Vic Phillips shared his story with our United Blind of Walla Walla members, I felt it was a story that needed telling here. Some may remember Vic from years ago when, in 1956-57 and again in 1958-59 he drove the school bus for the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB). He was a college student at the time, when this story was unfolding.

Amaga Giru, a young, blind man in the Dogon Tribe of West Africa, had a dream to read the Bible in his own language in Braille. This desire was communicated around the world to the imagination of a young American college student by a missionary on leave from Africa in 1956.

Vic Phillips had unknowingly been preparing for this project since his sophomore year of high school. His interest in Braille was sparked by a teacher who had lost his sight temporarily. He had learned Braille and had been transcribing bulletins for a blind couple at his church. In 1955 he met a Missionary Nurse, Marion Pond, at Missionary Convention at The Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Wenatchee, Washington. She told of treating many eye diseases that often resulted in blindness. Vic asked Miss Pond about Braille and she mentioned Amaga Giru, who had learned Braille in Bambara, a different language than his native Dogon. She thought he would love to read the Bible in his own language. After some investigation Vic learned there was no Braille alphabet in the Dogon language. After many inquiries to different organizations for the Blind around the world he was directed to the World Braille Council sponsored by UNESCO. They had produced a book, "World Braille Usage," which had all the known Braille alphabets in the World. From that book he was able to devise a Dogon Braille Alphabet, which was accepted by the World Braille Council. The first literature Vic transcribed was some selected Psalms. The response to the Braille in Dogon instead of Bambara was tepid at first. Then, about three months later Miss Pond wrote to Vic saying Amaga wanted the whole New Testament, Miss Pond sent a copy of the recently translated Dogon New Testament. Vic, undaunted by such a request, set to work thinking and planning how such a task might be accomplished.

It was January, 1960 when, armed with a slate and stylus and a print copy of the New Testament in the Dogon language, he began dot by dot to punch out the Braille symbols. He was working in a language he himself could not read and understood only a few words.

At last the first volume containing the first 15 chapters of Matthew was completed. After proofreading it, Vic needed to shellac the back of the pages to preserve the dots. He set to work gluing the binding together using cardboard spacers between every set of 4 pages to safeguard space for the dots. At last it was sent on its way.

Then word came again from French West Africa (now Mali). The young man was very pleased, but he would very much like to have additional volumes. Vic set to work again with slate and stylus in hand. The project progressed until Vic, using mostly a slate and stylus, transcribed the entire New Testament. He says he did have access to a Perkins brailler for part of the work, but most of it was done with slate and stylus.

After five years and 13 volumes, about 1244 pages, the New Testament was completed.

He says he has never met Amaga but prays that the books were a blessing to him and those with whom he shared the gospel.

If you have a dream, set to work. Step by step or dot by dot, a task that seems daunting in the beginning eventually can become a completed labor of love.

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WCB Scholarship is a Great Deal!
Alan Bentson, Committee Chair

Again in 2007, the Washington Council of the Blind plans to award scholarships to blind college or voc-tech school students in the State of Washington. The minimum scholarship amount to be awarded will be $2,000.

Legally blind applicants must be attending a school located in the Pacific Northwest, or they may be enrolled in a distance learning program. This is a generous scholarship (last year we awarded some of our recipients $4500) and it is relatively unrestricted in its use. Our applicants have used the money in the past to pay for tuition, to buy assistive technology devices, and even for transport to and from school in a rural area where transit was not available. We welcome youthful first-timer applicants just out of high school and midlife career changers who are going back to school.

If you are a blind student and are interested in our scholarship please look at our application on the WCB website, Applications must be received on line or in hard copy by June 30. Supporting documents (which may also be sent on line or in hard copy) may be submitted up to two weeks later.

If you know of any students who would be interested in our scholarship, or if you are in contact with teachers, counselors, or others who may know legally blind students, please pass on this information. You may send questions to me at arbentson, or call me at (206) 819-9283 or write to, 3801 NE 77th St. #A203, Seattle, WA 98115. Looking forward to seeing all Newsline readers at the 2007 Convention Banquet in Spokane where this year’s scholarships will be awarded.

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WCB New Infoline
by Stuart Russell, Project Coordinator

WCB has a new phone system, and we want to tell you about it. Rhonda Nelson, Peggy Shoel, Marilyn Donnelly, and I have spent many enjoyable hours brainstorming, writing and recording scripts, designing menus, and mastering telephone technicalities.

When calling in, the first thing you hear is an introduction message by Rhonda. Then Rhonda lists the topics available in the main menu. There is no need to worry if you don’t remember everything because the menu will repeat until you make a choice.

From the main menu, you can locate a local chapter, find out about WCB fundraising, hear a presidential update from Cindy, or get up-to-the-minute legislative developments.

If you press zero, there will be a few seconds of silence followed by a brief musical interlude. Then, a familiar voice that always has a smile will say, "Good afternoon, Washington Council of the Blind." Marilyn will be answering live calls between 9:00 a.m. & 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We are especially excited about the programs part of the menu where you can hear from several of our members. For example, you can learn about the purpose and activities of the Advocacy Committee; the Newsline production, distribution, and subscription policy; or resource and referral information. There are many more menu selections giving information on our scholarship program, legislative activities, state and national conventions, chapter locations and contact information, and much more.

Now that the system is up and running, we need you to take it for a test drive. Call in, push all the buttons, and listen to all the messages. Then, leave a message with your suggestions, encouragement and support. The phone number for the WCB support line is 800-255-1147.

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Vehicle Donation Program - Fundraiser

The WCB needs your help to get the word out about our Vehicle Donation Program.  This is a major fund-raiser for WCB and by letting your friends, family & acquaintances know about it, you could be helping them get rid of that car that's just sitting unused and unwanted, and in turn, they can help WCB.

We contract with a processor who has all the facilities to pick up donated cars, sell them at public auto auctions, handle all the DOL paperwork and provide donors with tax deduction documentation, all done with professionalism.

Keep the following number handy and be ready to share it, as there are many vehicle donation programs out there and we want donors to consider giving to WCB.  Call 800-576-2956.

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Around the State

Capital City Council of the Blind

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

Guide Dog Users of Washington State – Spring Fling

King County Chapter

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind

Peninsula Council of the Blind

South King Council of the Blind

South Kitsap Council of the Blind

United Blind of Seattle

United Blind of Spokane

United Blind of Tri-Cities

United Blind of Walla Walla

United Blind of Whatcom County


Capital City Council of the Blind
by Berl Colley, President

Hello again to all Newsline readers.

Our 2006 Christmas Party, at Chambers House restaurant in Panorama City on December 2 was another great success for CCCB. We had 32 members and friends in attendance. The Christmas party is currently being sponsored by the Capital City Council of the Blind. We are continuing a tradition that was started in 1970 by the Olympia Lions Blind Bowling League.

The chapter has been working hard to update our constitution. We have had two committee meetings and, in February, we read the first four articles. We hope to have this task completed in April or May.

CCCB’s First Vice President, Gloria Walling, has developed a very attractive social outing schedule, which has at least one event scheduled each month through August. We will be going to a Gatlin Brothers concert, having a DVS movie night, having a pizza feed, having an evening for those who like to bowl, a ladies night out and a guys night at a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game.

CCCB will be working with the Lacey Lions Club at three events this year. There will be a March 17 all-you-can-eat pancake feed, White Cane day in May and the Lacey fun fair, also in May. This will be an opportunity for our chapter to get its name better known in the community.

We had 3 new members join CCCB in January. They are John Guydish, and Bob and Suzan Lewis. Welcome to the three of you.


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

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind is having a very eventful New Year. In fact, if we were to give this chapter update a title it would be The Musical Chairs Edition.

In January of 2005 Miki Hopper-Estrada began her term as our president. The other officers were Dave Mason, Vice-President, Chris Coulter, Secretary and Patti Barton, Treasurer. As that year progressed our chapter experienced many joys and challenges. Miki introduced us to the idea of developing a website and we all contributed our ideas for fund-raising and outreach to the mix.

In November of 2006 Miki informed us that it had become necessary for her to move out of the geographical area and after a great deal of thought we, as a chapter, came to the decision of electing someone else to be president for the remainder of her term. This met with Miki’s approval since she was aware of the problems of time and transportation difficulties that might be a burden to her if she continued as president.

We held our election in January of this year. Just before we began the election process Dave Mason said that he would be resigning from the chapter. This left the office of vice-president vacant. We elected John Common as our new president and Chris Coulter as vice-president. This left the secretary position open. Donna Patchett was elected as our secretary. Patti Barton is our treasurer.

We already know that John Common is working hard to make his time as president count. He has become involved in the presidents conference calls and was the chapter representative at the winter board meeting. We already have a speaker coming to our March meeting and a reporter from the Everett Herald will be attending our April meeting.

Yes, we here in Everett may have had a rousing game of musical chairs in the past couple of months but we are now seated solidly and we are enjoying our work as a chapter from a fresh perspective. We thank Miki for her ideas and inspiration. We have all learned a great deal from her and hope that she is happy in her new life and her new location.

To learn more about our meeting place and time and to find out about presentations that will happen at our meetings please call Chris Coulter at 425-775-1305.


GDUWS Spring Fling
by Debby Phillips, Member,
Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

COME JOIN US! You won't want to miss this year's GDUWS fourth annual Spring Fling! Our program looks to be a great one this year. Although we do not yet have responses from all of our speakers, our theme this year is "Special Needs, Special Guides. Dogs are being trained to guide people using wheel chairs; dogs are trained to guide those who are hearing impaired. These are some of the topics we are planning for you this year.

We will be meeting again in conjunction with the Leadership Seminar and the WCB Board Meeting. Plan on coming to the Spring Fling on Saturday and staying for the WCB Board Meeting on Sunday. This will give you an information-packed weekend, and a time to gather with friends. We will have door prizes, and a Celebration of Life. We will be providing a box lunch, plus other goodies during the day. Registration fee is $15.00. The registration form will be available online this year, and we are working on a way that people will be able to fill out the form online and have it directly sent to Janice Squires by email.

For those of you who are planning on staying at the hotel, here is the information:

Spring Board Meeting

May 6, 2007, 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Holiday Inn Downtown Everett, 3105 Pine Street, in Everett.

(425) 339-2000

Room rates, $89.00 plus tax per night.

We look forward to seeing you at Spring Fling. If you have any questions regarding Spring Fling, you may contact me at or Janice Squires at

As I finish this article, I want to take time to thank my committee for all their hard work: Randy Tedrow, Janice Squires and Shirley Taylor.


King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

What a surprise to find pussy willows for sale in my local grocery store. Can spring be far behind? I sure hope so, because we have had a humdinger of a winter. The mid-December wind and rainstorm was a real hardship for those people who lost their electric power for any length of time. We took time in our January meeting for members to tell their stories about the great power outage. Some had no loss, others were a variety of hours and days and the worst was one week. My own outage lasted 13 ½ hours and I couldn’t believe how cold a house could get in that short of a time. I put an extra blanket on my bed and crawled in with my transistor radio and waited for the heat to come back on. I had water in my basement, too, but that’s enough of my complaining.

In the medical corner, we have Shirley Taylor, Julie Miller and Bill Manke. Shirley has undergone knee replacement surgery and after 18 days, between a hospital and therapy at a nursing facility, she is happily recovering at home. Julie has recently had hand and finger surgery and therapy to regain the full use of those digits. Bill is recovering at a rehab center after spending time in a hospital for an internal infection. Best wishes for a full recovery for all three of these members.

Are you planning to or thinking about attending the ACB convention in Minneapolis this summer? If so, it’s time to make those hotel reservations and look for the best travel buys. Several people are planning to take the train to the Twin Cities; others are looking for a good air fare. And you just may want to inquire at Sun Country Airlines if you’re flying from Seattle.

We plan to have presidential trivia at our February meeting, and here’s a question for you. Who was the first U.S. President to be born in this country?

I hope you’re making those calls to your state senator and representatives about the Library for the Blind situation.

Since daylight savings came early this year, I’m hoping that spring will be early, too.


Lower Columbia Council of the Blind
by Karen Lewis-Keverline, Member

As a chapter we will soon be starting our club candy sales.

Linda Jacques is our new chapter President. She has many good ideas and has stepped up to the responsibility with gusto and excitement. Linda and her husband David have moved into Longview and will soon start a home remodel project on their home that they recently bought. As many of you know that can develop into a project for all involved.

Linda tells me that she has made many new friends through our group. Another new friend is Betty Sikkema from Whatcom County; Linda says Betty has been very helpful to her. Since Linda does not have a computer or e-mail, Betty calls and plays a tape from the State Board meeting which keeps Linda up on what has been happening at the state level. Thanks, Betty, and it has been helpful to many of us through Linda. Linda truly has jumped into the tide water with both feet but is still smiling.

Our next group outing will be to the Portland (Oregon) Zoo. In the near future we will be starting our club candy Sales.

Retiring President Erla Coleman put her heart into the organization and her best foot forward to serve Lower Columbia Council of the Blind. We sure are thankful for her hard work, gentle, loving and thoughtful ways. To Erla and her husband, who has also been at the helm as our group Treasurer, we say thanks for all the recruitment and organizing you did to help our group. We appreciate your many hours of service and persuasive & thoughtful ways. Oh yes, Erla has a new dog, no not a guide dog, however a delightful tiny baby Chihuahua. We wish Erla and Dale many happy days. We know they will be kept busy with their new pet and the assignments Dale has agreed to fulfill as our chapter Sergeant of Arms, serve on the advertising and once again on the financial committee.

Speaking of older and newer friends LCCB has two "new" ones. Our newest member Tom Barackman and faithful "Fisher", Tom’s Guide Dog. Tom has jumped right into responsibilities. He is our new Treasurer. Tom has been sharing with us how helpful Fisher is to him and also shared about Guide Dogs in general. Our group has found this very interesting. Tom is delighted that he and "Fisher" were able to attend the 1st annual Guide Dogs for the Blind reunion meeting in San Francisco and they received a guided tour of the San Rafael Campus. Wow, what a great experience and graduation.

Pam Dickey, our club Secretary, is again helping LCCB in this capacity. Pam is busy serving the Kelso Lions Organization and their many projects. She was reached just after they had enjoyed dinner and their meeting at Franks European Cellar. The Kalama High School Blues Band played for their entertainment. In the past different members of this Lions group have served as drivers for the LCCB outings. Pam is raising her two boys, Kevin 19 and Sam 16 years old. They help with both Lions and LCCB activities along with their mom.

Ginger McCallum will be serving our chapter on the Social and Outreach committee this year. We are thankful for the many times she has arranged for a meeting place we have been using in her building.

Fern Kelly took a bad fall 5 weeks ago and broke her left elbow requiring a repair with a pin and wire. Before long she will be traveling for a second time to China. Way-to-go Fern!

Albert Backman will be serving on our Outreach and Financial Committees. We are so thankful for his help. Maureen Coon has agreed to serve on our council Outreach Committee.

All in all, we are away from the gate and wanting to wish other councils and groups in Washington a full, healthy and productive year. We are on a roll and let’s hope it’s down a flat highway of life toward a future of learning, sharing and a healthy year. We hope before long we will be able to head to a field trip at the Portland Oregon Zoo. We are looking forward to the trip to the Zoo but first we must sell and buy our sale products and hopefully while we are doing that the weather will also improve. We are not above asking for good weather just on the day of our tour.

"We are on a roll, please wish us a smooth trip, and whether it be the selling of our product or on our Portland Zoo Tour please wish us well".


Peninsula Council of the Blind Update
by Eric Hunter, President

PCB capped off a successful 2006 with a turkey dinner cooked and catered by the Silverdale chapter of the Rainbow Girls.

At our January meeting, the following officers were elected:

Eric Hunter, President

Stuart Russell, Vice-President

Sarah Schweizer, Director

Sharon Maalis, Director

The president appointed several committee heads, including Gary Beck, telephone committee, Kim Moberg, Sunshine committee; and Jess Landby, Under-30 committee.

Congratulations to the Bopit Queen, Michelle Denzer, on getting her new dog, Pacific. This is Michelle’s first dog, and she had to go to San Rafael to get her. Pacific is a cute smaller black Labrador lady.

A belated congratulations to Charles Dunkle, who, in March, celebrates his 91st birthday.

PCB held a three hour officers meeting in January, in which a multitude of topics were discussed, ranging from fund-raising to membership retention to…you name it. There was much enthusiastic interchange, and it was apparent that PCB had some very talented, not to say enthusiastic, officers.

At the officers’ meeting we decided that we would have our picnic at Jack and Frances Piggot’s Camp Harobed. It’s a wonderful spot, with its own lake and a huge deck. We surely will have fun there.

Meka White, our own songbird, has been winning contests….and money….singing. She has joined a band, and I’m sure that, with her singing, it will be hugely successful.

We are all getting over our winter colds and starting to feel Spring coming around. That bodes well for us, and we expect to have an exciting and profitable year in 2007.

That’s our wish for all our friends in the WCB. See you at the May Leadership in Everett.

South King County Council of the Blind
by Maida Pojtinger, Member

The following officers were elected at the January SKCB meeting: Gaylen Floy, President, Telea Noriega, Vice President, Nhi Duong, Secretary, and Jan Klerekoper, Treasurer. Two committees were formed. The Outreach Committee will take part in a resource fair in Kent on March 1. There will be agencies and organizations throughout South King County exchanging information on support services in the community. Also Gaylen Floy and Mark Adreon will do a presentation on early intervention regarding vision loss. This presentation will take place at the Evergreen Eye Center in Federal Way. The only fund raising activity at the moment is a car wash in April.

Joy Iverson shared the exciting news that her oldest son, who is 14, will be traveling to Europe in the summer. He is one of the students from his school who was nominated to participate in the People to People program. In this program junior and senior high students go to foreign countries where they meet the people, learn about their culture, but most importantly the students act as young ambassadors from the United States.


South Kitsap Council of the Blind
by Carol Brame, Treasurer

Hello again from SKCB. What a wonderful year we had last year and a great start to Year Three for all 21 of us so far and hope to grow.

President is Kevin Jones, Vice President is Bob Herman, Secretary is Jackie Cabrera and I remain Treasurer for this year. The chair of the Fund Raiser is now Jim Bryant. Thank you, Jim, for stepping up to help us on this job.

We had a guest speaker this month at our meeting, Liz (Elizabet) Uminski. She owns her own business and made up T-shirts that we are buying for our club. She did a wonderful job; it has a light house in white puffed paint. That is what we wanted for our group. It has large print on the front, SKCB, and then it’s in Braille, too, with the Braille alphabet on the back of the shirt. We will have them at the Dash Fair this week for sale. We hope to sell some at WCB convention this year. We will also send some of the chimes you all liked that we raffled last year.

We made $751 in fund raisers this year and we would love to double that this year. So this year we will have a Walk-a-thon in May or June and hope to get the Lions Club and other groups to join us in raising money. They can get sponsors or just pay the fee to walk which will get them a T-shirt. That’s just the tip of the fun that day.

We will sell soda at Retsel fun fest on the Fourth of July. We hope to sell our crafts and shirts at the Holiday Extravaganza in the fall. We want to sell the Kitsap cards that were the biggest of our fund raisers this year. Yes, lots of team effort from everyone to get all this done. Hope this inspires your clubs with ideas.

We had an after Christmas Christmas Party this year due to all the storms. We had a great potluck, with lots of singing, raffled gifts besides a gift exchange. Thanks to everyone who made that day so much fun.

One of our goals will be an Outreach Day in September with speakers. I also know that the walk-a-thon will be a wonderful outreach for our club and get attention and let others know we are here for them. Storms messed up the socials so we hope to have more coming up soon.

Happy Birthday this month to Valerie Siler and Bob Herman. That’s all for now. Stay inspired. Make good friends. And may all clubs continue to grow and blossom. If your club wants to share ideas with me or you want me to help you with ideas, I will be happy to help if I can


United Blind of Seattle Update
by Julie Brannon, President

We started out 2007 with a new look, and a new President, Julie Brannon; a new Secretary, Sharon Schauer, and a new board member, Quincy Daniels!

Thinking of hard-to-keep New Year's resolutions, we have had two speakers in 2007 relating to such resolutions. Our speaker for our January meeting was Mark Bryant, a fitness expert. Mark gave us tips on how to be fit, and in motion, while just sitting in our chairs. These movements and exercises can be used while watching television, sitting at your desk at work, or just meditating on the couch.

Then in February, Dan Tonge's twin sister, Debby Jackson, a registered dietician, talked with us about good nutrition along with sharing about diabetes which is her area of expertise. Debby explained that finally the food group pyramid had been outlined in layman's language; so we finally can know the exact measurements for food group portions. The chapter had a lot of comments and interesting questions. Both speakers were informative and invigorating! And, after each meeting, several members went out for a healthy delicious lunch.

The United Blind Activity Committee, chaired by Patt Copeland, has, as in years past, been very active. In January we attended a Chamber concert, and in February had a marvelous day for Valentine shopping; with 21 members taking advantage of shopping assistance from shopping volunteers at the Northgate Mall.

The chapter's Membership representative, Kathe O'Neal, led the way in announcing chapter members' birthdays and led the chapter in singing to those present with birthdays.

This year, the chapter's officers and board members will be meeting monthly to outline chapter goals, decide on the chapter direction, and assist in developing chapter committees. So, if you are visiting or live in the Seattle area, please join us!


United Blind of Spokane
by Debby Phillips, President

As I sit writing this article, we have just had more new snow, but all of us are definitely ready for spring here east of the mountains. That doesn't mean that we have been idle, though. In December, United Blind of Spokane held our Christmas party at the American Legion in Spokane Valley. The food was delicious, and we had great entertainment with Alden and his niece, Danielle Maher sang and played the piano and I did a song, as well as all of us singing Christmas carols together.

In January, we had our elections. Our Treasurer is Bob Carroll, Craig Phillips is Secretary, Frances Spolski Vice President, and I am President. The weekend after elections, we held our chapter board meeting and made some plans for the future. We will be updating our bylaws, and of course, helping with the WCB Convention, which will be in Spokane in November. We are looking forward to the remainder of this year, as our new chapter committees begin functioning. I would be remiss if I did not mention that we are selling tickets for $1 for a chance to win a free registration for the Convention. If you are interested, please send me an email, or bring your dollars to the May Board meeting. My email is


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

The United Blind of the Tri-Cities is bringing in the New Year with a new look! We have a new President, Margie Kickert, and she is definitely bringing in some new and innovating ideas to our local chapter. Our membership is at 36 members strong and we would like to take this opportunity to welcome our two newest participants, Dorothy Stone and Mike Sondral. We're so happy to have them join our group and look forward to them joining in on our various activities.

Seven of our members are serving on one or more WCB committees and how great it is that they are able to participate and share some of our ideas on the state level.

Margie is very good at designating duties and has compiled a full slate of committee chairs. Diana Softich and Evelyn Crouse will co-chair the sunshine and monthly luncheon committee. We have reached in excess of 20 to 25 people at our lunches to share a meal and most of all for the support of each other.

Fran and Harvey Rodgers will remember each member’s birthday with a celebration card.

Irene Nielsen will keep the card group organized and I will do the same with our monthly book group. Steve Vandecar will head the publicity area and has already begun the challenge by contacting the newspaper for weekly submissions on our meeting and luncheon dates and is designing a poster to publicize our organization in various places. Frank Cuta and Margie are still in charge of organizing the narrated plays and we have already attended our first play of the year entitled, "Arcadia" and will attend the Neil Simon play, "Proposals" in March. Marlene Vandecar once again will head up the calling committee, one of the most important parts of a well organized chapter. Many of our people will contribute to setting up programs for our chapter meetings and/or be on a committee. At each meeting we will plan to have legislative, educational and WCB highlights to share with all.

We will once again be selling candy on March 3 at our local Fred Meyer store. This is a fun and easy way to make a little money for our group and to also be visible in the community to let them know we are out here to support any person with fading or lost vision. With the generous donation by WCB of the $500 stipend, we can support our activities such as our summer picnic, Christmas party and our play tickets. We are a very active chapter providing something for everyone. Most of all, we are there for each other as a solid support system to educate and encourage those with low vision and total blindness.

Have a happy Spring.


United Blind of Walla Walla
By Vivian Conger, Secretary

Due to a glitch in my e-mail server, Peggy did not receive UBWW’s last chapter update so be prepared for a long one.

Our January meeting’s speaker was Vic Phillips. Vic earlier in his life drove a bus for the Washington State School for the Blind. He also created the Dogan African alphabet and then transcribed the New Testament with that alphabet. Don’t miss Jolene’s article in this issue.

We are very excited as UBWW now has 501(c)3 status with the IRS.

At our December gathering, we met at Elmer’s Restaurant to celebrate the holiday season.

Since our last update, we held elections at our November meeting. Our new Vice President is Carla Brinkley and our new Secretary is Vivian Conger

Frank Cuta and Brady Layman were our guests at our October meeting. Frank talked about ACB, WCB, being on committees, the state convention, and suggested a couple of different fund raising ideas. He told everyone about the situation with the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. There was a great deal of interest in this, as most of our members utilize this service. At the end of the meeting, Brady demonstrated an Evergreen Radio Reading Service receiver that even works in Walla Walla.

In September, we had a demonstration by the county auditor of the Automark Accessible Voting Machine and a demonstration of the assisted listening system that the United Blind of Spokane has been using. We thank Craig and Debby Phillips for coming down and giving us a thorough and well-received presentation.


United Blind of Whatcom County
by Yvonne Miller, Secretary

Our chapter had a wonderful Christmas potluck held at JoEllen Barton’s home. We had a variety of cold cuts and salads with a good turnout of members and guests. After a fine meal, Ron Bradshaw took a nap during the singing portion of the afternoon. So Betty decided to sing to him a Dutch lullaby song as he catnapped. Everyone had a lot of fun on this joyous occasion. Betty brought her Q-Chord and music sheets for everyone to follow in a sing-a-long. A beautiful Christmas favorite, "Silent Night", was sung in Dutch by Betty and in German by Beth Marsau and Bruce Radtke. Everyone joined in the Christmas caroling.

A special presentation was made by Betty to honor the volunteer work by Beth and Bruce. She presented to them a nicely framed Certificate of Appreciation from UBWC in recognition of their dedication, hard work and volunteerism to the chapter. Marlon Schouten wore Santa’s hat and played the part and passed out gifts to everyone. We had a wonderful time! Beth videotaped the party to send off to Arnie Schrock.

Some of our members participated in the Allied Arts Festival on December 15th downtown. We gathered to sing Christmas carols. We had our chocolate candy available. It made for a festive day of singing and visiting with people who stopped by. Although we did not sell much candy, we had a good time!

Due to the winter storm and arctic winds, our January meeting was cancelled. Some experienced power outages. Once the storms passed, we met at Ferndale Denny’s for our social, and Betty included a mini business meeting since our January’s meeting was cancelled. The chapter gained a new member, Diane Kirscheman. We welcome a new prospective member, Fred Groen. Welcome aboard to you both!

We held our February meeting at the Health Support Center. Almost all of our members turned out with a crowded room.

Barbra Crowley and Bruce Radtke presented a new outreach project, ‘"Practical Assistive Kits"proposal. This kit would contain accessible low vision or blind accessories to aid in daily living. The proposal would include 35 kits to the newly blind who are in need of them. It’s a new project that UBWC can partner with other organizations and groups.

We are tying up loose ends with our candy sales. It has been grinding down to a slow halt. So we are looking forward to the near future exploring other fundraising projects.

Our chapter voted in longtime member Arnie Schrock as a lifetime member of United Blind of Whatcom County. Arnie has been living in Church Hill, Tennessee with his wife Betty, but continues to be a member of UBWC. Congratulations Arnie!

Betty shared the President’s Handbook with our members. She passed around her Braille copy for those who were interested. She explained that the handbook was developed by WCB Chapter Presidents to assist with operational tasks of running their chapters.

We are looking forward to inviting new guest speakers and the warmth of spring weather!!

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Seattle Public Library Equal Access Program (LEAP)
by Cleo Brooks, Senior Librarian and LEAP Coordinator

The Seattle Public Library has made a commitment of equal access to all of its users. This commitment will continue from today and long into the future. Patrons interested in learning how to access new library resources or receiving training in the use of LEAP’s technology may contact Cleo Brooks to arrange an appointment for one-on-one training. The training is provided in two-hour sessions. Patrons meet with the trainer for one hour and then work independently for the second hour. Training is individualized, and participants generally grasp the use of the systems in one or two sessions.

Training is provided on the following software and systems available in the LEAP computer Lab: Kurzweil Reading Edge; Kurzweil 1000 Reading System; ZoomText Screen Enlargement; JAWS Screen Reader; BlaizePowerBraille 65; Duxbury Braille software; Magic Screen Enlargement; and Telesensory CCTV.

Patrons must schedule appointments in advance to receive one-on-one training. Patrons with knowledge of using the adaptive systems are welcome to contact the library and arrange for the use of the equipment of interest. Patrons may use the computers for a maximum of two hours a day. LEAP patrons are not required to have a library card and visitors to the Seattle area are welcome to use LEAP systems. To learn more about LEAP and its resources, or to schedule training sessions please contact:, or Cleo Brooks, (206) 386-4690.

Editor’s Note: This article describes a significant and beneficial resource for blind and visually impaired people. If there are similar resources available in your area, please let us know. This information is important and has a place in the Newsline.

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We’ve Got Your Memorial Day Weekend Get-A-Way!

The Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind announces our first annual Northwest Regional Get-A-Way on Saturday May 26 through Monday May 28th. A long weekend is being planned for Washingtonians to come down to meet Oregonians and share the wonderful setting of the Oral Hull Foundation.

The weekend includes transportation from the Seattle area, five meals, activities and housing for up to 48 people. Oral Hull Park is a specially designed resort that allows freedom of movement and a sense of independence. Facilities include: Indoor spa, recreation room, large comfortable lodge, double occupancy sleeping rooms, formal gardens and beautiful grounds. The cost is $60.00 per person

Depart Seattle Area: Saturday morning, May 26th. Depart Oral Hull: Monday morning, May 28th, after brunch.

Reservations - Contact Patt Copeland (206) 282-3913 or

Transportation will be by van. Pick up spots at Northgate Transit Center, Downtown Seattle, and Southcenter Park and Ride; additional pick up locations along the I-5 Corridor could be arranged.

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Writing for the Newsline
by Peggy Shoel

The WCB Newsline is produced and distributed quarterly, in March, June, September and December. Deadlines for receipt of submissions appear in the Calendar and Announcement sections of the previous issue. Material can be mailed directly to me or e-mailed to WCBNewsline with a cc: to Please retain a copy in case your submission is not received.

Writing for our Newsline is a wonderful way to participate in our organization, to promote our ideals, and to connect with other members. Give it a try.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Observe the 750 word or 2 ½ page length (maximum) double-spaced, normal-sized print
  • Identify yourself according to the nature of your article, i.e., chapter position if a chapter update, committee position if a committee report
  • Contact me before preparing and/or submitting unassigned articles to ensure available space and non-duplication of subject matter
  • Unless listing a series of items, avoid excessively long sentences. Shorter ones sustain interest and make for a smoother read
  • Be certain that names, titles, agencies, affiliations and contact information are accurate
  • Avoid excessive, non-subject-related information and descriptions
  • When referring to dates of events and/or activities, consider the time lapse to actual production.

Please contact me with your questions and/or comments. Peggy Shoel, Newsline Editor (206) 722-8477 or

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Hats Off to You!
by Peggy Shoel

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

  • Denise Colley, Glenn McCully and Gaylen Floy, WCB 1st Vice President, Director and President of South King County Council of the Blind, respectively, who were selected to represent WCB at the February ACB Legislative Seminar in Washington, D.C.
  • Cathy and Carl Jarvis, Treasurer and Secretary, respectively, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, on their 25th wedding anniversary. Cathy and Carl, both native Washingtonians, were married in Renton, and will be celebrating this silver event joined by Cathy’s brother and sister-in-law with a two-week cruise to Alaska.

  • Mildred Lind, Member, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, on the occasion of her 95th birthday. Mildred, who says she very much enjoys the chapter luncheons, was delighted to have her children and grandchildren come from out of town and the 20+ members of her extended family help her celebrate with a private room restaurant dinner.

  • Becky Bell, Member, King County Chapter, for winning two silver medals in a skiing competition held in February in Alberta, Canada. Becky won in the B.2 Women’s Low Vision 5K and 10K categories at the Kananaskis event.

  • Michelle Denzer, Secretary, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on acquiring her first dog guide, Pacific, a 57-lb, 22 ½ in high female black lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind in California. Michele reports that, when placed in harness, Pacific takes on a serious demeanor and is ready for work, and when the harness is removed, she is ready for play, and since both are very fast walkers, it is a good partnership.
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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 WCB.

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Chair: Sue Ammeter

(360) 437-7916


Chair: Bill Hoage

(509) 586-8901



Chair: Julie Brannon

(206) 547-7444



Chair: Frank Cuta

(509) 967-2658



Chair: Denise Colley

(360) 438-0072



Chair: Shirley Taylor

(206) 362-3118



Chair: Debby Phillips

(509) 684-1266



Chair: David Egan

(425) 681-6873



Chair: Vivian Conger

(509) 526-4967



Chair: Berl Colley

(360) 438-0072



Chair: Viola Cruz

(360) 754-8193



Chair: Mardel Kendall

(425) 255-6749



Chair: Eric Hunter

(360) 377-9917



Chair: Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 698-0827



Chair: Glenn McCully

(253) 804-4246



Chair: Meka White

(360) 405-4337



Chair: Marlaina Lieberg

(206) 243-1716



Chair/Editor: Peggy Shoel

(206) 722-8477



Chair: Alan Bentson

(206) 819-9283



In the December 2006 issue of the Newsline,
Beverly Green, a member of the United Blind of
Whatcom County, was listed in the In Memoriam article.
The correct name is Evelyn Green.

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2007 Calendar of Deadlines and Events

Mar 31

Deadline - Application for Leadership Seminar

April 1

RSVP for Louis Braille School Auction

April 14

Louis Braille Auction – 1 to 4 pm - Edmonds

May 1

Deadline for First-Timer application to ACB Convention

May 4-6

WCB Leadership Training Seminar and Spring Fling – Everett

May 6

WCB Spring Board Meeting – Everett

May 15

Deadline for stipend or loan for ACB Convention 

May 26

Deadline for receipt of material for June/Summer Newsline

June 2

DSB Rehab Council Meeting - Spokane

June 9

WTBBL Patron Advisory Council - Seattle

June 15

Deadline for purchasing Mariners tickets

June 30

Deadline for receipt of Scholarship applications

Jun 30-Jul 7

ACB National Convention – Minneapolis

July 16-27

Louis Braille Camp

July 28

WCB Mariners Day - Seattle

Aug 12

WCB Summer Board Meeting - Bremerton

Sept 8

DSB Rehab Council Meeting – Eastern WA

Nov 1-3

WCB Annual Convention - Spokane

Dec 1

DSB Rehab Council Meeting – Bremerton



Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by May 26, 2007. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

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


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