March 2009 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President/Editor

(360) 438-0072

Lacey, WA


Table of Contents


From the President’s Desk

Editor’s Comments

What Do We Say

Leadership Bound

WCB Winter Board Meeting

Successful Braille Challenge Held in Pierce County

WCB History: 1994

Jerry LaBorde, His Legacy Lives On

From the Senior Side

Not Just Another List

The 2009 ACB Walk/Run in Orlando

It’s All About Employment

Louis Braille School Report

Opportunities and Possibilities Abound…If We Stretch Our Imaginations

Update from the Washington

Talking Book & Braille Library

Around The State

Seeking Convention Ideas

WCB Diabetes Support

Hat’s Off to You

Bits and Pieces


Calendar of Deadlines and Events




By Denise Colley, WCB President


Well, we’ve made it through the fast-paced holiday season and moved into a winter that has been unlike any winter season in a long time.  While we were all busy digging ourselves out of the mountain of snow there continued to be a flurry of activity for the Washington Council of the Blind.


Through December and January I was busy putting together our WCB committees for 2009.  To date we have 62 members on 18 standing committees and two ad hoc committees (see the information on our 2009 Committees and Committee Contacts at the end of this article).  We also have a new first time committee chair; Ursula McCully is putting her leadership skills to work chairing our Families with Blind Children Committee.  We look forward to seeing what great things she and her committee will be doing this year.


The first WCB Board meeting of the year was held on Saturday, January 31st, at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle.  About 40 WCB members were in attendance.  The weekend began with the annual Board dinner on Friday evening, where we heard from Jim Patterson, our investment counselor, about how WCB is doing with our investments in light of the economic down turn the country finds itself in.  Our investment portfolio has decreased in value, but only by 1/3 of the decreased amount of the three major market indexes.


One of my goals for this year is to establish my version of Office Hours.  This is a concept that was first introduced by ACB President, Mitch Pomerantz after he took office in July 2007.  Office hours is a time when you, the membership, can call in and ask questions and/or talk with me and other officers and board members about things you would like to see WCB doing, concerns you may have, or providing us with positive feedback about those things you think we are doing right.  In short, it is another way of keeping the lines of communication open between the board and the general membership.  By the time you read this we will have held our first office hours, scheduled for Saturday, March 7th, at 12pm.  Joining me on the call will be first Vice President, Sue Ammeter and Board member, Carl Jarvis.  Future dates for these calls will be Saturday, May 2, Saturday, September 5, and Saturday, October 31, and all calls will begin at 12pm.


For those of you who may be wondering what has happened to our WCB website, let me bring you up to date.  Late in September of last year we were informed that UltraHost, the company that was providing the server space for our website, was going through some maintenance and transitioning of their computers.  During this process some problems occurred that resulted in our website going down and corruption of the database that our website program used.  Most all of the data files were still there, but we needed to find a way to get to them.  After much discussion by the board, and the realization that we would need to rebuild the website, it was decided to look into hiring a professional website developer.  I also appointed a website development oversight committee to spearhead this project.  Joleen Ferguson, Frank Cuta and Gary Lieberg are serving on this committee, with Joleen as chair.  We have enlisted the services of a web developer from a small company in Vancouver, British Columbia called Momoweb.  A big thank you goes to Joleen for all of the hours she has put into locating and recreating a lot of the previous information, and to the committee who have worked very hard to create the plan for a new site that will be bigger and provide a lot more information.  We hope to go live soon with the new site, so stay tuned.

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 the work at hand.

The following is the list of the 2009 WCB committee chairs and their contact information.

Standing Committees

Advocacy Committee

Chair:  Sue Ammeter

(360) 437-7916


Aging and Blindness

Chair:  Carl Jarvis

(360) 765-4239


Awards Committee

Chair:  Alan Bentson

(206) 819-9283


Constitution and Bylaws

Chair: Frank Cuta

(509) 967-2658


Convention Committee

Chair:  Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 698-0827


Crisis Committee

Chair:  Stuart Russell

(360) 377-2437


Environmental Access Committee

Chair:  David Egan

(425) 681-6873


Families with Blind Children Committee

Chair:  Ursula McCully

(206) 706-0434


Finance Committee

Chair:  Berl Colley

(360) 438-0072


First-Timers Committee

Chair:  Meka White

(360) 405-4337


History Committee

Chair:  Berl Colley

(360) 438-0072


Investment Committee

Chair:  Eric Hunter

(360) 377-9917


Leadership Committee

Chair:  Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 698-0827


Legislative Committee

Chair:  Sue Ammeter

(360) 437-7916


Listserve Committee

Chair:  Randy Tedrow

(425) 254-3931


Membership Committee

Chair:  Marlaina Lieberg

(206) 433-6565


Newsline Committee

Chair/editor:  Denise Colley

(360) 438-0072


Scholarship Committee

Chair:  Julie Brannon

(206) 547-7444


Ad Hoc Committees

Fund raising

Chair:  Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 698-0827


Website Development Oversight Committee

Chair:  Joleen Ferguson

(509) 529-3415

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Editor’s Comments

By Marlaina Lieberg


The Power of One


Recently, I have been asking WCB members and friends who subscribe to our WCB listserve to respond to two major national pieces of legislation, the Enhanced Pedestrian Safety Act, H.R.-734, and the effort to have the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act introduced into the United States House of Representatives. H.R.-734 deals with the new quiet cars, and requires a 2-year study to find an appropriate sound for these vehicles which will make them less of a threat to our safety as we blind folks cross this country’s roads and streets. The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act if introduced, will mandate accessibility of user interfaces for such things as DVD players, onscreen menus including menus on home appliances such as washers, dryers and stoves, as well as increased cell phone accessibility. It also would restore video description on commercial TV.


As I write these requests for involvement, I fully know there are some who believe their voice is not significant, or that others, those they consider leaders, will take care of the request. I want to talk here about the power of one, the power of you.


Please don’t think I have forgotten how nervous one can become when beginning to gain the confidence to speak out. I remember many years ago when I first entered into the legislative advocacy game, I spent many hours feeling nervous and lacked the confidence to assert myself, or to ensure my opinion was heard. I’ll never forget adding the letter “r” to the word handicapped, thus saying handicapped, when advocating for the right for all to ride the bus. Now, I laugh at that moment, and refer to it often to myself as a reflection on how far I’ve come. It took conscious effort to force myself to believe enough to dare to try.


One voice can make a difference.  Years ago, I embarked single-handedly on a campaign to get a major frozen food delivery service to provide catalogs in accessible formats.  By reaching out to others around the country who have joined their voices to mine, we succeeded.


Last year, the combined voices of WCB saved library services for the blind and visually impaired in Washington State. While we combined all of our voices to achieve the end result, each individual voice, be it the voice of the student in school, the home-maker, or the 107 year-old woman, was equally important.


Just recently, I posted to the WCB list a message describing how one blind man single-handedly has caused his local township to reconsider installing traffic

round-abouts. While the outcome is still pending, it was just one voice speaking before a city council which brought the whole installation to a halt.


Getting involved, means daring to hope, daring to dream, and daring to believe. It means that you know that as a blind person, you have a right to an equal share of the pie of life, and from your heart, you will do what it takes to receive that equal share.


Writing to or speaking with your representatives shouldn’t be a fearful task; remember, you hired them by voting for them and if you didn’t, you’ve got even more to gain by teaching them to look at issues from your own perspective.  In these times of diminishing funding, we as blind people will need to remain vigilant and ensure that our individual voices are heard.


So, when you hear the call either at the State or Federal level, please do help out and respond. Sue Ammeter, who monitors state legislation, and I will help you in any way we can. This is truly a crisis time; the time to wear our advocacy hats is now. Blind children, working age adults and seniors throughout Washington are counting on you to let your voice be heard. For, you truly do have the power of one!


Helpful Resources:

Locate your Washington State legislators by going to: or call (800) 562-6000.


Locate your representative in Congress by going to:


To learn more about WCB’s State legislative activities, you can also call the WCB Information line at (800) 255-1147.  The American Council of the Blind also has a toll-free number for legislative updates (800) 424-8666 then select Washington Connection.


Editor’s comment: Just after this was written but before we went to press, WCB learned that the Department of Services for the Blind plans to close the residential aspect of its Orientation and Training Center. The OTC was established due to the hard work of The Blind of Washington, and our belief that blind people deserve the best rehabilitation possible, including a residential program where intensive training can occur. 


As a WCB member, you are the voice of blind people around the state; you are an advocate for quality and meaningful services. If you disagree with this decision, contact Lou Oma Durand, Executive Director of the department of Services for the blind. You may reach her by e-mail at LouDurand@DSB.WA.GOV or by calling (206) 721-4422. There is not a more important time for you to exercise the power of one!


Dare to hope, get involved!


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What Do We Say?

By Carl Jarvis


The news came as a shock wave through the blind community in Washington State. Faced with orders from the Governor’s Office to make a major budget reduction, the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) included in their proposal the elimination of the state-wide adult training program.


This would be accomplished through the closure of the apartments used to house out of town students, changing the Orientation and Training Center (OTC) into a local day program, available to only those blind people who could manage to commute to and from the Center. 


Without consulting the blind community, the organizations of the blind or the State Rehabilitation Council, DSB officials made a decision that significantly changed the long established structure of service delivery. 


From that April day in 1963, when the doors were flung open to the new Center at 3411 South Alaska Street, in Seattle, blind people across the state have had access to an intensive daily adjustment and training program. We blind people saw this program as the center piece, the heart of Services for the Blind. 


Now, with no consultation, no public meetings, no advance notice, our heart was being cut out and offered up to the Governor’s Budget. 


Perhaps the Department has forgotten its history. It was not they who fought in the 30’s and 40’s for reform in Aid to the Blind. They did not fight during the 50’s to acquire a special building to house services for the blind. Indeed, in the 60’s and 70’s they even resisted efforts to establish a separate agency for the blind. 


Everything we have today, everything the Department is, came about through the hard, dedicated efforts of generations of blind men and women. The Department owes its existence to people who held a vision of a better life for those who would come long after them. But the Department has decided that they are the experts and that they must make decisions for us, without the need to involve us. 


What do we say to this? 


What we say is this. We say that the members of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) believe that we are in a Partnership with our Department of Services for the Blind.


We say that we expect to be treated as full partners. 

We say that partners work together to build stronger services, to solve problems and to come together to protect our Programs. 


We understand that we are going through hard economic times, and under pressure, decisions can be made in haste. 

So we must remind ourselves that we are partners, Equal Partners. As partners, we will work and share together. As Partners we will come through these difficult days and as Partners we will succeed.


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Leadership Bound

By Cindy Van Winkle, Chair, Leadership Committee


If you would like to learn more about the Washington Council of the Blind & your connection within the big picture of our organization; if you would like to gain skills to become more comfortable and confident in the activities of your local chapter or on a state level, this seminar is for you.


During the weekend of June 12-14, participants will enjoy presentations and activities that will not only educate & motivate you, but that will assist you in finding your inner-spirit of leadership. This weekend is more than just a bunch of presentations; it’s a weekend of personal growth while creating an atmosphere of camaraderie.


All participants will be expected to attend all activities of the weekend beginning with the opening of the Leadership Seminar on Friday night & ending with the WCB board meeting on Sunday. Transportation, hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy) and meals throughout Saturday and Sunday will be provided.


If you are interested in taking part in this empowering weekend, if you have never been to one of the past Leadership seminars sponsored by WCB you have been a WCB member since March 12, 2009 (or earlier) and have no outstanding WCB loans in default, you are eligible to apply to attend this year’s Leadership Seminar taking place at the Oxford Suites in Silverdale.


If you meet the above eligibility requirements and have a sincere desire to grow in WCB, please submit a letter via email by May 15, 2009, to  Share with the Leadership Committee a little about yourself, your involvement in your local chapter and/or community and how you see you’re attending the seminar assisting you in your future activities of WCB. Letters need not be lengthy, but should be reflective of your desire to participate, and will be what assists us in the overall selection process.


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By Alco Canfield


The momentous month of January, 2009 concluded with The Washington Council of the Blind winter board meeting at the Executive Inn in Seattle.   Every chapter was represented, and all board members were in attendance.


President Denise Colley reported that fifty-nine WCB members are presently serving on committees.  She encouraged those who have not signed up for a committee to step up and get involved.


Denise Colley will serve as editor for the NEWSLINE and will chair the committee responsible for its publication.  The deadline for article submissions for the next NEWSLINE is February 28th.


Denise discussed future goals for the affiliate. These include the implementation of "office hours" and a teleconference which will allow members to ask questions and receive updates on WCB/ACB activities. Resources will also be devoted to support and enhance the growth of WCB chapters. 


Denise will be attending the ACB President's Meeting and the ACB Board Meeting in Washington, D.C. She will give a presentation on WCB's Leadership Seminar which has been a huge success in developing active leaders.


Since 2001, 137 individuals have graduated from the WCB Leadership Training Seminar.


Those interested in attending this year's training, June 12-14, 2009 at the Oxford Suites in Silverdale, need to send an e-mail to Cindy Van Winkle expressing interest in participating. The letter should summarize the applicant's activities in the community, as well as in the local chapter and WCB. Membership dues must be paid by March 12th to attend the seminar on June 12th.    


State and national conventions were discussed. A motion was made and adopted providing a stipend of $200 for eligible members attending National Convention. Shirley Taylor will be handling the stipend requests.

A motion was also adopted setting a loan amount of $750 for national convention. This can be repaid in ten payments.


In order to be eligible for a loan or stipend, one must be a WCB member for at least one year. 


WCB will hold its state conventions for 2009 and 2011 at the Red Lion Inn in Pasco.  Room rates will be $89 for singles and doubles and $99 for triples and quads. The board authorized that a stipend of $40 be given to those requesting it, with the exception of those living in Benton-Franklin Counties. Up to two buses will be chartered for the event.


The 2010 and 2012 WCB conventions will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, WA.  Room rates for both will be $92.00.


Berl Colley, ACB board member reported that in 2010, the ACB Convention will be in Phoenix, AZ, and in 2011, in Sparks, NV.


Committee reports were given. Advocacy and legislative issues were discussed. Of greatest concern at this time is legislation that would eliminate the State Rehabilitation Council which advises The Department of Services for the Blind, as well as a bill to extend The White Cane Law to cover puppies in training. ACB secretary, Marlaina Lieberg, updated us on pending federal legislation. HR 734, the Quiet Car Bill has been referred to the Commerce and Energy Committee.


Sue Ammeter, as a member of the Patron Advisory Council of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library represented WTBBL at Secretary of State, Sam Reed's swearing in ceremony on January 14, 2009. This was a great opportunity to acquaint the larger community with the services provided by the library.


Denise updated us on the rebuilding of the WCB web site.  WCB has contracted with an individual who expects to have the job completed within two months.


Space constraints preclude a more extensive re-cap. However, the enthusiastic participation of those in attendance, as well as the important information provided made the WCB winter board meeting one to remember.


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Successful Braille Challenge held in Pierce County
compiled by: Hayley Edick, Tami Dawes, and Sarah Howe

We had success! There are students who provide proof that Braille is still alive and utilized well!


On Saturday, January 31, the members of the Pierce County Association of the Blind and the Department Of Services For The Blind used our  experiences and resources to hold our first Braille Challenge. With the generosity of Pierce College, we had four rooms to work with. We had four students come to take the challenge, showing their skill in Braille literacy and knowledge in their respective levels of expertise. The gathering was friendly and relaxed once the challenging tests were finished, and we enjoyed delicious food provided by Tami Dawes and Jimmy Jacks, members of PCAB. None of this challenge could have taken place without all involved.


Hayley Edick comments: "One thing that was most memorable from this experience for me was the fact that there is a totally blind student

practically in my neighborhood, and I can remember the times I enjoyed the mentorship and ideas I gained from blind people like myself. I took this opportunity to let the families know that I would be happy to be a resource, mentor, or an ear if they wanted to contact me outside of this all-too-brief time together. From what I could gather from the students, they were not often around other blind people, and I felt that hosting the Braille challenge not only helped in administering the tests that could lead up to further progression to nice prizes for these young individuals, but it was a great way to mentor to the younger population even if it was only in allowing them to see that we are active adults wanting to be a support to them.”


Sarah Howe says: "It was nice to see the parents supporting their child in this event. They didn't seem to have limitations on what their child could do, just wanted to know in what ways they could do them." We
hope to hold the Braille Challenge next year, and would like to get more students interested.


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By Berl Colley, Chair, History Committee


1994, the first year of the Sharon Keeran Presidency, began with WCB having a total of 190 members, 525 people subscribed to the Newsline, 325 large print and 200 cassette readers, and the organization’s asset value was $55,843.54.


Five WCB members flew to Chicago in February to attend the American Council of the Blind Midyear meetings.  Cynthia Towers-Henton ACB Secretary, Sue Ammeter ACB Board member, Sharon Keeran WCB President, and Peggy Shoel and Frank Cuta attended special interest affiliate meetings. 


The Department of Services for the Blind recruited to fill a manager position at the Orientation and Training center to replace Carl Jarvis who retired on December 31, 1993.  Peggy Shoel chaired the State Rehabilitation Council. The Department was the primary sponsor for a preschool conference on May 21. The primary sponsor for this conference, which started in 1985, had been the American Foundation for the Blind.  Cindy Wearstler (Van Winkle) and Julie DeGeus (Brannon) represented WCB. Later in the year, Berl and Denise Colley testified at another hearing about combining DSB in to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. This legislation did not make it out of committee. 


Other Legislative concerns during the year, for WCB members were, the Braille bill HB-1503 which died in committee and Hb-2327 the Core Services bill, which passed through the legislative process and was signed by Governor Lowery on March 28. This bill gave disabled college students more services through the Student Services offices to help with their studies. Denise Colley testified for WCB and CCCB at the hearings for this bill. 


The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped changed its name, in January, to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. Director Jan Ames placed signs on I-5, from Everett to Tacoma, advertising the change.  The Library also started opening its doors on Saturdays to its patrons. 


The first WCB board meeting of 1994 was held on Saturday February 26, at WTBBL. The second board meeting was a conference call on June 11. The next one was held on July 30 at the Roosevelt hotel. The board voted to offer a national convention stipend of $150 and a convention loan of $600. Cindy Wearstler (Van Winkle) was chosen as the first timer scholarship winner to attend ACB’s convention, at the Palmer House, in Chicago, July 2-9. The board selected Shirley Taylor as its 1994 convention coordinator.  The convention arrangements committee met after the July 30th board meeting in Seattle. Terry Atwater and Jim Eccles agreed to run WCB’s exhibit room. The board voted to pay, up to $500, toward the travel of Anna Schneider, who won an ACB scholarship at the Chicago convention.


The members of the Pierce County Association of the Blind held a special 60 year celebration banquet with guest speakers Sue Ammeter and MC Ed Foscue. Tributes were made to, chapter president, Dorothy Inks, and long time president, Marion Kruger. Mildred Johnson read the minutes from the first PCAB meeting in April 1934, when the first club president Francis Bake along with Nora Night, brought blind people in Tacoma together to advocate for more rehabilitation and higher support subsidies.


It was a busy year for the Washington State School for the Blind. The 80 year old boy’s dorm was raised and changes were made to the student cottages to bring them in to compliance with the ADA. After receiving a grant of $52,000, new playground equipment was purchased and restoration work on the auditorium in old Main continued. Doctor Dean Stenejem announced that the passage of HB-1203 would enable the school to establish a 7 step educational program that was developed by the school’s board of trustees in May of 1993. The Braille Access Center established on the WSSB campus in the fall of 1993, produced 250,000 pages of Braille in its first year of existence.


The WCB fall convention was held at the Best Western Richland Towers on November 3-5. Do to budgetary concerns, the membership voted to eliminate the Crisis program until the organization could generate more income. They also voted to discontinue the First Timer scholarship to the 1995 national convention in Greensborough, North Carolina. Rhonda Nelson replaced Frank Cuta as WCB’s Secretary. Shirley Taylor was

re-elected as Second Vice President and Charlene Hunt and Terry Atwater were re-elected to the board. Frank replaced Arnold Schrock who had met his term limit. Berl Colley was the Saturday night banquet MC and Charlie Hodge, from Virginia was the banquet speaker. 


Mary McNew, the Washington State Americans with Disabilities ACT coordinator announced that Sue Ammeter, Denise Colley and Dave Brown were among those designated by Governor Mike Lowery to work in an ADA training project for the State of Washington. The Governor also re-appointed Sue as chair of the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment. 


The American Council of the Blind held a leadership training on November 18-20 at the Sea-Tac Holiday Inn.  Sharon appointed 10 WCB members to attend from our state. There were actually 12 including Sue and Cynthia who were on the national ACB board. ACB members from six states were at the training.


WCB officers, going in to 1995

President, Sharon Keeran, King County Chapter

First Vice President, Peggy Shoel, United Blind of Seattle

Second Vice President, Shirley Taylor United Blind of Seattle

Secretary, Rhonda Nelson, King County Chapter

Treasurer, Joleen Ferguson, United Blind of Seattle

Immediate Past President, Sue Ammeter, United Blind of Seattle


Board of Directors

Terry Atwater, Capital City Council of the Blind

Berl Colley, Capital City Council of the Blind

Frank Cuta, United Blind of the Tri Cities

Charlene Hunt, Pierce County Association of the Blind

Virginia Schneebeck, King County Chapter

Cindy Wearstler (Van Winkle), Peninsula Council of the Blind


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Jerry LaBorde, his legacy lives on

By Frank Cuta, Secretary, Washington Council of the Blind


We pay our respects to Jerry LaBorde, who passed away at his home in Richland on January 15, 2009. He was 82 years old. If anyone deserves the title "father of services for the blind in the Tri-Cities" it is Jerry. Some saw him as a knight while others saw him as a knave. But to all of the blind in the TriCities he was a beginning.

We organized our Tri-Cities affiliate in around 1976 (currently the United Blind of Tri-Cities) and Jerry was active and enthusiastic from the very start. Jerry was always a great dreamer and every time you turned around he had a new grandiose idea of how we could build a multi story center for the blind out of  gold bricks that would fall from the sky and land that would be laid at our feet by our generous city council. 

In 1980 it was Gerry who obtained the initial block grant from the city of Richland to open our United Blind of Tri-Cities office. This was the first center in the Tri-Cities dedicated to providing services to the blind. Frank Cuta and Mardell Kendall were presidents during those years. Gerry was the office coordinator and kept the block grants rolling in. Martha Taylor and Bev Fisher answered the phone.  We offered our clients low vision aids, helpful advice and Frank taught a computer class using the talking Apple computer.  As a result of a 25,000 dollar grant from Battelle we also had one of the first Kurzweil reading machines in the country and a cassette duplicator that we used to produce the tape copies of the Washington Council of the Blind Newsline.

Jerry always dreamed of services being bigger and better and of redefining what was possible. A few years after we opened our office we formed a separate non-profit organization the Washington Rehabilitation Institute. It would be controlled by blind persons but be strictly a service providing agency and would be able to contract with DSB for state funding. About this time we were also approached by an attorney representing the estate of Edith Bishel. Edith Bishel had designated in her will that most of her estate including her property and buildings be set up as an educational center dedicated to providing assistance to blind children. From that point on the realization of this goal became Jerry's passion. Jerry was active in Lions and eventually with support from the Lions and with proceeds raised by selling off some of the estate's property this dream was transformed into reality as a brand new structure was conceived and constructed in 1995. In keeping with the requirements of the will the new facility needed to be named after Edith Bishel so Washington Rehabilitation Institute was reincorporated as Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It would actually be more appropriate to call it the Bishel-LaBorde Center for the Blind. It was her money that built it but Jerry's blood and sweat courses through its halls, walls and the comfortable spaces within where persons who are blind and those losing their vision gather to learn and share.


Fate put Jerry at the right place at the wrong time. He was on the beach at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and narrowly escaped being hit when one of the Japanese fighters strafed his position and then crashed a short distance away. Jerry vividly remembered how after the attack he went up to the plane and found the Japanese pilot dead and still in the wreckage. Jerry LaBorde was just 17 in 1941.


In 1951 Jerry moved to the Tri-cities to work on the Hanford project.

In the late 70's, with failing vision due to RP, he took early disability retirement from Battelle. His retirement was completely devoted to others. Jerry was selfless and generous. He accepted no payment nor did he want any special recognition for his tireless efforts.


Despite his powerful personality and boundless enthusiasm, when faced with reason Jerry always listened, took a step back regrouped and redirected his energy in some other positive direction. 

Jerry was an irascible character and like all of us he had his flaws.  But mostly he will be remembered as a warm, generous, gentle and selfless caring man with a very big heart.  Although Jerry LaBorde will no longer be with us here on earth his legacy lives on in the Tri-Cities as his lofty dreams for increased services continue to grow and flourish.


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 (Introducing a new Newsline Feature):


From The Senior Side - Measuring Services

By Carl Jarvis, Chair,

Aging and Blindness Committee


The other day someone said to me, “With our economy in the tank and our state budget about to be cut to the bone, we’re going to have to prioritize services for the blind”.  


“That sounds logical,” I said, “But how do we go about doing that without cutting some services?  The state agency is already pretty lean.” 


“Well,” my friend said, “you look at which services give you the most bang for the buck”.  “Bang for the buck?” I asked, “Did we just get recruited?” 


“You know what I mean; we need to invest our money where it will make the biggest return to our economy. We must protect Vocational Rehabilitation Services because, once trained and working, those are the people who will make the greatest impact. They will be paying taxes, buying homes, renting apartments, shopping at the Mall.  You know, become contributing members of their community.” 


“What about blind children and the older blind?” I asked. 


“No problem about the children. The School for the Blind already handles most of their needs, and as for the older people, well, providing them services doesn’t bring much back to the economy.” 


“Wait just a darned minute!” I cried, pulling myself up to the fullness of my 73 years, “you just blew off the majority of blind people in our state.” I dusted off my soap box and clambered aboard as my friend ducked beneath the nearest chair.


“Not only that, this is the fastest growing segment of our population. And despite all the talk about their needs, they are the most poorly served population in the blind community. Did you know that there are large areas in our state where older blind people are not receiving any services at all?” I got so excited that I almost fell off my soap box. “But even more to the point, how can you say that these people don’t make significant contributions to their community? With proper services they will stay in their homes and apartments, go to their local stores, pay their taxes, consume lights and heat, and even hire help. 


Stick them away in nursing homes or adult family homes and they will not be making contributions, they’ll be costing taxpayers thousands of dollars each year.” 


My friend made a frantic dash for the door but I was too quick. Barring the door, I shouted, “All that aside, what about our obligation to these folks? These are our parents, our grand parents and beyond. These are the people who brought us out of the Great Depression, marched off to war in order to keep us safe, worked hard and raised their children to be productive citizens, paid their taxes and took part in community activities. These people are what America is all about. Is this how we plan to repay them?  After all they did for us, are we going to measure the services we provide by the dollars we can still squeeze out of them?” 


I heard my friend sobbing. “There, there,” I soothed, “I’m sorry to have upset you.” 


“Please, please,” my friend blubbered, “you put your soap box down on my foot”. 


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Not Just Another List

By Randy Tedrow, Chair, Listserve Committee


You have a shopping list, you have a wish list, and you may even have a gift list. Did you know you have a WCB list? It’s true! The Washington Council of the Blind has an email list just for you.


This list is a good place to learn about and discuss blindness issues and things relating to the WCB. Here, you can learn about important legislation, upcoming events, and celebrate success of people in the blind community, WCB, and the ACB. A wealth of information and fun is at your disposal.


The moderators maintain a careful watch on the list to keep it running smoothly. We do not allow people to “flame” others, post nonsensical items such as “pass this along to your 10 favorite people,” or let things range to far afield. There is often spirited debate over issues, but the idea and not the person is challenged.


The WCB list (WCB-L) is a good place to learn how you can be involved in the WCB. Learn where you might contribute to help keep the WCB the best consumer organization for the blind in Washington State. It’s also a good place to learn of late breaking developments in technology, events and programs for the blind and visually impaired.


Subscribing is easy; just send a blank email message to: that’s all you need to do. A confirmation email will be sent, followed by a welcome message explaining how things work. If you have any questions feel free to contact me, Randy Tedrow, Chair List Serve Committee, Or one of the other moderators, Tim Schneebeck,; Kevin LaRose, Contact us with your questions, comments and concerns. I look forward to reading you on the list!


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THE 2009 ACB WALK/RUN In Orlando

By Berl Colley

Attention ACB Convention Attendees: 

As you may have heard by now, the first ACB Walk/Run will be held this summer at the beginning of the national convention, on Saturday morning, July 4.  It is officially called The ACB/ Track Shack Watermelon 5K Walk/Run. We need your support for this event!

It will be conducted by the American Council of the Blind in partnership with the Track Shack Foundation in Orlando. The event will begin early Saturday morning, July 4 at 7:30 Mead Park, located in Winter Park, Florida. Since Mead Park is 17 miles and approximately 25 minutes from the starting point at Rosen Center, bus transportation to and from the event will be provided from the hotel.

There is an entry fee of $25 per person, and all participants must send their $25 entry fee to Dena Wilson in the national office to receive the official walk/run packet, which consists of an entry form, instruction sheet, pledge forms and pointers for seeking pledges. 

All participants will need to arrive at the Rosen Center hotel on Friday, July 3, and pick up their race packets that afternoon or evening. Buses will leave for the walk route at 6:15 A.M. on July 4th.  The estimated arrival time back at the hotel following the walk/run is between 10:00 and 10:30 A.M.

 How Does It Raise Money?

We need all of you, to encourage each of our ACB Walk/Run participants, to solicit pledges from our contacts, friends, relatives, neighbors, and the many people we all know.  ACB will provide you and your members with a list of potential contributors that you can contact. We will also suggest what to say to potential contributors when asking for their pledges. This information will all be included as a part of the official walk/run packet that you will receive from Dena Wilson after she receives your $25 entry fee.
 We realize that many of you, for whatever reason, may not be able to attend the ACB National Convention this year.  Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still participate in the ACB Walk/Run! By requesting your Official Entry Form and materials and helping us seek pledges, you play an important role in the success of the walk-a-thon. In contemporary terminology, you might refer to this as being a "virtual" ACB Walk/Run Team member!  Regardless of whether you physically or virtually walk, you can fully participate and solicit those important pledges. 

What Does Each Participant Receive?

Each participant, whether physical or virtual, will receive:
Ø Bib number from Track Shack.
Ø A tee shirt
Ø A Souvenir gift

Everyone who is physically present in Mead Park, will also receive:
Ø Refreshments
Ø Live entertainment
Ø A map of the route

Track Shack will receive the majority of the $25 entry fee, but in return, Track Shack covers all other costs associated with the event. The remainder of the entry fee will be used to help off-set the cost of transportation to and from the event.

However, all of the pledges that you obtain will go entirely to ACB. Therefore, it is imperative that participants seek pledges and donations from family, friends, local businesses, etc. in order to make this event a big ACB success.

Win Prizes!

All walkers, whether physical or virtual, are eligible to win
some really great prizes. The participant who brings in the most in total pledges will win a very nice prize. In like manner, the affiliate that brings in the largest total pledges from its members will receive special recognition. There will be other prizes for all individuals who bring in between $100 and $249.99 in pledges, and for those who bring in between $250 and $500, and still more prizes for those people who bring in over $500 in pledges!! Lots and lots of winners and prizes!!
Take the first step by making a commitment to participate in this exciting first-ever ACB walk/run, and then, take the next step by encouraging others to participate as well. Sign up today and start seeking pledges now. To obtain your Official ACB Walk/Run Packet, send your $25 entry fee to:

Dena Wilson
ACB Walk/Run
American Council of the Blind
2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 650,
Arlington, VA 22201


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It's All About Employment

By Mark Adreon,

Communications and Employer Consultant - DSB


DSB works in partnership with our customers and community providers toward the goal of employment. We want our community providers to understand how to effectively work with our customers toward this goal.


We also know many of our customers are conducting their own self directed job search and we want to have tools available to them, and be as close as their nearest internet connection.


I want to share with you two resources we are developing to assist our customers in reaching their employment goals.


Job Developer Trainings Have Begun

The Job Developer trainings were implemented after an extensive survey and interview process of Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Providers, DSB VR counselors, DSB customer feedback and data review on results and outcomes. We determined that the employment outcomes with customers referred to Job Developers was not where it could or should be. 


We created the Job Developer trainings to assist DSB, the CRP Job Developers and our DSB customer partners to move toward the goal we all share in common; the goal of employment. 


To date, we have completed four Job Developer trainings in Tacoma, Vancouver, Everett and Seattle. One hundred and twenty (120) individuals participated. 


The trainings are designed to get DSB and the Job Developer community on the same page around some basic concepts. Knowledge of the abilities of people who are blind is the focus of the entire eight hour training. The day includes: DSB programs and services, getting comfortable around blindness, understanding basic accommodations both high and low tech solutions, and finally how DSB and Job Developers can work together in partnership with our DSB customers to get the results we all want - employment.


These trainings are receiving positive feedback and we are creating the foundations for an excellent working relationship with our community partners.


Additional trainings are scheduled for:

Spokane       February 24th

Yakima          March 10th

Olympia         March 24th


Once the trainings have been completed, we will have reached the primary targeted urban areas and may consider where additional trainings may be of benefit in other parts of the state.


Tips for Your Job Search Tool Kit

All the news media and the talk of the economy has everyone wondering where the jobs are, how do I find a job, and how do I keep one. These are stressful times and the blind community can feel this stress more acutely than many other communities.


If you are looking for work and/or know someone who is, have you taken the time to check out our website?


Start by going to our site at From our home page find the link titled “Where do I learn about career development?” Once you enter on the link you will find two links that should be of interest - The Job Seekers Handbook & Employment Sites and Job Search Matches.


Here is a sampling of the Job Search related topics you will find:

* Personal fact sheet for job seekers

* Twenty Reasons why People Don't Get Hired

* Essential Elements of an effective Job Search

* Labor Market Survey Form

* Job Search Networking and Tracking links

* Resumé tips…etc.

*  Talking about your vision at an Interview…and many more tips on building your Job Search tool Kit.


Toward the end of the many resources in the Job Seekers Handbook you will find links to Employment websites, Job lines A to Z, and Internet Employment Resources. Check out:


You will find employers web and resumé posting sites to move your job search forward.


Under our navigation links you will find links to the national consumer groups as well as: the Work Source Centers and ESight, a helpful site acting as an "on line" Job Search support group/job club. 


I hope you have an opportunity to visit these resources. If you have additional websites that you feel would be of benefit, send them to Mark Adreon at and provide information on why you think this site(s) would be of value to job seekers.


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Louis Braille School Report

By Eric Brotman


The Louis Braille School attracts an interesting variety of talented guest educators eager to share their knowledge with the students. Often such educators come away having learned something new themselves, as was the case with Ginny Burger.


Burger, a former high school biology teacher who has become a master gardener, visited the Louis Braille School last January and taught students how to plant bulbs.


She brought plastic coverings to protect the classroom's tabletops from the inevitable spillage of potting soil. Other schools she visited preferred to make use of her precaution.


The Louis Braille School teachers had a different idea. They wanted the learning experience to be as much fun as possible. That meant table coverings were unnecessary. The students obviously loved getting their hands in the soil. They were delighted to handle it freely, without having to be as neat (or as worried?) as adults.


Burger liked the teachers' acceptance of a bit of spilled soil and the interest students showed for the task at hand. "Their attention was held for a whole hour," she said.


When it came time for the children to wash up, she continued to be impressed by a supportive approach to students that she compared to the policies of her earlier years as a biology teacher.


"I was struck by the way the teachers didn't mind having to wipe down the bathroom walls because they were muddy," she said. "It was a very calm atmosphere, which was intriguing to me."


The master gardener had never before worked with students who have visual impairments. Louis Braille School students provided her with a new perspective on bulb planting.


"It's a very tactile activity," she realized while recalling one child's experience. "He could feel the bulbs, feel the root even though it was dry, feel the start of the shoot, feel the soil."


Karla Bohnsack, an Everett Community College student who has been volunteering and conducting service learning at the Louis Braille School, was present for the bulb planting.


"I get to come to the school once a week and it is definitely the highlight of my week," Bohnsack said.


She observed how excited the students were when Burger first arrived with the planting project supplies.

"There were no complaints here," Bohnsack said. "The boys got right to planting. Each of them planted 2-3 pots of bulbs and got a little messy in the process. We even found a couple of worms and got to hold them. We learned how worms are good for our plants and help enrich our soil.

"After we were done planting, each of the students watered their plants and set them in the window area in the front office. Each day the boys check to see how the plants are coming along. We’re all excited to see [and feel] what pretty flowers blossom."

Well over a month after the bulbs were potted, the students still become excited, and sometimes shout approval, when the subject of the planting comes up.


A philosopher might say the experience has been planted in their minds, and the lesson learned not only embraced the science of botany. It was an experience that mixed freedom with discipline in a way to make learning fun.


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Opportunities and Possibilities

Abound…If We Stretch Our Imaginations

By Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent


During these difficult financial times it is easy to focus on all of the problems that are occurring, but perhaps we need to look at opportunities. These are also the times when the entrepreneurial juices began to flow and people are often willing to see if better service delivery can come through expanded partnerships, focus on doing business differently, and try to pull resources together to move issues forward. We not only learn from our successes, but also from those ventures that did not go the way we thought they should. How do we get people to be risk takers? Just a few examples:

·         Expanded digital access: Can we continue to push usable access for online learning for students who are blind/visually impaired (BVI)? Can we pull together both public and private resources to make this happen? Can we develop national partnerships that can make this happen? WSSB has been working on this, but I don’t believe we are moving fast enough! How do we get people on the same page? How do we make sure that as the country moves forward, access to online learning for BVI students is not an after-thought? And/or how do we catch up?

·         Currently, 42 states have significant supplemental online learning programs. In 2000, there were about 40,000

K-12 students taking online learning courses. In 2006, the Sloan Consortium reported 700,000 participants in

K-12 online classes. The National Education Technology Plan recommends that every student have access to

·         e-learning opportunities and every teacher have access to e-learning training. Does this include BVI students? I contend that it doesn’t unless we make it happen! Do we have an opportunity to make a difference for students? I contend that we do if we can pull people together and say that every student truly means every student.

·         Use of Public Television and/Internet service delivery in reaching into the homes of parents with BVI children:  How do we use these resources to help meet the needs of these parents? I believe that we have another opportunity but it will take people working together and pooling resources. WSSB has begun this by the use of public television in the Vancouver area. Most communities have agreements whereby a certain number of channels must be used for educational purposes. Are we using these resources in a way that could help families? Can we help make programming on these education access channels truly accessible for families of BVI children? Can this be done in such a way that if you are BVI the video description includes all the needed information? I contend that this is possible now, but will once again take people throughout our state saying we need this to happen!


What I hope this article will do is stimulate people to ask the question, why can’t we provide services in a different way; how do I get involved; do I have ideas that need to be shared and who can help make things happen? If you have ideas, please contact me at  WSSB is not always able to provide all the services we would like to provide and also is not able to serve every child that needs to be served. How can we look at reaching out and helping where we haven’t been able to do so? How can additional partnerships be formed in making this happen? We see so many needs, and limited resources; how do we do a better job in pulling the pieces together in creative ways in helping make a difference? What are the possibilities and where are the opportunities? Please be part of the solutions in making a difference for students and families.


In closing, please come celebrate with us on May 21st at 1:00 p.m. to dedicate the new Kennedy PE Fitness Center.


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Update from the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

By Danielle King


WTBBL kicked off the New Year with a bicentennial birthday celebration for Louis Braille on January 5, 2009.  We celebrated Monsieur Braille and his incredible contribution to the world with an open house, three cakes, and a rousing round of “Happy Birthday.” To commemorate Louis Braille’s 200th birthday, the WTBBL Braille Department prepared a number of exhibits and a slideshow about braille and the history of braille. Various methods of producing braille and a history of braille technology were displayed, as well as the codes needed to transcribe a variety of print material, such as music, mathematics, and foreign language. Numerous books, magazines, children’s titles, and a collection designed for adults who are just learning braille completed the exhibits.  The event was well-attended and was a nice opportunity to come together at the beginning of the year and recognize Louis Braille’s significant contribution to the blind and visually impaired community.


In this issue, I would like to focus on WTBBL’s Evergreen Radio Reading Service, or ERRS. The ERRS is an incredible service that is often overlooked; we hear over and over that people don’t know or didn’t know we have a radio reading service, and we’d love that to change. The library makes books available in audio, braille, and large print formats, but newspapers and magazines are more timely and ephemeral. While ERRS operates like a radio station, think of the service as a “talking book” version of the periodicals (or newspaper and magazine) department of WTBBL.


We operate ERRS as a 24 hour-a-day service (168 hours of programming each week). An average of 70% of the programming is produced in our studios by a team of over 80 volunteers, assisted by two staff Broadcasters. Most programs are digitally recorded and then broadcast, though we currently produce 13 hours a week live in our studios. Some material comes from sources like In-Touch Networks of NYC, Sun Sounds of Arizona, and American Public Radio. Programming is also contributed by the American Council of the Blind and the Washington Council of the Blind.


The service is available via special radio receivers that pick up sub-carrier frequencies of FM stations in Seattle, Spokane, and the Tri-Cities. You can call WTBBL at 1-800-542-0866 to request a radio receiver be loaned to you if you are within the areas that receive reception. The ERRS is also available as a live stream over the internet. The internet stream sound quality is fantastic and is the best option if you have access to a computer. You can connect directly to the streaming ERRS by going to and clicking either of the top two links. The streaming ERRS no longer requires a login and password. It is our hope that this will improve accessibility and encourage more people to listen.  If you aren’t already listening, please give us a try. I’m sure you’ll find some programming you enjoy and find informative. If you already are a listener, thank you! And please tell your friends about the ERRS.


Speaking of programming, we read newspapers from Seattle (the Times and Post Intelligencer, the Seattle Weekly and the Stranger), Tacoma, Everett, Yakima, Walla Walla, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Wenatchee, Ellensburg, and Othello, as well as several neighborhood and specialty papers. Material also comes from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. We also read magazines like Time, Rolling Stone, and the Economist. Some programs include grocery advertising, editorials (local, regional, and national), music, book and film reviews, even the Sunday funnies. We have short-story readings from Science Fiction, Western, Spiritual, and Humor writers. Our special focus program topics include Animals & Pets, Science, Gardening, Shopping, Music, Health & Medicine, Cooking & Dining, Technology, Business, Disabilities, Books, Travel, Parents & Children, State History, and Sports. We also feature author interviews, a daily weekday exercise program, old-time radio classics, and our weekly Talk Show – a call-in program that discusses a wide range of topics.


As you can see, the Evergreen Radio Reading Service provides a vast amount of programming, covering a wide range of topics and interests. I’m sure you’ll find something you like – give us a listen! You can find the schedule and programming listings at

As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me at 206-615-1588 or


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Around the State



By Berl Colley, Immediate Past President


We were affected by the weather in late December and early January, just like the rest of Washington state was.  Fortunately, it didn’t effect our CCCB activities that much.  On the 3rd weekend of December we had a small, but fun Christmas party at the Chamber’s restaurant, at Panorama City. The food was excellent, as usual, and we had a fun gift exchange.  Most of our members stayed home, because of the weather during the Christmas and New Years holidays. 


Due to the 3rd weekend of January being the holiday weekend, we didn’t meet until the 4th weekend. Our speaker was Barbara Thomte, the president of the low vision support group at the Panorama City retirement center. She told us about their group and that they had one hour each week on the center’s TV station. Later that meeting Barbara became a new member.


In February, Don Alveshere, Assistant Director for Customer Service at the department of Services for the Blind, spoke to us about the agency and we talked about some of the changes that are being proposed, because of the state budget crunch.


On February 14, 6 CCCB members went to the Lucky Eagle Casino to see Mathew and Gunner Nelson, 2 of the 4 kids of Ricky Nelson do a tribute concert to their Grand parents, Ozzy and Harriet and their dad. The trip was made even better when some of us came home winners.


Congratulations to Dan and Kathy Matsen who became grand parents for the first time on February 17. See the Hat’s off column for details.


Welcome to Dee Degado and Barbara Thomte as new members of our chapter. Both ladies joined in January.


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Compiled By Joleen Ferguson


GDUWS Board member and Romp committee member Debby Phillips contributed this information about our spring meeting:


BIG CHANGES IN STORE for GDUWS. This year, for the first time in its history, we will not be having our Spring Fling in conjunction with the WCB spring Board meeting and Leadership Seminar. The hotel that WCB is using for the Board meeting and Leadership Seminar could not accommodate GDUWS, so a change had to be made. 


Meanwhile, GDUO (Guide Dog Users of Oregon)invited us to participate in the 15th anniversary of The Romp, so it was voted on at the convention held in Vancouver in October to join GDUO at their romp this year.  The romp will be held the weekend of June 26-28 at Portland State University at the Ondeen. The cafeteria is located in the same place we are staying, and room rates will be $40 per night. The conference room is also in the same building. There is a dog relief area bark dust right out front and a trash can will be placed there. Each room has a private bathroom.

At this point, we do know that Lukas Franck from The Seeing Eye, will be there as a speaker and we are working on other fun and informative workshops. So keep those dates open and be looking for further updates as we have them!


GDUWs President Vivian Conger gives the following update on our progress toward becoming a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. 


We completed the necessary bylaw change at our October business meeting. Progress since then has included GDUWS incorporation as a non-profit organization in the state of Washington. Byron Kaczmarski, Treasurer, and Vivian Conger, President, are diligently working on the filing for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS which may be completed and sent in within the next two weeks. She says we may hear as soon as June, but this is only an estimate. 


Our fund-raising committee: Tina Leighton, Dodie Brueggeman, and Bill Hoage have been in contact with other state affiliates of GDUI to get suggestions for new fund-raising ideas. They have had some responses to a letter that was sent. 


Membership: Current GDUWS membership status is 44 members for 2009. The drive to turn in our membership to WCB and to GDUI has passed, but any time is right to join GDUWS. This, if done soon would give the member an opportunity to vote at the Romp in June. Dues, $15.00 should be sent to:

Byron G.  Kaczmarski

P.O. Box 194

Dayton, WA 99328-0194


Send or e-mail membership information to:

Janice Squires

502 W. 20th Ave.

Kennewick, WA 99337-4905


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Jefferson County Council of the Blind

By Sue Ammeter, President


Greetings from the Jefferson County Council of the Blind (JCCB)! Well we are a chapter that is both growing and on the move! We have moved from the Fiesta Jalisco Restaurant in Port Hadlock to the Highway Twenty Road House Restaurant in Port Townsend since they have a much larger meeting room. I’m pleased to report that our membership for 2009 is at twenty.


We met at the Road House in January. The first order of business was elections. The results were: President, Sue Ammeter; Vice President, Lynn Gressley; Secretary, Carl Jarvis; and Treasurer, Cathy Jarvis.


Since we had had to cancel our Christmas party due to inclement weather we were delighted to have some very special entertainment at our January meeting. JCCB member Cliff Self and his friend entertained us with fiddle and guitar music which included Irish music, folk tunes and some sing-along numbers. Cliff’s band, The Trilobite Club, will be doing some gigs in the Port Townsend area. As a special treat JCCB provided coffee and dessert during the entertainment.


At our February meeting we welcomed new members David and Della Walker. Carl and I updated the group on legislative and budgetary issues which are impacting our state agencies for the blind. With the impending budget cuts we need to be very vigilant to see what we can do as a consumer organization to maintain our programs and services.


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King County Chapter

By Rhonda Nelson, President


For many of us the new year brings resolutions, which are often forgotten by January 15. While the King County Chapter is not resolving anything, we did take the opportunity, at our January meeting, to do a bit of brainstorming. As new chapter president, I wanted an idea from our members as to what activities and projects we should consider for 2009. It's easy and comfortable to come to our meeting in order to have a good lunch, visit with friends, and hear speakers, but what else might we want to consider? Are there things we should be doing in our community?


Chapter members had a variety of suggestions, including: holding a public awareness/outreach event highlighting Louis Braille's birthday and braille literacy; organizing a group outing to donate blood; having a "friends day"; and tackling the many concerns surrounding our local paratransit. That last topic engendered lively discussion as to how to find solutions instead of just complaining. Along with general activities, our brainstorming also brought forth some good ideas as to potential speakers and fund raising possibilities.


We decided that members could give some thought as to suggestions presented, and come to our February 28 meeting ready to vote on which activities to pursue further. And speaking of members, we welcomed two new ones to our chapter, Alco Canfield and Bob Mahoney.


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Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Michelle Denzer and Meka White


Our chapter started out the winter season by having a Christmas party on the 13th of December at Crossroad’s Neighborhood Church. We had around 60 members in attendance. We ate a wonderful turkey dinner with all of the fixings catered by Jackie Cabrera, who recently graduated from the Portland Culinary Institute. We all took part in a very fun gift exchange, and had a great time receiving presents from the little elves who assisted the coordinator of this incredibly fun aspect of our party.  Santa Claus also dropped in to give presents to the children. We all had a fantastic time ushering in the holiday season with friends and family. And speaking of family, we had the pleasure of adding a new member to our ever-growing PCB chapter by the name of Jenny McDaniel Devens. Welcome Jenny!


Our meetings are still held on the second Saturday of the month, but the time and location has changed! We now meet at All Star Lanes from 11:00 until 1:00pm. This place has a banquet room near the restaurant and their food is really good!


Elections were held in January. Our newly elected officers are as follows: Cindy Van Winkle President, Gary Beck Vice President, and two board positions filled by Kim Moberg and Caroll Grey. Congradulations to all of them!


Near the end of the month, we held a discussion group at Eric and Joanne Hunter's home to discuss what our chapter would like to do for the upcoming year. We had a wonderful time of pizza and sharing.


One of the ideas that has come to fruition is the creation of the All Ears book club. Meka White is in charge of this endeavor and there are many members who have already joined. The current book that the club is reading is "The secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. This group will meet once a month for coffee, fellowship, and a fun-filled discussion on books.


As a fundraiser, we sold the Kitsap Card and it was a great success!


As winter thaws and spring comes in, our chapter will have many more activities to write about. We look forward to sharing them with you!


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By Mildred Johnson, secretary


Greetings one and all for a wonderful 2009. Our constitution and bylaws committee has been very busy getting everything up to date. We are still working on getting our 501-C-3 status; it has been a long drawn out process. Congratulations to Hayley Edick to being elected on the board for Washington Guide Dog Users. PCAB has been working with DSB in setting up scholarship funds for blind students in the Pierce County School District. The school coordinator will work with those students who are eligible and what their needs will be.


On January 31, 2009 PCAB worked with the DSB and hosted the Braille Challenge at Pierce College in Puyallup. Several members from our chapter assisted with the test as well as cooked and supplied a continental breakfast, and lunch for the participants and their families. These children who participated were from different age groups and are learning Braille skills along with proofreading, maps and graphs. So many of these children have no idea where to go for help and some have been more or less isolated. PCAB is hopefully working with DSB to start some type of program that will allow these kids a chance to meet and greet other blind youth.


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South King Council of the Blind

By John McConnell, President


Greetings from South King Council; Chapter: this year is starting out with a bang!


First off, we had elections of our Officers:

John McConnell was elected for the first time as President.

Jan White: our Vice-President.

Carol McConnell: First time Secretary.

Last, but definitely not least: Nhi Duong-was elected again as our Treasurer


Our key goals this year are: Communication, Collaboration, Commitment, and of course, Celebration.


We are starting on several projects:

Carol McConnell--is investigating selling World's Finest Chocolates, as a fundraiser.


We want to work in cooperation with United Blind of Seattle, to do the car wash that is held each year.


We are also trying to get together documentation, in order to put pressure on King County Metro Access Transportation, to upgrade their system. This would not only benefit those of us who are visually impaired/ blind; but also those with other disabilities.


We are in the process of writing our Counsel person.

This is the first time for this writer to submit an article such as this.


We look forward, with the help of Marlaina Lieberg, to growing this chapter, and doing great things.


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South Kitsap Council of the Blind

By Carol Brame, Treasure SKCB


Hello again From South Kitsap Council of the blind.


We want to thank our past President Stuart Russell and Treasure Chris Brame and all who helped-- great job.


Our new President this year is Kevin Jones. That’s right, he is back and ready to push hard to help the club grow. Not that Stuart wasn’t, just it’s a new year.


Kevin Jones won The Employee of the year award at The Light House for the blind. In October, Kevin and his wife will be going to Kansas City Missouri as a representative for our state along with one from all the other light houses and someone will get another award. He might not get it, but he will enjoy his trip.


Also in March Kevin leaves to go get a new guide dog. Happy retirement to Dicken’s-- we will miss you. He is not sure what kind of guide dog it will be but he smiled and said he is sure it will have four paws and a tail. I am sure Kevin will bring us tales of there adventure when he gets back. Stay tuned to the next letter from us. I will give you an update.


We are working on fund raisers for the club and I am Chair of that and we have a great team from our group working with us.


We had a visitor at our Christmas party that I met and invited from a store and I hope she joins us again soon.


We lost Betsy Jennings in December and she will be missed. We are working on new ways to get our club to grow and help reach our members we have with the support they need.


Michelle Denzer is our Secretary, Jess Landby our vice president, Carol Brame as treasurer and Maria Kuntz is our sunshine chair. Shirley Sharmer is on board this year on the phone committee that Michelle is chairing. Thank you to all our members who are pitching in this year. It takes all the members to make it a success.


Have a great Year; I know we all wish every club the best.

Take care everyone, and don't forget to read next time to see what kind of Guide Dog Kevin Jones gets!


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United Blind of Seattle chapter update

By Ursula C. McCully (member)


I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season despite the fact Mother Nature spread her white blanket over us last December.


Due to the inclement weather, the UBS membership committee decided to cancel our holiday gathering at Marie Callender’s as most of the members take Metro or Access.  The membership committee is working on a later date in the spring for the gathering.


January 17, 2009, we had our monthly chapter meeting which started early as we had our chapter board meeting. At the meeting Julie presented our 2009 goal which is volunteerism in our chapter and in the state organization. She told the members the benefits that she received when she started volunteering her time to the local chapter and state organization.


Here are our chapter’s committees’ plans; Activity Committee-Pat Copeland, Chair-as usual, socials are in the works such as audio described musicals like “Seven brides for seven brothers”. A few more members joined the Braille class held at the WTBBL every Friday.

Fund-raising Committee-Steven Barnett, Chair-Shirley Taylor reported that we sold 226 entertainment books. Our monthly 50/50 raffle is still alive among chapter members and the sale of UBS T-shirts has started, Sharyl Frank who joined our chapter recently won the prize for the shirt’s design. UBS is still looking at having a walk sometime in 2009. Steve is looking at having the walk this spring or summer. Lastly, they are planning to have another fund-raising dinner event this summer.


Membership Committee-Kristin Miller, Chair-membership voted not to eliminate “Friends’ Day” but will have a different format so we could still have a day to attract new members to join our chapter. The committee is also working on having our cancelled holiday gathering materialized soon.


Outreach Committee-Julie Brannon, Chair is planning to organize a task force to take up the challenges membership are experiencing in dealing with the Paratransit service Access. The committee will also find ways to share information about how to go about volunteering in the community. 


On February 21, 2009, we had our usual monthly meeting at the Bayview Manor and 25 were in attendance. We had three guests, Kelli O’Brien, a student at the OTC/ and Diane and Ernie Ferraro, retired couple living in the Ballard area. We were also glad to see Mardel Kendall and Newt Jones be able to attend our meeting.


We sent the membership dues to the state for 46 members. There are a few members who are sending their dues still and we may have three new members. The Committees gave their reports as well.


Activity Committee-Pat reported that there were 33 attendees at the musical “Memphis” last February 14th. It was audio described. The Seattle Super Picnic date will be submitted to Seattle Parks on March 1st for the event at Seward Park. It will be either July19 or August 9 depending on what the city has available.


Membership Committee-Kristin could not make it to the meeting in February as she was celebrating a late Valentine’s Day \where she got engaged to David Geary another UBS member; Julie gave the report. The Committee has a date for our cancelled holiday gathering at the Marie Callenders. It will be on April 11, 2009 and we will call it Spring Fling just like the event GDUW has had for several years. It was announced that Kara Ware is recuperating from her double pneumonia at a convalescent center in north Seattle, Pat Copeland and Nathan Brannon will have eye surgery the last week of February.


Fund-raising Committee-Steve brought the shirts for sale and there were 20 sold already. The chicken barbeque dinner is set tentatively for April. Steve is still finalizing the place. The 50/50 raffle was $42 and our guest Diane Ferraro won the $21 pot.


Outreach Committee-Julie said that there will be a Diabetes speaker coming to our chapter to inform and make us more aware of this deadly disease in March.


We had a guest speaker from Volunteers of America, Erin Panko and her co-worker, Blair who talked about the different programs they have at the agency where we could think about and volunteer as they are always looking for others to donate their time. We had a very good dialogue with the two guest speakers and we decided to give a donation of $200 to their food bank in Greenwood.

After the meeting, members went to lunch on a very sunny day. Does this mean that spring is just around the corner? We will see. I will see you at the next UBS update, bye for now and keep thinking spring is coming.


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United Blind of the Tri-cities

Submitted by, Janice Squires, UBTC member


Well a very long and cold winter season is leaving us, and the United Blind of the Tri-Cities is now springing forward.  Our membership is to date at 51 members, and we can boast that we are the largest chapter in the State. We would like to welcome our two newest members to the UBTC family and they are, Sherry Dubbin and Marge Sowers.


In the past several years, a group of UBTC ladies have formed a new support group activity. It is the UBTC Red Hat Society, which meets for lunch on the second Friday of the month. I am told they all sport their red hats and have quite the time sharing laughter and friendship. A big thank you goes to Bill Hoage for organizing our first two monthly luncheons of the year. We are estimating over 25 members for these lunches and it is becoming harder to find eating establishments that can accommodate us. In January we went to our local Hubby’s pizza parlor and we could not have been treated better with excellent service by Monty the owner. In February we went to the Red Lion Inn in Richland, and were actually given our own room with personal menus welcoming us to their restaurant. We met Afra, the young lady who will be responsible for coordinating our 2009 WCB convention at the Red Lion in Pasco and she said this was a learning experience for the staff and what an excellent job they did. Marlene is organizing something new for the March group, we are going for an early dinner at the Kennewick Spaghetti Establishment. I love innovation and change, and to me this is what keeps chapters vibrant and lively!


I am organizing our yearly candy sale and we will be selling at our friendly Fred Meyer store. The money we raise goes to help off set our yearly functions, such as our summer picnic, the Christmas party and our narrated play program.  Speaking of the described play, we just enjoyed the Richland Players rendition of “Bus Stop”. We still play cards once a month and continue to enjoy our book reading club. The books we have read for 2009 are, “Shadow Divers”, “Walking Across Egypt”, A Marriage made in Heaven”, and “No End in Sight”.


The United Blind of the Tri-Cities is very excited to be hosting the 2009 WCB State convention to be held at the Pasco Red Lion Inn on November 5, 6, and 7. We as a group are beginning to work on all of the aspects of putting a great convention together such as good volunteers and lots of fun door prizes and goody bags. We certainly hope all of you will make plans to join us this year.


Hats off to the following UBTC members for stepping up to the plate and serving on 2009 WCB committees: Crisis, Carmen Walker; Aging and blindness, Holly and Bill; Convention, Frank, Janice and Bill; Constitution, Frank; Scholarship, Catharine Golding and Janice; First timer, Lori Fink; and to Marlene Vandecar for being our membership rep.


In closing, I would like to pay tribute to UBTC precious member Millie Lind, who passed away on December 10, 2008. Millie would have been 98 years old on February 17 and was such a vibrant and lovely lady. She actually was in attendance at our December Christmas party and was full of life and humor as she always was. Millie will be ever so missed by all of us and may she now rest in peace in a much better place.


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United Blind of Walla Walla

By Vivian Conger and Blaze


United Blind of Walla Walla did not have a meeting in December.

At our January meeting we had a diabetes specialist speak. Her talk was very informative and well received.


Ernie Jones was our speaker at our February meeting. He spoke about his experiences during a three-week visit to Chile.


UBWW purchased brochure holders to place at various locations around the area. These holders will be stocked with the Aging and Blindness brochures that we received from that committee. Our president, Shirley Musick, made labels to place on these brochures which gave UBWW’s contact information.


United Blind of Whatcom County Report

Submitted by Betty Sikkema, President


We hope everyone survived the snow and floods. Now it’s beginning to feel like spring!


In December, we held our Christmas party at Ankar Park Drive Clubhouse again. We enjoy our parties at this location since it has everything needed for a good get together. We shared good food and fellowship along with laughter and fun! I played my Q chord and everyone did a sing-a-long. We all went home with gifts.


In January, our meeting was on the third Saturday instead of the second, due to flooding around the Bellingham area. A lot of information was shared at that meeting. We welcome a new member, Dr. William Freeman, a retired medical physician. Welcome Bill! We also had a guest Betty Hopkins. And hope to see her come back soon.


Bruce Radtke boarded the freighter "Rickmers Hamburg” which is owned by a German Company. He will be a passenger for the next four months. He will be visiting Germany, Italy, Spain and other destinations. We look   forward to his safe return.


Our 2009/10 officers for this year are newly elected are Hope Nightingale, 2nd Vice President and re-elected Barbra Crowley, Treasurer. Congratulations!


In February, Dr. Freeman was our guest speaker to honor Heart Health month. He informed us about the facts about the heart. It was a very informative presentation with Q&A’s to follow. It happened to be Valentines Day! There were various types of Valentine candies & goodies to be shared as we learned about our heart health. Thanks Dr. Freeman for a great presentation! We welcome Sharon Von See, who became a new member. She is a Braille Transcriber. Welcome Sharon!


Good Bye for now.


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Seeking Convention ideas!

By Cindy Van Winkle, Chair, Convention Committee


The 2009 Convention Committee has already begun work for this year’s Fall Convention of the Washington Council of the Blind. If you have a topic or special presenter you’d like to have as part of our program, we’d like to hear from you. Give as much or as little detail as you can and we will give consideration to all suggestions. Send your ideas to the convention Committee at

Messages may also be left on the WCB info-line, 1-800-255-1147.


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WCB  Diabetes Support Group

By Peggy Shoel, Member


(Reprinted with permission)

Do you have diabetes? Are you currently a member of the Washington Council of the Blind?


Did you know that we have a diabetes support group which meets monthly via telephone conference call? What do we do during these calls? We share concerns, problems, experiences and medical information and, above all, we support each other.


Some of us are recently diagnosed and some of us have had diabetes for 35 to 50 years. Good management is a critical health issue. Know that you are not alone.


Whether you are on diet control, oral medication or insulin injection, join us and be part of our group where our agenda is to help and support each other. Contact Peggy at 206-722-8477 or


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Hats Off to You!

By Denise Colley


Congratulations go to the following individuals:

·         Dan and Kathy Matsen, CCCB, on the birth of their first grandchild, Olivia Anna Matsen.  Olivia came into the world on February 17th at 7:55pm and weighed eight pounds three ounces and was twenty-one inches long.

·         Laura Fink, UBTC, on receiving her first guide dog from GDB. He is a male black Labrador retriever named Hoover.

·         Grace Spice, UBTC, on the birth of her identical twin great grand daughters, born November 6. Their names are Molly and Megan and they both weighed over six pounds each.

·         Sue Ammeter, WCB First Vice President, for being elected chair of the Patron Advisory Committee which is a one year term. Also to Sue for having the honor of giving one of the key note speeches at Secretary of State Sam Reed's swearing in ceremony on January 14.

·         To Carl and Cathy Jarvis on the birth of their grandson, Jace Brodie Jarvis, born to James and Jennifer Jarvis. Jace was born at 4:06am on February 21 and weighed in at a healthy 6 pounds 14 ounces. Carl says “As they say in Hospitalese, "Baby and parents are doing as well as can be expected".

·         Kevin Jones for being selected as the 2008 Employee of the Year by the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind.  Kevin says that he received a check for $750, and he and his wife will be leaving on October 20 to attend a Lighthouse for the Blind convention held in Kansas City, MO -- all expenses paid. They will return on the 25th of October, and while there, they will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary. Congratulations Kevin.

·         Also to Kevin Jones who will be retiring his guide, Dickens, and will be going to Guide Dogs for the Blind, in Boring, Oregon from March 14 to April 4 to train with a new dog.  Good luck Kevin.

·         Debby Phillips who returned on December 16, 2008, from The Seeing Eye with her new dog, Lamar. Debby says Lamar is a lab/golden cross, two years old, and a wonderful dog! Congratulations Debby and we look forward to meeting Lamar.


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Bits & Pieces

By Randy Tedrow


This column is presented for your information and enjoyment. Inclusion of information, products and/or services does not constitute endorsement by the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB). If you have something you think will look good in Bits & Pieces, send it to Randy Tedrow Have fun!


OMNI Media Networks has a reading service with several options for your listening pleasure. Go to:


“Current Information on the Adaptive Technology Industry is always available on the Flying Blind, LLC Website at:

Check out the “new and improved” Book Share!


Special Talking Dictionary Half Price and More!

The Talking Dictionary is on half price sale. The CD version comes with a talking event scheduler, maze game, and calculator. Look it up at:


Want an accessible credit report? Visit Lainey Feingold’s site:

There you will find directions for online and phone ordering of your accessible credit report.


Need to call a business and don’t know the phone number? Call 1-800-GOOG-411 (800) 466-4411. This free service will directly connect you to the business.


Camp Harobed is located in Mason County near Belfair. It is a camp for visually impaired campers, their families and friends. Call Jack at (360) 372-2735 for dates and rates, or to request a camper’s packet.


An accessible TV Guide! Check out this offering from Fred’s Head:

After a few easy steps you can find out when your favorite TV show is playing.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009 provides a one time payment of $250 to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. This one time payment is expected to finish delivery by late May 2009. The administration asks that people do not call Social Security unless the one time stimulus payment is not received by late June, 2009. For more information on this subject please visit:


That’s all for this issue of NewsLine.


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A Recipe

From the kitchen of Marlaina Lieberg


Zucchini Pomodoro

An exotic, savory and spicy zucchini dish

1/2 cup chopped red onions

1/2 cup diced red bell peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ginger powder (or 1 tsp ginger root, chopped

1/2 tsp cumin powder

3 cups zucchini (Italian squash or courgette), cubed

3 cups tomato sauce

1 cup peas, frozen or fresh

3 pinches cayenne pepper (or to taste)


Saute’ onions, red pepper, garlic, and celery in a few teaspoons of water, veggie broth or balsamic vinegar for a few minutes, until tender. Add tumeric, ginger, cumin and zucchini. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, peas and cayenne pepper and cook until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes. Can be a main dish on its own or serve over pasta or rice.


Note:  Canned tomatoes may be substituted for tomato sauce.


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Calendar of Deadlines and Events

March 7:                    SRC Meeting, Seattle DSB Office

March 13-14:            WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver

March 21:                  Louis Braille School Auction, Edmonds

May 1:                        Deadline to Apply for the First Timers Scholarship to the ACB Convention

May 2:                        Office Hours conference call at 12pm with President Colley

May 15:                      Deadline to apply for stipend or Loan to ACB convention

May 15:                      Deadline for requesting participation in WCB leadership training

May 30:                      Deadline for submission of articles for June Newsline

June 6:                      SRC Board Meeting, Seattle

June 11:                 WSSB Picnic, Vancouver

June 12                  WSSB Graduation and Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver

June 12-13             WCB Leadership Seminar Silverdale

June 14                  WCB Mid-Year Board Meeting Silverdale

June 30:                    Deadline for receipt of WCB Scholarship Applications

July 4-11:                  ACB National Convention, Orlando Florida

August 31:                Deadline for receipt of WCB Award Nominations

September 5:           Office Hours conference call at 12pm with President Colley

October 31:              Office Hours conference call at 12pm with President Colley

November 5-7:        WCB State Convention, Pasco

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Special thanks go to the Newsline Committee and production volunteers.


Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by May 30, 2009. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.


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



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