March 2010 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President

(360) 438-0072

Lacey, WA


Randy Tedrow, Senior Editor

(425) 254-3931

Renton, WA


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

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

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


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

Table of Contents


President's Message

From the Editor’s Desk

2010 Winter Board Meeting

Legislative Session in Review

Killing House Bill 2953

2010 WCB Committees and Committee Contacts

WCB History 1998

Anatomy of a Ballot Measure

From the Senior Side

Affirmation and Celebration

For What It’s Worth

Member Profile

Department of Services for the Blind

Washington State School for the Blind

Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

Around the State

Radio by the Blind for the World

Diabetes Support Group

Louis Braille School

Hats Off to You

From My Kitchen to Yours

2010 Calendar and Deadlines




by Denise Colley, WCB President


Another year has come and gone in the life of WCB and we moved into 2010 in high gear. At the beginning of December we learned that as a part of balancing the state’s 2.6 billion dollar budget deficit, the governor proposed a restructuring and streamlining of state government. Contained in this streamlining proposal was the elimination of the Department of Services for the Blind as a separate state agency and the transferring of all of its functions to the Department of Social and Health Services, and also transferring the Washington State School for the Blind to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Other budget impacts affecting blind Washingtonians include:



The result of all of this has been a whirlwind of activity to include visits to legislators, phone calls, e-mails, meetings with the governor’s policy staff, and testifying at hearings. (See other articles in this issue on legislative activity for additional information.)


Through December and January I was busy putting together our WCB committees for 2010. To date, we have 67 members on 19 standing committees and one ad hoc committee. (See the information on our 2010 Committees and Committee Contacts later in this Issue.) We also have a new first time committee chair and some changes in committee chair assignments. Alco Canfield will be putting her leadership skills to work chairing our Awards Committee. Glenn McCully is the new chair of the Finance Committee, Kevin LaRose is the new chair of the WCB Listserve Committee, John Common is chairing our ad hoc Fund-Raising Committee, and it gives me great pleasure to inform all of our “Newsline” readers that Randy Tedrow is our new “Newsline” senior editor. We look forward to seeing what great things all our committees will accomplish in 2010.


The first WCB Board Meeting of the year was held on Saturday, January 30, at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle. About 35 WCB members were in attendance. The weekend began with the annual board dinner on Friday evening where we heard from Francie Pennell, Executive Director of the Washington Assistive Technology Foundation (WATF), soon to be the Washington Access Fund. Francie gave us a historical overview of WATF and our WCB equipment loan fund.


Some changes to the definition of assistive technology and loan caps were approved at the Saturday board meeting.


Also discussed at length at the board dinner, and approved on Saturday, was a decision to change the format for this year's Leadership Seminar to focus on the current leaders of this organization, WCB officers, directors, and presidents of all our chapters. The purpose of this year’s leadership seminar would be to strengthen WCB by providing key training to our members who actively hold leadership roles within WCB.


One of my goals for this year is to continue my version of Office Hours. 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. Whether we have had one person participate or nine, I feel it has been a successful activity. By the time you read this we will have held our first Office Hours of 2010, on February 14. Seven people participated and we had a great discussion on the topic of how we all first became involved in WCB, why we joined, and why consumer organizations are important. (See the WCB Calendar of Events for future Office Hours dates.)


Braille Day at the Capital: were you there??? By the time you get your March “Newsline,” this exciting event will have already taken place. March 2 is the day and the Legislative Building in Olympia is the place. What are we talking about, you ask?


The National Braille Press has produced a 20-panel traveling display, in print and Braille, that takes a viewer through the highlights of Louis Braille’s life, the Braille production process, and why Braille remains important today. Courtesy of the Schuman Trust and the Washington State Heritage Center Trust, this informative Louis Braille Bicentennial Exhibit is coming to Washington State. From March 1–15, it will be displayed at the Legislative Building, 3rd Floor, and from March 16–29 it will be displayed at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). On March 2, the Washington State Library and WTBBL are sponsoring Braille Day at the Capitol. The WCB legislative committee has sponsored a bus to bring WCB members from Seattle and Federal Way down to Olympia. A carload will also be coming from Bremerton. We thought this would be an excellent time not only to honor Braille literacy, but we could also take advantage of the opportunity to meet with our legislators about restoring the needed staffing positions back to WTBBL. Members will first meet with their legislators or legislative aids and then attend a special ceremony with Secretary of State Sam Reed in attendance.


And now for some important deadline dates to remember, especially if you are planning to attend the national convention this summer in Phoenix.


The leadership seminar and spring board meeting are scheduled for April 23–25, 2010, in Everett. We will again be at the downtown Holiday Inn, 3105 Pine Street, Everett, Washington. Room rates are $89 plus tax. Those not attending as a leadership participant, WCB board member, or chapter representative should make their reservations by calling the hotel directly, no later than April 5, 2010, at (425) 339-2000. For those planning to be at the board lunch on April 25, please let me know no later than April 17, to be included in the meal count.


May 1 is the deadline date for applying for the American Council of the Blind (ACB) Convention First-Timer Award.

May 15 is the deadline for requesting an ACB convention travel stipend or convention loan.


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.


From the Editor’s Desk

by Randy Tedrow, Senior Editor


Hello from your new chair of the “Newsline” Committee! While this is my first issue in the hot seat, I’ve been on the “Newsline” Committee for the last few years both as editor and contributor. I hope to continue in the footsteps of previous senior editors and continue, along with the committee and staff, to produce a great newsletter.


There is a great deal in this issue. I am excited to see pieces by people (like you) who may not always contribute to the “Newsline.” In particular, I’d like to thank Frank Johnson for his article; keep reading to find out what he wrote. This issue is full of information on the legislative session which may be completed by the time you read this. We also have another great recipe and reports from our agencies. I enjoyed the chapter updates; it is fun to learn what our affiliates are doing around the state.


The “Newsline” Committee is committed to bringing you a quality newsletter and I am honored to serve in this new capacity. So, read on and remember, if you have a story to tell, send it along for a future issue, to


2010 Winter Board Meeting

by Randy Tedrow


The 2010 Winter Board Meeting for the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) took place on January 30, 2010, at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle, Washington. All officers and board members of the WCB were present except for the second vice president who was recovering from illness. Most chapters were represented either by the chapter president or an appointed representative.


The minutes from the last board meeting were approved; the treasurer’s report was read; the minutes from the 2009 Convention Business Meeting were read and approved.


Denise Colley, president, reported that 67 members of the WCB are currently serving on committees. She reported (sadly) that the Lower Columbia Council of the Blind returned their charter, disbanding the chapter.


This year’s Leadership Seminar and Spring Board Meeting will take place in Everett, Washington. The leadership training will begin on Friday, April 23, and the board meeting will occur on Sunday, April 25. Due to discussion at the board dinner on January 29, there will be a change to the complexion of the Leadership Training Seminar. It was agreed that this leadership weekend will be a mentoring weekend between officers, board members, and chapter presidents. This is to strengthen chapters and help ensure mentoring of chapter members. A specific schedule and training elements will be developed by Cindy Van Winkle and the seminar committee. Information will be disseminated via the 800 telephone number and WCB-List (email list) in the future.


A great deal of time was spent discussing the legislative session, ramifications, and WCB’s involvement in these issues. These items are addressed in detail elsewhere in this issue of the “Newsline,” so will not be dealt with here.


The Vehicle Donation Processing Center (VDPC) is reported to be at 1997 levels, the first year of WCB’s involvement with the VDPC and is in much better financial condition than January 2009.


The National Convention is July 10–17, in Phoenix, Arizona. Convention stipends are $200 per person. It was moved and approved that convention loans be raised from $500 to $700. Information on loan, stipend, and first-timer requirements will be located on the WCB 800 number and will be featured in future posts to the WCB-List.


Planning has begun for the 75th anniversary of the WCB Convention in Vancouver, Washington. A bus will travel from Seattle to Vancouver; details will be forthcoming. If you have ideas and suggestions for the fall convention contact Cindy Van Winkle. All ideas and suggestions may not be adopted, but they will be considered by the convention committee.


Other committees gave reports. The Crisis Committee has helped many people over the 2009 year. The History Committee is working on developing history of the different chapters and will continue to publish history articles in the WCB “Newsline.” As discussed, the legislative committee will report elsewhere in this issue.


Discussion of the Washington Access Fund’s (WAF) loan limits and loan caps was brought for consideration. A loan cap of $8,000 for the WCB fund was voted into place. This prevents an excessive amount of the whole loan fund from being used in a single loan. Limits were also set in place regarding the definitions of assistive technology to be used in applying for and approving no-interest loans for WCB members. A further amendment was adopted to have WAF return interest earned on funds back to the fund pool rather than dispense it to the WCB via check.


Discussion with no action was held regarding conference call costs and length of calls. In other action, $150 was designated to be given for purchase of items to be donated to the Louis Braille School auction. The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.


Legislative Session in Review

by Sue Ammeter, WCB Legislative Chair


This legislative session has been a very busy time for WCB. The proposed budget cuts will impact the programs and services provided to blind and visually impaired Washingtonians. The following is a summary of the bills and issues which we tracked during this legislative session:


HB 2953 would transfer the functions of the Department of Services for the Blind to the Department of Social and Health Services. WCB opposed this bill and it did not come out of committee (see Gaylen Floy’s article elsewhere in this issue).


Governor Gregoire’s proposed budget cut more than $100,000 from the Independent Living Older Blind Program. WCB has asked that the budget be amended so that the Department of Services for the Blind could apply this cut across the board instead of just targeting one program.


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


The Governor’s proposed budget also severely cut staff at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). Six positions were cut from the WTBBL staff, in response the Patron Advisory Council voted to send a letter to all WTBBL patrons to contact their legislators and ask that funding be restored to WTBBL.


On February 15, twenty-six people gathered to stuff and label the 7,800 letters that were being sent to WTBBL patrons. As people worked they munched on pizza, other snacks, and a fresh fruit flower bouquet. Everyone left the work party with a sense of accomplishment and a belief that the letters will make a difference in the legislative process.


As Chair of the Patron Advisory Council I want to thank the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and the Washington Council of the Blind for their generosity in funding the printing of the letters that were sent to WTBBL patrons. It is through collaborative partnerships such as this that we can make a difference in how our voices are heard.


The WCB Legislative Committee wants to thank you for your calls to the Legislative Hotline and your e-mails to your senators and representatives. We are a presence in Olympia and, I believe, we will impact the budget!   


Killing House Bill 2953

by Gaylen Floy, Member, South King Council of the Blind


It was Thursday, December 3, 2009, when Denise Colley alerted people to the governor’s proposal for moving the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) under the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).


The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) launched plans to form a task force in opposition. Over the holidays, Cindy Van Winkle, as SRC chair, spent hours on the phone contacting organizations that might add their names in opposition.


On Monday, January 4, 2010, Denise Colley, Mike Freeman, and Cindy met with three policy analysts from the Governor's Executive Policy Office. There was no evidence that the proposal would save money and no assurance that our services would remain intact.


The task force, composed of SRC, WCB, and National Federation of the Blind of Washington (NFBW) members, created the fact sheet that was made available on the WCB website for download. All were encouraged to call the legislative hotline and share the fact sheet.


On February 2, the WCB legislative committee sponsored a bus from Seattle to the hearing of the bill. WCB members, NFBW members, Orientation and Training Center (OTC) students, and non-members boarded at 6 a.m. and arrived with plenty of time to sign in and get oriented. Over 30 people opposing the bill made their way into the hearing room.


Four bills were before the House Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee. Our bill was third on the docket. The first bill was complicated and ate up time. Next, Representative Mike Armstrong spoke about his bill that would break DSHS into four separate agencies, addressing grave concerns we all have about the agency’s track record.


The wall clock read 9:30 a.m. before our bill was read, leaving only 25 minutes for testimony. People with canes and guide dogs lined up anxious to testify. The committee chair urged everyone to be brief.


Cindy Van Winkle spoke for the SRC, explaining the specialized expertise of DSB and concerns over the bill. Denise Colley spoke for WCB, citing no evidence that money would be saved or any increase of efficiency. She stated that the services provided are not the same as those in DSHS. “We would lose accountability and autonomy.”


Randy Tedrow pointed out, “This bill is discriminatory, targeting a minority population.”


Andrea Damitio, a student at the OTC, lost her sight two years ago. She found the South Carolina Commission for the Blind system, similar to the arrangement proposed, very frustrating. “I so appreciate a program like DSB.”


Mark Landreneau, Government Affairs Specialist for the Lighthouse, spoke through a sign language interpreter. He noted the direct relationship that DSB has with the governor. “The Lighthouse does not support this bill. It would impact the whole community.”


Robert Ott was a victim of violent crime in 1990, losing his sight overnight. “I could not have moved on without DSB. This could happen to anyone and this is when you want an agency that focuses on your challenges.”


Gloria Walling said, “Managing the Business Enterprise Program is a huge undertaking.” She gave figures to back up that statement. “We are not a small program, but we are challenged. Without DSB we cannot meet those challenges.”


Denise Mackenstadt, an orientation and mobility instructor, told the committee that she provides specialized training that most people don’t understand. “Moving DSB under agencies with seemingly similar purposes will change the nature, scope, and quality of services.”


Noel Nightingale, sole bread winner for a family of five, reiterated, “Only when services for the blind are separate and responsive to consumers are they effective.”


A University of Washington graduate and business person stressed, “It’s the people and not just the services. The relationships gave me the confidence to succeed.” Others spoke of being tax payers and the specialized training received through DSB.


One gentleman summed things up, “The good Representative Armstrong made our case for us. This bill will cost more in the long run because blind people will be in the system longer.” And then the hearing came to a close.


The bus back to Seattle was alive with chatter, like we’d been to a tent revival. It was invigorating to hear so many voices united. We went home and waited. Later that week Randy Tedrow received a response from one of the Appropriations Committee members indicating the DSB bill was dead. This message was similar to what Mark Landreneau had heard from Representative Eric Pettigrew. But caution prevailed; there would be no sigh of relief until the legislative session was over.





Chair: Sue Ammeter

(360) 437-7916


This committee works on individual and general issues of discrimination that come to the attention of WCB throughout the year. Its members are called upon to do research and communicate on behalf of the organization with employers, businesses, other organizations, and individuals in order to promote advocacy.



Chair: Carl Jarvis

(360) 765-4239


This committee focuses on the senior blind. It works throughout the year on ideas to improve the lives of senior citizens experiencing vision loss as well as tracks and reports on issues of concern to the board and members of WCB.



Chair: Alco Canfield

(206) 783-7036


This committee administers the WCB Awards Program by processing nominations for specific awards, making the selections for awards as they deem appropriate, and presenting the awards at the annual banquet of WCB.



Chair: Frank Cuta

(509) 967-2658


This committee is appointed by the president no less than 60 days before the opening of the annual convention. This committee is charged with working on proposed amendments to the WCB Constitution and Bylaws. Unless other arrangements are made by the president, this committee meets immediately following the pre-convention board meeting to report the slate of proposed amendments.



Chair: Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 689-0827


This committee is the planning group for the WCB State Convention.



Chair: Stuart Russell

(360) 377-2437


This committee administers the WCB Crisis Program.



Chair: David Egan

(425) 681-6873


This committee addresses environmental access issues specific to blindness. It tracks and reports such concerns to the board and members of WCB.



Chair: Ursula McCully

(206) 706-0434


This committee addresses issues specific to children who are blind and addresses the associated concerns of family members.



Chair: Glenn McCully

(206) 706-0434


This committee develops the WCB annual budget which is presented at the pre-convention board meeting and voted on at the general membership business meeting. Budget line items approved by the convention may be adjusted by the board of directors between conventions.

It also processes all grant requests received by WCB and reports them to the board for action with a “do pass,” “do not pass,” or no recommendation.



Chair: Meka White

(360) 689-1678


This committee administers the WCB First-Timers Awards Programs for both the state and national conventions by processing applications and selecting the award winners.



Chair: Berl Colley

(360) 438-0072


This committee is responsible for preserving the history of the WCB and that of the organizations which preceded it.



Chair: Eric Hunter

(360) 377-9917


This committee tracks the financial investments of the WCB and recommends changes in our investment strategy to the board. 



Chair: Cindy Van Winkle

(360) 689-0827


This committee plans the WCB state Leadership and Training seminars. 



Chair: Sue Ammeter

(360) 437-7916


This committee tracks and reports legislative issues to the board and members of WCB.



Chair: Kevin LaRose

(360) 539-7016


This committee works as moderator of the WCB email list, oversees list activity, ensuring that the Listserve runs smoothly, and keeps list rules up-to-date and relevant.



Chair: Marlaina Lieberg

(206) 433-6565


This committee works to increase membership in the WCB, assists new chapters in getting started, and provides support and consultation to existing chapters.



Chair/Senior Editor: Randy Tedrow

(425) 254-3931


This committee is the editorial body for the state newsletter, the “Newsline.” It reviews and processes all submitted articles and makes other editorial decisions regarding the next issue. With board concurrence it may also establish policy surrounding this publication. Submissions are to be sent to



Chair: Julie Brannon

(206) 547-7444


This committee administers the WCB Scholarship Program by processing applications, interviewing applicants, selecting the scholarship winners, and presenting these awards at the WCB State Convention.



Chair: Joleen Ferguson
(509) 529-3415


This committee acts as the WCB’s principle agent for maintaining a website that is informative, secure, and accessible. Responsibilities include, but may not be limited to, supervising our domain name registration, selecting
the web hosting service, directing a website developer, reviewing all website content, and maintaining frequent independently stored backup copies of the site.






Chair: John Common

(425) 335-4031


This committee explores and identifies fund-raising activities and brings recommendations to the board and convention.



by Berl Colley, Chair, WCB History Committee


The year 1998 started out with WCB having its usual problem of getting chapters to submit their membership lists and dues by the cut-off date of the previous December 31. At the fall convention the membership voted to move the due date for the lists and dues to February 10. Those chapters that complied in the requested format would receive a $500 stipend. At the time that this program was initiated, WCB had 12 chapters.


The first board meeting of the year was held at the Grovener House, in Seattle, on February 21. President Sue Ammeter had a severe case of laryngitis and First Vice President Berl Colley, ran the meeting with lots of Braille notes passed from President Ammeter.


For the first time in a number of years, WCB was receiving excess money from its fundraisers and the board made a number of financial decisions. It voted to donate $5,000 to the Guide Dog litigation in Hawaii. The blind of Hawaii would win their suit later in the year. It voted to give the Louis Braille Center $10,650 to purchase new Braillers and computers. WCB also voted $5,000 to purchase receivers for the Evergreen Radio Reading Service so that it could get rid of its waiting list.


The board also increased its contribution to scholarships to $6,000. Another $1,000 was given to the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) to purchase signature guides for the Independent Living Program.


Shirley Taylor, representing President Ammeter at the American Council of the Blind (ACB) president’s meeting, told the board that ACB’s executive director, Oral Miller would be resigning as of September 1, 1998. The board instructed President Ammeter to write a letter to Miller thanking him for all of the work that he had done on behalf of blind people.


The board approved a $700 allocation to cover Sue’s expenses to the Josephine L. Taylor conference where she would make a presentation. Sue designated Denise Colley as WCB’s ex officio representative to the Washington State School for the Blind’s Board of Trustees. Shirley Taylor was appointed to the Patron Advisory Council for WCB.


Debbie Cook headed up a special access conference held on the Microsoft campus in March. Sue, Debbie, and Peggy Shoel met with DSB’s staff in a focus group to review some of the agencies’ programs. This was the first of several focus meetings held by DSB during the year.


A special conference call board meeting was held on April 23, 1998, to discuss an unsigned paper attacking DSB director Shirley Smith. It was mailed from Olympia and distributed around the United States. The board decided that it would produce a cassette explaining both sides of the charges and send it to the WCB membership.


The National Convention was held in Orlando, Florida, July 4–11. Julie DeGeus was WCB’s alternate delegate. Members could request a convention loan of up to $800. Members returned saying that they enjoyed the convention but unfortunately there was so much smoke from all of the fires burning around Orlando that breathing was difficult most of the time.


The WCB Summer Board Meeting was held at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library on August 1. Debbie Cook was named to be the Resolutions Committee chair and Joleen Ferguson was named to chair the Nominating Committee. Sue appointed Berl Colley to chair a new History Committee. All agreed that the Kiosk suit was dead and the board asked President Ammeter to write a letter to David Binney of Preston, Gates, and Ellis, thanking him for his pro bono work on WCB’s behalf.


DSB director Shirley Smith announced that she would be retiring on January 31, 1999.


Carl Jarvis, Frank Cuta, and Debbie Cook met with the DSB Advisory Council to develop criteria for a new DSB director on August 8. They talked about qualifications and interviewing standards. It was decided that the Search Review Committee would be made up of two members of WCB, two members of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington, and three members of the DSB Advisory Council.


On October 4, the Ballot Committee, chaired by Jim Eccles, met with staff from the office of the Secretary of State. It was the first of several meetings to discuss ways of making voting in Washington accessible to blind people. A representative from the Secretary of State’s office would attend the convention in Bellingham and bring two accessible voting machines for members to test.


The 1998 WCB convention was held at the Best Western Lakeway Inn, in Bellingham, on November 5–7. WCB ran a bus from Seattle to Bellingham to help members get to the convention. The national representative and banquet speaker was M. J. Schmitt from Illinois. A talking book reader, Mitzie Friedlander, was a presenter, and George Kurchner, from Recordings for the Blind, came to talk about digital recordings. The membership voted to grant the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library $50,000 to help purchase a new digital recording system for its Northwest Collections service.


OFFICERS for 1999:

President, Sue Ammeter, UBS

First Vice President, Berl Colley, CCCB

Second Vice President, Shirley Taylor, UBS and KCC

Secretary, Frank Cuta, UBTC

Treasurer, Debbie Cook, UBS

Immediate Past President, Sharon Keeran, KCC



Julie DEGeus, UBS

Jim Eccles, RAB

Joleen Ferguson, UBWW

Carl Jarvis, JCCB

Peggy Shoel, UBS

Cindy Wearstler, PCB


ALTERNATES to the 1999 National Convention in Los Angeles:

Alternate, Cindy Wearstler, PCB

Substitute Alternate, Berl Colley, CCCB



Anatomy of a Ballot Measure

by Joleen Ferguson and Vivian Conger


“Just thought I would let everyone know that Valley Transit will be having three public hearings regarding proposed changes due to budget constraints.” It was August 7, 2009, and Vivian was writing to the United Blind of Walla Walla (UBWW). She had just received a message from the WCB Environmental Access Committee concerning transit cut-backs around the state. This moved her to call Walla Walla Valley Transit to inquire about our local public transportation. Imagine her surprise when she was told that there were to be three public hearings/informational meetings in the next week to discuss this issue.


One UBWW member, Freda Tepfer, started raising community awareness of the hearings. As a result of her efforts, each one of the meetings was packed with residents from the area which included riders, others from the community, and even drivers.


Once the three hearings were completed, the Valley Transit Board met to review public comments. Rarely does anyone other than the board and staff attend these meetings but that night the place was full. Many people spoke during the public comment period. After that the board informed the audience of the proposed options. The audience convinced the Valley Transit Board not to make any decisions concerning cut backs in service until their next meeting. The board, in turn, voted to raise fares from twenty-five cents to seventy-five cents.


The next week, members of the community got together to organize a Campaign Steering Committee and establish a petition drive that would let Valley Transit know how much grassroots support there might be. At the next board meeting, there were more than 2,000 petitions presented in favor of putting a sales tax increase to a vote in February. More importantly, it was universally reported by the volunteers that there were relatively few who refused to sign the petitions.


The steering committee was composed of a broad sector of our community and they sought help from a consultant. Once the board voted to put the measure on the ballot, there was much to do. There were signs to design and create (500 of them), pictures to take, a fact sheet to write, and mailings to be done. There was money to be raised since the funds weren’t to come from Valley Transit to support a campaign. There were talks to give, door bells to ring, and phone calls to be made to our citizens. We assisted people to register to vote who had never done so before. The campaign was ready to roll after the first of the year and we knew time was short to reach the voters with this important issue by February 9, the deadline for the election.


Members of UBWW remained involved throughout the campaign by gathering petitions, working at campaign headquarters, ringing door bells, making phone calls, and giving talks. We helped to secure endorsments from businesses and services such as hospitals and clinics who realize that some of their patients and clients rely on the bus.


We were all very pleased that the measure did pass by a very wide margin, 76.3%, and additionally, the voter turnout was large for such a campaign.


If you would like additional information, go to


From the Senior Side


Elimination of the Department of Services for the Blind

Will Save No Dollars—It’s Time to Bubble Up

by Carl Jarvis


Back in those “good old days” of the early Twentieth Century, blind people had very little in the way of a support network. Mostly they lived on the kindness of family members or begged on the street corners.


But the blind began to form “self help” clubs and in 1918 a workshop called “The Lighthouse for the Blind” opened in downtown Seattle.


Later, it was through the efforts of these blind clubs that legislation was passed providing aid to the blind and free college tuition for those who qualified.


The White Cane Law (the Blind Bill of Rights) and the right to serve on jury duty, were other examples of legislation brought to Olympia by the organized blind community.


Blind people had learned an important lesson. If you want change you must organize and make it happen. It was the culmination of the tireless efforts of the organized blind, which brought into being the building in Seattle at 3411 South Alaska Street, in 1963, dedicated to serve the blind of our state.


And yet it was only six years later that the governor decided to eliminate the separate programs for the blind. He moved the program under the newly established Department of Social and Health Services. Blind people were stunned to learn that their programs would be merged with other services for disabled people. And even worse, interaction between the blind community and their programs was becoming impossible. A meeting with the governor did nothing to change his mind. “Efficient government” was what he believed he was accomplishing.


Seven long years the blind people went to the legislature with a bill to establish a separate agency. Finally, the blind outlasted the governor. In 1977, the Commission for the Blind came into being. The commission, later renamed the Department of Services for the Blind, has continued serving our state to this very day.


Even so it was not until the mid 80s that the department responded to the demand for services to the older blind.

Prior to the establishment of the Independent Living Program life had not improved much for older blind people from those days back in the 1920s. Isolated, untrained, and dependent, they were kept in back bedrooms of their children’s homes or put into nursing homes where they were at the mercy of staff untrained in meeting the needs of the blind.


For the past twenty-five years the Independent Living Program has been attempting to assist newly blind seniors to continue living independent lives. But despite the stated commitment to serve the older blind, the department has been unable to raise the level of services above that of bare minimum. And now the governor’s office is extracting over $100,000 from the Older Blind Program. This is projected to cut off about 20% of current services. The department tells us that they are looking for ways to soften this financial blow. But they need our help and support.


It’s time for us to “Bubble Up.” Get the ground swell going again. Let’s inform both the department and our legislature that the needs of older blind people are just as important as are those of the younger blind. We must present our case. If we wait for others to do it for us it will not get done.


Let the department know of your concern. Just call the number below and leave a message for the director.

(800) 552-7103.


The legislative session will be completed by the time you read this, but it is never a wrong time to call and talk with your representatives and senators. It’s why we vote them into office: to listen to us. Let’s make them our friends and neighbors.


Following are a couple of examples of how folks in Bellingham are involved in providing assistance to the older blind of their community:


Swap Days

The Bellingham Low Vision Support Group was asked to bring low vision items which they no longer used to the next meeting. At that meeting the items were circulated within the group. Items included: seven-day pill box, lamp with radio and large numbered clock, hand held magnifiers, binocular-type glasses for TV watching, check and signature guides, some books on tape, sunglasses, etc. You did not have to bring something to participate in the swap. If more than one person wanted the same item, their name was put into a hat and the winner was drawn out.


Finding Homes for Used Closed Circuit TVs (CCTV).

As participants in the Independent Living Program, seniors are not eligible for the state to pay for CCTVs. Many seniors are not in the financial position to purchase these because of the cost.  One of the local Lions’ Chapters in Bellingham has a medical equipment store. Occasionally, they receive used CCTVs. Also we publicize the need for donated CCTVs. To date, we have located and redistributed eight or nine CCTVs.


Affirmation and Celebration

by Alco Canfield


Today’s news is filled with reports of infidelity, mismanagement of funds, and all sorts of other sad stories about human failures and foibles. The relentless repetition of so many misdeeds can leave one quite cynical and discouraged.


However, before you crawl into a hole and pull it in behind yourself here is your opportunity to inject something positive into the public bloodstream. “How?” you may ask. Well, here’s your answer!


The Awards Committee is seeking nominations of people who have contributed to the welfare of the blind community in some way. The awards are both internal and external. Internal awards are presented to chapters, officers/board members, a writer of an outstanding article for the “Newsline,” an outstanding advocate, etc. External awards are presented to an outstanding employer (not in the rehab or blindness field), as well as a business providing outstanding customer service to blind/visually impaired people. The One-World Award goes to an individual who has helped to minimize the impact of blindness in some way.


More specific details about these awards, as well as contact information to send your recommendations, will be forthcoming in the June “Newsline.”


Vivian Conger, Randy Tedrow, and I look forward to making this year’s awards presentation an affirmative, exciting event for all. But we cannot do this without your help. Please begin to consider those special people who have made meaningful contributions to the blind community and join us at the 2010 WCB Convention to celebrate their achievements and to honor them.


For What It’s Worth

by Frank Johnson


I’m about seven months into an exciting new chapter in my life. In July I had my 80th birthday. Long awaited, I was excited about the new unknown chapters of life ahead. For several months before this, I mused on the unknown adventures ahead, being somewhere I’d never been, viewing this with excitement rather than, “Oh my.”


Seven months later I continue new challenges (as arthritis challenges at times) but more importantly, the chance to grow and to be measured against times in life when things were less sure. I am more able to see others with new eyes, to avoid old judgments, to view first of all, my own attitudes with an eye toward looking inward rather than looking outward for assurance that I’m okay. It seems to have allowed me to place the world where I believe it needs to be, on acknowledging that I must change me, and drop the myth that I can change others.


It’s early in my 80th year, but I’m noticing a remarkable thing: as I focus on reviewing my lifelong practice of judging others in impacting my actions, I am learning new ways of being ME. My children are amazed at seeing a new father. I’m able to become the father I wanted to be but lacked the perspective to become.


In short, I’m liking the ME I see evolving!

“For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business” T. S. Eliot.


Member Profile

by Berl Colley


Do you know this person?


She was the treasurer of WCB from 1993 to 1997.

She was the president of Guide Dog Users of Washington State from 2003 to 2006.

She has served as a WCB board member and president of her Local chapter.


If you said Joleen Ayers, you are correct. Joleen who? Okay, Joleen Ayers-Ferguson.


She was born in August of 1946. Her family lived in Enumclaw, Washington. At the age of five her family decided that she would get the best education at the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) in Vancouver. Her mother came to visit every weekend at first, although Joleen often spent much of the visitation time playing with the other kids. A couple of her classmates were Tina Corey and Judy Sorter.


Some of the teachers that she remembers are Robert Mealey, Nadine Lessard, Leroy Walters, and Irene Osmond. She graduated from WSSB in 1964, and immediately went to Seattle to go through one month of rehab evaluation. Joleen really wanted to be a physical therapist, but was told that field wasn’t something a blind person could work in. After looking at the field of speech therapy, she decided to attempt to go into the physical therapy profession anyway.


She spent her first three years of college at Western Washington State University in Bellingham, while continuing to write letters to the Physical Therapy School at the University of Washington. She was finally accepted and in 1969 she became, as far as she knows, the first blind person to be trained in the field in the United States.


In the same year, she interviewed and was employed at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Walla Walla, Washington. It wasn’t always easy. Every time Joleen would get a new supervisor, she would have to prove her competency all over again. She liked helping people and worked at Saint Mary’s for 35 years.


In 1974, she married Clifford Ferguson and they are still married in Walla Walla, 35 years later.


Around 1985, Joleen was asked to speak at the conventions of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) and the United Blind of Washington State (UBWS). She joined both organizations and maintained her duel membership until the merger in 1990. Almost from the time she joined WCB, she served as its treasurer up to the merger. At the time she first joined WCB and UBWS, there were Walla Walla affiliates in both organizations. Joleen says that the WCB affiliate generally had three members: herself, her husband Cliff, and Elaine Beardsley, another classmate from WSSB. After the merger Joleen was elected as the president of the United Blind of Walla Walla and held that position for a long time.


She retired from her work at Saint Mary’s in October of 2004. While her employment at the hospital was sometimes pretty rocky, she feels good about the work that she did with its patients and has had people stop her on the street since she retired to thank her for her work with them.


It has been five years since she retired, but she hasn’t had time to relax very much. She has been very active in her Presbyterian church serving as an elder for one session.


She has been active on the Pedestrian/Bicycle Committee for the city of Walla Walla. After serving as the president of WCB’s Guide Dog affiliate for four years, she is still active in it, serving as its webmaster.


Today, Joleen chairs WCB’s Website Committee and is doing a wonderful job. She is working with Keana Gray to restore and revise our web page appearance.


At our 2009 State Convention in Pasco, November 5–7, Joleen was elected to serve as WCB’s Alternate Delegate at the 2010 American Council of the Blind’s convention in Phoenix, Arizona, in July.


So, there she is, Joleen Ayers-Ferguson, a valued member of the Washington Council of the Blind.


Department of Services for the Blind (DSB)

Director’s Update

by Lou Oma Durand


For years, advocates and consumers have fought to achieve and maintain our separate agency status. At the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee hearing in early February, members of the blind community represented this struggle and the values and outcomes that support it. They shared not only their individual stories—what it means to be a blind or low vision taxpayer, parent, student, or a business owner—but also voiced the uniqueness of their abilities and the uniqueness of their experiences.


Only one thing is certain, change and the difficulty of decisions that come with it. In this time of uncertainty, we rely on our mission—Inclusion, Independence, and Economic Vitality for People With Visual Disabilities—to remain steadfast in our priorities but also to think beyond the box. In doing so, the Department of Services for the Blind and the blindness community can continue to emphasize our alignment with the mission of state government as a whole. We can add value to other agency missions by informing them of our services, by helping them to make their programs more accessible, and by sharing creative, strategic, and cost-effective solutions that benefit all citizens of this great state.


I would like to emphasize the innovative and exciting ways that DSB continues to serve that mission by providing “one front door” of customer service to Washingtonians of all ages who are blind or have low vision. Recovery Act Projects, both in Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living, have energized our agency despite the economic climate.


As we speak, two of our regions have been planning a Job Search Boot Camp for our customers. Seven internship experiences have been initiated. Five self-employment plans have resulted in competitive employment outcomes. We have served 38 customers with Recovery Act funds and have created new jobs by upgrading the Seattle office and the Prichard Business Enterprise Program facility (Olympia). We have outfitted low vision kits, provided phone conferencing for distance learning with Braille students, and more is on the way. With Recovery Act funds, the Independent Living Older Blind Program has served ten individuals in a minority outreach project, developed curriculum for new provider training, and procured items to help customers make informed decisions about assistive technology.


In addition to the Recovery Act projects, DSB has launched a new website——in response to our staff, customers, and involved citizens such as yourself. The redesigned site, created with Washington State’s Department of Information Systems, embodies DSB’s forward-thinking, service-and-action-oriented approach to the needs of its customers and the State of Washington.


The new website offers engaging content in plain talk on how we serve individuals and communities, increased font size, inverse-contrast features for users who have low vision, a more intuitive structure of navigation based on the services for and needs of the public, and a user-centric homepage that presents news in a straightforward fashion and targets content to specific groups—“Visitors with Vision Loss,” “Families and Friends,” and “Employers and Community Partners.” The site’s homepage also welcomes visitors with a clean uncluttered design and moving images influenced by DSB’s tagline: “Choice. Challenge. Confidence. Careers.”

DSB’s website represents the “new face” of its customer-focused, cost-effective “one front door” tradition of serving Washington State. We welcome comments and feedback on the website in order to continue to improve and refine the dialogue between DSB and you.

I would like to express my gratitude for all that you, the WCB community, have done by being actively-involved, consistently-heard, and enduringly-dedicated to our mission. Bravo to WCB and our customers for caring about the future of services for their community and for being organized and spending time and energy to work toward the best outcome for blind and visually impaired Washingtonians in the years to come.


Washington State School for the Blind Update

Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent


The Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) is in preparation for its onsite review for national accreditation that will be occurring April 18–21, 2010. Every six years WSSB goes through a comprehensive self-study process to help evaluate our continued growth in conjunction with our Strategic Plan/School Improvement Plan, which is reviewed each year and updated every two years. The staff has been pulling together information that will help the onsite review team become aware of progress WSSB has made over the past six years, and then validate the self-study through their on-campus visit. A team of seven people from throughout the United States will help WSSB gain additional information that will assist us in determining whether we are meeting our goals and also meeting standards that are set forth by the National Association of Accredited Schools. WSSB has been nationally accredited since 1989.


The work in preparation for re-accreditation is just part of the process of gathering as much information as possible in order to help us provide the highest quality of service now and in the future. We also want to continue to push the envelope in exploring new ways of doing business. For example, when the state of Oregon eliminated their residential school, WSSB stepped forward to say, “Can we work together to help make sure that students in Oregon are provided a full continuum of service?” This has begun and we have a few out-of-state students from Oregon as space has become available.


We are hoping to continue conversations with Oregon to build a system that could lead to more of a Pacific Northwest School. As part of this, we will be exploring the conversation of trying to secure private funding to sponsor a Pacific Northwest Summit on Education of Blind and Visually Impaired Children. Can you imagine what the Northwest could do if we all put our resources together to gain the most efficient and effective operation for the betterment of students and families? This is in the conversation phase, but we will keep you posted.


I have been in communication with Pacific Northwest states and folks in British Columbia and there seems to be interest in having such a summit. If we do this, I would like this to occur at WSSB during the 2011 calendar year. What a fitting Conference/Summit to have to help kick off the entrance to the school’s 125th anniversary, which will be held the summer of 2011.


I’m sure everyone is wondering what is happening legislatively regarding WSSB. It’s a little hard to say as of the writing of this article because the legislature is still in session, but it looks like the bill to move WSSB from under the governor’s office to Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is probably dead. I think this is due to the passionate meeting in February when about 70 to 80 deaf and blind consumers met with Representative Moeller and staff from the governor and OSPI’s office. The message was strong and clear: “We have a good system in Washington that seems to be working with blind and deaf students—leave it alone; or at least if proposed changes are made, include us.” Both groups stated that no one has more vested in guaranteeing quality educational services for deaf and blind students than consumers of those services. 


The following are upcoming activities at WSSB:

·      March 15: Ridgefield Lions – Annual donation of assistive technology. Three WSSB students will receive $3,600 worth of technology that will enhance independence.

·      March 25: Quest Pioneer – Beeping Easter Egg Hunt followed by the Vancouver/Salmon Creek Lions’ annual Carnival (for blind and deaf children from throughout southwestern Washington and students from the School for the Deaf).

·      April 18: A Special Night in Fries – focus on expanding the Lions’ Low Vision Clinic Services to seniors in our community (sponsor: Ridgefield Lions’ Club).

o     Seven chefs will work with WSSB students in baking pies and other foods to serve to hopefully 60–100 people that night.

o     Students will gain new skills in cooking and will also be serving and interacting with guests.

o     Friends of the Carpenter will be making rolling pins for each student.

o     Goal is to raise enough awareness to help secure commitment for additional private funds to expand the Low Vision Clinic at WSSB.

·      May 20: Annual Track and Field Day and Career Fair (NW Function) – sponsor: Ft. Vancouver Lions

·      June 10: Annual Rod Rally.

·      June 14 and 16: Students from the Kansas School for the Blind will be on campus as part of a grant that will allow them to explore the Lewis and Clark Trail.


Washington Talking Book and Braille Library Update

by Danielle Miller


During these difficult economic times, I would like to extend a special thank you to the members of the council for the tremendous support you have shown the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). Governor Gregoire’s proposed budget in December cut two million dollars from the Washington State Library’s budget which included cuts to WTBBL. We were directed to take a 19% cut in staffing at WTBBL effective February 12, 2010. Five staff members, or 3.7 fulltime equivalent, were laid off, and one Secretary of State funded Information Technology position located at WTBBL was laid off, resulting in losing six of our colleagues.


The WTBBL funded positions cut were our Youth Services Librarian, Braille Coordinator, Receptionist, and two Page positions working in both Shipping and Audio Book Production. The impacts of these cuts will be significant. We will produce fewer local materials in Braille and audio format, we will circulate fewer books, and we will have a decrease in outreach and support to children and young adults.


As we always do, WTBBL staff and volunteers will do everything we can to provide the highest level of service possible to our patrons under increasingly difficult circumstances.


Another area where we will be saving some money is in the physical production of our newsletter, “Reading Matters.” Beginning with the spring issue, “Reading Matters” will only be available in Word, pdf, web-Braille, mp3 from our website, and also in text sent via email to subscribers of our WTBBL email listserv. I hope you will be able to read the newsletter on a quarterly basis since we include important updates about service as well as fun information.


On a positive note, we have had nothing but success with the ongoing transition to digital talking book machines and digital talking books. We have completed serving our veterans, centenarians, and individual patrons on the waiting list. We are now able to send a digital player to new borrowers and are pushing them with all active patrons; please help us spread the word. The players are wonderful and we continue to get wonderful feedback from digital users. One of the best things is that you can sign up to use your own flash drive to download books from National Library Service Braille and Audio Reading Download and WTBBL and play them on your digital player. For information on how to do this, give us a call at (800) 542-0866.


Again, I appreciate all your support and please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions and concerns. You can reach me at (206) 615-1588 or I look forward to hearing from you.




Capital City Council of the Blind (CCCB)

by Berl Colley


Hello and happy 2010 to members and friends of the Washington Council of the Blind. Not much has happened meeting-wise since our last article, but the members of CCCB have been very busy.


The first activity for us was our annual Christmas party in December. CCCB member Jackie Cabrera catered a fantastic meal for a very reasonable price. Jackie is a real asset to our chapter; thank you South Kitsap. The meal was followed by a fun and laughter-filled gift exchange.


About the time of our annual Christmas party, Governor Gregoire announced her proposal to make state government more efficient. This initiated a round of visits to our legislators and legislative hearings in January. About nine of our members attended the Town Forum, hosted by Representative Moeller on Saturday, January 23.


Our January chapter meeting followed the Town Meeting and we were pleased to have six members of the Bremerton chapter join us. We had a lively discussion about the proposals to move the School for the Blind and the Department of Services for the Blind under umbrella agencies. We also learned of major cuts in the state library funding which meant severe cuts to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. It is still something that our members are very concerned about.


Berl and Denise attended the winter WCB Board Meeting in Seattle and went to the American Council of the Blind midyear meetings in February.


CCCB wants to welcome two new members who joined in January. Gretchen Guydish, John Guydish’s daughter, and Bob Tanna, Barbara Sainitzer’s cruising friend.



Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

by Vivian Conger


Celebrate with us! GDUWS is officially a 501 (c) (3) organization after a lot of hard work and jumping through governmental hoops.


Our board has had two conference calls to date working on the day-to-day operations. Our president has appointed folks to all of our standing committees and now the task of doing business will begin.


These committees are: Fund Raising, Advocacy, Membership, Public Relations, Convention Planning, Legislative, and Constitution and Bylaws.


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


Our Convention Committee is working on the details of our Spring Fling. We will again, be holding a joint event with Guide Dog Users of Oregon with more information to come soon.



Jefferson County Council of the Blind

by Carl Jarvis


2010.  We wanted a little excitement to start off the New Year? Boy, did we get it.  


The governor’s decision to move our Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) under the umbrella of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), and put the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) under the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, brought about a flurry of action out here on the Olympic Peninsula. At our January meeting President Sue Ammeter reviewed the action going on in the state legislature. We began urging members to contact our representatives and senator. Sue arranged a conference call with Representative Lynn Kessler and she was joined by Carl Jarvis and Lynn Gressley. We discussed our concerns and found that Representative Kessler was willing to listen and keep an open mind. She promised to study any information we presented to her on the importance of maintaining a separate agency for the blind.


Regarding the issue of the Office of Financial Management ordering DSB to cut $100,000 from the Independent Living Older Blind Program (ILOBP), Kessler said she believed that this should be an internal determination and she would see that this would be the case.


Another conference call included Sue and Carl in a meeting with Susan Dreyfus, secretary of DSHS. The outcome of this meeting was the agreement by Secretary Dreyfus that whether DSB remains separate or is moved into DSHS, we would have direct communication lines to her and ongoing cooperation.


Our members involved themselves in assisting to draft Fact Sheets for DSB, the WSSB, and for ILOBP.


In addition we learned that six staff members were being cut from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. As chair of the Patron Advisory Council, Sue has been deeply involved in spearheading a campaign to have those positions restored.


Oh yes, we also had our elections.


Our new officers are very familiar since they are exactly the same as last year. But just in case you missed it, they are:


President, Sue Ammeter; Vice President, Lynn Gressley; Treasurer, Cathy Jarvis; Secretary, Carl Jarvis.



King County Chapter on the Move

by Alco Canfield


The King County Chapter began the new year with energy and purpose. We started a tradition of contributing to a local food bank every month. Members voluntarily bring in donations of food or cash which go into a box labeled Washington Council of the Blind, King County Chapter. We rotate food banks but make sure that each one knows that blind people are contributing members of the community.


Tim Schneebeck did an excellent job coordinating our service project at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) on January 16. The activity was very successful and demonstrated our support of WTBBL. The lunches Tim and Virginia provided went a long way into making this project fun and productive.


Patt Copeland came to speak to us about her established non-profit agency, Vision Loss Connections. Her presentation was very informative and we really enjoyed it.


Some of our members attended the hearing in Olympia concerning the merging of the Department of Services for the Blind with the Department of Social and Health Services. It was a great experience in participatory democracy.


The year 2010 is off to a great start and we look forward to giving you more exciting news about our chapter activities in the next “Newsline.”



The Peninsula Council of the Blind

by Cindy Van Winkle


Our chapter is forty plus members strong and continues to stay active each month with our meeting on the second Saturday at the restaurant of Allstar Lanes; our book club is currently meeting on the second Thursday at Applebee’s; our Support Group is usually on the last Saturday of the month; and typically a social or some other event is thrown in there somewhere.


This year, we elected some new officers: Sarah Schweizer as Secretary and Kim Moberg as Treasurer. We re-elected Carrol Gray as a Director, and elected Meka White to fill the Director position vacated by Kim.


Our chapter finished a successful fundraiser of selling Kitsap Cards November through January. We are now selling tickets to a benefit luncheon to be held March 27, at the Outback Steakhouse in Bremerton, with proceeds from the lunch and silent auction to support the special work of the Louis Braille School in Edmonds.


Our Support Group has been a regular event for over two years now with the die-hards even meeting Thanksgiving and Christmas weekends. But when we learned of the Town Meeting in Olympia for the Washington State School for the Blind, and enough of us Support Group regulars wanted to go to show our support there, we decided to forgo January’s scheduled gathering and did our support in a different way. We also visited the Capitol City chapter that afternoon and really enjoyed the day.


In the past few months, some in our chapter have been making our faces and voices known at local town meetings with our District 23 legislators and have been building a good relationship with them. Hopefully we’ll be able to write about one or more of them visiting us at a future meeting in an upcoming issue of “Newsline.”


A fun social we had in February was also quite a tasty one. We patroned Cora’s Diner, a small family-owned eatery that opened their doors that Friday night just for our 20 or so members. Rick and Cora fixed a home-cooked meal of Yankee Pot Roast with all the fixin’s, including ice cream for dessert. We filled the room with laughter while our tummies were filled with a delicious meal made with as much love as good ingredients.


 One thing I can say for sure, our chapter knows how to enjoy each other’s company and to just have a good time. So, we hope that if you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods, you’ll make plans to drop in at our meeting or any other goings on. You’ll always be welcomed!



South King Council of the Blind

by John McConnell


Greetings! Our New Year started out with an election that was out of the ordinary. We thought, those of us who had been officers last year, we might have people challenge our positions. Instead that was not the case.


John McConnell was elected as President, Jan White was elected Vice President, Carol McConnell was elected Secretary, and Nhi Duong was elected as our Treasurer.


Quincy Daniels attended the Winter Board Meeting and came back with a very positive report. Gaylen Floy attended the legislative session on the 9th of February, and let us know how excited she was about the number of people who attended the hearing and spoke out so confidently about the position of the WCB. We will again have a showing this upcoming Tuesday, March 2, in Olympia, advising our representatives not to cut the budget of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.


In April, we will have Jackie Cabrera, a professional caterer who is visually impaired, speak to our chapter. She gave us a very exciting presentation at our state convention last November. Also in April, President John McConnell will be attending the Leadership Conference. He will learn more about how to better assist the South King Chapter in growing and in reaching out into the community. The conference will be in Everett. He looks forward to meeting

his fellow compatriots and learning from them as well.


We missed the Liebergs at our February meeting due to Marlaina being unable to attend because of a medical situation. We look forward to her sharing her mentorship and experiences with us.


Jack Schneider has been dealing with some vision issues, but he is on the mend. In fact, he will be attending the trip to Olympia on March 2.


Bill Wipple has the blessing of another grandchild. This makes ten. Good luck Bill and God bless!


We look forward to moving out this year and growing in size and quality. Thank you for reading this article. Please think about us and pray that we will indeed grow and that we officers can do a job that will be commendable.



United Blind of Seattle (UBS)

by Ursula McCully


Oh boy, oh boy! I am getting old. Just imagine, it is 2010! Happy New Year to you all, good folks!


UBS started the year with our board meeting before our regular meeting at Virginia Mason where we originally met. Virginia Mason graciously welcomed us back.


UBS members showed their mobility skills since there was construction going on at the entrance and with a strong unity we watched out for each other so that we all reached our meeting place.


The UBS Board discussed and revised our constitution and the membership voted during the meeting.


As usual, we went to lunch at the First Hill Grill Restaurant after the hard work we did on our constitution.


UBS Membership joined forces in getting involved with the legislative issues concerning the Washington State School for the Blind and the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB). Membership called and wrote to legislators to voice our position. On February 2, Al Gill, Becky Bell, Clint Reiding, Glenn McCully, Quincy Daniels, and yours truly went with other WCB members to Olympia to be present at the hearing of House Bill 2953 that would abolish DSB as a separate state agency and put the blind services under the Department of Social and Health Services. Again, with hard work we were successful; the bill did not pass and DSB remains as a separate agency. The Washington State School for the Blind remains as its own entity and was not put under the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. We all felt elated to know that our voices do count.


In our February meeting, Julie told membership that the 2010 emphasis will be on advocacy. Committees gave their reports. Steve Barnett, chair of the Fund Raising Committee, announced that we sold 149 Entertainment Books and there are only 13 shirts left unsold. The Wine Tasting Event will still be a fundraiser. The Outreach Committee started their work as members went to join in the mailing party for the legislative issue for the budget concerning the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The Membership Committee will organize Friends’ Day and the Activity Committee has lined up social events such as musicals, a dinner-dance, and sports. Julie encouraged membership to choose a committee to get involved with so we may have a solid chapter.


We did fun stuff, too. The membership went to see an audio described musical, South Pacific, last February 13.


Lastly, two new members joined making us 56 members total to date.


There will be more to come, friends, and I will post them in the next chapter update. I will see you then.



United Blind of Spokane

by Arlyn Crothers

This missive comes to you from wonderland. We jest of course, and wonder how we rate spring-like temperatures all through the winter months according to the calendar. Such balmy weather entices us all to be out and about, so Spokane’s WCB attendance has been good.

Two of our members, President Deborah Jenkins and Bee Shinnaberry, attended the convention in
Pasco. We’ve enjoyed hearing about the well-planned activities and look forward to hearing more from a group whose focus was on future projects aimed at membership growth. We hope to share and discuss ideas among our own ranks. Several of us live in areas where there are numerous blind and low-vision folks who may not be aware of WCB and its benefits. We can encourage guest visits to our meetings and we can tell them about educational and entertaining tapes that can make life more meaningful and maybe more fun for the blind and visually impaired, all free of charge.

Some of us may have become part-time loners as a way of dealing with limited or no eyesight. That, of course, is a prescription for futility, anger, bitterness, and misery. We know that in helping others we inadvertently help ourselves. Many of our WCB members have a personal story to share which could encourage shut-ins to join with us in learning about all the ways there are to become productive and fulfilled despite vision drawbacks.

At our last meeting we enjoyed an informative visit from Andrea Wasson of the
Lyons' Low Vision Clinic. She told us about Dr. Teigen who works with patients who have little to almost no vision. If they have even a tiny bit of partial vision he will try to find some kind of equipment to help them. He will seek payment by billing Medicare when appropriate or try other means. Andrea brought a tiny instrument for us to examine. It is called a monocular telescope. By looking into a dime-sized opening an entire face can be seen from across the room. What a blessing for someone who hadn’t seen a special face until his experience with this instrument.

Dr. Teigen can be seen by appointment for consultation or treatment. He is privy to sources for some special equipment and runs a loaner program so a patient can try at no cost and then buy if appropriate. Another doctor with the low-vision clinic is Dr. Terry Porter, who is on outreach at this time.


Also at the meeting, President Deborah Jenkins thanked Bea Shinnaberry for representing our chapter at the last board meeting.

It’s looking like a busy time for the
Spokane chapter of WCB. As we advance in healthy membership growth we’ll keep you posted.



United Blind of the Tri-Cities (UBTC)

by Janice Squires


The birds are singing and the sun is beginning to shine just a little bit brighter and the United Blind of the Tri-Cities is looking forward to a lovely springtime. We are beginning in March with our annual candy sale. The money we raise provides us with enough funding to support our annual picnic, Christmas party, and our narrated play program.


Speaking of narrated plays, our theater group enjoyed the production of “Rabbit Hole,” at a January, Sunday matinee. Thanks so much again to Brenda Vinther and Frank Cuta for organizing the plays, to John Yegge our wonderful narrator, and to the Kiwanis Club for providing our transportation.


Marlene Vandecar and Diana Softich planned our first two monthly support group lunches of the year. We went first to Sterlings and then to the Sandstone Restaurant. The lunches are our most popular UBTC event and the most widely attended.


All of the ladies thoroughly love playing cards once a month and many of them bring a lunch and visit and chat prior to the beginning of the games.


The book group is proud to say that we have gone “DIGITAL”! Thanks to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library for promptly sending out the digital players to all of our members so now downloads will be our format preference of choice.


The Red Hatters celebrated their luncheon at the Red Lobster, the place of their very first meeting.


Our monthly chapter meetings take place on the third Saturday of the month at the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. We are fortunate to have a center of this type in our area and appreciate their graciousness to allow us to have so many of our activities in their facility. The Bishel Center also offers several activities in which many of us participate, such as bus trips, support groups, a variety of delicious holiday meals, and now they are offering a once-a-month Bingo day.  


Our chapter meetings provide a variety of informational topics and interesting discussions. Frank Cuta demonstrated the new talking “Pen Friend,” a powerful talking labeling system that is quite useful and affordable in price. Steve Vandecar, second vice president, conducted his first meeting in January, and did a very nice job.


On a personal note, I am humbled and grateful to my UBTC friends for awarding me the very first United Blind of the Tri-Cities Lifetime Membership award. They also presented to me at our annual Christmas party, a Lifetime Membership to the Washington Council of the Blind. Their kindness not only brought tears to my eyes, but actually rendered me speechless!



United Blind of Walla Walla

by Vivian Conger


We didn’t have a meeting in December.


In January, our new president, Joleen Ferguson, took over and brought some new energy to the chapter. One of the first things we did was to have a conference call with all of our board to discuss strategies and visions of things to come.


We had a brain-storming session in which everyone was to say what they would like to see the chapter do or become. In this session, there were no “bad” comments and no discussion of the items until everyone was finished. Joleen went around the table asking each person for a comment and this kept happening until everyone was out of ideas.


Several of our members worked on the campaign promoting our ballot measure which would allow our transit system to keep services at the current level. Members did phone calling, door belling, put yard signs up, and even helped man the campaign headquarters’ office. A lot of hard work was put in by all which showed since the measure passed 76.3% for and 23.7% against.


In February, the board again had a conference call and went through the process of categorizing the brain-storming list. At our February meeting, we looked at this list and it was decided to have a committee go through the list and condense it down to a workable size. Once this is done, it will be presented to the membership again.


Be looking for updates on the brain-storming results.


Dodie Brueggeman, having just returned from a two-week trip to Japan, shared highlights of her experience with us at the February meeting. She had been visiting her daughter, Nikki, who is studying there for a year as part of her college experience. It was a very interesting and informative program.


We presented a list of 16 members to WCB ahead of the deadline with one new member joining at our January meeting.



United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)

by Barbara Crowley and Bruce Radtke


The United Blind of Whatcom County began the new year much as other chapters did—by phoning the legislative hotline and dialing our state senators and representatives in the 42nd and 40th districts. Yvonne Thomas-Miller did a great job notifying UBWC members about the latest WCB fact sheets which identified the potential impact of various bills on the blind/low vision community and the action needed.


On the home front, Whatcom County’s transit system proposed severe reductions in the local bus service due to budget stress. The cuts would eliminate all service on Sundays and reduce or eliminate some routes with a probable negative impact on specialized transit options also. In April, there will be a ballot in the mail which will include a proposition to increase the county’s sales tax by 2/10th of one percent, and this increase would be used to maintain bus services at their current level. Opposition to any tax increase is strong, so we will have our work cut out. UBWC endorsed the tax increase proposition and this was reported on a local radio station. UBWC members will be joining other supporters of the proposition passing out flyers and urging the passage of the proposition.


Four UBWC members are now working on five WCB committees: advocacy, aging, crisis, leadership, and legislation. We’re looking forward to monthly updates from our members.


Two local committees reported some progress in planning programs and related fundraising needed, with more details to follow. It was also announced that the first book discussion is scheduled for late March. These signs of life in our group are welcome.



Radio by the Blind for the World

by Marlaina Lieberg


Are you looking for a chance to realize your dream of being a music disc jockey or to host a talk show on radio? Are you seeking a station which will offer you current and relevant information of interest to people who are blind? If the answer to one or both of these questions is yes, American Council of the Blind (ACB) Radio is for you!


I have been involved with ACB Radio since its inception in 1999. My first program, BlindSpot, was a pre-recorded 30 minute interview show. On that show, I first met and interviewed Mitzie Friedlander, the wonderful narrator of talking books whom we all so dearly love. I also interviewed mountain climbers with disabilities, including the first blind person ever to summit Mount Everest.


Then I was asked to do a live call-in show. I was terrified that it would be a flop. Much to my surprise, people liked the show and it moved from one to two hours each week.


Currently, I do a show each Saturday called “Coffee With Marlaina.” It’s a music program, but I take phone calls as well.


The thing I have learned from providing content for ACB Radio is that belief in “self” is critical. To this day, I am nervous before each show hoping all will go well and people will listen. But I believe in what I do and that truly helps a great deal.


I started a new program with ACB Radio on Tuesdays, beginning January 5. This program will offer talk and informational content of relevance to people who are blind. Will I be nervous? You bet! Will I go forward with the show? You bet! Reaching out for challenges to stretch my capability keeps my spirit alive!


If you are interested in providing program content for ACB Radio, please contact ACB at (800) 424-8666 or write to All you really need is a computer, a microphone, and a creative spirit.


Listen to ACB Radio at


Diabetes Support Group

by Peggy Shoal


This is an outreach to WCB members who have diabetes.


Did you know that we have a Diabetes Support Group which meets monthly via telephone conference call using a toll free number so there is no cost to participants? We have members who have had diabetes as long as 50 years and others who have been newly diagnosed.


We manage our diabetes care with diet, oral medication, insulin injection, or combinations of these protocols. We share experiences, successes and failures, frustrations, techniques, and daily challenges such as dealing with “not so blind-friendly glucose meters.” What we gain is support that can be gotten in a group with other blind or vision-impaired diabetics.


Our group is intended to be in addition to and not instead of critical, ongoing medically based care, advice, and support. We rotate the moderator position so anyone interested may have a chance. We meet the fourth Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. If you have any questions, want more information, or would like to visit a meeting please contact me. I look forward to talking with you.


Contact Peggy at 206-722-8477 or .


Louis Braille School

by Carolyn Meyer


Dear Washington Council of the Blind,

 Thank you so much for being a sponsor of the Louis Braille School auction. I am especially pleased to state that fact on our invitations and other auction material. My association with WCB has always meant much to me. I well remember the day Sue Ammeter first called me when I was just beginning a Braille transcribing service from my tiny office in Northgate. I was so pleased and happy to be asked to produce Braille for WCB and those feelings have continued ever since.


I hope to see many of you at the auction on Saturday, March 20, from 1 to 4 in the afternoon. Pagliacii Pizza is again donating ten large pizzas. There will also be nuts, chocolate, and a bit of fruit. Dress is casual. The emcee is the father of one of our students. The auctioneer is your own Cindy Van Winkle.


With gratitude,

Carolyn Meyer


Louis Braille School

10130 Edmonds Way

Edmonds, WA 98020

(425) 776-4042


Hats Off to You


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


·      Karen Johnson, member-at-large, Janice Squires, member, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, and Kevin LaRose, Vice President, Capital City Council of the Blind on their appointments to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library Patron Advisory Council. Their terms began on January 1, 2010. It’s great to see WCB so well represented.


·      Bill Hoage, President, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, on receiving his second guide dog, Tulley, from Guide Dogs for the Blind from Boring, Oregon. Tully is a 19-month-old, 63 pound, yellow lab, who is totally full of energy and is loving his new job.


·      Janice Squires, member, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, on being awarded the very first United Blind of the Tri-Cities Lifetime Membership award by her chapter. They also presented to her at their annual Christmas party a Lifetime Membership to the Washington Council of the Blind. Janice says, “Their kindness not only brought tears to my eyes but actually rendered me speechless!”


·      John Common, WCB board member and president, Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, on the birth of his first grandchild. Joseph Ryan Alan entered the world at 2:03 a.m., on March 3. Joseph weighed in at six pounds, thirteen ounces and was 20 inches long. John is a very proud grandpa.


From My Kitchen to Yours

by Denise Colley


Baked Glazed Chicken


1 can (20 ounces) sliced pineapple in juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tablespoons chopped green onion

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 frying chickens, quartered (about 5 to 6 pounds chicken pieces)


Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup of the juice. Set pineapple slices aside.


In a roasting pan, combine reserved pineapple juice, soy sauce, chopped green onion, ginger, and garlic powder. Add chicken pieces, turning to coat thoroughly. Arrange the chicken skin-side up; bake at 375 degrees for 55 to

65 minutes, or until chicken is tender and juices run clear.


Add pineapple slices to the roasting pan and cook 5 minutes longer.


Arrange chicken on a serving platter with pineapple; skim off excess fat and spoon juices over chicken and pineapple.

This chicken recipe serves 8.


2010 Calendar of Deadlines and Events


March 5–6: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver


March 20: Louis Braille School Benefit Auction, South County Senior Center, Edmonds, WA


April 3: SRC Meeting, Seattle DSB Office


April 23–24: WCB Leadership Seminar, Everett


April 25: WCB Spring Board Meeting, Everett


May 1: Office Hours conference call at 12 p.m. with President Colley


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


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


May 29: Deadline for submission of articles for the June issue of “Newsline”


June 5: SRC meeting, Seattle DSB office


June 11: WSSB student graduation and Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver


June 30: Deadline for WCB Scholarship Application


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


July 31: WCB Summer Board Meeting, Bremerton


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


September 4: Office Hours conference call at 12 p.m. with President Colley


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


September 11: SRC meeting, Seattle office


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


November 9–11: WCB State Convention, Vancouver


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


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


December 4: SRC meeting, Seattle DSB office




Special thanks goes to the “Newsline” Committee and production volunteers.


Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by May 29, 2010. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations and should be no longer than 750 words.


Publication policy:

To ensure accuracy, we require submissions be emailed to our new “Newsline” address at:


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