The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind

 September 2004 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity

Founded 1935

(206) 283-4276

Cindy Burgett, President

6686 Capricorn Lane NE

Bremerton, WA  98311

(360) 698-0827


Peggy Shoel, Editor

5171 S. Spencer St.

Seattle, WA  98118

(206) 722-8477




From the President's Desk by Cindy Burgett

Editor's Comment by Peggy Shoel

Birmingham Snapshot by Glenn McCully

WCB Board Meets in Silverdale by Shari Burns

Bellingham, Almost Here: 2004 WCB Convention by Rhonda Nelson

WCB Scholarship Committee Report by Alan Bentson

Convention Within a Convention by Joleen Ferguson

A New Look at an Old Friend - The American Foundation for the Blind by Cynthia Towers

Berl Colley - Profile of a Leader by Denise Colley

WCB Considers a Telephone Reading Service in Washington by Julie DeGeus

WTBBL News by Gloria Leonard

WTBBL Patron Advisory Council by Doug Hildie

Louis Braille Center News by Carolyn Meyer

Braille Transcribing Pioneers by Carolyn Meyer

Report from WSSB by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem

Seeing Through the Blind Spots (reprint)

Around the State

Hats Off to You by Peggy Shoel

Bits & Pieces by Peggy Shoel







From the President’s Desk
by Cindy Burgett, WCB President

As I write this article, I can't help but wonder, "where did the summer go?" It doesn't seem that long ago that I was making plans for Alabama, and now the girls and I are getting ready to head back to school.

This summer has been a very busy one for my family and for WCB. Camping with my local chapter at Camp Harobed, going to Grand Assembly for Rainbow girls with my daughters, and spending many days at our County Fair have been some of the family activities I've enjoyed. But then there's my WCB family, which has also kept me busy this summer.

The ACB convention was a fast-paced week for me as I decided to run for, and was elected to, the ACB Board of Publications. What an honor! WCB member Cynthia Towers was elected to the ACB Board of Directors, while also serving as ACB convention chair. Berl Colley did an awesome job once again with organizing convention tours, while Frank Cuta & Terry Atwater actively participated on the Constitution & Bylaws Committee and the Resolutions Committee, respectively. Sue Ammeter continues to chair the ACB Membership Committee, Ralph Sanders chairs the ACB Public Relations Committee and Denise Colley serves on the ACB Scholarship Committee. Meka White sang her heart out at the Friends-and-Art Showcase with a solo, and Denise Colley and Julie DeGeus both sang in the choral production. Marlaina Lieberg kept herself busy broadcasting on ACB Radio from the Exhibit Hall, while Patti Shreck worked hard at the ACB Store booth. I guess what I'm getting at is that we all have reason to be proud of WCB and our members who continuously work hard in so many areas for WCB and ACB.

Coming back from convention meant getting ready for our Summer Board Retreat held in Silverdale, August 6-7. Every chapter was represented at this event with Friday afternoon's program being carried out by the talent of our own members once again. Julie DeGeus presented a model of WCB Days, an outreach program that WCB can take to chapters to help build interest in their area or in an untapped community, or something chapters can do on their own. Frank Cuta then gave some wonderful information about Public Address and sound systems, as well as Assisted Listening Devices, all targeted for the local chapter. Berl Colley provided wonderful fund-raising ideas, which spurred lots of discussion. Carl Jarvis then talked about the need for starting Support Groups outside of a chapter. The afternoon was brought to an end with me leading a sharing session on chapter dynamics and meetings. I received rave reviews about these presentations and believe that all chapters will benefit in some way by them. Be sure to ask your chapter representative to give a thorough report at an upcoming chapter meeting.

The final WCB event of the summer took place on August 14, as 70 of us attended a Mariners-Yankee game at Safeco Field in Seattle, while enjoying the delicious food and service of the Hit It Here Café. We had members and friends come from as far away as Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, and the Yakima chapter got 10 people together to join us. Even though this makes our 4th consecutive year of attending a losing game, the fun of being together is priceless.

Now as with any family, WCB members share in the good times, as well as the bad, or in this case, sad. In July, we were stunned by the loss of Sharon Keeran, a Past President of WCB and confirmed advocate for the rights of all people to have equal access to the theatre. In her memory, the board voted to send $500 to Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA) to pay for five theatre packages to an upcoming play.

Thus far in 2004, WCB has said good-bye to many of our members and have had many others found to be in poor health. For this reason, I have established, with the blessing of the board, a Sunshine Committee. Currently, Becky Bell & Peggy Shoel will be serving on this committee, responding to the needs of our membership in times of illness or loss of a loved one. To make this project successful, we will need the help of all of you. Please be sure that your chapter has a designated person who will communicate with the board when someone in your chapter is seriously ill or has passed away. We cannot respond if we do not know about a situation.

Now please all of you stay well and healthy and start making your plans to join us in Bellingham for what I believe will be our largest convention ever.


Editor's Comment

by Peggy Shoel

A Newsline Tribute

On Monday, July 26th, Sharon Keeran passed away. Sharon had been a member of the Newsline Editorial Committee for approximately 12 years. She had a degree in literature and was a lover and respecter of the written and spoken word. Sharon happily contributed her knowledge and language skills to our Newsline committee work and truly enjoyed being a team member. We will miss Sharon very much.

With respect and affection,

Peggy Shoel,

Cynthia Towers and

Avis Plough, Newsline Committee Reader


Birmingham Snapshot from an Alternate Delegate's Point of View

by Glenn McCully, Board Member, WCB

The 2004 ACB national convention held July 3-10 in Birmingham, Alabama, proved an exciting and educational environment for the 30+ WCB members who attended. Our delegation, along with 1100 other attendees from around the country, participated in a variety of educational sessions that provided information on a wide range of subjects. Healthcare issues, women's concerns, high-tech electronic equipment, voting access, creative writing, and business opportunities were just a few of the hundreds of activities and subjects available to convention goers this year.

The Alabama affiliate of ACB did an outstanding job acting as the host for the convention. The staff at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel and all the volunteers did a phenomenal job all week. One of the local volunteers from Birmingham had such a good time all week, he is planning to join us in Las Vegas in 2005. The events were well planned and the meeting accommodations were spacious and comfortable.

At the general sessions several important constitutional amendments were presented and voted on by delegates. For copies of these amendments, refer to the convention issue of The Braille Forum when it comes out later this fall. One very important resolution of note was a vote of no confidence taken by the membership that, if passed, would have asked the board of directors to seek the resignation of Chris Grey. It was overwhelmingly defeated and shows the continued need for active participation by all members of ACB, including those who may not always agree with the majority. Healthy debate is good for our organization and helps to reinforce the democratic principles on which ACB is founded.

WCB members were very active at the convention. Cindy has recognized them in her article. Cindy did a fine job representing WCB as our convention delegate. As the alternate delegate, I had a small role on Saturday filling in for Cindy when she had to return home. I want to take just a moment to thank the membership of WCB for sending me to represent you in this capacity. It was my pleasure to serve.

If you were unable to attend this convention, make plans now to attend the 2005 convention in Las Vegas. If you have never attended a national convention, you don’t know what you are missing. The opportunities to learn and grow are boundless and you will not regret your decision to attend.


The WCB Board Meets in Silverdale

by Shari Burns, Member, Peninsula Council of the Blind

The lively chatter in the room of the Red Lion Hotel quieted at 9:10am as President Cindy Burgett called to order the August 7th board meeting. According to Cindy, "Darn near on time."

All board members and chapter representatives were present with the exception of treasurer Sue Sather and board member Shirley Taylor. Over 40 members were in attendance.

In the president's report, which followed the treasurer's report, Cindy covered various topics. In her brief recap of the ACB Convention in Birmingham she thanked several people for their hard work and for jobs well done. She thanked the United Blind of the Tri Cities for the hospitality and warm welcome she received at their 25th anniversary celebration. Cindy is looking forward to attending the California Council of the Blind's 70th anniversary convention, to be held in Los Angeles the 4th weekend in October. A motion was passed to send Cindy or another WCB representative to serve on a panel at Oregon's 50th anniversary convention the 3rd weekend of October.

Cindy appointed Janice Squires as convention chair for our 2005 State Convention in Pasco.

Due to recent deaths and illnesses among our members, Cindy suggested that people in their local chapters choose a liaison who will keep the WCB board informed of future illnesses or deaths among our members.

A motion to donate $500 to AVIA (Arts For The Visually Impaired) in memory of WCB Past President Sharon Keeran passed unanimously.

Following Berl Colley's Vehicle Donation Processing Center report, Glenn McCully presented a grant request for $1,000 from Youth Awareness Disabilities Assemblies (YADA). The grant was awarded.

Rhonda Nelson presented the convention report. Details on the upcoming WCB convention can be found on the WCB website and later in this issue in Rhonda's article.

Discussion concerning new and interesting ideas presented in Berl Colley's fund-raising report brought Sue Ammeter out from behind the bouquet of flowers sent to her by her husband John in celebration of their 33rd anniversary. Sue presented a motion to focus on three of the ideas to be investigated at the next board meeting. The motion passed.

In the Scholarship report we learned that WCB has been named as one of the beneficiaries of the Arla Sheldon estate, and will be receiving over $80,000 to place in an endowment for scholarships. A motion was passed to establish a $2500 scholarship in the Sheldon name. Fifteen applications have been received this year and the awardees will be announced at the convention.

After a motion passed to allocate not more than $1200 to publish a brochure concerning aging and blindness and following a brief report on families with blind children, Viola Cruz demonstrated a telephone reading service with which a person can access material such as newspaper articles, recipes, and sale items through the use of their home telephone. We listened to a recipe for a garlic / "Jack Daniels" sauce which sounded like it would taste very good over the top sirloin steak which was on sale. The proposal for a statewide Telephone Reading Service will be presented at the preconvention board meeting.

Following a lunch of turkey sandwiches, a psychic speed bump, Cindy, after brief reports from the loan and history committees, discussed "old business." A motion was passed to create a policy that members may not have to pay back airline expenses when, due to unforeseen circumstances, they are unable to use a nonrefundable ticket. The decision would be left to the discretion of the board.

Ralph Sanders presented a fundraising project from the ACB Resource Development Committee, selling Talking thermometer keychains at $5 each and looking for affiliates to purchase a minimum of 100 with the ACB logo and 250 with their affiliate logo. A motion was passed to purchase 250 of these keychains.

At 2:45pm the door closed on the August 7th board meeting.


Bellingham, Almost Here: 2004 WCB Convention
by Rhonda Nelson, Convention Committee Chair

I know that we're getting very close to the 2004 Washington Council of the Blind convention, because this is my last Newsline article on the subject. So if you have not already made your plans to join us, now is a good time to do so.

Here are a few reminders: Our convention will be held November 11 through 13, 2004 at the Best Western Lakeway Inn in Bellingham. You may make room reservations by calling (888) 671-1011; be sure to do so by October 10 and let the reservationist know you are with the WCB convention. WCB is providing three free buses to and from convention, leaving from Kennewick, Bremerton and Seattle, and making stops en route. Travel stipends are available for members not served by the buses. For those members needing a little extra assistance in order to come to convention, a free room may be available. Details regarding all of the above are contained in our convention bulletin, which is being mailed to all WCB members. If you are not a member but would like to receive a bulletin, please request one by calling (800) 255-1147.

You may register for the convention in any of three ways: on line at; via E-mail by writing to  to request a form; or by completing the registration form enclosed with the bulletin. No matter which method you use to register, it is necessary to send in your payment by using the envelope enclosed with the bulletin or the mailing address provided in the on-line and E-mail forms. All preregistrations and their accompanying payments must be postmarked by October 10, 2004.

I'm happy to advise you that Ed Bradley, a member of the American Council of the Blind Board of Directors, will be our ACB representative, and Jeff Thom, president of the California Council of the Blind, will be our banquet speaker.

The WCB exhibit room, with a variety of interesting high and low tech products and displays, will be open from 10am to 6pm on Friday. Our luncheon speaker that day will be a Native American tribal historian and storyteller. We'll have a slight convention format change this year, in that Friday afternoon will be devoted entirely to "break-out" sessions. You will be able to choose among seminars dealing with technology, participation in the arts, aging and vision loss, and the health and care of guide dogs and pets. Friday evening activities will include an outing to a local casino, the first-ever WCB talent show, our always popular Bop-It tournament, and a roundtable discussion of WCB history.

Convention plenary sessions will be held Friday and Saturday mornings. There are breakfast or luncheon meetings for affiliate presidents, those interested in membership issues, and our Guide Dog Users of Washington State affiliate. The WCB business meeting will be Saturday afternoon, followed by the reception for scholarship winners and the annual banquet. And if it sounds like you'll need some relaxation during your busy weekend, facials will be available by appointment. Hospitality rooms provide another form of relaxation, and they will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The WCB Convention Committee and our host affiliate, the United Blind of Whatcom County, anticipate a convention filled with information, friendship and fun. We look forward to getting together with many of you November 11 through 13 in Bellingham!

WCB Scholarship Committee Report
by Alan Bentson, Co-Chair WCB Scholarship Committee

The WCB Scholarship Committee would cordially like to invite all Newsline readers to the reception for our scholarship winners, which will be held prior to the banquet on Saturday, November, 13. Our presentation at the banquet itself will be abbreviated to allow time for the presentation of awards, a new feature this year. Thus, the reception will be your only chance to get to know this exciting group of students and to hear their interesting stories.

We had 15 applicants for the 2004 WCB Scholarships, and a great mixture they were. There were ten women and five men. Eight people applied online and seven sent in paper applications, and this was using the rudimentary form we have so far on the website. Several of our applicants are taking online courses. Eight applicants are from Western Washington and seven reside in Eastern Washington. One fellow took advantage of our change in rules approved last spring which allows Washington residents who are attending school out of state but still in the Northwest to apply. Eight people had received our scholarship before, seven were applying for the first time. Eight applicants were attending their first college and trying to decide on a career, seven were older people who were changing careers or studying for advanced degrees.

On August 22, the Scholarship Committee met and chose nine winners for 2004. Who were they? What are their plans for the future? How will they use the scholarship? How did they get here in the first place? For answers to these and any other questions, you will have to attend the reception. See you there!


Convention Within a Convention

By Joleen Ferguson, President, GDUWS

If you have attended a convention before, you will doubtless remember that there are so many things to do and so many friends to see that you can come away exhausted. Imagine attending two conventions in the very same weekend. Double your fun and double the things to be learned. We have a deal for you!

Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS) is having its fall convention again in conjunction with the Washington Council of the Blind state convention. We welcome members and non-menbers to our events. If you are not a current guide dog user but you are interested in the issues and concerns of guide dogs and their handlers, you can join our ranks. We will be collecting dues for 2005 at the convention for renewal and for new members alike. Cost is $15.00.

Now for the details of our meeting as they are planned to date:

Plans are underway to have a veterinarian/chiropractor speak at one of the WCB breakout sessions on Friday afternoon at 3pm. Even if you don’t have a guide, you may have a family pet who could, some day, benefit by such services. Come and learn what she has to say.

We are hoping to have a new addition, a social event, dinner get together on Friday evening. We are only beginning to work out the details for this event.

Our business meeting is held over breakfast on Saturday morning. We hope to discuss our plans for the coming year and make some much-needed changes to our constitution.

We have a commitment from a puppy raiser to be our guest speaker during our Saturday luncheon. She has raised many guides and is a very motivational speaker. She brings enthusiasm to her topic. Some of us have heard Lynn Hobbs speak at the Oregon Romp.

We will also be present in the display room and we have some new items for sale in addition to our calendars from APH and our candy items. We hope to see you visit our table there.

We are also helping offset the work of WCB by taking responsibility for working out the details of the relief area. We intend to have written instructions at the hotel front desk for finding the two areas. We will be using our motion sensors to locate the trash cans again this time. Those who attended the August board meeting of WCB will now be familiar with them.

Be looking for final details in the WCB convention bulletin when it arrives in your mailbox.


A New Look at an Old Friend - The American Foundation for the Blind

by Cynthia Towers, Member, United Blind of Seattle

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) – the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life – was established in 1921. It is a national nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other citizens.

AFB promotes wide-ranging, systemic change by addressing the most critical issues facing the growing blind and visually impaired population – employment, independent living, literacy, and technology. In addition to its New York City headquarters, the American Foundation for the Blind maintains four National Centers in cities across the United States. The National Center on Age Related Vision Loss is located in Dallas, Texas. The National Employment Center is in San Francisco, California. The National Literacy Center is in Atlanta, Georgia and the Technology and Employment Center is in Huntington, West Virginia. Its Governmental Relations office is in Washington, D.C.

Carl Augusto, President and Chief Executive Officer of AFB since May 1991, is a leader in the field of blindness and visual impairment, having served in a variety of professional and volunteer capacities since 1971. During his tenure, he has guided AFB toward improved fiscal stability and greater focus in addressing critical issues facing the field of blindness with other organizations of and for the blind.

So, just what exactly does AFB do? For starters, they provide information about their advocacy efforts, including statements to Congress and regulatory agencies. In addition, they supply resources such as A Capital Idea!, a resource to help you learn how to work as an advocate, and Words from Washington, a free legislative update available from AFB’s Governmental Relations Department. Also, AFB Press provides more texts for college and university programs and more professional and consumer books on visual impairment than any other publisher in the field.

Additionally, AFB’s Policy Research & Program Evaluation Department produces and interprets valuable statistics about all non-medical aspects of blindness and visual impairment in order to better understand the demographic characteristics of the visually impaired community. This department is one of the few think tanks dedicated to sorting through the maze of survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and other national agencies.

Because there are approximately ten million blind and visually impaired people living in the U.S. who need products and services they can access, AFB helps to reach this untapped market by teaching companies how to adapt and upgrade products, design software that’s compatible with existing products, or create new technologies.

Talking Book Productions (TBP), a division of AFB, provides world-class audio production for commercial, educational, governmental, and corporate markets. Since pioneering the development of recorded books in the early 1930s, AFB has produced tens of thousands of Talking Books for the Library of Congress. AFB also has a wealth of resources on everything from eye conditions to how to find the nearest guide dog school. They are a needed influence in the blindness community and I am sure many of us have benefited from their services and programs.

Statistics was mentioned earlier as one of the areas on which AFB keeps a pulse. Below is a little quiz to see if you are up on your blindness trivia:
Q: How many visually impaired, blind, and deaf-blind students are served in special education in the United States?
A: Approximately 93,600 visually impaired or blind students, 10,800 of whom are deaf-blind;
Q: How many visually impaired and blind people use long canes to get around?
A: Approximately 109,000;
Q: How many visually impaired and blind people use dog guides to get around?
A: Just over 7,000 Americans use dog guides. Annually, approximately 1,500 individuals graduate from a dog-guide user program;
Q: How many blind or visually impaired adults in the United States use computers?
A: At least 1.5 million.

Now these next stats I found really interesting!
Q: What percentage of blind and visually impaired Americans is married?
A: Currently, approximately 42% of blind and visually impaired Americans are married, 33% are widowed, 13% are separated or divorced, and 13% have never married;
Q: Looking at different racial and ethnic groups, how many blind and visually impaired Americans are there?
A: Of all blind and visually impaired Americans, approximately 80% are white, 18% are black, and 2% are from other races;
And finally, Q: How much schooling have blind and visually impaired Americans received?
A: Approximately 45% of individuals with severe visual impairment or blindness have a high school diploma, compared to 80% among fully sighted individuals.

It is through the countless efforts of the American Foundation of the Blind that the nation’s blind and visually impaired population is seeing a better quality of life within our lifetimes. AFB is a force to be reckoned with in the charge to change the status quo to a more level playing field. The AFB has only just begun in its quest to change those statistics of a negative nature – more of us need to be educated, employed and have the ability to be in life’s inner circle. Thank you, AFB, for all you do and for the many challenges you will face and conquer for us in the future.

If you would like to contact the American Foundation of the Blind, they can be reached at 1-800-232-5463. You can email them at  or go to their website at . Happy researching!


Berl Colley - Profile of a Leader
by Denise Colley, 1st Vice President, WCB

Berl Colley often jokes that he was a Pearl Harbor baby, because he was born seven days short of nine months from the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Born in Walla Walla, Washington, he grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch about two miles outside of Lowden, which is approximately 12 miles west of Walla Walla. He attended public school in the Walla Walla school district until his freshman year of high school, when the school district told his parents that they did not have the resources needed to teach a blind student, and he would have to attend the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver. Berl was a student at WSSB from the fall of 1956 until his graduation in the spring of 1960. After graduating from high school Berl went to college at WSU, where he earned a degree in Sociology. Twice he tried to switch majors, but both the college and his vocational rehabilitation counselor at the Department of Services for the Blind discouraged him. He first wanted to major in radio, and later he wanted to major in recreation. While at WSU he was a member of the Farmhouse Fraternity.

Upon graduating from college, Berl's first job was selling life insurance for a Phoenix, Arizona company. He says it was one of two offers that he received out of 52 job interviews. He says he lasted about a year and a half selling insurance, after trying to sell to all his friends, enemies, and anyone else who would listen to him.

He then re-entered the Vocational Rehab system and was given the opportunity to move to Olympia and enter Margret Stillwell's resource room at the Olympia Vocational Technical Institute, which was used as a base for starting the first computer programmer training program for blind people in Washington state. He moved to Olympia in December of 1966, and the next year his soon-to-be two close friends, Gary Ernest and Bob Sellers, joined him as programmer trainees.

In November of 1968 he was hired on as a computer programmer for the state Superintendent of Public Instruction's Office, where he worked until May of 1978.

Berl's first introduction into the organized blind movement was in 1969, when he was invited to attend the Convention of the Washington State Association of the Blind, held in Yakima. He says he attended the convention, and became a member. It was also in the fall of that year when he married his first wife, Cathy Wilton. He has three daughters: Starla, Crystal, and Tena, and seven grandchildren.

Berl and Cathy separated in 1978 and Berl left his job at OSPI to take a job at the Lilac Blind Foundation in Spokane. He first worked as a Rehabilitation teacher and then served as the director of the Client Assistance project to the Commission for the Blind.

I first met Berl in 1976, while on a charter bus going to my first NFB convention in Los Angeles, but we didn't get to know each other until 1979 when he was the United Blind of Washington State convention chair, and I was the President of the United Blind of Spokane. The state convention that year was being held at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, and we spent lots of hours together taking care of all the arrangements. I was also on the board of directors of the Lilac Blind Foundation, so essentially I was his boss. We started dating in November of that year and were married in October of 1980.

After the Client Assistance Project’s funding was not continued, in late 1981, Berl started looking for work back in the programming field. He took a job as a programmer with the Washington Library Network, in Lacey, in December of 1982. At that time WLN was part of the Washington State Library. I always knew we'd end up back in Olympia because he loved the area and its rich legislative history.

During the 1980s we were members of UBWS, but our participation level was on again, off again. Berl attended his first ACB convention in Las Vegas, in 1985, as a member of Visually Impaired Data Processors, Inc. Later we both attended the ACB convention in Little Rock in 1988. We attended five ACB conventions in the 1990s, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. Berl was part of the formation of the Capital City Council of the Blind, in 1990, and we have been active members ever since. We have also attended all of the WCB conventions since 1991 in Fife.

In 1990 WLN, where Berl was employed, separated from the State library and became a private non-profit corporation. In 1999 they were merged into OCLC, an international library service based in Dublin, Ohio.

After serving in many leadership roles, both at the committee level and on the Board of Directors, Berl was elected president of WCB in 1999, a position he held for four years. His leadership philosophy is that you give a person a job to do and then you step back and let him do it; thus allowing him to realize his potential.

Berl also believes in open communication, and this was demonstrated through such accomplishments as the start-up of the WCB listserv, his initiation of the biweekly president's updates on the listserv and on the WCB phone line, and the presidents' meetings for chapter presidents at the state convention.

In 2003 Berl retired from OCLC as a Senior Software Developer. He says he doesn't regret a minute of that decision and finds many things to keep himself busy. He continues his active involvement in Toastmasters, something he has been doing for over 20 years. He is an avid reader, enjoys music, loves to travel, and has a passion for US and Northwest history, especially Civil War history. He currently is on the WCB board as Immediate Past President and chairs the WCB History Committee. He also enjoys his position as ACB Convention Tour Coordinator, a job he has held for the past two years. And he's already begun working on the tours for next year's convention in Las Vegas.


WCB Considers a Telephone Reading Service in Washington
by Julie DeGeus, 2nd Vice-President, WCB

In August of 2003, the national representative to the summer board retreat, Carla Ruschival, demonstrated what her state's telephone reading service consisted of and sounded like. And fortunately for WCB, WCB member Viola Cruz from the Capital City chapter, had already had the dream for Washington and done a lot of investigating and researching of such a possibility on her own.

President Berl Colley appointed an initial committee, consisting of Viola Cruz, Cindy Burgett and Frank Cuta, to investigate and propose a possible telephone reading service in Washington. When current President Cindy Burgett appointed interested persons to various committees for 2004, Stewart Russell and I were added to this committee, with Cindy taking an overseeing role as a WCB officer.

A lot of research has been done in the area of telephone systems, computer components and feedback from other persons involved in such services in other states where the programs have been successful such as Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas and Minnesota.

You may ask, why do we need a telephone reading service in Washington State when an automated information service already exists? Here are some examples from my personal experience to help answer that question:

Last month, a friend told me about an excellent sale on a household item I desired at Home Depot; when I checked the store for the item, the sale had ended the day before.

A month ago, I had heard of a made-for-television movie that would be showing-but, again, I missed it by a couple of days.

These are just two real-life examples of what is still not available to Washington state residents.

To confirm the committee's belief that there were a variety of things we as blind/visually impaired persons are missing, the committee chose to do a random sample survey of WCB members. At the time of the writing of this article, I was able to make contact and complete the survey with 15 members. Below is a short synopsis of survey responses to give you an idea of the positive support the concept of the telephone reading service has in our state.

12 out of 15 people said they would use such a service if available

7 out of 15 persons said they would be interested in accessing national news/information

12 out of 15 persons said they would be interested in accessing local news/information

Ranking high to lower interest:

1. Local grocery store ads

2. Discount store ads

3. Aides and appliances for the blind

4. Jobs and careers

5. Cooking and recipes

So, as you can see, there is interest and a feeling of need for an accessible information system. Someday, you may be able to just pick up your phone and be the first to your store to pick up that item for your home-before they run out and before the sale is over



by Gloria Leonard, Director

Year-End Financial Report – WTBBL ended the fiscal year tight, but on target: $51.44 in the black. Thanks to some great work on the part of staff to participate in an internal audit of library operations, several short-term cost cutting measures were applied, including delay in filling vacancies, streamlining operations and elimination of non-essential telephone lines, equipment and display features. A management position was eliminated to help offset increased operating expenses, including health care premiums and mandated cost of living adjustments so that non-management direct service positions would be preserved.

Berk & Associates Hired to Conduct Library Study – Is it feasible and appropriate for the Seattle Public Library to continue to administer WTBBL when the contract with the Washington State Library expires? What is the most cost-effective way to deliver library services to current and potential users? What alternative governing structures should be explored and analyzed? These and other questions will be the focus of a study to assess alternative governance structures and operating systems for WTBBL. Study results will serve as a basis for informed discussions by the State Library and Seattle Public Library about the future governance of WTBBL beyond the current contract, which expires on June 20, 2005.

Recently, Berk & Associates, a Seattle-based public policy and management consulting firm, was hired to conduct the study. The consultant timeline includes a preliminary report, which is due in February 2005. After feedback from the Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library, a final report is due in April 2005. The study is funded by the Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library.

Third Parties Make a Difference – Many Library patrons are able to contact the library and order books or make a request for a replacement machine on their own. However, there are some patrons who rely on a "third party" such as a relative, friend, caregiver, teacher, nurse or activity director. For those of you who rely on a third party for library service support that includes locating a book for a school assignment, showing you how to operate the cassette player or selecting a talking book to read when you are unable to sleep, please thank these wonderful people for us. Let them know that they are playing a valuable facilitator role, which we greatly appreciate. Without the dedicated assistance that these third parties provide, the Library might not be able to adequately serve you.

Recently, Reader’s Advisors Alan Bentson and Wes Derby suggested question and answer tips for third parties on what to do when certain situations occur. For example, a question might be: What should you do when the quality of the talking book is poor? You have tried several different tapes in the green box set, but they all sound the same. And you think that you should probably replace the cassette book. Answer: Contact the Library and request a new machine. The cassette book may not be the problem; rather, the machine may be in need of repair.

If you think it would be helpful and useful to have a Q&A Resource for Third Parties link on our web site, let us know. And if you have a catchy name for this resource, let us know that as well. Send your comments to  or call 1-800-542-0866.

Locally Produced New Cassette Books – The Taping Service Department has recently released a list of over 30 locally produced cassette books. Books by Pacific Northwest authors and about the Pacific Northwest, as well as special interest subjects not available elsewhere are the main thrust of these titles. The list of titles includes My Life in Print by Emmett Watson, Seattle newspaper columnist from 1944-1989, narrated by Tim Clifford. Other titles include Spirited Waters by Jennifer Halm, which describes the author’s experiences paddling her kayak from Ketchikan to Bellingham, narrated by Kate Fleming. To view the complete list, go to the Library’s website at 

Jessica Hodges Wins Summer Reading Club – Eight-year-old Braille reader Jessica Hodges from Sequim, WA was our 2004 Summer Reading Club winner. Jessica was the first WTBBL young reader to send in her list of 10 books read by the July 31 deadline. Her top two favorite books were Box Car Children and Samantha’s Surprise. All of the Summer Reading Club winners and their families were treated to a multi-course fine dining breakfast experience, held for the third year on the 35th floor of the downtown Sheraton Hotel. Because she lives more than 50 miles from Seattle, the Seattle Public Library’s Foundation covered the cost of a night’s stay at the Sheraton for Jessica and her family. A great time was had by all.

A Farewell and Thank You to Beth Eisenhood – After 18 years of service at WTBBL, Beth Eisenhood retired, effective Tuesday, September 7. Over the years, Beth has been an effective advocate for those with disabilities, particularly those with hearing and vision loss. Among her many accomplishments is the highly acclaimed work she has done in the area of Braille literacy, including the expansion of an impressive collection of twin vision books so that blind and sighted children and their parents can read together. Beth will be greatly missed.

Welcome Michael Marlin – I am pleased to introduce our new temporary librarian, Michael Marlin. Michael’s extensive employment and first-hand experience in the area of disabilities includes work as a Vocational technician for the State’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and as an Adaptive Technology Librarian Intern for the Seattle Public Library Equal Access Program. In addition, Michael has worked as a technical librarian for an environmental engineering consulting firm, where he conducted electronic reference and information service transactions for consumers. Michael is a WTBBL consumer and a member of the Patron Advisory Council. He may be reached via WTBBL’s email address at  or by telephone at (206) 615-0512.


WTBBL Patron Advisory Council

by Doug Hildie, Council Member

The primary focus of the PAC during this calendar year has been the effects of the WTBBL budget shortfall on patron services, and the recommendations of the Bylaws Committee concerning structural and functional changes to the PAC.

Regarding the budget, one position at WTBBL has been eliminated. This action had no direct impact on patron service delivery. The incumbent was placed in a position with the Seattle Public Library.

Previously, the PAC established a Bylaws Committee to research and recommend modifications to PAC structure and function in an effort to fortify the role of the PAC with respect to serving patrons, the community, and WTBBL in general. Substantial research produced documentation drawn from existing state library facilities serving blind and disabled individuals. The material was reviewed by the WTBBL Director, who had some technical concerns. The Director and the committee agreed to submit that portion of the recommendations which were commonly perceived. The PAC voted to accept the first two Articles, which create positions for officers and an executive team.

And the process will continue.


Louis Braille Center News

by Carolyn Meyer

Braille Camp 2004

Can we sleep at Braille Camp? I wish Braille Camp would last forever. Let’s have a Braille Camp Halloween party, and a Braille Camp Christmas party, and a Braille Camp Valentine Day party.

These are some of the comments made by eight enthusiastic children, ages 6 to 14, as our three-week summer Braille Camp drew to a close.

The three weeks were marked by several special events. Danny the Singing Cowboy and his partner Mike presented a wonderful sing-along program of familiar western and folk songs. Each child got to strum a guitar while Mike fingered the chords. The entire afternoon was one of non-stop smiles and happiness.

Becky Bell of Seattle, whom the children dubbed "pottery artist," spent a day helping us make objects from real red potter’s clay. More than one student said they really liked Becky because she is visually impaired like they are, and she showed them that "anyone can do it."

Hy Cohen told us all about guide dogs. He took the harness off of his guide dog, Layla, and took each child on a Juno walk. Holding the harness as if he were the dog, with the child holding onto the harness handle, each student gave the "dog" commands and took a spirited walk around the room. The campers can hardly wait until they are old enough to have a guide dog of their own.

In between making clay pots, singing cowboy songs, and taking Juno walks, the students practiced new cane skills, learned to brush their teeth without help, discovered that math can be fun and easy, did some Braille reading and writing, sang songs, played games, enjoyed outside nature study, prepared and served lunch, learned new kitchen skills, and shared challenges and frustrations about being blind in a sighted world

One of our students eloquently summarized our goal for our Braille Campers. She said, "Sometimes at school I have to sit out activities. You guys do it right. Here everything is for everyone."

Braille Camp was held at St. Peter by the Sea Lutheran Church in Edmonds; it was a luxury to have so much space, both inside and out. Braille Camp was possible because of generous financial support from the Edmonds Lions Club and the Northwest Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation, a gift in memory of Michelle Ebbighausen from the King County Chapter of WCB, and donations from Judy and Mike Hardman of Mechanicsville, Virginia.

Louis Braille Center:
Braille Transcribing Pioneers

by Carolyn Meyer, Director

This is the first of a series of articles I am doing regarding some of the Seattle area braille transcribing pioneers. These ladies were largely responsible for getting braille in the public school classrooms, thus making mainstreaming a viable choice. I suspect that many who read the Newsline and went to school in the 1970’s and later read textbooks transcribed by these ladies.

Before the days of computers, tactile maps and illustrations of exquisite detail were carefully crafted by hand. Marian Reese, master map maker, started the trend to provide more fully illustrated braille textbooks for the children of Washington State. This is her story.

In 1978, while attending a Ladies’ Guild meeting at her Seattle home, Marian learned of a family from Fairbanks, Alaska that needed a place to stay while their child received medical treatment at the University of Washington Hospital. Without hesitation, Marian raised her hand and offered her home. Marian and Karl Reese had raised their children. They had room in their hearts and home for this young family.

Eleven-year-old Tonya and her parents arrived in Seattle that fall. Cancer took Tonya’s vision when she was only three years old. The illness continued to ravage her body and she required intense and specialized medical treatment. Her father returned to Fairbanks and the business of making a living, coming to Seattle when he could to be with his wife and daughter.

Tonya, a bright child, was eager to learn and do everything. She had a deck of playing cards marked with braille, and she asked Marian to teach her to play Rummy. Marian taught her well, for Tonya won every game.

Marian and Karl often took Tonya to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library in downtown Seattle. Tonya eagerly browsed through the books and selected as many as would fit into a big cardboard box. Those she checked out, took home, and read in just a few days. Then it was back to the library with another big box to fill.

During her Seattle stay, Tonya kept up with her schoolwork by corresponding in braille with her Fairbanks teacher. This was Marian’s first exposure to braille, and she was fascinated.

Tonya and her mother stayed with the Reeses for about seven months, interspersed with occasional short visits to Alaska. In the spring of 1979, Tonya died.

Marian could not forget about Tonya. Within a year, she decided to learn braille. Her quest for a teacher led her to Jeanne Horsey, a pioneer in bringing braille to blind children mainstreamed in Seattle’s public school classrooms. At that time, Jeanne was working in the school district and teaching the Library of Congress course in literary braille transcribing. Marian quickly completed the comprehensive course and became certified by the Library of Congress as a literary braille transcriber.

She began transcribing textbooks of all grade levels into braille, primarily science, history and geography books. One of the first books she transcribed had a map of weather systems. She assumed arrangements had been made for the map to be brailled, but quickly learned that most textbooks in Washington State did not include tactile versions of maps and other drawings.

Marian visited the library at the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver and sought to find a science book with tactile illustrations. She found none. Working solo, she started the trend to provide more fully illustrated braille textbooks for school children.

Marian experimented with various types of string, glue, beads, buttons and spur wheels to get just the right shape or texture for various aspects of the map. She visited craft shops and hardware stores, always on the lookout for one more tool to create that special feature. An especially useful find was a syringe-like instrument used by veterinarians to feed baby animals. This was ideal for squirting glue onto the page to outline boundaries.

Experimenting and learning as she created, Marian made tactile illustrations not only of maps, but also of drawings in science books. In the beginning, she brailled the text and prepared the tactile illustrations. Later she teamed with other Braillists who did the text while Marian concentrated on the illustrations.

To make a tactile map or drawing, Marian used an 11 by 11½ inch piece of standard braille paper as her canvas. On it she created a variety of textures to represent boundaries, oceans, rivers, location of cities, agricultural products – whatever was appropriate for that particular project. The braille paper master was placed in contact with a special plastic paper of the same size and put into a "Thermoform" machine. The heat from the machine molded the impressions from the master onto the plastic paper, thus producing an almost indestructible map.

Marian now lives in retirement at Crista in Shoreline, Washington. Her maps live on in the hearts and minds of the many children, now adults, who understand the world around them a little better because of Marian’s wonderful tactile creations.



by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent

Regional Accreditation Granted

The Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) was regionally accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and of Colleges and Universities (NAAS). WSSB received its accreditation status from the NAAS Commission on Schools at its annual meeting in Portland. WSSB was first accredited with the Association in 1988. WSSB is one of 1656 in the region and one of over 36,000 schools nationwide to maintain regional accreditation.

Accredited schools are members of one of the nation’s six regional accrediting associations. In 2004, approximately 36,000 schools are accredited by these associations. Being accredited implies that the school subscribes to a process of voluntary self-regulation that is a constructive experience designated to improve the quality of the member school.

Accreditation is a means of showing confidence in a school’s performance. When the NAAS accredits a school, it is certifying that the school has annually met the prescribed quantitative and qualitative standards of the Association, within the terms of the school’s own stated mission and beliefs. It is also certifying that the school has undergone a self-study and validation by an outside team of peers.

Accreditation is just one way of ensuring the public that the school meets minimum environmental standards, has a valid school improvement plan, and is engaged in an on-going self-study and on-site peer evaluation process. By being accredited, the WSSB is guaranteed that other schools will recognize their students’ credits transcripts and diplomas.

Dr. Mike Bina, President of the Hadley School for the Blind, was one of the Accreditation Review Team Members. Dr. Bina sent the following regarding his experience at WSSB.

"On the flight back from Washington to Chicago following the accreditation team visit, I could not get your school out of my mind. I have had the opportunity to visit most of the schools for the blind in the country and this was my second experience with WSSB. The things that kept popping in my mind were, first, your students. This was an extremely nice and well mannered group. I was also impressed with your students’ engagement in learning. We saw very solid attention to the ‘job’ at hand and seriousness in the effort. Seeing students function at this level is an indication of another factor that sticks out in my mind and that is your staff. Having been to your campus before for graduation, I knew many of the staff and have interacted with many of them. They are ‘on top of their game’ and that is obvious. They are obviously professional and student-centered. What also sticks out in my mind too are your facilities. As a house does not make a home, nice school buildings do not a school make. But I would contend that one indicator of a quality school is the effort that everyone takes in making it clean, well maintained, home-like and safe. What struck me too was how fortunate for the students, families and local education agencies in Washington to have WSSB. One of your newly enrolled students walking across campus shared with me how she loved being at WSSB. She said, ‘It is like being on a college campus with lots to do.’ Obviously she was thriving and happy to be where she was before returning back to her home school. I got the distinct impression she would return with improved skills and a level of confidence that everything in the public school is possible. Your administrative team and your board are focused obviously on the right factors.

I saw and heard commitment to families, and if I were a parent in your state, I would want to know about what you have to offer to assist my local district meet the needs of my child. You have established that it is a shared responsibility – a ‘we’ dynamic where both work collaboratively together to assist students. Again, your school has imprinted deeply in my mind and it is a most pleasant impression! Keep attacking your vision with the same intensity you have been and more good things will blossom. Thanks for asking me to be part of the process to improve your school."


Seeing Through the Blind Spots

by Leif Nesheim, Sequim Gazette Staff Writer

The following is a comment from Carl Jarvis about the Gazette’s article: "In addition to the instructors mentioned, Bonnie Sherrell of our Jefferson County Council of the Blind provided the cane travel and orientation training for the week. The Sequim Senior’s Week was a smashing success, proving that state and community organizations, working together, do make a real difference in people’s lives.

In addition to the training, articles such as this provide much needed exposure about Independent Living Services to the local community."

The following is an excerpt from the Nesheim article:

Losing one’s sight doesn’t have to mean losing one’s independence. However, it does mean learning a new set of skills to adapt to diminishing vision. Fourteen area seniors participated in a state-sponsored five-day program teaching skills that will be needed to function as sight vanishes.

"I'm hoping to get a life of independence. I want this stuff in place for when my vision gets even worse", said Sequim resident Alice Mitchell. Mitchell, who moved to Sequim in 1997, has limited vision. She described only being able to see out of the corner of her right eye, which had once been her good eye. Like many adults with macular degeneration (the gradual deterioration of sight sometimes associated with aging) hers is a progressive blindness.

"The future’s not looking too bright", she said. However, she doesn’t want to have to move to Southern California to be a burden on her family and would rather learn some of the skills (such as cooking, walking with a cane, using templates to write checks) that she will need when her sight gets even worse.

That drive to be independent is what the program instructors are hoping to instill and encourage with their lessons.

"It's the mindset that I'm after more than anything else", said Elise Pugh, one of the instructors with the state Department of Services for the Blind, who herself is legally blind. Pugh said many seniors who lose their sight become dependent on others and feel they can’t accomplish anything without their vision. "Getting people to realize there are options and ways of adapting is the first hurdle," she said.

Carl Jarvis, an instructor with Peninsula Rehabilitation Services who has been blind most of his adult life, said "there's often the expectation that there's lots of gadgets to help out with blindness, but it's often simpler just to use the other senses. For most tasks, the less specialized equipment, the better off you are," he said. "For example, a sensor exists that will tell you when your mug of coffee is full. But to use it, one first has to find it in the drawer and then must pour slowly to avoid overfilling. Instead, it's better to learn to pour by the sound and changing weight of the cup filling up and to place a finger over the lip of the cup to make sure not to overfill."

Learning tips like that filled the week as the students learned from the instructors. Some of the lessons were in the kitchen. Students wore blindfolds to simulate complete vision loss as they prepared items for a group meal at the end of the week.

Cathy Jarvis, of Peninsula Rehabilitation Services, explained some of the tools and useful tricks to managing money. Each denomination of money has a unique way of folding so it is easily identified, and billfolds with multiple pockets exist to keep bills sorted, making the process even easier.

"What do you do when the clerk hands you a bunch of money all at once?" she asked. "You ask to have it counted. That way one can quickly fold the identified bills and not have to pay later by opening the wallet and trusting the clerk to take just what is needed".

"You decide what's important to you and what you want to do," Cathy Jarvis told her students. "Do not rule anything out because you can't see".

Kevin Nathan, independent living program manager for the Department of Services for the Blind, demonstrated computer technology (such as large print or software that reads text for the user) while Kyle Parrish, of Visually Impaired People of Sequim, demonstrated other types of technology useful to the blind.

"There's just so many things out there that I did not know about," Walker, another participant, said after the final lesson of the week. "A lot of it I'm going to be using right away". She and many of the other students voiced praise and thanks upon the instructors for pointing the way to increased independence. But the instructors reflected the praise back to the students for taking the important first step of seeking out ways of adapting to reduced vision.

State-funded services are available to send private contractors like the Jarvises to people's homes for individual lessons in dealing with blindness. Carl or Cathy Jarvis can be contacted at (360) 765-4239 or email .




Capital City Council of the Blind

GDUWS Chapter

King County Chapter

Peninsula Council of the Blind

United Blind of Seattle

United Blind of Tri-Cities

United Blind of Walla Walla

United Blind of Whatcom County


Capital City Council of the Blind
by Berl Colley, Member


In our last article you heard about CCCB's participation at a rest stop as a "stop food provider" during the Northwest Tandem bike rally memorial weekend. All of our participating members received a bright yellow rally tee shirt and some of us sampled too much of the food that we were passing out to the over 900 racers. We met people from many other states, including a lady from Oregon who participated in the 2000 Para Olympics. A good time was had by all.

Four of our members, Viola Cruz, Terry Atwater, Denise Colley and I, attended the ACB convention in Birmingham, Alabama in early July. Three of the four came home with a full case of Southern Discomfort. Viola won a $100 door prize. She missed a $50 drawing. I left early from the banquet and missed my name, which was drawn for a $100 prize.

At the spring WCB board meeting a grant of $4000 was awarded to CCCB and the City of Lacey to serve as leverage money to obtain other grant money to place audible signals at a number of intersections in Lacey. The results of that grant request are expected by the middle of September. If received, the audible signals will be installed

next spring during a major upgrading of Lacey's core streets. We will keep you informed.

The same four people who attended the ACB convention attended the WCB summer retreat and board meeting in Silverdale on August 6-7. I was one of the presenters at the retreat, and talked about fundraisers for local chapters.

We had another great summer CCCB picnic. About 25 members and guests attended our picnic on Saturday, August 21. After CCCB member and BBQ chef Tim Walling cooked up a large batch of burgers and dogs, we stuffed ourselves on his cooking as well as several kinds of salads, fruit and veggies, chips, and Anna Dirk's world famous Deviled Eggs. Those of us who could still move followed the food fest with several games of Bop-It and a Game of Pennies. Those who couldn't move just sat and visited. Nine of those attending were guests.


Guide Dog Users of Washington State

By Joleen Ferguson, President

GDUWS is saddened that our membership is decreased by one with the illness and passing of Sharon Keeran, former secretary of GDUWs, and past President of WCB. Sharon was active in our organization and served on many committees for many years including WCB and GDUWS.

The rest of us have been busy spreading news of guide dogs far and wide across our country, advocating wherever we go.

Janice Squires and her dog Kenner went to California to visit family.

My dog Sydney and I cruised to Alaska for 7 days. Proud we were of Sydney, who seemed to know just what to do with that little box of sand. Many passengers shared their experience with guide dogs from across the country with us.

In June, Dodie Brueggeman and her dog Jet flew from the Tri-Cities to Virginia with a 6-hour layover in Seattle and a 3-hour layover in Washington DC. She says relieving Jet was a puzzle as airline employees seemed to be at a loss as to how to proceed. Part of the problem was the need to leave the secured areas to accomplish the task and pass through again on the way back. In DC, the person assisting asked if Jet could just use the bathroom facility. Dodie triggered a resolution by suggesting that she could just let Jet relieve on the floor and they could get a janitor to clean up the wet spot. She assured them that she could clean up the firm matter and produced a pick-up bag in preparation. It was amazing, the speed with which they found a way to accomplish the needed task. She was almost as relieved as Jet when he showed that the trip out was necessary by doing his duty thoroughly each time.

Marlaina Lieberg and guide dog Madeline are about to become the first officially recognized team to cruise to Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Typically, one enters Hawaii with a guide dog only through Honolulu and only at the airport. However, after much discussion and negotiation, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture has agreed to meet Marlaina and Madeline at the dock on the island of Hilo, which is the first port of call for their 23-day cruise.

Guide Dogs love the Mariners, too! Six members of GDUWS and their guides were among the 70+ members and friends of WCB who attended a great baseball game at Safeco Field on August 14. Gary, Marlaina, Viola, Sally, Dan, and Janice were among the WCB throng.

Susan Kamrass is hard at work with preparations for our November convention, securing a speaker and working on details of the relief area. See GDUWS Convention details in a separate article.

Vivian Conger and her dog Blaze are attending classes at our community college and working part time at the technology center help desk. She and I also attended the Oregon Romp in June.

Wedding bells are in the future for Kevin Frankeberger and Becky Mazary. Listen carefully in October.

King County Chapter

by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

Those lazy hazy days of summer are almost behind us and now our attention is gearing up for a busy fall. We have a state convention coming up in early November. Make your plans and reservations now. We have very important local and national elections on November 2. Please inform yourself and vote. And we have football. Go Huskies, go Cougars, and go Seahawks!

A clinical dietician was our guest speaker at our June chapter meeting. She described the differences between hyper and hypoglycemia and promoted the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Moderation in all things was the theme of her presentation.

In July we descended upon the park-like setting of Tim and Virginia Schneebeck’s yard for our annual barbecue. All you could ever eat plus a variety of beverages and their famous ice cream treats made for a very enjoyable afternoon. Many thanks to Tim and Virginia and all those wonderful volunteers.

Six King County Chapter members attended the ACB convention held recently in Birmingham, Alabama. A busy week of nonstop activities was enjoyed by all. Congratulations to Cindy Burgett, who was elected to the ACB Board of Publications and to Cynthia Towers, who was elected to the Board of Directors.

We end this article on a sad note, remembering the recent passing of Sharon Keeran. Rest in peace, Sharon.

Peninsula Council of the Blind

by Michelle Denzer, Secretary

What Has Been Happening with the PCB Chapter?

In April, our chapter took our monthly dinner social to the Red Robin restaurant to support Camp Harobed in a fund-raiser. About 15 of our members were there on that Monday night of spring break.

Then on May 15 & 16, we held our annual rummage sale at the Denzer home, which was another huge success, netting us over $900.

The month of June was busy for the PCB. On the 12th, many of our members worked at Kid’s Day, an event sponsored by the Kitsap County Fire Department and held each year at the Fairgrounds. We had many little kids come by to feel Braille, learn about guide dogs and ask all kinds of questions. We’ve been taking part in this community event for nearly 15 years.

On the weekend of the 25-27, seven of us headed up to Camp Harobed for a weekend of fun and sunshine! During both nights, three members came by for visits. And on Saturday night, two others came and stayed the night with their babies. During the days, campers headed down to the lake and went paddle boating and some went on a hike around the campgrounds. And on both nights, we went down near the lake where we had a campfire, roasted marshmallows and hotdogs, did some singing, telling of stories, and even some bad jokes.

On the 17th of July, we had our annual picnic at Evergreen Park in Bremerton. Again, the weather brought us lots of sunshine for this outdoor adventure! We had a great turnout and enjoyed lots of food brought by our members, with the PCB providing the hamburgers, hotdogs and pop.

On the 6th and 7th of August, the WCB held the annual board retreat/ meeting at the Silverdale Red Lion Hotel. The Friday afternoon program was four WCB members giving presentations on a variety of interesting topics. There was a delicious dinner on Friday night and, of course, many of us enjoyed visiting with one another in the hospitality room. Saturday was the board meeting. The PCB was well represented all weekend, with 25 of our locals attending all or part of the weekend’s festivities.

On August 14th, WCB members headed to Safeco Field for a Mariners game against the New York Yankees. Twenty-one members from PCB were there. Our seats were located in the Hit It Here Café. With the tickets, we also got an $18 food voucher. Most of us ordered some type of food from the Braille menus that were made up for the Café. We all had an excellent time at the game, with the exception of the Mariners losing to the Yankees. The ending score was 6 to 4.

Amelia Wearstler, member of the PCB, was recently appointed as Grand Historian/Scrapbooks for 2004-2005 in Washington-Idaho International Order of the Rainbow for Girls. Congratulations, Amelia!

The PCB did not hold meetings in July or August, but we’ll be back in the swing of things come September 11. If you ever want to visit us, we meet at Angel’s Homestyle Buffet on the second Saturday of the month at 11:00am and would love to have you join us.

United Blind of Seattle

by Doug Hildie, President

United Blind of Seattle (UBS) has had a quiet summer. We met in June and August, and decided not to meet in July.

In June, we were addressed by Monica Leigh, a volunteer from the Seattle League of Women Voters. She spoke to us about the "nuts and bolts" of voting, and answered question, which was helpful to all. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Seattle League of Women Voters.

In August, UBS invited Robert Ketcherside, Chair of the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB). This board reviews numerous issues affecting pedestrians and submits recommendations to the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle City Council’s Transportation Committee. SPAB has two members who are disabled, one who is blind and one who is deaf-blind.

We will move toward the Fall with chapter elections, budget preparation, and planning our annual Holiday Luncheon.

Finally, Board member Rebecca Bell had her pottery on display Friday, September 3, at Northwest Pottery Studio in Seattle. Some of her work will be on display at the WCB Convention in Bellingham, along with the work of other visually impaired artists.


United Blind of Tri-Cities

by Janice Squires, Vice-President

The United Blind of the Tri-Cities enjoyed their annual summer picnic, which was held on August 5 at Leslie Grove's park. Diana Softich and Rosemary Estes organized the food and fun for this year's party. The park is located along the Columbia River and it made a beautiful setting for all of us to enjoy.

The breakfast meetings are becoming a huge success for our local chapter. We have once again attracted two new potential members and we are just overwhelmed with this new-found interest in our local group. We are moving our meetings to Emmett's Restaurant in Pasco, because of our increase in membership. Can you imagine, we have six new promising United Blind of the Tri-Cities members who are applying for the WCB first-timer award to this year's convention in Bellingham. We are ever so excited about our growth and need to continue working hard on membership development.

Frank Cuta, our only member who attended the national convention in Birmingham, was the main speaker for our July meeting. He shared his adventures and experiences with us and of course all of his gizmos and gadgets of which he always manages to purchase every year at the national convention.

The lunch group is also beginning to grow in size with sometimes over 20 members present. We are trying new places every month and our members are responding well to this. The narrated play season is again starting up in September and the first play will be "Noises Off".

Our thoughts and prayers are with our WCB and UBTC treasurer Sue Sather. She has undergone an extensive back operation and has also suffered major complications from the surgery. She has been such a dedicated and hard working member of the WCB and UBTC. We wish her a speedy recovery and a lifetime of walking without any pain.

Have a nice end to your summer and hope to see everyone in Bellingham.

United Blind of Walla Walla

by Ernie Jones

At our May meeting, the United Blind of Walla Walla had representatives from two local banks, US Bank and Sterling Savings, who explained ways these banks are making banking more accessible to everyone, including the blind.

At our June meeting we had Chuck Templeton from the Eastgate Lions Club come and speak to us about the Lions Club, what they do, and what we can do for them.

In July we had a sharing meeting so folks could see what aids and appliances others use. These included the more common, like the talking watch, to less common, like a talking ruler. We also had a sample of raised paintings with descriptions on cassettes.

August was our annual picnic. We had lots of good food and, of course, good fellowship with 12 members and four visitors attending. A good time was had by all. This year the picnic was held in the local Lions park in College Place where there is a nice covered picnic area plus a laughing stream flowing out of a trout filled lake! Many mallard ducks were also present at this meeting.

In September Frank Cuta, WCB's Secretary, will join us at our regular meeting as board liaison in place of Sue Sather, who recently had surgery. We look forward to hearing what is happening in WCB and to also let WCB know we are strong and alive.

It has been a long and hot summer! But this has helped to ripen the tomatoes and peaches growing here, which we so enjoy! From this great valley, we wish you all a good day!


United Blind of Whatcom County

by Barb Crowley, Member

State Convention - Local arrangements for the November State Convention are well underway. Volunteers are being recruited to assist attendees at the hotel and on the trips. Transportation has been arranged for a trip to the local casino. A Native American storyteller will entertain us at the convention. Also, Ron Owens, the husband of UBWC Member Lisa Owens, will be available for relaxing facials at reduced cost to conventioneers. UBWC members are looking forward to sharing our lovely city with you. Come prepared to learn much and play heartily.

Community Activities - In July, Yvonne Miller and Betty Sikkema participated in the "Human Race Walk" fundraiser. Thanks to their efforts, $350 was raised for UBWC.

Yvonne Miller, Betty Sikkema and Beth Marsau participated in a nonprofit expo at Ferndale’s Old Settler Days. The expo provides an opportunity for nonprofit groups to provide information about their services. They distributed the new brochure, which describes the UBWC’s mission and activities.

Bellingham has a low vision support group which meets monthly at the Senior Center. There are approximately 35 members in this group, and most have some form of age-related vision loss. UBWC is interested in developing a working relationship with this group. One activity being explored is a joint trip to Seattle’s Sight Connection. Previously, the Bellingham Lions’ Club has funded two trips to Sight Connection to purchase low vision devices.

Summer Fun – In July, Jo Ellen Barton shared with UBWC members her observations about her trips to Mexico. She loves the country and the people and continues to work on her Spanish with a tutor. The travel advice from this adventurous octogenarian is "Do it now! Don’t wait!"

In August, some UBWC members sailed Bellingham Bay in the new water taxi. The two-hour narrated cruise described the history and development of Bellingham’s waterfront. In case you didn’t know, Bellingham is home to the Alaskan Ferry, which sails from its port throughout the year. The ferry was docked the day of the trip, and so we got a fish eye view of its massive size as we sailed by. We hope to make this an annual summer excursion.

Guest Speaker –Sue Kamrass was a guest speaker at UBWC’s August meeting. She shared her observations about the recent National Convention. She was excited about some of the new technology, such as the Global Positioning Unit (GPU) for mobility, and a new talking program.

The red carpet will be rolled out for you in November, so register early. We’ll see you soon.



"Daddy," the little girl asked her father, "do all fairy tales begin with ‘once upon a time?’ "

"No, honey," her father responded, "a great many begin, ‘If elected, I will …’ "


Hats Off to You

by Peggy Shoel

We are happy to extend our congratulations to the following members:

Cindy Burgett, President, WCB, on her election to the ACB Board of Publications. Cindy will serve a two-year term on the BOP, which establishes policy for all ACB supported communication formats, including, but not limited to brochures, periodicals, national convention programs and materials and ACB radio. Cindy was also elected President of Families with Visual Impairment (AFVI), an affiliate of ACB.

Cynthia Towers, Member, United Blind of Seattle, on her election to the ACB Board. Cynthia will serve a two-year term as a director while continuing her responsibilities as National Convention Coordinator.

Natasha Rainey, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on her graduation from Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale. Natasha is considering attending community college, and in the meantime, keeps busy with Girl Scouts and volunteer activities.

Nicole Torcolini, junior member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, for winning 2nd place in her grade group at the June National Braille Challenge invitation held at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles. Nicole was awarded a $2,000 savings bond.

Betty York, member, Pierce County Association of the Blind, on the celebration of her 93rd birthday. Betty has been a long-time active member of PCAB and continues attending and participating in chapter meetings.

Liz Ammeter, new member, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, on the event of her 80th birthday. Family and friends celebrated with a barbecue at her niece’s home.

Jim Eccles, Judi Sorter and Viola Cruz, who were all elected to the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) Alumni Association:
Judi and Jim are members of the Riverside Association of the Blind. Viola is a member of the Capital City Council of the Blind.

Shelly Pryor, who graduated from Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. in Palmetto, Florida with her first guide dog, a two-year-old Rough Coat Collie. Radar is brown and weighs 61 pounds. Shelly says he is a sweet and gentle dog and she is excited about their future together.


Bits & Pieces

by Peggy Shoel

The goods and services listed here are offered for the interest and benefit of our readers and should not be considered as endorsed by the WCB.

Volunteers of Vacaville, Blind Project, is an inmate read from print to audio tape program at the Vacaville State Prison in California. It is free and available to non-California-state residents. For more information, to receive their free cassette catalogue of already-recorded books, or to ask about their Perkins Brailler repair program, call Michael Grosjohn at (707) 448-6841 ext 2044

Bank of America recently merged with Fleet Bank and together now provide 5,000 talking ATMs in 44 states. To find out about the site nearest you, call your local Bank of America or 800-442-6680

Two useful Websites on disability issues:  is a Federal website of disability-related government resources;  is an access-able travel source of information and availability.



Late one night the political candidate rushed home and gave his wife the glorious news. "Darling," he shouted. "I won. I’ve been elected." "Honestly?" she replied. "Well," he frowned, "why bring that up?"

Easy Chicken Pasta Salad

from Blindcook at

2 cups cooked and well-drained macaroni or small pasta

1/2 cup thawed frozen green peas

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 cut-up hard-boiled eggs

1/2 cup cooked chicken or turkey

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese.

Mix together gently by hand.

In a small bowl mix well 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of ranch dressing, 1 tsp prepared mustard and salt & pepper to taste.

Toss with the salad. Cover and refrigerate overnight.



The correct phone number for Ski-for-Light is (253) 631-7904.


Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions, chapter updates, and other information for publication must be received by November 27, 2004.

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 page.

E-mail Submissions: To ensure accuracy and timeliness, submissions by e-mail are encouraged. Send your file to  with a cc: to 

A print version should be mailed to Peggy Shoel, Editor.


Calendar of Deadlines & Events

Sept 13-17 Period for requesting free rooms for State Convention
Sept 15 DSB Vendor Day, to be held in Eastern Washington, location to be determined
Sept 24-25 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting
Oct 2 WTBBL Advisory Council, Seattle
Oct 10 Deadline for receipt of Convention pre-registration
Oct 10 Deadline for requests for travel stipends
Oct 10 Cutoff date to receive Convention hotel room rates
Oct 15 White Cane Day
Nov 5-6 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting
Nov 11-13 WCB State Convention in Bellingham
March 18-19 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting
May 19-20 Career Fair, Vancouver
June 10 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting
July 10-21 YES Program




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

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

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

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

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



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