September 2009 Issue

Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935



Denise Colley, President

(360) 438-0072

Lacey, WA

Denise Colley, President/Editor


Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer Eric Hunter at, PO Box 1085, Tracyton, WA 98393-1085.


To remember the Washington Council of the Blind in your Last Will and Testament, you may include a special paragraph for that purpose in your Will or Trust. If your wishes are complex, please contact the WCB at (800) 255-1147.


The WCB is a 501C-3 organization.


For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our Fund Raising page found at



Table of Contents


From the President’s Desk

Editorial: Town Meetings and the Washington Council of the Blind

2009 WCB Convention, the Event of the Year



Note From the Aging and Blindness Committee

Lead on

WCB Mid-year Board Meeting

From the Senior Side

How does a blind person use technology?


Washington State School for the Blind Update

Department of Services for the Blind (DSB)—Director’s Update

Louis Braille School Update

Update from the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Around the State

Bits and Pieces

Hats Off to You!

From My Kitchen to Yours

Calendar of Deadlines and Events




From the President’s Desk

By Denise Colley, President


As I sit at my desk writing this article, it’s already the end of August, and I can’t figure out where summer went. A number of activities have occurred since I last wrote in the June Newsline.


First of all we had another very successful Leadership training on June 12 through the 14th 1at the Oxford suites in Silverdale. Cindy Van winkle and her Leadership committee put together a great training program for the 19 WCB members that attended. Read about it elsewhere in this issue. Good work Leadership committee and trainees.


Our mid-year Board meeting was held on June 14, in conjunction with the Leadership training. About 50 members were in attendance and heard updates from committee chairs and participated in discussions about WCB business. See the Board meeting report later in this issue.


Nineteen WCB members traveled to the 48th annual convention of the American Council of the Blind, held in Orlando, Florida, July 4th through the 11th. Malissa Hudson was our first timer to convention and it was fun watching her enthusiasm. Members spent a busy week attending general sessions, committee meetings and special interest affiliate activities, and once in a while found time to sleep. We had 27 people at the WCB Thursday morning caucus breakfast, including a first time ACB scholarship winner from Puyallup Washington. His name is Daniel Guenther, and he is currently attending Boston University and hopes to major in music production. The first ACB walk and Run fundraiser was held on July 4. Cindy Van winkle, WCB’s 2009 Alternate delegate, was a virtual walker and Berl Colley was the only Washington member to enter the walk. Both received medals for their fundraising efforts. See Berl’s article about his participation and Malissa’s First Timer article elsewhere in this Newsline.


Our 2009 state convention is coming up on November 5-7 at the Red Lion in Pasco. I am pleased that ACB President Mitch Pomerantz is going to be our national representative and banquet speaker. Janice Squires is chairing this year’s nominating committee and she is joined by Peggy Shoel and Carl Jarvis. Positions up for election are president, first vice president, treasurer, and the three board positions currently held by Vivian Conger, Alan Bentson, and Carl Jarvis. Also up for election is the alternate delegate to the 2010 ACB convention in Phoenix Arizona. Please contact one of the members if you would like to place your name in for consideration for one of these positions. Janice Squires: or (509) 582-4749; Peggy Shoel: or (206) 722-8477; Carl Jarvis: or (360) 765-4239. Marlaina Lieberg has agreed to be this year’s Resolutions committee chair. If you have a resolution that you would like to write and submit, please e-mail it to her at Frank Cuta will once again, chair the Constitution and Bylaws committee. If you have an idea or issue you wish this committee to look at for purposes of the Constitution, you can contact Frank at or (509) 967-2658. You should have received your registration bulletin by the time you read this article. See the state convention article in the following pages for more information about convention activities and deadline dates.


Since we are only a couple of months removed from ACB’s convention, I want to congratulate those WCB members that are chairing or have been appointed to ACB committees. All of the appointments haven’t been made, as I write this article, but we can already say that WCB will have a very obvious presence in the work of the American Council of the Blind.


I look forward to seeing all of you in Pasco in November.


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Editorial: Town Meetings and the Washington Council of the Blind

By Carl Jarvis


This summer across America, Town Meetings have burst into public view with shouting angry crowds, carrying posters and signs declaring that we are being destroyed by either Socialists or Nazis. Shouts and jeers drown out any attempt to discuss health care issues.


Throughout the history of our great Republic, Town Meetings have stood as the Bastian of democracy. It is here that citizens come together to discuss and debate matters of importance.


Certainly such gatherings can become emotional, tempers flare, red-faced citizens pointing fingers and shaking clenched fists in the air, driving home their points. But it has always been with the understanding that this is part of open debate. However, this summer there appears to be an organized attempt to pack Town Meetings. Not for the purpose of debate, but to shut down all discussion. Citizens attending meetings are met by people with guns strapped to their legs and rifles slung over their shoulders, passing out leaflets declaring that our President resembles Adolph Hitler. Attempts to discuss the issues are met with sneers and jeers. No doubt about it, there is a dark cloud threatening our Freedom of Speech, and our right to assemble peaceably.


Probably we members of the Washington Council of the Blind would not describe our chapter gatherings as Town Meetings, but in a sense that is what they are. It is at this grassroots level that we meet to discuss issues that affect the blind. We make our plans and dream our dreams. And from here we come to convention carrying our resolutions and giving our WCB its purpose and direction. Chapters are our building blocks. They defend democracy within our state organization. Without strong, healthy chapters we will cease to exist as a people’s movement.


We must be certain to allow every member the opportunity to speak their piece, and we will listen carefully. Respect, courtesy and tolerance are the keys to a strong organization. Intolerance, name calling and personal attacks have no place in our meetings.


As we watch national events unfold we need to redouble our efforts to keep democracy alive within the WCB.


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2009 WCB Convention, the Event of the Year

By Janice Squires


Have you made your reservations for the 2009 Washington Council of the Blind’s State convention, to be held in Pasco Washington on November 5, 6 and 7? The United Blind of the Tri-Cities and the United Blind of Walla Walla are working diligently to make this event of the season the best we can offer to you!


Remember the date: October 15 is the deadline date for registration, hotel and bus reservations, stipend requests and nomination submissions.


Room reservations may be made by calling the lovely Red Lion Inn at 509 547-0701 and be sure to mention that you are with the WCB convention to receive the following room rates: $89.00 per night for singles and doubles and $99.00 for triples and quads, plus tax.


This year WCB will be providing two convention buses, all departing November 5 and returning November 8.


To reserve a seat on either bus, please contact Shirley Taylor at (206) 362-3118. Please note that there is no membership requirement to ride the buses & reservations will be taken based on space availability.


Members not residing in Benton or Franklin counties or who are not utilizing one of the chartered buses, who meet the six month WCB membership requirement and do not have any WCB loans in default, may request a $40.00 travel stipend by contacting Shirley Taylor.


During our business meeting, elections will be held for President, first Vice President, Treasurer, and the Director positions currently held by Alan Bentson, Vivian Conger and Carl Jarvis. An election will also be held for the alternate delegate to the 2010 national convention to be held in Phoenix Arizona. If you are interested in being considered for any of these positions, please contact one of the following Nominating Committee members: Janice Squires, Chair, (509) 582-4749, Peggy Shoel, (206) 722-8477 or Carl Jarvis, (360).765-4239.


Hotel amenities: The hotel has an ATM machine on the premises. There is an outdoor pool and 15 person hot tub and health club near the hospitality rooms. All meeting rooms are in one area, including the exhibit room and smaller break-out rooms. The guide dog relieving areas will have grass, wood chips and pavement surfaces.


The spacious exhibit room will be open on Friday only from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.:

Please contact Vivian Conger, our exhibit coordinator for any information you may need concerning the exhibit room: (509) 526-4967 or


Friday afternoon will be filled with six break-out sessions to tantalize and spark interest in conventioneers of all ages. Digital players and downloads, Diabetes, Para transit, Integrated exercise programs/facilities, Extracurricular activities for your chapter, and Being proactive in your job search are just a little sneak preview of these exciting break-out sessions.


We will be offering a SPECIAL hands-on tour to our local Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology museum on Friday only from 1:15 to 4:15. This tour will be a hands-on learning experience designed for blind and visually impaired people to learn about the past and present history of the Columbia Basin.


We are pleased to announce that Mitch Pomerantz, President of the American Council of the Blind will be our ACB representative and our banquet speaker. Glenn McCully will Honor us as this year’s banquet M.C.


Once again the Red Lion Inn offers 3 different areas of dining: The Seasons Restaurant, a 24 hour a day restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner to suit anyone’s pocket book; The Grizzly Bar and Grill for a more down to earth lounge with a full menu and adult beverages to unwind by; and the Bin No. 20 for a superb fine dining and wine tasting experience.


On-line registration, can be found at:


For those who register on line only, credit card and electronic check payments may be made.

This year’s program will be offered in the following formats: Braille; 2 track cassette; and large print, or you can down load it from the web site.


For up-to-date information about the upcoming WCB convention, call the WCB Info-line at

(206) 686-3048 or (800) 255-1147 and press number 6.


Cindy Van Winkle, 2009 WCB Convention Coordinator and her committee have been working so hard to make your WCB convention very exciting, so please come and join us!


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By Malissa Hudson, Member, United Blind of Seattle and King County Chapter


I was overjoyed when I received a phone call from the chair of the WCB First-timers Committee letting me know that I had been selected to attend the American Council of the Blind National Convention. I had wanted to do this for the past few years because I had been listening to the convention on ACB Radio. Attending this event in person is much better than just listening to it because you can feel the energy and the enthusiasm that takes place, especially when Washington starts screaming!


The week was packed with workshops, seminars, tours, and of course the general sessions. My favorite part of Sunday’s general session was a wonderful folk singer/songwriter named Amy Carroll Webb who had the crowd singing along. I also had the real pleasure of going on a tour of Florida’s rehabilitation center, which is a lot like our Orientation and Training Center in Seattle. From there, we visited the largest Talking Book Library in the United States with over 2.4 million books. The building was huge! The people that I had the chance to meet were outstanding and many of them inspired me. Some of the other things I enjoyed doing included attending the Friends-in-Art Show Case, visiting the exhibit hall, and attending the ACB Banquet on Friday night. The banquet speaker this year was the President of the World Blind Union, Maryanne Diamond from Australia.


Overall, my convention experience was extremely positive and everyone that I met and those from our own delegation made me feel welcomed and a little less stressful. I want to offer a special thank you to Meka White and her committee for selecting me to go. I also want to thank Denise Colley for being such a fantastic delegate and also to Cindy Van Winkle for doing a great job as our alternate delegate. I’d also like to thank our Lord and savior Jesus Christ for bringing me there and back home safely, and of course, to all of the other Washingtonians for giving me good advice throughout the week. I’m so happy that my dream of almost three years finally came true!


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By Berl Colley


It was 5AM in Orlando, July 4, 2009 and my foggy brain was hearing bells; no, a bell; no it was the phone. It was the Rosen Center fulfilling my request for a wake-up call. Am I crazy, I thought? It is 2AM back in Washington. I had filled out an entry form to participate in ACB’s first walk/run fundraiser.


Rolling out of bed I staggered in and took a shower. Then I took a second shower; well a bath, in number 50 sun block. I put that number 50 anywhere that I could imagine the Florida sun hitting my body. I was so slippery that I didn’t know whether I could stay seated on the bus. We boarded the bus and I was fortunate to have, as a seat mate, a bright young lady named Sarah from Western Michigan. Sarah was an ACB scholarship winner, and joined the walk crowd at the last minute, when she heard about the event.


We were told that there was a walking companion for each person that requested one on their entry form. My companion was a young Orlando teacher, but before I could learn much about her, Dan Dillon, the chair of the planning committee said that he didn’t have someone to walk with. HHMM! What’s wrong with this picture? The teacher went to walk with Dan. This is just like my dating days in college. A woman named Aleena became my walking companion. She was 2, 3 or 4 inches taller than me, but that was okay. I didn’t mind walking with a tall woman. Whoops!! Aleena, I learned, was 12 years old. Boy! They sure don’t make kids like they use too.


The event officials tried to space the runners and walkers out, but before long runners were going to the outside of the course to get around us walkers. I got the impression that some of them weren’t too happy about it. We walked down Orlando’s suburban streets and an occasional voice would yell out, “Go for it!” I could sympathize with most of the spectators, because it was a little after 7:30AM, 4:30AM Washington time. People aren’t even alive at that time of the day. A little later Aleena was telling me that a race marker was just a little ways ahead. I thought, all right, we are about done and I am not in too bad a shape. The marker was the half way indicator. It then, became, will I make it”? Soon we came to the first water station. I was glad. I could stop, get a cup of water, take a couple of drinks, then step back on the course somewhat revived. Wrong!! Aleena, showing the agility of a young girl, reached out, grabbed a cup of water, and handed it to me without breaking stride. She told me that, when I was done, to just throw the cup on the ground. Since I come from Washington, and knowing that any form of littering places one’s body in mortal danger from a hidden committed Greener, I took ten minutes of “should I or Shouldn’t I” debate with myself, while walking with my empty cup. Eventually, Aleena reached over, grabbed my cup, and through it on someone’s driveway. Now a 12-year-old was making my decisions. When we came to the second water station, I said I didn’t want anything to drink.


Eventually, we came to the finish line. It took one hour and five minutes for me to walk 5K. I didn’t set any records, but I finished. I raised my hands in a victory salute, and between the humidity and my sweat, that number 50 ran off my arm like water. I dropped my arms and the number 50 ran off my hands and fingers like water. We shakily walked over to the food tent. Well, I shakily walked; Aleena was in good shape!! We were handed a piece of ice cold water melon, and it was the best tasting food that a person could ask for. A little while later I ate a second piece of melon that wasn’t quite so cold, and then a warm banana. Num!! No matter! We could go next door and get a free smoothie. Not!! The free smoothies were all gone.


I went to the ACB tent to watch ACB President, Mitch Pomerantz, hand out awards to our participants. Sarah was the youngest entry from ACB and Pat Beattie was the most senior. It was about a block walk back to our bus and Emily, one of the Rack staff offered to give a few people a ride in her car. I accepted. So much for being independent and adopting an “I’ll do it myself” philosophy. On the 20 minute ride back to the Rosen Center Dan and Brenda Dillon handed out medals to those that raised money. I received a bronze medal for raising $170. Cindy van winkle received a gold medal for raising $1,470. When all is said and done, the 47 of us that signed up to participate had a great time. There were 10 virtual entries.


The walk-a-thon committee held a debriefing meeting a couple of weeks after the convention. I was feeling good about my involvement until the committee recommended that ACB do it again in Phoenix. I might do it. Am I crazy? Then again, I might not be able to do it if I don’t have enough number 50 sun block.


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Note from the Aging and Blindness Committee


By the time we go to press Congress will be back in session. But there will still be time to contact your congressional members. We desperately need more trained rehab teachers in the field, working with our seniors.


Please read and act upon the following:

From the Lighthouse International: District Office Contact Needed for Healthcare Reform!!

The Healthcare Reform debate has moved to the home districts and states of each Member of the House and Senate and it is important for you to voice your opinion. We need you to call or email the district offices of your Representative and Senators, attend town hall meetings and write Letters to the Editor to your local newspaper emphasizing the importance of including vision rehabilitation professionals in the final healthcare reform bill.


Such services prevent accidents, reduce falls and fractures, and help people learn new techniques for independent travel, food preparation, health management, and information access that improve overall health and prevent injuries. These services avert the need for more costly and intensive rehabilitation and help to reduce long-term health care costs.


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Lead on

By Randy Tedrow


I have wanted to attend the Leadership Seminar for several years. Learning the history of the WCB was great, and understanding how an organization such as the WCB works so well was fascinating.


This was a blast! Everyone made the sessions fun, interactive and worthwhile. I appreciate Cindy and her committee for producing such a fun and informative time. The theme was “Blazing the Trail.” Everything related to blazing trails and working together as fellow adventurers.


There were several highlights including S’mores Pop Tarts! Those were given as prizes. Another fun time was an infomercial, where each team came up with a different way to advertise the WCB and how it can help blind people across the state. Of course my team did the best! We also looked at how to gain members, advocacy, and how to be interactive at the local and state level.


Besides the wealth of knowledge and sense of purpose I gained at the seminar, the most valuable thing I came away with is the new friendships and sense of belonging. If you have ever thought of going to the Leadership Seminar, stop just thinking about it and request to go next year. If you haven't thought of it, then start thinking about it and request to go next year. As a member of WCB you have the opportunity to both receive from others and to give of your experience and energy.


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WCB Mid-year Board Meeting

By Meka White


The WCB Board meeting was held June 14 at the Oxford suites in Silverdale Washington. The room was packed with board members, chapter representatives, and 19 very excited and empowered graduates from the leadership seminar which had taken place that weekend. After the minutes and the treasurer's report were approved and Eric gave his investment report, Cindy came up to speak about what had taken place at the leadership seminar.


There were 19 graduates this year and the theme was 'Blazing the Trail'. Judging from the excitement in the room, the graduates are ready to do just that. From workshops to activities geared toward working as a team, the leadership committee had worked very hard and the completed product was a success.


In her President's report, Denise spoke about the quarterly office hours that have been instituted. It has been a success and members have been good about phoning in and asking questions.


Meka white gave a first timers committee report announcing that Malissa Hudson was chosen to go to the ACB National Convention held in Orlando Florida in July. She also thanked her committee for their diligence and dedication.


Sue Ammeter gave a legislative report, expounding on various bills that WCB has been tracking. The Puppy Bill that gives civil rights protections to service animals in training did not pass. It had been quite a concern and was being watched diligently.


The Advocacy committee is in the process of assisting several members and non-members who are dealing with discrimination and access issues. Sue gave a detailed report on what was being done, the outcome of various claims, and where they stand as of now.


Rule revisions that had been drafted by the listserv committee were read and passed by the board, going into effect immediately. The guidelines have basically remained the same with a clarification about when and why the committee may choose to moderate an individual's post.


Joleen Ferguson reported that the Website Oversight committee is constantly working on the website and asked that if there are clarifications, updates, or concerns, to feel free to contact her. The committee is now working with a website developer out of Canada and will keep WCB updated on the organization's web presence.


The topic of fundraising came up once again, and Cindy asked that those who have ideas or suggestions of how to raise money for WCB contact her so that she can pass them along to her committee.


Due to the advocacy efforts on the part of WCB and NFB, the apartments at the Orientation and Training Center, which is run by the Department of services for the blind, would not be closed. Many members either attended or called in during the state Rehab Council's Community meeting to express their support or to tell how their living in the apartments had made an impact in their independence and is such an integral part of the program.


There were many updates and reports given at the board meeting and lively discussion. There was a great deal that was accomplished, and hopefully those of you who have never attended will be able to come to one in the very near future.


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From The Senior Side

From AARP on Health Care Reform


Because there are many rumors about health reform going around I thought it would be helpful to share some information from AARP about what they say are the facts.


Carl Jarvis



FACT #1: Medicare will not be ended, and no benefits or services will be cut.


Your services will not be ended, nor will your benefits be cut. AARP's position on this could not be clearer. And we have sent this message loud and clear to Congress. While the current proposals include savings in Medicare by cutting out fraud, abuse, waste, and inefficiency, we're standing up and making sure benefits for Medicare recipients are not only fully protected, but are improved.


FACT #2: No legislation currently in Congress would mandate the rationing of care.


Our staff has read all of the legislation circulating in Congress and there are no provisions in these bills that would ration care for our members. None. If any ever did, we would vigorously fight to stop that legislation.


FACT #3: There is no provision of any piece of legislation that would promote euthanasia of any kind.


The rumors out there are flat out lies. Right now Medicare does not cover counseling for end-of-life care. The portion of the bill in question would simply provide coverage for optional end-of-life consultations with doctors, so that the patient can be aware of all of the treatment options on the table. It is not mandatory and it has nothing to do with euthanasia.


FACT #4: We have not endorsed President Obama's plan.


In fact, we haven't endorsed any plan. We are supporting reform of our health care system, something that AARP has pushed for many years. We're working closely with Republican and Democratic members of Congress to lower health care costs and to ensure quality affordable coverage for older Americans - and we want reform legislation passed and signed by the president this year.


So what is AARP fighting for in health reform?


1.         Stopping insurance companies from charging older Americans unaffordable premiums because of their age.

2.         Ending the practice of excluding people from insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

3.         Holding down health costs and making insurance coverage more affordable for all Americans.

4.         Making prescription drugs more affordable by narrowing the Medicare doughnut hole, bringing generics to market faster, and allowing Medicare to negotiate better drug prices.


Find out more and take action at>


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How does a blind person use technology?

UW Tacoma researchers put devices to the test

By Beth Luce UW Tacoma


A study by UW Tacoma alumna Kristen Shinohara and Josh Tenenberg, a UWT Institute of Technology associate professor, made the cover of the August issue of Communications of the ACM. That's the flagship magazine of the Association of Computing Machinery, the largest organization for computing and information technology professionals in the world. The magazine has a circulation of more than 90,000.


The article, "A Blind Person's Interaction with Technology," grew out of Shinohara's capstone research project for her master's degree. She got the idea from a friend who is blind, and teamed up with Tenenberg, who has expertise in this area. "We combined my experience in conducting empirical studies and background in cognitive science with her driving curiosity and experience in professional software development," he explained.


"We worked closely throughout the data collection and analysis, and wrote collaboratively. But Kirsten conducted all of the interviews and was largely responsible for the qualitative analysis and unearthing the key design implications."


Shinohara, who graduated from the UWT in 2006 and Tenenberg presented their research at a conference on computers and accessibility in 2007, where it was well received. The conference's organizers nominated their paper for consideration in Communications, and the magazine's editors invited them to rewrite the article for publication.


As far as Tenenberg knows, it is unprecedented for a graduate student's research project to be selected for publication in Communications, let alone for the cover story.


As a master's candidate at UW Tacoma, Shinohara studied how a blind college student uses various kinds of technological devices, some designed to help visually impaired people, others used by both sighted and blind users, such as a desktop computer. She studied the student's interactions with a number of technologies, including software used to read a website page out loud, a labeler that prints Braille, and a talking wristwatch.


But the Web site reader was slow and frustrating. The labeler was inadequate. And the talking watch was just obnoxious.


The subject found it very time-consuming to find the information she wanted using the Web site reader. She kept getting lost and having to start over again.


The labeler worked fine when she wanted to put a Braille label on the buttons of a microwave or on a CD case, but she wanted to give a CD that she had made to a sighted friend, who didn't read Braille.


Her talking watch told the time just fine, but she didn't like that it called attention to her. She preferred a silent watch that she could read with her fingers.


The unusual study caught the attention of those in the field of information technology accessibility, partly because the subject was studied in her own home, doing things she normally does, rather than in a laboratory setting.


"This study was very close to the user. They aren't usually done to this depth," Shinohara said. She postulated that the devices didn't always suit the subject's needs because they were difficult, unpleasant or inappropriate to use within a given physical or social context.


"Much digital technology design is focused on the product itself, designed far from the people who use it," Tenenberg said. "Often, computer users are brought in only at the end, when usability testing is done. Sometimes this comes so late in the product development lifecycle that a design team cannot afford to ask if anyone even wants this thing."


Shinohara and Tenenberg's project was based on "the perspective that designers have to get out of the computer lab, go to people's lived-in environments and spend time with them. They have to understand the people for whom they are designing," Tenenberg said. "We looked at what this technology means to the subject, how it constrains and enables her participation in the physical and social world."


For example, the designers who made the labeler never considered that people who are sighted might need to read the labels, he said.


What the engineers sometimes forget, Shinohara explained, is that you can't merely substitute one mode of interaction for another.


"We have examples of plenty of designs for products that are annoying, harmful and wasteful," Tenenberg said. "Designers can't simply rely on taken-for-granted assumptions about people, especially people who are different from them."


He said, "Because of their malleability and low cost, digital artifacts [devices] have the potential to be of great service to large numbers of people. But you have to get out of the computer lab, as Kristen did."


Shinohara is now a doctoral student at UW Seattle, working on motor impairment accessibility studies with Jacob Wobbrock, assistant professor at The Information School. She said she'd like to continue working in this vein.


"Kristen is among the hardest working students I have ever encountered," Tenenberg added.


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By Berl Colley, Chair WCB History Committee


The cover of the magazine Communications of the ACM was printed in Braille with a quote from Helen Keller, "It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision."


This year started off with a big halleluiah by most blind and visually impaired people in the state of Washington. A group of WCB members rented a van and traveled to Olympia to watch the Legislature, on January 17, pass HB-1078, the Braille Bill, which insured that blind students in our state could request competent Braille instruction. This bill’s passing was due to several years of joint effort by the NFB of Washington (NFBW), the Washington council of the Blind (WCB) and friends. The bill signing, in the governor’s office, occurred on March 22. Five WCB members, President Sue ammeter, Debbie Cook, James Eccles, Denise and Berl Colley watched Governor Mike Lowry sign the bill. The Governor also signed HB-2187, which allowed the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) to grant equipment valued at up to $5,000 to vocational rehabilitation clients.


The WCB winter board meeting was held at the Grovner House in Seattle. A request from a group of Blind people in Jefferson County to be affiliated with WCB was approved, and the Jefferson County Council of the Blind (JCCB) joined WCB’s affiliate family. Six members of the group were present. They were given a $500 start up check. Later, at the banquet at the state convention, in Bremerton, in November, JCCB’s President, Tony Sherrell, would receive their charter.


President Ammeter appointed an ad hoc committee to look in to shortening the state convention by one day. After developing a survey to gather members feelings about condensing the fall convention, the committee recommended to the board to start the convention on a Friday night and end the following Sunday at noon. This was referred to the membership at the 1996 WCB business meeting, the WCB membership voted it down. They did not want to change their convention format. Another ad hoc committee was appointed, at the winter board meeting, to develop procedures and guidelines for those who received the two free rooms for men and women at the state convention.


Debbie Cook volunteered to coordinate WCB’s first statewide candy sale, beginning in November. There were nine chapters that participated in this fundraiser and they ordered more than $2,000, wholesale worth of candy.


Governor Mike Lowry would make news again when he issued Executive order 96-4, which referred to the technology section, section 5, of the ADA. He specifically spoke about his commitment to accessible technology and mentioned the Washington Information Network (WIN) kiosks. WCB, working with the Washington Protection and Advocacy System (WPAS) filed a lawsuit, on February 8, against the Department of Information Services (DIS), the state agency responsible for the WIN kiosk system. Lowry also announced that he was re-appointing Sue Ammeter to the Governor’s Committee on disability Issues and employment (GCDE), and at a meeting of the Employment Security agency, the Governor and agency director Vernon Stoner recognized WCB member Terry Atwater for his outstanding work for the agency.


Led by WCB delegate Sue Ammeter and Alternate Shirley Taylor, 18 members of WCB attended the national convention in Tulsa Oklahoma, June 29 through July 6. Ammeter, who was elected to her second term on the board of directors of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) also served as ACB’s awards chair. Sharon Keeran, WCB’s immediate past President, served as a presenter on a panel that talked to the convention, about video description. Peggy Shoel was elected as President of the special interest affiliate Government employees. The WCB First Timer at the Tulsa convention was Randy Hayhurst.


This was the year when the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) would begin its $3,000,000 remodeling of its building at 9th and Lenora, in Seattle. In July Boeing employees helped move the library to temporary quarters. The construction started in September.


At the state School for the Blind staff was getting prepared to receive the WIRC Project, which had been previously housed at Clover Park in Tacoma.


The second WCB board meeting of 1996 was also held at the Grovner House in Seattle, on July 20. The board was given an overview of the special July 18 meeting between WCB and management of DIS regarding Kiosks in Olympia. The board also heard from the committee on free Rooms criteria. It recommended that the priority of requests for free rooms should be given to those who had not used the free rooms before, and that one day should be established when Marilyn Donnelly, WCB’s phone receptionist, would take requests from members. This criterion is still in effect today.


Peggy Shoel was appointed to chair the 1996 Nominating committee and Debbie Cook was appointed to chair Resolutions. State convention co-chairs Shirley Taylor and Cindy Wearstler made a recommendation to the board to pay for a bus to run from Seattle to Tacoma and to Bremerton for attendees of the November WCB convention. The board approved paying for the bus.


It was a sad day for WCB members when they learned, on August 19th, of the death of 25 year activist member Ed Foscue. Ed, who joined the organization in 1971, and who was one of the Leaders of the United Blind of Washington State (UBWS) that pushed his organization toward merger discussions with WCB, was best known in the halls of the Legislature in Olympia, as he and his guide dog Hope and wife Phyllis, spent countless days educating Legislators about the legislative needs of blind Washingtonians. He established the organization’s scholarship program and for many years chaired the Scholarship committee. The Foscue trust gave WCB a very generous bequest.


The 1996 WCB convention was held at the Best Western Bayview Inn in Bremerton on November 7-9. The banquet speaker and national representative was Julie Carroll, ACB’s Governmental Affairs coordinator from Washington D.C. The banquet MC, Cindy Wearstler, introduced Julie and another special guest, local author Earl Emerson. Cindy was the President of the host chapter, the Peninsula Council of the Blind.


Scholarship committee chair, Cynthia Towers, gave out scholarships to five students. The committee received 12 applications. Scholarships ranged from $1,200 to $2,000.


There were three resolutions that were adopted by the membership.


Officers for 1997

President, Sue Ammeter, UB Seattle

First Vice President, Peggy Shoel, UB Seattle

Second Vice President, Berl Colley, Capital City Council

Secretary, Frank Cuta, UB Tri-Cities

Treasurer, Joleen Ferguson, UB Walla Walla

Immediate Past President, Sharon Keeran, King County Council



Debbie Cook, UB Seattle

Julie De Geus, UB Seattle

James Eccles, Riverside Association

Carl Jarvis, Jefferson County Council

Bea Shinnaberry, UB Spokane

Cindy Wearstler, Peninsula Council



Sue Ammeter, UB Seattle

Alternate Delegate Shirley Taylor, UB Seattle & King County Council


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Washington State School for the Blind Update

By: Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent


As a wise person said, “Change is the only constant” and another wise individual stated, “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.” The way I look at it, if we are going to continue to develop solid programs and services, we will need to continue to be risk takers, which involves stepping into the unknown and reaching for the best programs and services for students and their families. Sometimes you hear “stay the course”, which usually means an organization is in decline. Organizations are either moving forward or backward; they are either on an offensive or defensive track. Our motive at WSSB is to be a responsive organization that is looking to the future, rejoicing in our past, and always wondering, “How could we be better?”


Outreach services continue to expand at a rate which is determined by WSSB’s ability to find solid itinerant teachers with the right skills and credentials to provide services to blind and visually impaired (BVI) children in their local school districts. Currently, WSSB has contracts with about 1/5th of all public schools in Washington. WSSB’s Itinerants live in different locations within our state and have established solid services under the leadership of Dee Amundsen, Outreach Director. We were sorry to have to close our Eastside Regional Pilot Project, which was based out of the Tri-cities area, but due to budget reductions, this was one of those decisions we had to make. We will continue to work with districts in that area in improving services even though we no longer have a person in that area.


Other services WSSB’s Outreach provides include: Inservice Training – classes provided throughout the year (combination of outreach and online services). One very successful workshop that occurred this past summer was the Summer Institute, which was attended by 50 teachers and para-professionals that will have a BVI child in their classroom next fall. What a great week-long experience to help these individuals gain a better understanding about the abilities of a student who happens to be BVI.


The Braille Access Center (BAC) and Instructional Resource Center (IRC) continue to grow each year. The BAC is working on improving our partnership/program at the women’s prison outside of Gig Harbor. A new room is being set up and equipment is being installed which will allow increased capacity now and in the future. Under the guidance of Colleen Lines, the BAC and IRC have not only grown in Washington, but we have helped two other states set up similar programs. Last year the BAC provided over 600,000 pages of Braille to students and adults. All of this would not have been possible without the great partnership that has been established that has allowed the BAC to continue to be a highly competitive operation that is being accessed on a national basis. The IRC also continues to grow in numbers served and the types of services provided. In an attempt to continue to provide rapid response service, WSSB has developed its own software that is now being explored by other states.


Online Learning (digital resources): Did you know that by 2019 it is estimated that 50% of all classes or parts of classes could be delivered online? WSSB has felt a strong need to push online learning for years while others have felt it was a fad and/or wasn’t relevant. Due to this interest, WSSB has been developing digital resources (check out video clips on blindness tips, similar to a YouTube approach to learning). We have received over 35,000 hits since last January. We have also worked in partnership with the Carroll Center (Boston area), Maryland School for the Blind, and the Gibney Foundation in forming CANnect whose mission is to develop accessible online learning for BVI. Thanks to a grant from the Sloan C Foundation, a learning management system called “Moodle” is being refined to work with the BVI. We are playing catch up in this area and will continue to be diligent about providing meaningful access to all students. Currently, this is not the case and we are hoping that you become interested in helping move this issue forward. The BVI cannot afford to be forgotten when it comes to online classes. Stay tuned for more information. If we do not figure this out in the near future, BVI students will once again be put in the situation of trying to catch up with the non-disabled students who have access.


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Department of Services for the Blind (DSB)—Director’s Update

Lou Oma Durand, Executive Director


It was just about this time last year that we started to face the seriousness of the economic situation nationally and in our state. Fortunately, up until now, DSB has avoided the deep budget cuts, elimination of programs, and layoffs experienced in many other agencies and businesses. Our goal has been to sustain the full range of specialized services to people of all ages who are blind throughout the state. Thank you all for your continued advocacy for these services and for making your voices heard.


So, how have we weathered the three rounds of mandated budget cuts so far? Creatively. Not only have we tightened the belt on travel, equipment and contracts, we are leaner across the board. In addition, we have leveraged our Savings Incentive funds and our Social Security reimbursement dollars to free up other state-only funds for match. We are using Recovery Act funds to enhance employment services and opportunities for our customers while offsetting other costs. We have been able to retain six of our Orientation and Training Center (OTC) student apartments.


But these are mostly short-term strategies. It is critical that we become even more creative for the long-term in order to continue to offer the full range of services to the blind population in Washington, to maintain our specialized expertise in blindness, to continue to capture our federal dollars, and to avoid waiting lists. You can also help by supporting our efforts to find new and improved ways of organizing ourselves and delivering services.


We want to make our services more seamless and responsive to all our customers, no matter what age or in what part of the state. So we are reorganizing our staff into teams that combine expertise in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, Employer Relations, Assistive Technology, Low Vision Services, Independent Living Services, Rehabilitation Teaching, children and families, and transition-age youth. The goal of the teams is to assist each customer to achieve the highest level of personal and financial independence possible. The cross-functional composition of the teams allows us to leverage resources and provide a broader range of specialized expertise to each customer. While blind individuals over age 55 will continue to be served through our network of local Independent Living service providers, we will be providing Independent Living services to those under age 55 with the internal staff on our DSB teams. This plan also allows us to satisfy the required cuts in state funds without cutting services to children and families. We want any eligible blind or visually-impaired citizen of our state who contacts us to experience the highest level of customer service possible.


It is with pleasure that I share our employment outcomes for the 2009 Fiscal Year. In spite of the dire economic climate and the necessity to change our ways of doing business, 142 customers went to work in competitive jobs at an average wage of $17.98/hour, and about 65% are receiving benefits. In addition, 24 students in the Youth Employment Solutions (YES) program completed 6 weeks of paid-work experience, and 12 OTC students completed community work experiences. Nationally, the most recent Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)Sum of Ranks (95 separate indicators related to quality of employment outcomes, cost efficiencies and cost effectiveness) ranked DSB's performance third highest among all U.S. agencies for the blind! Successful employment outcomes begin with early skill development and high expectations.


While we celebrate the achievements of our customers, our staff, and an entire community of involved and informed individuals, we rely on our mission—"Inclusion, Independence and Economic Vitality for People with Visual Disabilities"—to guide us through the challenges that still lie ahead.


I recently had the opportunity to tell the Governor’s office about the remarkable volunteerism of the blind community and consumer groups in our state. I would like to thank you, the WCB community, for your active involvement, for the heart-felt and head-driven dedication with which you have committed yourself to blind Washingtonians. As the fall approaches, we look forward to building and strengthening our partnerships, using the challenges we have faced and may face in the future to strengthen ourselves and our commitment to our mission and goals. It is only with your support, our collective creativity, vision and values that we stay on course.


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Louis Braille School Update

By Carolyn Meyer


They say that fundraising is business as usual for most nonprofits, and that certainly was true for the Louis Braille School this summer. It started in June when McDonald's hosted a fundraiser for us on a very hot summer evening. A donation jar to which McDonald's employees personally contributed and a raffle for a QFC gift card added nicely to the 20% of all sales donated by the restaurant.


July started out with a huge yard sale in the back play area of our school, thanks to generous donations from Edmonds residents. One of our young students set up a lemonade stand and donated his earnings to the school.


Later in July, our neighbors, Pagliacci Pizza, held a fundraiser during a Friday night rush hour. They were wonderful at accommodating various dietary restrictions. Many guests lingered for a long time, enjoying the good food, tantalizing aromas, and friendly ambience of the restaurant. What a good neighbor they are, always ready to donate pizza for our special events.


In August it was Applebee's restaurant in Everett. We are still waiting for a report, as it happened just last night. The Everett Mall Applebee's restaurant holds about sixty fundraisers a year during which 15% of sales are given to a non-profit organization.


On September 2, the school will host a reception for the Seattle Area Delta Gamma Alumnae Group. The guests will learn about what we do, try out our special equipment, and learn ways in which they can be of help.


Finally, on September 5, the Peninsula Council of the Blind is holding a car wash to benefit the Louis Braille School. The event will take place in Bremerton during a busy Labor Day weekend. Thank you so much, PCB, for spending your Saturday to help us out.


The high point of every summer is our two week Braille Camp, and this summer was no exception. Teacher Beckie Postlewait planned a good camp, as always, and we had excellent teen agers to provide one-on-one assistance when needed.


We wondered about the ten cans of Barbasol shaving cream on Beckie's supply list. Helpers sprayed the Barbasol all over the large wooden classroom tables. The children gleefully sank their hands in up to their elbows and had a great time. The cream gradually worked its way into the tables, which ended up being sparkling clean. We will try that again.


The highlight of the camp, as it has been for the last three years, was an opening day visit from Guide Dogs for the Blind puppies in training and their trainers. Each year, at least one child overcomes a fear of dogs, and this year was no exception. I will end this update with a short article by Julie LeMay, a Louis Braille School volunteer who was present during the puppies' visit.


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Labs in Training Visit Summer Camp Once Again

By Julie LeMay


On a misty morning of July 13, thirteen Guide Dogs for the Blind Lab puppies in training made their annual visit on the first day of the Louis Braille School summer Braille Camp. As each puppy, with its trainer, came through the door of the school, they gathered in the classroom, some sitting, some lying down, and some looking around with curiosity at their fellow trainees. They ranged in age from five months to 12 months.


Despite the light rainfall, the children sat on the back patio, making friends with the dogs by petting them and learning their names. Some of the children groomed the dogs, while others took them for short walks. There was much chatter, excitement, and laughter, while the dogs lapped up all the attention.


Eighteen year old Christopher, who is looking forward to summer employment at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, was looking forward to owning a dog of his own. He asked many questions of the trainers, who were very willing to provide information.

Damp, but cheerful, dogs and children came back into the classroom. A paper bag piñata was held up. Too much laughter and cheers, each child took several strong whacks. Finally coming apart, the bag spilled black and golden lab puppies over the floor. These puppies, of course, were small toy versions of the dogs. Each child was delighted to receive his/her own puppy dog.


A pleasant morning for dog and child!


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Update from the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

By Danielle King


Wow! The transition to digital talking books is really happening. I know you’ve heard me talk about this for the last year and a half, and you’ve heard NLS and others talking about it for years and years, but it is truly here! On Tuesday, August 25, WTBBL received our first batch of digital talking book machines (DBMs) and we were thrilled. Over the last few months we have been planning the procedures for inventorying, processing, storing, shipping, and allocating the DBMs and have also started to build up a small collection of digital talking books (DBs).


On the 25th, we put all our planning and preparations to the test and successfully processed the first batch of DBMs. The next step was to identify the first patrons to receive a DBM and a DB. As you may recall, federal law mandates that veterans have priority in receiving service. During late July and August, we telephoned all our active veterans who hadn’t already requested to be on the list for a DBM and asked if they would like to be added to the list; this resulted in over 600 veterans on our waiting list. Our first batch of DBMs consisted of 96 standard players so we did a lottery of the veterans to identify the first 96 to receive DBMs.


I decided that I wanted to hand deliver the first two players to the first two veterans on our list in the Seattle area. On Friday the 28th, Sally Jo Hagen, WTBBL’s shipping supervisor, John Pai, WTBBL’s lead broadcaster for the Evergreen Radio Reading Service and talented photographer and videographer, and I set out to deliver the first DBMs. The morning took us to the home of Arne Kielhaven, an 82-year old World War II veteran and avid reader. Arne was delighted with his DBM and is most excited about not having to deal with twisted tapes or tapes that aren’t rewound. That afternoon, we went to the home of 96-year old Mary Tift. Mary served as a WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in the Navy during World War II. Mary was also thrilled with her DBM and said she thought the buttons were very well organized and she quickly learned the shape and location of all the keys. She also enjoyed how the DBM keys talk to you and let you know what is happening and what their function is. KING 5 News met us at Mary’s apartment and shot some video footage and did a brief interview. A short clip featuring Mary and some shots of the new digital technology appeared on the 5:00pm news on Friday the 28th.


Our rollout of the first batch of DBMs has been exhilarating for WTBBL staff and eager patrons alike. On Monday the 31st of August, the rest of the first allocation of DBMs will be mailed out to the remainder of veterans who got lucky in the first lottery drawing. In September we will receive another small allocation of DBMs. Then in October things really start to get going and WTBBL will receive 484 DBMs a month from there on out. As of the time I’m writing this, we have almost 1,500 patrons on our waiting list for digital talking book machines. After we serve the veterans and centenarians, we will begin on the lottery for all other patrons on the waiting list. I want to remind you, DBMs are not going out automatically, nor are you automatically on the waiting list. You do need to contact us and let us know to add you to the list. Please call 206-615-0400 or 1-800-542-0866 to ask to be added to the waiting list.


I am looking forward to seeing you all at Convention in November and showing you the DBMs. It may take a little while, but you’ll get that new player and I know you’ll love it! As always, please feel free to contact me at 206-615-1588 or


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Around the State


Capital City Council of the Blind

By Berl Colley


We had 5 CCCB members who attended the WCB Leadership training and board meeting in Silverdale on June 12-14. One of our members, John Guydish was part of the 2009 class. Denise and Berl went to Silverdale from Vancouver where they attended the School for the Blind’s graduation of its largest class and a meeting of the Board of Trustees.


At our June chapter meeting we had two guest speakers. They were representing the Olympia Dragon Boat club. They invited us to try it and on Sunday, August 16th, seven CCCB members and friends paddled out on Puget Sound and were given some basic training on paddling a Dragon boat. We were given lots of praise for our efforts and compliments were generously disbursed. Well, except for that pratfall that Berl took on the dock after we were all done.


In July, Kevin LaRose and Denise and Berl Colley attended the convention of the American Council of the blind, in Orlando Florida. In addition to Berl’s duties as an ACB board member he participated in the Rack Watermelon 5k walk/run. Read more about the walk elsewhere in this issue.


Our July meeting was dedicated to hearing about the national convention and making arrangements for our annual picnic in August.


There were thirty-one members that turned out for this year’s picnic. Organizers Kathy and Dan Matsen made sure that there were lots of fried chicken, salads, pop and desserts. After eating they gave out a number of prizes, some via a number drawing and others to winners of Trivial Pursuit games.


Now we are preparing for our annual candy sale, to be held the last weekend of September and the first weekend of October.


We will talk to ya-all in December.


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Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

By Wes Derby


It has been a semi-active summer for the Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind Chapter.


Our See’s Candy Sale fundraiser has gone well. I don’t have exact numbers, but most of the candy has been sold. There are still outstanding boxes at WTBBL because of an unplanned broken leg by a chapter member. He intended to return and sell the rest of his candy, but a ledge got in the way of that back in June.


The Chapter held a picnic on August 8 in Lake Stevens in lieu of a chapter meeting. Most members were in attendance.


Chapter meetings will resume as usual on Saturday September 12 at Patty’s Egg Nest in Everett.


President John Common has learned that he will become a grandfather for the first time in March.


Secretary Wes Derby is the newest DJ, as of this writing, on internet radio station Listen to him from 10:00 PM until 1:00 AM on Friday evenings for a mix of rock, country, and whatever else you request, or he wants to play.


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Guide Dog Users of Washington State

By Joleen Ferguson


We are making plans for our meetings during the WCB convention, November 5-7/s. Our Business meeting will be a Saturday breakfast option. Our Saturday luncheon speaker is still to be announced. Stop by our exhibit hall booth to see our many sale items and to participate in our 50/50 raffle or to join or pay dues.


Our Spring Fling was held in conjunction with the Guide dog Users of Oregon Romp, June 26-28. We arrived at Portland State University's online dorm, downtown Portland Friday afternoon. The registration area bustled with activity as people checked in and found their rooms. We soon explored downtown Portland. A favorite hangout was the Cheerful Tortoise with Karaoke that evening. Saturday morning we were pleased to find enthusiastic cafeteria staff servers who assisted us to a delicious breakfast and all subsequent meals. All in all, it was a fun and informative weekend.


Our first speaker, Saturday morning, was Chelsea White, Seeing Eye, giving an update on school activities. They have begun a youth program, where kids spend a weekend on campus with mobility instructors acting as chaperones. The blind youth walk a route with dogs and spend time grooming their temporary companions, as well as doing all other details of caring for a dog. This program has been quite successful teaching what working and caring for a guide is like.


Dan Rawlings, Guide Dogs for the Blind, described a pilot program being launched at the dorm where we stayed. First-time GDB students accepted to this program would complete an accelerated two-week class to receive a guide.


Word is that the first class, held shortly after we left, was successful.


Bob Wendler, Guide Dogs of the Desert, Said there is renewal and hope for the future of GDD. They are training standard poodles as well as the common breeds. They recently held a class specifically for blinded veterans and plan to offer it again as it was very well received.


Becky Barnes, Guiding Eyes for the Blind and president of Guide Dog Users Inc. also spoke.


Lukas Franck, Seeing Eye, spoke describing how historically, the blind traveler has benefitted from the advent of signalized intersections. As technology and computerization of signals has evolved, it has brought new challenges. He also spoke about benefits and challenges of quiet cars and solutions for crossing roundabouts.


GDUWS and GDUO held separate business meetings Saturday afternoon with cake following for all. We celebrated the Oregon Romp's 15th anniversary plus 80 years of the Dog Guide movement in the U.S.


We gathered Saturday evening for Blessing of the Animals and the memorial for dogs who had retired or crossed the rainbow bridge.


Sunday morning Malinda Carlson, GDB continued a presentation she had made the year before regarding body language of our dogs and how we can know what they are thinking. It was a fascinating hour with much audience participation and more still to be said when the time was up.


Chuck Jordan, Guide Dogs of America, shared school news, as well as his experience working at Canine Companions for Independence. He described differences between training of guide dogs and training of dogs to assist those with other disabilities. Guide dogs need to be lively, alert and show initiative; Dogs trained to help people with other disabilities must be slow and deliberate, very calm, needing little or no correction, and be totally obedient to the commands given by the disabled person.


GDUWS member, Janine Prindle, shared her obedience work with dogs through the years including obedience competition and long time guide dog puppy raising. She now has her first guide, Cranberry and is doing obedience competition with her. Many were in tears when she ended with the reading of a small book, written from the perspective of a guide dog puppy, "Through Otis's eyes".


Each organization had a table with sale items as did some other groups. We thank Tina Leighton, Dodie Brueggeman, and Bill Hoage of our fund raising committee for providing interesting sale items and for manning our booth during the weekend.


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Jefferson County Council of the Blind

By Carl Jarvis


There is nothing quite like summer out here on the Great Olympic Peninsula. Jefferson County is the definition of the word Rural. The slower pace and the fresh country air make it possible to actually stop and smell the roses and to settle back with a cool Beverage or a hot cup of coffee and visit with old friends.


So that’s just exactly what we did this past July 24. About 16 of our members braved the wilds of this rugged country and gathered on the deck of John and Sue Ammeter’s for our annual picnic.


Besides our talents at picnicking, we have completed preparing menus for the Road House and Bay View restaurants. Cathy Jarvis and Sue Ammeter have completed the large print menus and we are waiting for the Braille.


Lynn Gressley continues his tireless work as director of DASH, the organization that puts on the annual disabilities awareness day. Sue is never idle, serving on the WTBBL PAC, chairing the advocacy committee as well as several ACB committees.


As our JCCB president, Sue will call us back to order this September.


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King County Chapter

By Rhonda Nelson, President


"You do have a shredder, don't you?" "What do you want on your burger?" "The convention is November 5 through 7." Those three sentences give an overview of the summer activities of the King County Chapter.


Our June speaker was Nileshni Raj, branch manager of a Wells Fargo bank in Shoreline. She gave us a very informative presentation on identity theft: how it is perpetrated and ways we can prevent becoming victims. Her advice included: shred unwanted mail, even if it just includes your name and address; remember that banks don't ask you to provide personal information over the phone or on line; when you order new checks, have them mailed to the bank and pick them up there; make copies of everything in your wallet, front and back, and keep the information safe at home; don't carry your Social Security card with you; and check your credit regularly.


In July we enjoyed our annual chapter picnic, hosted by the Schneebecks. We devoured yummy hamburgers, hot dogs, meatballs, salads, ice cream and more. I'm getting so hungry just writing this! Thank you to Tim, Virginia and all their helpers for a wonderful, relaxing day. And speaking of Tim, we all wish him well as he recuperates from his recent strokes.


In August we were back to having a meeting, and it was a day to catch up on chapter business. We approved a couple of financial contributions, made several announcements and provided an overview of the upcoming WCB convention. Malissa Hudson gave us a very enthusiastic report on her experience as WCB's first timer at the recent ACB convention. She encouraged anyone who has not attended a national convention to consider applying for the first timer award next year.


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The Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Cindy Van Winkle, President


This has been a fun & active summer for the PCB.


Although we didn't hold a formal social in June, some members attended birthday dinners at Red Robin and we did hold the support group and book club.


Three PCB members, Bob & Virginia Brezler and Carrol Gray participated in this year's Leadership Seminar and several of our members came to the WCB board meeting in Silverdale.


Tim, Cindy, Michelle & Stuart all had a great time at the ACB national convention in Orlando, where Cindy was one of the auctioneers at the live auction and Michelle was the high bidder on an emergency radio with a gift certificate for 100 wings at Hooters. Since Michelle was unable to use the certificate, Cindy and Tim along with another couple used it and were able to only eat about 50 wings amongst the 4 of them. The valet at the hotel appreciated the leftovers though.


Thirty people attended our annual chapter picnic at the Brezler's on July 18 where lemonade, lots of delicious food, a water-fight and visiting took place. If lumpia, barbecued ribs and chicken, baked beans, yummy salads and rich and sweet desserts sound good to you, many of us can attest that they were. And the sunshine was out in full force that day too!


Then it was off for a day camp at Camp Harobed on July 25, fishing, boating, relaxing, eating, playing a game of Adlibs, socializing. Most staying through the spaghetti dinner and all, enjoying the sunshine and fellowship. And a highlight of the day would definitely have to be when 6-year-old Kyle Schweizer caught a fish.


The All Ears Book Club Read the book “Marley and Me” in the month of June; “The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” in July; the “Blind Justice” in August. With about eight participants, the group just changed their meeting day to the first Thursday of the month and is now meeting at Applebee’s.


Although we didn’t have enough members present at our meeting in August for a quorum, we were still able to report on the events of the summer and talk about things coming up. Most importantly, we were able to do what our chapter likes to do most, eat and visit.


Our last social of the summer took place at Olive Garden with all of us enjoying their Never Ending Pasta Bowl special. Then for our Support Group, Meka and Cindy each baked cookies from recipes taken from “The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.”


I guess you can see a theme here. The PCB loves to eat & socialize! So consider joining us on the second Saturday of the month at the restaurant of All Star Lanes in Silverdale for our meeting and fun monthly gathering from 11:00am to 1:00pm.


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Pierce County Association of the Blind

By Sabrina Beeler, Sarah Edick and Hayley Edick


The Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB) held a meeting on the third Saturday of the month in Tacoma, Washington. July 2009, during the meeting a martial arts expert came to talk about how important self-defense is and shared a few techniques with the group. Nick Perry has a studio in Graham, Washington where he teaches students of all different diverse backgrounds, even special needs students of children and adults. The meeting included conversation of last details regarding the upcoming picnic.


In August 2009, the PCAB held their first annual blind picnic. There were donations of handmade gifts, monetary gift cards plus store gift certificates for a raffle to raise money for PCAB. 53 participants of blind children, adults, and their families came to play games, listen to a lively jazz band and eat at the barbecue.


The PCAB is fund raising for the Louis Braille School in Edmonds, Washington through the Box top and Campbell’s Educations. The school receives credits from the collection to pay for the supplies that are needed. PCAB has donated money to the Louis Braille School for a variety of necessities.


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South King Council of the Blind

By John Mcconnell


Hello Friends:


We at South King Council are having a great summer.


We participated in the picnic. Gaylen Floy, Bill Wippel, and others from our chapter, as well as other chapters, were at the picnic on the 8th of August.


After some discussion, we have decided to postpone the October Fest until spring. Obviously, we will call it something else.


We need to concentrate on reaching out, and getting growth in our chapter. This will be accomplished with the help of Gaylen, and Marlaina Lieberg. We hope to provide more info on our outreach efforts in future newsletters.


Our chapter strives to be creative, and help promote the values of the WCB, and the ACB.


Thank you for taking the time to read this.


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South Kitsap Council of the Blind

By Carol Brame


Hello from South Kitsap Council of the blind.


Is it me or is this year going by really fast? We had a Car wash in June this year and made a nice amount of money for the chapter. A big thanks to all who came to the car wash and helped out.


We also sold some of our shirts again and we are doing a candy sale now. This fall we will sell Kitsap cards and hope to have a raffle Drawing.


Outreaching has not been very easy but we are still trying and have two ladies we talk to a lot and hope they will join us soon.


On a sad note Jerry Finton, who used to be a member of our chapter, passed away and will be missed--some of you might remember him. His wife Betty is still alive and we hope to get to do some outreach and get her back in our group again. We are so sorry for her loss.


On a good note, Michelle Denzer got a Job at the Lighthouse and so Congratulation's to you Michelle. We hope you’re enjoying your job and can't wait to hear more from you soon.


We just had our Picnic for the year and we had a good turnout. We were at a park where you can ride the trains. Good food and lots of fun I hear they had. But, I was not there. I was helping with Challenge air in Oregon. This is where challenged kids get to fly small planes, do crafts and have lots of fun.


Our President, Kevin Jones, was not able to join them either because work needed him. Of course he was very much missed along with the rest who could not make the picnic.


Kevin also has a new Guide Dog named Arley and they’re working well together.


For our socials, we went bowling and ate at the bowling alley. And another time we all went out to a Mexican restaurant that was on May 23, I can remember that date since it was Chris and my 17th wedding Anniversary.


That’s all I have to report at this time.


Hope all the chapters are doing wonderfully and growing in friendships.


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United Blind of Seattle Chapter Update (Sept.2009)

By Ursula McCully


Whee, 103° in Seattle, it was a record, too.


June started with the Leadership weekend and there were four members who went.


UBS Membership Committee, chaired by Kristin Miller, organized the Friends’ Day last June 20, 2009. Our Friends’ Day was held at the WTBBL, from 11:30 to 1:00. We had eight guests and one joined our chapter, Doreen Cornwell. John and Carol McConnell, John is the current president of the South King Council, came to join our funfair. Membership is always like having our Friends’ Day at the WTBBL.


As the temperature around was usually hot when July rolled in, UBS membership were hot, too. Melissa Hudson, A UBS active member, was chosen to be WCB First Timer to attend the ACB National Convention that was held in Orlando, Florida where the temperature is usually 95°. Four other UBS members, Al and Connie Gil, Glenn McCully and I, joined Malissa in Orlando, Florida. It was a very good convention and the election went quick as there were no other candidates running against the current officers.


We still had our monthly meeting at the Rock Bottom Restaurant on July 18, 2009. We did not have any guest speaker. We had one guest who announced that he is organizing a White Cane Dance to be held on Sept 5, 2009 in Columbia City. After our meeting, some members went to ride the new Lite Rail which opened publicly that day.


Come September, we will be having our monthly chapter meeting at the Seattle Public Library from 10:30 to 12:30. Member Beverly Saudners made the initial contact with the library, and Our President, Julie Brannon, was able to negotiate a consistent meeting place with the Library.


August 8, 2009 was the Super Picnic at Seward Park from 11:00 to 4:00. There were more or less 150 in attendance. Members from the three chapters in King County came to socialize, eat good food, play games and most of all, bringing out the WCB spirit in the public. Danielle King and Amy Rashburg from WTBBL came to show and tell the new digital player for the digital books. Pat Copeland announced her new organization, Vision Lost Connection.


Activity Committee, chaired by Pat Copeland, had a musical in line almost every month, August 15, 2009, 34 went to see “Catch Me If You Can” at the Fifth Avenue Theater.


Whee, UBS membership sure was hot this summer!


With that, I will see you in the next chapter update, with a cooler temperature.


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United Blind of Spokane

By Dorothy Carroll


Meeting held the 3rd Tuesday of each Month

Time: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Bring sack lunch

Where: Lilac Services for the Blind


Our Chapter has a fun game that we call 50/50


Everyone that wants to participate donates $1.00 into a pot in exchange for a double ticket. You tear the two apart and one goes into a hat and you keep the other ticket. A ticket is drawn out of the hat and the winner gets half of the pot and the Chapter Treasury gets the other half.


Our Chapter had a potluck picnic on June 27th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the home of Bob and Dorothy Carroll. Tables decorated in red white and blue were on the deck, lawn and in the living and dining room. 15 members and 3 guests were present. The Chapter purchased the KFC chicken and a decorated sheet cake. The members brought baked beans (and she wouldn't give us the old family secret), potato salad, Greek salad, a veggie tray, fresh strawberries, chips and dip, sliced tomatoes and drinks. It was delicious. Linda and George shared stories and pictures of their Veterans Winter Games in Denver Colorado.


Hoopfest, a basket ball competition was being played on the down town streets that had been blocked off to be made into basketball courts. Some of our member’s children and grand children participated. This event has grown larger every year. The weather was perfect for the event.


Our speaker for the September meeting is Maggie Haverfield, Sidewalk inspector. She will tell us about Neighborhood Sidewalk safety and who to call to report problems in your neighborhood.


A memorial was held August 18, 2009 for our beloved Lester Thorpe. Lester is survived by his beloved wife Mary. They had been married for 11 years. Reverend Earl Dannon officiated. He also married Lester and Mary. Songs were beautifully sung by Debby Phillips. Everyone there spoke High praises for Lester and how they knew Lester and Mary. It was heart worming to see all the loving support shown to Mary. A Luncheon was served, sandwiches, sliced tomatoes and cake. Coffee and drinks.


We will miss our Lester Thorpe.


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United Blind of the Tri-cities

By Janice Squires


Oh my goodness, summer is winding down and before you know it, the 2009 WCB State convention will be upon us. We are so delighted to be hosting the convention this year along with the United Blind of Walla Walla. It takes a lot of hard work and diligent people to make a convention a success and we are proud to say we are ready for you!


The Tri-Cities area is experiencing great hardships with our Ben Franklin Transit and Dial A Ride organization. Many changes and deep cuts are being made to the system in order to balance the budget. Kathy McMullen from Ben Franklin transit was our guest speaker in June to lay out some of these service reduction steps. Many of us participated in public hearings to voice our opposition to many of the changes, but most of our ideas fell on deaf ears.


We thank Lori Fink for organizing our July lunch at Denny’s and gratitude to Bill Hoage for doing the same in August at the Pasco Red Lion (home of our 2009 WCB State convention). In September we will be holding our annual summer picnic in the lovely back yard of UBTC members, Dixie and Shannon McDaniels. The card group is still rocking and rolling along and even had a surprise 60th birthday party for myself in June and a going away party for Carmen Walker in July. The book group is such an enjoyment for those who love to read. Some of our titles were: “As the Crow Flies”, The Last Promise”, and “Merle’s Door”. It’s very hard to keep up with the Red Hat ladies; they are always somewhere enjoying lunch and each other’s company. Our play group will be soon attending the first play of the season entitled, “Ah Wilderness”.


Once again, the City of Kennewick is watching out for their blind and visually impaired pedestrians. Bill Hoage was contacted by John Deskins, City of Kennewick traffic engineer, who told us that there is funding for four new audible signals and we jumped on the idea. A huge thank you goes to the City for keeping us in mind when funding is available for these types of systems.


Hope to see you all in November.


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United Blind of Walla Walla

By Vivian Conger


At our June meeting, we had Bill Hoage, President, and Holly Kaczmarski of United Blind of the Tri-Cities speak to us about what UBTC has been up to lately. Bill also asked UBWW members if we would like to co-host the WCB convention in Pasco which we decided to do.


UBWW had two participants, Carla Brinkley and Joleen Ferguson, at the WCB Leadership Training Seminar. Carla and Joleen both gave us excellent reports on their experiences and the seminar itself.


In July we had a potluck inside instead of a picnic outside where it was very, very hot. Everyone had a great time and, of course, there was plenty of great food.


Our August meeting focused on the issues facing Valley Transit, our local transit system, and its ridership. Dick Fondton, General Manager of Valley Transit, spoke to us in depth as to the severity of VT’s budget shortfall. He answered many questions from our members and told us of some possible solutions to the crisis. Several of our members have now become active in the various public hearings and other meetings to assist in solving some of these issues which includes gathering signatures of supporters of an increase in sales tax revenue to present to the Valley Transit Board at its next regular meeting in September.


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United Blind of Whatcom County

By Betty Sekima


I hope all of you have had a wonderful summer so far!


Bruce Radtke came home safe and sound from his travels on the freighter in May, and had lots of stories to tell. A surprise pirate party was held in honor of him in June. Some of us were dressed up as Pirates, wearing an eye patch and or scarf. Bruce, however, was wearing a complete pirate outfit he had bought while traveling. We had delicious food and pirate music to spice up the party.


Ron Bradchaw graduated from the leadership Seminar and attended the board meeting held in June. He learned lots, and no doubt he'll have an abundance of information to share with us at our next meeting in September.


Our annual pot-luck picnic was held in July, at the Whatcom Falls which also was a hit! We had beautiful weather for this occasion. During this time, Bruce told us about the ACB convention where he volunteered.


Along with our regular business meetings, we have had social lunches and some of us have gotten together at one an others house to play cards.


Hope Nightingale had a fall and broke her shoulder. She is doing well now, and is still enduring physical therapy.


Plans are in the making to try to get together with the Lions Club to help them with future functions. A committee is working on this.


We are also looking forward to hearing from Danielle King who will be our guest speaker in September. She is bringing the new talking book machine for us to examine and try. This is very exciting for us!


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Bits & Pieces


This column is presented for your information and enjoyment. Inclusion of information, products and/or services does not constitute endorsement by the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB). If you have something you think will look good in Bits & Pieces, send it to Randy Tedrow Have fun!


Solona has a Captia program to help with those nasty captia boxes!


Accessible voting in King County, go to this sight to learn about how and where accessible voting happens.


Top Tech Tidbits is a good source of current technical happenings Check it out offers social media tools, upgrades to complement information from 22 federal agencies on disability-related programs and services.


Want an accessible way to count calories? Food Nutrition Database provides the score


“Ring2Skype is a service that lets you receive calls on Skype from landline phones and phone networks for free.”


Hadley offers many live and archived seminars on various topics of interest to blind and visually impaired people.


“The VIP Consumer” offers consumer reviews from the visually impaired perspective.


“There is a host of information to be shared at the Fred's Head Companion website from APH.”


Broken white cane? White Cane Repair can help.


Thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to pass along these great items!


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Hats Off to You


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

·         Marlaina Lieberg, Second Vice President, WCB, on her re-election to the position of Secretary on the National American Council of the Blind (ACB) national board. Marlaina will serve a second two-year re-electable term.


·         Denise Colley, President, WCB, on her reappointment to the Washington State School for the Blind Board of Trustees. Denise will serve another five-year term representing the 9th Congressional District.


·         Sarah and Jeff Schweizer, member and Treasurer of PCB, on the birth of their 4th child, Danielle Grace, born on May 4, weighing in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 20 inches long. The couple enjoyed a home birth & felt it was a wonderful experience for the entire family.






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From My Kitchen to Yours

By Denise Colley


Fall will soon be upon us, and that means cooler and crisper weather. On those cold days nice hot soup is the order of the day. Prepare and enjoy!


Black Angus Baked Potato Soup

4                                  Large baking potatoes

2/3 Cup                      butter or margarine

2/3 Cup                      flour

6 Cups                       milk

3/4 Teaspoon          salt

1/2 Teaspoon          black pepper

1/2 Teaspoon          white pepper

4                                  green onions -- chopped and divided

12                                Slices bacon -- cooked and crumbled

1 1/4 Cups                cheddar cheese -- shredded and Divided

8 Ounces                  sour cream


Wash, dry and prick potatoes with fork. Bake in 400° oven for 1 hour or until done. Let cool. Cut into half lengthwise and scoop out pulp; set aside. Use skins for something else, such as stuffed potato skins. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2 Tbs. green onion, half the bacon and 1 cup cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sour cream. Add extra milk if necessary for desired consistency. Serve with remaining green onions, bacon and cheese.


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Calendar of Deadlines and Events


September 12                      SRC Meeting, Seattle DSB Office


September 18-19                WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver


October 15                           deadline date for convention preregistration, requesting a convention stipend, and reserving a seat on one of the convention buses


October 31                           Office hours conference call at 12pm with President Colley


November 5-7                      WCB State Convention, Pasco


November 12-13                 WSSB Board of Trustees Meeting, Vancouver


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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 28, 2009. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.


Publication policy: to ensure accuracy, we require submissions be emailed to our new Newsline address at with a cc: Articles should be no longer than 750 words.


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