September 2007 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935


Cindy Van Winkle, President
6686 Capricorn Lane NE
Bremerton, WA 98311
(360) 698-0827

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


From the President's Desk

Editor’s Comment

Mark Your Calendars--WCB Convention Almost Here

ACB 2007 Convention

WCB Summer Retreat a Real Political Affair

Coffee with a Legislator?

Summer Board Meeting

Make the Best of This Day

Environmental Access Committee Report

Constitution & Bylaws Committee Unveiled

Proposed Changes to Constitution & Bylaws

WCB History—Part 1


Around the State

Department of Services for the Blind Report

Washington State School for the Blind Report

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Report

Louis Braille School Report

Hats Off to You!

WCB Members Appointed to ACB Committees




From The President’s Desk
by Cindy Van Winkle, President

The Washington Council of the Blind is a consumer organization working for "opportunity, equality & independence" for all legally blind people in the State of Washington. This is why we exist; this is our purpose. This is what drives our membership to pass resolutions and work on committees fighting for the rights of all blind people through legislation and other advocacy efforts. It is why WCB provides financial support to members and non-members alike who are blind, whether it be a student pursuing a higher education or someone in a crisis situation.

As a consumer organization, we thrive on a growing membership. So we put into place programs to nourish chapter growth and membership. We provide a leadership seminar to help in leadership development, financial assistance to entice attendance at state and national conventions, numerous media such as our phone system, email list and this quarterly publication to communicate with our members, and most importantly, we work hard to create an environment where every member can feel a sense of ownership and camaraderie in WCB.

For the most part, I think we’ve done well with staying true to our mission of promoting "opportunity, equality and independence" for all blind people, but recently I’ve come to believe that there’s one area where we’ve fallen short, and I’d like us all to work together to rectify this.

When we hold chapter meetings, we come together to conduct needed business, to learn about the issues, to hear a speaker on a topic of interest, but rarely do we get a chance to reach out and share with one another. I mean really share.

I met a gentleman over the phone a month or so ago. His story isn’t a whole lot different than others I’ve heard before. Blinded from Diabetes, married with a young family, no longer working and relatively new to the area, I provided him numbers to all the important resources, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, Department of Services for the Blind, our local paratransit service, oh yes, and of course I told him about our 2 chapters in the area. But is that all he needed? I knew in my heart it wasn’t. But besides making myself available, giving him my number and passing on his to the President of the chapter nearest him, that’s all I did. It was when that chapter President called me wanting to know if we had a support group for spouses because this new contact’s wife had gotten on the phone asking, I knew that it’s time we start doing more.

I chatted with both Kitsap County chapter Presidents about the possibility of us holding a support group. We didn’t know what it would look like, we didn’t know who would come, but we all agreed we should give it a try. About this same time, the Capital City chapter was forging ahead with the same new adventure. What we all found is that our first attempts at holding a support group were well attended and well received. Opportunities to get together with no agenda other than to share concerns, frustrations, resources and ideas, all in a caring and nurturing environment is a very real way to promote our WCB mission.

What greater gift can we give to our members and other folks in our communities who are experiencing blindness at whatever level than to build their confidence and belief in the abilities of blind people -- ALL BLIND PEOPLE, whether it’s their grandma, son, spouse or oneself.

Yes, WCB is a consumer organization, and all the work we do to ensure that each of us can live, work and participate alongside others in our respective communities as equally contributing members of society is still very important. But let us not forget that although the challenges we each face may be different, we don’t have to go through any of it alone. We all have needs and we all have something to give. Let’s share with one another and allow ourselves to care beyond the meeting room walls by truly providing support and strengthening our membership in a new way.

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Editor’s Comment
by Peggy Shoel

We Stand Tall

Newly elected American Council of the Blind (ACB) President Mitch Pomerantz has appointed a number of WCB members to national committee positions. This is truly a tribute to the commitment, the energy and the desire for responsible participation that are so visible in the Washington Council of the Blind. In this issue (page 58), we have provided a list of those individuals, their committee identification, and their telephone numbers. Once they have settled in, they can act as local information conduits to our general membership. Save this list. It can serve you well as a handy resource.

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Mark Your Calendars – It’s Almost Here
by Denise Colley, WCB Convention Coordinator

Right now is the time to make plans for the WCB convention, a gala event to be held in Spokane on November 1, 2 and 3. The United Blind of Spokane and the WCB convention committee are working diligently to make this the best convention to date. You don’t want to miss out!

Convention Highlights: Ray Campbell, ACB Board member, will be here as this year’s ACB representative and banquet speaker.

The WCB exhibit room will be open from 10am to 5pm on Friday. Please contact Debby Phillips, Exhibits Coordinator, for information: (509) 684-1266 or On Friday we will learn a little more about the legislative process, get an update from the Washington State Library on transition planning for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, and hear about interesting jobs being done by blind people in the area. There will also be three break-out sessions; topics will include the history of the "Big Three" service providers to blind and visually impaired Washingtonians, accessible transportation and advocacy efforts, especially related to rural transportation, and an overview of global positioning systems and products.

On Saturday morning you will learn what is happening at the national level and hear about specific programs at our three statewide agencies for the blind. You will also meet three young people who are doing some very incredible things in their communities. They include a young man who got a piece of legislation introduced and passed during the 2007 legislative session, a young lady who has created a software program that back translates Nemeth Code into print, and a young man who is actively involved in the performing arts.

WCB members should plan to be at the business meeting Saturday afternoon to elect officers and directors, vote on WCB resolutions and by-law amendments, put in place the WCB budget for 2008 and to conduct any other WCB business that may come to the floor. And don’t forget about the reception for scholarship winners and the annual banquet.

Here are a few reminders: Our convention will be held November 1 through 3, 2007 at the Doubletree Hotel Spokane City Center. Room rates are $84 per night for singles and doubles, $94 per night for triples, and $104 per night for quads, plus tax. Make room reservations by calling (509) 455-9600, and be sure to do so by October 4 and let the reservationist know you are with the WCB convention in order to get these rates.

You should have received the convention bulletin and registration form. Mail the form and your registration fees to Eric Hunter, WCB Treasurer, PO Box 1085, Tracyton, WA 98393, by October 4. After October 4, the registration fee goes up to $135. No registrations will be accepted after October 15.

WCB is providing two free buses to and from convention, leaving from Seattle and Bremerton, with stops in Port Orchard, Tacoma, Federal Way and Ellensburg. Please see your convention bulletin for more information on the locations and departure times for these buses. To make your reservation on either bus, call Shirley Taylor at (206) 362-3118, letting her know from which location you will be picked up. Make reservations early to reserve your seat, as space is limited.

A $50 travel stipend is available for anyone who has been a member of WCB since at least May 1, 2007, and is not planning to ride on either of the two free buses or is not a resident of Spokane County. To apply for the stipend you need to contact Shirley Taylor before October 4.

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 the 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.

How to Register for the Convention: There are three ways to register.

Complete the registration form enclosed with your convention bulletin;

Submit your registration form on line at; or

Request a registration form via E-mail by contacting Cindy Van Winkle at (

The WCB Convention Committee and our host affiliate, the United Blind of Spokane, anticipate a convention filled with information, friendship and fun. We look forward to getting together with many of you November 1 through 3 in Spokane!

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ACB 2007 Convention
by Alan Bentson, First Timer Award Winner

It was Sunday, July 1 2007, at 7p.m. CST, and President Chris Gray was calling the opening session of the 46th annual Convention of the American Council of the Blind to order. This was my first national Convention, for this year I was chosen to receive the Washington Council of the Blind first timer’s award, which made it possible for me to go to Minneapolis and be sitting here in this lovely ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I felt both excited and uneasy.

I was excited as I already felt very involved in the Convention. Since arriving on the train from Seattle on Friday I had been on a dinner cruise, been to a Communications Access Seminar and attended a panel put on by BITS (Blind Information Technology Specialists) about new developments in high tech. On a lighter note I’d had dinner with our state President, Cindy Van Winkle and friends, been to a Welcome to Minneapolis party, visited the Exhibits Hall (85, count ‘em 85 vendors) and been to something called the Sports Fanatics Luncheon.

I was a bit uneasy, because I wasn’t sure what having all this fun and staying at this lavish expensive hotel had to do with helping the blind people in this country, especially when we’re always reading in the Forum—which doesn’t come as often as it used to-- about how ACB is strapped for funds. As if President Gray had been reading my mind he almost immediately launched into a lengthy report on ACB’s Advocacy during the year: accessible voting with a secret ballot, useable currency, and actual keypads to use at point-of-sale locations, pedestrian safety and on and on faster than I could write the activities down. All presidents should start the convention this way, it was good to be able to remember during the six days of discussions and parliamentary procedure that followed what we were there for. As for the hotel, Karla Ruschival reminded us in her Convention Committee Chair’s report that it is actually cheaper to hold the convention in a large hotel than in a Convention Center. It was certainly efficient to use the hotel, which was fairly easy to get around and well-stocked with helpful volunteers and staff. I could only imagine what would happen if we held the National Convention in an auditorium, say, and people had to travel to it from hotels from all around a city. (From what I’ve heard from veterans of other ACB Conventions this has actually happened sometimes in the past.)

With my uneasiness dispelled, I settled down to enjoy the rest of the meetings. This was a great year to be a first timer as we had important elections and a change in administration. Our own Marlaina Lieberg was terrific at the Candidates Forum on Thursday night. She was poised, yet passionate, immensely gracious to her fellow candidates and very good at her off-the-cuff replies to questions. Like all of you, I am very proud that she is our new National Secretary. I was impressed by how important a role Resolutions play in the business of the ACB Convention. The Resolutions Committee brought over 40 resolutions to us on many topics from concerned members from all over the country. Not all of them passed by any means, but it gave a chance for many to express their opinions and have them heard by the entire national body. We actually ran out of time to discuss all the Resolutions and the remainder were dealt with at the post-Convention board meeting.

At the end of the convention I joined a tour that went to the Guthrie Theater, one of the most famous dinner theaters in the Country, where we saw a production of "1776", a musical about the deliberations that led to our Declaration of Independence. What an appropriate reminder that all this discussion and parliamentary procedure really can change the world! I’m sorry space does not permit me to describe all the other parts of the Convention I enjoyed, the auction, the Friends-in-Art showcase, the Scholarship reception, the Blind Services Tour, even the Star Trek Social. Suffice it to say I was pleased and impressed by my first National ACB Convention and intend to go to more conventions and find a way to be a helper rather than a spectator. I hope you will all have a chance to join me!

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WCB Summer Retreat a Real Political Affair
by Glenn McCully, Legislative Chair

On Friday August 10th the WCB legislative committee hosted the annual summer retreat in conjunction with the board meeting. The committee, which includes Glenn McCully, Denise Colley, Marlaina Lieberg, Gaylen Floy and Stuart Russell, presented a three-hour program filled with valuable information about how to get to know your legislators; how to get involved at the local level; how to get your message across; and a job description for what the legislative committee needs for each WCB chapter to fill when they appoint their legislative rep next year.

The afternoon began with a very informative presentation by the state auditor’s office on accessible voting. Members were urged to use the accessible machines to demonstrate their demand and need. The original equipment was funded through a federal mandate, but as equipment becomes old and needs replacement it will be up to individual counties to buy the new equipment. If nobody is using it they will be very reluctant to replace it.

The session was well attended with about 35 people participating. The legislative committee had several handouts burned to CD’s that were distributed as well as Braille and large print agendas. After the session, the legislative committee decided to start a page on the WCB website. It will be coming soon and will include the information from the summer retreat as well as many other valuable resources. The committee hopes to make it a one-stop location for all state legislative information chapters and members may need for the upcoming session.

Check the WCB website soon for more details.

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Coffee with a Legislator?
by Gaylen Floy, President, South King Council of the Blind

Yes. And I not only lived to tell about it, but actually got to drink some coffee. The nerves weren’t too bad. There were no "Inspector Clouseau" moments. It was a lot like talking with a neighbor …a very busy, but personable neighbor.

How did this chat come about? This spring I emailed my reps and Senator to see if they were holding town meetings. Skip Priest, of the 30th district, emailed me and also called, encouraging me to either invite him to a chapter meeting or meet for coffee. The summer was slipping away, so I finally called and talked with a staffer. Skip would meet us the following Monday at Marie Callendar’s in Federal Way.

Would anyone be available to help me discuss education? That is Skip’s main area of influence. I sent out an email. No response. I emailed Marlaina Lieberg, who lives fairly close and maybe, just maybe, she and Gary can meet Skip, too. Marlaina emails back – Gary has a dental appointment, but sent some talking points. Oy vey. It’s going to be just me and the legislator at coffee.

The alarm goes off Monday morning. I decide to dress like I was going to a job interview, not too formal, but business-like. Before catching the bus, I grab a business card and brochure for our chapter. I arrive early to scope out the place. Not too busy. The door opens and in walks Skip. We shake hands. So far, so good.

We sit down and I ask about his schedule. Marie Callendar’s is his office. During the off session he has 5 or 6 meetings a day there. Just getting through the grocery store can turn into a town meeting. Skip is a former mayor of Federal Way and people feel comfortable stopping him to talk. He’s learned to buy ice cream last.

Skip checks his phone calendar. This day he and others will look for a solution to an invasive sea weed in Puget Sound. The media is hounding him about a meeting that evening about legislation regarding level 3 sex offenders. These aren’t his areas of specialty. But because constituents asked for assistance, he is involved.

Now he wants to hear what keeps me busy. School. The Council. I give him the talking points Marlaina gave me about educational concerns. I mention an article in the Columbian that Carl Jarvis posted on the WCB list. He nods and is familiar with the statistics. I talk about my challenges with school and hand him the brochure and card, moving on to early intervention.

Skip talks about what got him involved in community work – the heart and soul of it. He doesn’t take elections too seriously. Even Winston Churchill got the boot, he says. Then he says he’ll call me in the next day or two about the advanced leadership program in Federal Way. If there’s an opening this year, he’d like me to participate.

He’s got a radio interview coming up and offers to drive me over to the mall. This gave me an opportunity to mention the incredible opportunities I’ve had in the Council. He says these are resources other community leaders need to know about. He dropped me off at the mall and he’s off. I unfold my cane and check my watch. Only 45 minutes and we got the job done.

Before the WTBBL issue came up last fall, talking with a legislator was not on my radar. I never saw myself as confident or competent enough to talk on a specific topic, other than newspapers or graphics. One really cool thing about the Council is that we have people who are more than happy to mentor us. One idea the legislative committee stressed this year was to keep our message simple. The representatives really want to hear what we have to say. All we have to do is a little homework. We can make new friends in our communities and in Olympia. This is socializing kicked up a notch. I, for one, love to hear what other chapters are doing, so post your experiences on the WCB list.

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Summer Board Meeting
By Doug Hildie and Karen Johnson

The summer WCB Board meeting took place on August 11, 2007, at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton. It is conveniently located adjacent to the Bremerton Ferry Terminal making access quite easy. Across the plaza from the conference center is the Hampton Inn hotel where the WCB Board and other members stayed overnight.

We also stayed at the hotel which we found to be very accommodating. It was apparent that care had been taken to install tactile and enlarged signage. The distance between the hotel and conference center was relatively short. There were several restaurants nearby which members frequented. And, it was very nice to be able to move between the ferry terminal, conference center, and hotel without any automobile traffic impeding our progress.

Counting WCB Board Directors and Officers, there were thirty-two attendees at the meeting. All Board members were present, and all but one chapter was represented. There was minimal discussion on a variety of issues. While Committee reports were routine, all Committee Chairs were prepared to report. Some important points include the following:

The Treasurer’s report contained especially good news for ongoing financial needs. There was discussion about a request from the Crisis Committee to increase the funding for the committee. Some debate occurred over whether increasing the funding was appropriate. A majority of the Board did vote to add $1,000 to the Crisis Committee budget to handle increased requests for assistance.

It was recommended by the Scholarship Committee that the WCB Constitution be amended to permit scholarship recipients to use their award at any accredited college in the nation. This proposal will be on the Convention agenda for the membership to consider at that time.

A report from a revitalized Environmental Access Committee described the results of the committee’s work thus far in 2007. The committee has written a letter concerning the proliferation of a "traffic calming device" statewide known as a Roundabout. See the article in this issue of Newsline about the Environmental Access Committee.

Preparations for the 2007 WCB Convention in Spokane are well underway. The preliminary agenda is quite full. See the Newsline calendar of events for important dates and deadlines.

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Make the Best of This Day
by Ernie Jones, United Blind of Walla Walla

Editor’s Note: Ernie writes a monthly column, entitled, "Different Views" dealing with blindness issues and vision loss for the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.

For some time now, I have been writing a monthly column, elaborating on what we, the blind, can do.

I have stressed the fact that we can do just about anything we want, other than read the printed word and drive a vehicle. Still, one can read with the use of the computer and some blind individuals have driven a car, though I know this is not a normal activity.

But I am wondering if maybe someone just going blind may feel that because they cannot do these activities that something is wrong. Maybe they are in the clutch of depression following the news that their eyesight is fading and all they can think of is what they must give up.

I do not want to paint a too glorious picture of being blind, for being blind can be very depressing and may fill a person with a feeling of helplessness. One day you are on the mountaintop; the whole world is yours. You can go out driving your car and working at your job. You feel independent, with the freedom to come and go as you please. You are respected and treated like any other person. Suddenly you are dumped into the dark valley where those with good eyesight never venture. You try to continue with life, pretend all is fine, but inside you are falling apart.

The doctor's words, "it is time to stop driving the car," or "I don't think you should operate any more power equipment," sends you into a completely different world. This can be a lonely world, for most folks avoid it, knowing that were they blind they could not function. They feel that being blind makes a person helpless.

You have two choices: Either you can mope and make your life, and everyone around you, miserable or you can face the new you and make yourself go forward, savoring each new day.

Sure, there will be relapses when your life again looks gloomy, like the time you run into a tree or a corner of a building. It is good to have a hard head. Or the time some well-meaning motorist tells you that you need to be clear off the pavement, even though you already have one foot on the narrow gravel shoulder of the road. Or when you feel that at last you are one of the group, chatting and enjoying life, only to find out the person you were talking to has moved on and you are talking to the open air.

Then you grow real brave and you volunteer for some position in a church, club or some other organization and you are met with the curt answer, "Well I don't know what you can do. I guess you can come but I’m not sure what you can do." So, do you follow your first inclination and prove that you can still be helpful or do you back away and pull the curtain of depression back over you?

Again we must go back to the two choices. Although these actions may hurt you, and they may really frustrate, even anger you, still it is up to you, up to me, to either be in a continual state of depression or in a state of enjoying life.

More people fear blindness than any other disability. I usually do not let it rule my life but I admit there have been times when my family worried as I faltered in some dark hole that some careless person dug for me to fall into. But I only allow the depression to rule so long before kicking it out. That is not to say it never returns, for there are times when being blind really is hard. I can name many reasons, but I'd rather dwell on the good times in life.

Besides, there is just something to be said about proving to the world that we, the blind, can really do a lot of activities even if the sighted world does not believe it is possible. I love being up some very rugged trail to have the sighted ask, "How did you get up here?"

"Well," I assure them, "I never flew up here."

So remember, being blind does not mean a person is not capable of doing most activities.

Then have a great day.

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Environmental Access Committee
By David Egan, Chair

The WCB Environmental Access Committee has composed a letter which focuses on a particular issue which it feels needs immediate attention from WCB. There are numerous issues affecting the accessibility of the environment for visually impaired individuals. The committee is concerned about all such issues, but has chosen to focus first on "roundabouts".

The letter below was composed by the Committee to relate its perspective and position to the membership concerning this particular pedestrian concern. A portion of the letter is printed below.

Washington Council of the Blind

Environmental Access Committee

Pedestrian Safety-Roundabouts

The WCB Environmental Access Committee is committed to the improvement of pedestrian safety conditions in the state of Washington. It is crucial that city and urban planners consider the needs of all pedestrians when designing roundabouts, and other intersections. Pedestrian safety is a major focus for this committee. We recognize the value in working cooperatively with governing agencies to resolve concerns.


Traditionally, people who are blind have been taught to use the sound of traffic, and traffic flow, as a gauge for determining the appropriate time to cross the street. Being able to differentiate the flow of traffic has been compromised by the impact of greater traffic volume, and increased ambient noise. At the onset of movement of parallel traffic, it was once safe to assume the light was in favor of the blind pedestrian. Then along came "free right on red", and the challenge became figuring whether the light had changed, or those parallel traffic vehicles were turning in front of the blind pedestrian because of "right turn on red". In some communities, "left turn on red" soon followed on one-way street intersections. Blind pedestrians were able to devise a method of making an informed decision about when to cross. The first car to clear the intersection would be an indication that the pedestrian had the light and could cross safely. Still, every year we read of blind pedestrians being struck by cars as they attempt to cross this nation’s streets.


In order to better use gasoline resources, and manage traffic flow, many communities have installed "roundabout" intersections; intersections where vehicles do not come to a complete stop. In these intersections pedestrians who are blind lose all their cues telling them when it is safe to cross. The volume of traffic today makes it more difficult to know if it is safe to cross. Roundabouts put pedestrians who are blind, and others, at serious risk for injury or death. Blind and visually impaired people cannot rely on "catching the eye of the driver", a practice which is at best risky for anyone. Obviously, auditory cues are essential for blind pedestrians.

Roundabouts present a very serious impediment for safe travel. The Environmental Access Committee believes this issue deserves immediate attention, as "roundabouts" are rapidly being constructed in Washington, and elsewhere.

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Constitution and Bylaws Committee Unveiled
by Frank Cuta

Each year the WCB president appoints a Constitution and Bylaws Committee. This committee holds an open meeting immediately after the Thursday night board meeting at each state convention. No one ever attends this meeting and what transpires there is shrouded in secrecy. Our editor has told me that it’s high time that I unveil the mysterious proceedings of this clandestine group

The Constitution and Bylaws of the Washington Council of the Blind provide us with a tight structure to operate within and the provisions therein define the principal processes of our major programs. It is not a long document -- it only takes 10 or 15 minutes to read it. However, it is the foundation of our organization and every word and phrase in it has meaning.

Even the most perfect constitution cannot account for all contingencies and from time to time amendments must be proposed and these changes are considered for adoption at the state convention. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee acts as a buffer to insure that all proposed changes to the constitution are scrutinized, discussed, and thought through carefully before they ever reach the convention floor. While any member can impulsively stand up in the business meeting and make a motion to do just about anything, they cannot amend the constitution in this manner. Constitutional amendments must be submitted in writing. This alone insures that some extra thought goes into the initial language. In addition, all proposed amendments must be received by the Chair of the committee on or before our Thursday night meeting. Of course, whenever possible, we prefer that proposed amendments be sent to us far in advance of the meeting. This gives us more time to thoroughly analyze all of the ramifications of a proposed change.

At our meeting we may clean up the language of an amendment -- we may ask that the author withdraw or make substantial changes in the proposed language. But the committee may not kill an amendment. Every single one goes out to the floor for consideration unless the author chooses to withdraw it. At the conclusion of our meeting we have considered all proposed amendments and decided on recommended action for the convention floor. Most proposed amendments receive either a "do pass" or a "do not pass" recommendation. Once in a while an amendment comes out of committee with no recommendation.

The secret time and place of this year’s Constitution and Bylaws committee meeting will be unveiled in your state convention program. This year the committee members have decided to use the assumed names of Frank Cuta, Stuart Russell and Craig Phillips.

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Proposed Changes to Constitution and Bylaws
by Frank Cuta

This year we have six proposed changes to the WCB Constitution and Bylaws. At our public meeting on Thursday night of the WCB state convention the Constitution and Bylaws Committee will debate any final modifications that are brought to us regarding these amendments and consider any that are submitted in writing by other members. We will conclude our meeting by making our "do pass" or "do not pass" recommendations to the floor on each proposed amendment.

Amendment 2007-1:

This proposed amendment to Article VI section 4 will address the existing issue regarding the transfer of organizational documents. This problem was created when we moved the date that our new officers take office to January 1.

The current language states:

"Each officer shall be responsible for passing on organization records to all newly elected officers within thirty days after the convention in which each officer is elected."

Proposed language:

"Each officer shall be responsible for passing on associated
organizational records to all newly elected officers within thirty days after the new officers take office.

Amendment 2007-2:

This change to Article IV section 1 will strengthen the new affiliate approval process by providing for the review of the new affiliate’s constitution, adding the requirement for a minimum number of members and the requirement of paid dues for these members.

The current language in Article IV section 1 states: "Any local chapter or special interest group desiring to become an Affiliate of this organization shall apply for affiliation by submitting to the President a copy of its constitution and a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers."

Proposed Language:

"Any local chapter or special interest group desiring to become an Affiliate of this organization shall apply for affiliation by submitting to the President a copy of its constitution, a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers and associated dues for these members. A minimum of 5 dues-paying members is required to be considered for affiliation. The constitution of the new affiliate will be reviewed by the Constitution and Bylaws Committee for conflicts with the state constitution prior to acceptance.

Amendment 2007-3:

This proposed amendment will add an indemnification clause to our constitution. This provision protects the board from unreasonable liability.

Proposed language:

Article X - Freedom From Liability:

All members of the board of the Washington Council of the Blind, Inc. shall be held free from liability from legal actions brought against the corporation because of decisions made by the board in good faith for the good of the corporation.

Amendment 2007-4:

The Scholarship Committee is requesting that we make the following change in bylaw 11 part B, Section 2. As it now stands:

2. The applicant must be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited Washington State vocational school, college or university, or one located in the United States Pacific Northwest; a college or university with a branch campus in Washington State; or a Distance Learning Program. (The United States Pacific Northwest, as defined here, includes the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana.)

As it would read if the change is enacted:

2. The applicant must be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited vocational school, college or university.

Amendment 2007-5:

This change will amend bylaw 3 to insert a provision to make available travel stipends to WCB members who are elected to the ACB board or Board of Publications.

Modify the title of Bylaw 3 from:

WCB Stipends and Loans to attend the ACB Convention

To: Travel to the ACB Convention and Board Meetings
New language:

B. WCB members elected to the ACB Board of Directors or Board of Publications may request a travel stipend to attend all regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings of their respective boards. The amount of this special stipend will be twice the amount of the general national convention stipend.

Amendment 2007-6:

This change to bylaw 6 section A makes it clear that we do not have to send representatives to the ACB Legislative Seminar every year.

In section A which currently states: "Up to 4 WCB members will be selected each year to attend the annual ACB Legislative Seminar" replace the word "will" with "may."

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WCB History — Part 1
By Berl Colley, Chair, History Committee

In the last issue of the Newsline we gave an overview of the merger of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) and the United Blind of Washington State (UBWS), which included a long-range view of each organization before March 3, 1990, and what happened in WCB after the merger.

Starting with this article we would like to take a detailed, year-by-year look at what happened to create the current WCB and what efforts were occurring to bring the two organizations together between 1983 and the merger meeting.

In this article we will look at the events in 1983, 1985 and 1988-1990 that led up to the March 3 special meeting at the Executive Inn in Seattle. Like many good ideas, the first talks were about making the UBWS an ACB affiliate. Later there were discussions about getting the two organizations together to see if there was any common ground to begin joint talks. The two people who played a major role in fostering these discussions were Durward McDaniel, a long-time American Council of the Blind (ACB) member from Texas and Grant Mack, the then-president of ACB, a resident of Utah. It was in the late fall of 1983 when Grant Mack invited UBWS president Frank Cuta and Sue Ammeter to Salt Lake City to join with others from California, Iowa and Idaho, to talk about joining ACB. All four states would eventually join the Council, but not for some time.

At the 1985 ACB convention, at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, Durward and his wife, Ailene, invited Berl Colley to their hotel room for some visiting and drinks. Shortly after the Vegas convention, McDaniel contacted Berl & Denise Colley and asked if they would write a resolution for the 1985 UBWS state convention, resolving to talk with the WCB group about merging or co-existing as ACB affiliates. A resolution was written and presented at the fall convention, in Tacoma, and it was defeated. Don Brown, a member of the UBWS board of directors, stated the opposition to the resolution most succinctly, when he stated that "UBWS was not ready to go back to a national organization".

Now it is 1988 and Shirley Taylor and Sue Ammeter are in Ed and Phyllis Foscue’s car, returning from a meeting of the Four Corners chapter, in Bellingham. Ed raised the subject of joining ACB. This generated another resolution, which was presented at the 1988 UBWS convention in Spokane, resolving that the organization explore affiliating with the American Council and also, initiate talks with WCB regarding merging. This resolution was adopted by the membership and talks were initiated. It was decided, early on, that a merger and affiliation was far preferable to affiliating with ACB and merging at a later date. Merger committees were appointed by UBWS President Sue Ammeter and WCB President Tim Schneebeck. Serving on this committee were Tim Schneebeck, Dan Tonge, Danielle Maher and Joleen Ferguson for WCB. Serving for UBWS were Sue Ammeter, Ed Foscue, Frank Cuta and Don Brown. After board meetings in Seattle, in January and July of 1989, a merger resolution was drafted and presented to the UBWS convention in Richland and the WCB convention in Vancouver. John Taylor, from Iowa, a long-time advocate for blind people, attended both conventions to support the resolution. It was adopted at both conventions. Three people from each organization were appointed to work out the details. Appointed to this committee, which met in Seattle on November 11, December 2, 1989 and January 28, 1990, were Sue Ammeter, Frank Cuta and Don Brown, from UBWS and Tim Schneebeck, Dan Tonge and Joleen Ferguson, from WCB. The January meeting was held to finalize a proposed constitution and to develop a slate of officers and board members.

On March 3, 1990, blind and partially sighted people from all over the state of Washington met at the Executive Inn in Seattle to decide on the merger proposal of WCB and UBWS. The vote was unanimous. Oral Miller, ACB’s Executive Director, was the facilitator and Grant Mack and ACB President LeRoy Saunders were national visitors. The constitution that was developed by the merger committee was adopted and a slate of officers and board members were elected. Elected were Sue Ammeter, President, Seattle; Tim Schneebeck, First Vice President, Seattle; Dan Tonge, Second Vice President, Seattle; Frank Cuta, Secretary, Tri Cities; and Cynthia Towers, Treasurer, Seattle. Elected to the board of directors were: Marilyn Donnelly, Seattle; Joleen Ferguson, Walla Walla; Shirley Taylor, Seattle; Peggy Shoel, Seattle; Rhonda Nelson, Auburn; and Sharon Keeran, Seattle. The assembly decided to keep the name, Washington Council of the Blind, for the newly merged organization.

Next month we will look at the period from March 3, 1990 through the end of the year.

Back to Table of Contents


The June Newsline contained an article entitled GDUWS Spring Fling. The author was given as David Egan. In fact, this interesting and informative article was written and submitted by Randy Tedrow, to whom the Newsline Committee has extended its apology for the error.

Around the State

Capital City Council of the Blind

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

Guide Dog Users of Washington State

King County Chapter

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind

Peninsula Council of the Blind

South King Council of the Blind

South Kitsap 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, President

This 2007 summer has been an event-filled one for CCCB.

June started out with 10 members and friends attending a bowling night at the Westside Lanes in Olympia. We have been asked to not talk about the scores, but a good time was had by all.

We had no guest speaker at our June meeting that Vice President Gloria Walling ran. We want to welcome three new members who joined in June, Kendra Rodocker, Hank Smith and Alan Bentson. Also, welcome to Shannon Murphy, who joined in July.

At the end of June, we joined the Lacey Lions in participating in the Relay for Life event at North Thurston High School. It was an emotionally moving time for those attending this overnight event. During the middle of the night a time was set aside to recognize family and friends who died from cancer.

Eight CCCB members attended the ACB national convention in Minneapolis. Two members flew, two drove and four took the train. Everyone indicated that they had a good time. Alan Bentson was the 2007 WCB First timer award winner.

We welcomed Glenn McCully and Ursula Culala to our July meeting. Glenn talked to the group about state activities. We also adopted two more articles of the new CCCB constitution. There are four more articles to adopt at our September meeting.

On the 28th of July, Gloria Walling headed up a group of 18 CCCB members and friends that participated in a wine tasting party at the Washington Wine Warehouse in Lacey. After sampling 6 wines - 2 whites, 2 pinks and 2 red - we had an opportunity to purchase wines of our choice. The author, just to keep up with the Joneses, found it necessary to walk out with 4 bottles.

July 31 found 10 members meeting at the home of Denise and Berl Colley for an organizing meeting of a CCCB support group. Rules were established and the one-hour meeting stretched to two hours as those present found out that there is a definite need for this kind of group in Thurston County. We have a second meeting scheduled for the end of August.

On August 4 the chapter held its 2007 picnic. Thirty four people partook of the burgers and dogs from the BBQ of Tim Walling and Dan Matsen. Eating and, later, games were engaged in, while the sound system of our club’s assistive listening system played background music. Jessie Werstein won the toilet paper wrap and Denise Colley won the pass the beep ball contest. When members arrived they had the name of a Disney character taped on their back. About half of those present were able to guess who they were.

The Colleys and Viola Cruz and Alan Bentson attended the August 10-11 WCB retreat and board meeting in Bremerton.

August 18 saw 12 members and family renting an Intercity van and driving up to see a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game. The weather was a little moist, but since we were sitting under the grandstand roof, we didn’t mind that much. The food was good and the Rainiers won.

We are looking forward to the fall of this year and all that it will bring.

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind
by Chris Coulter

In July and August, Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind has been taking our summer break as we do every year. This is a time for each of us to recharge our batteries and get ready for a busy fall.

There have been several milestones and activities that individuals in our chapter have been involved with during the summer. Donna and Alan Patchett celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary in July. John Common, along with the Lake Stevens Lions’ Club, worked at the annual Aquafest event. They raised a substantial amount of money selling sandwiches at Aquafest.

Several GEACB members attended the Aquasox baseball game on July 8th. They were joined by Al and Connie Gill and Dave Mason, a former member of our chapter who still takes an interest in our activities.

I took a microphone use workshop at Jack Straw Productions in June and a class at Everett Community College called Introduction to Voice Acting in August. These were both very useful classes for me as I prepare to do voice-over and narration work. Jon and I have also been spending a lot of time this summer refurbishing an old, tired fifth-wheel. A fifth-wheel is similar to a motor home but this one won’t be moving off the vacation lot that we rent at our favorite campground.

We were supposed to have a picnic at Alan and Donna Patchett’s home on the 18th of August but rainy weather and prior commitments made it necessary for the picnic to be cancelled. We’ll be thinking of other purely social activities to keep things lively.

We are all looking forward to convention in November and to our next meeting, which is the second Monday in September. The exact date is September 10th. When the day of our meeting rolls around I’m sure we’ll all be ready to hit the ground running with business, speakers, lots of ideas and the opportunity to share with each other ways that we can more easily be involved in our state convention.

Here’s hoping you have all had a wonderful summer.

Guide Dog Users of Washington State
by Joleen Ferguson, President

Once again, our attention has turned to the WCB convention in November, one of two meetings GDUWS has each year. As is our custom, we will have our breakfast business meeting on Saturday morning and we will have a luncheon speaker on Saturday noon. Our plans for this have not been finalized at this time. Randy Tedrow, Bill Hoage, and Kevin Jones are working on these details for us. Craig Phillips and Dodie Brueggeman are working on our constitution and are planning to bring changes to our business meeting. Tina Leighton and Vivian Conger are working on our booth sale items for the display room.

GDUWS Secretary Debby Phillips is hard at work with plans for the WCB convention as a whole, as she is also president of the host chapter, United Blind of Spokane.

Our members are hard at work serving WCB and ACB in various capacities. GDUWS member Cindy Van Winkle has been appointed to the National Library Service Collection Development as ACB’s representative. This is in addition to her duties as WCB President.

GDUWS Past President Marlaina Lieberg has been elected Secretary of ACB and will be serving on the ACB Credentials Committee in addition to her duties as WCB Secretary.

Several GDUWS members are currently serving WCB as board members: Debby Phillips, Vivian Conger, and Viola Cruz. This is in addition to Marlaina and Cindy mentioned above.

WCB Committees chaired by GDUWS members include: Aging and Blindness, Bill Hoage; Crisis, Shirley Taylor; Employment (ad hoc), Debby Phillips; Environmental Access, David Egan; Families With Blind Children, Vivian Conger; First Timers, Viola Cruz; Leadership, Cindy Van Winkle; and Membership, Marlaina Lieberg

It has been a privilege to serve GDUWS as its second president for the past four years. I wish to thank all those who have supported GDUWS and WCB in so many ways during my two terms as president. Let me thank my board members who have served with me: Susan Kamrass, Shirley Taylor, Vivian Conger, Marlaina Lieberg, Janice Squires, Bill Hoage, Randy Tedrow, Debby Phillips, and Viola Cruz. We are a busy bunch.

If you have been considering joining GDUWS, the convention is a great time to do so. We collect dues there at the display room. It is also possible to send dues directly to our treasurer. There will be additional information about that in the next issue of Newsline.

King County Chapter
by Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

It’s Home Sweet Home again for all of us who went traveling this summer. No matter how fun and exciting the trip, there is just no place like home and your own bed and pillow.

In early July, seven King County chapter members attended the ACB National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rhonda Nelson, Becky Bell, and several other WCB members took the train to Minnesota. Rhonda states that the best food she had on the whole trip was in the dining car on Amtrak.

My favorite speaker was a local radio personality, who talked about his lifetime career and ended with the reading of the Declaration of Independence. It was very appropriate and impressive for the Fourth of July.

I had a double room and each bed had eight pillows and a roly-poly object. Each room also had two telephones and a jar of cotton balls and Q-tips. What more can a girl ask for?

Prior to the convention, I spent five days visiting family and friends in little old Osakis, where the business district is one block long and half a block wide. I enjoyed myself completely, both in the country and in the city. By the way, there were probably more than a few WCB members who crossed over that 35W bridge that collapsed after our convention.

Well, it’s back to reality and recent chapter meetings. We had a guest speaker from the Lions organization, discussing all the programs that they provide. It certainly isn’t just about glasses and the Eye Bank. If you would like to have more information about the Lions organization or a guest speaker, please call state-wide, toll-free 1-800-847-5786 or locally in the Seattle area (206) 682-8500. Two of our meetings were what we call "open forum time" where anything goes and anybody can talk about a subject near and dear to them. These forums are always interesting and a learning experience.

By the time you read this report, we will have had our annual barbeque picnic. More about that in the next issue.

It’s been a great summer, but now it’s time to start thinking about early November and our state convention. The Spokane chapter is hard at work, and promises an outstanding annual convention. Be there!

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind
by Karen Lewis-Keverline, Member

We took a "big step" at Lower Columbia Council of the Blind. We attempted something we weren't sure would work. We wanted to be part of the Cowlitz County Fair and help people become more aware of what it is like to be legally blind. We approached our local fair board with our idea and they thought so highly of our plan that they did not charge the usual fee. They considered it a "Community Service". They gave us a prime site at the front gate of the fair. We approached a landscaper with an idea of what we had in mind and he thought it was such a wonderful idea that he donated his time and supplies. He then enlarged on our plans and laid the path that was to be our obstacle course. He went on to provide items of beauty that we weren't even planning. What a special kindness that was and lovely to look at.

When the fair started we encouraged the public to come and walk the obstacle course blinded with a blindfold. The course included turns on the beginning of the short course and we gave our guests a cane and instructions on how to use one. We also told our guests how to find the door, then how to find the door knob, and open it toward themselves. (A friend had donated a door for our temporary use at the fair.) Upon opening the door, they were challenged to walk through the doorway. When they made it through the doorway they were asked to remove their blindfold and asked to give us their thoughts about their experience. We got a lot of good feedback. A majority of participants said they did not realize how difficult it was to be visually impaired. By providing this challenge people were given a chance to think about how lucky they are. A few teenage boys made the comment that, "They wouldn't pick on blind people anymore."

We handed out lots of information and materials; a majority of the recipients were elderly. The manning of the booth was done from 10am till 10pm two days and 10 till 11 two days. We had a blast! We also think many received an education they weren't expecting and we feel the booth was a huge success. We counted 125 participants who went through our course and many watched. Some said that they would be embarrassed to go through the course, but we encouraged them, so they did. With others, there was a fear factor.

The first week after the fair, someone called and donated a car to WCB, and three elderly women called to thank me for the information. They also had called the 1-800 # and wanted to thank me for the help they received.

"Our purpose was to educate the general public and we felt that our goal was realized. It was a huge success," said Linda Jacques. "We are thankful to have made the effort. Believe me, it was a huge leap of faith for me."

Linda Jacques is our chapter's new president. She and Tom Brackman & Fisher, his dog guide, spent lots of time answering questions about what it is like to have a dog guide and how they work together. Tom was able to tell many people about service animals. Thank you, Tom, you did a very good job. Other members of our chapter helped to man the booth and we want to say thank you to them also. God bless.

Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Eric Hunter, President

Our second quarter of 2007 was a mixture of joy and sorrow. The sorrowful part was that we lost our beloved Ignacio Ordonez. Ignacio and I had a special bond, as we both loved gardening. Ignacio’s family held a beautiful commemorative ceremony for him, and, from the talks given by his friends, his children and his grandchildren, it was evident that Ignacio had been well loved. We at PCB will miss his quiet voice and gentle smile.

On the other hand, our tiny Sarah Schweizer is getting less tiny every day. The Schweizers are expecting a sister for Kyle and Natalie. Congratulations all.

Nicole Torcollini has recently returned from Boring with a lovely black Lab called Lexia. Idiot me petted Lexia while she was working, and was justifiably chastised by Nicole. I can well understand why this happens. The dogs are so cute and friendly, and it’s just a natural impulse to caress them. BUT….I should know better. And I do. But I forget. My bad!

We had a wonderful picnic at Camp Harobed, hosted by Jack and Frances Piggott. The weather was beautiful, the food was great, and the company was superb. Tim Smith spent a week there, and had a wonderful time. And John Moberg stayed after the picnic and had a great time.

Time for a commercial for Camp Harobed. It’s a great place to spend some time. I’m sure they will have a booth at the convention, so get the info on it, and plan an event there next year, or maybe just a week of goofing off, camping and fishing and eating and goofing off. And….you can’t beat the price. I honestly don’t know how they do it.

We had the summer board meeting in Bremerton, and everybody seemed to enjoy the facilities. The Bremerton waterfront is going through huge changes, a new 105 room hotel. Next to it a convention building with Anthony’s restaurant and other shops. Another new hotel going in nearby. Three luxury condo buildings near completion on the waterfront. A $23,000,000 tunnel going in starting last week. A whole new mall going in where the old JC Penney building was located. A beautiful state of the art credit union building across from the hotel. Bremerton is finally coming alive.

PCB had a garage sale at the Hunters’ in May. The weather Saturday was mediocre, and the weather Sunday was terrible. But we had great fun, we ate Jackburgers and Jackdogs and drank soda pop and listened to music, and, incidentally, netted over $500. And we didn’t really have a lot to sell. We did sell a lot of Jackburgers and Jackdogs, though. The public loved them. And, above all, we had a lot of fun.

Altogether, a busy summer. See everyone at the convention.

South King Council of the Blind (SKB)
By Deng Kong and Gaylen Floy

We took the summer off, as far as meetings, but were busy working with United Blind of Seattle (UBS) on two car washes and the Seattle Super Picnic on August 18th. There were lots of vacation trips for members. Most notably, Joan Schambron spent a week in Hawaii with family to celebrate her sister and brother-in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary. Her nephew climbed trees to bring her fresh fruit and she got to feed bugs to geckos. Janice Klerekoper, SKB treasurer, spent a week playing the piano at the Cannon Beach Conference Grounds. Her oldest son got married in July. Jack Schneider is recovering from eye surgery. Gloria Sanborn and her husband have been off visiting family, too.

The 2007 Seattle Super Picnic at Seward Park was a success with 120 attendees. Several OTC students participated. Highlights included a tug-of-war. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly team won the first round and the Adams Family beat the Munsters in the second round. The mummy games involved wrapping some good sport in toilet paper. Deng Kong’s team won first place.

Door prizes included a giant universal remote, signature guides, baseball caps, CDs with speeches by famous African Americans, ten $20.00 gift certificates to Patty's Eggnest Restaurant (from Joyce Schoemaker, the manager of the Sight Connection Store, CSBPS) were given out and the grand prize of $150.00 Safeway certificate went to Dale Jacobus, a member of SKB and an excellent car washer. If the weather had been warmer, there would have been more water balloons thrown, but Glenn McCully was seen perfecting his aim. Clint Reiding got soaking wet as it was.

The event could not have happened if were not for the hard work of the recreation committee, a joint effort by UBS, King County, and South King! A very special thanks goes to all our volunteers who worked tirelessly in cooking, serving, making sure people got where they needed to go. We had signs and cones to direct Access drivers.

Future plans for the picnic are to develop a contact list of people not in the Council -- outreach. This is our second year and we’re learning as we go. We also want to involve new people in the planning – developing leadership. Patt Copeland says we are also getting a good base of volunteers. This year we used a megaphone to make announcements, but next year we may need to rent a sound system. We made enough money from the raffle so that we only need to pull off one car wash next summer. A friend of Maida Pojtinger’s took photos and is submitting an article about the picnic and the Council to a couple of Rainier Valley papers.

Looking forward, Viola Cruz will be speaking at our September 8th meeting about the convention. As our chapter grows, we want to help people attend. This means focusing on fund raising and acquiring 501-C3 status. We would like people to be able to join and donate via our website using Paypal at

On Sept. 12th, Gaylen will participate in a note-taking panel at the Orientation and Training Center (OTC). She uses ZoomText to take notes from the textbook and class lectures. Three other people will be on the panel sharing their ideas.

Deng Kong will be changing jobs at the Lighthouse by the end of September. She will be one of the new receptionists. So not only can she wrap people in TP, but she can also tell them where to go. (Just kidding, Deng.)

Telea Noriega made an inquiry and South King will also be hosting a wine tasting at the E.B. Foote Winery in Burien on Saturday, February 16th from 4 pm to 6 pm. We will be promoting this on the WCB list and advertising. Tickets are only $20.00. To learn more about this unique, community-oriented winery, check their website at Convening in the basement, they provide six different wines and cheeses.

Moving SKB meetings closer to Kent Station is under consideration. That way, people could easily walk to any number of restaurants and have Access meet them afterwards. A few of us plan to attend the South Kitsap Outreach Day to cheer them on and get ideas for our own outreach day. The WCB Outreach Committee has developed a plan for outreach that we would like to implement. See you in Spokane!

South Kitsap Council of the Blind
by Carol Brame, Treasurer

Hello from all your wonderful friends at SKC. It’s been a great year so far and we hope it has been for all of you too.

On a bad note, the walk-a-thon we wanted to have fell through. The school that we wanted to use required us to have a million dollar insurance policy. That just was not going to work so plan B maybe next year.

On a good note we had a wonderful sale of the T-Shirts for a fund raiser. We also have the upcoming Kitsap cards and are looking into doing the Extravaganza again.

Coming up we are having an outreach day on September 22 from 11 to 1 followed by lunch at the Adventure of Faith Church. There will be door prizes throughout the two hours and games to break up it being all speakers. But, our speakers are great. And the food Jackie is going to make will be even better smile Yummy in the tummy smile. Jackie is our cook for our meetings she loves to cook for us we donate money to her to help her out. We love Jackie and sad to say she is leaving us in November and we will miss her. We wish her the best at school and we hope she moves back someday.

Back to outreach. Confirmed speakers are Cindy VanWinkle, WCB President; Keiko Namekata, Orientation Training; Rosemary Adamski, Washington Talking Books and Braille Library; and we are working on getting another speaker. Also, Kevin Jones will be speaking for our group. Sad to say, Mark Adreon from DSB will not be able to join us. So Jackie has something else in the works. Maria Kuntz's sons will help with the microphones and sound to make sure everyone can hear.

We had a picnic at Manchester State Park that only a few of us could attend, but what a wonderful time we all had. It was a lovely day, though on the hot side, following the record breaking heat we had. There is a beach there and we all went down and walked around. Bob Herman is doing better and was there with his wife, Judy. Maria was there with her husband, Steve. Some of our members are PCB members so they were at Camp Harobed for their picnic; I heard it was nice, too.

I missed our last meeting. Allen and Viola were there and lots of guests, I hear. Allen was our guest speaker; so sorry to have missed it, but I had a baby shower to go to. I am going to be a great aunt. Allen, I heard you did a great job being our guest speaker and Chris enjoyed taking you and Viola back to Olympia.

That's all the news I have for now. Take care, everyone,

United Blind of Seattle
by Ursula Culala, Member

The committees formed in the last quarters are: Fund Raising; Julie Brannon, Chair; Membership, Kathe O’Neil, chair; Activity; Patt Copeland, chair; Outreach; Nathan Brannon, chair.

Calendar of happenings organized by these committees: March 24 , April 21, May 19 – 50/50 raffle and chocolate sale occurred in the monthly meetings June 16, July 28 – Joint venture of South King Council of the Blind (SKB) and United Blind of Seattle (UBS) Car Wash, raised approximately $1,000.00; April 21 – a generous member donated $1,000.00 while the donor’s employer matched the fund in stock earmarked for the Activity Committee; July 21 – Kick-off sale of the 2008 Entertainment books, annual fund raising of the chapter; March 24 – Roundtable Discussion "Being Blind with Family and Friends" facilitated by Clint Reiding and Quincy Daniels, both UBS Board members. April 21 – Mia Lipner, Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) Assistive Specialist, guest speaker, talked about the latest assistive technology; May 19 – Mark Adreon, DSB Business Developer & Communication Specialist, guest speaker, talked to us about the joint partnership of DSB and WCB, particularly SKB Outreach to Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Optical clinics and hospitals of early detection of blindness; April 4 – 11 members joined the rally in Olympia for the increase of the funding to be included in the budget for the Washington State Talking Book & Braille Library (WSTBBL); May 4-6 – one member selected to join the WCB Leadership seminar; June 23 – 12 guests came to Friends’ Day and to date, 4 joined the chapter; June 30-July 7 – 46th ACB Annual Convention, held in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 9 members attended; August 10-11 – WCB Legislative seminar, held in Bremerton, 7 attended; March 10 – Greenlake walk, rain or shine, 14 members walked around the lake; March 17 – audio described Broadway musical "Camelot", 27 watched ; April 28 – A guided tour of the Seattle Sculpture Gardens, members from King County, SKB & UBS went; May 26-28 – weekend in Sandy, Oregon at Oral Hull Foundation, approximately 29 went; June 2 – audio described Broadway musical "West Side Story", approximately 20 watched; August 3 – Seattle Chamber Music concert, held in Overlake, approximately 5 members attended; August 18 – Super Picnic (in lieu of the monthly meeting), in Seward Park, King County , South King Council & United Blind of Seattle chapter members connected and socialized.

April 21 was a big day for UBS, Karen Johnson-Hildie resigned as the chapter’s Treasurer; with the approval of the chapter’s membership, Glenn McCully became the interim Treasurer. Karen served for nine years as the chapter Treasurer; we wished her the best for her next endeavor. Two Certificates of Appreciation were presented, one to Shirley Taylor for her 120 percent effort chairing the annual fund raising of the Entertainment books and one to the Activity Committee for the energetic effort to organize activities for the chapter’s members but not limited to the chapter, extended to the other local chapters and other visually impaired groups; June 23 – Friends’ Day, which is the UBS outreach/marketing event. When the Membership Committee started organizing this event they had a budget of $100.00; however the event took place without spending that budget as the money spent for food, room decor, information cards, give-aways and prizes were all donated by generous donors. With the success of Friends Day, UBS has 54 current members. Now, UBS membership needs to work on a good retention of these members. Watch for the next calendar in the Newsline. See you then.

United Blind of Spokane
by Debby Phillips, President

It has been a busy summer for members of United Blind of Spokane. We are busy planning for the convention, getting door prizes, making goody bags, and making sure that everything will be wonderful for you all who will be attending the convention in the great city of Spokane!

Those of you who purchased raffle tickets, we have not drawn the raffle, as I was unable to attend the summer Board meeting due to my niece's wedding. So we will be drawing the raffle at our September meeting. As soon as the name has been drawn, we will contact the winner and I will also announce it on the WCB list.

At our last meeting, we had our summer picnic; Claire Warren makes the best brownies west of the Mississippi! We all had a good time, and enjoyed all the good food and fellowship.

That's all for this time. We'll see you in November in Spokane!

United Blind of the Tri-Cities
by Janice Squires,
Treasurer, and Margie Kickert, President

Well the crazy, hazy days of summer are upon us and even though the temperatures have been hot, the members of United Blind of Tri-Cities have been staying very busy all summer with our various groups.

For the summer months, we decided to move our monthly business meetings closer to the lunch hour to see if we could increase our attendance and attract new, interested people to our meetings. However, at our last meeting we decided to move our monthly meetings back to the 9:30 to 11:30 hour to make it more convenient for those attending. We are even trying the 50-50 raffle to earn a bit of money for our chapter. We are using old casino playing cards and tearing them in half, which works great.

We want to introduce our newest member, Marilyn Ostergard, who is already participating in our monthly meetings, our luncheons and the book and card groups. Welcome Marilyn, we are glad to have you join us.

Our monthly interest groups have been extremely successful events. The monthly card group and the monthly book group are great ways to keep our members involved and enjoying each other. Diana Softich continues to plan our monthly luncheons with the help of Marlene Vandecar, who does a great job calling us. We have been getting close to 20 to attend. Several members are helping to organize the narrated plays with the first one being a comedy, "George Washington Slept Here", in September.

UBTC will celebrate our thirtieth anniversary with a picnic on September 6. We are hoping to invite some of our early members to come and reminisce about UBTC in the years gone by.

We had an informative business meeting with Vivian Conger as our representative from WCB. Thanks for all the good information, Vivian. Now, we are looking forward to seeing everyone in Spokane for the convention.

United Blind of Walla Walla
by Vivian Conger

On July 4 we lost a dear member. Harryette Friesen was in her 80s and a very spunky gal. She is sorely missed by all.

In June Chris Roemeling spoke to us about the Red Cross and people with disabilities and what we can do to help ourselves in times of disaster. Lots and lots of terrific information.

At our July meeting, we went out to Elmer’s Restaurant and had a great time. We decided to go somewhere with AC instead of having our picnic out in the heat.

We don’t have a guest speaker for August but have lots of business to take care of. An anonymous donor gave UBWW $5,000 and we are trying to come up with a great way to use part of this money. The donor has been very involved with the deaf and signing, so one of our considerations is to purchase an assisted listening device.

A young man from the area who is blind will be one of our speakers soon. He loves acting and just performed in Cinderella at the Fort Walla Walla outdoor theater. He did a fantastic job and we are all looking forward to meeting him.

United Blind of Whatcom County
by Betty Sikkema, President

Hello everyone! Summer is fast slipping by, and I hope you all have had a wonderful spring and summer.

We have been busy planning and hosting an ice cream social, which we have done for the first time. Before it took place, however, there was a lot of hard work done by our members to make it successful. The event was held July 17th, and was well attended! The money raised is going to be used for making assistive kits for blind folks in Whatcom County who are in need of items they cannot afford. These items might include: a talking clock, a talking watch, a check writing guide, a talking calculator, or a key chain with a light.

In honor of one of our member’s 85th birthday, a friend honored her special day by donating a substantial amount of money for this fund raiser. With this generous contribution, a $500 matching grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and our members selling tickets, we exceeded our fund raising goal! While everyone enjoyed their ice cream, they could listen to a jazz band. We also had an opportunity to sing happy birthday. Plenty of volunteers were on hand to help with the social, which included 12 members of UBWC, Thrivent members, and some members from the low vision group.

Anyone interested could look at assistive tools that were displayed and demonstrated. All in all, this social was a great success, and thanks to all for their hard work! See you in the next Newsline.

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Busy Summer at the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB)
by Lou Oma Durand, Executive Director

Summer can be a lazy time, but at the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), we are busier than ever. I would like to share a few highlights with you.

More Participants Went to Work Than in any Previous Year

This has been a very good year (July 2006 through June 2007) for DSB and our participants. We have shared a remarkable journey together, with the satisfaction of working hard and getting results. Together we have faced significant challenges, but have experienced even more rewards.

We are excited to report that this year more of our participants went to work in good jobs than in any previous year.One hundred fifty-seven more individuals, after completing their Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs, are now in competitive jobs at an average wage of $16.72 per hour. This means that these 157 individuals learned skills and developed resources to qualify for and secure jobs, so that now they can earn benefits, support their families, pay taxes, and contribute to their communities.

Employment Services Adds New Staff

Last year we were able to add four direct service delivery positions to our Vocational Rehabilitation program as a result of our supplemental budget request. Since then we have been gearing up and training some terrific new staff who have a real passion for making a difference in people’s lives.

Child and Family Program Secures State Funding

This coming year, we can do more to help families and schools set high expectations for children with visual disabilities and better prepare them for success in education and eventually employment. Thanks to the support of our state’s consumer organizations, collaborating partners, and other friends of Child and Family Services, the program has obtained secure state funding and three additional staff as a part of our new biennial budget. These resources will be used to address unmet needs and challenges facing families of blind children and youth around the state.

Rehabilitation Services Administration Review

, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) staff from Washington DC came to Seattle for a full week to review our Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living programs.The five RSA team members interviewed DSB executive and management team members, fiscal staff, counselors and other direct service staff, customers, Orientation and Training Center students, Independent Living contractors, consumer group representatives, and State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) members. This comprehensive process also included review of case records, policies, our State Plan and more. RSA staff have given us some useful feedback to incorporate into our strategic planning process. They described the quality and commitment of staff as one of DSB's biggest strengths.

WCB Contributions Provide "Value Added" Benefits

Consumer groups like the American Council of the Blind are powerful grass-roots organizations. State government agencies like ours cannot do certain things due to limited resources and the constraints of legislative mandates. But these groups can and do have great influence over public policy and resources determined by our State Legislature and National Congress. For example, it is largely due to the quick action and advocacy of our local consumer groups that we were successful in expanding our Child and Family program during the recent legislative session. In addition to their effect on public policy, these organizations are a tremendous support and resource for their constituents. I encourage all of our participants to take advantage of the tremendous peer support and resources that organizations like the WCB have to offer.

DSB Initiative to Assist Job Developers to Succeed with our Customers

Based on what we have heard recently from customers, staff and our RSA review, we need to work with service providers, and especially job developers, around the state to improve their employment outcomes for our customers. We plan to start by surveying customers, job developers and DSB staff to identify what is working well and what needs to work better. We are looking at and analyzing the results for the last two fiscal years, including cost per employment outcome, who succeeds and why. Then we want to build on the best practices we discover by sharing strategies and providing training. We have important partners in this process, especially the consumer groups, DVR, WorkSource centers and our regional VR training center (RRCEP). The WCB Employment Committee is actively collaborating with us to increase successful outcomes for our customers through our Job Developer Initiative.

We expect the upcoming months to be full of new and exciting opportunities.

I hope you are all enjoying these lovely summer days.

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What’s New for 2007-08 at Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB )
by Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent

Once again, lots of new and exciting things are going on at WSSB that will improve services for blind and visually impaired students throughout our state. Below are a few updates on some of the changes you will hear more about in the near future:

Aids and Appliance store opening at WSSB: On October 15, 2007 a student/volunteer/staff run store will open its doors to students on campus for those needing specialized equipment, supplies, and school pride items. A determination on operating hours has not yet been made, but it is our goal to provide the type of hours that will meet the needs of the community and on-campus student population. Hopefully before December the store will also have a website to facilitate on-line orders. This should be great for the community and students!

Tactile Museum of Natural History (Sensory Safari): Next spring the Safari Club International, the Washington School for the Blind Foundation (WSBF) and WSSB will be hosting a grand opening of what we believe to be a unique museum, which will be located in the basement of Old Main. A room that was once a wood shop has been converted into a great location to house this program. Safari Club International has placed some mounts in the room, and a variety of additional animal mounts are being shipped from throughout the United States. Safari Club and WSBF are raising funds to equip this room with audio descript hand-held units that will provide information about the animal, habitat and the sound of the animal. It is the goal of WSSB and Safari Club that the animal mounts will be changed periodically to provide an example of a wide array of animals from throughout the world. As part of the entrance to the museum, former WSSB student Nov Gnik is painting an eight by thirty foot mural of an African scene. A donor wall will be established that will list all individuals and groups that provide donations to this museum. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Barbara Sheldon, WSBF’s Executive Director (360-696-6321 ext. 176 or

Regional Pilot Program: Starting this fall WSSB will be working in partnership with Educational Service Districts 105 (Yakima) and 123 (Tri-Cities) in developing a regional service delivery model in an attempt to stabilize and improve services to students in these two large geographic areas. Catherine Golding, WSSB’s Outreach teacher of the blind and visually impaired, will be moving into the new role as the Coordinator of this program. Input from blind consumers, parents, and school districts in this area will be very important in helping shape this program. For more information contact Dee Amundsen, WSSB’s Outreach Director at 360-696-6321 ext. 124 or

Accessible ATM: iQ Credit Union in Vancouver has placed a totally accessible ATM machine in WSSB’s Old Main Building. It is our goal to encourage parents to set up accounts for their children, so that they can learn how to use this type of equipment, track their spending habits and help WSSB get out of the student account banking business. The ATM will be moved into the new Physical Education Building once this is completed during the winter of 2009. If you visit the campus, come on in and try out this new addition to WSSB. However, you will have to put up with my voice on the machine (the credit union wanted me to record the welcome message)!

Braille, Braille and more Braille: The Braille Access Center (BAC) has been working with the women’s prison to expand this very successful program. Currently we have ten nationally certified transcribers in literary braille, and of these transcribers, two are certified in Nemeth Code and one in music braille. Our goal is to eventually double the size of the program. Last year the BAC produced more new text titles in braille than APH! Currently textbooks are being transcribed for students throughout Washington as well as for students from other states.

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Highlights of NLS and WTBBL Activities
by Gloria J. Leonard, Director

National Library Service Digital Talking Book Project:

Funding: Early in the summer, the House Appropriations Committee approved a $12.5 million increase for NLS instead of the $19.1 million requested. Final action is expected when Congress returns in September.

Digital Talking-Book Machine: NLS is currently in the final stages of preparing a request for proposal (RFP) to identify a manufacturer for the digital players. Prior to mass production, the player will undergo pilot and pre-launch testing. One hundred machines will be produced for a baseline test, while five thousand machines will be used for wider, pre-launch testing.

PAC Involvement in DTB Pre-launch Tests: WTBBL, along with other network libraries, are expected to receive 1–2 digital talking book players. We have been told that during the pre-launch testing period, staff, patrons and volunteers, including the Patron Advisory Council (PAC), will be given the opportunity to examine and recommend any needed changes before mass production. It is expected that NLS will officially launch the new digital talking book program about three months after pre-launch testing. For additional information about the digital talking book project, go to:

Highlights of WTBBL’s recent activities include:

Recommended Reads. Each month staff posts a new list of recommended books for adults and youth on our website. The August adult list is a Western series. If you are interested in adding any title or series in our collection, call the Library. For previous lists of Recommended Reads, visit our website at: or call us locally at (206) 615-0400 or toll free at 1-800-542-0866.

10-Squared Book Club. The 2007 10 Squared Book Club celebration was held on Mother’s Day weekend to an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 50 people, including Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells and her mother, writer Mary Matsuda Gruenwald; State Librarian Jan Walsh; and National Library Service representative Steve Prine. Forty-three centenarian patrons were invited to the event and seven attended, including new inductees Bernard (Bernie) Chichester (100), Ruth Houk (100) and Evangeline Shuler (100). Special features included Northwest mystery writer Mary Daheim, and a multi-media CD presentation of interviews with attending centenarians. A copy of the CD presentation was given to each family as a keepsake.

Evergreen Radio Reading Service Web-Streaming: On May 9, a conference call was held to discuss the progress of the Evergreen Radio Reading Service (ERRS) web-streaming pilot project. WCB President Cindy Van Winkle, WCB members Sue Ammeter and Marlaina Lieberg, several WTBBL staff, and I discussed accessibility issues and other problems. The vendor selection process was reviewed, confirming the need for increased WCB involvement in resolving accessibility issues, as well as improved communication between the Library and WCB regarding the status of the project.

Working in collaboration with Sue and Marlaina, our progress to date includes: 1) Development of a login system that is more accessible for screen reader users. 2) Successful completion of a preliminary test of the revised login system that included: a JAWS user, a WindowEyes user, and a Mac user. 3) Plans to broaden the pool of testers of the new system before replacing the current system. 4) Continued development of helpful tips such as new log-in instructions, troubleshooting, and minimum computer equipment specifications required to utilize the web-streaming.

Upcoming Patron Survey. Beginning in September, the Washington State Library (WSL) will conduct a telephone survey of 600 randomly selected WTBBL patrons. The survey will help WSL better understand which library services are the most important to patrons. Survey results will help shape future decisions regarding library services and programs as WSL prepares to assume full responsibility for the administration and operation of WTBBL on July 1, 2008.

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Louis Braille School Report

Louis Braille School welcomed 13 enthusiastic children to Summer Braille Camp in July. On the very first day an amazing parade of 19 puppies-in-training and their trainers from Guide Dogs for the Blind entered our school and charmed us all, large and small. Does it get any better than that?

Julie LeMay, one of our volunteers, joined us for this special event and wrote the following article.


By Julie LeMay

Such joyful commotion arose as the guide dogs in training began arriving almost simultaneously with the children. Imagine 19 dogs of different ages, sizes, and personalities interacting with 11 children of different ages, sizes, and personalities! Such a delightful mix was something to behold!

After the children had assembled on the back patio, the dogs were marched out to meet and greet them. They paraded around in a circle, stopping by each child’s chair to be introduced and get acquainted.

Maybe "adorable" isn’t the proper word for a standard size dog, especially a male, but I cannot help myself! Each one of these dogs is unique in its own way. The breeds were Yellow Labs, Black Labs, and one Black Lab/Golden Retriever mix with names like Reed, Voltaire, Lailani, Flame, Jedi, Rowan, and Butch! Just to name a few.

The children’s reactions were mixed; the girls in particular seemed to take quite a fancy to them and spent much time petting and receiving many wet kisses in return. The boys seemed to be a bit more cautious in their approach, but just as taken in by them.

After the initial petting, those who wished could take a leash along with the trainer, and walk the dog around a small course set up for that purpose; there was also the opportunity to practice some obedience lessons, such as calling the dog to come to them. The girls were particularly delighted with their proficiency.

Play time, followed by a bit of grooming, rounded out the activities. Chew bones and pull toys were brought out, and the children could engage in an activity enjoyed by both dog and child. Combing or brushing is always a calming time for both brusher and brushee.

It was interesting to watch how the dogs interacted. There was lots of sniffing and awareness of each other, but all were on their best behavior and no tussles ensued.

Guide Dog Training Facts: The puppies are born on "campuses" located in several states. When they reach 8-9 weeks old, they are taken to volunteer puppy raisers, who train them in basic obedience and good manners, including socialization. After 14-18 months, the dogs are returned to the campuses for formal training.

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Hats Off to You!
by Peggy Shoel

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

  • Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary, WCB, on her election to the position of Secretary on the National American Council of the Blind (ACB) national board. Marlaina will serve a two-year re-electable term.
  • To the many WCB members appointed by newly-elected ACB President, Mitch Pomerantz, to national committees. (Please see listing with contact information in this issue.)
  • Donna and Allan Patchett, secretary and member, respectively, Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, on their 60th wedding anniversary. The Patchetts, who were married in Richmond Beach, Washington, hosted a dinner for their extended family including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and were honored by their church with a reception, during which they renewed their wedding vows.
  • Mary Jean Hoover, Member, GDUWS, on her new job with the Veterans Administration facility in San Antonio, Texas. Mary Jean’s position is Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.
  • Denise Colley, First Vice-President, WCB, and member, Board of Trustees of the State School for the Blind in Vancouver, on her election by that board to the position of Chair. Denise will serve a one-year re-electable term.
  • Cynthia Towers, member, United Blind of Seattle, on her marriage to Leo Henton. Following their wedding ceremony and reception at the Seattle Space Needle, the happy couple honeymooned in California, where they visited Yosemite National Park and the San Diego Zoo, before returning to their home in the Rainier Beach area of Seattle.
  • Randy Tedrow, director, GDUWS, on the acquisition of his new dog guide, Clark, a 20-month old, 66-lb male black lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. Randy describes Clark as a polite, happy, well-behaved dog who is a real thinker and a joy to work with.
  • Nicole Torcolini, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, on acquiring her very first dog guide, Lexia, a 22-month-old, 51-lb female black lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. Nicole says Lexia is sweet, affectionate, and hard-working, and they are very suited to each other.

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WCB Members Appointed to ACB Committees

Ammeter, Sue – (360) 437-7916

Chair, Advocacy Services Committee

Member, Membership Committee

Atwater, Terry – (360) 754-8193

Member, Resolutions Committee

Brannon, Julie – (206) 547-7444

Member, Rehabilitation Issues Task Force

Colley, Berl – (360) 438-0072

Member, Environmental Access Committee

Member, Resource Development Committee

Colley, Denise – (360) 438-0072

Member, Scholarship Committee

Member, Employment Committee

Cuta, Frank – (509) 967-2658

Member, Constitution and Bylaws Committee

Floy, Gaylen – (253) 217-9586

Member, Public Relations Committee

Lieberg, Marlaina – 206) 243-1716

Chair, Information Access Committee

Member, Credentials Committee

Van Winkle, Cindy – (360) 698-0827

ACB Representative to the National Library Services
Book Collection Committee

Member, Awards Committee

Member, Public Relations Committee

Member, Auctions Committee

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2007-08 Calendar of Deadlines & Events

Sept 8  

 DSB Rehab Council Meeting—Yakima

Sept 8  

 WTBBL Patron Advisory Council—Seattle

Sept 10  

 Call-in Day for free room for Convention

Sept 21-22  

 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting - Vancouver

Oct 4  

 Deadline for Convention & Hotel Reservations for Spokane and reserving a seat on convention buses and state stipend request

Nov 1-3  

 WCB Annual Convention - Spokane

Nov 16-17  

 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting - Vancouver

Dec 1  

 DSB Rehab Council Meeting – Bremerton

Mar 14-15  

 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting - Vancouver

June 12  

 WSSB Picnic/Awards/Open House

June 13  

 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting - Vancouver

June 13  


You do not need a computer to access ACB Radio. Using your telephone keypad, dial 1-360-526-6238. Listen to the menu and press Number 4, as instructed. This will put you through to live programming as well as repeats.

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Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by November 24, 2007. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

Publication Policy: To ensure accuracy, we require typed, double-spaced submissions or preferably e-mailed articles to with a cc: Articles should be no longer than 750 words (approximately 2-2½ double-spaced pages, standard print).


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