The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind


September 2005 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


www . wcbinfo . org




From the President's Desk by Cindy Burgett

WCB Policies and Procedures to be Voted on at Fall Convention
by Frank Cuta

Editor's Comment by Peggy Shoel

ACB National Convention by Dorothy Carroll

Award Winning Carl Jarvis by Berl Colley

Imagine by Carl Jarvis

Event of the Season by Janice Squires

Scholarship Winners by Alan Bentson

WCB Retreat and Board Meeting  by Rhonda Nelson

Pedestrian Safety Discussion  by Karen Johnson

Around the State

DSB Report  by Lou Oma Durand

WTBBL Report by Gloria Leonard

Report from WSSB by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem

Louis Braille Center by Carolyn Meyer

Seattle Low Vision Group  by Patt Copeland

Book Group  by Patt Copeland

2006 Ski for Light

Upcoming ACB Cruises

Hats Off to You! by Peggy Shoel

Blind Student Wins $5,000 Grant (excerpt)







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

By the time you all read this, I’ll be back to work after having the summer off.  Yes, there are distinct advantages to working for the Public School system, and this is one of them.  Yet, this most certainly hasn’t been a summer filled with little to do.  On the contrary.

On June 6, I completed in-home training with my new guide dog, Geneva.  So along with the rest of my busy life, I’ve been getting acquainted with her and she with me, and I’m happy to say we are polishing into a nice working team.

Then there was the national convention of ACB where over 40 WCBers joined in the fun and work in Las Vegas.  WCB continues to be the most enthusiastic and energetic affiliate on the floor.  However, this year I noticed others giving us a bit of competition.  I know you’ll read more about the activities of this lively week elsewhere in this publication, but I just want you all to know how proud I am to be the President of WCB, an organization that carries its pride and energy of love and friendship internally and externally.

Membership is a hot topic this year as we continue to grow, nearing 400 members.  Chapters are working on outreach events and individual members are inviting visitors and making them feel welcome.  The Washington Council of the Blind has so much to offer those who are blind and visually impaired within our state.  But our membership extends beyond our borders as well.

Many people will be joining us in Pasco at the end of October to participate in our annual convention, a jam packed time of learning and growing, sharing and caring, celebrating the accomplishments of others and strengthening our roles as members in WCB.  Please be sure to read the Calendar of Events in the back of this Newsline and the article dedicated to the convention to learn of all the important details.

Finally, I want to ask each of you to take the time to read the article entitled WCB Policies and Procedures to be Voted on at Fall Convention, which follows this report.  In fact, I implore every chapter to have this article read at their next meeting.  At our upcoming convention, besides making your vote count during elections and enjoying all of the other offerings, as an organization we will be passing a set of bylaws.  This document incorporates all policies and procedures of WCB, written and practiced, and places them into one living document which will be available to all of us.  The entire text of these bylaws will be read during the morning session on Friday of convention.  It will then be read again during the business meeting.  Because of its detail and importance, it is imperative that all members have the opportunity to understand its contents.  I greatly appreciate Frank Cuta’s work for chairing this project and his committee of Rhonda Nelson and Sue Ammeter.  These three have worked diligently to present a document for all WCB members to live by.  And so now it is your job to make sure that you and your fellow chapter members read the proposed set of bylaws or the summarized version in Frank’s article.

In closing I want to thank each of you who give to this organization.  Whether it be through your involvement in your chapter, participation on a WCB committee, or working behind the scenes on one of our many projects, we would not be who we are without you.  WCB can provide the many services and programs it does because of the contributions our own members so willingly give through individual and collective time and talent.

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WCB Policies and Procedures
to be Voted on at Fall Convention

by Frank Cuta, Board Member, WCB

It is wonderful that in the Washington Council of the Blind we have the resources to provide so many generous services to our members.  In this article you will get an overview of all of these great services as we review them and introduce some recommended changes.  Most of the new material just clarifies procedures that have never been written down or modifies the existing rules to make it easier for you to apply and/or qualify for them.

Never before have all of our various policies and procedures been consolidated in one place.  Cindy recently appointed a committee to look at them and put them in a form that is more clear, structured, accessible and concise.

In order to accomplish this, our committee is proposing that twelve bylaws be adopted by the WCB at our fall convention in October.  If adopted, these bylaws will be merged with the WCB Constitution as a single comprehensive document.

First let’s cover proposed bylaws 2-6, which provide for several special services to our members and officers to travel out of state to attend the meetings and seminars that are hosted by the American Council of the Blind.  Each bylaw explains the service: who is eligible, how to apply, and what specifically is provided and what is not provided to the attendee.  WCB normally covers travel, double-occupancy lodging and per diem expenses.  Eligibility to be sponsored for out-of-state travel includes membership for one year and that the member not be in default of any loans from WCB.  For some of the services, such as to be a first-timer and to attend the legislative seminar, there is also a specific reporting expectation, i.e. the member needs to write a report article for the Newsline.

Bylaw 3 states that each year members can request a predetermined cash stipend and/or request an interest-free loan from WCB to assist them to attend the ACB national convention.  The stipend and loan each usually amount to several hundred dollars per person.  These services thus only assist the member to cover travel expenses.  WCB does not cover all travel and lodging costs except as noted in the other bylaws.  The amount of the annual stipend, the upper limit of the loan and the associated application deadlines are set by the board each year.  It is a requirement that any member who accepts these services attend all ACB business meetings and WCB caucus meetings and actively participate in the overall convention.  Omitted from this updated language is an old rule that applicants must have recently attended a state convention. This language is also omitted from most other WCB out-of-state services.

Bylaw 4 states that to apply to be a first-timer the member must have not previously attended a national ACB convention.  The applicant is required to write a letter requesting this award and the final award is based on the quality and content of this letter application as judged by the WCB First-Timer Committee.

Bylaw 5 states that WCB will cover the cost of the state president’s attendance at the ACB affiliate presidents’ mid-year annual meeting.  In the event that the president cannot attend, the vice-president attends in his or her place and if that is not possible, provision is made for another board member to be selected.  This entire bylaw is new language.

Bylaw 6 covers the ACB legislative seminar.  Each year the ACB hosts an intensive weekend seminar on national legislation followed by visiting congressmen on the hill.  This bylaw provides for up to four members to be selected to represent WCB at this seminar.  In order to be considered, each interested member must submit a letter of application.  The president, a presidential appointee and the chair of the legislative committee evaluate the letter.  They are to look for candidates who have previously demonstrated legislative advocacy by contacting their state representatives and congressmen.  This is a new recommended selection process.  Omitted from this bylaw is old language that mandated that no person could apply two years in a row.

awardee.  In the case of in-state services that are only available to WCB members, the person must have been a

member six months prior to the use of the specific service.

Bylaw 7 states that WCB covers the cost of officers, board members and designated affiliate representatives to attend the meetings of the state board.  We also cover the cost of members to attend special leadership and other training seminars which we sponsor throughout the year.  New language in this bylaw specifies that affiliates without a member on the board may select a member to represent them at board meetings.  Other new language imposes attendance and reporting requirements on board members and affiliate representatives..

Bylaw 8 covers the selection of the state First-Timer and provides for travel stipends to the state convention and free rooms at the convention for which members may apply.  First-Timer applicants must submit a letter of application and must have never previously attended a state convention.  The stipend amount and all application deadlines are determined by the board each year.

Bylaw 9 states that WCB's Equipment Loan Fund is managed by the Washington Assistive Technology Foundation Access Fund.  Applications will be submitted directly to WADA.

Bylaw 10 stipulates that the Crisis Aid committee judges the merits of crisis aid requests and when a grant is awarded the treasurer writes a check directly to the service or agency best suited to address the crisis.  This is one of our services that is not just for WCB members but for all blind persons who have a dire need.  The exact language sets limits on what kinds of services are covered and sets dollar limits for each one.  This is a one-time only award.

Bylaw 11 describes the WCB scholarship program.  WCB gives over $25,000 a year to students through its scholarship program.  Applicants must be legally blind, they must be residents of Washington State, they must be attending a school in Washington or the Pacific Northwest and winners must attend the state convention banquet to receive their awards.

In order to keep us from exceeding the amount of time that is allocated for the convention business meeting we want to get as many bylaws questions answered as possible before the convention.  You can contact me regarding such questions and also request the complete text of the proposed bylaws on tape, e-mail or Braille.  Frank Cuta 509-967-2658  Other contributors include Sue Ammeter, Rhonda Nelson, Terry Atwater and Stewart Russell.

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Editor's Comment
by Peggy Shoel

It takes a lot of people to make a successful publication.  For many years, Cynthia Towers, United Blind of Seattle, was a member of the Newsline Editorial Committee.  For many years, Sue Sather, Member At-Large, has managed the production and distribution of the Newsline on audio tape.  Cynthia and Sue are now moving on to other things.  On behalf of the Washington Council of the Blind, I thank you both for your years of significant contributions.

Starting with this issue, Gaylen Floy, South King Council of the Blind, has joined our Editorial Committee, bringing her skills and years of experience in the field of journalism with her.  Bill Hoage, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, has accepted the responsibility of providing the Newsline on tape and brings energy and enthusiasm to his new task.

Thank you, Gaylen and Bill, and welcome.

Many accolades.  The Hats Off to You column, which appears in every Newsline, recognizes life events and accomplishments of individual WCB members.  In this issue, there are 20 items, each one noteworthy.  This is a record for the Newsline.

New Look for Large Print Newsline.  There are two changes to this large-print version of the Newsline: an outside binding tape has replaced the inner-fold staples and the top to bottom column style of printing the material has been changed to across-the-page paragraph reading.  Let us know what you think.  Happy reading.

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ACB National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada
by Dorothy Carroll, Board Member, WCB

I was honored and thrilled to be chosen to be a first-timer to the ACB National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Thank you, WCB, for this opportunity to attend.

My husband, Bob, was also able to attend the convention with the help of a stipend and careful planning.  We couldn’t get a direct flight from Spokane, so we had a two-hour layover in Tucson, Arizona, where the temperature was 115 degrees.  But that helped prepare us for the 109 degree weather  in Las Vegas.

The Riviera Hotel is huge, with five towers.  We got lost a few times, but there was always a volunteer to assist you to find your way.  There were so many meetings and seminars going on it was overwhelming.  Cindy Burgett helped us fill out the registration papers online and told us not to try and attend everything offered.

The convention was well organized; it was interesting to observe how smoothly it moved along to accommodate so many people and dog guides. The first stop was the Orientation of First-Timers by Cynthia Towers. It was very informative of where things were located and do’s and don’ts to get around in Las Vegas and our hotel.

There were ACB members from all over the world.  As you came into this huge room where all the general meetings were held, each state had a section with their name on a banner.  There was a roll call and each state reported how many representatives it had.  It was very impressive to watch so many people come together and each had a voice.  Washington had a large group and was by far the loudest.  Every time Washington was mentioned, we found ourselves right in there clapping and cheering.

Shirley Taylor, Carl Jarvis and Marlaina Lieberg all received Lifetime Memberships in ACB.  They were speechless.  We were all very proud of them and of course gave them our Washington pep cheer. 

We attended every general meeting from July 3 to 8, and the diabetic seminar on July 9.  It was interesting to listen to the caucuses in the WCB suite.  We talked with Chris Gray and his lovely mother, Shirley, a King County Chapter member.  A new Treasurer, Mike Godino, was elected. 

We toured Las Vegas on a chartered bus with a guide who described the different hotels, pointing out all the wedding chapels – even a drive-through chapel where a mechanical arm threw rice on your car.

I cannot cover everything in the space allowed; but it was a wonderful nine-day adventure and I am hooked on attending future ACB National Conventions.

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By Berl Colley

When asked about his thoughts upon receiving the Ned E. Freeman award at the ACB national convention for his article, Imagine, Carl Jarvis responded, “Fat, dumb and happy.  I'd never paid attention to the Freeman award, nor did I know that anyone contributing articles to the Forum would be up for such an honor.

“I had talked about attending the convention and then decided that Las Vegas was not somewhere I really wanted to see again.  It surprised me when my wife, Cathy, suggested that I reconsider.  She told me that she had decided to take in a golf clinic occurring the same week in the Las Vegas area.  Knowing how much Cathy loves golf, and knowing how hard she is working to improve her game, I agreed.  I was afraid that if I didn't say yes, she would decide not to sign up for the clinic.

“So, off we went.  I believed that Cathy would spend time with me at the conference and then head out each morning for golf lessons.  We would see each other evenings and attend the banquet Friday night.  That was all that was going through my simple little, easily-deceived mind as I sat down Sunday evening in the opening assembly.  Many of our delegation were sitting together, chatting, so when Charlie Hodge began speaking of the award, I only half heard him saying it was related to some article that had been published in the Braille Forum.  Then I heard him say, ‘Can you imagine?’  ‘Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘That sounds very much like the piece I'd written.’  That got my attention.

“Then Charlie said a few lines about some fellow who was active in his state organization, and he hoped he was in the room to receive the award...and then he dropped my name.  I have to tell you, I was dumbfounded.  Everyone around me was only Washington can do!  I turned to Cathy and she was laughing and pointing her finger at my expression of disbelief.  Someone dragged me up front.  I remember thanking everyone, and having pictures taken, and feeling like a big sore thumb.

“When I was back in my seat, and the congratulations settled down a bit, I began worrying about how late the evening was going to run.  I turned to Cathy and said, ‘Maybe you should turn in.  You have to be up early for your golf clinic.’  She leaned real close and said, ‘Read my lips.  There is no golf.’  It turned out that Cathy and others had dreamed the whole scam up.  They had tricked an innocent old man into believing he was doing his wife a big favor, going to Las Vegas with her.  Cathy told me later that she knew I would have to be convinced that she wanted to go, in order to get me there without suspecting anything.  I laugh about it even now.

“My thoughts afterward?  I would have to say that I'm flattered, and pleased that folks enjoyed it.  Imagine was written years ago, when the Department of Information Services was busy trying to set up kiosks all around the state, and they were not accessible to blind people.  When I finally came on line I dusted it off and put it out on the ACB List.  I was asked if I would permit the article to run in the Forum.  Of course I agreed.

“I guess we all have our moment in the sun, and this was mine.  I loved every minute of it.  But while the award was great, the presentation of a lifetime membership in ACB was far and away more moving.  One of the most humbling moments in my life.  I have been hanging around all these years because I believe blind people have a right to first class citizenship.  I love my fellow members.  So I keep involved because we have a cause and because we're having a good time.  For me, that is all the reward I ever needed.  Just seeing that over the years young people and newly blinded people have found a better life than the folks who were around when we were young.  So to receive a life time membership was something I'd never even thought about.  Frankly, I don't know what could top that combination of two cherished awards in one year.

“As I have said, I now have to commit to living to the ripe old age of 125, just so the organization can get its money's worth."

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by Carl Jarvis

Imagine: You've just entered your office on what may well be the most hectic, stressful day of your life. Suddenly you realize all of your reference books, piles of paper-work and notes are covered with little bumps. In fact, you discover there is not one single printed word to be found. Every scrap of information necessary to do your job, is now in Braille.

Imagine: you rush back out of your office, wildly looking about, peering into offices, staring over the shoulders of clerks. Everybody is calmly doing their job, using Braille. Mysteriously they have learned the language overnight. Only you, it seems, were overlooked. For some unknown reason, you are permanently and totally Braille challenged.

Imagine: you dash for the door hoping the rest of the world has not gone mad. It has. In the elevator, you're not sure which button to press for the lobby. Someone has to help you. They stare at you as if you are stupid. Pausing at the news stand, you are unable to tell one magazine from another. You can't stand it, you need to go home and collect your thoughts. But at the bus stop, there's no way of telling which coach is yours. You back away, not wanting anyone to know, and you decide you'll call a cab. Of course, you only brought bus fare and lunch money, not nearly enough for the taxi. Remembering your bank card, you pull it out as you run back into the lobby. There, at the access machine, you stop short. The card has turned to Braille, and so have all of the instructions on the machine. You'll have to call home and ask for help. Funny, you never paid much attention to the telephone dial and now, in your growing state of confusion, you don't recall which number goes where. You are so alone, so frightened, you actually begin to weep.

Imagine: you have always seen yourself as a leader, a visionary, a problem-solver. You will not run from this challenge. You shall succeed. You have a large mortgage.

Once you have recovered from the great shock, you begin looking for ways to survive.

Imagine: you have finally made arrangements, through your employer, to hire a Braille reader, a process so complex and painful you plan to patent it and use it to torture Terrorists. Now you sit in your chair going quietly mad listening to the drone of your reader's voice, taking hours of time to cover what you once scanned in minutes, while others whip about you efficiently communicating among themselves via Braille-FAX and E-B-mail. You begin to feel the "ice" in isolation.

Imagine: you learn you are not alone. You are a member of a very small minority of Braille-Challenged people. There is, in fact, a Brailleless Culture; a history far too long and complex to discuss here. So, you become a member of the, Brailleless Association of America (BAA).  At the BAA meetings you find out about a number of small companies manufacturing adaptive equipment which enables Brailleless persons to access all of the Braille computers, FAX machines, Braille scanners and Braillers.

The expense is far more than you can afford, so you seek assistance from your employer. Your request is turned down. There are no requirements that your employer accommodate your disability.

Imagine: BAA, along with many other disability groups, battle in Congress for the passage of a Bill, guaranteeing you equal treatment under the Law.

The bill passes and, despite subtle messages from your fiscal officer, money is, "found" for your accommodation. After considerable time and effort, the technician from the Department of Services for the Brailleless, has you on-line. Now you are able to scan Braille text and convert the little dots into letters, and through a very complex process, the Braille display on your computer is transformed into print. Finally, you are again up to speed, being your old efficient self, feeling good about your work.

Imagine: you are humming and smiling and cranking along in high gear. Suddenly, a message flashes on your screen and drives terror through your heart. New breakthroughs in technology have produced equipment so superior to the ancient junk--at least four years old-- presently in use, that your organization is upgrading the entire communications system.

The BAA technicians have already informed you that your adaptive equipment is not compatible with it. You go to the, "Powers-That-Be" in your organization, and request a meeting to discuss this concern. You are told that your fears are groundless. You will not be forgotten. Following this meeting a rumor goes around hinting that you are trying to sabotage the new system, and your associates begin to whisper behind your back. They want the new system. It's far superior, more compact, ten times faster, and it's cool looking. They are sick of your "whining and constant complaining". You feel the "ice" settling in again.

Imagine: you have been forgotten. The new system is in place. Everybody loves it. You've been told not to worry, someone will be around to do what is necessary to put you back on-line. The "someone" they had in mind is the same technician who told you the system would not work.

Despite your concerns, no one bothered to investigate before the equipment was installed.

Once again you sit, going quietly mad while your reader plows line by line through the piles of Braille.

Imagine: you know you are close to losing your mind or your job--probably both. You must find other employment, but you do not want your associates to know you are finally beaten. You try to figure out a way to do a quiet job search when all information is only accessible in Braille.

One day you hear that your State has developed a central information center, called a, "kiosk". These information centers are being set up in easily accessible locations. The plan is for these kiosks to make government information and services available quickly and conveniently, to the public. Sort of a "one stop shopping center". You learn that lists of job openings are among the many services offered. This is perfect. This is exactly what you need. you discover your town recently placed a kiosk in the Mall. You go there on Saturday afternoon. There it stands, costing the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars to create, but well worth it. In its ultimate form, the kiosks will bring virtually all State services right into your local neighborhood. You are thrilled as you step up to the controls. An automated voice welcomes you and brags about the wonders of this system. Breathlessly, you wait for your instructions...

Then, the Braille display appears.

Imagine: they are dragging you away, shrieking at the top of your voice. Onlookers are amazed. They do not know how you managed to rip the iron bench from the floor of the Mall. None of them dared to try to stop you as you swung it over your head, again and again, smashing the kiosk into pieces of broken plastic, glass and twisted metal. None of them understand why you kept screaming the same words over and over.

"I pay taxes, too! I pay taxes, too! I pay taxes, too!......."


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Event of the Season
by Janice Squires, Convention Chair

Have you made your reservations for the 2005 Washington Council of the Blind's State convention?  Now is the time to make plans to be in Pasco, Washington on October 27, 28 and 29.  The United Blind of the Tri-Cities is working diligently to make this the best event of the season!

Room reservations may be made by calling the Red Lion Inn at (509) 547-0701; be sure to mention that you are with the WCB convention to receive the following room rates: $72.00 per night for singles and doubles and $75.00 for triples and quads, plus tax.

We are pleased to announce that Day Al-Mohamed , the ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, will be our ACB representative and our banquet speaker. Our Tri-Cities’ own, Mr. Frank Cuta, will honor us as this year's banquet Master of Ceremonies. 

Hotel amenities:  The hotel has two ATM machines on the premises.  There is an outdoor pool and 15-person hot tub and health club near the hospitality rooms.  All meeting rooms are in one area, including the exhibit room and smaller breakout rooms.  There also is an espresso bar, which will be open during prime hours of the convention.  There will be three relieving areas for guide dogs, with grass, wood chips and pavement.

The exhibit room will be open from 10:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. on Friday and will be closed from noon to 1:00p.m. for lunch.  Please contact Bill and Nancy Smedley, our exhibit coordinators, for any information you may need about the exhibit room: (509) 965-8897 or

Friday afternoon will be filled with seven breakout sessions to tantalize and spark interest in conventioneers of all ages.  Chapter Treasurers, or those interested in becoming a chapter Treasurer, will want to attend a workshop designed just for them.  Our guide dog affiliate and Aging and Blindness committee each have something special to share as well.  And so much more.  Refer to your convention program.

We will be offering a special feature this year, "The Touching Art" show, presented by DSB on Friday during exhibit times in the Project room.  A brief breakout presentation on this art will be given at two separate times, at 1:30 and then again at 3:00p.m.  For more information on this show, visit and click on the Touching Art link.

The Red Lion Inn offers three different areas of dining: The Seasons Restaurant, a 24-hour-a-day restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner to suit anyone's pocketbook; The Grizzly Bar and Grill for a more down-to-earth lounge with a full menu and adult beverages; and the Bin 20 for a superb fine dining and wine tasting experience.  During the Friday afternoon luncheon, we will be entertained by the musical talents of one of our newest members, Neil Vosburgh, and Friday night the UBTC will be offering a dinner out to one of our local restaurants, “The Chinese Gardens".  Unfortunately, we will only be able to accommodate 36 people and 6 people in wheel chairs for this dinner, so please sign up at the information desk as soon as you possibly can.

Door prizes are always a popular part of convention.  This year, please contact Margie Kickert at to let her know what you or your chapter will be contributing to the door prize pool.  Margie and her helpers, Evelyn Crouse and Irene Nielsen, will be at the information desk on Thursday evening to collect your door prizes.  Diana Softich will also be at the desk to take names on a signup list for the Friday night dinner to the Chinese Gardens, (prices begin at $6.50).

Convention information and online registration can be found at:  For those who register online only, credit card and electronic check payments may be made.

This year's programs will be offered in the following formats: Braille; two track cassette; and large print.

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Scholarship Winners
by Alan Bentson

On August 29, the WCB Scholarship Committee met and selected eight people to receive 2005 Scholarships.  As usual we have a lively group representing both genders, all parts of the state, many age brackets, and all sorts of educational stages.  There are many wonderful stories about these winners, but if you want to hear them you'll need to come to the Scholarship reception at 5:30p.m. on Saturday October 29, where the awards will be presented.

As we did last year, the banquet Scholarship presentations will be enthusiastic but abbreviated.  At this year's reception we plan to have volunteers available to help guests be seated and to introduce everyone to our 2005 Scholarship recipients.  See you there!

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WCB Retreat and Board Meeting:

Transportation, Congratulations and Committees

By Rhonda Nelson, Board Member, WCB

Forty-five WCB members gathered at the Executive Inn in Seattle the afternoon of August 5 for the 2005 WCB summer retreat.  Our speaker was Donna Smith of Easter Seals Project ACTION, an acronym for Accessible Community Transportation In Our Nation.  Donna provided us with a lot of thought provoking, interesting and in some cases challenging information.  Local advocacy is critical, and she suggested that each WCB chapter consider organizing a work group to deal with transportation issues in their area.

After Donna's presentation 22 people got together to informally discuss pedestrian safety concerns in an attempt to determine how WCB might effectively advocate in this arena (see article in this issue).

During our Friday evening dinner congratulations were extended (with a box of Sees chocolates) to Cindy and Lyle Burgett, who were celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary.

Saturday August 6 brought the shortest, most efficient WCB Board meeting I can remember attending.  Below are some highlights from Cindy's president's report and from updates from the chairs of several of WCB's active committees.

It was an outstanding American Council of the Blind national convention for members of WCB's enthusiastic and well known delegation.  WCB honored Carl Jarvis and Shirley Taylor with ACB life memberships, and Marlaina Lieberg received the same recognition from her husband Gary.  Carl was the recipient of ACB's Ned E. Freeman award and Marlaina the George Card award.

Our 2006 WCB state convention will be held at the Seatac Doubletree November 9 through 11, and Berl Colley will be the convention chair.  Please see the article elsewhere in this issue regarding this year's WCB convention, which Cindy expects will be the finest we've ever had.  Major changes are being proposed to WCB's constitution; please refer to Frank Cuta’s article .

Two grants were awarded at this meeting:  $1,000 to Youth Awareness Disability Assemblies and $1,573.97 to Capital City Council of the Blind, the latter to help that chapter purchase an assistive listening system for use at meetings.

WCB has 12 applicants for scholarships this year.  The winners will be honored at our Pasco convention during the scholarship reception.

The Advocacy Committee is continuing to work on getting information about WCB to hospitals.  They also will be taking action to alert City of Seattle and other authorities of our pedestrian safety concerns in light of the death of an employee of the Lighthouse for the Blind, who was struck by a train near Safeco Field.

The Grant Seeking Committee is recommending that WCB enlist professional expertise to help us obtain grants to fund some of our programs.

We are considering a new WCB logo and three potential designs have been circulated.

There will be a slight change in the binding and printing style of the large print Newsline.  In the June issue there were 11 chapter updates; please keep those coming.

The WCB History Committee has done over 70 interviews.  They will once again have a roundtable discussion on Friday evening at this year's convention.

There are openings on the Library Patron Advisory Council and the Department of Services for the Blind Rehab Council.  We need people who are committed to attending these meetings and being contributing members.

The Board meeting adjourned at 12:05p.m., just in time for lunch.

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Pedestrian Safety Discussion
by Karen Johnson, Treasurer, United Blind of Seattle

On August 5, 2005, 23 WCB members met for an informal discussion on pedestrian safety.  Cindy Burgett and Gaylen Floy facilitated.  The discussion grew out of many comments on the WCB list having to do with the lack of respect shown by drivers toward pedestrians, not only blind pedestrians.

Some of the problems and concerns raised were:

·       Drivers don’t pay attention.  Drivers do not anticipate pedestrians.  Drivers are often distracted by cell phone conversations - a blind pedestrian has no way of knowing this.

·       Drivers have too many other distractions in their cars.  The newer cars, especially hybrids, are much quieter, making it difficult to interpret the flow of traffic.  Cars frequently pull out in front of other cars, or swerve into another lane behind a stopped car.  Walking safely in a shopping mall parking lot is a problem for many blind pedestrians.

Some suggestions offered were:

·       Plan and implement educational outreach, such as improved information in the drivers’ handbook; adding a question to the drivers’ test concerning the “white cane law”;

·       creating public service announcements (PSAs) on TV and/or a pedestrians’ right-of-way card to distribute at malls and other public spaces;

·       and working with organizations such as Feet First, possibly developing a PSA featuring interviews with drivers who have collided with pedestrians. 

Other suggestions were to require safety practices information to be included with the sale of each cell phone; partnering with auto insurance companies and utility companies to educate drivers through materials sent to their customers; and educating high school age youth about pedestrian safety.

Questions were raised about whether Orientation and Mobility refresher courses are indicated as traffic grows more intense and complex, and whether it would be feasible to install pedestrian alarms on cars.  Other questions were whether existing laws are strict enough, how to hold drivers accountable, and whether WCB members are aware of the resources available through the WCB Advocacy Committee.

President Cindy Burgett is considering forming an ad hoc committee to prepare a proposal for the pre-Convention board meeting.  She is looking for very committed members who are willing to work in a short time-frame.  Call her at (360) 698-0827 or email her at  if you are interested.

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Capital City Council of the Blind

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

Guide Dog Users of Washington State

Jefferson County Council of the Blind

King County Chapter

Peninsula Council of the Blind

United Blind of Seattle

United Blind of Spokane

United Blind of Tri-Cities

United Blind of Walla Walla

United Blind of Whatcom County


Capital City Council of the Blind

By Berl Colley, 1st Vice President

The CCCB is happy to announce that the audible signals, (APS) that CCCB, WCB and the Thurston County Regional Planning Commission partnered to sponsor are going to be installed in September.  There is going to be a celebration at Sixth and Golf Club Place in Lacey, where the sixth of seven intersections will be.  The final event will be the presenting of a check from CCCB and WCB to the Lacey City Council the evening of September 22nd.  The final intersection will be APS equipped next year when Sixth Avenue is realigned and a new intersection is created.

Another grant has been received which will help in covering part of the cost of an assistive listening system that will be used at CCCB meetings and other CCCB events.  The first test of the new system was at our summer picnic, where we used the amplifying equipment to introduce game winners and guests.

At our June meeting we had Senator Karen Frazer, from the state's Twenty Second District, talk to us about key legislation passed in the last legislative session.  We did not meet in July, but we are pleased to say that 10 CCCB members attended the national convention in Las Vegas.

Seven of our members attended a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game on July 29.  The weather was great, the Rainiers won and the food was good. Thanks to Rich Dirk for driving and Intercity Transit for letting us use one of their vans.

What's in Gray's Harbor?  Two of our new and well-liked members, Dale and Dawn Andrews, have moved to that area.  Another one of our new members, Patty Werstein, will be spending the school year in New Mexico.  Anna Dirk, a past secretary of the club, had some scarey medical problems, but is, thankfully, much better now.


Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

by Chris Coulter, President

Summer break? Did we have a summer break?

We here in Everett have been extremely busy this summer, although we are officially supposed to be on vacation in July and August. Our primary summer activity was our WCB day, on Saturday, August 20th. This event was held at the Mukilteo Public Library.  It was a beautiful day so nobody had to suffer with waiting for transportation in the rain, either coming to the event or leaving afterwards. Food and social time began at 11:00a.m., with presentations beginning at around noon. Miki Hopper-Estrada was the emcee and the speakers were Rhonda Nelson, Cindy Burgett and myself. We talked about the structure of ACB, WCB and the local chapter and how we all work together. There was plenty of time for questions and answers.

Our WCB day was a great success. One guest says he would like to join right away and the other visitors came away having had a good time and having received helpful information.

Our next meeting will be on Monday September 12th at 10:00a.m.  For more information, please call me at (425)775-1305.


Guide Dog Users of Washington State

By Joleen Ferguson, President

We have had some new additions since our last update.  One of our members is a new mom, having recently adopted a baby.  A new member has joined our ranks.  One of our members has come home from training with his first guide, others have completed training with replacement guides, some are anticipating the difficult decision of retirement of a faithful guide with plans for training with a new partner. 

For now, though, our attention is drawn to our plans for the upcoming convention this October in the Tri-Cities.  We are very excited to announce that Lukas Franck, COMS, Supervisor of Community Instruction at The Seeing Eye, is planning to join us and speak on the topic of guide dog users communicating with orientation and mobility specialists, not only during our luncheon, but also during the general session.  There he will address the issue of pedestrian safety. 

He will also be a presenter at the GDUWS sponsored breakout session at 3:00p.m. on Friday afternoon.  He has completed a research project on various types of pedestrian signals and will have opportunity to share the findings with us.  Please note that this breakout session is not just for guide dog users.  It will be about accessible signal installation, a topic of interest and importance to all of us.  He will be joined by a city worker from the Tri-Cities and possibly from Walla Walla. Join the discussion of how to work with your city to facilitate signal installation. 

You are welcome to attend our Saturday morning breakfast meeting.  There we will discuss changes to our by laws, we will have election of officers, and we will consider adoption of a new logo.  We have some samples now, provided by our newest member.  They should be up on our web site for your inspection with accompanying text descriptions of each, written by the author, by the time you receive this issue of Newsline

As always, we are planning to accept dues, $15.00, from former members and those wanting to join our ranks during convention.  This is our last meeting prior to the deadline for GDUWS/WCB/ACB membership renewal for 2006. 


Jefferson County Council of the Blind

by Sue Ammeter, President

Greetings from Jefferson County.  At our June meeting I gave an update on my trip to Washington DC to attend the “save rehab” rally and Carl Jarvis talked about the DSB Rehab Council meeting which he had attended in Spokane.  We also discussed the possibility of purchasing an assistive listening system to help our members who have hearing disabilities.  We had two new persons join our chapter, bringing our membership to sixteen.

Eighteen persons attended our summer picnic on July 27th.  John and I were delighted to host the picnic in our new home.  It was a gorgeous day and we sat on the deck enjoying barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs and other goodies provided by chapter members.  The day was made even more festive as we celebrated Liz Ammeter’s 81st birthday and everyone enjoyed the German chocolate cake brought by Lynn Gressley.

We did not meet in August but will have our next meeting on the fourth Wednesday in September at the Shanghai Restaurant in Port Townsend.  If you are ever over this way, please pay us a visit.


King County Chapter

By Rebecca Bell, Vice-President

Our May 28th meeting was highlighted by a presentation to our guest speaker Carolyn Meyer, director of the Louis Braille School.  We presented to her a check for $500 to assist with funding for the new school.  Carolyn informed us about the school and its progress, and thanked us for our generous help and support for the education of blind and visually impaired children.

In the June 25th meeting a letter from Carolyn Meyer was read, thanking us for our donation to the Louis Braille School.  Carolyn expressed her gratitude and specified how our donation had been of assistance.  Members discussed train track crossings and pedestrian safety issues, and solutions concerning train crossings.  Our chapter continued our ongoing penny drive fundraising efforts.  Anticipation of attending the ACB Las Vegas convention and a discussion of guide dogs concluded the meeting.

Our annual barbecue was held at Tim and Virginia Schneebeck's home on July 23rd.  Members and guests enjoyed delicious food prepared by the fine crew, a variety of pop from Tim's own machine and the traditional ice cream man at 5 o'clock.  The day was completed with a tour of the house, music and great fellowship shared by all.  Thanks to Tim and Virginia for a fantastic time!


Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Eric Hunter, PCB President

A busy summer for many of us at the PCB.  Our summer picnic was a great success.  We held it in conjunction with the South Kitsap Council of the Blind at Jackson-Lund Park in Port Orchard.  There is a miniature railroad there, and many of us, including yours truly, got to ride the choo choo.

Some changes.  The Denzers, Mike and Pat, found their dream home at Wye Lake, and moved there. Michelle, the Boppit queen, has found her own very first apartment in Silverdale.

Last June, in conjunction with the SKCB, we had a very successful "Kids' Day" at the Kitsap fairgrounds, passing out lots of information.  Early August, we gave a surprise welcome home party to Sarah Schweizer's husband Jeff, after his tour of duty.  Among us was young Chelsea Armstrong, who is going to the School for the Blind, and insists on practicing her French on me, whose last class in French was in 1953. T'ain't fair.

Jack and Frances Piggott are recovering from a very strenuous summer, both of them undergoing serious surgery, and Fran having to go through chemo and radiation.  Her hair is growing back, and it looks great.

Andrea Crispin, one of our favorite members, is also a dog raiser, and one of her dogs was placed this summer, to a candidate from Seattle.

Cindy, Jim Hollis and I went to Mukilteo to attend the outreach held by Chris Coulter and the Everett chapter.  It was informative, and fun to be with friends of that chapter.  We went there because Cindy was speaking, but we also wanted to get some ideas, as we are holding an outreach on September 24th in Silverdale.

Young Nicole Torcolini was one of 12 students, and the only blind one, to attend a science camp put on by NASA, and, from what we heard, did herself and us proud.

The capping off of our summer, of course, was the five PCB members who traveled down to Lost Wages, Nevada, and joined the noisy, exuberant WCB bunch of rowdies at the ACB convention, all of them having a great time, and all coming back full of exciting stories of their time there.

That's all for now.  The day after our September meeting, Joanne and I are going on an Alaska cruise.  If we make it back, I'll see everyone at the WCB convention.


United Blind of Seattle
by Doug Hildie, President

United Blind of Seattle (UBS) will enter Fall in style. Thanks to a couple of our members, we are scheduled to “sail into Fall” aboard a beautiful sailing schooner built to replicate the sailing vessels that were common in this region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We plan to make this an annual event.

Generally, UBS has a presenter at each monthly meeting. For our August meeting, we invited the manager of the Mobility Project for Sound Transit, Michael Miller, to tell us what the closure of the transit tunnel in downtown Seattle will do to change bus routes that will now be on surface streets. We had a visitor from the Seattle Chamber Music Society, who presented for part of the hour in July, and extended a special invitation to our membership to attend chamber music events which they sponsor. The invitation included discounted tickets.  Last May, UBS had its annual “Friends Day” celebration, and gained new members in the process.

During the year, a number of members became “computer literate.” That is, they and the majority of UBS members are online and able to receive any and all information concerning UBS via the “group list” managed by our Membership Services Task Force. It’s a step toward excellent and timely internal chapter communications. It makes the number of members who require a telephone call fewer, and therefore, it’s more feasible to contact everyone.

UBS has a number of new things on the horizon that will enrich the chapter. We will conclude the Fall, and the year 2005, with our annual luncheon in December in honor of Christmas and the Holiday Season. Best wishes from UBS.


United Blind of Spokane
by Dorothy Carroll, President

The members voted to not meet during July and August.  It has been extremely hot here.  For our June meeting, we had an indoor picnic at O’Garitly Restaurant in the Spokane Valley. The restaurant set the food up buffet style with all the good things that you’d have at a picnic: barbequed ribs, chicken, baked beans, salad, cornbread and cake.  It was delicious.

Mariann Federspiel Nelson graduated from Eastern Washington University. The club gave her a card signed by all the members, and $50 for a graduation present. She has worked so hard for this diploma. She maintained a 3.8 GPA, along with becoming a new mother.  We are all very proud of Mariann and all her family.

Five of our members attended the ACB National Convention in Las Vegas: Debbie and Craig Phillips, Clara Donder, and Bob and Dorothy Carroll.  Dorothy won the first-timers award from WCB.  We all had a wonderful time and came home with lots of new ideas to work on.

Our members plan to attend the play My Fair Lady at the Civic Theater on September 28.  It is a real treat to attend these special productions.

We have a new member, Dr. Brian Flake.



United Blind of Tri-Cities
by Margaret (Margie) Kickert, 2nd Vice-President

Wow, what a fantastic group of people we have in the United Blind of the Tri-Cities!  They are so inspiring, caring, compassionate and just plain full of fun.  When people care and share with each other, we can all grow in so many ways!  (End of commercial!)

We have been very busy getting ready for the upcoming convention, but are also continuing to keep on with our regular activities.  We continue to grow as we welcome our two newest members, Rose Shenk and Marge Potter.

We needed to move our breakfast meeting once again as we outgrew our last restaurant.  Now we meet at the Old Country Buffet in Kennewick, still the third Saturday of each month at 9:15a.m.  We still meet the first Thursday of each month at 1:00p.m. at various restaurants in the Tri-Cities for lunch.  It is a nice problem to have to find a restaurant big enough to hold us all!  Our bowling group is still active and doing well under the direction of Terry Reinkens.  The pottery group continues to be active and I hear we have some real talented members.

The plays have ended for the season now, but they were enjoyed by approximately 10-12 members each time and we are looking forward to the new season beginning in September.

Brenda and Bernie Vinther and Frank Cuta attended the American Council of the Blind Convention in Las Vegas and we have heard wonderful and informative reports from them.

Our candy sale went very well.  Diana Softich, Janice Squires, Rosemary Estes, Evelyn Crouse, Margie Kickert, Irene Nielsen, Carmen Walker, and Brenda and Bernie Vinther all participated.  With nominations for officers not far off, our President, Bill Hoage, has asked Mary and Barney Wolverton to be the Nominating Committee.  All those interested in running for an office were asked to contact them.

The highlight this month was having Cindy Burgett, our WCB President, join us at the Red Lion Hotel in Pasco to prepare for the convention.  We are all looking forward to this.  Bill Hoage has been soliciting door prizes, Kitty Hoage is working on gift bags, and Janice Squires is guiding us all.  Carmen Walker is in charge of volunteers, Diana Softich the Friday evening dinner, while Margie and Ron Kickert, Evelyn Crouse and Irene Nielsen are on the door prize committee.  Brenda and Bernie Vinther will take care of hospitality, with supplies kindly donated by Dr. Sung, a local ophthalmologist.  Frank Cuta is also involved in the convention planning.  We look forward to seeing you all!


United Blind of Walla Walla

By Vivian Conger

United Blind of Walla Walla has met regularly since our last update.  On August 2 we had our annual picnic with lots of good friends and food.

Some of the things our members have been up to include:

Many members have been traveling to various destinations and having lots of company come to visit.

Joleen Ferguson is teaching some of our more recently blind members braille and even learning how to use the Braille ‘N Speak in some cases.  This has made a tremendous difference for the students as now they are able to do many things they thought they couldn’t continue doing.

Ernie Jones is still writing a monthly article which appears in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.  These articles give the sighted world an idea of what it is like to be blind, how blind individuals can still be productive people, and dog guide etiquette.

Shirley Musick has taken her newly-learned braille and has become secretary of Zonta.  She has really put an all-out effort to using her BNS in this endeavor.

Vivian Conger went to Orlando, Florida, to compete in a Future Business Leaders of America national competition where she took 10th place in the nation in the Job Interview category.

We are all looking forward to cooler temps and future activities in our chapter.


United Blind of Whatcom County
By Betty Sikkema, 1st Vice President

Since the last chapter report, the UBWC chapter has been busy. At our June meeting, Sue Hodges, ADA Coordinator for the Public Works Department with the city of Bellingham, returned to our meeting for the second time upon our request.  She spoke about the two divisions and how they are broken down. It was suggested that we have a speaker from each respective division. We will start scheduling them in the fall

Margit Kingston, who has been serving with the Auditor's office to give her input about the accessible voting machines, gave a report. The Federal Government mandated monies to purchase new voting machines. Touch-tone and accessible machines were purchased, and she explained how it worked. The next primary will be done by absentee ballot.

A telephone vote was held in June, to omit meetings in July and August. All voted yes, there were no nays.

The play Oklahoma, which was described by AVIA Jesse Minkert, held on June 12th, was a huge success. Everyone who attended enjoyed the play. Jesse will be coming back in the next few months for the second phase of the project.

On July 2, Barb Crowley and I spoke at the Grange convention. It was a delight to speak to the group, telling them about UBWC, and talking a little about blindness. Before the speech, I was able to talk to some of the Grange members, and they had a chance to ask questions. This event was a great success!  We are also going to attend the Everson Grange in September to give a presentation.

Pioneer days were held in Ferndale on July 30th. UBWC as well as Northwest Braille Services had a table which was manned by Barb Crowley and Beth Marsau.  Anyone passing by had opportunity to ask questions and pick up pamphlets.

There is also fun to be had in our group. A pot-luck picnic was in order. It was at the home of Jo Ellen Barton on June 20th. Hot dogs and burgers were provided by UBWC, and members provided the rest of the delicious food. The menu consisted of pork and beans, fruit, chips, rice with fried tomatoes and watermelon. To top it off, apple pie and ice cream made a fine dessert!

Some of us enjoyed the food inside, and three of us braved the outdoors with sunshine and yellow jackets who surrounded our table.  After dinner, everyone came outside to enjoy games and socialize. The games available were croquet and cards. Everyone had a good time!

Three guests were in attendance:  Lynn (who is being trained for Braille transcribing) and her husband Marlo Schouten and Christina Stremler.

Thanks to everyone who made this picnic a great success!  Hope to see you all at the state convention in October.

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DSB Report

by Lou Oma Durand, Director

Hello, Newsline readers.  I am honored that Governor Gregoire has appointed me to serve as your new Executive Director at the Department of Services for the Blind.

My new role first took me to Las Vegas, along with staff members Mike Mallahan and Arlene Itou, for your annual ACB national convention.  We were proud to be a part of the Washington delegation, clearly with a national reputation for participation, leadership, peer support and all-around fun.

The Child and Family Program is busily preparing for two state-wide events.  Child and Family is pleased to once again sponsor the Conference for Blind Youth as an adjunct to the WCB State Convention in Pasco.  The 20th Annual Conference for Families of Infant and Pre-school Children, one of the best-attended events for families of blind children in the Pacific Northwest, will convene November 4-5 in Tacoma.

We are celebrating the success of our customers over this past year; 136 customers completed the work of adjusting to blindness and learning new skills.  They became employed in good jobs with benefits, at an average wage of $11.70 per hour.  As always, they went to work in a wide range of jobs.  Let me share a few examples just to illustrate that people with visual disabilities, and the right skills, can do just about any job:

Park ranger, police science instructor, marriage and family counselor, physical therapist, purchasing agent, financial service representative, teacher’s aide, motorcycle repairer, store assistant manager, prep cook, clinical psychologist, software tester, nurse’s assistant, dietician, bookkeeper, high school teacher, etc.

The full list of jobs and employers who hired our customers is available on our website at

I want to assure you that DSB continues to have enough resources to serve all of our customers.  We do not want to be in a situation where people must wait for services.  So I am happy to report that our budget fared well both in the Governor’s office and through the legislative process.  On the national level, the good news is that Congress has not supported the Administration’s efforts to consolidate Vocational Rehabilitation funding with other federal employment programs.  I am committed to work at both the state and federal levels to preserve specialized and individualized services for people with visual disabilities.  We do face some challenges within our state.  We have a lot of work to do to make all the changes required by civil service reform.  We have also been directed by the Governor’s office to cut management positions.  This is difficult when we have more management and accountability requirements than ever before.

We continually seek qualified candidates for our vacant positions.  Currently we are recruiting for a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor, an orientation and mobility specialist, and a specialist to work with families of blind children.  Recruitment bulletins for our vacant positions may be found on our DSB website at

In the next issue of the Newsline, I will tell you more about the programs, services, and staff at the Department of Services for the Blind.  Hope you all having a wonderful summer!

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WTBBL Report
by Gloria Leonard, Director

Here are some highlights of activities at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library:

Staff Change:  Volunteer Coordinator Linda Thorson has retired and Autumn Solomon has been hired as her replacement. Autumn will also be the Library’s public information officer, and will lead our fundraising and media campaigns. She can be reached by phone at (206) 615-0417, toll free at 1-800-542-0866 or by email at

Another Successful Reading Club:  Six-year old Grace Miller of Rochester was the first to meet her reading goal of 10 braille books.  Eleven-year-old Christopher Rozzi of Twisp won the drawing to attend the special Breakfast of Champions at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle.  The Rozzi family toured the Library and did some sightseeing.  As in prior years, the Seattle Public Library Foundation arranged the complimentary overnight stay at the Pacific Plaza Hotel.

Work Parties: Each year volunteers contribute over 28,000 hours to the Library.  Work parties from Washington Mutual Bank, Safeco Insurance, Seattle Pacific University, the Kiwanis Club and many others come to the Library on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings to help.  If you would be interested in bringing a work group to the Library, or joining an existing work group, please contact the Library.

10 Squared Program Honors WTBBL’s Centenarians:  You are cordially invited to attend a party on November 5, 2005 where five centenarian WTBBL readers will be inducted into the 10 Squared Reading Club.  To be eligible for induction, an honoree must be 100 years of age or older.  Over 23 WTBBL patrons are eligible for membership in the club, which gives members priority on high-demand materials, such as new releases.   We hope that members of WCB affiliates will attend.  Call the Library at (206) 615-0400 or 1- 800-542-0866 or email wtbbl@wtbbl for details.

Braille Services Outreach Activities:  Joyce Van Tuyl presented three sessions at the Combined Summer Institute on Special Education related to The Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, 1972 Revision.  In addition to the presentations, Joyce answered questions about the Library and its services and programs throughout the four-day event.

From the Northwest Book Shelf:  If you are running low on good books to read, Theresa Connolly (Taping Services Coordinator) and Joyce Van Tuyl (Braille Services Coordinator) have a list of books in braille and talking book formats from the Library’s Northwest Collection.

As always, remember to contact the Library locally at (206) 615-0400, in-state toll-free at 1-800-52-0866 or send us email at and one of our reader’s advisors will be happy to assist you.

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Making a Difference!

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

Many years ago Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”  This statement could have been used to describe the successful workings of a democratic society in the best sense of the way collaboration should work with input and involvement from many in shaping change for the future. However, the development of strong partnerships in helping to move programs and issues forward is not always the easiest thing to do.  But it is worth the effort!   As Thomas Alva Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Implementing successful change within an organization takes strong leadership and the ability to help develop partnerships that can build on the ideas from many individuals who have the willingness and freedom to be risk takers and an atmosphere where determination and coordinated efforts and the desire to make a difference are all part of the daily way of doing business.  In other-words, any organization that is going to make systematic sustainable changes can’t do so in a vacuum. 

Many organizations have tried to go out on their own and resolve some of the world problems, but short-term successes have resulted in only short-term outcomes to long-term problems. The ability to make a difference usually comes with systematic changes that are done in concert with others.

WSSB has continually sought out partnerships both from within and outside of the school as part of our process of continual improvement.  We are committed to making a difference for blind and visually impaired children, which means we need to continue to develop successful relationships with those who may or may not know that their involvement can and will lead to better services and programs for the blind and visually impaired.  Diverse partnerships can help expand our horizon and begin an evolution of new opportunities where none existed in the past.  This process of awareness, education and relationship building is what it is all about. 

Most people want to do the right thing and in the right way; they just need to be provided the opportunity.

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises” - Demosthenes

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Louis Braille Center News
by Carolyn Meyer and Hy Cohen


Braille Camp 2005

We can still hear the sweet laughter, singing, and conversations that filled the air during Braille Camp 2005. For two weeks in July, the offices of the Louis Braille Center became transformed into Brailler Bay, Heartbeat Harbor, Beanie Beach, The Galley, and Carolyn’s Cove, reflecting the beach theme of the Camp.

We had lots of fun together singing songs, playing games, preparing and eating lunch, working with computers, enjoying crafts, and learning about the world around us. Probably the best part was getting to know one another and making new friends.

The Edmonds Beach Rangers provided two very special programs for our campers. During the first week, Ranger Amanda came to Braille Camp. She talked about the many different animals and plants that live in the intertidal pools of the beach and brought shells of different sizes, shapes and textures for the campers to examine. On the last day of Camp, we went down to Olympic Beach at low tide where we met Ranger Susan. Susan gave everyone a chance to feel various crustaceans and plant life specimens she had gathered especially for us.

At the end of two fun-filled weeks, with a final goodbye song, the campers and our wonderful helpers left the Louis Braille Center offices. Soon Heartbeat Harbor turned back into an office, Beanie Beach became a room filled with braille books waiting for little fingers to read, and Brailler Bay soon was stacked full of materials transcribed into braille awaiting delivery to clients.

The magic spell lingers, however. We can’t wait until next year’s Braille Camp!

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Seattle Low-Vision Support Group
by Patt Copeland, United Blind of Seattle

The group really started with two friends talking about the frustration of vision loss, and then something amazing happened as the creativity and irony entered in and then the laughter. The most important element of our group is that every person who comes has equal time to talk and express themselves. The group has a positive energy that inspires problem solving and independence. In addition we provide information about low vision issues and referrals to other community agencies. We also have organized some fun trips such as an afternoon sailing excursion and visit to a tactile art exhibit.

We meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 12.30 to 2.00p.m.   Group Health Cooperative has provided us with a meeting room, Room - A3 or A4, next to the cafeteria in the South Building of their Capitol Hill Campus at 125 16th Avenue E. (accessible by Metro bus routes 8, 10 and 43). The meeting is free of charge and is open to all vision levels. You do not have to be a Group Health member to participate. For more information, call me at (206) 282-3913 or Bonnie Genevay (206) 328-4770.

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Book Group
by Patt Copeland, United Blind of Seattle

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon and you’re in the middle of a great book that you can’t put down. You think it would be interesting to talk with other readers about the characters, the story or the ending. Our plan is to get a group together to do just that - meet once a month at the downtown Seattle Public Library (courtesy of the Library Equal Access Program) and discuss a book that everyone has read. They will supply the monthly book selected, in Talking Book, large print or Braille format, for the book club.  The discussion is the most exciting part, with contrasting points of view expressed by different readers and interesting interpretations emerging from the dialog.  Call me at (206) 282-3913 if you would like to join, or recommend your favorite book.

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2006 Ski for Light

Join over 300 active adults for a cross-country skiing vacation at the 31st annual Ski for Light International Week, January 29-February 5, 2006 in Granby, Colorado.  Participants will stay at the Inn at Silver Creek and ski each day at nearby Snow Mountain Ranch.

Ski for Light pairs visually and mobility impaired skiers with sighted instructor/guides.  The skiers set the pace, asking their guides to assist with skills, technique, endurance, or simply enjoying the outdoors.  If you are interested, contact Lynda Boose at (906) 370-7541 or or apply online at  The application deadline is November 1, 2005.

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Upcoming ACB Cruises

October 30 - November 6, 2005 - Carnival Victory - Miami, San Juan, St. Thomas  and St. Maarten
Prices: Inside Cabin $685, Ocean View $825, and Balcony $925.

May 8 - 12, 2006
Carnival Paradise - Long Beach, Catalina and Ensenada
Prices: Inside Cabin $430 and Ocean View $480.

September 28 - October 10, 2006
Carnival Liberty – Rome, Italy; Naples, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Venice, Italy; Sicily, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; Livorno, Italy; Rome, Italy
Prices: Inside Cabin $1725, Ocean View $2025 and Balcony $2325.

For reservations please call Dave Kronk at 800-999-6101 Ext.422 or email him at
Damar Travel and Cruise
11988 Dorsett Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63043

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Hats Off to You!
by Peggy Shoel

We are pleased to extend our congratulations to the following Washington Council of the Blind members:

·                   Julie DeGeus, 2nd Vice President, WCB, and Nathan Brannon, member, UBS, on their August marriage.  Their wedding ceremony and reception were held at the North Seattle Church of the Nazarene, and the happy couple flew to Hawaii for a 7-day honeymoon cruise before returning to Seattle.

·                   Hayley Agers, member, GDUWS, and her husband, David, on becoming parents for the first time.  Brayden Blaine arrived at a birthweight of 7 lbs 11 oz, with lots of black hair, huge brown eyes, a button nose and long fingers.  Mother reports he is a good eater, a happy baby and the joy of their lives.

·                   Debbie and Craig Phillips, members, United Blind of Spokane, on becoming first-time grandparents. Madison June Wallace weighed in at 7 lbs 4 oz, with lots of brown hair, blue eyes, long fingers and lives nearby, which pleases the doting grandparents.

·                   Carmen Walker, United Blind of Tri-Cities, on becoming the proud grandmother of new grandson Ahman.  Born July 7 at a birthweight of 10 lbs 3 oz, Carmen reports he is a beautiful baby and is responsible for her many trips to Portland, Oregon.

·                   Dorothy Carroll, Board Member, WCB, on becoming a first-time great-grandmother.  Kylee Nicole Custer, who arrived at a birthweight of 7 lbs 8oz, with deep blue eyes and lots of black hair, is a happy baby and a delight to her great-grandmother.

·                   Connie and Jim Hollis, members, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on the event of their 45th wedding anniversary.  Married in Gardena, California, the couple celebrated the occasion with a one-week trip to Las Vegas and Reno.

·       Mariann Federspiel, Treasurer, United Blind of Spokane, on her graduation from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor's degree in Behavioral Science.  Mariann, who now resides in Rathdrum, Idaho, and commutes to the monthly chapter meetings, would like to establish a career in the area of special education.

·       Nicole Torcolini, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on being awarded a $5,000 grant by Microsoft to benefit DO-IT, a Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology organization (see article in this issue).

·       Amelia Wearstler, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on winning the 2005 Mousehole Scholarship, awarded to a blind or visually impaired student or a student of a blind or visually impaired parent. This was an essay competition and Amelia's submission won her a $500 scholarship, which is being paid directly to Olympic College in Bremerton (website

·                   Vivian Conger, President, United Blind of Walla Walla, who participated in a business leadership state competition, taking first place in the job interview category, which provided a full financial scholarship for her to participate in the national competition in Orlando, Florida.  Vivian placed tenth in the nation and was presented with a plaque aknowledging future leaders of America by Phi Beta Lambda professional business organization.

·                   Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary, WCB, for receiving the ACB 2005 George Card Award for her sustained contributions to ACB Radio and all people who are blind and visually impaired throughout the United States.  A beautiful inscribed plaque in the shape of the state of Nevada was presented to Marlaina at the convention banquet.

·                   Carl Jarvis, Secretary, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, for receiving the ACB 2005 Ned E. Freeman Award for excellence in writing.  Carl was presented with a beautifully inscribed plaque in the shape of the state of Nevada, which he proudly displays.  (See his article, Imagine, in this issue.)

·                   Shirley Taylor, member, United Blind of Seattle, for receiving an ACB lifetime membership, awarded by WCB; Carl Jarvis, Secretary, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, for receiving an ACB lifetime membership awarded by WCB, and Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary, WCB, for receiving an ACB lifetime membership gifted by husband Gary. Presentations were made at convention.

·                   Cindy Burgett, President, WCB, for being elected to a two-year term on the board of the ACB Braille Revival League (BRL) Special Interest Affiliate. Cindy will chair their fundraising efforts, and looks forward to working with the BRL in supporting and promoting the use of Braille.

·                   Meka White, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on being elected to the Board of the ACB Blind Friends of Lesbians and Gays Special Interest Affiliate.  Meka's responsibilities will include producing a newsletter and managing their membership program.

·                   Harold Martinson, Vice-President, United Blind of Seattle, on his retirement following 47 years in the work force, the last 30 of which were at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle, where his final position was machinist.  Harold states that he is keeping busy and is seriously considering re-establishing a coffee shop.

·                   Karen Johnson, Treasurer, United Blind of Seattle, on her early retirement following a 28-year professional career as a speech pathologist, the last 24 of which were with the Department of Social and Health Services at Fircrest School.  Karen is planning to receive training at Kaizen in Seattle in their English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

·                   Carla Dawson, member, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, on her new dog guide, Idell, a two-year old female black lab weighing a little over 54 lbs.  Idell is from Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, and Carla reports she is a good working dog with a friendly, sociable personality.

·                   Randy Tedrow, member, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, on acquiring his first dog guide, Topper, a two-year old male black lab/golden retriever cross, weighing  79 lbs.  Topper is from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon, and Randy reports they are still getting used to each other, but are a good match and the only thing Topper likes more than sleeping is eating.

·       Shelly Pryor, Secretary, South Kitsap Council of the Blind, on her new guide dog, Elllie, a two-year old female black lab from Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida, weighing 56 lbs and standing 22 inches  high.  Shelly says they have achieved a wonderful bonding and Ellie is everything she ever wanted in a guide dog.

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Blind Student Wins $5,000 Grant

(Excerpted from June 22, 2005 Kitsap Sun)

A Silverdale student is one of 10 recipients from all over the world of a $5,000 grant from Microsoft's You Can Make a Difference scholarship program.

Nicole Torcolini, a freshman at Central Kitsap Junior High School, has developed a solution that will benefit the DO-IT, or Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology organization.

Torcolini will develop the Accessible Periodic Table with the support of DO-IT to give the visually impaired a better idea of why elements on the periodic table are arranged the way they are and to act as a quick reference for information about the different elements. The Accessible Periodic Table will consist of an instructional document explaining the program, an Access report containing all of the information, and 13 Access reports that sort the information by different properties.

This project has particular meaning to Torcolini, who is legally blind. Furthermore, she dreamed big on a small budget. In her project proposal, she only requested a budget of $40 (out of a possible $1,500) to implement this solution for DO-IT.

The You Can Make a Difference scholarship program challenges secondary students around the world to design technology-based solutions to benefit charitable organizations.

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In the Summer/June Newsline, we congratulated Irene Nielson on the celebration of her 80th birthday, but neglected to state her chapter affiliation.  Irene is a member of the United Blind of the Tri-Cities.



Article Deadline
To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by November 26, 2005.  Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

Publication Policy:
To ensure accuracy, we require typed, double-spaced submissions or e-mailed submissions to with a cc:  Articles should be no longer than two pages.




Sept 12

9:00a.m. – 4:00p.m. – Call-in day (one day only) to request free room for WCB State Convention (800) 255-1147 or (206) 283-4276

Oct 4

Deadline for the following:
Registration for WCB State Convention
Travel stipend requests
Bus reservations
Hotel reservations

Oct 8

WTBBL Patron Advisory Council, Seattle

Oct 20

Last day late Convention registrations by snail mail, email, or online will be accepted.
Last day to submit names to WCB Nominating Committee

Oct 27-29

WCB Annual Convention, Pasco

Nov 4-5

DSB Conference for Families of Infant and Pre-school Children, Tacoma

Nov 15

Deadline for submitting PAC applications to WTBBL


Production and distribution of Winter Newsline



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

·       To Bill Hoage, for duplicating the tape version of this issue

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

·       To Viola Cruz, for transforming the print version of the NEWSLINE into a Web page

·       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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