The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind


September 2002 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity

Founded 1935


Berl Colley, President
2305 Maxine St. SE
Lacey, WA 98503
(360) 438-0072

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


From the President's Desk by Berl Colley
Editor's Comment by Peggy Shoel
Troubling Developments at WTBBL by Berl Colley
A Position Paper by NFB and WCB
A Tribute to a Leader by Sue Ammeter
My First Time at a National Convention by Lynette Y. Romero
My Experience at Convention by Meka White
Knocking at the Door of Year Two by Cynthia Towers
Brunson Turns Up the Burner by Frank Cuta
The WCB Board Meets by Shirley Taylor
Non-Profit Status - Is it Worth the Hassle? by Frank Cuta
Conventioneers, Start Your Engines by Cindy Burgett
Report from DSB by Bill Palmer
Big Changes at WSSB by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem
Library Notes by Beth Eisenhood
Louis Braille Center News by Carolyn Meyer
WCB and Spaghetti Go Great Together by Glenn McCully
Blind Youth Project by Sharon Keeran
The Price of Victory by Carl Jarvis
Around the State
AVIA Update by Jesse Minkert
Hats Off to You! by Peggy Shoel
Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel
Talking ATMs - They are Here
That's Funny
Recipe from the Kitchen of Justine Keeran


From the President's Desk
by Berl Colley

As I write this article, Denise and I are living within a structure that has had all of its wallpaper ripped off, with a big 6' by 3' hole in the wall between the front room and the kitchen, and a bunch of bags and boxes that will be stored away from this major construction project. We are fleeing to Lake Chelan for two weeks while our contractor has our home unlivable and he tries to make it what we have asked of him.

Thanks to a hopefully well-charged cell phone battery, a cooperative and understanding WCB board, and some great friends and family, WCB's activities, conference calls and preparations for the hearing in Portland and our fall convention in Kelso will proceed as you would expect.

There are some troublesome developments at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, of which all blind citizens of Washington should be aware. See separate article in this NEWSLINE.

On October 8, 2002 there will be hearings on public right-of-ways, to be held in Portland, Oregon. A couple of topics of interest to WCB will be pedestrian safety and audible signals at crosswalks. WCB will be taking a charter bus to attend these hearings. There will be an article in the next NEWSLINE covering WCB's travels and testimony.

WCB's condolences go out to the staff of the Department of Services for the Blind, the students of its Orientation Center, and the family of the student who accidentally drowned while on an OTC outing in August. It was the first death of a student of the agency while on an agency outing in the 40-year history of its service.

October 4, 2002 is the deadline for convention registrations. I want to encourage all of you to attend this year's convention. Convention Chair Cindy Burgett and the convention committee have a very educational and entertaining three days planned.

Congratulations to Sue Ammeter for the recognition that she received from the Justin Dart family. Sue was designated one of the top leaders in the civil rights movement for disabled people in the United States. WCB sponsored Sue's trip to Washington, D.C. in late July to attend the memorial service for the late Justin Dart.

As we rapidly approach the WCB 2002 business meeting on October 26, I want to give you contact information for those who have agreed to serve on convention committees.

If you want to submit your name for one of the elected positions this year, contact any member of the Nominations Committee. The available positions are: Second Vice-President, Secretary, and three board positions.

Nominations Committee:
Doug Hildie, UB Seattle
4710 University Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 529-8247


Vivian Conger, UB Walla Walla
1519 Whitman St.
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 526-4967


Cynthia Towers, UB Seattle
9422 Linden Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 729-9654


Any constitutional changes should be sent to:
Frank Cuta, Chair, Constitution Committee, UB Tri-Cities
(509) 967-2658


If you plan to submit any resolutions, send them to Patti Shreck, Chair of the Resolutions Committee, Riverside Association of the Blind
(360) 883-5611, fax same


Send all In-Memoriams to Berl Colley, WCB President, Capitol City Council of the Blind
2305 Maxine St. S.E.
Lacey, WA 98503-3451
(360) 438-0072

or, call Marilyn at (800) 255-1147


Editor's Comment
by Peggy Shoel
Some Different Needs

With great anticipation we will soon be packing our bags for another exciting state convention. The agenda is a full one and there is something for everybody. What I want to mention here are the two breakout meetings that will take place on Friday October 25 from 1:30 to 2:10 P.M. immediately following lunch. The two groups will be presenting simultaneously but will not be in direct competition with each other since one will deal with younger blind and the other will

The focus of the older blind meeting will be the need for and importance of peer support groups, especially for newly-blinded senior citizens. A panel of three, Carl Jarvis, Quilcene, WA; John Fleming, Murphy, OR; and Pat Wallace, Aberdeen, WA will discuss how to establish and maintain a successful peer support group. There will be handouts giving guidelines and other important information, which will be available in Braille, large print, and on audiocassette tape.

The focus of the younger blind meeting will be college and careers. There will be a presentation on various statewide services that are available to those who are in educational transition or are seeking employment. It will be a very informative program and it is hoped that as many of our younger WCB members who can will attend.


Troubling Developments
by Berl Colley, President

A situation has developed within the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library service that has the potential of drastically changing the Library service that all blind people in our state currently receive.

In late August, Jan Ames, the Director of WTBBL, announced her retirement plans; her last day as Director would be September 20, 2002. It was also announced that Ms. Claudia McCain had been hired to head the neighborhood libraries of the Seattle Public Library system. Neighborhood libraries, under this new Director, will include the Seattle Mobile Book Program, 24 branch libraries in various Seattle neighborhoods, and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The position of Director held by Jan will not be filled. Each section of WTBBL will report instead directly to Ms. McCain.

For years our Director has had to work with the Washington state legislature to maintain funding levels that have provided us with quality services. With our Library's administration taking up 1/26th of Ms. McCain's time, it is predictable that WTBBL will see future reductions in its funding, i.e., services. We can't know what services will be reduced, but it is a good bet that the Evergreen Radio Reading Service and the Braille and Taping service are likely candidates.

The Washington Council of the Blind has been very vocal about its support for WTBBL. When the need was there, we advocated for appropriate funding levels and assisted with WCB dollars for special needs. In the future, this type of relationship will be more difficult, because there is no person who can deal directly with the needs of WTBBL users or report to our convention about the Library's activities and concerns. Advocating for funds will be very difficult, because WTBBL funding will be wrapped up

WCB, NFBW and other interested groups and individuals are working together to retain a Director who can respond to the needs of blind consumers and to alter the structure as it has been redesigned.

By the time you read this article, at least one meeting of Seattle Public Library administration and blind consumer representatives of WCB and NFBW will have taken place. See the following joint position paper.

For updates, check our Web page,, and be ready to assist us as we work to restore future library services to the level that blind Washingtonians have come to expect from WTBBL.


A Position Paper by the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and Washington Council of the Blind

The two state-wide organizations of blind persons oppose the Seattle Public Library's plan to eliminate the position of Executive Director at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) when the current director, Jan Ames, retires September 20. It is imperative that the one and only library for the blind and print-handicapped in the State of Washington have one full-time director to continue the quality services that this library has provided over the past twenty-five years.

Under the leadership of a full-time and consumer-responsive Director, WTBBL has developed into the full service model library program for the blind in the country it is today. The Braille and Taping Service, the Northwest Collection program, the Radio Reading Service, and the children's programs are what make our library unique.

These achievements are a direct result of a full-time director who is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a multi-million dollar budgeted program, who advocates for the needs of patrons of WTBBL with the state legislature, and who listens and responds to input from WTBBL patrons. It is achievements such as these and future program innovations, which promise to be jeopardized in the absence of a full-time Library Director who is primarily devoted to preserving and promoting this unique statewide resource for the blind.

The organizations of the blind are united in our conviction that if a permanent full-time director is not hired, irreparable damage will be done to the infrastructure of library services for all patrons of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. We urge the Seattle Public Library management and board to reconsider the decision and to move forward to hire a new director, with responsibilities consistent with those possessed by the incumbent, to continue the quality library services begun under the leadership of Jan Ames. We further urge the leadership of the Seattle Public Library to retain the existing administrative structure and relationship between the new WTBBL Director and the management of the Seattle Public Library. Specifically, we encourage the management of the Seattle Public Library to refrain from adopting an organizational structure that would place the next director and the WTBBL under the division of Neighborhood Libraries, but instead we ask that the authoritative line-management between these entities remain immediate, thereby promoting optimum communication and responsiveness.

The organizations of the blind in Washington State remain willing and available to support the hiring process via consultation and involvement in the selection of the new Director of WTBBL. We look forward as consumers to continuing our positive tradition of partnership with the Library's new management.


A Tribute to a Leader
by Sue Ammeter
Immediate Past President, WCB

On June 22nd I woke up early and read my e-mail before we left for the day to spend some relaxing time on the Olympic Peninsula. I was shocked and saddened to read of the death of Justin Dart, Jr., who, to many of us, was seen as the Father of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As I sat at my desk, I felt a profound sense of loss of a man who had done so much to advance the cause of civil rights for persons of disability. Justin, and his wife Yoshiko, had traveled to every state to meet with groups of disabled folks to promote empowerment, solidarity and love in the disability community.

I thought about the time that Justin and Yoshiko came to Seattle to attend a community meeting at Seattle Central Community College. His message was clear and forceful - "we must fight for politics as though our lives depend upon it - because it does." Justin was responding to the backlash of political pressure against the ADA. Justin and Yoshiko took advantage of every opportunity to meet with community activists to spread their message of empowerment, solidarity and love.

A few days later, I received an invitation to attend a Memorial Celebration for Justin Dart, Jr. to be held in Washington, D.C., on July 26th, the 12th anniversary of the passage of the ADA. I was honored to receive the invitation. Accompanying the invitation was a book about Justin's accomplishments, in which he also recognized persons whom he believed had empowered him. Among the names listed was mine, and I can't tell you what a sense of pride and honor that I felt.

On July 25th I flew to Washington, D.C. Despite a three-hour plane delay in departing, I finally got to my hotel. The next afternoon I went to the ACB office and went to the memorial celebration with Penny Reeder and Charles Hodge. As I entered the church, I was handed a braille program and we were guided to our seats in the sanctuary.

The memorial celebration was something that I will never forget. Justin's life and accomplishments were celebrated with speeches and music. President Bill Clinton spoke of Justin and their relationship in fighting to improve civil rights for persons of disability. Reverend Roger J. Gench told us that President Clinton was sitting in the same pew that had been occupied by Abraham Lincoln as he prayed for the freedom of the slaves. As a history buff, this made shivers go up and down my spine.

Throughout the memorial service, Justin's family, friends and colleagues celebrated the accomplishments of his life and his tremendous caring for others. Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh remembered Justin's powerful advocacy in working to pass the ADA. The Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr. and the Psalmist sang a resounding version of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and some of Justin's family members played and sang some Japanese musical selections.

At the conclusion of the celebration, an Army of Advocates was called to the front, including ACB Executive Director Charlie Crawford. Led by The Psalmists, we rose, united, to sing "We Shall Overcome." I think that everyone in the audience experienced a profound feeling of sorrow for our loss of Justin, together with a sense of victory for those things that we have achieved through his leadership, love and support.

Following the service, we attended a reception at Union Station. The Dart family provided refreshments for everyone in attendance and a musical program was presented during our first hour there. I had a chance to see many old ACB friends, and it was tremendous! At the end of the evening, I went to pay my respects to Yoshiko. The first thing that she said was, "Hi, Sue Ammeter, I am so honored that you would come all the way from Seattle to honor Justin." What a gracious and caring person she is.

I want to personally thank WCB for sending me to Justin's memorial celebration service. It was an event in my life that I will always remember.


My First Time at a
National Convention

by Lynette Y. Romero
President, Lower Columbia Council of the Blind

I have had an amazing summer, and it all started with a phone call from Berl Colley, giving me the good news that I had won the WCB First Timer's Award to go to the ACB National 2002 Convention in Houston. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the WCB for giving me this opportunity. I want all of you to know that this convention was one of the best times of my life, and I gained a lot of useful information that I hope will come in handy for our state convention. Thank you for your support.I really didn't know what to expect, but I was completely flabbergasted. As a first timer, I decided that I was going to enjoy this convention to its fullest. I tried to take advantage of the many special interest group events and tours that were offered, and every meeting I could cram into my busy schedule. There were things I just could not pass up, like a good old-fashioned Texas barbecue at the George Ranch where we watched real cowboys handle the Longhorn cattle and then we feasted on a "Te

I signed up to go to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Tour, where I knew we would get a hands-on tour of their famous sculpture garden. Even though the tour was scheduled for later in the week, it was worth the wait. I only wished we had been able to stay there the whole day, because in every chamber there was something for us to touch and examine closely. Later on in the week, I even made it out to a world-famous Cajun restaurant that a couple I met at the Portland airport had recommended to me when they found out I was going to Houston.

While I was at the convention, every minute of every day was filled. I arrived late on Saturday night and Sunday morning started off with a bang. I attended the Women's Concerns presentation, facilitated by Pam Shaw; she spoke on the awesome organization of ACB, which supports all of its members for what we are, not someone else's idea or image of what a blind person should be. Then Doctor of Psychology Phyllis Burson led a breakout session on "Relationships with Friends and Significant Others.&

Sunday afternoon I was torn and I opted to miss the First Timers Seminar to go to the Environmental Access Committee's presentation. There were so many avenues to go down, it was hard to choose. Pat Beatty (the national chair) gave an excellent presentation discussing our rights as citizens to cross the street as safely as any others. Even though other blind organizations are opposing our rights to pedestrian safety, it is our time to take action. She made a very good point that first we must know t

Before I knew it, it was time for the 2002 ACB Annual Convention Opening Session (WOW!). It was everything I imagined a national convention to be, and I was so full of pride to be a member of the "Loud Crowd," our affiliate, the WCB. The theme of this year's convention was "People First" and President Chris Gray gave an inspirational speech that made me even more proud to be a member of such an outstanding organization that puts its people first. Just as Chris said, "We are

From the General Sessions, I learned about such things as "The Impact of Blindness on Sleep Disturbance," where Dr. Lockley presented research from Harvard Medical School that explains why sleep disorders are 50% higher for the blind. Apparently the light receptor in our brain is not getting the correct signals, so our brain tells our body that it's time to go to sleep. Now that explains why I am tired all the time. The good news is that they are working on using a hormone to help stimulate

Other interesting presentations were Dr. Beezie Benson's talk on "What Audible Pedestrian Signals Should Tell You." Then Professor Deborah Withington, Neuroscientist for Leeds University in the United Kingdom, presented research on "Sound Alert Locator Systems." This study involved researching the best sounds that we react to, low frequency versus high frequency. We heard an audiotape that was used in an emergency evacuation to demonstrate how it works. There was a presentation o

I was impressed with the ACB Scholarship presentation, and I had the opportunity to attend the Scholarship Reception with Denise Colley to meet the winners. We all went to the amazing "Friends in Art Showcase." This was quite a production and it is a must-see for anyone attending a national convention. The talent in our organization is incredible! Our own Meka White sang a wonderful version of "Black Velvet" (I was so proud of her) WOW! I don't have the words in my vocabulary to

So many more wonderful things happened, I could go on and on, but there is not enough space to allow it. There were so many great conversations with members from everywhere, and I made so many new friends. When Friday came and it was time to vote, I felt well prepared because I had met the candidates and had talked all week about the issues.

The Banquet Dinner was wonderful and the conversations delightful. Last but not least was the "Farewell To Texas" dance. I had so much fun with all of our members and newly made friends that I can't wait for Pittsburgh in 2003. Hope to see you all there!


My Experience at Convention
by Meka White,
Peninsula Council of the Blind

This year I was chosen as one of the First-Timers to go to the American Council of the Blind's National Convention in Houston, Texas. I had heard quite a bit about conventions, about interesting and informative presentations and everything in between. The excitement of attending my first national convention was nearly overwhelming.

Once at the convention, I was swept into a torrent of activities. I became very familiar with some of the special-interest affiliates such as NABS (National Alliance of Blind Students) and FIA (Friends in Art).

The morning sessions gave me a better understanding and appreciation of our organization as a whole. I can't help but think about Friday's session. As I sat in the WCB delegation with our other members, it occurred to me just how much every individual, every chapter, and every affiliate counted. To me, the elections process was one of the most exciting and memorable parts of the convention.

Candidates running for the Board of Directors and the Board of Publications had other members speak on their behalf about what they would bring to the board. Standing to have my vote counted filled me with pride.

Voting on resolutions was another interesting part of the convention. It showed me just how integral the members are to ACB, and how we help to shape the future for the organization.

Other highlights for me include the many presentations, particularly the one given by Eric Sandvoldt, being able to sing in the FIA showcase, meeting and networking with other blind people, attending a very special dinner held for one of our international guests, attending the Guide Dogs for the Blind breakfast, where I had the opportunity to mingle with and speak to guide dog users about my future trip to the school, and getting involved with NABS. There was so much to do at convention and only one week in which to do it!

There are so many other things that I could talk about, but unfortunately it would take up a lot of space. I have discovered my niche in ACB and want to be deeply involved and committed to the ideals and values that we hold. I met so many wonderful people that I will not soon forget.

In closing, I would like to say that if you have never had the privilege to attend a national convention, you really should. I know that it will change your view about our affiliate and the national organization, and will be very life changing. It certainly was for me, and I look forward to experiencing it all over again in Pittsburgh!


Knocking at the
Door of Year Two

by Cynthia Towers
ACB Convention Coordinator

This has been a very unusual year for America. Between Enron, Worldcom, the West Nile virus, the 9.11 anniversary, and even the rise and possible fall of Martha Stewart - I have been disillusioned. It all makes me want to retreat into a fantasyland. And that's just what I do sometimes. I lose myself in TV, because, depending on what channel you select, it's an easy way to leave the troubles of the world behind and live another life for awhile.

So, as I reflect on my first year as Convention Coordinator for ACB, I liken it to some TV shows past and present. So, take a little journey with me if you will, and I will show you how being Convention Coordinator is like a TV show.

Being Convention Coordinator is like "Get Smart." It is amazing all the things I needed to learn in order to do this job. From accounting for the nearly 300 boxes that came into the hotel, assembling a team to stuff some 1,200 bags for distribution at registration, to figuring out where to place some 200+ separate events, to arranging the delegate seating in the ballroom - it was one big crash course in the Hospitality Industry. I feel so much more settled not that I know the terminology an

Being Convention Coordinator is like "Mission Impossible." The types of requests that came to me before and during convention were, at times, a little out there. One conventioneer, a "partial," wanted me to ask the hotel to put a black strip around each urinal in the men's rooms to make them easier to find. Another wanted the entire program read over the phone at the Information Desk on a daily basis. Then another wanted ACB to buy their plane ticket home because they had spent a

Being Convention Coordinator is like "Home Improvement." I have begun to see where ACB can work smarter and not harder. I have proposed ideas, rewritten policies and forms, and continue to look towards how each convention can have its own "personality" by the different things we do. I have seen how I can manage the day-to-day convention operations to make the week more productive and enjoyable for its attendees. In 2003, I will be combining the offices of Information and Convention into one. So many of the functions of the two desks were duplicated, so in Pittsburgh I will try this new venture to see how it works. I think conventioneers will be pleased to have fewer places to go to get their convention needs taken care of efficiently.

Being Convention Coordinator is like "Nightline." I'm still up going strong when a lot of people have turned in for the evening. The needs of the convention, like the news, never stops; there is much information to gather for the next day and there's usually someone being interviewed. I thought this would be a "seasonal" position, but I literally work on a convention related matter almost daily. Whether it's dealing with last year's hotels on billing issues, assisting with site in

Finally, being Convention Coordinator is like "Family Ties." After all is said and done I look back on the real reason I love this job. It gives me an opportunity to interact with so many different people from different parts of the country and from different backgrounds. I get to be a part of one of ACB's most visible programs and most of all, I get to add more friends to my "family." I have grown so fond of and have come to care for so many folks that I feel truly blessed to be


Brunson Turns Up the Burner
by Frank Cuta,
Board Member, WCB

In the Washington Council of the Blind, we struggle every day to improve the rights and opportunities of blind persons. Advocacy is a crucial part of what being involved in our organization is all about. Sometimes we get so involved in local issues that we forget the all-important state and national issues that affect our daily lives. The board and other attendees at the August retreat in Seattle were treated to an intense cram course in this subject as Melanie Brunson, director of governmental affairs for the American Council of the Blind, took about an hour to force-feed us on voting accessibility and other burning issues in the state capital. It is a big subject, but these are the highlights of her presentation.

We demand accessible money. The ACB has now filed suit against the Treasury Department, claiming that our paper currency violates Section 504 of the Rehab Act. We have not yet demanded any specific measures and would be very happy if this action just gains us some kind of working dialogue with the Treasury Department. Melanie assured us that there is great promise on the accessible textbook front, as we are not alone in fighting for the passage of the Instructional Materials Accessibility Act this year. It is crucial that some action be taken on this legislation before the reauthorization of IDEA (see below) takes center stage this fall. This law would require that primary and secondary school textbooks would be generated in alternative formats simultaneous with the standard print format. States would be required to put a plan in place to get accessible textbooks in the hands of school children with disabilities in a timely manner or lose federal funding. The pertinent legislation is S2246 in the Senate and HR4582 in the House.

IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is one of those federal programs that dies periodically if it is not reauthorized. It is due for reconsideration again this fall and an important concern that we are advocating for is more flexibility and options for students with visual impairments. We also believe that all teachers, including our special education teachers, need more training to adequately meet our needs.

Melanie reported that just a week before our WCB board meeting, the ACB filed suit against Medicare and the Department of Health Services. The issue is the new visudyne treatment, which both Medicare and Medicaid were supposed to cover, but at the last minute coverage was withdrawn. No reason has ever been given for this last-minute reversal and the purpose of our suit is to appeal this arbitrary decision.

Melanie warned us that the postal service is currently out to further clamp down on the use of our Free Matter mailing privileges. If you are mailing large print, Braille, tape or talking book disks, it is legal to send them Free Matter only if you are a blind person sending them to another blind person, or if you are an organization sending to a blind person. In other words, both the sender and receiver must be eligible. We need to be very careful about using Free Matter to send our newsletters to sighted persons who may be on our mailing list – even though they are bona fide members. Organizations such as ours are now being audited and we need to be ready to show that we made a good faith effort to restrict circulation in this manner. Auditors are also looking at the font to make sure that it is at least 14-point, and at the content to confirm that there is no paid advertising or solicitations for participation. Handwritten documents are also not allowed, no matter how big the printing is. The postal service still seems to be ignoring the issue of computer disks. Stay tuned for more activity in this area.

The government agency responsible for the recent changes in airport security is the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA has a Web page called "Tips for Summer Travelers," which includes some specific guidelines for the disabled. Melanie advised us to print out this guide and carry it when we fly. The airport personnel have until November to completely train all of their security people in these new regulations, and you might run into a security person who does not know that it is permitted for blind persons to carry a slate and stylus on a plane.

The seminar concluded with a report on the equal access to independent voting front. Melanie discussed it from the federal standpoint, and our own Gary Burdette covered the situation in our state. Everyone agrees that the time is ripe to make changes in the federal voting statutes. Melanie says that the tests for accessible voting are three: Is it accessible? Is it independent? Is it verifiable? Both the House and Senate have bills in the works and they are now in conference committee. Melanie likes the Senate bill better because it links accessibility requirements to qualifying for federal funds. We will meet with our Washington Secretary of State in October to continue our dialogue with him on state voting accessibility.

It is always a shot in the arm to have someone like Melanie speak to our group. This was her last official task for awhile, as she flew from here directly to California to pick up a new guide dog. We sent her on her way with our best wishes.


The WCB Board Meets
by Shirley Taylor
2nd Vice-President, WCB

On Saturday, August 10th, the WCB board met at the West Coast Bellevue Hotel. All but one of the board members were present, as well as chapter representatives and many other interested persons. A special guest was Melanie Brunson from the ACB National office.

After the call to order, minutes and Treasurer's report, President Berl Colley gave a brief review of the ACB National convention. Cindy Burgett announced that Berl has been appointed to the National Convention Committee, and will be the Coordinator of Tours. Cindy then gave her report from the State Convention Committee. This will be covered in another article in this issue.

We next heard from Rhonda Nelson and the Budget Committee. Rhonda read the new grant application worked out by her committee. This was approved with one addition. Two grant requests were brought before the board. The first request, for $10,000, was from ACB, to fund a computer operation system. This request was denied. Instead, the board voted to give $10,000 to assist with the production of the Braille Forum. The second request was for grading, toilets and equipment for Camp Harobed. The Budget Committee recommended funding only the portion for toilets and equipment. The board voted to follow that recommendation, and granted the camp $3,200.

Next were reports from the Aging and Blindness, Crisis and Advocacy committees. Berl talked about the WCB investments. The Scholarship Committee has received 11 applications this year. It was announced that the Vehicle Donation Center (our fundraiser) has given $5,000 for two scholarships, one for a man and one for a woman. These scholarships will be given each year for five years. After a report from Gary Burdette and the Legislative Committee, we broke for lunch.

Following lunch, Melanie Brunson brought us up-to-date on what's new in the national office. She has been doing some work with the airlines about new rules for carry-on luggage. It is now allowed to bring a slate and stylus on board a plane. She was followed by updates from Membership, Services for the Blind, Newsline and the Web page.

Berl talked about the vehicle donation program and read from some of the reports sent to him. It was fun to hear about specific cars, boats, RVs, etc. which had been donated and how many had been sold. A request from the Sanderson Group to allow them to accept donations via credit cards was approved.

We were brought up-to-date by the committees on Environmental Access, Families with Blind Children, the Talking Book and Braille Library, and the State School for the Blind. Cynthia Towers talked a bit about the 2003 National Convention. She stirred many of us with more of an interest in attending.

Sue Ammeter told us of her attendance at the memorial services for Justin Dart. The board voted to pay her expenses for this trip.

Berl announced the names of the Nominating Committee and the positions to be filled. The day ended with David Edick presenting thoughts about archives and the possibility of broadcasting our State Convention.

The day had been long and very busy, but well worth the hours spent.


Non-profit Status - Is It Worth the Hassle?
by Frank Cuta,
Board Member, WCB

Most Chapter representatives have likely discovered that there are many confusing issues surrounding the process of obtaining IRS non-profit tax exempt 501(c)(3) certification for their local affiliate (hereinafter referred to as just 501(c)(3). We have questions such as What is it? Do we really need it or want it? Do we already have it? How hard is it to get? How much does it cost? In order to assist affiliate leaders to better understand these issues, we invited our attorney, Lisa Johnson, to speak to us at the pre-board meeting seminar on August 10th. As a result, we can’t claim to be authorities on the subject, but we certainly have taken a great step forward in our understanding of this complex and confusing issue. Hopefully this summary will answer most questions. A more detailed account of this material, including technical step by step instructions, is available to affiliate leaders.

First of all, your local affiliate is probably not certified 501(c)(3) and it certainly is in no way obligated to obtain such certification. A small peer-support and fellowship-oriented group that never has over $1000 in its treasury should probably not be very concerned about seeking full 501(c)(3) status. Although, as you will soon see, the affiliate might want to seriously consider completing some of the less involved preliminary steps.

Why would you want to be a 501(c)(3)? Receiving 501(c)(3) status from the IRS becomes an issue when you become interested in accumulating the assets necessary to support programs and services. As a 501(c)(3) you can accept tax deductible contributions. This means that there is a direct benefit not only to you but to the contributor. Your 501(c)(3) group can also apply for free excess office equipment and computers from the government and apply for government grants. Most corporations and other funding sources only donate to charitable organizations, and when they use the term "charitable" you can bet that they mean certified 501(c)(3). The same holds true for qualifying for United Way funding.

This is because with full certification the IRS gives your organization a very special status. You are recognized as being established for the public benefit and your board acts on behalf of the public. You offer a service to the public that the government does not directly provide. Because you provide this beneficial service instead of paying taxes, the government protects you from them. In addition, the government expects that by making you eligible for tax deductible contributions, your worthy programs will be supported by individuals and institutions who want to benefit from such deductions. The same goes for bequests. Bequests are the major resource supporting some of our local affiliates who currently have substantial bank accounts. Where individual donations usually range from just a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, bequests typically range from tens of thousand of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bequests are usually a private matter that a prospective donor works out with their attorney. Your affiliate could be considered and rejected for including in a person’s estate because you lack 501(c)(3) status and you would probably never even know about it.

Even if you never intend to seek full 501(c)(3) status for your local affiliate, at a minimum you should file with the Secretary of State and incorporate in the State of Washington. You also need to file for a federal taxpayer identification number. Even if you seek the assistance of an attorney, these filings and registrations should not cost more than a few hundred dollars, and there is virtually no wait. With these in place you will be a registered charitable not-for-profit organization in the State of Washington, your organizational name will be protected, and you will be able to obtain a bank account.

The federal filing for full 501 (c)(3), on the other hand, involves completion of a very lengthy, very involved document that is best accomplished with the assistance of an attorney. The cost of the process when employing such professional assistance will be several thousand dollars and can take from six months to a year.

With 501(c)(3) status comes an additional burden on your organization. Because the board acts on behalf of the public, they must act in a highly responsible manner. They need to understand that they are now managing assets that are a public trust. They have to be particularly careful to avoid conflicts of interest. Not only good but excellent minutes and financial records must be kept and archived, and regular internal audits need to be performed.

In the past there has been much confusion in WCB surrounding the idea that local affiliates somehow shared the 501(c)(3) status of the state organization. While this has never been true, it is possible and it is called group exemption. One drawback is that all local affiliates included in a group exemption would be required to annually report to the WCB their lump sum annual income and expenses. If the WCB set up a group exemption, could we ever get all chapters to provide this information? What about liability issues? What would we do if chapters failed to provide this required information?

The WCB board has established a new committee to investigate this entire issue. We will be looking at how the state organization can best support chapters interested in tightening up their organizational registration. We will be considering the group exemption and another, more obscure concept called 501 (c)(4), as well. All of this is covered in more depth in the more detailed account of this material that I have designed to be used as a resource for affiliate leaders. Contact or call me at (509) 967-2658.


Start Your Engines
by Cindy Burgett,
2002 Convention Chair

Hello, WCB Conventioneers!

I hope you're getting revved up for this year's state convention to be held October 24-26, 2002. If you haven't yet made your room reservation, you'll want to do that by calling the Kelso Red Lion at (360) 636-4400. Remember, in order to receive your key at the $55 nightly rate, you must make this reservation by October 4.

Now, let's see what the Blue Book says about this year's convention.

By now, you should have received your convention bulletin. If you have not yet received it, there are a few things you can do. First of all, you can call 1-800-255-1147 (if outside of business hours, leave a message with your address information). You can also request a copy of the bulletin be sent to you via email and you may submit your registration form electronically as well. The registration form can be found on our Website at

If you send in the registration form through email or on the Website, you will still need to mail in your appropriate fees for it to be valid. To request a bulletin be emailed to you, place "convention bulletin" in the subject line and send to:

This year's convention is still in the shop getting a tune-up, but it looks to be an exciting one, filled with presentations, panels, discussion groups, games and much more! It's certainly going to be three days you won't want to miss!

Some of the presentations you can look forward to for this year's convention are: a transportation panel on helping us take a look at using transportation in our own communities; an employment panel with successful business people who are blind; a panel which will help us take a look at the history of library services for the blind in our state; a diabetes seminar; and we'll hear about how WSSB is reaching out to students throughout Washington via its Outreach Services.

We will have two concurrent sessions surrounding Friday's lunch. The two we will have to choose from before lunch are the Diabetes Seminar and the panel on the Library. After lunch, the choice may be a little bit easier, because it will be either a panel presentation sponsored by the Aging and Blindness Committee, or a presentation geared toward our younger membership, addressing issues about available services for the school or employment bound individual.

During our Friday Luncheon, we will be entertained by Andre Stepankowsky, an editor at The Daily News in Longview and a Pulitzer Prize Winner for his stories, experiences, and coverage of the May 18th eruption of Mount St. Helens.

The entertainment will not stop at our Luncheon. On Friday afternoon, we will be honored to welcome Jim Zeiger, talking book narrator from Denver, Colorado to share with us some of his experiences and fondest memories. For those of us who have enjoyed this kind of presentation in the past, we truly have something special to look forward to once again!

Kim Charlson may not be a mechanic, but she will be our ACB National Rep, and our Banquet speaker. Kim is Director of the Massachusetts State Library for the Blind and throughout the convention will share her knowledge of library services, ACB issues, and more.

For those of you who will be attending your first convention, please be sure to make your plans to attend the First-Timers breakfast on Friday morning. And a sneak peek into the Membership Lunch on Saturday reveals we will be hearing about many of the Special Interest Affiliates within ACB.

As in all trips, you will delight in the sightseeing opportunities in the Exhibit Hall. And be sure to make a rest stop at the Hospitality Room each night. There truly is no better way to learn about the issues concerning blind people and to mingle with new and old friends alike, than at a WCB state convention.

So, get your motor running, buckle up and make your plans to enjoy the ride as you take part in the 2002 state convention of the Washington Council of the Blind.


Washington State Dept. of Services for the Blind
by Bill Palmer, Director

Tragic Accident Results in Loss of Life

On Friday, August 16, 2002, a tragic accident occurred. Aaron Castellon, a 42-year old student at our Orientation and Training Center (OTC), drowned during one of our student outings. In the 40-year history of serving blind people engaged in vocational rehabilitation, this is the first fatality during a department-organized function. Our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron and his family.

The employees of the OTC, Aaron's fellow students, and all of us at DSB who worked with and knew Aaron are devastated. We arranged for two grief counseling sessions for employees and students at our Seattle office. On Thursday, August 22, we held a memorial service to remember Aaron.

We will do our best to recover from this loss, and we know that it will take a while to work through the grieving process and to heal. One step in that healing process will be conducting a risk analysis of our training programs. We know that there are some inherent risks involved in developing the skills and confidence to be active at work, play, and throughout one's community. This is true whether a person is sighted or not. Our goal is to minimize those risks through the best safety practices avai

DSB thanks the Washington Council of the Blind for their caring gestures and words of support following this tragic accident.

DSB Proposes Agency Request Legislation

This year, DSB is submitting a request to the Governor's office for Agency Request legislation. If the Governor supports our proposal, it will be included in the Governor's legislative package in 2003.

The request proposes revisions to Chapter 74.18 RCW, which is the Department's authorizing statute. Most of the proposed changes are necessary to comply with revisions to the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended in 1998. Other proposed changes include: repeal of authority to operate a medical eye care program (Prevention of Blindness Program), establishing authority to conduct criminal background checks for employees and service providers who serve our participants, establishing how the Depa

DSB's proposed revisions are located at These documents are also available in print and alternative formats by contacting Marla Oughton at or (206) 721-6430.

Job, Jobs, Jobs

"What jobs can a blind person do?" This is a question we often hear from folks when they first contact us at DSB. Behind this question is an assumption that there are certain kinds of jobs for people who are blind. Many are surprised when they learn that our participants go to work in almost every sort of occupation imaginable. We start by helping a person explore their interests and abilities. Then we help them to add the other key ingredients for success: good alternative skills of blindness, self-confidence, good interpersonal skills, access to information and technology, and specific job skills.

To give you a taste of how wide the range of employment possibilities is for our participants, below are a few of the jobs they succeeded in just this past year: administrative secretary, real-estate agent, information technician and web designer, cook, school teacher, medical assistant, electrician, agency director, software tester, lawyer, registered nurse, motivational speaker, retail manager, chemical radiation technician, superintendent, barber, auditor, and pharmacy technician. For a full list of the jobs 118 participants succeeded in this past year and the names of the employers who hired them, visit our web site at Congratulations to all those successfully employed folks and to their employers.

The goal of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is competitive employment. When we say competitive employment, we mean jobs with good wages, so people can support their families, receive benefits and medical insurance, remove themselves from public assistance, pay taxes, and become active contributing members of their communities. The average wage for our participants has been between $11 and $13 per hour over the last three years. This average includes folks who started their very first job, as well as others with a lot of employment history who may have changed careers, returned to or retained their previous employment.

DSB continues to be a national leader, ranking in the top three states amongst the blind agencies in the country at competitive, integrated job outcomes. Of the 118 DSB participants who achieved employment this past year, 98% earned competitive wages or salaries. Their average annual income grew by 127%. Their combined annual incomes amount to nearly 2.9 million dollars. Over the term of their employment, their combined future tax payment is projected to be over 17 million dollars. For every tax dollar invested in the vocational rehabilitation of a DSB participant, an additional $5.95 will be earned in the participant’s future employment

* * * *

Part 2 of this article, dealing with Independent Living Services, will appear in the December NEWSLINE.


Big Changes at WSSB
by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem,

The summer of 2002 has been extremely busy, with numerous capital construction projects occurring on the WSSB campus. Beginning with the fall of 2002, there will be no classes for one school year in the Irwin Education (main school building), which was built in 1959. The building has been vacated to facilitate construction that will result in each classroom being not only designed for on-campus programs, but also for distance learning. This means that for the first time since the mid 1930s the Old Main Building will once again be home to almost all classes. This will pose an interesting year for all students and staff and should result in some great mobility lessons for children.

Construction in other locations on campus and the phasing of all projects and continuing to operate educational programs for children can be quite a balancing act. With the elimination of the Irwin Building for one year comes the completion of the Old Main Building and the necessary modification to provide a functional environment for the one-year displacement. Fries Auditorium (second floor auditorium) in Old Main will be done for the start of school with a dedication program occurring on September 21st at 2:00pm. The courtyard north of the dining room will also be completed within the first week of school and provide additional space. During all of this, a new building is going up on the east side of the Old Main Building that will be the home of the Instructional Resource Center and Braille Access Center, summer of 2003. Needless to say, summer has been busy.

In addition to the construction, WSSB has de-consolidated business offices from the Washington School for the Deaf and went operational July 1, 2002. The new business office is located on the second floor of Old Main and will provide us the necessary support to continue to move forward for many years.

Anticipated student enrollment on campus is up for the fall and we should have between 70-80 students on campus by October. This means that we will once again be in a situation where we will more than likely have a waiting list for children wanting on-campus services. This just emphasizes the importance for us to complete the distance learning project and to provide more flexibility in helping students and districts with unmet needs through a distance learning option.

Requests for outreach services continue to grow and the need for quality teachers of the blind remains a very high priority. Currently, WSSB has 10 additional districts that want some type of service. We know that we can't meet all their needs at this time, but will continue to work with them and see what type of options can be put in place to assist them with providing quality services for children. WSSB and the State of Washington have established an arrangement with Stephen F. Austin University, a

As I mentioned in the title, big changes have occurred during the summer of 2002. If you are in the area, stop in for a visit. Maybe, with your state convention being held in southwest Washington, some tours could be set up of WSSB.


Library Notes
by Beth Eisenhood,
Children's Librarian at WTBBL

The beginning of fall seems the ideal time to remind the community that the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library serves children, their parents and their teachers, as well as adult readers. We have an active Children's Services division, which currently has four brochures available for the public in print and in Braille.

One brochure, entitled "Children's Services," gives an overview of what we can provide for infants, school-aged children, parents and teachers, and schools and libraries. "How to Raise a Reader with Vision Loss" gives tips for sharing the reading experience with children from birth on, while "Toddler Books on Tape to Build On" is a listing of short, captivating books for the very young learning to operate a cassette machine independently. The final brochure is "Resou

The summer ended on a happy note for all young readers who participated in WTBBL's 15th summer reading program by mail. Everyone who read at least one book received a t-shirt, which seems to be the prize of choice. The t-shirts this year show the WCB logo, and the message, "Rediscover Your World - Summer Reading Program 2002." They are illustrated by a cluster of children reading; one is a boy with a dog guide, who is reading a Braille book. It's always fun to see some growing c

Those reading at least 10 books by mid-August were eligible for a drawing to attend Seattle Public Library's "Breakfast of Champions," an annual celebration treating one reader and family member from each public library branch to a hotel meal, prizes and congratulations from city notables. For the past several years, WTBBL readers have also joined in. The winner of the 2002 drawing was 12-year old patron Sam Maupin, who came over from Kingston with his family to enjoy a morning at the Sherat

WTBBL staff want to maximize the reading opportunities for every young reader. Contact the children's librarian directly via e-mail at if you have comments or suggestions.


Louis Braille Center News
by Carolyn Meyer, Director

This summer the Louis Braille Center was pleased to offer employment to two teenagers. During the month of July, we participated in the Department of Services for the Blind Youth Employment Solutions (YES) program. In August we enjoyed the assistance of one of our Second Saturday Club members.

Our July Teen Employee:

The DSB YES 2 program is a six-week program for students who are visually impaired and are age 16 through high school graduation. The students live together at a sorority house in Seattle's University District, where they learn how to live on their own in a safe environment. The first week is an orientation and introduction to the challenges and responsibilities that are to follow. For the remaining five weeks, each student travels independently, usually by bus, to his or her employer. Friday afterno

Jen, our YES 2 employee, traveled by bus from the University District to the Louis Braille Center. She had to be up at 6am in order to catch the 7:30 bus that got her to work on time. She left the Center at 4pm and got back to the University District at 5:30.

Jen, an excellent writer with outstanding braille and computer skills, made good use of our 80-cell braille display. Jen's many tasks included assembling braille books, writing descriptions of braille books for our catalog, assisting clients, helping organize our braille library, and writing outstanding articles for our newsletter.

At the end of the month, we had a pizza party to thank Jen, honor all of our helpers, and to introduce Chris, who joined us in August.

Our August Employee:

Chris has been a member of our Second Saturday Club since its first gathering and has missed only two meetings. He is now 15 years old. We were pleased when he agreed to work for us three days a week during the month of August. This is his first paid job.

Chris helped us by writing articles for the newsletter, answering the telephone, organizing library books, putting an unending number of address and FREE MATTER labels on envelopes and helping prepare braille labels for our computer disks and file folders.

Chris shared some wonderfully creative ideas that will be with us for months to come. He was the mastermind for our fall bulletin board that is made to be felt: there are tactile clouds, raindrops, fall leaves and pinecones; and there are Jack o' Lanterns and spiders peeking out from a big, fluffy spider web.

We are implementing Chris' idea for a creative writing magazine of stories and articles written by children who are blind or visually impaired. The first issue is scheduled for publication in January 2003. Please call us at (425) 776-4042 if you know of a budding writer who would like to participate.

It seems much too quiet now that our young summer helpers are back in school. However, the Second Saturday Club resumed September 14, and next summer is only a few months away.


WCB and Spaghetti Go Great Together
by Glenn McCully, Board Member,
United Blind of Seattle

Once again this summer the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) offered the Youth Employment Solutions (YES) program to blind and visually impaired high school students. This yearly event gives them an opportunity to learn about and experience their first real taste of work. The younger students meet at the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) in Vancouver and learn job-related skills such as resume writing and interviewing techniques. They also take several field trips to actual work settings to observe and learn about the workplace. The older high school students (22 of them this year) travel to Seattle for a six-week summer job program.

While in Seattle, the students stay at the Delta Delta Delta sorority house near the University of Washington. They are responsible for their own cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Each day they go to a jobsite and work in a real employment setting for the six-week period. The University of Washington, DSB, Port of Seattle, and Lighthouse for the Blind are just a few of the places the students worked this year.

Services for the Blind staff meet regularly with employers to track students' progress and find out what, if any, suggestions they have to improve each student's work experience. During this time, students are paid at least minimum wage. This work experience also teaches them to live on a budget and manage their finances.

In addition to work experience, students are also exposed to a variety of other activities, one being an introduction to blind consumer groups. On Wednesday, July 10th, Julie DeGeus and I, representing WCB, and National Federation of the Blind (NFB) representatives attended a spaghetti dinner prepared by the students. This dinner, which is held each year, gives representatives from consumer groups an opportunity to share and visit with the students. Julie and I, who had both just arrived home from the ACB national convention in Houston three days earlier, shared the ACB and WCB philosophy and answered questions on a variety of topics including pedestrian safety and mobility. We also provided the students with Braille and large print information from the ACB website in a question and answer format.

Julie and I both were impressed by the maturity exhibited by the students and thought the frank and informative give and take between the students and the representatives of different groups went well. The students would ask a question and then the consumer groups would take turns sharing their philosophy and reason for the way they answered each question. We both enjoyed the evening and thought it was a great experience. Alan Garrells from DSB staff, who manages the YES program, sent an email to Julie and me which said in part, "We appreciate the support that the Council has demonstrated over the years, as well as the support that you and so many other members of the Council have given to YES."

As a closing note, I would like to mention that WCB's own junior member, Michele Denzel from the Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB), was one of this year's participants. Those of you who went to the Wenatchee convention last year will remember her as the Bop It champion. Congratulations to Michele and the rest of this year's group.

Blind Youth Project
by Sharon Keeran
Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

As has been previously reported in this issue of NEWSLINE, DSB sponsored their summer program for blind and visually impaired youth in order to offer work experience and opportunities for social interaction. These 16- and 17-year olds are not all necessarily legally blind now, but have the potential for being so. Their families, who are aware of the future of their children, have kept in touch with DSB over the years.

Along with this great opportunity for work experience, another project financially unrelated to DSB, is the Blind Youth Project. The kids may choose to participate in a creative endeavor in either music or radio drama. For the month of July, on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Jack Straw Productions, which has two fully equipped recording studios, makes their facilities and staff available to the kids. I was invited to one of these evenings and I must tell you my experience, as it was much fun and also educational.

One studio was dedicated to music projects and the other for creating a 15-minute radio drama. I selected to sit in on the drama. Led by Jesse Minkert, Director of Access for Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA), the dialogue of the short drama had already been written. The story is about high school jealousies, two boys interested in one girl.

This evening the sound effects were to be added to the plot. The setting is a classroom with the two boys arguing. Finally one boy jerks the other boy's pants down in front of the class. How do you think that sound could be recreated for listeners? After much discussion, a nylon jacket was stuffed inside a backpack and the backpack zipped halfway closed. By jerking the jacket out of the backpack, you got a nice swishing sound. The kids vied to do the sound effect and everyone voted on the best res

In retaliation, the humiliated boy poured water over the first. That was tricky, it having to be done in segments - first filling the bucket (which was a waste basket), then walking back into the classroom, sloshing the water, then dipping out some water and pouring it back into the container to simulate the splash.

The kids were so enthusiastic and have such high energy. I admired Jesse and staff for their patience and insistence on staying on task. This sort of project gives kids a chance to do something even their sighted peers probably haven't done, and develops imagination that I don't believe television offers. This is the youth project's sixth year.

There is a plan in the works for a similar drama or music project for adults. You can bet that I will volunteer.


The Price of Victory
by Carl Jarvis, President,
Jefferson County
Council of the Blind

To a large degree it was we, the blind, who brought an end to the Washington State Commission for the Blind, and nearly lost the hard-won separate status for Services for the Blind.

In 1977, when Governor Ray signed the Commission Bill, and we had raised our champagne glasses in victory, Al Fisher reminded us that, "The price of victory is eternal vigilance." Yet, with the ink barely dry and Al's words still ringing in our ears, the state affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) became embroiled in a philosophical disagreement with its National Office. Soon the disagreement exploded into open hostilities accompanied by lawyers and court appearances, concl

While the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) stayed out of the fight, the Commission was dragged into the fracas by the feuding factions. Within the Commission for the Blind, personnel issues - normally dealt with internally - were taken public by self-serving opportunists. Soon, TV and newspapers were having a field day. Subsequently, in 1980, Ken Hopkins resigned as Commission Director.

Following a nation-wide search, the Commission Board hired Bill James from Pennsylvania. It didn't take long to discover that James was in over his head. Proclaiming to be politically neutral, he succeeded in losing the confidence of both blind organizations and the Commission Board in less than one year.

The commissioners gathered one more time and hired their third, and final, director, Paul DzieDzic. DzieDzic headed the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, and had the reputation of being politically well connected. DzieDzic came on board in what most certainly was the Commission's darkest hour. Staff morale was at an all-time low and client referrals were far below normal. Worse yet, the 1982 Legislature was about to convene, and while the media had moved on to new topics of p

The Governor appointed Paul DzieDzic as the Department's first director, and the Commission Board was replaced by an Advisory Council. To the general public, and even within the blind community, these changes appeared to be of little consequence. In fact, they were most significant. Under the Commission, the five-member Board, appointed by the Governor, had wide-ranging powers. They hired and fired the director and had final approval of all programs, policies and procedures. As a Board, the Commiss

The new Advisory Council to the Department of Services for the Blind consisted of nine members, all Governor appointees. The majority were blind. Both of the consumer organizations had two of their members placed on the Council. Primarily the Council reviewed such things as budget and program requests, changes in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), new policies, etc. It could also bring forward issues and concerns from the community. In practice, Director DzieDzic (1982-1988) and his successor Shirley Smith (1988-1999) used the Council to endorse issues that had been carefully prepared for presentation before it. The consumer organizations never really learned to use the Council to bring their concerns and issues before the Department. With a few notable exceptions, the public Council meetings, held quarterly, drew little public interest.

The retirement of Shirley Smith brought an extended nation-wide search for a new Director. Gary Haug, recently retired Director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, was selected. Highly regarded, Haug arrived amid great expectations. Within months, his personal affairs forced him to return to New Mexico. Someone said, "He left so fast I never learned how to spell his last name." Another voice said, "What was his last name?"

Bill Palmer, who had filled in as acting Director prior to the Haug appointment, and now acting Director of the Arts Commission, was quickly selected to fill the vacant post.

Beginning during Smith's administration and carrying on into Palmer's, the Advisory Council was undergoing a face lift. The name was changed to the Rehabilitation Council for the Department of Services for the Blind. Federal guidelines greatly expanded the Council's duties, responsibilities, and membership.


In our final article (December NEWSLINE), we will look at the Rehabilitation Council as it has evolved, and its potential as a major player in developing services for the blind.




King County Chapter by Marilyn Donnelly &
Virginia Schneebeck 44
Lower Columbia Council of the Blind by Pamela Dickey 45
Peninsula Council of the Blind by Cindy Burgett 46
United Blind of Seattle by Dan Tonge 48
United Blind of Spokane by Marlee Naddy 49
United Blind of Walla Walla by Ernie Jones 50

King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer &
Virginia Schneebeck, Member

Recent guest speakers have given us variety, and isn't that just the spice of life. Members Barbara and Ken Nelson, who are seasoned travelers and parents of our own Rhonda Nelson, visited Turkey this past spring and called it one of their best tours ever. Turkey is a country that has experienced centuries of turf wars and ethnic upheavals. All this rich history has added to the sights and sounds of modern day Istanbul with its population of millions. Then it was off to the countryside, where condit

Recent guest speaker Sue Ammeter, who is advocacy chairman for WCB, gave us a good message on how to advocate for ourselves with people, places and agencies. But if all our attempts should fail, Sue is willing and able to join our cause and intercede for us with these same people, places, and agencies.

Many of us enjoyed our annual barbecue picnic at the Schneebeck estate in late July. A variety of delicious food and beverages plus a visit from the ice cream vendor all added up to a wonderful afternoon with friends. Thank you Tim and Virginia and all your helpers for such a special event. Marilyn certainly enjoyed the return of the hot dog.

Three of our members have been experiencing hospital stays. A warm and friendly wish for a speedy recovery goes out to Elaine Ward, Michelle Ebbighausen, and Carolyn Dunlap.

Many of us are looking forward to the State Convention in Kelso. We hope to see you there.

Lower Columbia Council
of the Blind

by Pamela Dickey, Secretary/Treasurer

Greetings from the LCCB chapter. As you can imagine, we are excited and very busy getting ready for our state convention. Being the host of this year's convention has been a real help in our outreach efforts in our community. We have made new friends with the Pioneer Lions organization here in Longview, and they plan to make your stay in Kelso run very smoothly. This is a large group with 150 members who want to get involved in our group's happenings. Some of you might remember the Boy Scouts who h

Our second Annual LCCB Picnic was another community outreach that we did this summer. Cheryl Danzl, our latest member to attend the WCB Leadership Seminar, did an outstanding job arranging the entertainment. The Black Dog Drummers, a Christian Native American band, Lon Minkler, a logger poet and storyteller, plus other local artists entertained us. Several members from the Olympia chapter joined us for a wonderful old-fashioned potluck picnic with all the trimmings, and a day of companionship.

At our picnic, Clara Sundberg and Barbara Sundberg donated another quilt for our scholarship fundraiser. It will be on display at the convention and we will be selling tickets for a dollar, with first prize the beautiful HAND STITCHED quilt, second prize will be $100 and third prize $50. Be sure to bring an extra dollar because we will be selling See's Candy bars again this year. We are all looking forward to seeing you at the convention, and it will give you a chance to meet two of our newest member


Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Cindy Burgett, President

This summer has been a fun one for PCB members and friends, as we've joined in two events at Camp Harobed.

First, we held our annual chapter picnic at the camp on July 13. Camp Harobed is about a 45-minute drive from Bremerton, and it is out of Kitsap County. Therefore, it's out of our community bus service. So, with the help of a chapter friend who drives a church bus, we were able to get use of that bus for the day and 14 members who chose to take advantage of this transportation met at Sylvan Way Baptist Church, where we were dropped back off on the return. Thirty-two of us attended the picnic, where w

Throughout the afternoon of sunshine, many of took a leisurely walk around the grounds or rode in the paddle boats. But, socializing and eating were probably the top activities of the day.

Then at the end of July, 19 of us left the hubbub of city life behind and spent 48 hours as campers. Five tents were staked and one van parked holding sleeping bags and campers. The meals were delicious and filling. The company cheerful, lively and fun. The activities of the day were relaxing, restful and peaceful when one wanted it to be that way, or exciting and crazy as blind campers took charge of the pedal and steering of paddle boats, played games on the deck, or practiced the wonderful art of practical jokes.

At night, we sat around the campfire roasting hot dogs or marshmallows and making S'mores, telling stories and jokes, singing funny and patriotic songs, and just having a blast.

What a memorable weekend, and well worth the $25 fee we each paid to be there. Those of us who took part in this year's camp encourage other chapters to contact Jack to schedule a time for your chapter to enjoy the great out-of-doors at Camp Harobed. Call Jack at (360) 372-2735 for more information.

Now as Fall is in our midst, we are making plans for attending the WCB convention and preparing for our major fundraiser of the year, selling the Kitsap Card, a discount card for our area. Wish us luck on this venture, as it was very successful in our first year of trying it.

The last bit of news we'll share with you is about meetings. We've changed the day we meet. You can now join PCB for our meetings on the second Saturday of each month. We meet at JJ's Diner in east Bremerton from 11:00am to 1:00pm, and we always welcome visitors. So, if you have nothing better to do on a second Saturday of the month, and would like to have a little outing on the ferry, come visit this side of the Sound and get to know your PCB chapter.


United Blind of Seattle
by Dan Tonge, Member

The activity in the UBS has been hot and heavy, just like the weather this summer. In May, UBS held its annual Friend Day. Since then, four new members have been added. They are Jim and Cheri Smith, and Tim and Becky Nohl.

In June, two people from Metro Transit spoke at our meeting about the criteria to qualify for Access rides.

In July, our presenter was Jesse Minkert, who talked about the Arts for Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA), as well as some history about local audio description and what is happening currently. People can sign up for packages, including plays and transportation. This is being done to increase awareness of and attendance for visually impaired persons of audio-described performances.

In August, an informative presentation was made about the Depression Wellness Network. Their mission is to surround those touched by depression with a supportive network, encouraging the belief that wellness is always possible. They can be reached by phone at (206) 528-9975 and email at Their web site is

Kay Holdaway is enthusiastically serving as chairperson of the Social Committee. As a result, we are having after-meeting get-togethers at various restaurants, including the Cheesecake Factory and the Sixth Avenue Grill, located several blocks from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.


United Blind of Spokane
by Marlee Naddy, Secretary

Good news! Bob Carroll was voted the "Outstanding First Year Member Award" by the Manito Lions Club. He won this Club plaque for being a willing participant in many activities such as the potluck picnic for the Lakeland Village adults, and helping with the volleyball tournament at Spokane Falls College. Congratulations, Bob!

More good news! Guess who called today? Alden Gerling. We lost track of him years ago after being a long-time active member. He's happy, remarried, uses a wheelchair, and lives in an adult family home in the Nine Mile area of Spokane.

This year we had our big summer get-together indoors at Lilac Blind Foundation. Many of Bill Ulmer's Exsighted group came, as did the Day Outers. Wes and Margaret Harvey - married 74 years - read an original poem, sang and played the piano. The Lilac staff joined us, too. The flies and ants did not!

Mary and Lester Thorpe cruised Lake Coeur d'Alene with the Day Out group. Mary Goetz is recovering from pneumonia and enjoying a visit with her family from Anchorage, Alaska. "Being around family is better than any pill a doctor can give you," says Mary.

Dorothy and Bob Carroll were visited over the summer by 21 grandchildren. The pool was greatly appreciated. Five grandchildren visited our household - the three from L.A. for three and a half weeks. I also flew to Ohio for my brother's funeral.

Loretta Tyler's family was with her when she died. Loretta was a former president and always had something to share - stories, food, ideas - we miss her!

Clara and Roy Donder have been to Las Vegas again and to California for a memorial service. Clara always comes home with a cane story or two!

Water aerobics are really helping Frances Spolski with arthritic pain. She uses a support cane now and wonders why so many people would rather stay home than use any kind of white cane.

New member Julie Parshall works at Rockwood Retirement Communities, South. Julie has a real gift for communicating with the residents. Knitting, cooking, crocheting, collecting rubber stamps, snow globes and recipes, searching for great buys for children's gifts to give to the church outreach program, are some of her hobbies. She lives with her mother and two brothers.

Hope lots of us see lots of you at the WCB Fall Convention!


United Blind of Walla Walla
by Ernie Jones, Secretary

The United Blind of Walla Walla has been active this summer, even though little news has been coming forth. On June 1, our dog guide users in this small community grew to four when I came home from GDB in Boring, OR with a lovely yellow female lab named Melita. Now we boast three yellow labs and one golden retriever, all from different schools. Of course, we all know our dog is the best, but for sure, mine is!

Our meeting the early part of July was a show & tell meeting. Our group has been growing so we brought in many visual aide items to show and explain to the new members and to many visitors. Most people do not know what is out there that one can buy to assist them when failing sight hits them. The more we can let others know what is available to help them, the less they will fear and the more hope they will have. With increased hope, life becomes brighter.

Our August meeting was a picnic in a lovely local park. We had the use of an enclosed building in case of bad weather, but we need not fear for the day was lovely. Here too we had some new people come and share with us. The food was great but the company was even better!

I have a thought for anyone out there who might be upgrading to a new and better computer. Check around and see if there might be someone nearby with failing eyesight who could benefit from your old computer.

Someone in our group just gave a computer to a young man, blind for 30 years, and right now he is getting it set up. He has already been in touch with Freedom Scientific and will soon be getting from them a free trial CD of JAWS. He is excited about being able to do more with a computer and about being able to even get on the Internet to browse or to gain more friends via email. So, look around you before discarding that old computer. It might be a great blessing to someone else who cannot afford to buy one!


by Jesse Minkert

Current information about access to arts in the Seattle area is on The Access Arts Line at (206) 528-2085. Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences publishes a free newsletter with schedules of audio described plays and news about description at movies and on TV and video. Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences is the arts access provider for blind and visually impaired people in the Puget Sound area.

To connect, call (206) 323-7190.

by Peggy Shoel

Congratulations to the following WCB members:


Bits and Pieces
by Peggy Shoel


Talking ATMs - They're Here
(source: Elaine Feingold of Berkeley, California)

Washington Mutual's Talking ATMs are now up and running in the below listed communities throughout our state.

Please contact your local Washington Mutual bank for precise location addresses and other information.

Burien, Everett, Kent-Benson Center, Marysville, Monroe, Seattle-Ballard, Seattle-International District, Seattle-Lake City, Spokane, Tukwila-Southcenter, and Vancouver.

Editor's Note: Please let us know if you have personal knowledge of operational talking ATMs in other state communities


That's Funny

A snail crawls into a car lot and tells the salesman he wants to see a very small car. The salesman says, "I can show you a very small car."

The snail says, "I want it to have a great big letter ‘S' painted on it." The salesman says, "Okay, but why?"

The snail responds, "When I go driving down the street, I want people to point and say, ‘Look at that S-car go!"


* * * * *

A man is walking along the beach and he spots a bottle. He picks it up and a genie emerges. The genie says, "I am a genie and I can grant you one wish."

The man thinks about it for a while and then says, "You know, I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I'm afraid to fly. My wish is for a highway from here to Hawaii." The genie says, "Are you crazy? Have you any idea how much money it would cost, how much equipment would be needed, how much cement would be required ... it's impossible. Think of something else."

The man thinks and says, "Okay. I have always wanted to understand women, so my wish is that I really understand women."

The genie pauses and says, "So, you want a two-lane or a four-lane highway?"


from the kitchen of Justine Keeran, sister of
Sharon Keeran, GDUWS


Dressing Ingredients: Yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sour cream, horseradish, salt and pepper, and lemon.

Mix together in a small bowl two tablespoons each of plain yogurt, mayonnaise and sour cream. Add one teaspoon each of horseradish and mustard. Salt and pepper to taste.

Slaw Ingredients: Cabbage, apples, carrots and raisins. To serve six, you need half a cabbage cut into small pieces, two apples cut into bite size pieces, a cup of raisins, and a
large shredded carrot. Toss together.

Mix the dressing into the slaw. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Watch out for seeds! Serve.




In the last NEWSLINE (June 2002), the phone number given for making state convention room reservations at the West Coast Red Lion Hotel in Kelso-Longview was wrong.

Chapter Presidents were promptly called with the correct number, (360) 636-4400, and requested to pass on the information. In addition, a posting was promptly made to the WCB list.




Article Deadline:

To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions, chapter news, and other information for publication must be received by November 30, 2002.

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


Publication Policy:

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




Deadline for next issue: November 30, 2002

Washington Council of the Blind
Peggy Shoel, Editor
5171 S. Spencer Street
Seattle, WA 98118

Copyright © 2002-2004 by Washington Council of the Blind -- All rights reserved.

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