September 2008 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President

(360) 438-0072

Lacey, WA

Gaylen Floy, Editor


Federal Way, WA




























Table of Contents


From the President’s Desk

Editor’s Comment

Shop and Support WCB

Convention Bound

Proposed Changes to Constitution and Bylaws

Unmet Needs of the Senior Blind

Thoughts on What It Was Like to Become Legally Blind

WCB Diabetes Support Group

Highlights from the ACB Convention in Louisville

August Board Retreat Report

WCB History 1992

DSB News Snapshots

Louis Braille School Summer Camp

WSSB on the Move Again

Danielle King’s WTTBL Report

Around the State

Hat’s Off to You!

Bits and Pieces




From the President’s Desk

By Denise Colley, President


As I write this article, we are coming upon Labor Day which marks the end of summer and the transition into fall. It seems like it was just the beginning of June, and the end of August is fast approaching.


The summer has been a busy one, beginning with commencement and the Board of Trustees meeting at the Washington State School for the Blind, nine days in Louisville, Kentucky for the ACB national convention, a mini weekend at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Vancouver for the summer Board Retreat and Board meeting and a chapter visit to the Pierce County Association of the Blind. Whether it’s being elected to a second term as chair of the Board of Trustees, serving as WCB’s delegate to the ACB convention, playing an active role on two ACB committees, or listening to the concerns and ideas of WCB members, my first year as your president continues to be a busy and rewarding one. The WCB Board is hard at work overseeing the day-to-day operation of the organization and our WCB committees are its heart and soul.


The mission of WCB is “Equality, Independence, Opportunity”, and this is what all of us strive for and work for every day. However, to reach these goals not only takes dedication and hard work, but also requires available finances; and this is what I’d like to talk with you about in this article.


While I don’t usually like to discuss money there are a few things I need to share with you as we’re coming upon development and approval of our 2009 budget. As most of you reading this article know, for several years now the Washington Council of the Blind has generated the bulk of its income from our two major fundraisers. These include our Christmas Variety show and our Vehicle Donation Program. Unfortunately, this year we have seen a 30 percent decrease in projected revenues from these activities. This means that projected income for 2009 will need to be decreased by 30 percent, resulting in a decrease in funding for expenses by that same 30 percent, in order for the finance committee and the Board to bring a balanced budget to this year’s convention for adoption. While in no way does this mean that we are in a financial crisis, both the finance committee and the Board believe it would be prudent to begin looking at other avenues for fundraising to supplement what we are already doing. At the Board’s request, I have established an ad hoc fundraising committee, and they have already brought back to the Board some exciting fundraising ideas that you will be hearing more about at the fall preconvention Board meeting, the annual business meeting, and in future issues of the Newsline.

I would like to share a couple of great ideas with you here and challenge you all to think seriously about how you can be a part. The first is the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) Program. The MMS or Monthly Monetary Support Program is a way for each of us to financially support our organization to whatever amount we can afford on a regular, monthly bases. An amount we designate and completely control is automatically deducted from our bank, credit card or debit card account each month by the ACB and is used to fund the many critical needs of our organization. You completely control the amount that you give and from which account it is taken. It begins when you indicate you want it to start and ends when you let ACB headquarters know you want it to end. In the past, all amounts given to the ACB by participating in this funding program went entirely to support ACB national activities. Now, when you take part in the MMS Program, the funds are deducted from the account you designate, on a regular, monthly bases, as before, but with the change implemented by the ACB Board, you can designate to have all of the funds go to the national organization or you can, alternatively, designate an amount up to 50 percent of the net amount of your deduction to be given to an affiliate of your choice, which could be WCB. This change allows you the choice of helping both the national organization and an affiliate of your choice at the same time. We will have MMS forms at the information desk during the whole of convention and someone there to assist you in filling them out. I want to encourage each of you to sign up if you’re not already a member, or to increase the amount of your monthly contribution and designate half of it to come to WCB if you are already a member. It is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes to do.

Anyone who has been a member for awhile, and has attended an ACB national convention, is familiar with becoming lifetime members. For a one-time fee of $1,000 you can become a Life Member of ACB. But what I bet you didn’t know is that WCB also has a Lifetime Membership Program. The fee for becoming a Lifetime Member in WCB is only $100, and you would never again have to pay the state dues. A Lifetime Membership would also be a way for a local chapter or special interest affiliate to surprise and honor dedicated individuals within their membership for their service and contributions to that chapter or affiliate. Look for the box to check on your convention registration form if you would be interested in receiving more information and someone will follow up with you after convention. Just think!!! If even ten people would take the step and purchase a Life Membership, we could raise $1,000. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, every $1,000 helps. It is only when each one of us does our small part that WCB remains the strong organization that it has become.


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Editor’s Comments

By Gaylen Floy, Editor


If you hadn’t noticed (or have been locked in a basement), on November 4th, our country will be voting in a new president. Is everyone in your chapter registered? The 30-day registration deadline for the General Election is Saturday, October 4th. For new voters to the state of Washington, the deadline to register in-person is Monday, October 20th.


With school, work, ever-changing technology and keeping up with bills--life can seem like a tough swim to stay on top of the information surge. It’s been said that there’s more information contained in one issue of the New York Times than someone living in Shakespeare’s day would read during their entire life.


Now consider our humble and concise Newsline. Imagine volunteers all over the state, burning the midnight oil to make deadline. Why do they go through this quarterly ordeal? They know the value of reliable, timely information in their own lives. They know how vital it is to be connected with people in the same boat. And it’s their hope and assurance that they are making a difference in someone else’s life.


See you in Vancouver!


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Shop and Support WCB

By Cindy Van Winkle, Chair, Fundraising Committee (AdHoc)


WCB has a fundraising page up on our website where members, friends and other visitors can choose to make a donation, learn about our ongoing Vehicle Donation Program and seasonal Santa Show, sign up for the Monthly Monetary Support Program through ACB, learn how to become a life member of WCB, and even go shopping.


That’s right, WCB now has a shopping mall of our own with many of the places you like to shop and many more you may not know about. By clicking the link below and entering your favorite shopping sites through our portal, WCB will benefit from every purchase. Please share the below link with your friends and family:


We plan to explore more fundraising options and will add information to the fundraising page as we do, so please keep checking back to the WCB website to learn how you can provide support. And we thank you in advance!


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Convention Bound

By Cindy Van Winkle, Chair, Convention Committee


The excitement is stirring! Exhibits of blindness related products and services, presentations on Braille for blind students, independent living for blind seniors, keeping safe in our community, self defense, living with low vision, environmental issues, exercise, employment and naturopathic medicine, quiet car demonstrations, reports from our 3 state agencies serving the blind, tours of WSSB, presentations of awards and scholarships, resolutions, constitutional amendments, elections, WCB history, an ACB report, door prizes, socializing, good food and a few more surprises thrown in. If any of this sparks your interest, you’ll want to be at this year’s annual convention of the Washington Council of the Blind being held in Vancouver Washington, October 23-25, 2008.


In conjunction with our convention, for the sixth consecutive year, the Washington State Conference for Blind Youth will be taking place. This event invites blind and visually impaired high school students from around the state to take part in activities designed with them in mind. This year their focus will be on recreation and leisure activities, as well as they will be taking part in many of our scheduled events including all of our meals. What a great opportunity for us to bridge the gap and reach out to these up and coming leaders, and all due to the collaborative efforts of our Families with Blind Children Committee and the Child and Family Program of DSB.


The Exhibits room will be open on Friday, October 24th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Here, conventioneers can learn hands-on and face-to-face about the many blindness-related products and services displayed. For questions concerning exhibits, contact Glenn McCully at or (206) 782-2179.


October 1st, 2008 is the deadline for convention registration, hotel and bus reservations and travel stipend requests.


With 3 registration options, $10 for registration only, $45 for registration with banquet and $90 for registration with up to 5 meals, we hope that everyone wishing to be at convention will be able to find a way.


The Hilton Vancouver Washington and Conference Center is where all convention activities will be taking place. Hotel rates are $89 plus applicable taxes and fees, and reservations may be made by calling (360) 993-4500 or 1-800-hiltons (445-8667).


For those wishing to ride the free bus (no membership requirement) leaving Seattle with stops in Federal Way and Tacoma, reservations can be made by phoning Shirley at (206) 362-3118; Shirley is also the person to call if requesting a travel stipend, $40 for those west of the mountains and $75 for those east, excluding King, Pierce and Clark Counties (for members who joined WCB by April 23, 2008).


This year we will be electing the following positions: 2nd Vice President, Secretary, the 3 board positions currently held by Chris Coulter, Frank Cuta and Debby Phillips and the alternate delegate for the ACB convention. If you are interested in placing your name before the Nominating Committee for consideration, please contact one of the following by October 17th: Berl Colley, Chair - or (360) 438-0072, Debby Phillips – or (509 684-1266, or Shirley Taylor – or (206) 362-3118 by October 1.


Resolutions this year is being chaired by Carl Jarvis, who can be reached at or (360) 765-4239. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee is chaired by Frank Cuta, who can be reached at or (509) 967-2658. Remember, both the Resolutions and Constitution and Bylaws committees will meet directly following the pre-convention board meeting and are open to anyone who wishes to participate.


By now, you should have received your bulletin and registration form. If for some reason you did not get yours, you can listen to the bulletin in its entirety by calling our WCB info-line at 1-800-255-1147 and pressing 6, or you may request them be mailed to you in large print or Braille or have it emailed to you by leaving a message on this same toll-free info-line, or by emailing Also, anyone can go to our WCB website and click on “Convention Information” to read the bulletin and fill out the registration form online. You may also pay online with a credit card or mail your payment in with a check to: WCB, P.O. Box 1085, Tracyton, WA 98311.


At $90 for registration and up to 5 meals, this is the best deal in town, and we sure hope many members and friends of WCB will decide to join us at the 2008 WCB Convention!


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Proposed Changes to Constitution and Bylaws

By Frank Cuta, Chair, Constitution and Bylaws Committee

Last year at state convention, our secretive constitution and bylaws committee again attempted to sneak off and have a very short meeting with zero amendments and zero work. Unfortunately, luck was against us and two tipsy stragglers from the hospitality room accidentally stumbled into our meeting and we wound up with five proposed bylaws to bring to the floor. I guess we were all taken off guard because we voted in favor of four of them and they are now part of your WCB constitution and bylaws.


On a more serious note, this year we are asking that proposed amendments be submitted by October 1st. No committee action will be taken on them before we have our official meeting at convention, but this will give us a little extra time to consider them and have them produced in large print and Braille for convention attendees.


Already we have received one proposed change and have word of three others. We have assigned them numbers as follows. Amendment 2008-1 would change Article IV section 2. This would move the required date for the payment of membership dues from January 1 to February 10.


Amendment 2008-2 would change Article V. This would change the amount of our state dues from $3 to $5. Amendment 2008-3 would change Bylaw 8 section D. This would replace the word will with the word may, thus making the two free-room membership-benefit optional. Amendment 2008-4 would add a new bylaw to our constitution. This change would make the annual stipend to chapters a formal part of our bylaws. This change includes the current provision that chapters get their membership lists and dues in by March 15, but also adds the requirements that at the same time they report the time and place of their regularly scheduled monthly meetings, that they hold no less than 10 such meetings a year, that they submit an electronic version of their current constitution/bylaws, that they send a representative to a majority of the WCB board meetings that are held each year and that their president attend a majority of the monthly presidents meetings. The amount of the stipend would be determined by what is approved in the annual WCB budget.


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 last minute proposals that are submitted in writing by other members. We will conclude our meeting by deciding what our “do pass” or “do not pass” recommendation will be on each proposed change. On Friday morning we will have the first reading on the convention floor and at the Saturday afternoon business meeting the convention will debate each of them and vote them up or down.


Send proposed constitutional changes to Other members of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee that you may wish to contact are Alan Bentson and Stuart Russell. A current copy of the WCB Constitution is available on the web site.


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Unmet Needs of the Senior Blind: Can WCB Rise to Meet the Challenge?

By Carl Jarvis, Chair, Aging and Blindness Committee


“The policy implications of blindness in the United States are staggering. Americans are living longer than ever before. As the population ages, the number of blind adults increases. Consequently, the number of blind adults who do not have others to care for them also increases. While most blind adults are married or living with relatives, as they age they may outlive their spouses or relatives. This is of particular concern for women, who are more likely to outlive their spouses and live alone.” (Source: National Center for Policy Research - Blind Adults in America)


The most underserved people among the blind are older men and women, many of them new to the experience of vision loss. Growing in numbers, seniors already represent the majority of the blind population. And yet, funding and staffing are so minimal that vital services are often not provided when they are most needed.


Take the case of Maude, 84 years old and recently widowed. Within weeks of her husband's death, Maude learned that she had Macular Degeneration. Her vision dimmed to the point that she was falling over furniture, seriously bruising herself. Her children feared for her safety. Although Maude did not want to leave the home she and her husband built over 50 years ago, her own fear and uncertainty left her confused. Maude's children swept in and took charge. They located an assisted living facility near her eldest daughter. “That way, we can spend lots of time together,” her daughter told her. The house was sold along with most of Maude's furniture and many of her personal belongings. Maude did not adjust to her new home. She did not relate to the other residents. “They're all old people,” she said. And her daughter never seemed to have more than a few minutes each week. 


Maude's vision worsened. She would no longer walk to the dining room, insisting on eating her meals in her apartment. After several months, someone contacted the Independent Living Program for Maude. “She just sits in her room all day and leaves the TV on.”  The IL teachers found that Maude was eager to begin living again. She just didn't know how to get started. Within weeks she was traveling to and from the dining room, whenever she wasn't out eating at a local restaurant. She discovered several other blind folks living in her building and started a support group. Today, if you want to see Maude, you need to make an appointment several days in advance. Maude says she will not look back, but when she talks about the pain of giving up her home needlessly, there is a deep sadness. 


Similar stories are repeated many times over across our state. The critical point at which services will make the most difference, assisting people to make sound, informed decisions, is lost. New participants often wait weeks for their first appointment. In some areas of our state seniors are no longer being served, while in other remote rural areas they may only see an IL teacher once a month. Adjustment to blindness and teaching adaptive techniques one or two hours a month to elderly people who have seen all their life, and often have deep-seated biases regarding blindness is as effective as digging to China with a teaspoon.


The IL Program is funded with federal dollars through the Department of Education. With the exception of one rehab teacher on staff at the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), our state puts no money into direct participant services. DSB administers the program and does provide other staff time to take care of the many support services needed to keep records and generate reports. Currently DSB manages this vital program through a part-time contractor. Earlier this year DSB put together a focus group to study the situation.


The challenge was to determine how to provide the most meaningful services with no increase in budget or staff. By redesigning the program, DSB believes it will be able to develop a case for increased funding to the state legislature. This belief can become reality if the WCB members decide to make improving services to the older blind a priority. As chair of the Aging and Blindness Committee, I ask for your support.  We have the ability to make Washington State a leader in meeting the needs of the older blind and visually impaired. 


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Thoughts on What It Was Like to Become Legally Blind

By Frank Johnson, Member


These thoughts come through the filter of one, who at age 66, was suddenly “legally blind.” After a short period of asking “Why me?” I felt the need to find information about this blindness business. In that, I was not dissimilar from the growing numbers of people who become blind in their advancing maturity.


After dipping briefly into the Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted offerings, I checked out the NFB and then landed in WCB where I remain to this day. Also in those early days, I went to the Department of Services for the Blind. Knowing little about them, I was yearning for help even though I couldn't define what help I wanted. My orientation at the Department included learning to vacuum and other adaptive skills. When asked what my vocational goals were, I naively answered “Jobs? I’ve just retired.” That ended my formal search for help in learning the complexities of being blind.


Foremost for me was being unable to read, being unable to negotiate driving, and dealing with family and friends who suddenly lost their ability to have meaningful conversations. In the ensuing 12 years I’ve continued my quest.


Initially, in WCB meetings I carefully introduced myself as legally blind. One day, a crusty voice hollered from the dim depths, “If you can’t read and can’t drive, you’re blind!” So much for the niceties of being legally blind.  Twelve years have passed and I continue wondering where I fit in this broad subculture which largely still differentiates between ‘blind’ and “visually impaired.” In contemplating all of this, I struggle with the question of what will become of those growing numbers of persons losing sufficient vision as to qualify as “legally blind.”  The central question for me is, does WCB offer hope to these people?


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WCB Diabetes Support Group

By Peggy Shoel, Member


Do you have diabetes? Are you currently a member of the Washington Council of the Blind?


Did you know that we have a diabetes support group which meets monthly via telephone conference call? What do we do during these calls? We share concerns, problems, experiences and medical information and, above all, we support each other.


Some of us are recently diagnosed and some of us have had diabetes for 35 -50 years. Good diabetes management is a critical health issue. Know that you are not alone.


Whether you are on diet control, oral medication or insulin injection, join us and be part of our group where our agenda is to help and support each other. Contact me at 206-722-8477 or


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Highlights from the ACB Convention in Louisville

Excerpts from Lori Fink, Frank Cuta and Berl Colley


There were 26 or more WCB members that attended the 2008 ACB National Convention in Louisville Kentucky, at the historic Galt House Hotel. Led by WCB President Denise Colley and alternate delegate Terry Atwater, Washingtonians were not as boisterous as in recent years, but they were as active. One of the first to arrive was WCB Secretary, Marlaina Lieberg, and her husband, Gary. Serving as National Secretary, Marlaina usually could be found at the front of the room during general sessions.


Lori Fink was our First Timer. Lori is a member of United Blind of Tri-Cities.


“Going to the ACB Convention for the first time was exciting for me. We did a lot and walked a lot. I met many new people. The exhibits were very interesting. I was shown a new type of screen reader that they are working on. I talked to the different guide dog school programs. I went on the glass work tour and learned how they make things out of glass. They were making a big golf ball out of glass. The torch they use gets really hot and can be dangerous.”

“I attended many workshops and seminars. At the employment workshop I learned that blind people can work at home and still make a good living. We broke up into groups and were able to share information. At national convention, when they do the voting, you stand up for a head count and they tally it. I just want to say that if you have never gone to an ACB convention, you should. You will get a lot out of it. I came home with a lot of ideas and was very rewarded from my experience.”


Frank Cuta posted highlights on the WCB email list.


“Friday night I arrived to the sound of fireworks. I stood and listened a while before taking my bags inside. The hotel was one block from the river front park and it was pretty impressive. Judging from the frequency and volume level of the explosions I estimate they were firing off aerial shells on the order of 8 to 10 inches in diameter. These percussive booms and bursts then reverberated off of the many surrounding skyscrapers resulting in a grand effect.


I made it to the pre-convention board meeting Saturday morning. I make it a point to be there, because at this meeting you usually get a preview of where the drama is going to be in the next six days. Actually, speaking of fireworks, there were not any at this year’s board meeting -- a welcome change.


Thursday morning we all enjoyed getting together for the WCB breakfast and caucus. That afternoon I attended the mint julep party with Sue on a fancy deck the size of a small house. We decided to try for a horse-drawn carriage ride. Our attempt to get a carriage the previous evening failed when the carriage driver received a tornado alert and took off for the barn. However, Thursday evening we had beautiful weather. We seemed to click with the driver and we had a fantastic relaxing break from the bustle and chatter of the convention. Later I dropped in on Josette’s science fiction ice cream social. But by this time, it was turning into ice cream soup. As usual, the ginger beer was excellent. The young people in the room were talking in an “internet social group speak” I did not understand. It’s at times like these that I realize I am getting old.”


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August Board Retreat

By Nhi Duong, Member


Sue Ammeter gave the Advocacy report. The committee helped a woman who had trouble renewing her state ID.


One WCB member filed for SSDI, but there was a question of whether he met the legal definition of blindness. After discussion and submitting more paperwork, Social Security approved his application.


Another situation involved a member who received a letter from Metro/Access to renew her eligibility. She requested to have her application in Braille and they claimed that wasn’t possible. This was resolved.

One situation involved a gentleman whose teaching contract wasn’t renewed because of his visual disability. Sue contacted his attorney and let the attorney know that the Advocacy Committee is available as a resource. Sue hasn’t heard back.


The committee was contacted by a member concerning housing discrimination. She indicated to the apartment manager that she wanted to get a guide dog, but the manager said their policy forbade dogs. So she filed a complaint with the Human Right Commission and is waiting for an outcome.


The committee also assisted a person applying for a position at the WTBBL. Although he had years of experiences in broadcasting, he was told he wasn’t qualified for the part-time opening. His concern was that they denied him on the bases of blindness.


The advocacy committee only pursues a case where an individual is willing to advocate for themselves and does the work that is needed to fight for their rights.


Cindy Van Winkle brought the convention report. The bulletin and registration form will be posted on the WCB website by August 15th.


A silent auction will be held throughout the convention. A list of items will be included in conventioneers programs and they will be on display for viewing. Bidding will be in the exhibits room and during the pre-banquet social hour.


Carl Jarvis reported for the Aging and Blindness Committee. New brochures have been designed, printed and sent to each chapter for distribution.


Chris Coulter gave the Crisis Committee report.

The information on the 211 line states that people can apply for crisis assistance “must be blind” with no mention of “legal blindness.” Chris called the 800 number for the King County 211 database where our records are located, and had the language changed to “this is a one-time only help for a Washington resident who is legally blind.” Since July 16th, the committee only received 2 crisis calls compared to 3 or 4 calls a day between April and June.


Jim Eccles gave the Environment Access Committee Report. The committee is hoping to get WCB engaged in the legislation for quiet cars along with ACB’s national efforts.


The committee is in the process of researching documents and links to post to the WCB sites and/or to assist members with access issues regarding pedestrian safety. A link to the ABC pedestrian safety handbook is on the WCB site.


A motion was made and passed that the Board convey to the EA committee that it feel that quiet cars are a top safety issue. The motion passed.


There was also discussion about record keeping of minutes. Minutes of each meeting should go into the committee record. Each committee should submit their minutes so that all the motions are reported. That is one way to keep a historical record and transparency. If a committee wants to have their report be part of a record, they need to send a copy of their report to Marlaina Lieberg.


Berl Colley brought the WSSB report. There are 5 students graduating in June 2008. The gymnasium is coming along and should be done on schedule. The scheduled time to start using the facility is January or February. The school is involved in the legislation to promote certification for teachers of the blind. One of our WCB members, Katherine Golding from the Tri-Cities, was voted WSSB Employee of the Year. There is an opening for a board of Trusties in the Everett area and there may be an opening for a Board of Trustee in the Spokane area.


Cindy Van Winkle gave the DSB report. She represented the WRC in the interview process for Don Alveshere. Don begins his job in July.


New Business


Denise is in the process of negotiating a contract with the Executive Inn for the winter board meeting. The dates are January 30th and 31st. The room rate is $94 per night.


A motion was made and passed to except the Pasco Red Lion bid for our 2009 fall convention.


A motion was made to have 3 board meetings instead of 4 board meetings until our financial situation changes. If we don’t hold a meeting in August, we save about $4,000. If we held our meeting in early June, then we also can hold our leadership training at the same time. According to the Constitution, the Board is required to meet 3 times a year. The motion passed.


The Finance report shows a net loss.


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WCB History 1992

By Berl Colley, Chair, WCB History Committee


WCB was busy with Washington State legislation. A puppy bill was introduced which was apposed by both organizations of the blind. Once again, it was a time for cutting the budgets of state agencies. The WCB Board instructed President Ammeter to write a letter to newly elected governor Mike Lowry protesting the reductions in services to blind people at the Department of Services for the Blind and the Washington Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.


WCB paid for a general mailing to WLBPH borrowers informing them how the loss of funds to purchase the facility where the library was housed, would impact services. The switch board of the legislature was swamped. When the House and Senate budgets were produced, both had the needed dollars restored in them. Later in the year, WCB received a letter from Representative Helen Summers thanking us for our efforts on behalf of the library and pledging her support for its continuation in its current location.


The editor of Newsline, Jim Eccles, received an assistant editor, Peggy Shoel. She became editor for the last issue of the year and served in that position for the next 15 years. Founder and long time director of the Piano Hospital, Aimle Frieze retired at the age of 91. Aimle and his wife, Freda, were long time members of the Riverside Association of the Blind.


The first WCB Board meeting of 1992 was held in Seattle. Most of the business dealt with the upcoming national convention and the state convention in Spokane. Shirley Taylor was the WCB representative to the California spring convention in Sacramento Dan Tonge resigned as chair of the Equipment Loan Committee and Joleen Ferguson was appointed as the new chair.


The ACB national convention was held in Phoenix Arizona, July 4-11, and 28 WCB members attended. Sue, as President, was the delegate and Peggy Shoel was the alternate delegate. Sue Ammeter, Sharon Keeran, Cynthia Towers and Frank Cuta were appointed to national committees and Peggy Shoel and Sharon Keeran were elected to offices in special interest affiliates. The crowning moment came when Sue was elected to the ACB Board of Directors.

The second board meeting of the year was held in Seattle, on August 30. For the first time since the March 1990 merger, all officers, board members and chapter representatives were in attendance. The board learned that it was out of compliance with the WCB constitution and submitted a constitutional amendment to change the board meeting requirement from 4 to 3 meetings a year. An ad hoc committee was established to address Braille Literacy concerns. Appointed to this committee were Shirley Taylor, Charlene Hunt and Terry Atwater.


The fall convention was held in Spokane on November 5-7. A new format was introduced. The pre-convention board meeting was held on Thursday night. Committee meetings were held on Friday morning and the educational program was held Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The business meeting was held Saturday afternoon and the banquet would close out the convention Saturday night. The convention adopted 5 substantive resolutions. Two resolutions dealt with the impact that budget cuts to those agencies serving the blind could have. Another resolution talked about the guide dog problems for people traveling to Hawaii and two more dealt with voting access and information in the Braille voter’s pamphlet.


At the banquet, Jim Eccles was Master of Ceremonies and the speaker was Paul Schroeder, from ACB’s national office. Ed Foscue, Sharon Keeran and Cynthia Towers awarded 11 scholarships totaling $11,000. A one-time scholarship was awarded by Marie Marrow in memory of her husband Bob Marrow. Bellingham was chosen as the site for the 1993 state convention and the Tri Cities was chosen for 1994.


The following members were elected to serve WCB in 1993: President, Sue Ammeter, United Blind of Seattle; First Vice-President, Sharon Keeran, King County Chapter; Second Vice President, Shirley Taylor, United Blind of Seattle; Secretary, Frank Cuta, United Blind of the Tri Cities; Treasurer, Cynthia Towers, United Blind of Seattle; Board of Directors; Terry Atwater, Capital City Council of the Blind; Marilyn Donnelly, King County Chapter; Joleen Ferguson, United Blind of Walla Walla; Charlene Hunt, King County Chapter, Pierce County Association of the Blind; Arnold Schrock, United Blind of Whatcom County; Peggy Shoel, United Blind of Seattle. Dan Tonge was chosen as the alternate delegate and Sharon Keeran was chosen as the Substitute Alternate to the 1993 national convention in San Francisco.


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Department of Services for the Blind News Snapshots

By Mark Adreon, Communication and Employer Consultant


DSB is now two months into our new state fiscal year and collecting information on how the previous year went while moving forward with new challenges and opportunities.


Employment Outcomes


Bravo to each of the successful individuals who went to work this past year and to the DSB staff and partners who supported that process! There were 147 participants who completed their DSB Vocational Rehabilitation programs between July 1, 2007 and June 30 2008. They went to work in competitive jobs at an average wage of $17.35 per hour and of these jobs, 61 percent are receiving benefits. There were 10 participants that are self employed and the job titles represented on our Employment Outcomes list are as varied as ever.


DSB Director at WCB State Convention


Lou Oma Durand, DSB Director, will be giving a full update on the state of the agency at the upcoming WCB State Convention in Vancouver and looks forward to touching base with everyone.


DSB Welcomes New Assistant Director


After an extensive nationwide search, DSB has a new Assistant Director of Employment Services. Lou Oma announced the appointment of Donald Alveshere to this position. He is based out of the Seattle office, with responsibilities statewide. Donald will be leading and directing our Vocational Rehabilitation Field Service Delivery Teams and our Orientation and Training Center.   


Don comes to us from a management position at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, where he has worked in planning, evaluation, program improvement, and data management capacities. Don demonstrates a strong customer focus, the ability to build an engaged and motivated workforce, and effective collaboration with a diversity of partners. His references were unanimous in their strong endorsement of Don.   


Join us in welcoming Don to DSB and our partnering communities.


Job Developer Training Dates


After months of input, analysis, and development, our Job Developer Initiative, is moving forward. One component of the initiative is a statewide training opportunity to assist Job Developers in working with DSB participants. Our goal is to develop a Preferred Provider List of Job Developers that have a solid foundation on the abilities of DSB participants and the range of jobs available to them. We are putting the final touches on the training curriculum and have tentatively set the following locations and dates: Tacoma on November 11; Vancouver on January 13; Everett on January 27; Seattle on February 10; Spokane on February 24; Yakima on March 10; Olympia on March 24. Look for more updates and thanks for all the stakeholders that participated in developing this Initiative.


DSB Outreach DVD Completed


I am pleased to report that our agency outreach DVD has been completed, as has the awareness film, “Blind Sided.” We are currently getting a limited number “printed” and want to thank all who participated in the making of the DVD. Segment one is 14 minutes long and briefly discusses the various programs offered at DSB and how they impact real people’s lives. The stories are told by current and past DSB participants and the segment ends on an empowering message of getting connected. The 5-minute segment 2 focuses on answering the questions, “What do people that are blind doing for work and how do they do it?” Again, there are many voices on this short segment which compels employers to look to qualifications and skills and not let blindness determine false assumptions about a person’s talents.


“Blind Sided” is a 35-minute film that takes everyday inconveniences and stacks them together to create a very bad day for a person that is blind. It is employment focused, with everyday social issues thrown in. The second day shows the simple courtesy’s that people could do that would make anyone’s day better and is aimed at broad principles like asking and not assuming someone needs assistance. The film uses humor and is very careful to make it about the situation and not the blind guy. There are no victims or perpetrators in the film and it allows the viewer to learn in a positive way. This film is targeted to Diversity training programs for employers throughout the state and will have a facilitator’s guide and participant worksheet.


In the future you will be able to view the Outreach and Employment segments on our web site but we won’t be ready to post these for several months. You may have an opportunity to view all three segments at the Vancouver convention. I’m in the process of seeing if this venue can be arranged.


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Louis Braille School Summer Camp
By Julie LeMay, School Volunteer


Once again, the Louis Braille Summer Camp welcomed guide dog puppies in training to open the first day of Camp. Eighteen came for a visit this year, a mixture of black and golden labs. Upon arrival, they assembled indoors with their trainers, each puppy a model of exemplary behavior. After the children were seated in the back outside play area, the dogs were paraded out one by one, stopping by each child for an introduction and a brief description of breed, color, and personality traits. These delightful dogs always appear to be smiling and enjoying life. It was quite amazing to see so many dogs congregating in close proximity with not one confrontation; just mutual sniffings and some cautious and curious looks at their fellow trainees.


After the initial introductions, dog toys were brought out, and some of the children played tug-of-war with the pups, while others took brushes to groom them, the dogs’ eyes taking on dreamy looks of pure pleasure. To wrap up the morning’s activities, a piñata (paper shopping bag) was held on a pole and each child took several turns swatting at the bag, which finally burst open. Out tumbled small stuffed animal replicas of the dogs, each wearing a scarf labeled “guide dog in training,” a special treat enjoyed by each child.


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 Guide Dogs for the Blind campuses in San Rafael, CA, and Boring, OR, for formal training.


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Washington State School for the Blind – “On the Move Again”

By Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent


Wow! Where did the summer go? Seems like we just got out of school, conducted commencement and we are once again starting another school year. Guess the older you get, the faster time flies by. I thought I would provide you with an update as to some of the exciting things happening at WSSB:


Board of Trustees Opening: If you are interested in serving on the Board of Trustees for WSSB, contact the Governor’s office, Boards and Commissions: Congressional District 1-North Seattle/Everett/Bothel areas.


Tactile Museum of Natural History – Sensory Safari: Grand opening of this unbelievable museum will be held on September 5th from 6:00–9:00 p.m. -- another great partnership with Safari Club International, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, etc. I’m sure that WCB members will enjoy touring the museum during the fall convention in Vancouver. Lions, Tigers and Bears – oh my! Or should I say Lions, Warthogs and Bears?


New gymnasium underway: The walls are up and the roof is being installed with the hope of a grand opening in February of 2009. This new building should be a wonderful asset to the school and community and provide a great facility for years to come in helping blind and visually impaired children develop skills in independence, confidence and just learn how to have fun!


On-campus program: At this time it looks like on-campus enrollment will increase 5 to 7 percent over last year at the beginning of the school year with additional students being served throughout the year. WSSB will be piloting a short course program this year. This program will focus on having students and possibly a teacher/para-professional come to WSSB for a week of intensive training in a targeted area. We believe that this will assist many students in gaining the skills they need in a short period of time.


Outreach: Off-campus services continue to grow with the addition of more school district partners each year. Our biggest problem is locating enough trained and qualified teachers of the blind and visually impaired and Orientation and Mobility Instructors. Currently WSSB contracts with a little over 1/5th of the school districts in the state in providing services on a fee for service basis.


Braille Access Center (BAC)/Production: Another service that continues to grow! Last year WSSB produced over 600,000 pages of Braille for blind and visually impaired people and has provided Braille books on time for students in our state with a 100% on-time delivery rate. This would not have been possible without the dedicated staff at the BAC and the wonderful prison program which has been at the Washington Correctional Center for Women (WCCW) and soon to be expanded to Mission Creek. BAC also contracts with one of the women who has been released from Prison and keeps her very busy as a transcriber. One additional little bit of information …one of the BAC’s most recent contracts is providing Braille for the New York City Transit Department.


I know my space is limited so I’d better close with a full welcome to all the WCB members who are coming to Vancouver, Washington for your fall conference. We look forward to hopefully getting all of you on the campus for a great tour, and for many, a walk down memory lane. Take care and see each of you this fall.


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Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

By Danielle King, Program Manager/Librarian


As the end of August nears, I’ve been the Program Manager/Librarian for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library for four months. What a remarkable time it has been. I have had the opportunity to meet many amazing people, not the least of whom are the staff, volunteers, and patrons of WTBBL – in other words, many of you who make up the Washington Council of the Blind! It is wonderful to get to know you and work with you during this new chapter at the WTBBL.


We successfully transitioned to direct administration by the Washington State Library (WSL) and the Office of the Secretary of State on the 1st of July. WTBBL had two fantastic events to kick off the transition. One event was for the staff and featured a breakfast and visits from our new colleagues at the Washington State Library. The second event was our Open House on July 3rd. The open house was a success and we had over 100 patrons, volunteers, and guests attend and hear remarks from Secretary of State, Sam Reed, and State Librarian, Jan Walsh. WTBBL staff gave tours of the Library and everyone had a great time. It was unfortunate that our transition dates were so close to the National Convention, but we’ll have many more events with hopefully even more participation in the future.


One of the many advantages to being part of the Washington State Library and the Office of the Secretary of State is the existing foundation of services around the state. We will be able to partner with WSL and OSOS in our outreach efforts across the state as well as with Technical Services and Information Technology to improve our website and online catalog. We are working with the Secretary of State’s Elections Division and we will have a page in the fall Voters Pamphlet as well as again making voters pamphlets on cassette and in Braille available from WTBBL by request.


We received an increase in our budget for fiscal year 2009 from the legislature, thanks in large part to advocacy on the part of the WTBBL patrons and the WCB! Our budget is now stable and we will be able to do all we need to do to run at full capacity getting you the books you need. During fiscal year 2008 (July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008), we had over 10,000 active readers, 950 active deposit collections, and circulated over 454,000 books!! We are in great shape and so we can now look to the future. In terms of staffing, we are almost up to full staff with about half the staff having transitioned and the other half being new. We’ve got a super team and we are all looking forward to improving and enhancing your services. Please feel free to contact me directly with any ideas or suggestions ( or (206) 615-1588.


WTBBL is eagerly anticipating the transition to digital talking books. We should get our first demo machines in January of 2009, followed by an initial allocation of 1,136 machines. Priority will be given to Veteran’s and 10^2 (patrons 100 years old or older) members. A lottery will be done for the rest of the people interested in getting a talking book machine. It is currently unclear how long the transition to digital talking books will take, but we’ll keep you posted.


With the combination of incredible infrastructure, talented and dedicated staff, and innovative technology, we, the WTBBL will come out as one of the strongest, most technologically advanced, most user-focused libraries in the country. I look forward to working with you all on our goals and plans. Again, please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and comments.


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Around the State


Capital City Council of the Blind

By Berl Colley, President


The month of May ended with our second annual bowling afternoon. Gloria Walling organized this event. Eight of our members participated.


At our June meeting, Carol Maher, the ADA and Facilities Assessment Coordinator for the Department of General Administration spoke about what state facilities her committee is considering. There are 3 new buildings being built on the East capitol campus in Olympia.


Gloria and Tim Walling participated in the Relay for Life and a Walk for Cancer at Tumwater High School during the last weekend of June.


Seven of our members attended the ACB convention in Louisville, Kentucky, July 5-12. Terry Atwater represented our state as an alternate delegate. He backed up WCB President Denise Colley, who was the state delegate. At the Louisville convention our chapter president, Berl Colley, was elected to the national board of directors. Also attending from our chapter were Alan Bentson, Viola Cruz, Shirley Atwater and Dottie Simonsen.


We had two guest speakers at our July meeting. Sam Hunt, Representative from the 22nd legislative district, gave us an over view of things that he felt were accomplished during the 2008 legislative session. He answered questions for about 15 minutes. Our second speaker was Vivian Conger, who was visiting as a member of the WCB board. She talked to us about the upcoming convention in Vancouver and encouraged people to attend the 2009 Leadership Seminar.


Gloria, acting as our social director, organized the CCCB summer picnic in August. The club purchased fried chicken and pop. Members brought the rest of the food. There were 26 members and family and friends who attended. After everyone stuffed themselves, Gloria organized a couple of question and answer games with the group.


We welcome Jillia Hirschfeld, who became our newest member at our July meeting.


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Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind
by Chris Coulter, member

In the last issue of Newsline I reported that we would be hearing a presentation by Tom King on audible pedestrian signals in Marysville at our June meeting. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the meeting, but would like to talk to us at a later date. We'll keep you posted, so that you can join us on that day if you are available to do so.

We took our usual summer break in July and August and will meet again on the 13th of September, rested, refreshed and ready for an exciting convention and other activities.

On July 3rd, I attended the open house held at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. This open house was a celebration of the transition of WTBBL from being a part of the Seattle Library system to its new designation as part of the state library. Secretary of State, Sam Reed, and one of his staff attended the open house. Both expressed their enthusiasm about the new relationship between our library and the state of Washington.


We met Danielle King, the new director of the library. After that, tours of the library were conducted. I took the opportunity to see all of the changes in the facility since my last tour was well over thirty years ago.

Most of us have had a rather quiet summer break, but Wes Derby informed me that he is now the proud owner of a Pocket PC cell phone, complete with MobilSpeak software. Maybe he'll show it to us at a future meeting. 

Frank Cuta will be visiting us for our September meeting and we're looking forward to hearing from him about the latest WCB news, including information about what to expect at Convention. Here's hoping everyone who reads Newsline has had a wonderful summer and that the fall season is full of fun and learning.

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind meets at Patti's Egg Nest at 6720 Evergreen Way in Everett. Our meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at 2 p.m. We invite you to come join us whenever you have a chance.


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Guide Dog Users of Washington State

By Joleen Ferguson, Immediate Past President


Summer is giving way to the familiar customs of fall as I sit down to write this GDUWS update. By now there are certain traditions that have grown up around the WCB convention as well. Among them are the GDUWS Friday breakout session, the Saturday breakfast business meeting, and the Saturday luncheon. Here is what we do know:


We are making plans for the second of two business meetings for 2008. One business item is to vote on a constitutional change that will bring our purpose in line with the IRS suggested language. This change will allow us to move ahead with our application for 501(c)3 status. This year, we will have elections for vice president, secretary, and one board position. Bill Hoage, Randy Tedrow, and Gina Allen are all eligible to run again. Current board members are: Vivian Conger, president; Bill Hoage, vice ;resident; Randy Tedrow, secretary; Byron Kaczmarski, treasurer; Don Reiter, board member; Gina Allen, board member; and Joleen Ferguson, immediate past president.


Our convention committee composed of Randy, Bill, and Gina, is putting together a program that promises to be informative and entertaining.


We are sponsoring Portland-based, Dr. Chris Cooke, a naturopathic physician for one of WCB's breakout speakers. She will be speaking on wellness and preventative medicine. Dr. Cooke will also give an overview on naturopaths and what they do as physicians. She is partnered with a guide from GDB.


Plans for our luncheon speaker are still under way, but all indications are that this surprise person will be well worth hearing on Saturday.


Of course, we will have a presence in the exhibit hall again as is our tradition. Our fundraising committee, Tina Leighton, Dodie Brueggeman, and Bill Hoage, has a plethora of items for sale. Not all of them are dog specific. There are items for everyone such as our traditional APH Insight Braille/large print calendars. There is a 50-50 raffle where the winner takes half the total money earned from ticket sales. Kitty Hoage knit a one-size-fits-all afghan that will also be raffled. Plan to attend the banquet where ticket winners will be drawn for both raffles. We will have some items discounted including our t-shirts. Have you tried Kitty's Multipurpose Scrubbers? They are very popular and have a variety of uses. Stop by our booth and ask to see the list. We will have the popular, handcrafted, polar fleece throws, this time coupled with matching pillows as well as dog beds. This is just a sample of what we will be selling, so come and see the rest for yourself.


While you are at our booth, you may also pay your annual dues of $15.00. This is true for new members and membership renewals alike.

Members, be sure we get any changes to your contact information.


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King County Chapter

By Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer


I love to begin Newsline reports with a song title or a seasonal reference. For this issue, it’s “In the Good Old Summertime” and if you blinked, you missed it. Western Washington had a late spring, a short summer, and an early fall. And, oh my, are those sleigh bells I hear? I’m just kidding, folks.


I hope many of you have tested your five senses at a festival or fair in your area. The sights and sounds and smells are wonderful. So hands on, with taste buds ready, we enjoy the corn dogs, kettle corn, scones and cotton candy. These are surely what are known as “comfort food.”


In June, our guest speaker was Chris Coulter. Chris is all-chapters representative from the WCB board, and also chair of the Crisis Committee. She spoke about current happenings of the organization and her work with the Crisis Committee. Chris encouraged us to keep in touch online and with the 800 number.


In July, we celebrated our annual picnic at the home of Tim and Virginia Schneebeck. The variety of food was a challenge, but I enjoyed every mouthful. As always, at the end of the day, the ice cream man arrived and he looks just like Tim. An unusual incident happened that afternoon, but more about that in a future issue.


At our August meeting, Tim and Virginia read a letter they had drafted concerning the incident that happened the afternoon of our chapter picnic. The issue was discussed and those who wished could sign the letter.


Shirley Taylor gave us a very concise report from the early August WCB board meeting held in Vancouver. She also gave us a preview of the Hilton Vancouver Hotel, where many of us will be staying during the WCB convention in October.


Rhonda Nelson and Becky Bell gave a lively description on their adventures on Amtrak, going to and from the national convention in Louisville, Kentucky. They experienced “no train,” “late train,” buses, floods and fire, and they lived to tell their tale. I’m surprised they didn’t meet George Custer and Jesse James along the way, but maybe next time.


Well, folks, I have to go now because I’m still all sticky from the kettle corn and cotton candy, but my hands will be clean when I greet old and new friends at the convention in October.


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South Kitsap Council of the Blind

By Stuart Russell


Greetings from the members of the South Kitsap Council of the Blind!


SKCB serves members in southern Kitsap County, Mason County, and the portion of Pierce County located on the Kitsap Peninsula. We meet in Port Orchard on the third Saturday of the month. Traveling west from Bremerton across the water, the distance to port Orchard is about 1 mile. However, the trip by road is eight miles.


If you join us at one of our meetings, you will find fellowship and a home-cooked meal prepared by our members. In June we hosted a special event highlighting blind-owned businesses. Denise Russell, owner of the Speak to Me on-line catalog, and Mary Sue Lonnevik, a registered broker and advisor, gave inspiring presentations. These two strong women experienced setbacks and discrimination, but never allowed others to discourage them from pursuing their dreams.


In August, our chapter held a very successful garage sale. If you have ever participated in running a garage sale, you know how much work is involved. Chris and Carol Brame donated the use of their truck. Shirley Schamer & Maria Kuntz helped with organizing & pricing merchandise. Michelle Denzer sold refreshments, and Jim Bryant brought fresh hot scones from the Kitsap fair as a special treat for the volunteers. The $300 in proceeds will be used to help our members attend the state convention.


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United Blind of Seattle

By Ursula McCully, member


My, was it just a few weeks ago that I wrote an update on UBS happenings? And here we are. Summer slipped by so quickly that I could not hang on to it. United Blind of Seattle is ever busy.


After the Oral Hall Memorial weekend, the UBS membership committee put on their running shoes to prepare for Friends Day on June 21st. It was the first day of summer and 25 attendees listened to Julie Brannon, UBS President emphasize our local chapter being an important part of the WCB foundation. Glenn McCully, second vice-president of WCB encouraged us to get involved in the big picture of ACB. Chris Coulter, board director of WCB, was our guest speaker and talked to us about the different committees that we could get connected to at the state level. She also related to us how she began getting to know the family of WCB. She started the Everett chapter. We had a good day and a guest joined our chapter.


Along with members of the other King County chapters, we held a car wash again on July 5, 2008 to raise more funds for the Seattle Super Picnic. Other members went to Louisville for the ACB annual convention. The car wash was another success as we were able to raise $250.00.


The 3rd annual Super Picnic was held at Sewerd Park on July 19. It was a perfect day for a picnic. There were 140 people who came from the three King county chapters, friends and family of members. There was a lot of food, games to play and plenty of socializing among the members, guests, friends and family. There was a group that played guitars and sang oldies. There was even a raffle. The winner won a $175 gift certificate. The picnic was fun and very relaxing, everyone had a great time.


On August 16th we had our monthly meeting and Clint Ridding, vice-president presided. We had Denise Russell as our guest speaker. Denise is the owner of the “Speak to Me” catalog, providing a great gift shopping resource for vision-impaired people. She told how she started her business and explained that she is not in competition with Maxi-Aids or Independent Living. She brought some of her products and even gave out free gifts.


At the meeting, the following announcements were made: Kristin Miller is the new chair for the membership committee. Julie Brannon is the chair of the outreach committee, Steve Barnett chair of the fund-raising committee. Jonathan Simeone is leaving Seattle, but not the chapter. He even paid his dues and is planning to go to the state convention. Patt Copeland was hired at the Seattle Lighthouse. As chair of the activity committee, she has a line up of activities for members to get involved.


We had a fundraising dinner at a Northgate restaurant. This was on August 23rd. I will give you the highlights in the next chapter update. See you next issue.


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United Blind of Spokane

By Deborah Jenkins, President


Greetings from United Blind of Spokane! As summer draws to a close, we are conscious of how fast winter is approaching again. It seems that we had short summer here in Spokane, but on we go. We’d like to go back a little further than just the past couple of months to catch everyone up on what we’ve been doing.


On April 21, we had elections, generating the following results: Deborah Jenkins, president; Bea Shinnaberry, vice-president; Craig Phillips, recording secretary; Claire Warren, corresponding secretary; Bob Carol, treasurer and Debby Phillips, immediate past president.


In May, we welcomed a guest speaker from the Veterans Administration Hospital here in Spokane to address the blind and low-vision program there. She talked about what the VA does for veterans including, but not limited to, purchasing of equipment like glasses, computer equipment, hardware and software, etc.


In June, most of our discussion was about our upcoming picnic. One of our members, George Davis had previously offered his back yard for the festivities, his generosity was appreciated. The picnic was held on June 28; Claire Warren also celebrated her birthday that day and told us that she couldn’t think of any place she would rather be. It was a great success.


In July, we welcomed a couple representatives from Washington Department of Services for the Blind. It was kind of a surprise visit, but they were only there to observe. After the business meeting was over, they thanked us for letting them sit in.


In August, we warmly welcomed Vivian Conger and her husband, Bob, from Walla Walla. Vivian was there for a chapter visit. Vivian spoke of several things including; changes to NLS’s Talking Book program as members wanted to know about the new digital players. She also spoke about the upcoming convention and leadership seminar. Vivian also discussed the different WCB committees and what they do.


I would like to take just a minute to thank my officers and members for a pretty smooth transition


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United Blind of Tri-Cities

By Janice Squires, member


It is time to say goodbye to our summer season. United Blind of the Tri-Cities celebrated it with our annual picnic on September 4. We once again want to thank Dixie and Shannon McDaniel’s for offering their lovely backyard for this special occasion. We always seem to attract around thirty of our members to join in the fun, food and fellowship on this enjoyable day.


Frank Cuta and Laura Fink were the two UBTC members that attended the national ACB convention in Louisville this year. Laura was awarded the WCB first-timer scholarship to the convention and we know it was a very rewarding experience for her. Frank gave us a detailed explanation of many of the happenings and events that he participated in at the convention, but as he said no one can do it all.


Thanks to all of the lovely ladies who set up the summer lunches, including Marlene Vandecar, Sheryl Stone, and Holly Kaczmarski. Our final narrated play of the season was entitled “Never Too Late.” We will once again begin the 2008 – 2009 play season in September and thanks again to Frank, Margie and Brenda for their work on this successful program.


We also want to express our appreciation to Evelyn Crouse for being our sunshine lady. She does such an exceptional job in sending cards and notes to those who are ill or in need of just a friendly hello.


The book group has welcomed new members, Myra Wood and Marilyn Ostergaard to its Wednesday gathering and we always have such a good time discussing many things, including the books! We have read 3 books this summer: “I Heard That Song Before,” “No Finish Line” and “A Lesson Before Dying.”


The card group has attracted 20 ladies to join in a fun-filled afternoon and, wow, can they make a lot of noise!


We are reaching out to the community by having our members place the Coping with Vision Loss brochures in strategic locations around the Tri-Cities. Also, we have had business cards and a stamp made with our name and phone numbers on them to spread the word about our fine organization. Thanks to Brenda Vinther and Budget Printing for donating these cards and the stamp.


Cynthia McCready, Events and Fundraising Coordinator from the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, was our speaker in July. She shared with us many of the happenings at the center and told us about all the Center has to offer to people who are blind or visually impaired. The Center offers educational and entertaining day outings for all to enjoy. 

“Talk Back Tri-Cities” featured Cynthia and chapter member, Carmen Walker, who promoted a Hawaiian luau, a fundraiser for the Center. Carmen also spoke about the UBTC organization and all that we have to offer.


We want to encourage everyone to remember to vote this year and to use the accessible voting machines. Bill Hoage and our local county auditor appeared on a local radio talk show session, telling the listeners about these machines and where and when they are available for use.


Hope to see many of you in Vancouver at this year’s WCB convention,


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United Blind of Walla Walla

By Vivian Conger


Well, it is time for another chapter update. Our members have continually been working with the cities of Walla Walla and College Place on accessible pedestrian signals.


Some of our members have experienced the quietness of hybrids and applaud folks for being environmentally conscious, but are concerned about safety of pedestrians whether blind or sighted. We are looking forward to a possible solution that will work for all.


Our annual picnic took place on July 28. Lots of good food and fun was had by all.


In August, we had Debby Phillips, WCB board member, speak to us as a WCB board representative. She gave us lots of information about the annual convention, committees, etc. We always look forward to visits from WCB board members.


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United Blind of Whatcom County

By Yvonne Miller, First Vice-President


Hello, everyone! We have been busy with a fundraiser and a lot of social gatherings. On June 4th, after having dinner at the nearby Terrriyaki Bar, Betty Sikkema and I enjoyed a ride on the Cascadia Peddi-Cab. It’s a 3-wheel bicycle cab. We both sat on the bench enjoying our ride. Betty honked and we waved to another passing Peddi-Cab. It’s a summer service provided for the downtown area.


Later, Bruce Radtke, Betty and I attended the Downtown Renaissance sponsored Transportation Forum. At the Forum, A panel of dignitaries gave an overview of the transportation issues. We divided up into breakout groups. The focus was accessibility for foot traffic and alternatives for gas powered vehicles. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety group was split into two separate groups. We joined the Pedestrian Safety folks. Many issues and topics were discussed by all groups. The panel reviewed all the input given. Overall, the majority were concerned about finding alternatives to vehicles and the lack of parking. Several options were discussed. The Bellingham Herald reported about the parking issue. Betty reported that WTA said that the city bus ridership was up, and they needed to add more routes and shelters.


On June 14th, our chapter participated in the annual Whatcom Volunteer Center’s fundraiser. The Human Race was held at the Maritime Heritage Park. With combined efforts, Betty, Bruce and I collected $665.00 in funds. 75 percent goes to our chapter and the remaining with the Whatcom Volunteer Center. Betty and her brother-in-law, Case Burger, finished the 3-mile route. William Freeman, Bruce and I walked part of the way. After lunch, we went to the Health Support Center.


Our June meeting was our last before taking July and August off from business meetings.


We are happy to report that our chapter earmarked $300.00 to the WCB Scholarship fund. For PAK, our Personal Assistive Kits Committee Barb Crowley, reported that she consulted with the Low Vision group about their eligibility to receive a kit. Mimi Freshley suggested 3 or 4 potential recipients. Barb sent letters to UBWC members about the items that are available to us.


Barb shared news about her trip to Arizona and Utah in the canyons and parks. She gave a door prize of a lovely raw amethyst stone away. (Lucky me!) On June 25th, members met at Pistazza’s Restaurant for our luncheon social. It was discovered that the menu had made some significant changes. Members did not favor the new menu.


On July 23rd, we gathered at Fairhaven Park for our annual picnic. It was a rather cool morning and 12 attended. Everyone enjoyed roasted chicken and plenty of side dishes, salads and hot and cold beverages. Jenny Wilke shared her research project on her book and family stories during the civil war. Bruce shared his trip to the ACB convention and brought back some information. He also went to South Dakota for a family visit. With appetites satisfied, Barb suggested taking a walk to visit the salmon ladder. Some of us decided to go and check it out. Peggy Miller had fun and was tempted to jump into the creek, but refrained. All had a good time.


On August 1st and 2nd, I attended the WCB board meeting held at the Vancouver Hilton where the state convention will be held. The staff was very helpful and friendly. Betty has recruited a new perspective member who has been considering attending this year’s convention.


On August 13th, Bruce, Ron Bradshaw, Betty and her mom, Dorothy, enjoyed a picnic on a bluff overlooking Birch Bay. A beautiful sunny day, they walked on the beach before going home.


On August 18th, Betty, accompanied by her mom and me, went to the courthouse to use the accessible voting machines. We had no trouble placing our choices using the computed ballots. Later, we joined Diane Kirscheman for lunch at Best Chopsticks. On August 25th, Betty, Diane, Barb, Bruce, Ron and I met at the Health Support Center for Game Day. We enjoyed playing a game of 13 and eating pizza. Quite different than the end of the month luncheon, we had fun teasing Betty and Ron of cheating.


May you all have had a terrific summer as we had! You all have an awesome state convention, too!


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Hats Off to You

By Rhonda Nelson, Member


Congratulations to the following WCB members:


Patt Copeland, member, United Blind of Seattle, Malissa Hudson, member, United Blind of Seattle, and Darlene Hilling, member, King County Chapter, all of whom have recently begun employment at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle. Patt is manager of the Employee Community Support Program, and Malissa and Darlene are production workers.


Yvonne Thomas-Miller, Secretary, United Blind of Whatcom County, on her employment as an intern at Lummi Vocational Rehabilitation Center as a VRC Outreach.


Catherine Golding, member, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, on being named Washington State School for the Blind Employee of the Year. Catherine is program coordinator for eastern Washington.


Shirley and Jerry Musick, President and member, United Blind of Walla Walla, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. They renewed their vows and celebrated with family and friends, including many UBWW members.


Darlene and Roger Hilling, members, King County Chapter, on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary. They celebrated with a steak dinner.


Hayley Agers, member, GDUWS, and her husband David, on the birth of Sydney Brianna, a “bundle of joy” weighing 7 pounds two ounces. Brayden, age three, is very excited about being a big brother and is very helpful.


Carl and Cathy Jarvis, Secretary and Treasurer, Jefferson County Council of the Blind, on the birth of great grandson Rylan Black. Carl says Cathy must be the youngest great grandma ever.


Tim Schneebeck, President, King County Chapter, on 50 years of working with guide dogs. As a nine year old Tim graduated from Pilot Dogs with his first dog, Thunder, a short haired collie.


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Bits and Pieces

By Rhonda Nelson, Member


The American Council of the Blind has successfully employed structured negotiation to develop agreements concerning talking ATM’s, accessible web sites and other issues. As referenced in the May 2008 Braille Forum, one of the attorneys involved in these negotiations, Lainey Feingold, now has a web site, The site contains all of the agreements Ms. Feingold and her colleagues have negotiated as well as general information about structured negotiations.


ACB’s Public Relations Committee, including WCB member Gaylen Floy, has written the Press Release Handbook for ACB affiliates and chapters. The handbook is available free of charge in multiple formats, and covers the basics of writing and distributing effective press releases. To request a copy, contact the ACB national office at (800) 424-8666 or visit


With the upcoming conversion to digital television, the Federal Communications Commission has published an advisory detailing selected features of 32 converter boxes. Features of particular interest to people with disabilities are prominently included. The advisory is available at The boxes referenced are available for purchase under the federal government’s coupon converter box program. To sign up for that program, visit or call (888) 388-2009. For FCC consumer publications in accessible format, call (888) 225-5322.


The Association of Blind Citizens operates the Assistive Technology Fund. The ATF provides funds to cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software. The products must retail for a minimum of $200 and maximum of $6000. An applicant must be legally blind, a resident of the United States and have a family income of less than $50,000 and cash assets of less than $20,000. All applications must be submitted via E-mail. For more information, visit


Braille Tutoring starts on Friday Sept. 19th


In September, it's the natural time to think about returning to school and starting to study. So we invite you to think about Braille for Everyday Living which is a tutoring group which meets every Friday at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The group matches experienced Braille users with those who are new to Braille or those who need to refresh their skills. We are looking for both volunteer tutors and new students for the group. We meet at 12:00 noon for coffee and pastries from Whole Foods and then class is from 1:00 -2:00. For more information contact Patt Copeland at (206) 282-3913.


Editor’s note: Although this is a Seattle class, it is included with the hope that others might be inspired to start something similar in their area. If you know of similar classes around the state, please submit information to Newsline.


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Calendar of Deadlines and Events


September 19-20 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting

October 1 Deadline for travel stipend, hotel reservations and registering for WCB convention

October 23-25 WCB Annual Convention – Vancouver

November 14-15 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting

November 29 Deadline for the December Newsline

December 6 DSB State Rehab Council Meeting – Vancouver



January 31 WCB Board Meeting – Seattle

February 28 Deadline for March Newsline

March 13-14 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting

May 30 Deadline for June Newsline

June 11 WSSB Picnic

June 12 WSSB Graduation and Board of Trustees Meeting

June 12-13 WCB Leadership Seminar – Silverdale

June 14 WCB Board Meeting – Silverdale


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Special thanks go to the Newsline Committee and production volunteers.


Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by November 29, 2008. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.


Publication policy: to ensure accuracy, we require submissions be e-mailed to with a cc: Articles should be no longer than 750 words.


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