Opportunity, Equality, Independence
Denise Colley, President
Alco Canfield, Senior Editor
Terry Nelson, Assistant Editor
Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Glenn McCully, at PO Box 30009, Seattle, WA 98113-0009.
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 501(c)(3) organization.
For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our Fundraising page found at www.wcbinfo.org.
Table of Contents
In January, I began my final year as your WCB president, and this caused me to reflect on our accomplishments as an organization over the past three years.
In 2008, the production of our WCB NEWSLINE went completely electronic, to include the editing of all article submissions. That same year our state membership reached an all-time high of 462 members. We were victorious in getting the supplemental budget request for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) into the governor’s budget, as well as those of both the house and senate. And, in July, we witnessed the successful transfer of WTBBL from the City of Seattle to the Washington State Library.
In 2009, I established my version of Office Hours, with calls being held on a quarterly basis. Board members have joined me on each call and our participation has grown from one to about nine. Topics discussed have included everything from the shortage of teachers of the visually impaired and orientation and mobility instruction to happenings at the American Council of the Blind (ACB) Convention and growing our membership and getting them more involved on a state and local level. After experiencing some major issues with our website, a website oversight committee was appointed and our website was rebuilt and redesigned. It has a new look and feel and is a site we can all be very proud of.
On the legislative front we were victorious in getting the Department of Services for the Blind to rethink and reverse their decision to close the residential apartments which are a part of the Orientation and Training Center. This was one of the proposals first presented to us by the department as part of making a major shift in the way services are being provided in order to meet budgetary constraints.
In 2010, as part of balancing the state’s 2.6 billion dollar budget deficit, the governor proposed a restructuring and streamlining of state government. Contained in this streamlining proposal was the elimination of the Department of Services for the Blind as a separate state agency and transferring the Washington State School for the Blind to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The result of all this was a whirlwind of activity to include the development and distribution of informational fact sheets, visits to legislators, phone calls, emails, meetings with the governor’s policy staff, and testifying at town meetings and hearings. Neither of the two bills regarding these transfers came out of their respective committees.
We held our first Leadership Development Seminar to focus on the current leaders of WCB and presidents of all our chapters, and a second one was held again at the end of this past January. This new leadership development activity is already showing great results.
Through December and January I was busy putting together our WCB committees for 2011. To date, we have approximately 57 members on nineteen standing committees and one ad hoc committee. (See the information on our 2011 Committees later in this Issue.)
It gives me great pleasure to inform all of our NEWSLINE readers that Alco Canfield is our new NEWSLINE senior editor. We look forward to seeing what great things all our committees will accomplish in 2011.
The first WCB Board Meeting of the year was held on Sunday, January 30, at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle. About forty WCB members were in attendance. The weekend began with the annual board dinner on Friday evening where we talked about board responsibilities and goals for 2011. On Friday evening and all day Saturday, we held our second Leadership Seminar to focus on the current leaders of this organization, WCB officers, directors, and presidents of all our chapters. This year we focused on bridging the gap between chapters and the state organization. We’ve established liaisons between presidents and our state board to foster better communication and to focus on relationship building as a foundation.
And, now, for some important deadline dates to remember, especially if you are planning to attend the national convention this summer in Reno. The Leadership Seminar and Spring Board Meeting are scheduled for April 29–May 1, 2011, in Seattle. We will again be at the Best Western Executive Inn, 200 Taylor Avenue North. Room rates are $89 plus tax. Those not attending as a leadership participant, WCB board member, or chapter representative should make their reservations by calling the hotel directly, no later than March 31, 2011, at 206-448-9444. For those planning to be at the board lunch on May 1, please let me know no later than April 23, to be included in the meal count.
May 1 is the deadline date for applying for the American Council of the Blind Convention First-Timer Award. Please email your letter of interest to Julie Brannon at .
May 15 is the deadline for requesting an ACB convention travel stipend or convention loan. This year travel stipends are $225 and can be requested by contacting Shirley Taylor at 206-362-3118. The maximum amount for an ACB convention loan this year is $700, and can be requested by contacting me by phone at 360-438-0072 or via .
As winter nears an end, here’s hoping that spring brings each of us a renewed sense of commitment to WCB and a rebirth of energy to the work at hand.
As the new editor of the NEWSLINE, my first official action will be to thank my fellow collaborators on the NEWSLINE Committee, as well as those volunteers past and present who have worked and continue to work so tirelessly behind the scenes to help get each edition to you every three months.
Thanks are due as well to those who contribute the articles that keep this publication interesting and informative.
I look forward to this new challenge and welcome any comments you may have.
Another Approach to Outreach
by Alco Canfield
Through consumer organizations and belief in themselves, blind people have made great progress in changing their circumstances in this country. Fifty years ago, who could have imagined the possibility of blind/visually impaired people serving on juries, scanning and reading print, or being supported by law in receiving a free inclusive public education? It can be easy for us to take this hard-won progress for granted and to become complacent.
Our blind brothers and sisters in the developing world are not as fortunate as we. Basic education is often a luxury and career choices are very limited.
I would like to see the Washington Council of the Blind choose to partner with an educational facility in the developing world which serves blind/visually impaired students. The school Bruce Radtke visited in Egypt might be a good place to start. (See the December 2010 NEWSLINE.) Perhaps correspondence could be initiated and financial help provided.
What better way to spread the message of opportunity, equality, and independence? Not only can we continue to advocate here with those who need our assistance, but we can help to change the lives of blind/visually impaired individuals throughout the world.
Who knows? We may learn from them and be changed as well.
[Editor’s Note: This positive development is the result of structured negotiations between the American Council of the Blind and the American Cancer Society.]
American Cancer Society’s New Website Designed for Enhanced Accessibility
Blind Community Leaders Praise ACS Initiative; Alternative Format Pilot Program Also Underway
ATLANTA—February 23, 2011—The American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the American Council of the Blind (ACB), has taken affirmative steps to make its newly redesigned www.cancer.org website and other information accessible to people with visual impairments. The American Cancer Society’s new website provides an improved experience for anyone looking for information, help, or ways to fight back against cancer. The new www.cancer.org is divided into four main sections: Stay Healthy, Find Support and Treatment, Explore Research, and Get Involved. These sections reflect the primary ways the American Cancer Society helps save lives from cancer.
“When the American Cancer Society launched its newly redesigned www.cancer.org website, we were able to offer an improved experience for anyone looking for online cancer information,” said Terry Music, chief mission delivery officer for the American Cancer Society. “We are pleased that we can also make our content easily accessible to people with visual impairments through our collaboration with the American Council of the Blind.”
“We are thrilled with American Cancer Society’s commitment to make its website accessible to people with visual impairments,” said Mitch Pomerantz, president of ACB. “Today’s announcement is part of the Society’s on-going effort to meet the needs of the visually impaired. The website will provide critical information to those in our community touched by cancer, as well as family and friends.”
The American Cancer Society’s new website is designed to meet guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3.org/wai). The guidelines, which do not affect the content or look and feel of a website, ensure that sites are accessible to persons with visual and other disabilities. The guidelines are of particular benefit to blind computer users who use screen reader voice output or magnification technology on their computers and who rely on a keyboard instead of a mouse for navigation.
“Website accessibility is of great importance to both the blind community and to people with disabilities generally,” said ACB First Vice President Kim Charlson of Boston, Massachusetts. “Today’s announcement is an important milestone in the blind community’s quest for independent access to health information.”
Alternative Format Pilot Program
The Society’s accessible website is part of a broader initiative to ensure the availability of cancer information to people who are blind and visually impaired. As part of that initiative, the Society has worked with ACB to develop a pilot program that will offer certain American Cancer Society materials in Braille, large print, and audio formats to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from reading standard print.
Details of the information available in alternative formats can be found at: www.cancer.org/AboutUs/ACSPolicies/accessibility-at-the-american-cancer-society-policy. Members of the public with visual impairments may call 1-800-227-2345 for more information and to request materials in other formats.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer, and countless more who have avoided it, will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
by Meka White
The Winter Board Meeting was held on January 30, at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle. There was quite a turnout with all of the participants of the leadership training and others who came in on Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was great to hear all of those wonderful voices introduce themselves during introduction and roll call.
The board approved pre-convention meeting minutes that had been sent out prior to the meeting and went over the Treasurer and the Investment Committees’ reports given by Glenn McCully and Berl Colley respectively.
During her President’s report, Denise talked about the pilot membership database that the American Council of the Blind (ACB) is working on. One person from each affiliate would be responsible for inputting the names of members into the database which will provide useful information to both the person who is in charge of putting in information as well as the national office. The database is in a beta version right now and ACB is giving affiliates the opportunity to come onboard with this project. ACB asked affiliates that wished to take part to pay a fee of $250. The board voted on this and the motion was approved.
The ACB Convention will be held July 9–16, in Sparks, Nevada. The board approved $225 for convention stipends and up to $700 for convention loans. In order to receive either the stipend and/or the loan, members need to be in good standing with WCB and have been a part of the organization for a year. Attendance of morning business meetings and our WCB caucus is mandatory and recipients cannot have any outstanding loans in default.
Our state convention will be held November 3–5, in the Tri-cities. Cindy Van Winkle reported that the Convention Committee welcomes ideas and suggestions.
Cindy also reported on the Department of Services for the Blind Rehab Council, announcing that the position for someone who was a part of a consumer organization would be filled by Gaylen Floy.
The Louis Braille Auction will be held on March 12. The board voted to donate $500 to sponsor the event.
There were other reports given during the board meeting and they are as follows: the Vehicle Donation Processing Center and the Washington State School for the Blind trustees reports by Berl Colley, Advocacy and Legislative reports by Sue Ammeter, NEWSLINE Committee report by Alco Canfield, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library report by Sue Ammeter, Website Committee report by Joleen Ferguson, Environmental Access Committee report by Jim Eccles, and the Fundraising Committee report by John Common.
As you can see, we had a jam-packed board meeting. I hope to see many of you there on May 1.
by President Denise Colley
One of the bills the Washington Council of the Blind has been closely following this session is SB-5639, which would create a State Department of Education. A Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K–12 Education was held on February 12. What follows is my written testimony, sent to the committee.
TESTIMONY OPPOSING SB-5639
Submitted to the Early Learning and K–12 Education Committee, February 10, 2011.
Senator McAuliffe, Senator Litzow, Committee Members, and Committee Staff:
My name is Denise Colley, president of the Washington Council of the Blind, one of the two active consumer and advocacy organizations of the blind in the state, an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. I reside at 2305 Maxine Street SE, Lacey, WA 98503-3451. My telephone number is 360-438-0072. I regret that I am unable to appear in person. I am therefore submitting this written testimony.
The Washington Council of the Blind wishes to go on record as strongly opposing SB-5639, at least as it is presently written. The proposed legislation places the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) under the administration of the proposed Department of Education. We believe such a reorganization would be disastrous for Washington’s blind and visually impaired students and for the school. Moreover, we believe that SB-5639 creates more problems than solutions, is based upon unproven assumptions, and is flawed in its crafting in that the process did not actively involve representatives of all affected constituencies. In the final analysis, we believe the bill creates nothing but confusion and would result in neither effectiveness nor efficiency.
Moreover, while we believe that the goals of the proposed
Department of Education as set forth in Section 107 are praiseworthy, they
contain what we consider a serious omission. We read: “(c) All students to
academic standards regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or gender, and for more students from underrepresented groups to earn certificates and degrees. . . .” This list does not include mention of students with disabilities.
While we are sure this omission was not intentional, we see it as
indicative of the tyranny of low expectations which persons with disabilities
in general and blind persons in particular have struggled against since the
dawn of civilization and which the American Council of the Blind and its many
state and special interest affiliates continues to fight. Such a mindset kills
the dreams of persons with disabilities to take their rightful places in
society as normal, first-class citizens. We would not wish WSSB, now a school
with high expectations of its students, to succumb to such a climate of low
expectation, cloaked with the anonymity of being buried under several layers of
bureaucracy with no
budgetary guarantees or legislative protection.
Prior to 1985, WSSB resided in the Department of Social and Health Services and before that in the Department of Institutions. WSSB had limited control over its budget and was not free to innovate and to begin new programs and initiatives. Currently, as an independent state agency with its superintendent and Board of Trustees appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, WSSB is directly answerable to the citizens of Washington and has the autonomy to craft its own budget and to institute innovative programs. It is now universally recognized as one of the top three schools for the blind in the United States. Moreover, it works closely with local school districts, providing short-term intensive training to blind students in the academic and daily living and mobility skills they need to succeed in school and in life when local districts cannot or will not provide them.
We would agree that the present situation is not perfect. However, it is our concern that this trend would only become greater by SB-5639 unless the bill is substantially altered. Nowhere is it explicitly stated that WSSB’s budget will not be overridden by the proposed Secretary of Education. Nowhere is it guaranteed that the voice of those who care most about the school, the blind citizens of Washington, will be heard. Yes, there is still a Board of Trustees, but it would be submerged deep within an educational bureaucracy where it would no longer be effective. The primary interest of the Washington Council of the Blind is in protecting the interest of blind and visually impaired children, continuing to have active stakeholder input in the process, and continuing to have successful outcomes. We urge that SB-5639 not be reported out of committee.
If a change is truly desirable, the Washington Council of the Blind stands ready to work with the governor, the School for the Blind, and the legislature to craft legislation that will truly result in improved educational opportunities for blind students in Washington. But this must truly be a cooperative effort. Thank you.
by Jeff Lann
Announcing the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind’s 4 One-Week Adult Vacation Programs and a four Day Family Get-Away.
What: 29th Annual Summer Vacation programs for blind/low vision adults and family retreat.
When: Adult High Adventure I: July 16–22
Adult Adventure II: July 25–July 31
Adult Friends and Alumni: August 5–11
Adult Moderate Adventure: August 15–21
Family Get-Away: August 25–28
Where: Oral Hull Park’s 23-acre campus in the foothills of Mt. Hood, Oregon. The average summer temperature is in the low 80s.
Cost: Adventure I or II $450, Moderate Adventure $425, Friends and Alumni $395. Free round-trip transportation provided to the Portland Airport. Payment plans available.
Welcome to our 29th Annual Vacation programs. If you are new to the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind or a returning participant, feisty or shy, artistic or athletic, an adventurer, or if you just want to sit in our formal gardens or 14-seat spa and relax in the company of friends than you do not want to miss our 2011 season: A Summer of Excellence!
Registration is now open for all of our 2011 summer vacation programs. Oral Hull’s 4 one-week adult sessions provide high quality programs and activities that appeal to a wide array of tastes. This summer, participants will dine on fine cookery, enjoy ideal weather, and have a choice of participating in traditional summer experiences with plenty of opportunities for exciting adventure activities including: white water rafting, wind surfing, skydiving (additional fee), horseback riding, archery, hiking, rock climbing, swimming and more.
Last year our participants came from across the United States and beyond enjoying a few weeks of activity, peer support, and personal growth. As described by one participant from the mid-west: “Oral Hull is something all blind individuals with an interest in living life to the fullest should experience.” For information about Oral Hull’s summer programs, year-round weekend retreats, and other special events contact Executive Director Jeff Lann, 503-668-5195, , website: www.oralhull.org.
by Member Gaylen Floy
South King Council of the Blind
On December 30, Nancy Lind retired with a grand party after twenty years at Work Opportunities. Friends from work, her Mountlake Terrace church, and Bridge Ministries gathered in Lynwood to honor her. Photos were taken of Nancy and friends, along with a shot of the big cake. “They had pizza and cake and presents, too—lots of chocolate,” she said.
“I also got a bank that tells fortunes. You have to put money in to get your fortune. I might have to bring that to the next convention,” she laughed.
Nancy remembered when she first started work. Friendships have meant the most “. . . just eating lunch together and hanging out.”
When asked if she had any big plans for retirement, she said, “Not really. But I am going to Olympia on February 9, to tell those legislators not to cut programs for disabled people.” She was still working on the talking points.
Nancy enjoys weaving on a loom. She can only do this when assistance is available. She joined a weaver’s guild in Seattle a couple of years ago and has sold placemats.
At the convention in Vancouver, Alan Benson played Spanish Eyes on the piano and Nancy accompanied on the maracas. “I like piano and guitar music. A friend at church who travels brought the maracas back for me to try. I’ve been practicing a lot. This Christmas I got a tambourine, so you might hear that at the talent show, too.”
The Art of Accepting Help
by Carl Jarvis
For her 90th birthday Mary Williams fell and broke her hip. “I thought I’d just heal up and get right back to my regular routine,” she told us. But the weeks dragged into months and the pesky hip did not want to heal properly. Even then we would have never met Mary. She had never thought of herself needing help because of her blindness. “I can still see,” she told us after her home nurse had called us in. “I just can’t tell who you are. Your face is a blur.”
It became quickly apparent that Mary had no adjustment issues to deal with. Not so far as her vision loss was concerned. “What’s getting me down is not being able to get up,” she said with a soft laugh. “I have my talking books and now my lady friends bring me containers of soup and cookies.” Her eyes went sad and her voice softened to a whisper. “You know, it’s so very hard having to accept help from others when you’ve been the helper all your life.”
We reached out and held both of Mary’s hands. “You have just put your finger smack square on the greatest challenge confronting older people,” we said. “But perhaps it would help to look at it from a different angle. Rather than thinking of yourself as needing help, think of yourself as a partner with your caregivers. You have needs to be met. Work together to find solutions. Don’t become passive and allow others to tell you what they will do for you. You are your own boss until your last breath. Because your health has failed, others will think of you as needy and helpless. You must not allow them to think that. Tell them you are a team and if they don’t want to be a team player they can go somewhere else.”
Mary was quiet for a long time. Finally she smiled and looked up. “I gotcha. I am my own boss.”
When we came to see Mary again we found her sitting in a wheelchair. “We figured out how I can get myself into this chair and now I can once again wander about my house,” she beamed, happily clapping her hands. “We are a team.”
And her caregiver nodded her head. “And you are the play maker, Mary,” she said, smiling.
We never saw Mary again. Just one month after her 91st birthday we received a call from her caregiver. “I thought you would want to know about Mary,” she said, and we could feel the bad news coming. “Mary had a massive stroke and died yesterday.” We could barely whisper, “Thank you for thinking of us,” and then we just sat for a long time with tears on our cheeks and that choked-up feeling in our throats. It is so very hard losing friends. But then Mary’s laughing voice rang out loud and clear, “I really am my own boss again!”
by Lori Allison
Getting involved and promoting Braille in the schools is a great and rewarding goal. The Braille Challenge® is promoted by the Braille Institute of America, located in Los Angeles, California. The Braille Challenge® is a two-part contest for school-aged children who are Braille readers. It is the belief of The Braille Institute that The Braille Challenge® publicly highlights the importance of Braille reading and writing and offers the kind of positive motivation that helps teachers and families counteract declining literacy rates.
The Braille Institute will help get you started by sending all of the information that any host agency needs to create their own working documents, signage, and marketing materials. Hosting The Braille Challenge® can be a scary project to get involved with but it is also very rewarding. Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB) has partnered with the Department of Services for the Blind for four years hosting a regional Braille Challenge. Due to budget cuts it is most important that other groups take on this most rewarding and special project. All of the information that is needed to do a Braille Challenge can be found on The Braille Institute website on The Braille Challenge® page.
PCAB would like to challenge all WCB members to think about hosting The Braille Challenge® in order to promote Braille literacy throughout the world.
by Berl Colley
The WCB Board of Directors, on the May 7 call, decided to drop MCI as its mail box phone provider and look for another service that could give them more boxes and longer mail box time. They voted, on the same call, to raise the state convention pre-registration rates from $10 to $15 and $20 at the door.
The National American Council of the Blind (ACB) Convention was held in Louisville, Kentucky, July 1–8. Attending members were given a stipend of $400 and could obtain a loan of $800. David Edick was WCB’s First-Timer recipient and Marlaina Lieberg was WCB’s alternate delegate to Kentucky. Also attending the national convention was Sam Gruver from Port Angeles. Sam received an ACB scholarship.
On July 21, there was an Americans With Disability Act rally in downtown Seattle. WCB’s Sue Ammeter was one of its featured speakers, along with representatives from the city of Seattle.
The Summer Board Meeting was held in Wenatchee. Pam Shaw from Pennsylvania, was invited to moderate the WCB board retreat discussions. The group from Lower Columbia, requested and was accepted as a new affiliate. The board gave Lower Columbia a $500 startup grant. The board voted to subsidize state convention rooms at the Best Western Executive Inn, at $50 a night, bringing the cost of a room down to $59 a night. Great concern was expressed about Initiative 745, a Tim Eyman effort to have ninety percent of all transportation dollars in Washington State be held for highway maintenance. This would greatly affect public transportation for WCB’s members. WCB voted a grant of $10,000 to a group opposed to the initiative to fight it.
Accessible voting discussions with Washington Secretary of State Ralph Monroe continued throughout the year. Cindy Hollis, Jim Eccles, Debbie Cook, and Denise and Berl Colley participated in the discussions.
At the fall convention, November 9–11, the board voted after some discussion, to change the First-Timer award to the state convention. Instead of making one First-Timer award, a $2000 fund would be established to make multiple awards based on the First-Timer’s committee decisions. Gary Burdette was the First-Timer recipient to the Seattle convention.
Registration at the 2000 State Convention included lunch on Friday and the Saturday night banquet. In addition, convention attendees from Clark County and Eastern Washington could request a $40 stipend to help with travel.
About 140 WCB members and friends packed the Executive Inn Ballroom at the Friday luncheon to hear Seattle radio personality Jim French, talk about his career in radio which featured his syndicated “Harry Nile Mysteries” and his time as a talk show host in Seattle. Charlie Crawford, the Executive Director of ACB, was the national representative and banquet speaker. Immediate Past President Sue Ammeter, served as the Banquet MC. Talking book narrator Lou Harpenau, and his wife were special guests from the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky, plus two long time friends of WCB, accountant Jack Faulkner and Whitey, a Vehicle Donation Processing Center option contractor from Tumwater, were also guests of the organization.
WCB’s Scholarship chair, Denise Colley, gave out $17,000 to deserving students. The scholarship winners were Elaine Ward, Bernie Vinther, Mai Nguyen, Sam Gruver, Jerry House, and Kellie Anne Mason.
At the Saturday business meeting the convention adopted a budget of $221,000 for business year 2001. Chris Gray led a discussion supporting a resolution which resolved that WCB should support ACB’s involvement in developing a new Braille code.
WCB officers for 2001 were:
Berl Colley, President, Capital City Council of the Blind; Cindy Hollis, First Vice President, Peninsula Council of the Blind; Shirley Taylor, Second Vice President, United Blind of Seattle; Ann McCay, Secretary, United Blind of Seattle; Debbie Cook, Treasurer, United Blind of Seattle; and Sue Ammeter, Immediate Past President, United Blind of Seattle.
Board of Directors:
Gary Burdette, United Blind of Whatcom County; Frank Cuta, United Blind of the Tri-cities; Jolene Ferguson, United Blind of Walla Walla; Carl Jarvis, Jeffersn County Council of the Blind; Peggy Shoel, United Blind of Seattle; and Kay Valdez, Jefferson County Council of the Blind.
Sue Sather was elected as the Alternate Delegate to the 2001 ACB Convention in Des Moines, Iowa.
by Leadership Committee Chair Julie Brannon
We just finished our leadership training for officers, board members, and chapter presidents, which means we’ve now been energized to get ready for the organization-wide Leadership Seminar. You might ask how does the seminar differ from the leadership training event that was just completed at the end of January?
The leadership training targeted issues that the officers and presidents specifically deal with such as: understanding what each position entails and more formally connecting to facilitate communication and cooperation between chapter presidents and the board. An important component of this effort is learning how to better motivate people at both the state and chapter levels.
The Leadership Seminar, to be held on April 29 and 30, in Seattle’s Best Western Executive Inn, is specifically designed for any organization members who haven’t yet been a part of a WCB Leadership Seminar. These WCB seminars have been held annually since 2001. The primary goal of this seminar is to assist in learning more about the Washington Council of the Blind and what it does. You will have the opportunity to begin to develop leadership skills to help you work more effectively in WCB. We know that failure to develop new leadership will ultimately lead to the demise of WCB.
However, rather than take my word about the value of the seminar, let me share a paragraph with you from someone who attended the 2008 seminar. (Articles describing several past seminars with personal testimonials can be found at the NEWSLINE link on the WCB website.)
“We learned that as individuals we can advocate, motivate, and educate ourselves through our participation in our chapters. We can affect change in laws and attitudes of the public by our active participation in state and national issues. Progress happens because enough people want change and agree to work together to achieve it. There is a powerful energy in having so many committed leaders. The Leadership Conference embodied that philosophy superbly.” From member Catherine Golding, after attending the 2008 leadership seminar.
So, if you think this sounds like something you’d like to be involved in, please see the requirements below:
1. You have not attended a previous WCB leadership seminar.
2. You attend all meetings beginning Friday evening, all day Saturday, and the WCB Board Meeting on Sunday.
3. You have been a member for a minimum of three months before the leadership date of April 29, 2011.
4. You do not have any outstanding WCB loans in default.
5. We ask that you write a letter, due on Thursday, March 31, 2011, outlining your interest. Include such things as an introduction of yourself, your current activities in the council and your community, and how you feel the Leadership Seminar could assist you in future leadership in the council. Please send that letter to Julie Brannon at . The leadership committee will review the letters to make attendee decisions.
This event will support the Program and Services of the Inland Northwest Lighthouse and will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2011, from 9:00 am–1:00 pm. The rally will feature a “Navigator” (blind passenger) and a “Driver” (vehicle operator) traversing a more or less complicated route through the beautiful city of Spokane on the way to a finish point.
Adding to the uniqueness of this special event, the navigator’s instructions and clues will be written in Braille! The “Driver” and “Navigator” must act as a team, relying on each other’s communication skills to successfully complete the 7-check-pointed road course.
The team (navigator and driver) completing the contest with the least amount of point deductions (received by arriving too early or too late to a prescribed checkpoint), will be the winner!
This event will promote Braille and literacy.
The event will begin and end at the Inland Northwest Lighthouse.
Unique, specialty, and vintage cars will serve as the rally vehicles.
There will be a blind and visually impaired hands-on car show.
The mayor to act as Honorary Rally Master.
This is another uniquely Spokane event.
Fun, fun, fun!
by Superintendent Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem
As we look to the future, one thing we must remember is to keep the focus on the student, not on the system of service delivery. Systems need to be built around the needs of students, their families, and those providing services to blind and visually impaired (BVI) children. These systems should continue to regularly change and be driven by technological breakthroughs and societal demands. If systems continue to evolve with a focus on high expectations, success, the promotion of confidence building, and advocacy skills, students will be successful and continue to have more options in careers and pathways as time progresses. This will not just happen automatically, it will require strong leadership, the prospect of developing partnerships, the ability to compromise, and to get stakeholders to work towards a common goal. There will be philosophical differences amongst stakeholders, but the focus continually has to be redirected back to the student and outcome data to help make the best decisions based on gut-level knowledge as to the ingredients for success.
Future of Residential Schools for the Blind
First and foremost the residential schools throughout our country need to continually change if the schools are to remain a viable option for students. Those schools that diversify their services based upon the students’ needs will continue to provide valuable services for years to come and those that don’t will probably no longer exist. WSSB has been in an active change mode for many years and will continue to do so. One thing that the school has not done over the years, as service provisions have become more statewide in nature, was change its name. This may need to occur to better describe the services the school provides now and in the future. This does not mean that the on-campus program (which I believe will continue to grow along with other services), should not keep the current name [WSSB].
The “Residential School or Center” should be the Hub of Service Delivery (Center for Best Practices) for services and support for BVI students. Additional resources need to be secured to assist staff with curriculum development and the ability to expand consultative services in teaching specific disciplines (e.g. science, music, math, assistive technology, etc.) in order to assist service providers throughout the state working with students in the local districts. Students also need to have the ability to attend the on-campus program for intensive short-term learning opportunities that help them gain a high level of specialized skills in a fraction of the time that can be attained in the local district. Each setting has positives and negatives, and we must use the positives from each placement to strengthen the services and resolve of each student.
Technology will continue to assist BVI students in accessing information in ways that have never been possible in the past. This means that as technology continues to evolve, the WSSB needs to stay current in guaranteeing that BVI students are not locked out of the advances in information access. This will continue to take creative individuals that are up to a challenge, who are willing to partner on a national and international basis, and not be afraid of being a risk taker, and/or dreamer.
The WSSB statewide service delivery model serves thousands through effective partnerships: Specialized School Programs for Students, Human Resource Assistance to School Districts, Research and Development, Professional Development, Intensive On-Campus Programs, Statewide Assistive Technology Services and Training, Instructional Resource Center; Regional Library/Support, Braille Access Center, Braille Production Partner with Correctional Industries/Corrections, Accessible Online Learning Curriculum Development, Lions’ Low Vision Clinic/Services, Outreach Direct and Consultative Services, and much more.
I do believe that in the near future, service delivery will not have state borders, many services will be offered online, and the world will become our classroom. Let’s see what the next 125 years brings.
by Director Lou Oma Durand
News in the state continues to be grim. As many of you know, the governor and the legislature have the immediate challenge of addressing a staggering $4.6 billion shortfall in the 2011–13 budget.
Thus, DSB has been doing everything to provide our customers with the highest quality service while finding efficiencies and coming up with solutions that save money everyday. For the past two fiscal years, we have been fortunate to use Recovery Act funds to implement new and exciting projects, to provide training for our staff, and to purchase equipment that helps keep our customers at the forefront of technology. For the current fiscal year, as of January 2011, we have achieved 48 successful employment outcomes with an average wage of $21.12/hour, despite an over 10% unemployment rate throughout much of this year. Our Independent Living specialists have served 110 people under the age of 55 (68 of those under the age of 14) and their families. However, we are nearing the end of our Recovery Act funds and will have to work more creatively to continue these efforts in the next fiscal year so that our customers remain competitive in this job market.
As always, I want to use this as an opportunity to thank you, WCB, for your strong commitment to our work, for your creativity and collaboration with each other and with community partners, for continually speaking on behalf of Washingtonians who are blind or have low vision to secure the future of our services. Even in the most difficult times, you make a real difference in our communities and in individual lives. Your leadership continues to help us to re-imagine and execute our mission, “Inclusion, Independence, and Economic Vitality for People With Visual Disabilities.”
by Danielle Miller
It has been a busy winter here at your Talking Book and Braille Library. We have digital talking book machines in the hands of well over half of our patrons and we started producing download-only titles on the cartridges we have been able to purchase with funds donated by many of you. Making these digital titles available in a format we can mail out is very important to ensure that we provide services and books to all our readers, whether they have or use computers or not. We installed a new radio automation system and new audio production software that will improve the quality and ease of production and broadcast, and importantly, both systems are accessible with a screen reader.
I am proud to introduce our newest members of the Patron Advisory Council (PAC). Six new members joined us on January 1, 2011, and met at the library in February for our first of three annual meetings. The new members are Ryan Bondroff of Seattle, representing the deaf-blind community; Denise Colley of Lacey is a general representative; Frank Cuta from Benton City is a general representative; Michael Edwards of Fircrest is representing our physically disabled community; Deborah Jenkins of Spokane is a general representative; and finally, Alice Stephenson of University Place represents our veteran community. All the members of the PAC and staff and volunteers of WTBBL want to hear from you about how we can improve your library service and ensure that those that may benefit from our service know about us and can get signed up to receive books.
2011 marks the 80th anniversary of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and WTBBL’s role as one of the very first regional Talking Book and Braille Libraries. Watch our website and listen to the Evergreen Radio Reading Service to hear interesting bits of history from WTBBL and the National Library Service. We are compiling stories, comments, and photos from our patrons about what the talking book and Braille services means to you or has meant in your life. Please share your stories with us by emailing them to email@example.com. I encourage you to contribute to our history as well as being part of our future.
Of course we wouldn’t want to get left out of the social networking era . . . WTBBL now has a FaceBook page and I encourage you to “like” us and tell your friends and family to “like” us, too. We are sharing information about the library, articles, and blindness and disability related stories and information. Wishing you all the best. Please feel free to contact me with your questions and concerns. I look forward to hearing from you. Danielle at 206-615-1588 or .
by Carolyn Meyer
Camaraderie. Over the last few days, in anticipation of writing this article, I asked staff and students what each feels is the best part of the Louis Braille School. Although people expressed it in different ways, the unanimous sentiment can be said in one word: “camaraderie.”
Daily we are warmed by the way students and staff with diverse backgrounds and varying talents and challenges interact and balance one another for the benefit of the group and of each individual. We share each other’s struggles and rejoice in our successes.
This camaraderie travels from the schoolhouse out into the community and back to the school in a never-ending circle. An example is found in our music program.
Every Tuesday afternoon Vern Percival, founder and leader of The Huckabillys, a small country music band based at the Edmonds Senior Center, comes to the Louis Braille School to conduct an ongoing music program for the children.
The rapport between Vern and the students was apparent the first day. As they began to play and sing together in a unified and balanced way, they got the idea of joining The Huckabillys when they play for our March 12 auction. In addition to playing for the auction, The Huckabillys have donated a couple of hours of music to be auctioned off to the highest bidder for his or her event. One of our students attends The Huckabillys’ rehearsals every Saturday and another hopes to join the group soon.
Vern’s music program with the Louis Braille School has attracted the attention of a group of special needs children in a neighboring community. He has accepted an invitation to start a similar program there and we look forward to sharing activities.
While preparing for our March 12 auction, a student asked me if he could tell our guests about the Louis Braille School. Concerned that he might be a little too long-winded, I asked for an example of what he would like to say. This was his response: “There are so many good things about the Louis Braille School it would take me too long to tell them all, so I will tell you three of them.” All three dealt with, in a word, camaraderie.
The motto of our school is: “Louis Braille School—where dreams take flight.” A supportive, nurturing environment lays the foundation for the cultivation of those dreams.
Often, the most descriptive thoughts come spontaneously from the students. This is what I heard from my desk this week:
“This school is full of adventures. A whole bunch of daring adventures happen every day here. Dreams do come true at the Louis Braille School.”
by Group Chair Peggy Shoel
Is your diabetes management running smoothly? Do you have questions such as: How can I lower and maintain a healthy A1c? Is there an accurate and blind user-friendly glucose meter out there somewhere? How can I more comfortably manage my blood sugar testing?
Do you still have these questions or have you found answers through reliable sources you would be willing to share with us? Who are we? We are The Washington Council of the Blind Diabetes Support Group, open to all WCB members in good standing who have diabetes. We meet monthly via a teleconference call using a toll-free number, so there is no cost to participate. We talk, we listen, we ask, we answer, we share.
If you are interested in learning more about our support group, please contact me. I would be very happy to speak with you. My phone number in Seattle is 206-722-8477. Or, .
We help each other, and in so doing we help ourselves.
[Editor’s Note: An A1c test is a good general measure of diabetes care. While conventional home glucose monitoring measures a person’s blood sugar at a given moment, the A1c test indicates a person’s average blood glucose level over the past few months.]
by Alan Bentson
CCCB began the year with 31 members. Our Christmas party was a tasty event thanks to our caterer, Jackie Cabrera.
In January, Adam Sullivan spoke to us about a martial arts self-defense class being offered to blind people in our area.
The Audible Signal Committee is working with the City of Olympia to obtain grants to place audible signals around Olympia and replace some older bird sound signals with voice.
Congratulations to Rich and Anna Dirk who are celebrating their 30th Wedding Anniversary and to Dan and Kathy Matsen who are celebrating their 25th. We welcome Howard Ferguson back from Arizona and wish Shirley Atwater and Dotty Simonsen a great time during their extended stay in the same state.
by Secretary Cindy Stormo
GEACB is busy and looking forward to 2011. At the end of 2010, we had our annual Christmas party, John
Common completed his computer training, and Nancy Lind joined the ranks of retired folks. We are really proud of both John and Nancy!
Some of our 2011 projects include selling Entertainment Books and candy bars. So, think of us when you have a sweet tooth or a need to get some great discounts on area restaurants and other fun places. And if that’s not enough, plans are underway to share an outreach table with the United Blind of Whatcom County at the Everett Wal-Mart store.
In addition to the 13 members currently in our chapter, a new guide dog will join us in March when Sandra Burmeister returns from guide dog school. We look forward to our new four-footed member and other two-footed members joining us here in the Greater Everett Area.
by Holly Kaczmarski
It’s time again for the news of Guide Dog Users of Washington State, which is a special affiliate of Washington Council of the Blind. GDUWS strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life of working guide dog teams. GDUWS provides peer support, advocacy, and information to guide dog users in Washington State.
We recently had a special Face-to-Face Board Meeting which was a special brainstorming session of the Board of Guide Dog Users of Washington State. We met in Seattle in conjunction with the Washington Council of the Blind Board Meeting. Our meeting of GDUWS was held on Friday, January 28, 2011. The purpose of this meeting was to set up goals for our organization. The meeting lasted from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm with a working lunch. This brainstorming session was such that we went around the table, collected ideas from everyone until ideas were exhausted. Holly Kaczmarski was our scribe.
During the meeting, we took all ideas offered by attending members and combined them into an action plan with assigned duties for the coming year. These ideas were developed into an action plan to “Promote, Recruit, and Educate.” Among the many action items that we listed were: to activate our publications committee and to develop a mission statement. Various tasks were assigned to each member of our group. Holly Kaczmarski will be working on brochures and continuing to write the quarterly NEWSLINE article. Joleen Ferguson will continue to work on the GDUWS website. Marlaina Lieberg will develop a public service announcement. Audio files of our meeting will be placed on our GDUWS website thanks to Gary Lieberg.
Other items discussed at our meeting were the benefits of belonging to GDUWS such as obtaining discounts on products such as Heart Guard, Frontline, Pet Insurance, and other needed products for a working team. Getting discounts is always appreciated, especially with the high cost of many products used by guide dog teams.
We discussed the possibility of creating a liaison between GDUWS members and guide dog schools. Guide dog schools will be contacted by GDUWS to explore this possibility. We will ask guide dog schools to put our GDUWS brochures into their graduation packets.
We are also going to set up our GDUWS website so that people can join, pay their dues, or buy products directly from the website using Pay Pal. Also of interest to our members is the possibility of having open board meetings so that all can participate. We are working on the details of that idea.
Good News! Our Spring Fling is in the planning stages. Each spring, members of GDUWS meet to talk about issues of being a guide dog handler. We enjoy each other’s company and have a good time discussing guide dog related issues. We always have a nice time and learn a lot from special speakers who come to the Spring Fling. This year our event is tentatively being held in May 2011. The final details are still being worked out. Kevin Daniels, director of Northwest Inland Lighthouse for the Blind, is very interested in having us hold our event there. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact Marlaina Lieberg, chair of the Spring Fling Committee.
Please feel free to communicate with any and all of your GDUWS board members because we are all here to work for you. Also, please be thinking of how you can serve GDUWS and consider throwing your hat into the ring and getting involved. As always, your input is desired. Without you, GDUWS will become just an empty organization.
Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned next time for more news from GDUWS.
by Treasurer Marilyn Donnelly
Though the new year has begun, we all fondly remember our Christmas party that was held in early December. It was a happy and festive affair with lunch and a gift exchange. We all went home with a calorie-laden present.
Our January meeting was an open forum where any and all had the opportunity to voice opinions, concerns, and suggestions for future speakers. There was plenty of lively discussion.
Congratulations to Nancy Lind, who recently retired after 20 years from the Work Opportunity Program in Lynnwood, Washington. Nancy was one of the people who went to Olympia for Advocacy for the Disabled Day. She was able to talk with her state senator and even had her picture taken with him. Nancy also had the opportunity to take a Greyhound bus with a wheelchair lift.
Congratulations to Alco Canfield, our new NEWSLINE editor. May all articles be on time and word perfect.
Happy birthday to Shirley Taylor, who celebrated her 85th on January 26. Some of us will never forget the fabulous party to celebrate her 80th birthday.
Our food donation program continues to be very popular. Carrie Long distributes the food and money collected to several food banks in this area.
Our ongoing penny drive adds up rather quickly, especially when silver is found among all those coppers.
Here’s a trivia question for you. How many sentences are in the Gettysburg Address? [See Announcements for answer!]
We look forward to working with all WCB members in the year ahead.
by Secretary Carl Jarvis
Fifteen hungry JCCB members gathered in the clubhouse at the SKP Retirement Park for our annual Christmas luncheon. Rachel and her crew of happy chefs went above and beyond, filling us all to the point of hardly being able to gobble down a few slices of homemade pies, compliments of Nancy Kelly-Patnode.
In January, we were back at the Road House Restaurant in Port Townsend. The election of officers was the main event of the meeting. Sue Ammeter declined to run for another term as president. Our vice president, Lynn Gressley was unanimously elected to fill her shoes, so to speak. This left his office open. Nancy Kelly-Patnode was voted as vice president, unopposed. Our secretary and treasurer remained the same, Carl and Cathy Jarvis, respectively.
Lynn Gressley came to Port Townsend more than ten years ago from California. After completing his Master’s studies in Social Work, Lynn worked in the field of mental health for about four years before becoming director of a nonprofit rehabilitation agency working with disabled youth.
In 1987, Lynn took a position as a computer instructor, primarily teaching totally blind veterans at the Veteran’s Administration in Palo Alto, until he moved to the Northwest. Shortly following his arrival Lynn became involved with a program called Disability Awareness Starts Here (DASH), and is currently serving as president. We have mentioned some of the DASH activities in past NEWSLINE issues.
Among Lynn’s other duties he serves on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Jefferson Transit. Lynn also spends some of his free time bailing out a few of us when we manage to get our computers tangled up.
Nancy Kelly-Patnode was featured in the December 2010 NEWSLINE in the “From the Senior Side” article. She’s the lady who used her white cane to drive back the boxer that took a bite out of her. Nancy, a retired crisis worker, and her husband Pat, a retired fisherman, reside at the SKP Retirement Park. Nancy could be the poster girl for the “Life Really Begins after Retirement” organization.
Nancy is an active member of the Kitchen Angels, putting on luncheons for various groups. Nancy’s specialty is her fabulous home-made pies. In addition, Nancy has adopted two areas in the park. One is called Nancy’s Bouquet and the other is the Bird House Corner. She tells us that she has 87 bird houses in this area, but they are not the only bird houses she has scattered around the park.
There is much more we could tell you about our new president and vice president, but the best way to find out is to pay us a visit and meet them in person. We gather each month on the fourth Friday at noon in the Road House in Port Townsend. And we always have a seat of honor just waiting for you.
by Meka White
As I write this and contemplate the fact that Kitsap County got cheated out of marvelous snow, I am reminded that we are rich in many things. While the winter may not have brought the amount of snow that I wanted, our chapter has been keeping warm and sticking together through meetings, social events, and our support group.
We welcome four new members. Barbara Evans, Aaron Brake, and Don and Carol Lachata have joined us and we look forward to getting to know them.
The PCB celebrated Christmas on December 11, at our annual Christmas party. We had a clubhouse filled to the brim with people, laughs, fun, and of course, fabulous food that was catered by Jackie Cabrera, who is already on our schedule for next year—sorry other chapters! The adults had a very fun gift exchange and then Santa Claus made a special trip from his busy season up at the North Pole to visit and pass out presents to the kids. We had about fifty people at the party, and as I like to say, a good time was had by all!
January brought the new year and new leadership to PCB. Elections were held and Meka White was voted in as president, Gary Beck was elected to his second term as vice president, and Jesamyn Landby and Michelle Denzer were elected to the board.
January also marked the PCB’s 25th year as a chapter, and after the business portion of our meeting was finished, we celebrated by sharing memories of various members’ experiences during the early days of the PCB, answering some fun trivia and paying tribute to those members who are no longer with us. A cake was also brought in and truly, it was a day to remember. By looking back to where we’ve been, we can truly get a better glimpse of just how far we’ve come.
The All Ears Book Club spent this winter keeping warm and reading some fabulous books, including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, No End in Sight by Rachel Scdoris, and The Believers by Janice Holt Giles. All of these books can be found on the Braille and Audio Reading Download website. We’re in a state of flux right now with trying to figure out exactly what meeting place would be the most conducive for our book club, but we’re still going strong!
Our support group continues to meet on the last Saturday of the month at the home of Eric and Joanne Hunter. This has truly been an incredible opportunity for those who wish to do so to come, talk, learn, and share with one another. This group has been a nurturing, supportive setting with a lot of laughs thrown in as well, and has become something that is vital to our chapter.
We meet on the second Saturday of the month at All Star Lanes in Silverdale, so please join us, we’d love to have you!
by President Lori Allison
In the new year, PCAB has been hard at work reaching out to the visually impaired community. All of our officers for 2011, kept their offices for another year.
We welcome Sue and Buddy Yates, our two newest members, to the PCAB family.
At one of our recent meetings, we learned about what the Tacoma Parks and Recreation staff are doing to provide programs of interest to visually impaired citizens. The most interesting project is a Goal Ball team that meets every Saturday at a local school.
PCAB has partnered with the Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals With Disabilities (TACID) to establish a low vision store that will be located at the TACID center; this will be a great outreach project as well.
In February, PCAB hosted The Braille Challenge along with the Department of Services for the Blind. What a wonderful time everyone involved had meeting with the students and their parents. Tami and Jimmy Jacks, two of our members, catered a continental breakfast and lunch for this event. PCAB thanks Tami, the owner of the Dome Deli at the capitol building in Olympia, for donating the food. Thanks also go to Janet George from the Department of Services for the Blind for helping and Carol Studer, a National Library Service Braille Transcriber, who graded the test. Thanks also go to the PCAB members and Cindy and Tim Van Winkle who took extra time on a Saturday to come and support the participants.
Until next time the PCAB family will keep on keeping on.
by Marlaina Lieberg
SKB, the little chapter that could, continues to move forward. We ended the year with a great Christmas party and began the new year with election of officers. John McConnell continues to serve as president, Marlaina Lieberg as vice president, Carol McConnell as secretary, and Gaylen Floy rejoins the board in her capacity as our new treasurer.
Our constitution is being updated and we are looking at new ways to enhance membership. Our commitment is to keep our nose to the grindstone and continue to do the work that needs to be done to ensure that blind people in the South King County area know of our existence and are receiving the services they need.
One of our members was in a meeting with a member of the City Council where issues of para-transit were discussed. The councilman was surprised at some of the things he heard. He suggested that we document issues and meet with him and other officials. Thus, we are collecting information and questions regarding para-transit, and hope to provide a venue for discussion of these with King County Metro personnel.
Though small in number, our desire to work and grow is enormous. We welcome anyone interested to come and check us out. Our meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at The Corridor Cafe, located at 20819 South 208th Street, in SeaTac. You can reach President John McConnell at 253-813-5780. If you are ready for hard work and lots of laughter, we are ready for you!
by Member Ursula McCully
UBS membership said, “Good-bye,” to 2010 with a holiday gathering at Marie Callender’s. Imagine forty members talking all at the same time! It can sometimes feel like a marketplace. However, it was not so. UBS members were just pleasantly sharing holiday greetings.
Clint Reiding, the newly-elected president, is soft spoken and had to use his whistle to get membership attention to be heard.
Kelli O’Brien played holiday carols on her violin, a very special treat. Quincy Daniel with Julie Brannon led the group with holiday singing. The membership also had a gift exchange.
But the highlight of the gathering was the togetherness and the sharing of a wonderful meal at Marie Callender’s, a very nice restaurant. The two guests of Julie Brannon, Martha and Robert Studebaker, were invited to join the UBS chapter.
UBS membership began 2011 with a board meeting on January 15, 2011. The board discussed ideas, opinions, and changes in the UBS constitution. Unresolved issues were referred back to the table to be discussed further before being presented to the membership for its approval.
Committee members were established previously and were presented at the January meeting. Committees were discussed and duties assigned. UBS is participating in The Braille Challenge®. Other activities include: sponsoring a cooking class for those new to vision loss, organizing volunteers to read to older individuals, and exploring alternatives for fundraising.
I have been writing this chapter update for five years. I have loved doing this and have found it a most rewarding experience. Malissa Hudson, UBS’s newly-elected secretary, has graciously agreed to write the chapter update and you will see her article in the next NEWSLINE. Way to go, Malissa!
by President Bea Shinnaberry
As I write this, Spokane is cold and very snowy. And though we expect more cold, our hearts are warmed and ready to continue the work ahead.
We have gained a new member, Sharon Johnson. Welcome Sharon. Anita Drake and her hubby are enjoying their cabin in the woods and caring for their grandchildren.
Congratulations and thanks to our own Deborah Jenkins, who has been chosen to serve as a member of the Patron Advisory Committee of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL). She keeps our chapter up to date with all the latest WTBBL news.
I attended my first WCB board meeting as your president. I learned a great deal and am looking forward to learning even more. Let’s all keep working together and sharing with each other.
by Bill Hoage
On December 2, 2010, Steve Vandecar and Karyn Turya were married at their home. UBTC sends its congratulations and best wishes.
The following weekend, thirty-three UBTC members and friends came together for our annual Christmas party at the Red Lion. The staff and the food were excellent. We were repeat customers so the staff worked well with us, even preparing a limited menu in large print for our lunch choices.
The December meeting, held at the Old Country Buffet, was attended by twelve hearty souls who braved a terrible snow storm. Because road conditions were so bad, it took some folks two hours to arrive, only to soon thereafter leave to head home.
The card group had their annual pizza party in December. The pizza delivery man strained his back packing a bag containing $40 in nickels back to his van.
A big UBTC thank you goes out to Karyn Vandecar and Cheryl Stone for providing food at our January meeting held at the Edith Bishel Center. We liked this idea so much that we are repeating it in February. Sherry Dubbin and Ruth Shook will provide the culinary delights.
Karyn Vandecar is actively looking for new venues for our monthly lunches. In February, we went to Applebee’s. The food was very good and the service was excellent.
Steve and Karyn Vandecar are in charge of our annual candy sales. Look for them when you get hungry.
As host chapter for the 2011 WCB State Convention, we are beginning our plans and hope to surprise you all with good hospitality snacks and interesting registration bags. We can’t wait to see you all in November!
Janice Squires thanks everyone from the bottom of her heart for their outpouring of love and support as she works through her breast cancer recovery. At this writing, she is nearly halfway through her chemotherapy. Janice is a fighter and we pray that soon this nightmare will end and she will be restored to good health again.
by Jolene Ferguson
The new year is already a busy one for all fifteen members of our chapter. We are sharing information about books available on the download site for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
In January, we participated in two college-sponsored fairs. The first was a Health Fair at Walla Walla Community College. Joleen Ferguson, Vivian Conger, and Elwood Mabley manned our booth. Shortly thereafter Elwood and Ernie Jones volunteered to work our table at Whitman College.
Our February meeting is scheduled for February 28. Dodie Brueggeman will be sharing with us how she discovered “Simply Music” and the steps she has taken to learn the technique for teaching piano and how she developed her career as a piano teacher.
Our officers have met by conference call and we have begun to lay out plans for programs during the next several months. Come back in the next issue and discover what they are.
We are pleased to extend our congratulations to the following WCB members:
· Meka White, WCB board member, on receiving her second guide dog, Vince, from Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, New York. Vince is a 75-pound black lab. Meka says he is an adorable dog and an excellent worker with lots of personality. Meka and her guide became a team in November and she came home with him in December.
· Karyn Turya and Steve Vandecar, member and vice president respectively, United Blind of the Tricities, on their marriage on December 2, at their home in Kennewick, Washington. Bill Hoage was best man and Deeanna Macfay was matron of honor. Nemo, Steve’s guide dog, was ring bearer. Fifty people were in attendance.
· Nancy Lind, member, King County Chapter and Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind, on her retirement on December 30, from Work Opportunities. Nancy retired after 20 years and was given a “grand party.” (See the article elsewhere in this issue of the NEWSLINE.)
· Denise Colley, president, Washington Council of the Blind; Frank Cuta, secretary, Washington Council of the Blind; Mike Edwards, member, Pierce County Association of the Blind; Deborah Jenkins, member, United Blind of Spokane; and Alice Stephenson, member, Pierce County Association of the Blind, on their appointments to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library Patron Advisory Committee. They each began their term on January 1, 2011.
Floy, treasurer, South King Council of the Blind, on her appointment to the
Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council. She was appointed
position of current or former recipient of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
· Shirley Taylor, who celebrated her 85th birthday on January 26. Happy birthday Shirley, we hope it was a great one!
· Congratulations to United Blind of the Tri-Cities members Dorothy Lacey, 95, and Evelyn Crouse, 85, on their very special birthdays this January. These ladies are truly very young at heart and such a vital part of our membership.
· Kathy and Dan Matsen, members, Capital City Council of the Blind, who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on February 5. They actually celebrated early by taking a trip to Hawaii in October for ten days.
· Rich and Anna Dirk, members, Capital City Council of the Blind, who celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on February 14. Their daughter, Angela, had a small surprise party for them at El Sarape Mexican Restaurant in Lacey.
· Holly Kaczmarski, board member, United Blind of the Tri-cities and member, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, respectively, whom, we have recently learned, is an artist working primarily in oils and acrylics and will be showing her work at the local public library for the months of February and March. Holly says they feature local artists each month or two and she has fifteen pieces of acrylic paintings and ceramics currently on display.
Compiled by Denise Colley
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 some Bits and Pieces for the NEWSLINE send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with Bits and Pieces in the subject line.
** SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) administers a scholarship program for deserving students. Each year individuals who are legally blind can apply for these scholarships to help fund their college education. For more information, contact AFB’s Information Center at 1-800-232-5463, , or visit their website, www.afb.org/scholarships.asp. The application deadline is April 30, 2011.
** ACCESSIBLE CRUISE PACKAGES
Mind’s Eye Travel specializes in tours for people who are blind or visually impaired. In addition to making all travel and excursion arrangements, Mind’s Eye Travel provides sighted guide assistance for the group. In most cases one sighted guide assists five or six independent visually impaired travelers. A new personal sighted guide service, which is available for an additional fee, will partner one sighted guide to every one or two travelers. Mind’s Eye Travel is offering two trips in 2011, and making plans for 2012. Their Hawaiian cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess sails March 26 through April 9, 2011, and includes stops in Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, Ensenada (Mexico), and eight days at sea. Plans are also in the works for the Elegant Elbe, a Viking River Cruise that travels from Berlin, Germany, to Prague, Czech Republic on April 21–30, 2012. For additional details about pricing, shore excursions, and more, visit www.mindseyetravel.com; ; or call 207-542-4438.
** Window-Eyes 7.5 public beta is now available. GW Micro has posted the first public beta for version 7.5 of the Window-Eyes screen reader. The beta version is available for current registered users. Among the list of improvements is a completely revamped user interface, support for Internet Explorer 9, and the latest version of Windows Live, support for User Interface Automation making many more apps accessible, speed enhancements for Microsoft Word, and numerous scripting enhancements. For a complete list go to www.gwmicro.com/Window-Eyes/Beta/.
** Free Keysoft 9.1 released for the Braillenote Apex. HumanWare has released version 9.1 of Keysoft for the BrailleNote Apex. It includes support for Word 2003 files, improved network connectivity, improved email support, and a host of additional improvements. The upgrade is free and does not use up a Software Maintenance Agreement count. To read about the new features or download the upgrade go to www.humanware.com/en-usa/support/braillenote_apex/software/keysoft_9_1_upgrade.
** Getting Started with the iPhone: An Introduction for Blind Users by Anna Dresner and Dean Martineau. In Braille, eBraille, ASCII text/Word, and DAISY formats, $18.
In Getting Started with the iPhone, authors Anna Dresner and Dean Martineau show you what’s possible on the iPhone and get you up and running. Read the complete table of contents at: www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/IPHONE.html.
** New grocery delivery service available in all 50 states.
Shopping at Meijer just got easier. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based
retailer, with 12 local superstores, has
launched a grocery delivery service available in all 50 states and internationally. Orders for any of 5,000 items can be made at www.meijerdoorstepgrocer.com. Tack on shipping fees of $7.95 and up, and items will typically hit doorsteps within two to four days.
The site offers non-perishable, national, and Meijer brand items as well as baby supplies, pet food, cleaning supplies, laundry products, and health and beauty items.
The grocer will offer a 10 percent discount on orders of $100 or more for a limited time. Customers can enter the promo code “grocery” at checkout to get the discount.
by Alco Canfield
These moist, rich, fudgy brownies are just the thing for the dietary doldrums.
1-1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 cups nuts
Stir together butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Add nuts and mix well. Put in 2 x 9 x 13 inch greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Note: Do not use a mixer! Stir by hand for the maximum ooey, gooey experience. If you use an electric mixer, it will come out as cake. Enjoy!
Chair: Sue Ammeter
This committee works on individual and general issues of discrimination that come to the attention of WCB throughout the year. Its members are called upon to do research and communicate on behalf of the organization with employers, businesses, other organizations and individuals in order to promote advocacy.
AGING AND BLINDNESS
Chair: Carl Jarvis
This committee focuses on the senior blind. It works throughout the year on ideas to improve the lives of senior citizens experiencing vision loss as well as tracks and reports on issues of concern to the board and members of WCB.
Chair: Berl Colley
This committee administers the WCB Awards Program by processing nominations for specific awards, making the selections for awards as they deem appropriate, and presenting the awards at the annual banquet of WCB.
CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE
Chair: Frank Cuta
This committee is appointed by the president no less than 60 days before the opening of the annual convention. This committee is charged with working on proposed amendments to the WCB Constitution and Bylaws. Unless other arrangements are made by the president, this committee meets immediately following the pre-convention board meeting to report the slate of proposed amendments.
Chair: Cindy Van Winkle
This committee is the planning group for the WCB State Convention.
Chair: Stuart Russell
ENVIRONMENTAL ACCESS COMMITTEE
Chair: James Eccles
This committee addresses environmental access issues specific to blindness. It tracks and reports such concerns to the board and members of WCB.
FAMILIES WITH BLIND CHILDREN
Chair: Meka White
This committee addresses issues specific to children who are blind and addresses the associated concerns of family members.
Chair: Glenn McCully
This committee: 1. Develops the WCB annual budget which is presented at the pre-convention board meeting and voted on at the general membership business meeting. Budget line items approved by the convention may be adjusted by the board of directors between conventions.
2. Processes all grant requests received by WCB and reports them to the board for action with a “do pass,” “do not pass,” or no recommendation.
FIRST TIMER’S COMMITTEE
Chair: Julie Brannon
This committee administers the WCB First-Timer’s Awards Programs for both the state and national conventions by processing applications and selecting the award winners.
Chair: Chris Coulter
This committee is responsible for preserving the history of the WCB and that of the organizations which preceded it.
Chair: Berl Colley
This committee tracks the financial investments of the WCB and recommends changes in our investment strategy to the board.
Chair: Julie Brannon
This committee plans the WCB State Leadership and Training Seminars.
Chair: Sue Ammeter
This committee tracks and reports legislative issues to the board and members of WCB.
Chair: Kevin LaRose
This committee works as moderator of the WCB email list; oversees List activity, ensuring that the Listserve runs smoothly and keeping list rules up to date and relevant.
Chair: Marlaina Lieberg
This committee works to increase membership in the WCB, assists new chapters in getting started, and provides support and consultation to existing chapters.
Chair/Editor: Alco Canfield
This committee is the editorial body for the state newsletter, the NEWSLINE. It reviews and processes all submitted articles and makes other editorial decisions regarding the next issue. With board concurrence it may also establish policy surrounding this publication.
Chair: Tim McCorcle
This committee administers the WCB Scholarship Program by processing applications, interviewing applicants, selecting the scholarship winners, and presenting these awards at the WCB State Convention.
WEBSITE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Chair: Joleen Ferguson
This committee acts as the WCB’s principle agent for maintaining a website that is informative, secure, and accessible. Responsibilities shall include but not be limited to supervising our domain name registration, selecting the web hosting service, directing a website developer, reviewing all website content, and maintaining frequent independently stored backup copies of the site.
AD HOC COMMITTEES
Chair: John Common
March 4–5: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver
March 5: SRC Meeting, Seattle DSB Office
March 7: Office Hours at 7pm with President Colley
March 31: Deadline date for applying to attend the 2011 Leadership Seminar
April 29-30: WCB Leadership Seminar, Executive Inn, Seattle
May 1: WCB Spring Board Meeting, Executive Inn, Seattle