The Voice of the

Washington Council of the Blind

March 2006 Issue

Equality, Independence, Opportunity

Founded 1935

(206) 283-4276

Cindy Burgett, President

6686 Capricorn Lane NE

Bremerton, WA 98311

(360) 698-0827

Peggy Shoel, Editor

5171 S. Spencer St.

Seattle, WA 98118

(206) 722-8477


From the President's Desk

Something for Everyone in Jacksonville

WCB Winter Board Meeting

GDUWS Spring Fling

ACB Legislative Seminar

WCB Convention 2006 Report

We Need Your Help

Career Fair

WCB History Report

Pottery Class with Becky Bell

Finance Committee Report

Frank Cuta Profile - from the Helena Independent

WSSB Report

DSB Report

WTBBL Report

Louis Braille School

Around the State

Hats Off to You!

Thank You, WCB

Visually Impaired Book Club

Mariners Game

Bits & Pieces

WCB Committees and Chairs




From The President’s Desk

By Cindy Burgett, WCB President

As I sit down to write this, it is with a new-found appreciation for our organization and the overall organized blindness movement. I know that many of you have had to ask yourself, "Why do I need to belong to WCB?" Well, I’ve always known that the need for each of us as members is mutual. But over the past month, I’ve seen it all played out so keenly and have been reminded of how much we really do need each other.

Of course there is some inherent truth in phrases like, "united we stand, divided we fall," but it’s so much more than that! When push comes to shove, it’s each of us, standing for one another that will keep us all strong.

This year in Washington State, we have been fighting for and against legislation that will directly impact blind people. And whether it’s been asking you to call in support of voting machines or to oppose blind people needing disabled parking privileges, you’ve been there, making the calls and sending the letters.

The board is monitoring current happenings with the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) and the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB), and although there’s nothing to report on either one at the time of this writing, I do want to put all of you on alert that there may come a time where we’ll need to step in to save services as we know them in both of these vital entities serving blind people.

And then there are issues taking place on a national level, of which we must remain aware. The Air Carrier Act, which provides protection for our dog guides to ride in the cabin with us handlers, is being revisited. Social Security, Medicare and other Federal programs are continuously on the chopping block.

Many chapters throughout WCB have rallied for Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) in their communities. And whether it’s fighting for APS’s, for better public transportation or some other important issue, we see how working together is what makes the real difference.

Members and non-members alike have come to WCB throughout its existence to ask for support for their individual fight against discrimination. WCB’s Advocacy Committee has stepped in on many occasions to provide that "strength in numbers" that one person standing alone can’t provide.

Many of the issues which come before our membership are time sensitive, needing to be acted upon right away. WCB’s email list is the major way we get this information out to our members. The list is also a forum for discussion on an array of other topics pertaining to blindness. If you would like to join the WCB list, just send a blank email to:

And join in on the fun.

Another way that we can keep our membership updated on what’s happening is through our WCB Information Line, which is answered weekdays from 9:00am to 4:00pm, but has recorded information as well any time.

And then of course there’s our WCB web site. If you visit you will find links to not only updated contact information for the WCB Officers and Board of Directors, chapter contacts and meeting information, Committee contacts and descriptions, but you can also read past issues of the Newsline, listen to recordings of previous state conventions and read other documents of interest.

Now my final thoughts are more internal than the rest of this message. They are concerning our need to maintain a healthy and vibrant organization. I believe that our annual Leadership Seminar assists us in doing this. Any member who joined October 28, 2005 or earlier and who has not attended one of these trainings previously is eligible to apply for the 2006 Leadership Seminar being held April 28-29. Please send a letter of interest to and let the committee know a little bit about yourself and your interest in participating. The deadline for receipt of these applications is March 31. So don’t delay.

Now, let’s all get ready to work together, to support one another and to be a strong organized force in Washington.

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Something for Everyone in Jacksonville
by Debbie Drylie, ACB Convention Committee

The American Council of the Blind and the Florida Council of the Blind invite you to the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida, home of Super Bowl XXXIX, for the ACB annual convention. Jacksonville is located in Northeast Florida; therefore she has the sunshine, beaches, and tropical flavor of Florida along with the grace, hospitality, and southern charm of Georgia.

The ACB convention committee and the FCB host committee are working together to make this year’s convention enjoyable for everyone. In this article, I will concentrate on the tours that Berl Colley has lined up for us.

For the history buffs, there will be a trip to St. Augustine, the oldest organized community in the United States. While there, you will visit the old fort, the lighthouse, and the old schoolhouse, shop on St. George Street in the old city, and much more.

For you sports fans, there will be an evening at a Jacksonville Suns baseball game. The Suns are a minor league team affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

For those of you desiring to learn more about Jacksonville, there will be tours of the city. Jacksonville is the largest city in land mass in the United States, so there will be much to see.

For those of you who did not get enough gambling done in Las Vegas, there will be a casino cruise. Enjoy a cruise on the lovely St. Johns River while you play the games.

For the fishermen and women, there will be an ocean fishing tour. This tour will depart from beautiful Amelia Island.

For the beer lovers, there will be a tour of the Bush Brewery. Bottoms up!

For those of you interested in what services are available for the blind in Florida, there will be a tour of Blind Services and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. You will find these two tours very enlightening.

For nature lovers, there will be a tour of the Okefenoke Swamp. Florida has many wetlands that offer a special beauty.

For the museum lovers, there will be trips to the Science and Arts Museum and to the Cummer Museum. So as not to become too cultured, there will be a ghost tour in St. Augustine. Berl is also planning a few more tours to be announced later.

As you can see, the 2006 ACB convention in Jacksonville has something for everyone. Come join us at the Hyatt Regency Hotel overlooking the beautiful St. Johns River. Within walking distance or a relaxing water taxi ride are many wonderful restaurants offering various cuisines and all price ranges.

Room rates are $79 plus tax. Make reservations by calling 1-800-233-1234 or 904-588-1234.

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by Marlaina Lieberg

The WCB Winter Board Meeting was held on January 28 at the SeaTac Doubletree Airport Hotel. All Board members, except Viola Cruz, were present. About 40 members were in attendance. We welcomed our new Treasurer, Eric Hunter, and new Board members Vivian Conger, Alan Bentson and Viola Cruz.

President Cindy Burgett reported that WCB now has 18 working committees, nine with new chairs, and 63 members actively serving on these committees. Cindy reiterated the value of the monthly Presidents calls and asked chapters to ensure that their presidents participate. WCB presidents are planning a retreat to develop leadership strategies. Cindy attended state conventions in Kansas and Kentucky. She feels that WCB is a model affiliate of ACB, and others look to us as an example of growth and leadership.

Glenn McCully and Berl Colley were selected to attend the legislative seminar.

WCB members will attend a Mariners game again this year, with the Colorado Rockies playing on July 2. We will have seats in the Hit It Here café; tickets cost $44, and the deadline to purchase them is May 15. Contact Cindy Burgett at or call her at (360) 698-0827 for more details.

Shirley Taylor and Berl Colley reported that donations to the Vehicle Donation Processing Center and the Sanderson Group are down, but this was not unexpected.

Glenn McCully reported that WCB received two awards from the National Braille Press in acknowledgement of funding provided for two Braille books. The Board voted to fund an assistive listening device requested by United Blind of Spokane.

WCB will offer eligible members a $300 stipend to attend the ACB National Convention. See articles elsewhere in this issue for details and deadlines.

Denise Colley reported for the Legislative Committee. They are monitoring various issues; of special concern is the School for the Blind, described in more detail in the WSSB report. The Washington Assessment Student Learning (WASL) Test presents problems for blind students, and a workgroup is being established to help make the test more accessible.

The sixth annual WCB Leadership Training Seminar will be held on April 28-29, just prior to the Board meeting on April 30. Contact Cindy by March 31 if you are interested in attending.

Berl reported on the 2006 WCB Convention planning. See his article in this issue. Other committees, including Advocacy, Families of Blind Children, and the History Committee reported on their work.

Meka White has moved the WCB listserv to a more convenient location. To join the list, send a blank e-mail to To post to the list, send your message to

Peggy Shoel, Newsline Editor, requests that you upgrade contact information promptly. Inform your chapter Treasurer of changes in format or addresses/phone numbers, so current information is available to Janice Squires, Database Coordinator, and to the ACB office.

After Berl’s report on the fabulous tours he’s planning for the ACB National Convention, we made plans to get together in Jacksonville, Florida on July 8-15.

All in all, the Board meeting was a great success. We all enjoyed our new surroundings, and are eager to be together again for the Spring meeting on Sunday, April 30. See you then!

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Guide Dog Users of Washington State Spring Fling

By Vivian Conger, Secretary

Come join GDUWS for our third annual Spring Fling to be held on Saturday, April 29, 2006, at the SeaTac Airport Doubletree, 18740 International Blvd., in Seatac. The phone number is (206) 246-8600. When making room reservations, please let them know you are booking your room reservation in the Washington Council of the Blind’s block in order to get the $85 plus tax room rate per night. This reservation needs to be made by April 6, 2006.

Our program is still in the planning stage and our focus will be on Training from Start to Finish. This will cover topics from breed stock criteria, puppy placement and training/ socializing, and different stages of testing from puppyhood through actual training at the school. In addition to a business meeting, we are planning another celebration of life session. A box lunch will be provided. There will be products for sale and tons of door prizes. Know that the committee is working hard on this and that it will be an exciting day for people and dogs alike. Look for upcoming updates as to program/agenda and registration/fees. The contact person, if you have any questions, is Vivian Conger, Secretary, GDUWS. That e-mail address is

Please share this information with others so they can join in the excitement. Help us make this Spring Fling as successful as those in the past. Come and make a difference in your organization, learn much, and visit with others!

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2006 ACB Legislative Seminar
By Berl Colley, Immediate Past President, WCB

Glenn McCully and I were chosen by President Cindy Burgett to attend the 2006 ACB Legislative Seminar in Washington D.C., February 5-7, 2006. WCB was unable to conduct its usual application process this year, because of a shifting of the seminar dates from March to the first week in February.

We were up at 5:30 AM Sunday morning to be ready for our tour, but the provider cancelled it. We decided to go out and explore. We walked down to the Dupont Circle near where the ACB national offices are located. Then we hopped on to the Metro (Washington DC's subway system) and rode it to Union Station, a very interesting place where D.C. Metro, Amtrak, MARTA (Maryland Area Rapid Transit service to Baltimore) and the city bus system come together. We walked up to Capitol Hill and found the three Senate office buildings, Dirkson, Russell and Hart.

Then we walked up Independence Avenue to the House side of the hill and found the Cannon, Longworth and Rayburn office buildings. It was back to Union Station for some breakfast and then back to the Doubletree to register and get ready for our first session at 1:00 PM.

The Sunday afternoon session was four full hours with a 15 minute break. Melanie Brunson had everyone introduce themselves, followed by Day Al-Mohamed reviewing last year’s imperatives and their current status. Day and Krista Merritt, also from the ACB staff, talked to us about legislative advocacy and communications. After the break, we were advised on how to lobby, such as keeping presentations succinct and not arguing during an appointment with a congressman or his/her staff person. We finished the day learning how to fill out an online report form for ACB's use.

We broke at 5:00 PM, so people could get something to eat and watch the Superbowl. Glenn and I watched the first half of the game in our room, and the second half in the hotel lounge. Those in the lounge were pretty evenly split between Seattle and Pittsburgh. After Seattle lost, I went to our room to pout, read some of our training material and get ready for Monday's sessions. Glenn, more forgiving than I, stayed in the lounge to socialize.

On Monday morning, after another round of introductions, we were treated to a panel presentation on how to fund Accessible Pedestrian Signals. One of the panelists was Donna Smith, who spoke at our retreat in Seattle. Philip Strong, ACB's staff person for transportation, led this discussion. After the break, Melanie led a discussion on Video Description and its current legislation.

After a tasty lunch, the group was told about ACB's position on the Louis Braille commemorative coin bill, which is sponsored by NFB. ACB supports the bill with a change, i.e., to have the collected money go into a pool where any Braille provider could apply for funds.

A two-person panel talked to us about emergency preparedness. One interesting fact was that 30% of those who died in last summer's hurricanes were disabled. Tom Zampieri told us about an effort by the Blind Veterans organization to get a congressional resolution passed to recommend that all states put information about the purpose of white canes and guide dogs in their drivers pamphlets. They are urging us to be concerned, because of the increasing number of people from other countries who don't know that they are supposed to stop for a cane or dog.

The final session of the day was a briefing about the Randolph, Sheppard, Jabits-Wagner-O'day programs. Melanie wrapped the day up by summarizing the seminar.

On Tuesday morning, there was no seminar, just visits to the offices of Washington State Senators and Representatives. We had four appointments: Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Representatives Adam Smith and Brian Baird. Glenn had prepared folders with the information sheets ACB had given us, plus a letter about our position on the Louis Braille coinage bill, a WCB brochure and our Aging and Blindness brochure.

We dropped off WCB packets to all of the Washington delegation except the representative from Spokane. Senator Cantwell's aide was interested in what we had to say. Senator Murray's aide was very interested and challenged us with some knowledgeable questions. He told us that with regards to the RSA, JWOD activities, there would definitely be some changes in the near future. Representative Smith's aide was knowledgeable about most of our issues. Representative Baird's aide listened politely, but had very few questions.

After some discussion and a little time to let our seminar experience settle in, we have two recommendations.

1. At least one of those selected to attend the ACB Legislative Seminar should be someone who has attended before, preferably the chair or a member of the Legislative committee.

2. WCB should extend the time that our delegation spends on the hill visiting our Senators and Representatives. We need more time to schedule more appointments. Also, when the next re-apportionment occurs, Washington will, most likely, pick up one more Representative.

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WCB Convention 2006
by Berl Colley, Chair

Are you ready? Ready to start your planning to attend the 2006 state convention at the Doubletree Hotel in Seatac, Washington? This year’s convention committee has already met twice and will meet twice more before you read this article. Each planning committee always hopes that its upcoming convention will be the biggest and best. Well, we can say, with some comfort, that this year's convention will be the largest ever and your convention committee is working hard to make it as entertaining, interesting, educational and as enjoyable as we can.

It is not too early to be making your room reservations. The room rates will be $85 per night. The cut-off time to reserve a room is October 10, 2006 (10-10). The phone number for the Seatac Doubletree is (206) 246-8600. Be sure to tell the reservation person that you are with the Washington Council of the Blind convention. The convention dates are November 9-11, 2006.

The host chapter is off and winging it. Gaylen Floy, President of the South King Council of the Blind (SKB) and the SKB members are already collecting door prizes, looking at potential organizations for volunteers, and lining up a special musical surprise. Don't get in their way. This group of WCB members is on the move.

Registration for this year’s convention is $60 if you register by October 10 (10-10). Between October 10 and 20, 2006 the registration cost will be $110. As in the previous several years, the registration fee will cover the cost of five convention meals. For those wishing to purchase a banquet ticket only, the cost will be $35 per person.

Those WCB members who joined before April 10, 2006 and live east of the mountains will receive a stipend of $75 if you contact Shirley Taylor before October 10, (10-10). Shirley's phone number is (206) 362-3118. If you live west of the Cascades, you will receive a $25 stipend if you apply through Shirley, unless you live in Snohomish, King, Pierce or Thurston counties.

I would like to close by introducing this year's hard working committee: Julie Brannon, Vivian Conger, Frank Cuta, Gaylen Floy, Glenn McCully, Peggy Shoel, Janice Squires and I, Berl Colley, as chair. We will have more information in the June Newsline.

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We Need Your Help
Berl Colley, Immediate Past President, WCB

The Washington Council of the Blind is archiving our first-class publication, the Newsline. The issues are being copied to a digital format, then they will be placed in the WCB storage unit in the Tri-Cities, for safe-keeping.

We started out with all of the cassette Newslines back through 1997, with the exception of one. Thanks to Frank Cuta, we now have the missing cassette, plus Newslines going back through 1992. We are currently missing the December 1994, the April 1995 and the December 1996 issues. If anyone has these Newslines, and is willing to give them to WCB, or is willing to loan them to us for a short while, it would be greatly appreciated.

Also, if anyone has any issues going back to the merger in March of 1990, we would like to obtain them. While we prefer cassettes, we would accept a Braille or large print version. Finally, we would like to obtain issues of the publications of the pre-merger WCB and United Blind of Washington State.

Please, please, please help.

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WCB Members Involved in Career Fair
by Julie Brannon, Board Member, WCB

The phone rang at my desk in mid-January while working at the Department of Services for the Blind. On the other end was Alan Garrels, Services for the Blind’s Child and Family Services manager. He said, "Julie, the department and the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) are working together again to develop another career day for Washington State students from 9th through 12th grades. Would you be willing to locate two or three people, along with yourself, to be presenters at the event?" He went on to explain that the theme was "literacy in the workplace." He then suggested that Alan Bentson, a Reader’s Adviser from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library who is an excellent speaker and a natural to promote literacy, might be the dinner/banquet speaker. He asked if I would contact him to see if he’d do this function.

As luck, fate or whatever would have it, Alan and the Children’s Librarian, Linda Johns, had already planned to attend.

I then contacted WCB member and South King County chapter president Gaylen Floy to see if she’d be interested in joining me. I asked WSSB coordinator Lori Pulliam if she would contact Don Mitchell from the Emil Fries School of Piano Tuning and Technology in Vancouver, Washington as another participant. So, with his agreement to be involved, we had our teams.

Students were divided into three teams and circulated among the three teams of adults: Alan Bentson and Linda Johns, Becky Sherman (Child and Family worker from DSB) and Don Mitchell, and Gaylen and myself. Each team shared both personal and global perspectives on issues of literacy and their importance in all levels of education and the workplace.

When all the students had visited each room, each team went back to a room and with a school staff member developed a list of how literacy applied to the workplace. After inspections of each team’s compilation, a winning team was selected.

A bonus presentation before pizza was served was WCB member Jim Eccles, a WSSB employee, who shared about downloading of eBooks and other things on the iPods. Excitement rose as student names were drawn to win two iPods, which were donated by WCB’s Families of Blind Children committee.

Then, as pizza was settling, Alan Bentson gave an excellent speech outlining the importance of literacy in every aspect of one’s life.

As I shared with Gaylen and the students and sat listening to Jim and Alan, I couldn’t help but swell with pride – realizing how much both WCB members and committee funds had played a part in this wonderful, informative and eye-opening day for the future blind post-high school students and workforce in this state.

This is one aspect of what WCB is all about – sharing knowledge and life experiences with the blind youth of this state, hopefully to encourage them in their future endeavors.

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WCB History Committee Report
by Rebecca Bell, Chair

The History Committee met 11 times in 2005, and ended the year with flying colors and a new total of 98 historical interviews. Twenty new interviews were done by Rebecca Bell, and two by Marilyn Donnelly. The history round table was again held at the state convention in October. At least 20 enthusiastic history buffs enjoyed discussions of historical facts and WCB interesting stories. A big thanks to all who participated.

In the future, many of the history interviews will be used in the formation of a book, History of Blind and Visually Impaired Persons of Washington. This will be in addition to the completion of a WCB history book. We are gathering books written by blind and visually impaired authors of Washington. This will be a part of our later endeavor.

A goal of the committee is to have a WCB history website with interviews and historical information. Possible titles for the website by Rebecca Bell are: History Facts and Fictions; History Dates and Decisions; History News and Notes; History Hints and Hopes; History Quizzes and Questions; History Updates and Suggestions; History Bits and Bites; History Milestones and Highlights; History Knickknacks and Quotes; History Summaries and Votes.

Many thanks to each person who took time to participate in the history interviews. Thank you to committee members Berl Colley, Carl Jarvis and Marilyn Donnelly for their work and contributions. Stay tuned in 2006 as the committee begins to form a history website and write the WCB history book!

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Begin by Touch, Build by Hand -
A Class with Becky Bell

For beginning students
Thursdays, 10am-1pm

10 Classes beginning April 6th - Fee $265

This is a beginning hand building class designed for blind and visually challenged students with an emphasis on touch, embracing creativity with shapes and forms. This class is being offered by Pottery Northwest, located at the Seattle Center at 226 Ist Avenue North (between Thomas and John streets) one block south of the key arena.

We are really excited about this class. Becky is a long time student here, and we love her work.

Seeing-eye-dogs will be welcome in the class. We will have greeters and guides to assist. We will have a good safety orientation at the first class, and reminders throughout.

For further information you may call us at (206)285-4421. Or consult our web site at, or email

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Finance Committee Report
by Glenn McCully

People who attended the WCB fall convention in Pasco may recall the 2006 budget that the membership voted to pass at the business meeting; this budget is one of the smallest in several years for WCB, a direct result of the current downturn in revenues from the vehicle donation program. The board of directors, recognizing a need to be fiscally responsible, tries whenever possible to stay within the guidelines of the budget for all WCB programs and services. Unfortunately this sometimes requires them to say no to funding worthy projects. At the winter board meeting in Seattle they faced just this dilemma.

At this meeting, I presented a grant request from the United Blind of Spokane for an assistive listening device and also three additional grants from external organizations for a variety of very noble causes. Sadly, knowing its responsibility to be prudent with funds and given the fact that the budget had only $1000 for grants this year, the WCB board of directors voted to allow enough funds for the United Blind of Spokane, but was forced to not fund the other three requests. They also voted to officially temporarily suspend the external grant program and take the application off the website until the current revenue situation improves to the point that grants can be funded without eroding WCB reserves.

On a much brighter note, I proudly presented plaques of appreciation to both President Cindy Burgett and Second Vice President Julie Brannon from the National Braille Press. Since Julie is a Braille instructor at Washington State Services for the Blind, I thought it would be appropriate to present the Louis Braille plaque to her, and Cindy received the other one. Each plaque has a picture of the book it represents, with text stating that the National Braille Press gratefully acknowledges the Washington Council of the Blind for its generous underwriting of the respective book. The plaques are also in Braille, which coming from NBP seems quite appropriate.

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Forty years after the Blast
By Curt Synness, IR Staff Writer

Reprint of an article appearing in the Helena Independent Record on January 22, 2006

Forty years ago, 16-year old Frank Cuta and Bob Nash, 17, were involved in an explosion on the side of Mt. Helena that we will never forget.

The two teenagers had stolen from a mine near Unionville 85 sticks of dynamite, which they attached to an alarm clock on New Year's Eve, with intentions of bringing in 1966 with a bang. But when the makeshift bomb did not detonate, the youths went back up to the site the next night to check things out.

"Bob went to cut the wires, but they touched while he was cutting and it exploded," Cuta told the Independent Record from his hospital bed afterwards. "I was saved because Bob was between me and the dynamite."

The explosion killed Nash, while Cuta was blinded instantly, sustaining punctured eardrums and a broken leg.

Despite injuries, today Frank Cuta (HHS class of 1967) is an electrical engineer for Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories in Richland, Wash. He has over 30 years of experience in the design and fabrication of digital electronic hardware, and in the development and implementation of electronic instrumentation, according to his resume. He is also an expert in the specification and integration of technical computer workstations.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Montana State University in 1972 and his master's at Washington State University in 1978.

Cuta, 56, is renowned in the Pacific Northwest for investigating and evaluating state-of-the-art equipment and technologies for use in solving unique scientific problems. And he has been mentioned in six different engineering publications and was featured in Baud Magazine.

And he accomplished all this despite the reckless, youthful act that forever impaired his vision.

After the explosion, Cuta spent the next seven months in the hospital. He eventually regained some of his sight and most of his hearing. He actually ran on coach Bill Gilbert's cross-country team his senior year at HHS, by being able to "make out forms in front of me well enough to run a cross-country course."

He attended MSU-Bozeman, where he could read the textbooks with a magnifying glass. Cuta used a blackboard to do his assignments, which were turned in after taking a Polaroid picture of his work. He also took part in gymnastics and judo while at Montana State.

"I learned Braille and traveled with a long white cane through the great summer school program offered as a joint project of the State Department of Services for the Blind and the Montana Association of the Blind," Cuta explained.

Some of the projects he has designed and fabricated while with Batelle include flow calibration, a digital histographic recorder and hot water saver instrumentation. He has been heavily involved with two-phase flow instrumentation, parts recognition and materials flow control, glass melter modeling, speech synthesis for the Rubik's Cube-solving robot, computer vision technology, applying desktop workstation technology, and sound level measurement and vibration analysis.

But perhaps Cuta's biggest achievements are his dedicated contributions to the blind community. He is an officer with the Washington Council of the Blind, and has attended numerous American Council of the Blind conferences, where he has been a staunch advocate of better services and rights for the blind.

In the late 1980s, he was the first blind person to take part in NASA's Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and was instrumental in founding the blind program that is now part of the camp's operation.

Cuta volunteers countless hours teaching the blind how to use different computer programs, and is a key figure in Washington's Do-It program, mentoring students. He contributes programming and engineering services for the Evergreen Radio reading service, which is a daily on-the-air reading of a Tri-Cities newspaper.

"We call him 'Fearless Frank,'" said Janice Squires, president of United Blind of Tri-Cities. "He'll go anywhere and do anything. Frank has put his heart and soul into improving the blind community."

And his motivational speeches at WCB conventions have inspired many.

Cuta usually begins his talks with, "Most of you are legally blind, but I am illegally blind, because I lost my sight while committing several crimes."

Cuta's varied hobbies include science fiction, wine tasting, poetry, and collecting computer processors and Scottish Claymore swords. He owns the very first Radio Shack Apple computer, and said that he "has been podcasting for 40-years." Cuta's basement is the home of a sound booth, where he spends time on another hobby, producing folk and bluegrass music.

Although he had regained partial sight for some time, after glaucoma problems a few years ago he is once again totally blind. For the past nine years at Battelle, Cuta's job has entailed computer support for the company's 3,500 staff members.

He returns to Helena occasionally, usually to celebrate the Fourth of July with his brother, Mike. "Believe it or not, I still love fireworks," he laughed.


Curt Synness was an eighth grader at Helena Junior High at the time of the Mt. Helena explosion in 1966. He can be reached at 449-2150 or e-mail

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WSSB Report
by Dr. Dean Stenehjem, Superintendent
Washington State School for the Blind

Comparative Review of Washington State Schools
with Sensory Disabilities

Study conducted by the Washington State
Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP)

As some of you may be aware, WSSB was kind of dragged by the House of Representatives Capital Committee into what really was an efficacy study to determine whether or not there should be residential schools. The study was completed towards the end of January, and on February 9, the WSIPP presented their study to the House Capital Committee. There were some major flaws in the study, which WSSB pointed out in the formal response that was provided to both WSIPP and in the presentation to the House Capital Committee. If you would like to read the complete study, WSSB’s response to the study, the Superintendent’s written testimony and review the packet of information that was handed to the committee member, please go to and check out the main page on the website for the information.

The legislative study was to examine the following three issues: Compare governance, finance, and service delivery at WSSB and WSD; recommend how the schools could configure service delivery to complement and support school district programs; and examine which state agency should have responsibility for governance and oversight of the schools. Information was compiled and presented, but as mentioned above, very important data was either misinterpreted, input from various organizations such as the Washington Council of the Blind or NFB of Washington, AER, etc. were not solicited in a meaningful way, thus resulting in a study that really didn’t provide quality information that had much use. Their data showed that there were 321 visually impaired students between grades K–12, when in fact there are 1,073 students, which follows right in line with national incidence numbers for blind and visually impaired children. The later number came directly from the Instructional Resource Center database, which lists each student by name, reading mode, grade level, disability category and etc. The 321 count was taken from OSPI data for visually impaired students only, which has a tendency to be a very misleading number. Statements were made that it is much more expensive to educate students at the residential school, however when we analyzed the data and did comparable follow ups on comparable students between WSSB and the local school district the opposite actually proved to be the case. We thought it was important to eliminate the cost issue and hopefully refocus the attention on what is important for students to have success in whatever environment they are receiving services.

Overall, WSSB came out looking very good in the study and based upon our diverse approach to serving children and working to develop partnerships with local districts. No magical approach came out of the review of literature and in fact what was emphasized was that probably the best approach in helping blind and visually impaired children gain the needed skills for success comes from models of cooperation and partnerships between local districts and residential schools. This was of no surprise to us and something we have practiced for years. We are hoping that the information within the study and/or the response to the study can be used to continue to strengthen programs throughout our state. The unfortunate thing is that this study delayed the replacement of the Kennedy Building, for hopefully no more than one more year, considering this is a life safety issue that needs attention. As mentioned above: please check out the website and or contact us and we will see if we can get you a copy, or better yet contact the WSIPP at (360) 586-3952 and request a copy including the School for the Blind response.

Check out video clips on blindness tips on the WSSB web site and see one of your very own movie stars providing blindness tips that will be useful to parents, consumers, individuals working with the blind, etc. Our goal is to have a complete bank of video clips on blindness tips available in the near future. Check it out!

If you have any questions, please feel free to either e-mail me at: or give me a call at (360)696-6321 ext. 130#.

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Washington State Rehabilitation Council for the
Department of Services for the Blind
by Marla Oughton, Secretary,

My name is Marla Oughton and I am a confidential secretary with the Department of Services for the Blind. I support the Assistant Director for Employment Services and provide the administrative support to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind. It has been my pleasure to work with the Council for the past two years.

The Council is a body of 16 committed and dedicated members representing a diverse group to include representation from: the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC); the parent training and information center; the Client Assistance Program; a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor; a community rehabilitation program service provider; business, industry, and labor; a disability advocacy group representing individuals who are blind; an individual who is blind and has multiple disabilities and has difficulty representing himself or herself; current or former applicants for, or recipients of, vocational rehabilitation services; a section 121 Native American vocational rehabilitation project director; the state educational agency (OSPI) responsible for public education of students with disabilities; the State Workforce Investment Board; and the Director of DSB as an ex-officio nonvoting member.

The members who serve on the Council are by majority blind and visually impaired themselves and understand the needs and believe in the individuals they represent.

The Rehabilitation Act well defines the purpose of the Council. What is as important is the partnership between the Council and the designated state unit (DSU), that being the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB). The partnership that exists between the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind and DSB reaches far beyond the federal mandate in that the Council and DSB have common goals and priorities and are able to achieve success by working effectively together to reach those goals and priorities. It is a valuable partnership that benefits the constituents they represent and the communities in Washington State.

The Council is also in a unique position and able to speak with an independent voice, in ways DSB cannot, in advocating locally and nationally for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. An important part in advocating is listening to the community, which the Council does through its quarterly meetings (held throughout the state), by participating in DSB Community Meetings, and in surveying recipients of DSB services. The Council encourages public participation at their meetings and values the input received. The Council wants what each constituent they represent wants – to have the best services available so that blind and visually impaired citizens of Washington State and elsewhere can be independent and have the opportunity to succeed in life.

If what I have talked about piques your interest, we welcome you to attend one of our meetings and share your thoughts, or if you are interested in making a difference in your community and in the lives of others, we invite you to apply to become a member. There are currently eight vacancies on the Council representing the following categories: parent training and information center; Client Assistance Program; qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor; business, industry, and labor; disability advocacy group; former recipients of VR services; Section 121 Native American; and State Workforce Investment Board. For more information on the Council’s upcoming meetings or how to become a Council member, you may contact me by phone at 1-800-552-7103 or by email at

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Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Report

by Gloria Leonard, Director

75th Anniversary. March 3, 2006 marked the diamond anniversary of the enactment of the Pratt-Smoot Act, which authorized the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to provide books for the use of adult blind residents of the United States, including the states, territories and District of Columbia. It also mandated the Library of Congress to make arrangements with other appropriate libraries to serve as regional or local talking book centers for circulating these books. Nineteen cities formed one of the first "national networks" of libraries in the United States. The Seattle Public Library, Seattle, Washington, was one of the locations selected.

Today, the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped cooperative network includes the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library as well as 56 other regional libraries, 77 sub-regional libraries, four separate machine-lending agencies, two multi-state centers, and the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped headquarters itself.

In recognition of the diamond anniversary, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library’s Patron Advisory Council is launching the "Each One, Reach One" Campaign, designed to enroll 1,000 or more eligible readers in our reading program. According to the 2000 Census, 2.68 % of Washington State’s population of over six million people, or nearly 180,000, are over 40 years of age and eligible to receive library services because they are blind or have low-vision. The Library’s outreach efforts will place special emphasis on recruiting veterans and adults 65 years and older.

Over the next several months, teams of staff and patron representatives will canvass libraries in 19 of Washington’s 38 counties that serve 100 or more patrons. The target audience will include public library colleagues, particularly librarians and library employees who are most likely to come in contact with eligible readers or know friends or family members of potential patrons. If feasible, these outreach efforts will include in-person visits to retirement homes, community centers, nursing homes, and low-vision support groups that are within close proximity to the public library. In addition to these outreach efforts, present patrons are encouraged to refer potential patrons to the library.

To make a referral, call the library at (206) 615-0400, or toll-free 800-542-0866 or send email to Provide the Library with the contact information of the potential new patron, or ask the interested person to call us. For all referrals that result in the enrollment of a new patron, WTBBL will recognize the new patron as well as the referring patron or friend of the library in the 4th quarter issue of the library’s newsletter. We welcome and encourage WCB participation in our "Each One, Reach One" Campaign.

Infant and Preschool Conference. Recently, Children’s Librarian Linda Johns attended the Department of Services for the Blind annual conference. The conference, held in Tacoma, targeted parents and teachers working with sensory impaired children. The Library had a tabletop display that promoted early literacy and the importance of sharing books. Featured library services included braille early readers, braille board books, and books with both print and braille text so that sighted parents can share books with their children.

Vision Conference. Since the last issue of Newsline, Senior Services Librarian Robin Rousu participated in the Community Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted biennial Vision Conference. Many of the conference participants were WTBBL patrons who stopped by to talk about how much they appreciated our services. Robin signed up several new readers. In addition, several caregivers unfamiliar with the library were excited to learn about some of the resources available to help enhance their community center, nursing, and retirement home activity programs.

Making Reading Persepolis Accessible. During the week of May 31- June 2, all of Seattle will be reading and discussing the 2006 Seattle Reads book selection: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Strapi (Pantheon Books, 2003). This is a title with wide appeal across generations and cultures. Thanks to the collaborative work of staff and volunteers, including the 5th Saturday Radio Drama Company at WTBBL and the Seattle Public Library (especially the Library’s Equal Access Program), Persepolis is available in five different ways: 1) on cassette with one narrator reading the text, 2) the radio play broadcast over the Evergreen Radio Reading Service, 3) a cassette of the radio play, 4) a hard copy of the brailled script of the radio play and 5) downloadable web braille file of the script of the radio play. WTBBL has also posted information on the website. In addition, there are plans to rebroadcast an interview with Ms. Strapi that aired on the Literary News program of the Evergreen Radio Reading Service back in 2003, along with the new radio play.

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Louis Braille School Report

By Carolyn Meyer, Director and
Christina Ivanna, Outreach and Support Administrator

There is a new look to our name. We are now the Louis Braille School, a state-approved private day school for children who are blind or visually impaired, kindergarten through grade eight. Although we are cutting back on braille transcribing in order to focus on the new school, we will continue to do selected projects as a school fundraiser.

It is my pleasure to introduce Christina Ivanna, our Outreach and Support Administrator. Christina has been with us since September 2005. Her commitment is from the heart, and her special touch creates a kind of magic as she brings news of the Louis Braille School to the community. Christina has brought into being many exciting things for our developing school.

By Christina Ivanna

The library is ready for the books to be put on the shelves. The wheelchair ramp has been lovingly constructed and installed by volunteers. The rewiring to meet state code is completed. Lots of hands have been cleaning up and painting the little schoolhouse. There are plants donated by a local nursery about to be planted in our planter box in front of the school. A well-loved rocking chair, a gift from a local businesswoman, awaits its new home in Beth’s Room. The carpet is down; the grab bars are installed in the bathroom. A donation of a trombone, flute, guitar, and didgeridoo has been added to our beginning collection of instruments for the children. Taxidermy animals soon will take their place in the science room.

This past month lots of boxes flew out of the local grocery stores, and volunteers packed up the Louis Braille Center. After nine years on Dayton Street in Edmonds, we are moving to a new location at 10130 Edmonds Way. There is easy bus access, several eateries, two Starbucks right across from each other, QFC, a drug store, an antique mall, and other shops within walking distance.

Presentations about the school and its mission have been made, and are scheduled to continue through the next few months, to organizations like the Elks, Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis clubs. Several have gifted us with their time, money, and items from our wish list. Grants are being written for accessible computers and for help with our tuition assistance fund.

Soon we will welcome our first students to the school, hopefully for the Spring 2006 semester. Exciting times! The only remaining step is a pending inspection by the Snohomish County Health Department.

This is a real milestone. The tiny, uninhabited, seemingly forgotten rambler between McDonalds and the soon-to-be Pagliacci Pizza is finally coming into its own. It has taken many, many months to complete the required code changes, remodeling jobs, and finishing touches. But finally the work has been completed, and the children will be coming. We are looking around thinking, "Shall we put this here or there?" "What fun!" "How can we make this a happy, welcoming, and practical place for the children to learn?"

We look forward to welcoming our first students and beginning the joy of learning. We also look forward to having an open house. Come visit us!

Louis Braille School
10130 Edmonds Way, Edmonds, WA 98020
Christina: 425-778-2384 or Carolyn: 425-776-4042

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Around the State

Capital City Council of the Blind

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

Jefferson County Council of the Blind

King County Chapter

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind

Peninsula Council of the Blind

South King Council of the Blind

United Blind of Seattle

United Blind of Spokane

United Blind of Tri-Cities

United Blind of Walla Walla

United Blind of Whatcom County

Yakima Valley Council of the Blind

BY Berl Colley, President

The CCCB Christmas party was held on Saturday, December 4, 2005. There were 33 members in attendance. We met at the Chambers restaurant, at Panorama City, in Lacey. Thanks to Gary Ernest for setting it up. At the Feel and Steal gift exchanges, a wide variety of gifts were obtained. Gary Ernest took home a full case of Orville's buttered popcorn. Tim Walling ended up with a fire alarm. Gee! I wonder where that came from? Anna Dirk took home a very large Christmas tree shaped dish. Others ended up with candy, candles, bottles of alcohol, etc. The food, the fun and fellowship was great.

On the 18th of December a number of our members gathered at our house to watch video-described Christmas movies. The year’s double feature was Santa Claus, borrowed from President Cindy Burgett, and A Christmas Carol from the Colley collection. In between and during the movies, those in attendance filled themselves up with a variety of finger foods.

At our January meeting our invited guests from Intercity Transit didn't show, because of a communications mix up. They were rescheduled for our March meeting. Berl was out of town, so Vice President Gloria Werstein filled in admirably. We set up a lot of our future meetings, decided to hold another candy sale this fall, and confirmed the dates for the 2006 summer picnic and Christmas party.

CCCB would like to welcome returning member Catherine Golding, after a year’s absence. We also want to welcome new members Wendy Freeman, Dan and Kathy Matsen and Barbara Sainitzer. Our chapter is now the largest that it has ever been.

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind
By Chris Coulter, Secretary

We here in Everett are starting the new year off with a bang. As reported in the December issue, we have new members and we have elected new officers. In January one of our new members became our treasurer. She is Patti Barton.

We have spent the last four years learning how to operate as a WCB chapter and now, with our new officers and our wider involvement in the affairs of WCB, we have moved to the next level in our life as a chapter.

Our president, Miki Hopper-Estrada, has asked us to put together a mission statement and a philosophy so that we can market ourselves to potential members and so that we have a better perspective on just what it means to be a member of GEACB and how we can best interact with our community at large, with blind people in our community and with WCB. This is a very tall order but we know that we are up to the challenge.

If you would like more information about Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, please call 425-775-1325.

Jefferson County Council of the Blind
by Carl Jarvis, Secretary

Our January meeting was called to order by President Sue Ammeter at 12:10 PM. in the Fiesta Jalisco restaurant in Port Hadlock.

Members present: Sue Ammeter, John Ammeter, Liz Ammeter, Rita Dinger, Richard Dinger, Lynn Gressley, Cathy Jarvis, Carl Jarvis, June Royston. Helen Everett arrived at the close of the meeting.

June asked about the Port Townsend Leader on tape. She would like to be on their mailing list. She said she had never known the newspaper was available.

President Ammeter discussed upcoming leadership training for chapter presidents, to be held in Seattle next June. Chapters are being asked to provide financial support for their presidents. Lynn asked what the training would cover. Sue said it would focus on outreach and methods for increasing Chapter activities. The question was called for and the vote was unanimous in favor of providing funding.

Liz asked for an update on acquisition of our listening device for our hearing-impaired members. Sue said she had been waiting to make certain it would be effective in our current meeting location. She said she would contact John Allen and try to have the equipment at our next meeting.

Sherry Perry, our guest speaker was unable to attend. She is representing our district on the Washington School for the Blind Board of Trustees.

President Ammeter reported that she is now representing WCB on the Talking Book and Braille Library Patron's Advisory Council. President Ammeter said she will attend the upcoming WCB board meeting, Saturday, January 28, in Seattle. She then asked me if I would write a chapter update for the next Newsline and I agreed to do so.

President Ammeter commented on three pieces of legislation currently before the state legislature:

A bill extending coverage of guide dogs to people with dogs in training was withdrawn.

We continue to watch legislation that will ensure each county having an accessible voting machine.

A senate bill has been introduced again that would allow blind people to obtain disabled parking permits. We discussed this issue at some length. WCB is opposed to having permits issued solely on the basis of blindness.

Lynn announced that this year's Disability Awareness Day would be held April 19. He said that some of the activities would be in Port Townsend and some at Fort Warden.

President Ammeter asked for suggestions for future meetings. What issues are important to members? Are there organizations or individuals we would like to know more about?

Discussion followed. Questions were raised regarding a proposed roundabout in Port Townsend. Lynn said he would keep us posted, since he is on the DASH board.

It was suggested that Senior I&A might be called on to present to us regarding their many services.

It was also suggested that we contact the group who read the Leader on tape and see if they would send to their subscriber list a note about our organization.

Dues were collected, and Helen arrived in the nick of time with the JCCB check book.

President Ammeter adjourned the meeting at 1:20 PM.

King County Chapter

By Marilyn Donnelly, Treasurer

Remember that song from three or four decades ago titled "North to Alaska" sung by Johnny Horton? We too have moved north but not quite that far. We now meet in the private dining room at Marie Callender's restaurant, 9538 First Avenue Northeast, just a hop, skip and a jump from Northgate shopping mall. Our meetings are the fourth Saturday of each month except December. Most of us arrive by noon and enjoy a tasty lunch from a well rounded menu. Marie Callender's is famous for its pies, and I have enjoyed a slice of warm strawberry rhubarb more than once. The meeting begins at 1:00 and usually lasts until around 2:30. Everyone is welcome.

I'm writing this article on Valentine's Day and we just happen to have a valentine. Rhonda Nelson was born on February 14 not so long ago in San Diego, California. Speaking of birthdays, quite a number of us spent the evening of January 27th celebrating at a surprise 80th birthday party for Shirley Taylor. This was a very special time, with family, friends, food, fun, fellowship, and many hugs and tears.

We've had some strange weather around here lately. Mother Nature was not smiling at one of our members during a recent windstorm. Tim Schneebeck was struck by a large tree limb falling from an even larger fir tree, injuring his left arm and hand. We wish him a speedy and complete recovery. We wish that also for Joan Ladeburg who recently underwent surgery for breast cancer and now will go through six weeks of radiation treatment. We wish that also for Newt Jones who fell and fractured his left arm and has been going through a battery of tests to diagnose a nagging health problem. Warm wishes for a speedy and complete recovery for Peggy Shoel, who recently had a small stroke. May these people get well, stay well, mind their doctors and take the medicine.

We are going to put ourselves in reverse now and remember our Christmas party in early December, 2005 that is. Lunch and gift exchanges (that's a plural) were the highlights of the afternoon. We've all played this game, dear people. You can either select a wrapped gift from the table or choose someone else's opened gift. I went home with a bag full of goodies. The "Captain of Clutter" wants you all to know that this home is minus one ironing board and a bag full of clothing. Progress is often taken in itty bitty steps.

Let's enjoy the rest of winter and look forward to baseball, daffodils and pussywillows.

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind
by Karen Lewis-Keverline

Lower Columbia Council of the Blind enjoyed the holidays and joined in a group fundraising activity of selling candy.

Member Linda Jacques loved helping with the candy sale. She and her husband, Dave, made card table toppers of colorful and sturdy cloth. In addition Dave designed and commissioned the making of a large sign with our Council name on it. Thank you Dave and Linda! Linda was also favorably impressed with the White Cane Day that was organized by Pat Shreck. Shown to our members were helpful hints. Linda remembers specifically being shown equipment to disclose the color of clothing; how to know if the lights are on in the home, a guidedog discussion, a special pill box, a talking calculator, & a little audio player for a purse. In general our group found the information very helpful.

Members Ann & Orval Crisp moved from Puget Island to Vancouver.

Fern Kelly was one of several from our chapter attending the state conference. In addition to traveling, she sets out squares (planning colors that work together) so the ladies of her church can make quilts. She does aerobics three times a week, line dancing two times a week at the Senior Center, and hikes with a hiking club. Her grandson, Conner Jolly, plays the cornet and got to play in "Snowman". Fern celebrated her birthday with family at a Chinese restaurant, enjoys her computer and is already digging in her garden.

Ginger McCallum is an avid Mariners fan, a coffee mug collector, and a character doll collector.

Our President, Earla Coleman, and Treasurer, Dale Coleman, recently attended the board meeting at SeaTac. They thought it was helpful and a great experience. Dale is now a great grandfather. Nathan William Coleman weighed in at 6 lb 1oz and lives in Kelso.

Lynette Romero, our Secretary, is currently living and going to school in Olympia.

Maurine Coon recently lost her husband Richard, who was such a supportive and kind man. Maurine is the President of the Lower Columbia chapter of AARP.

Bill Keverline and I attended our first annual meeting in Pasco, and found it very informative. Bill was recently voted in as a member of the board of the Longview/Kelso Senior Center. Newly blind, Bill has been thankful for the great information, help and positive attitude of our council members. He serves on the financial committee with Ginger and Dale.

Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Eric Hunter, President

PCB , while looking forward to Spring and the projects we have in line, including our Easter party and our garage sale, still remembers the fun we had this winter. We had various socials, mainly at restaurants around town, as well as meetings of the men and parties for our under 30 folks, all of which were very much enjoyed.

Our Christmas party, held in early December, was a roaring success, attracting more than fifty members and friends, not to mention an early trip from the North Pole by Santa himself, who joined in the fun.

Our friend Annie Mae Pope returned to us, and we were delighted to see her. She has real hearing problems, and loves our assisted listening devices.

Mr. Lee, the owner of Angel’s Buffet, where we hold our meetings, printed up cards giving a 50% discount to blind and visually impaired members of PCB. What a wonderful gesture!

One of our younger members, Sarah Schweizer, caught pneumonia and had to go into the hospital. Her husband Jeff, who is in the U.S. Navy, was at sea. They have two small children, so it was a hardship for them. The Navy, bless them, flew Jeff back to be with his wife. Sarah is home now and recovering.

We don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but Winter is loosening its grip here in Kitsap County, probably because we are surrounded by water, and the climate is more temperate. Anyway, the forsythia is in bloom, and the heather, and some of the trees are starting to flower, and all the spring flowers are popping their little heads up ready to burst into beautiful color. We are looking forward to spring and summer, and enjoying our beautiful Northwest, and hope that you are too.

South King Council of the Blind
by Maida Pojtinger, Member

Here at the South King Council of the Blind (SKB) we are having growing pains but we don’t mind it. Our chapter is just one year old and currently our membership is at thirteen. We are confident that by this time next year we can double that number.

President Gaylen Floy was given our charter at the 2005 WCB State Convention held in the Tri Cities last November. She was also the recipient of a scholarship and she is diligently working towards a Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts.

We called our first fundraiser a real success and want to give a big thanks to Joan Schambron who planned and hosted a Partylite candle party. Also thanks to those who purchased gifts and candles. We have two other fundraisers that are ongoing: we are selling raffle tickets for $1 and the lucky winner will get the registration fee of $60 for the WCB Convention at the SeaTac Doubletree Inn in November 2006. We also have for sale some snazzy-looking baseball caps selling for $8 apiece.

Our new secretary, Nhi Duong, from Des Moines is a recent OTC graduate. Nhi is looking for work as a bookkeeper. Telea Noriega will be going to the American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention in Jacksonville. Telea is now employed at the Lighthouse and moonlights as a drummer in a local jazz band. A new member from Kent, Howard Jones, is currently in training at the OTC. Cheers to these accomplishments!

As the newest chapter of WCB we are both excited and somewhat nervous of being the host chapter for this year’s convention. I am sure we will be asking questions and advice from those with more experience.

United Blind of Seattle

By Doug Hildie, President

In November 20005, UBS held its elections for 2006. Open positions were Treasurer and one Director. Karen Johnson was elected Treasurer and Clint Reiding was elected Director at Large.

UBS has acquired several new members recently: Cara Ware, Treiva Smith, and Darrell Watkins. They are students in the Orientation and Training Center at Services for the Blind.

UBS has a new Chair for its Community Outreach Task Force, Patt Copeland, who is a fairly new member. She has already undertaken several projects which involve connecting with community groups and potential UBS members. She has also undertaken projects that have benefited members by organizing various activities.

UBS has significant plans for 2006, which include outreach to the community, recruitment of new members, and development of relationships with various community groups.

More details about our outreach activities in the next update.

United Blind of Spokane

By Dorothy Carroll, President

We have four new members, Linda and George Davis, Jean Gilbert, and Dr. Brian Flake, bringing our membership up to 30 members!!!!!!

We were thrilled that our grant request from WCB was approved for our chapter to purchase a sound system so our hard of hearing members will be able to hear the meeting. What a difference this will make. Thank you WCB for letting this happen.

Our chapter had a wonderful Christmas sit down dinner party at the VFW in Spokane Valley. Eighteen were present and a very delicious dinner was served to our members. Door prizes and piano music by Linda, Alden played the spoons and Marlys played the shakers, Debby Phillips sang a Christmas Song about what her dog did on the 12 days of Christmas. We all sang Christmas carols.

We have attended two plays at the Civic Theater, I'll be Home by Midnight and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. We had a guest speaker from SpokaneTransit

Marlee Naddy had shoulder surgery, John is doing great taking care of her. Mary Thorpe fell and broke her hip after her surgery. She was in a nursing home for two weeks, but is home now and doing well with the help of her husband, Lester.

United Blind of Tri-Cities

Janice Squires, Treasurer

The United Blind of the Tri-Cities is acknowledging that we have received dues from 35 members as of February 10. We are working hard at trying to increase our membership by at least ten per cent again this year. We do have several new members and we want to welcome them into this superb organization. Our newest members are: Reefa Dahl, Ida Isley, Dorothy Lacey, Chris Roemeling and Frank Zaloudek. Warm greetings to each and every one of them.

Margie Kickert is doing a fabulous job with our once a month lunch group. She has taken us on a culinary ride around the Tri-Cities, tasting foods from every nationality. Lee’s Tahitian restaurant was our dining selection in January and February took us to Applebee’s and in March off we go to the Azteca Mexican restaurant. The lunches provide a chance for our members to meet in a more unstructured way, sharing friendships and helping each other in many ways.

Everyone joined as we applauded Rosemary Estes for the tremendous dedication and spirit that she brought to the calling committee.

Marlene Vandecar is our new calling contact person and what a great job she is doing. She has such a friendly voice and encourages everyone to come and join in all of the activities from our luncheons to our monthly breakfast / chapter meetings.

The bowling group has once again started up and one of our members, Irene Neilsen bowled an amazing score of 153. Congratulations to her and to all who participate in the bowling group.

Diana Softich and Frank Cuta are arranging our Sunday matinee narrated plays. In January the group enjoyed the play, Beau Jest and will be going to the next play in March, Mornings at Seven.

New Member Chris Roemeling announced that she is coordinating a monthly described movie night. The movie will be free and popcorn will be served. The first movie is being planned for the afternoon on the last Saturday in February and will be held at the Benton County PUD. The UBTC has made a motion to be a sponsor of this fun activity.

We are all sure looking forward to Spring and some much warmer weather.

Hats off to Millie Lind on the celebration of her 95th birthday on February 17, and to new member Dorothy Lacey celebrating her 90th birthday on January 10th, and to Evelyn Crouse, who celebrated her 80th birthday on January 14th. Congratulations!!

United Blind of Walla Walla

By Vivian Conger, Member

Since our last update, we have ushered in a new president, treasurer, and vice president and gained three new members. Shirley Musick, President, has already put together speakers for our monthly meetings up through June. Elwood Mably, Treasurer, has already submitted the list of members and paid dues to WCB. Phyllis Pulfer, Vice-President, continues to be our gracious hostess.

As Immediate Past President, I for one am glad to see the excellent work of our new officers and look forward to seeing what they have in store for the chapter. It is time for some new blood and a different perspective.

Shirley will be attending the Presidents’ seminar in June and should bring back tons of information for the rest of us.

UBWW has a listserv through WCB and our members really think it is a benefit to all of us. Out of our 20 members, only four of us are without e-mail. You just got to love technology!

United Blind of Whatcom County

by Betty Sikkema, President

It’s again time for a UBWC report.

In December, we had our annual Christmas party at Jo Ellen Barton’s house. Instead of having a potluck, Jo Ellen had wonderful food catered in from Hagen’s.

While we were eating, we enjoyed live music played by a band. Before everything was said and done, there was a gift exchange and everyone went home happy.

At the January business meeting, the new president, Betty Sikkema presided. We welcomed two new members, Mimi Freshley, Independent Living Instructor with Department of Services for the Blind, and Lynn Salten.

Beth Marsau presented the group with a new brochure and letter which can be distributed to either organizations or individuals. The purpose for this brochure is to raise money for UBWC. One can make a donation or become an associate member.

January 19th, some of us had to get up very early so we could catch the Ferry to go to Friday Harbor. How early? Well, the ferry left at 7:00 A.M. The purpose of this trip was to meet Cate McKee, who showed some interest in UBWC.

We arrived at Friday Harbor at around 9:00, after having a smooth ferry ride. We played games while traveling to the Island. You would think that stores and such would be open by 9:00, not on Friday Harbor. Everything opens up around 10:00. It wasn’t raining, so we could get exercise and walk. We found a bookstore that sold used books. The whole store was just filled with them, and they even had some books on cassette.

We met Cate at the Garden Path, enjoyed good food, and had a nice visit with her.

Everyone agreed that the lavender store was the best. You could buy everything imaginable made from lavender, even chocolate and brownies.

The trip back home on the ferry was a little bumpy because the waves were high. We arrived back in Bellingham around 6:30. All in all, it was a fun day.

This month, plans are being made to participate in Shop for a Cause, sponsored by Macy’s. UBWC members can sell tickets and all the proceeds go to our chapter. On April 1, those who bought a ticket can go to Macy’s and get 20 percent off on merchandise. It is an excellent fund raiser.

There is also sad news. Michael Wilson, who was a good friend to some of our members, passed away on February 2 after a battle with cancer. He occasionally attended social and special events. His memorial service was on February 12. May the Lord comfort his family and friends.

Hope all of you are enjoying the season.

Yakima Valley Council of the Blind
by Sally Mayo, Vice-President

The Yakima Valley Council is a very active group. We have about 17 members. Our chapter activities include bowling and computer classes. We also have had a Spanish class, which we are trying to restart. The Yakima Lion’s Club sponsors the bowling league so it is free of charge to the individuals who are blind or visually impaired. They also have been instrumental in helping us to establish our video lending library. We currently have a little over 100 titles to offer our members, some of the newest being Shrek and Shrek 2 and the Harry Potter movies. We have a wide range of movie types, something for viewers of all ages.

Howard Underwood and Bill Smedley have worked very hard to obtain donations of money for laptop computers for the members who take the computer class. This way we can take it home to practice what we have been learning.

The great news this month is Sati’s wife had a baby boy. See the Hats Off to You column for details. And Sally Mayo has started a new job. She is working for Provident Horizon Group. Fernando Ramos and Bruce (our newest member) are currently at the Boring Campus training with their new dog guides. Fernando has received a female black lab and Bruce received a male black lab. This brings the number of dog guides in our group to seven.

Our monthly meetings are on the last Saturday of the month. The regular meeting location is Cornerstone Apartments’ community room. Everyone is welcome.

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Hats Off to You
by Peggy Shoel

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

Shirley Taylor Vice-President, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Shirley, who was born in Seattle, was overwhelmed by a surprise birthday party, where almost 70 friends and relatives gathered to celebrate with her, but the ultimate surprise for Shirley was hearing the voice of her son Jim, who had come with his wife from Kansas to be with her.

Dale Coleman, Treasurer, Lower Columbia Council of the Blind, on becoming a first-time great grandfather. Nathan William Coleman arrived at a birthweight of 6 lbs, 1 oz, and Great-Grandpa Dale says he is adorable and is a good baby.

Lynette Romero, Lower Columbia Council of the Blind, and James Eccles, Riverside Association of the Blind, on being appointed to seats on the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library Patron Advisory Council (PAC). Lynette and Jim will each serve two-year terms, filling slots allocated to patron representatives (Sue Ammeter, Director, WCB Board, is our consumer organization representative on the PAC.)

Jerry Garton, Member, PCB, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Jerry has been a WCB member for only a few months, but says he enjoys chapter meetings and meeting new people.

Betty Sikkema, President, UBWC, on her new job with Premier Graphics. Betty will be operating a machine that threads plastic coils through the binding sprockets in student semester planning guides.

Sally Mayo, Vice President, Yakima Valley Council of the Blind, on her new position with the Provident Horizon Group as the Yakima Disability Navigator. Sally’s responsibilities will include ensuring that disabled individuals in her area receive all the beneficial services to which they are entitled from appropriate agencies.

Doug Hildie, President, United Blind of Seattle, who was invited to be a member of the internal audit team of the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle. The project goal is to improve their quality management system through the implementation of Boeing’s new auditing standards, which subcontractors are expected to utilize.

Gina Lewis, Secretary, United Blind of Seattle, and Gale Allen, member, United Blind of Seattle, on their recent marriage. Gina and Gale met at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle, where they are both employed, and currently reside in Kent.

Lyle Burgett, Member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, who was selected by his peers at GSA, to represent that department as a nominee for Employee of the Year at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle. At the February 17 awards ceremony, Lyle was given a certificate of recognition, an award of $250 and was also selected as one of the runners-up for the President’s Award.

To Sue and Paul Sather on the birth of their second grandchild, Conner Scott. Born to Christopher and Stephanie Sather on November 17, 2005, weighing in at 8 lbs and 7 oz, he was born with a full head of black hair and has not lost a bit of it!

Dorothy Lacey, new member, United Blind of Tri-Cities, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Dorothy is originally from Massachusetts and was delighted with the surprise party put on by her church to celebrate this occasion.

Millie Lind on her 95th birthday. Millie, who was born in Idaho, lived in Oregon, received flowers and gifts and was wined and dined by family and friends honoring her on this occasion.

Evelyn Crouse, 2nd Vice President, United Blind of Tri-Cities, on her 80th birthday. Evelyn is originally from Iowa, and celebrated with a luncheon attended by her friends and a dinner with her family.

Yvonne Miller, Secretary, United Blind of Whatcom County, on having three of her silk screen prints exhibited at the Boat Show Gallery in Everett. Yvonne is a multi-media artist, including painting and sculpture.

Gina Allen, Secretary, United Blind of Seattle, on the acquisition of her new dog guide, Meadow, a two-year-old female yellow lab weighing 61 lbs and standing 22 inches high. Meadow is from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon and Gina reports that she is a little shy, but getting more and more playful as she and her mistress get to know each other better.

Viola Cruz, Board Member, WCB, on acquiring her new dog guide, Parnell, a 68 lb, male, 23-inch-high, blond golden retriever from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. Viola calls Parnell her "gentle giant" and reports that he is very responsive to her and gets along very well with the three feline residents in his new home.

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A Thank You from Jesse Minkert,
Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA)

Dear Cindy:
Joanie informed me about the One World Award presented to me at the 2005 WCB Convention. I just finished listening to the presentation by Marlaina from the recording on the WCB website.

I am devastated that I was unable to be present so that I could tell the attending members how moved and honored I feel. Please let the Council know that I have never received any recognition of which I am even close to being as proud as this.

The Washington Council of the Blind has supported many projects over the years, and I hope the Council understands how grateful I am for their confidence in what I try to do.

Thanking people is appropriate on such occasions, even though the actual occasion is past, and I want to make sure that two people get the credit they deserve for all they taught me. Carolyn Brown was my earliest mentor when I started developing access programs. She guided me through a jungle of basic issues regarding blindness. Sharon Keeran did so much to foster AVIA’s efforts at access for many years. Both Carolyn and Sharon are gone now, and I miss them. AVIA owes whatever accomplishments it has achieved to them, to WCB, and to many others.

Once again, than you.

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Visually Impaired Readers’ Book Group

Please join us once a month:

Where: Downtown Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave,
Room 5, 4th Floor

Discussion Leader: Cleo Brooks, Coordinator, Library Equal Access Program (LEAP)

When: 12:00 Noon on the Second Tuesday of each month

Books on Tape will be provided free of charge and delivered to your home by the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. Call Alan Bentson at (206) 615-0400.

Book Selections:

March 14 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendships and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the changes in the present day.

April 11 Coming to my Senses by Pam Rice

The heroine’s world seems to be shrinking as her eyesight wanes from macular degeneration, but her world is about to get a lot bigger thanks to the mysterious couple who move in next door.

May 9 The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The search for a mother is a critical element in this beautifully written coming of age story set in South Carolina during the 1960s.

Please bring your lunch and enjoy coffee courtesy of Seattle’s Best Coffee. Supported by the Seattle Low Vision Support Group and United Blind of Seattle. For more information, call Patt Copeland at (206)282-3913 or Camille Jassney at (206)363-8166.

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Mariners Game

It's time to start thinking about our favorite spring and summer pastimes. Baseball has to be right up there on the list. And if spending an afternoon at Safeco Field on a summer afternoon with 70 WCB friends sounds like something you'd like to do, then do I have an offer for you.

July 2 is the day WCB cheers on the Mariners while they take on the Colorado Rockies. Game time is 1:35 and once again we'll be sitting in the Hit It Here Cafe. Tickets cost $44; this includes an $18 food voucher. Tickets must be paid in full by May 15, and will be mailed to all those registered. To order, send $44, made out to Cindy Burgett and mail to:

Cindy Burgett

6686 Capricorn Ln. N.E.

Bremerton, WA 98311

Or you may use the following email address to pay via PayPal.

Hope to have you join in the fun!

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Bits & Pieces

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

Duko Health International, a company that specializes in health consulting and personal training, has developed a new fitness program, Out of Sight, especially designed for blind people. The program is available on audio cassette tape, in large print, and in Braille. For more information, contact Bob Koppenjan, a personal trainer, who is himself blind, at or (201)507-1510.

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2006 WCB Committees

Sue Ammeter (360) 437-7916

Aging and Blindness:
Bill Hoage (509) 586-8901

Marlaina Lieberg (206) 243-1716

Environmental Access:
Joleen Ferguson (509) 529-3415

Families With Blind Children:
Vivian Conger (509) 526-4967

Glenn McCully (253) 804-4246

Viola Cruz (360) 754-8193

Carl Jarvis (360) 675-4239

Eric Hunter (360) 377-9917

Cindy Burgett (360) 698-0827

Denise Colley (360) 438-0072

Meka White (360) 405-4337

Julie Brannon (206) 547-7444 and Chris Coulter (425) 775-1305

Peggy Shoel (206) 722-8477

Alan Bentson (206) 527-4527

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2006 Calendar of Deadlines and Events

Note: WCB Board meetings, the Leadership Training Workshop, and the 2006 State Convention will all be held at the Doubletree Hotel Seattle Airport.

Mar 31 – Deadline for applications to WCB Leadership Training

April 22 – WTBBL PAC Meeting

April 28-29 – WCB Leadership Training Workshop

April 29 – GDUWS Spring Fling

April 30 – WCB Spring Board Meeting

May 1 – Deadline for receipt of First-Timer applications to ACB National Convention

May 15 – Deadline for receipt of requests for National Convention stipends

May 15 – Deadline for receipt of requests for National Convention loans

May 15 – Deadline for requesting Mariners game tickets

June – Production & distribution of Summer Newsline

June 17 – WTBBL PAC Meeting

June 17 – DSB Rehab Council meeting, Spokane

July 8-15 – ACB National Convention, Jacksonville, FL

Aug 11-12 – WCB Retreat/Summer Board Meeting

Aug 31 – Deadline for First-Timer applications for WCB Convention

Aug 31 – Deadline for Award Committee submissions

Sept 11 – Call-in day for one of the free rooms for the WCB Convention

September – Production & distribution of Fall Newsline

Oct 10 – Deadline for State Convention Registration and for room reservations

Oct 21 – WTBBL PAC Meeting

Nov 9-11 – WCB 2006 State Convention

December – Production & distribution of Winter Newsline

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Article Deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by May 27, 2006. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

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


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