Opportunity, Equality, Independence
Cindy Van Winkle, President
Alco Canfield, Senior Editor
Walla Walla, WA
Terry Nelson, Assistant Editor
Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Eric Hunter, at PO Box 3127, Bremerton, WA 98310.
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
From the Presidents Desk
Guest Editorial: A Tribute to Jeanne Horsey
The Legislature Finally Goes Home
May 2012 Board Meeting Report
WCB Leadership Seminar, May 2012: Impressions From a Participant
From the Senior Side: Charles Bonnet Syndrome
Orientation and Mobility Living History: Where Did Our O&M Techniques Come From? Part 2
WCB History, 2002, Part 2
Get Ready! Convention Is on Its Way
Making a Difference in Wenatchee and Beyond
Continuing WCB Scholarship Opportunities
Interview With a Stanford Graduate
It’s Time to Award Those Inside and Outside WCB in 2012
We All Win
Accessibility for All
Around the State
Hats Off to You
Bits and Pieces
From My Kitchen to Yours
Calendar of Deadlines and Events
NEWSLINE Article Submissions
by WCB President Cindy Van Winkle
In this issue you’ll read about our Leadership Seminar from one of the nineteen participants in attendance, a recap of the WCB Spring Board Meeting, important information about our upcoming WCB convention and how to apply for a First Timer scholarship, details on the WCB 2012 Scholarship Program including an article on the success of one of our past recipients, information on the WCB Awards Program including nominating criteria, and so much more. Therefore I will dispense with talking about these here, but will encourage you to read this issue of NEWSLINE from cover to cover so as not to miss a thing.
Instead, I would like to focus on the sense of family we share here in WCB and why it is so important we keep it a priority.
Most of us at one time or another have felt the discomfort of being the only blind person at a gathering, whether it is church, our living community, work, or even with our own extended family. Unfamiliar surroundings and loud crowds can disorient us; pot lucks and buffets can be challenging to navigate on our own. It’s easy to find ourselves in the uncomfortable situation of being cared for by someone. They find us a place to sit, they wait on us, getting our food and cup of coffee. They make such a big deal when we get out of our seat that it feels as though the room goes silent and all eyes are upon us for that moment. Yet we want to show them all how truly independent we are and it’s frustrating when all we can do is think about it. I don’t know about you, but the moment I go to prove how independent I truly am is most likely the moment I’ll tip over the punch or trip over someone’s feet.
Yet it is when I’m with my chapter or at a WCB board meeting or convention, I really feel free to be me. I know that it’s okay to hit a chair with my cane to locate it and no one is going to yell, "Stop!" in fear I’m going to run into that chair. If I’m not sure where to sit and people hear me trying to find a seat, someone will pat a chair near them or give me verbal directions on where to go. No one thinks I’m amazing because I can carry a cup of hot coffee across the room. I get to just be me.
Recently, I attended a retirement celebration for a coworker where the food was served buffet-style. During the program, pictures of the retirees were presented in a slide show during which everyone laughed, or awed, while I just sat and listened to the accompanying music. Those who know me know I’m not bashful and I usually don’t have a problem dialoguing with those around me. But in this setting, I felt very left out of everything. I admit it; I was anxious for the time to pass so I could get out of there.
The other thing that tends to happen in a public setting or at a gathering of our sighted peers, is the questions. How did you go blind? How do you do this or do that? It’s as though we have to explain our blindness and convince them of our abilities. I know that education is important, however, sometimes I’m just not in the mood; or I just want to be accepted for who I am without having to explain myself. Sadly though, within our organization, we do the same thing at times to our blind peers in reference to another disability they may have that we don’t understand. Are we being curious or critical? Are we being judgmental or accepting? Just something for us all to think about.
Now, I’m not saying that we should avoid at all costs attending activities with our sighted peers; it’s important that we integrate into society and lead by example. Rather, I’m emphasizing the importance of maintaining our sense of community in our local chapters and with our state affiliate giving our members a safe place to come to socialize, to share with others in conversation and friendship, to be accepted for who they are. Together we learn; we share a bond with one another of living with limited or no vision. We are a community, a family. We are the Washington Council of the Blind.
I am proud to belong to this organization and to be a part of this family. I hope you are, too!
A Tribute to Jeanne Horsey
January 19, 1920 February 22, 2012
by Carolyn Meyer
My mentor, colleague, and friend died last week. She was 92. For more than half a century, Jeanne Horsey was devoted to bringing the benefits of Braille to those who are blind. Her accomplishments left a legacy that continues to this day.
She was recipient of the Louis Braille School Distinguished Service Award.
We met in 1990, when I arrived for my first Braille lesson. I, too, wanted to work with people who are blind and knew that Braille and literacy were essential in what would become my life’s work. I was her only student at that time and received private instruction. She let me go at my own pace as long as I met her high standards. Weekly, we met at her home. The first lesson happened in her kitchen where she was preparing her husband’s breakfast. She put a Perkins Brailler on the table, opened the manual, and said to Braille three rows of each letter. When I left I knew the alphabet.
One morning, I noticed pages of Brailled paper strung across her deck. Jeanne explained she had shellacked them to make the dots more durable and hung them to dry. That was the first of many surprising lessons.
Jeanne is largely responsible for getting Braille textbooks in the Washington Public Schools. In the 1950s, when she worked for the Seattle School District, she was dismayed at the dearth of Braille. Jeanne met with numerous obstacles. Undaunted, she was certified by the Library of Congress as a literary Braille transcriber. She taught Braille to anyone willing to learn, developing a cadre of transcribers.
Jeanne founded Seattle Area Braille Lists (SAB), a nonprofit organization dedicated to Brailling textbooks. These highly skilled ladies spent most waking hours transcribing textbooks for all grade levels throughout the state. Collectively, SAB members held Library of Congress Certifications in Literary Braille Transcription, Braille Mathematics Transcription, and Music Braille Transcription. They knew the complicated Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques. Some were skilled at creating exquisite hand-made tactile drawings, illustrations, and maps.
At Jeanne’s invitation, I joined SAB, received my Library of Congress Literary Braille Certification, and was assigned a fourth grade Washington State history textbook to transcribe. There were no computers; transcribing was done by hand with the Perkins Brailler. This was similar to typing on a manual Underwood, being careful not to make a mistake because of the difficulty or impossibility of making a neat correction.
Jeanne’s interests went beyond Braille. Nancy Hatfield, Director of Early Childhood with Washington Sensory Disabilities Services, speaks about Jeanne’s leadership of a group of volunteers who helped with a play group for families with blind and visually impaired infants and toddlers. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they met weekly in the Seattle area. Jeanne interacted with parents and children in a sensitive and caring way.
Jeanne always had an interest in art but had no time to pursue it until later in life. She loved to experiment with various media. One early art project involved using sheets of thin metal left over from her years of making tactile maps for blind students. She used a repoussÈ technique to create tactile shapes and images in the metal, highlighting the designs with acrylic paint.
Recently Jeanne and her son, David Horsey, political cartoonist and holder of two Pulitzer Prizes, opened a joint art exhibit at Aljoya Thornton Place in Seattle. Jeanne’s display included a selection of watercolors and some mixed-media work. David contributed fifteen recent color cartoons produced for Seattlepi.com. The show closed the day before Jeanne’s passing.
A celebration of Jeanne’s life was held February 26, at University House in Seattle where she lived the last fifteen years. Jo Linda Finne, retired Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) who first met Jeanne in 1976 when Jo Linda was a TVI for the Seattle Schools, said:
"Today’s memorial to Jeanne was simply wonderful! It seems that no one person and no one group realized the extent of her contributions. It wasn’t just her commitment, which was formidable. It wasn’t just her great warmth and graciousness; it also was her expectation for excellence and service. Jeanne was never self-aggrandizing. She quite simply loved Braille and loved teaching it. Jeanne cast a long shadow on services for blind and visually impaired students in Washington State. It was a great honor for those of us whose lives have been touched by Jeanne!"
Rest in peace, dear Jeanne; your legacy continues.
by WCB Legislative Chair Denise Colley
The end of another legislative session has finally come and gone and our three state agencies serving the blind have come through with minimal cuts to budgets.
As reported in my March article, March 8 was the last day allowed for the regular session under our state constitution. Because a budget had not been adopted by that date, the legislature was called in to special session following the close of the general session and ended on April 11.
Substitute House Bill 2757: concerning creating an account for both the Washington State Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss and the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB), to be used for fees for contracts, tuition, donations, and other incomes did pass out of both houses. The bill creates separate accounts for the Center for Childhood Deafness and the State School for the Blind. Here’s how the adjusted funding system will work.
Each school will set up a new special account to deposit any contract fees, tuition, grant monies, or other payments that are unrelated to funding from the state. Any money left in those accounts will remain there and be available the following year. Flexibility is key in such situations as this past winter when heating costs were lower than projected. Those savings can now be applied to future budgets and used to offset cuts in state funding.
Previously, any remaining nonstate money in the two schools’ budgets would be sent back to the state’s coffers. Essentially, the two schools are stand-alone state agencies, and state agencies generally do not carry over fund balances or unspent money from one year to the next. Instead, the money is typically returned to the general fund. WSSB receives significant amounts of money from sources other than the state. It receives about $5.7 million annually from the state and takes in another $1.7 million through fees, out-of-state tuition, and grants. Some students from Oregon attend WSSB and pay out-of-state tuition after Oregon closed its school three years ago.
Capital funds that were appropriated to WSSB for this biennium remain the same. This is important news since the majority of this will be needed to replace the roof on Irwin, which is at its life expectancy and has started to have some minor leaks. WSSB came through the session without a direct cut to programs. The final budget for the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) does include the cut to administrative support for the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) that was included in the governor’s original proposal, for a reduction of $227,000 in state funds for the biennium. According to DSB Director Lou Oma Durand, DSB can continue to provide administrative support to the BEP program with Vocational Rehabilitation funds, as long as they are stable. In other good news for DSB, funding for Independent Living Part B (under 55 and children and families) has been restored to its previous level. Due to Social Security reimbursements for successful employment outcomes, DSB is also able to infuse additional dollars into the Independent Living Older Blind Program to reduce the waiting list for the remainder of this state fiscal year.
It appears that funding for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) is in tact. The only issue that could have been of concern to WTBBL is that the House budget proposed replacing $4 million of state funds for the state library and WTBBL, with Heritage Center fund money. That fund isn’t a guaranteed fund in the long run, so it could potentially have resulted in a giant cut unless other funding was restored or found elsewhere.
I want to thank the members of this year’s Legislative Committee for all of their time and vigilance in following the many bills we tracked this session. Once again we can come away with a job well done.
by Senior Editor Alco Canfield
The WCB Board met at the Best Western Plus Evergreen Inn and Suites on Sunday, May 6, 2012. The room was full of enthusiastic participants who had just completed the Leadership Seminar the previous day.
President Cindy Van Winkle convened the meeting at 9:00 AM. All board members and chapter representatives were present. Others in attendance introduced themselves. After a correction, the minutes of the previous board meeting were approved.
Eric Hunter gave the Treasurer’s Report.
Cindy Van Winkle reported on recent WCB activities. The Leadership Seminar with the theme "Dare to Make a Difference," was very successful. Nineteen individuals from eleven chapters and our special interest affiliate participated. (See article elsewhere in this issue.)
Cindy established the Phone Committee at the beginning of March. Each of its five members answers calls one day a week. Cindy created an email list so that the committee can communicate with each other. Cindy also created a Resource Handbook available in Braille, large print, and electronic formats. The hard copy will be updated annually if necessary.
Cindy continues to negotiate with hotels for our 2013 and 2014 state conventions.
Chapter presidents received a letter from Cindy requesting financial contributions for American Council of the Blind’s (ACB) auction and fundraising walk held at the national convention. She is the contact person for auction donations.
Gaylen Floy will be the First Timer at the National Convention in Louisville. The deadline for State Convention First Timer applications is August 31.
Committees gave their reports.
Advocacy will work with the Environmental Access Committee to consider legislation concerning the safety of blind pedestrians.
The Convention Committee is hard at work planning our fall, 2012 convention. (See article in this issue.)
Crisis served ten people, two of whom are members of WCB.
The Families with Blind Children Committee will be working with the Yes II Program and is planning the youth conference to be held during State Convention.
Denise gave the Legislative Committee Report. (See article elsewhere in this issue.)
Membership is participating in the Low Vision Expo and will be a presence at the Puyallup Fair.
The Scholarship Committee reported that the application for the 2012 scholarship is on the website. Application deadline is August 31, 2012.
Reports concerning the activities of Washington Talking Book and Braille Library and the State Rehabilitation Council were presented by Sue Ammeter. The next Patron Advisory Council Meeting will be June 23. Danielle has given tours to three of the four people running for Secretary of State. Candidates running for this office have been invited to the June meeting and WCB members were urged to attend to show public support of the library.
Berl gave a report concerning the Washington State School for the Blind. The fundraising gala was very successful and WCB’s $1,000 donation was very much appreciated.
The Finance Committee recommended that WCB approve two grant requests: First, a request from the National Braille Press for $6,500 to cover the cost of fifty book bags containing information about blindness and Braille literacy and also containing puzzles and games.
Second, a request for $1,000 to assist in funding the ACB Leadership Seminar to be held at the national convention. Both grants were approved.
Sue Ammeter will be receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award from the National Braille Press on June 12. She and her mother will travel to Boston for the award ceremony.
There is a new list for those interested in employment: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 PM.
by CCCB Chapter Participant Zandra Brown
On the first weekend in May nineteen participants gathered in Federal Way, Washington, for this year’s Leadership Seminar. The group ranged in age from the youngest participant of 21, to our oldest in age, though young in spirit, in his 80s. We had a delightful group, eager to learn and contribute. Our Leadership Committee team had done a wonderful job of organizing an informative and interesting lineup of activities for us. It was a jammed packed schedule of presentations, discussion groups, networking, and time for socializing, too. The theme for this year’s Leadership Seminar was: "Dare to Make a Difference!" Presentations ranged from the history of the council, presented by Berl Colley, to personality types, how to build teams, and respecting others’ personality drivers, presented by Julie Brannon. Denise Colley gave an informative overview on how the local chapters, state chapter, and American Council of the Blind work together; and our governing system was discussed by Frank Cuta. Meka White talked about how members can become more involved and Cindy Van Winkle discussed our leadership roles. Along the way Marlaina Lieberg facilitated and we did group activities to reinforce the topics. This was all combined with sharing great meals together and meeting new friends. The guest speaker at the conclusion banquet was Sue Ammeter, who presented a lively and inspiring speech on her experiences and advocacy. The participants stayed on for the next day to observe the quarterly Board Meeting.
It was a privilege to be a part of this year’s WCB Leadership Seminar and I would strongly encourage WCB members to apply for a similar opportunity next year. I heard that our Leadership Committee had several more applicants this year than space could accommodate. I strongly encourage those not able to attend this year to reapply for next year. It is time well spent. I would like to extend kudos to the Leadership Committee. Their hard work in designing and presenting a great seminar was apparent. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this year’s Leadership Seminar. It was a delightful and useful experience and I am sure all of this year’s participants are appreciative of the effort put into it.
In this issue we are pleased to present another very interesting contribution by Ernie Jones.
Submitted by Carl Jarvis
Different Views: Charles Bonnet Syndrome
by Ernest Jones
I was sitting in my favorite recliner chair watching what I could still see on the television screen. Other than the TV, the room was quiet and I was alone. For some reason I turned my face and nearly jumped, because the room I was seeing was not our front room but a strange looking room. In shock, I blinked my eyes a couple times and shook my head and once again I was in my own house.
I was fortunate to only have this happen to me that one time but other folks may have these scenes repeatedly. For years I never told anyone for fear they would think I was going crazy. I was relieved when a few years later I learned about Charles Bonnet Syndrome.
The first person to describe Charles Bonnet Syndrome, (CBS), was the Swiss naturalist, Charles Bonnet, who described the condition in 1769. He first documented it in his 89-year-old grandfather who was nearly blind from cataracts in both eyes but perceived men, women, birds, carriages, buildings, tapestries, physically-impossible circumstances, and scaffolding patterns.
Why don’t we hear more about CBS? Being blind poses enough problems without someone thinking we are mentally ill. Only later after sharing with a close friend did I learn of his vision hallucinations. When riding in the car he would see what appeared to be scaffolding along the side of the road.
Another man, when riding in the car, would suddenly scream out to his wife, "Stop! There is a train right in front of us."
One woman looked up from her easy chair to see several children sitting quietly playing behind her. Only after standing up and stretching did these children disappear.
These hallucinations are more common than most believe since only a few with CBS will speak of it for fear of being thought to be having a mental meltdown. CBS usually shows up when a person is losing eyesight rapidly. These scenes may vary greatly; they may be beautiful country scenes, really scary looking people, or people in a miniature form or natural size.
There is no medical connection between CBS and mental conditions. Those with CBS know these hallucinations are just mirages of sorts; that is, the images are illusions, not delusions. The difference is that a person with delusions is convinced that what she/he sees is real. Patients with Charles
Bonnet Syndrome may initially second-guess themselves but they ultimately accept that their perceptions have no substance.
The cause of this disorder is thought to be a misfiring in the brain similar to the neurological mix-up that occurs in patients with phantom limb syndrome. As eyesight wanes, the brain continues to interpret visual imagery in the absence of corresponding visual input, just as it sometimes continues to process pain signals from a limb that’s no longer there.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome’s principal symptom is the occurrence of phantom hallucinatory visions which may be very animated and full of rich details.
The patient will most likely hesitate to tell his doctors or loved ones about the problem for fear they’ll think he has a mental problem. In reality, those with CBS have no greater chance for having mental degeneration than anyone else.
Roughly one-third of patients with low vision develop Charles Bonnet Syndrome, including those with macular, cataracts, and other eye disorders. The hallucinations are more likely to occur when the person is alone, in dim light, or when he or she is physically inactive or lacks distractions, such as television. Turning on an extra lamp or two, staying physically and mentally occupied, spending time with family or friends, and participating in social activities may reduce the frequency and vividness of the hallucinations. Often just a quick turn of the head, standing up, or even just blinking will stop these visions. Each person must learn what works for him or her; a positive attitude is the key.
Your eye doctor is the best healthcare professional to diagnose this condition. In addition, he/she will already be aware of any underlying vision disorders you have that may be associated with the syndrome. A thorough eye examination to rule out additional problems and a few targeted questions about your symptoms are usually all that’s needed to diagnose the syndrome.
Sometimes consultation with a neurologist or other specialist will help in ruling out any serious disorders that may mimic Charles Bonnet Syndrome, such as stroke and Parkinson’s Disease.
by COMS Dona Sauerburger
(Reprinted from the May 1996 newsletter, "Metropolitan Washington Orientation and Mobility Association." Reprinted with permission.)
Perseverance pays off.
Meanwhile, the touch cane technique and the training that accompanied it were not generally accepted by civilian agencies which served blind people. Bledsoe worked doggedly to advocate for it. Eventually his efforts paid off with the establishment of a National Rehabilitation Program for blind veterans at Hines Veterans’ Administration Hospital.
It is quite likely that if it were not for Bledsoe’s efforts, political skill, and determination to gain support for the program and its concepts, the idea of the touch cane technique and the training that accompanies it would probably not have survived.
Russ Williams was chosen to be chief of the new rehabilitation program. By that time, Hoover had moved back to the Maryland School of the Blind campus to attend medical school at Johns Hopkins University and later became an ophthalmologist. Bledsoe had become involved in Washington in the intense bureaucratic work needed to establish the center, but he came for several months to help set it up. All the other instructors who had been involved in the Valley Forge Program had also left for other careers.
Pioneers join the effort.
Thus Bledsoe and Williams had to recruit and train new instructors. These early O&Mers were Eddie Mees, Alford "Dee" Corbett, Stanley Suterko, Bud Thuis, and Larry Blaha.
One of those first instructors, Stanley Suterko, had been working as a therapist in a program of corrective therapy for soldiers with spinal injuries. He found working there to be discouraging because his supervisor had limited expectations of the patients. When he told his supervisor that he would apply for the new Hines Program for the Blind, his supervisor discouraged him, saying he’d end up carrying bedpans because the blind patients would not be able to do anything. Suterko didn’t believe him any more than he believed his pronouncement of the limited potential of patients who had spinal cor injuries.
The torch passes on as the flame burns brighter.
Bledsoe taught Suterko and the other new instructors the cane technique which Hoover had developed. Williams taught them the techniques that he had learned at Valley Forge and at Avon and the techniques that he had developed while pushing himself to the limits of independent travel in areas much more advanced than those he’d been taught.
After each lesson from Williams, one instructor would teach another who was blindfolded. Williams followed on these lessons, asking the one who was instructing what the other was experiencing, provoking the instructor’s thinking with such questions as: "What is he hearing?" and "Is his cane close to the wall?" Suterko says that these remarks didn’t mean much to him at the time, but when he started teaching his first blinded veterans he realized how important they were.
Williams was the only blind person whom the new instructors had ever met, and though they were impressed with what he could do as an independent traveler, they attributed it to his being exceptionally gifted. Nevertheless, Williams taught the instructors how he accomplished what he did, such as how he could locate buildings, statues, and even poles by noticing the sound shadow that they made when cars passed on the other side of them, or by the sound that they reflected when he clapped his hands. Thus the successful development of the O&M techniques and programs as we know them today are due in great part to Williams’ determination in learning the best from the experts and teaching himself even more, and passing this knowledge on to the Hines’ instructors. It is also partly due to his high expectations for the blinded veterans who, he was confident, could do it as well as he could.
As the new Hines’ instructors began to teach the veterans, their techniques and strategies began to change. Probably the most significant change that took place was that the lessons and techniques became increasingly sophisticated, with greater and greater expectations of the blind men.
Suterko remembers a lesson with one of his first learners who was asked to complete a complex route indoors to find a certain room. When the man reached his destination, he exclaimed, "Hot damn! I did it!" Suterko felt like saying the same thing because he was equally surprised that the man could do it.
To be concluded in the September 2012 NEWSLINE.
by Berl Colley
WCB had three of its members attend the American Council of the Blind (ACB) midyear meetings in Houston, Texas. Berl Colley was there for the presidents’ meetings. Cynthia Towers attended as the national convention coordinator and Chris Gray was the national president. In addition, Erin Laurenson was sent by WCB to attend the student meetings.
The Legislative Seminar in Washington D.C., was attended by WCB members Gary Burdette and Becky Bell. They visited all nine Washington House members and both Senators. There were five national legislative issues that were presented at the seminar. They were:
- 1. Visudyne therapy under Medicare. (Discontinued treatment for macular degeneration.)
2. Employment status of sheltered workshop employees.
3. Standards for timely Braille textbook production.
4. Accessible voting legislation for the visually impaired.
5. Legislation requiring drivers applying for new or renewed licenses to read a manual describing a White Cane and its uses.
On March 23, the board met with John Learned, CEO of the Vehicle Donation Processing Center (VDPC) in Southern California. The board asked a number of questions about the fundraiser and learned the donation process from the time of a vehicle being offered to the time of its sale. It was decided to open up the VDPC to Eastern Washington. The Eastern Washington donations started in the spring with ads being run in the Spokane papers.
Our May 19 board meeting was held in Seattle, at the Best Western Executive Inn. We learned that our second leadership training had fifteen trainees. Its theme was, "On the Job With WCB." Michael Byington, from ACB’s Kansas affiliate, served as facilitator.
The WCB board voted to purchase 1000 alphabet cards for distribution during talks at schools and other outside organizations.
Janice Squires was appointed to chair a committee updating policies for WCB’s First Timer awards. The WCB board voted to offer a national convention loan to its members of $800 which was to be paid back within ten months. Applications were to be made through the Convention Loan Committee. The organization also voted to give a stipend of $550 to members who were going to Houston. Requests were to be made to Shirley Taylor. Policy wording was requested by the board specifying that committee chairs’ expenses were to be paid when requested by the president to give committee reports in person at WCB board meetings.
At the May 19 meeting, Carl Jarvis, WCB’s representative on the Orientation and Training Center Oversight Committee, requested a WCB Advisory Committee, so that he could get some direction from the organization. A three-person committee was appointed; members included Kay Bohren, Julie De Geus, and Dan Tonge.
The History Committee was asked to have something about WCB’s history published in each NEWSLINE.
The First Timer selected to attend the Houston convention was Lynette Romero. The board approved funding for a second person that year. Meka White from the Peninsula Council Chapter was chosen.
There were five grant requests presented at the Spring board meeting. Two grants were approved. A grant to help purchase Braille writers for the Kaison Project and a request to produce 500 copies of a cook hints book.
Two grant requests were referred back to the Budget Committee and one request was denied.
It was also in May that ACB brought suit against the Treasury Department to make United States paper currency accessible for blind people.
Advocacy committee activities.
Sue Ammeter, chair of the WCB Advocacy Committee, reported that the committee had assisted several WCB members. Doug Hildie worked to get an audible signal installed in an intersection in Shoreline. One member saw some improvement in the strained relationship that had developed between her and her employer. Mardell Kindall obtained a settlement from Seattle’s Access System for luggage that they lost. The investment house, Charles Schwab, was told by a judge that it had to produce its statements in Braille when it was requested.
Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) News.
WCB nominated WTBBL director Jan Ames for the ACB Robert Bray Award in 2002. Jan was selected and attended the Houston convention to receive her award. WCB members learned that the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library was the only library for the blind in the United States that had Braille transcribers for music and math. It was announced that Jan Ames was retiring in August. Also, Shirley Taylor, WCB’s representative on the Patron Advisory Council announced that she would be serving until the end of the year and then she would be stepping down.
by Meka White
What will be your current location on November 1ñ3? I hope that the answer will be at the Vancouver Hilton for the Washington Council of the Blind’s State Convention. We have so much in store for you!
If you have never attended a WCB convention before and have been a member before May, you are eligible to apply for the First Timer’s Award. This award will cover your room and registration package, including meals. If you are interested in applying, please send a letter of application to Bill Hoage. The email address is email@example.com and the deadline date is August 31. Take the time to explain how you are involved in your chapter, why you want to go, and what you feel you will gain by going. The First Timer’s Committee would love to hear from you.
If you have been a member for at least six months, you are also eligible to call in for the free hotel room for the convention. The date to call in and let us know that you would like to have your name considered is September 10, from 9 AM until noon. You must speak to Marilyn personally; please do not leave a message. If you are put through to voicemail, please keep trying. Remember, this room goes quickly, so you will want to make sure that you call after 9 AM, on September 10. The number is 1-800-255-1147.
This year we will be holding the first exhibit showcasing artwork and hobbies. You will have the opportunity to get a hands-on view of the wonderful, artistic talent that abounds in our state. If you are a visually impaired artist or hobbyist and wish to be involved, please or call her at 206-362-3118.
We are incredibly excited to announce that Oregon author Ken Scholes will be speaking to us during our convention. He is a popular fantasy author. His trilogy, The Psalms of Isaac, is on BARD. The first two books in the trilogy along with an anthology of short stories are available through audible. The order of the trilogy is as follows: Lamentation DB69283, Canticle DB70039, and Antiphon DB72256. I encourage you to read his work so that you are familiar with it by the time convention comes around. I also urge book clubs to make "Lamentation" one of your reading selections. This is a wonderful and exciting opportunity, so let’s get to know Ken through his novels.
The committee has been working on tour options with the Washington State School for the Blind. This year we will also be offering several registration package options. All of these things will be laid out in greater detail in the bulletin, so be certain that you read all of the information that will be made available.
Finally, we are about five months away from convention and we really want you to attend. Start putting the wheels in motion now and make plans to come. If you are concerned about hotel costs, you could pair up with a friend and room together. If you have questions, ask members of your chapter for advice and ideas. The convention is a lot of things. It’s fun, informative, gives you the opportunity to take part in setting the course of this organization through the democratic process, and allows you to meet other people. However, it isn’t going to be nearly as fabulous for you if you are somewhere else. So make plans to join us, and remember, read those bulletins!
by Gaylen Floy
In early 2010, Amy Jantzen’s retirement was in full swing. The former operating room nurse was now a docent at the Wenatchee Valley Museum, a Master Gardener intern, a Sunday school teacher at United Methodist Church, and a missions-team chair.
Then in April, she noticed a shadow in her right eye. Two weeks later she could not see out of her right eye at all. In June, she woke up with half vision in her left eye and a month later she was left with a ten percent field of vision.
Amy says, "My vision loss was caused by a condition called Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. My rheumatologist believes that it was caused by an adverse reaction to the medication Enbrelóvery rare."
The diagnosis left Amy in shock. "I did not have the wherewithal to ask the right questions about services." She walked out of the office with a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) brochure and headed home.
Amy quit her volunteer duties, telling organizers she hoped to return some day. Friends offered to take her places and go shopping, but Amy did not want to impose. She spent much of her time reading with her Kindle. Concerned, her mother flew out from Florida. Amy recalls, "I planned to attend two different family reunions that summer, but canceled." The grandkids visited. That cheered her because they didn’t treat her differently.
Amy struggled to find information, asking friends online, "Where do I go to learn to be blind?" She attended a meeting of a local foundation. "Why would they hand a blind person a catalog? At least they told me about Vision Impossible, a support group."
Remembering a social services list posted in the church office, Amy found the number for the Department of Services for the Blind and called. Unfortunately, the phone message was lost. She called again. Steffi Coleman, from the Yakima office, called back and scheduled a visit to work on kitchen techniques and cane use.
Prior to training with Steffi, the only household chores that Amy could do were laundry and washing dishes. Her husband had become the cook, taking time off from work to get her to appointments. Amy’s new skills quickly changed the dynamics.
Encouraged by her support group and training, Amy eventually returned as a volunteer at church and the museum. "The people in the support group inspired me with all they were able to do! Some of them have jobs. They take buses wherever they want and they offer lots of practical tips."
Amy continued, "The most significant step that helped me move forward was accepting my condition, focusing on what I could do. It is still tempting to just not do anything, especially when it is difficult or frustrating. For example, it now takes me at least three times longer to prepare a meal."
At her last training session with Steffi, Amy announced she wanted to start something in Wenatchee. She told her support group that Wenatchee needed better services. Her friends in Vision Impossible agreed.
Several meetings were held. A "needs survey" was sent to all eye doctors and ophthalmologists in the area. Doctors estimated about 5,000 people in the Wenatchee area could possibly benefit from services.
Amy recounts, "We began the paperwork to form a nonprofit and contacted foundations in our community looking for partners. Early in 2011, Lilac Services for the Blind from Spokane contacted us. We decided that was a good fit."
Lilac Services for the Blind of Wenatchee received strong community support. Grants came in from the Community Foundation and the Central Lion’s Club. Wenatchee Valley Lion’s Club donated money. Unions and businesses provided supplies and labor to remodel the office.
A retired eye doctor volunteers two days a month. The new Lilac office offers the latest in desktop and handheld CCTVs, magnifiers, and more. Clients needing in-home visits and mobility training are referred to the Spokane office. Eventually Lilac hopes to add an Orientation and Mobility instructor.
When Lilac opened in January, the local paper gave front-page coverage with photos. Lilac was in the Apple Blossom Parade. People cheered and some yelled, "Thank you!" Amy chimes, "People in Wenatchee know where to go if they have vision problems."
Amy now serves on the board for Lilac and the Link Transit Advisory Board. Any future plans? She wants to start a WCB chapter and add cooking and exercise classes at the Lilac office. Next May sheís going on a mission trip to Louisiana.
by Scholarship Committee Member David Egan
As low and high technical items continue to become more of a necessity for blind and visually impaired college students, it’s nice to know there are organizations which champion the cause of these students by providing scholarships for college and/or vocational/technical training.
This year, as in the past, the WCB is one of those organizations. We will again be awarding college scholarships up to $4,000, to deserving residents of Washington State.
To learn about the criteria for applying for a WCB scholarship, please read the cover letter on the WCB website. Just click on the link titled "Announcements." There you will also find links to the WCB scholarship application along with an explanation of what other documents are required.
The selection process will include: preview of all applications and other required documents and telephone interviews conducted with each applicant. The information obtained will be used by committee members to fill out an objective rating scale.
The WCB website is located at: www.wcbinfo.org.
If you have any questions or need clarification of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact Scholarship Committee chair, . Please consider either applying yourself this year if you are college bound or a current college student; we encourage you to apply. If you know someone who is a resident of Washington State, who meets the visual acuity requirements noted in the scholarship cover letter and who is planning to attend or is currently attending an accredited school, please urge him/her to apply. We have a passionate, competent, and very skilled Scholarship Committee awaiting your application.
Applications and other required documents must be received by August 31, 2012. Scholarship winners will be notified of their acceptance soon after the application receipt deadline date and after necessary processes are completed. The winners will be invited to attend this year’s WCB Convention in Vancouver, Washington. The scholarships will be awarded during the convention banquet on Saturday evening, November 3, 2012.
Don’t miss this opportunity to win a valuable scholarship from WCB!
by Gaylen Floy
Nicole Torcolini, a WCB scholarship winner in 2008, just earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science. In July, Nicole begins a job as a Software Engineer in Test working on Google Plus.
Nicole, how did you get the job with Google?
"Initially, Google found out about me through networking among other people in the field, but I applied for this position through a recruiting program at Stanford. I was also a former Google Lime Scholarship recipient, through which I had made some contacts at Google."
How was your college experience?
"My college experience was somewhat challenging (in a positive way), mostly enjoyable, and usually quite fun; things ran smoothly a large amount of the time.
"I was pleasantly surprised by the broad spectrum of educational and cultural learning opportunities that were available to me at Stanford and in the Bay Area. My favorite class was Women and Disabilities. The professor was also blind and had a guide dog."
How did you handle transportation?
"Stanford has a student-run golf cart service called DisGo (Disability Golf Cart) that takes students from place to place during the day and all week. There is also a free bus service that operates a little later than DisGo. After both DisGo and the buses have stopped, there is a free-ride-home service at night. When traveling on foot with my guide dog, Lexia, the campus was slightly hard to learn at first, but once I got the hang of it, things worked well. It helps to start with a large tactile map of the campus to develop a spatial understanding of how the campus is laid out."
Was there time for other activities?
"I did not have as much free time for leisure activities as I would have liked, but I did participate in some activities, such as the occasional horseback riding lesson and attending a cappella performances. I tried to stay involved in my dorm activities and focused on interesting and stimulating electives that helped maintain my sanity. I did connect with other students who are blind. All of us undergrads were majoring or minoring in Computer Science or a related department.
"The large number of separate classes I took at Stanford amplified the usual challenge of getting course material adapted on time, as well as settling into a routine with professors, teaching assistants, and classroom locations. The school is on a quarter system instead of a semester system. Also, Stanford emphasized variety and diversity in each student’s individual curricula, so I took many small courses to meet various requirements outside of my majoróeach with their own minimum demands. All this added up to four years of constant change and transition for me and the Office of Accessible Education (OAE).
"I did get my textbooks on time, but found that some professors did not teach in the same sequence as the book. That meant getting the syllabus early so that the OAE could adapt the work in the sequence taught. The OAE did a phenomenal job and their turnaround time was amazing. I received as much of the text in electronic format as possible; the OAE also produced hundreds of pages of tactile graphics for my classes.
"As soon as I registered for a class, I coordinated with the OAE so they could gather material and correspond with my professors for that quarter.
"Pre-planning was the key to things going smoothly. If a handout was prepared in any MS Office program, I asked that the professor send it in that format. If there were no complex graphics, I read the document directly without conversion or by running it through the virtual scanner in Kurzweil."
What technology did you use?
"Primarily, I used JAWS as my screen reader and Kurzweil to convert PDFs. The program I created in high school, Nemetex, was used to back-translate Nemeth* files. I also used a BrailleNote Apex and a Victor Reader Stream.
"My advice to blind students considering college is to shop around for the best college. Make sure to visit the colleges and their Disability Resource Center to gain some confidence that they can deliver the necessary accommodations at pace with the instruction."
"WCB made a big difference in my life. I would like all of WCB to know that I could not have achieved my academic and career goals without the help and support of WCB, my friends, family, teachers, and para-educators."
* Note: Nemeth is Braille code used for mathematical and scientific notations.
by Awards Committee Chair Julie Brannon
If you’re at all like me, through the year you often think of people, both inside and outside WCB, who give of their time, talent, resources, and passion to blind and visually impaired persons in a variety of ways.
We began to be a part of this marvelous chance to recognize the hard work, giving, focus, and passion of so many persons around Washington State. In 2004, this committee was first designated as an ad-hoc committee by WCB President Cindy Van Winkle. At every state convention since, we have shared the joy of the award recipients. This tradition will continue in 2012, at our state convention in Vancouver, November 1ñ3, 2012. So, first submit the worthy person’s name and activity for that award. Then come and see your nominee receive that recognition at the convention.
It’s time to begin taking action and contacting the Awards Committee with your ideas about deserving persons. This year, as in years past, we will continue to give:
- Internal Certificates:
- Certificates of appreciation to those who have completed their board/officer tenure within the year
- A certificate to chapters honoring ongoing growth with ten percent or more membership increase in the past year.
- Honorable mention to chapters who have submitted a chapter update quarterly for the past year in the WCB NEWSLINE.
- Internal awards will consist of:
- Certificate for outstanding service to WCB.
- Chapter of the Year Award to a chapter that has demonstrated actions of outstanding community outreach.
- Outstanding Advocacy Award.
- NEWSLINE Editor’s Award to a writer who has written an outstanding article for the NEWSLINE within the last year on some aspect of blindness.
- External awards will consist of:
- Employer of the Year Award going to an employer who has employed blind/visually impaired persons along with allowing for access and upward mobility, who isn’t in the rehab/blindness field.
- Business of the Year Award given to a business that has provided outstanding customer service to blind/visually impaired persons.
- One-World Award given to a person or entity who has assisted in minimizing the impact of blindness in some way.
If you would like further explanation regarding the criteria for each award, , or call me at 206-547-7444 with your questions, or go online to the WCB website, www.wcbinfo.org, and look at the NEWSLINE article from June, 2005, written by Marlaina Lieberg outlining detailed explanations of each award.
There will be more information posted on the WCB website, including a letter you can send out to your families, friends, and organizations for their suggestions for possible recipients for the external awards.
Your submission for award considerations must not exceed 350 words and contact information for both you and the recipient must be included.
or send via phone. The deadline for the receipt of your award nominations is September 30, 2012!
The Awards Committee: Bill Hoage, Joanne Hunter, and I look forward to this being the year with the greatest number of award nominations. This is your chance to translate your thoughts of appreciation and gratitude into action!
by WCB Diabetes Support Group Chair Peggy Shoel
We face the same challenges. We speak the same language. We are the Washington Council of the Blind Diabetes Support Group.
If you are not doing well with your diabetes management, join us and we will give you the understanding, encouragement, and support you need.
If you ARE doing well with your diabetes management, join us and give us the understanding, encouragement, and support we need.
We help you and you help us. It’s your opportunity to participate in a win-win situation. Our monthly teleconference calls the fourth Monday of each month from 7:00 to 8:00 PM are through a toll free number.
For more information please contact me at 206-722-8477 .
by WCB Environmental Access
Committee Chair Douglas Hildie
At our most recent committee meeting, we had the opportunity to speak with Wendy Chisholm, Senior Accessibility Strategist with Microsoft. Wendy began using computers at age twelve. In college, she was recruited by a professor to assist a fellow student with an assignment which involved graphing data. When she met the student, she found that he was blind. Wendy’s creative mind and skill with computers made it possible for her fellow student to complete his assignment.
After college, Wendy applied her talents to making computers universally accessible. Before joining Microsoft, Wendy had her own consulting business in Seattle. She focused on making computers accessible for people of all abilities. At Microsoft she continues pursuing her passion to make computer technology usable by everyone.
During our meeting with Wendy it became apparent that WCB might become directly involved in the strategic process that leads to greater computer accessibility. Through connection to WCB chapters, Microsoft could increase the scope of its outreach efforts statewide. This would provide Microsoft with a larger and more diverse group of people who are blind and blind with other disabilities. It would increase the types and nature of visual impairments that should be considered when defining accessibility strategies, designing technologies for computerized devices, and could lead to increased flexibility and usability of these devices.
The WCB Environmental Access Committee encourages all chapters to get involved. Contact us to make connections with Microsoft and its Accessibility Strategy Program.
Capital City Council of the Blind (CCCB)
by Berl Colley
We have had a speaker in our last three meetings, March, April, and May. An officer, Brian Wiley, from the Olympia Police Department, came to our March meeting to talk about home safety, but there were so many questions about street safety that we will have to have him come back.
Jackie Cabrera has started hosting a chapter game night. She always has lots of good food. The first night those attending ended up watching a described movie. The second time we actually did play a game and at the third party we ate and sat around and visited.
Our Social Committee chair, Kathy Matsen, put on our annual Spring Pizza Party on May 12, at Apollo’s Restaurant in West Olympia. We have been doing them since CCCB won the WCB Pizza Party Award in 2004. There were eighteen members in attendance.
Alan and Viola Bentson attended the Tony Bennett concert in Seattle. Gary and Isabel Ernest, and Denise and Berl Colley attended the Crystal Gayle concert at the Little Creek Casino. Kathy and Dan Matsen attended a concert in Aberdeen.
At least four CCCB members were participants in a crosswalk study on roundabouts. This study was through a grant to North Carolina State University. Alan and Viola Bentson, Catherine Golding, and Berl Colley spent over two and a half hours making ten crossings at crosswalks at two different roundabouts.
Catherine Golding, chair of CCCB’s Pedestrian Safety Committee announced that the city of Olympia is going to fulfill our request for ten new intersections to have audible signals and to have four more intersections converted from the older bird sounds to the currently accepted audible announcements. The installations and conversions will start this summer. The city has also committed to installing one new intersection each year.
CCCB had two members, Zack Hurtz and Zandra Brown, attend the WCB Leadership Seminar in Federal Way on May 4ñ5. Zack Hurtz, Zandra Brown, Andrea Damitio, and Denise and Berl Colley were at the WCB Spring Board Meeting on May 6, in Federal Way.
Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)
Summertime With Our Dogs
by President Debby Phillips
As I sit here with our oil stove on, I’m excited to think about summer coming. Summer means warmer days, pleasant evenings, and travel. Although this may not be GDUWS related, this article is definitely dog-related and some of what I am writing will be applicable to those much loved pet dogs as well as our guides.
The first thing I think of with summer, of course, is the American Council of the Blind Convention. First of all I remember that it will be hot in Louisville. In all the bustle please make sure that you allow time for your guide to de-stress, either in your room or in the Guide Dog Users, Inc., (GDUI) suite. Play a little; give your pup lots of hugs and pets, and plenty of water.
Of course with that added water there will need to be more opportunities for relieving. What goes in has to come out somewhere and better the right place than the wrong place. Don’t forget too, that your dog will be stressed by all the people, many dogs, and those long white canes that inevitably hit your dog right at ankle level.
Your demeanor will make all the difference to how stressed your dog feels. I do hope that some of you will be able to attend all or some of the GDUI meetings. Those of us who aren’t able to attend this year will anticipate hearing from you at a later date.
Those of us who are staying home will no doubt be going on more and longer walks with the warmer weather. Again, remember to give both you and your buddy plenty of water. Dog booties or shoes should always be available on hot days.
Recently I read something about how to tell if it’s hot enough for your dog to wear booties. Place the palm of your hand on the black top. If after ten to fifteen seconds you are uncomfortable, then you will know that your dog will be uncomfortable without its booties.
Summer is a wonderful time to travel with your dog. May you find pleasant walking, chances to meet old friends and make new ones, and perhaps a new coffee place where you can enjoy your favorite brew. Have a great summer and be ready this fall to work on making GDUWS a thriving, healthy organization that we will take part in with pride.
Jefferson County Council (JCCB)
by Carl Jarvis
Like a hungry old bear just coming out of hibernation, JCCB is shaking off the effects of a long, very wet winter, and we’re lean and . . . well, not mean, but maybe eager is a better word.
We have increased our membership to twenty-three. Not too bad for rural Jefferson County, although we sneaked Richard and Rita Dinger and Bonnie Sherrell in from Clallam County.
Sadly, cancer claimed two of our members, David Walker and Bob Garing.
Sue Ammeter continues as our active WCB Advocacy Chair. Her years of experience have assisted many of our members, not only state-wide but here at home. Nancy Kelly-Patnode consulted with Sue and peacefully resolved the controversy regarding her use of the community kitchen at the SKP Park. In fact, we will be once again holding our JCCB picnic there, enjoying the hospitality of the Kitchen Angels.
Sue was also invited to give the banquet address at this year’s leadership training. And if that’s not enough, she is still the chair of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Department of Services for the Blind.
Bob and Gloria Lehnert returned from their travels with a couple of adventures involving banditos holding up several members in their caravan.
Following a long absence while tending to her husband, Viola Garing has rejoined us. Viola and Carl have something in common. Both attended John Hay Grade School in Seattle about fifteen years apart. But Viola’s son, David, tells us that not only did Viola attend John Hay, but both he and Viola’s mother also attended. You never know who you will run into out here on the Great Olympic Peninsula.
King County Chapter of the Blind
by Treasurer Marilyn Donnelly
Oh, boy, it’s picnic time in the Northwest. I can hardly wait to have that first hot dog with extra mustard and sweet relish. Then comes the traditional hot and cold dishes and last, but not least, a slice of watermelon and strawberry shortcake. As Jackie Gleason used to say, "How sweet it is!"
This is also the season for graduations, weddings, and reunions. So far I have been to one wedding.
Recent guest speakers spoke to us about a variety of topics. Stuart Russell talked about the Leadership Conference and encouraged anyone who has not attended to do just that. And Jim McIntosh did just that.
Dale Sturgeon spoke about his recent cataract surgery. All went well.
Two speakers from METRO discussed the many changes that will take place in bus routes for King County.
Al and Connie Gil recently attended the California Council of the Blind Spring Convention in Burlingame, California. Some of you may remember that the American Council of the Blind held a convention there some years ago.
We have heard about a lot of birthday parties lately. Nancy Lind celebrated number 70 on May 4, surrounded by family and friends and a Scandinavian band. I can hear the accordion now. I enjoyed several birthday lunches myself in March.
Speaking of that special day, we wish all of you who will be celebrating in June, July, and August a very happy birthday.
Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB)
by President Meka White
Spring has been in full swing for the Peninsula Council of the Blind. We started it off right with a wonderful spring brunch held at the Silvercrest Apartments. There was much food, warmth, and laughter that was shared by all of us. We have done this spring brunch for years and it is a tradition that simply keeps on giving. We simply love to get together. Okay, I admit it; I also love the waffles that Mike Denzer makes as well. The waffle iron is as much of a staple as this day is for us. We even managed to have a short business meeting in the midst of it all.
Our chapter has also been encouraging restaurants to order Braille menus. We had a social at the Bremerton Bar and Grill right after they purchased Braille menus and it made the visit there that much nicer. Also, All Star Lanes got an updated Braille menu. We have been passing out brochures and business cards to restaurant owners, encouraging them to order from Carolyn Myer. This definitely takes persistence, but it is so wonderful when a restaurant does the right thing. I encourage other chapters to write to Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org and request business cards to hand out to their members at meetings. If you find that restaurants that you frequent don’t have a Braille menu, ask them to please get one and pass them the card. It takes out that excuse of: "Well, we don’t know where to get it from," and you are putting the information right in their hands.
Kim Moberg and Barbara Evans were participants in this year’s leadership training. Both ladies enjoyed the training and felt that they learned a great deal about the organization. The PCB is so proud of both of you!
Several of us had the opportunity to go fishing thanks to the local Poggie Club. The club members assisted us in baiting our hooks and casting since we were fishing in a pond that was longer than it was wide. There were excited yells when fish were caught; and yours truly even touched a worm and a flopping fish. A reporter and a photographer were there and the group that attended was in the paper. We had a wonderful time and hope to organize another outing with the Poggie Club. A big thanks goes out to them for such a wonderful day.
We have two very special ladies doing some extraordinary things. On June 9, Nicole Torcolini will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. Barbara Evans will be graduating with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services on that same day from Western Washington University. Both of these women are scholarship winners and both have accomplished wonderful things. Your PCB family is so very proud of you and we know that you will continue to do great things.
The support group continues to take place at the home of Eric and Joanne Hunter and has been a great way for people to get to know one another.
The All Ears Book Club enjoys meeting at Subway; and there have been some rather spirited discussions concerning book selections. The books that we have read over the past few months are The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and The Color Purple by Alice Walker. You can find all of these books on BARD.
We hope that you all have a wonderful, safe summer and we’ll catch you again in September!
South King Council of the Blind (SKB)
by Member Marlaina Lieberg
Hello friends in WCB. South King has been very busy since our last update to you.
In March, we held a bowling party fundraiser, open to all bowlers blind and sighted alike. The event was very successful and we hope to do another again.
At our April meeting, we offered some general Facebook training from a blindness prospective. The first training was for Windows users; in June, we intend to offer a similar general training for Mac users.
With the money we raised from the bowling event, we were able to rent a commercial kitchen and gym, pay for insurance, and hire Jackie Cabrera and staff to put on a cooking workshop for blind kids ages 12 to 18. We reached out to parents and educators in the South King area, as well as Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) staff, and on May 11, we offered a cooking class for blind youth and their parents.
As a direct result, we received many phone calls and inquiries from other counties in Western Washington. Hats off to WCB’s Jackie Cabrera, a blind chef, for being willing to work with all of us; to Janet George from DSB for the moral support; and Liz Egan, a teacher in the Federal Way School System for all her help.
On a glorious sunny day at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Federal Way, the lives of seven blind youngsters took a turn for the better. Jackie gave them a tour of the kitchen and issued orders. "Everyone wash your hands!" Soon seven students manned their stations wearing aprons and chef hats. Parents hovered at the kitchen window and door smiling intently.
Garrett, 12 years old, announced he had a spatula and waved it in the air. "He was timid at first," said Jackie. "Next thing you know he’s grilling four sandwiches at a time!"
Jackie showed Sue, age 14, how to measure using her hands. Jackie’s staff worked with other kids following Jackie’s lead. The kids learned to use knives safely. Within four hours they prepared a chicken broccoli casserole, bacon-wrapped green beans, a dump cake, and a parfait. The recipes were simple, but the achievement the kids felt was huge.
We have many things on our horizon at SKB. We are looking at inviting interesting and relevant speakers to educate and inspire us; we are looking at creating time during our meetings where folks can candidly discuss challenges they face with respect to blindness and in return, receive support and information from others present. We are still interested in learning how to repair Braille writers, and oh yes, don’t be surprised if you see another invitation to come bowling with us.
We were proud to have two participants at this year’s WCB Leadership Training; and one of our members served as the facilitator for the entire event. And speaking of being proud, our own Gaylen Floy was chosen as the WCB First Timer to attend the American Council of the Blind National Convention.
We are finding that publishing our monthly meetings in the calendars of area newspapers is a wonderful way to reach out to interested persons. As a result of this effort, several folks have attended our meetings and joined SKB.
So, as you can see, SKB is going and growing, becoming a vital member of the community in South King County. We welcome any and all of you to join us on the second Saturday of each month from 10:30 to 12:30 for our meeting which is held at Denny’s, 2132 South 320th Street in Federal Way. Join with us and catch the wave of enthusiasm our chapter exudes as we go about making a difference in the lives of blind folks in South King County.
United Blind of Seattle (UBS)
by Secretary Malissa Hudson
Well, the UBS chapter is full of excitement with many things to look forward to! In March, Vice President Quincy Daniels facilitated our meeting on President Clint Reiding’s behalf and did a marvelous job! Way to go, Quincy!
He led a round-table discussion on the importance of leadership and he asked each of us what leadership means to us. It was a lively discussion.
We had four people in the chapter participate in the WCB Leadership Seminar and I want to take time to congratulate them!
In April, we had one of our own members be a guest speaker. Tim McCorcle talked about his experiences in the International Ski for Light that took place in Utah. It was a very inspiring presentation.
At our May meeting, we had Nathan Vass from Metro come to speak about some of the new changes that will happen with bus routes in September. Mr. Vass is a bus driver and also a bus rider. Thanks to UBS member Nathan Brannon for arranging this presentation which contained so much useful information.
Our annual Friend’s Day is coming up on June 16, at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library and there will be more details in the next issue about that.
You all are welcome to come and enjoy all the fun at our meeting which is held the third Saturday of each month at Virginia Mason Hospital, 925 Seneca. Come see what we’re all about. God bless and enjoy the beautiful weather! See you next time!
United Blind of the Tri-Cities (UBTC)
by Member Janice Squires
Hooray, the blossoms are blooming and the sun is shining, spring has finally arrived! All of the members of the UBTC are once again keeping busy with our many activities. We are so proud of our two WCB leadership candidates, Sherry Dubbin and Ruth Shook. Both ladies attended their first WCB convention and are now really hooked on this organization. Sherry is our second vice president and Ruth serves on the UBTC board. They both give in so many ways to our local chapter. They spoke on their exciting experiences with us at the May meeting and we are all so very proud of them. Sherry has been appointed our Outreach Committee person and we know she will do a great job.
Once again our lunch group is eating its way around the Tri-Cities; thanks to Karyn Vandecar for selecting so many fun restaurants for us to enjoy. The card group is back in full swing and so too, is the book group. Two of the novels we read were Whistling Season and Answer Like a Man. The Richland Players will be concluding its season with the performance of "A trip to Bountiful." We will definitely be purchasing our season tickets for next year since this is one of our most popular events.
A huge thank you goes to our First Vice President Cheryl Stone for taking on the big job of our annual candy sale. Several of our members spent the day at our local Fred Meyer store not only to sell candy, but to be visible to people in our community. Another way our chapter members were out in the community was by helping the local Lion’s Club with their white cane day.
Our new president, Steve Vandecar, is trying to make our meetings more informative with speakers and good discussions. The local Meals on Wheels coordinator spoke at our April meeting. Steve and Karyn Vandecar and Holly Kaczmarski are all members of the Benton Franklin Transit Advisory Board. Steve reported that several members attended the latest transit hearing on fare increases. The Transit Board will make its final decision in April. At the May meeting, our members voted to assist an eleven-year-old visually impaired girl in her dream to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. We donated $100.00 to make her wish come true.
I would like to single out one of our most precious and very young-at-heart members in this issue. It is Myra Wood, who turned 90 last December. She is always there for everyone and even referees at our monthly card game! Oh, how hard it is to lose that nickel! Thank you Myra for all you do!
Our deepest sympathies go to our good friend Bill Hoage on the loss of his beloved wife, Kitty. It was a most difficult time for him and we want Bill to know that we will always be here when he needs us.
Hope everyone has a beautiful summer.
United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)
by President Barb Crowley
WCB Board Member Visits UBWC
At our April meeting, we welcomed Sue and John Ammeter to Bellingham. We had a wonderful exchange about the early days of UBWC and what was going on locally, statewide, and nationally for the blind community. Some UBWC members have known one another for over twenty years so you would think that we knew everything about each other. But Sue surprised us with the news that Ron Bradshaw was a great dancer and she had danced several times with Ron in their younger days. What do you think? Should we persuade Ron and Sue to show off their moves at our next talent show and then we can provide an audio description?
UBWC Human Race Walk
It was a joint effort as UBWC members participated in the annual 5K Human Race Walk around Bellingham Bay on May 12. Betty Sikkema and her friend Tammy, Bruce Radtke, and Diane Haggith were the walkers. Other UBWC members: Yvonne Thomas Miller, Hope Nightingale, Chris White, Mimi Freshly, Barb Crowley, and WCB board member Sue Ammeter collected money. We earned approximately $700. Good going, team!
Remember the old commercial in which two brothers look at a bowl of cereal with suspicion? They decided to push the bowl over to their littlest brother, Mikey, who eagerly gobbles it down. The older brothers watch in amazement and say, "He likes it! He really likes it!"
Well, when a new member of UBWC, Gloria Riley, was offered a chance to attend the WCB Leadership Seminar in early May, she tried it and really liked it! She said, "You have no idea how much you have changed my life! I’m brimming over with joy and happiness. Not only did I come away with new ideas and the tools to work with, but I was given the opportunity to connect with those who have faced life’s challenges and overcome them both at our conference and in other settings. This was a source of comfort and inspiration. I found encouragement, a new family, and great people."
So, next year, when the leadership training is announced, try it. You might just like it!
On the Go
The UBWC Membership Committee, including Diane Kirscheman and Ron Bradshaw, continue to provide both social and educational events for us. In April, we visited an art gallery featuring various artists from the Lummi Nation, including UBWC’s Yvonne Thomas Miller. In May, members had lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Ferndale, and then journeyed to Tennant Lake to the Fragrance Garden to walk off the luncheon calories.
The book club continues to meet every six weeks and this month they are reading Pilgrim’s Progress.
Bellingham Food Co-op Grant Results
If you hear refrains coming from the north of a chorus singing "Santa Is Coming to Town," you are not hallucinating. It’s just ten members of UBWC and the low vision group responding to the results of their grant application. For the last several months, the Social Welfare Committee whose members include: Betty Sikkema, Mimi Freshly, and Gloria Riley have been working with the members to determine what high and low tech items could improve their independence and quality of life. The committee demonstrated a variety of items that could assist them. Members also had an opportunity to examine these items. After this process, ten individuals requested a grant for a variety of adaptive aids. We are anticipating these items in June. They include: color code identifiers, Optical Character Recognition Scanner software upgrades, three-pronged support canes, and a Pen Friend, just to name a few. $1,600 was donated by the Bellingham Food Co-op and $400 was given by the Personal Assistant Kit (PAK) fund. Congratulations to the grant applicants and many thanks to the food co-op and contributors to the PAK Fund. Hats off to Bruce Radtke who wrote the original proposals and to the Social Welfare Committee for making it happen!
Thanks for the Memories, Margit
Margit L. Kingston, a ten-year member of UBWC died on May 3. For the past several years, she served as the Disability Community Representative on the Whatcom County Citizens’ Election Advisory Committee. She took a central role in advising the auditor regarding the selection of accessible voting machines for disabled citizens. If you met Margit, you would remember her for her wit, intelligence, compassion, and generosity. She will be greatly missed.
United Blind of Walla Walla
by President Joleen Ferguson
The focus of our discussion during the meetings of February through April centered on an accessible signal installation. Delta Gamma has accrued additional funds and is hoping to partner with us in funding another intersection. There was much discussion around this until we settled on 9th and Poplar. We will be contributing to the cost.
We heard an update from Ferd and Libby about the work involved in publishing and distributing the book that Libby wrote. It is now in its second printing and has found its way into several book stores.
Mike DelRoss was our guest speaker at our April meeting, since he was here from Guide Dogs of the Desert, doing in-home training with Dodie and her new, black Standard Poodle guide, Reta. It was interesting to hear, not only of Mike’s work history training dogs, but also his work training Reta for low blood sugar alert work as well as for guide work. We are hopeful that Reta will be able to go on alerting Dodie consistently and appropriately. Reta brings our four-footed membership to four and they are from three different schools.
We have an interesting program coming up on May 28, but it will be necessary to wait until our next report to find out what it will be. Come back next time . . .
Compiled by WCB President Cindy Van Winkle
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the following WCB members:
Barbara Evans (PCB), on her graduation from Western Washington University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services. She now seeks employment and is giving serious consideration to applying for a Master’s Program in the not-too-distant future.
Nicole Torcolini (PCB), on her graduation from Stanford University where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science. She begins her career with Google in July and will be working in the Google Plus department.
Michael Higley (UBSWW), on passing the Washington State License for Practical Nursing. He is now actively seeking employment in this field.
Mardel Kendall (UBTC), a true mentor and inspiration to so many, on the celebration of her 80th birthday.
Nancy Lind (UBS, KCC, and GEACB), a real WCB treasure, on the occasion of her 70th birthday.
Libby and Ferd Swenson (UBWW), on the birth of their 16th great-grandchild born April 22, 2012.
Shirley Taylor (UBS), on the births of her 8th and 9th and 10th great-grandchildren. Rowan Lee Mauermann was born April 7, weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces; Ryan Alden Brown was born April 18, weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces; Nolan Robert Jennings was born May 23, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces. The three boy cousins were born within six weeks of each other and their three moms are sisters.
Dodie Brueggeman (UBWW), on her recent partnering with Reta, a beautiful, solid black Standard Poodle from Guide Dogs of the Desert. Reta is dual-trained as a guide and in low blood sugar alert. The team received in-home training and things are going very well.
Carla Brinkley (UBWW), on her recent re-election as vice president of the Resident Council of Garrison Creek, the residential community where she lives, for a one-year term.
If you have something for inclusion in future Hats Off articles, please send them to email@example.com with "Hats Off" in the subject line.
Compiled by Joleen Ferguson
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. 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.
"How Can I Help You?" is a training video for health care providers and volunteers that gives many examples of how best to assist a blind or visually impaired patient or visitor to a hospital or medical facility. It was made through the joint effort of client members of the Advocacy Committee of the New Hampshire Association for the Blind and Concord Hospital.
The committee wrote the script, acted the roles, and trained hospital staff and volunteers; the hospital filmed the video.
Watch or download: www.sightcenter.org on the front page menu open Resources Tab, select Video Links, read the story of how the video came about, and then select Watch or Download.
It is also available on YouTube:
It is the hope of the New Hampshire Association for the Blind that any organization that wishes may use this video for staff and volunteer training purposes and to promote accessibility for persons who are blind and visually impaired. We also encourage others to create similar tools and disseminate them broadly.
President and CEO
New Hampshire Association for the Blind
WCB Member Is Interviewed
Kelsi Watson, South King Council Chapter member is featured in "SightConnection" in their latest issue of Prism.
Apps Available for the iPhone
"Voice Book VO" is a Facebook app designed for those who use the Apple iOS Voice Over accessibility features. Basic Facebook functionality is finally available for the blind, low-vision, dyslexic, or other print-disabled people.
"Hear Planet" is an educational app that gives auditory information about locations and points of interest world wide. It functions like a virtual tour guide. Check it out on Apple This or in the App Store.
by Alco Canfield
Oven Fried Chicken
1 fryer cut up, washed and dried
1 to 10 cups flour
10 Tablespoon salt
10 Tablespoon paprika
Pepper to taste.
Roll chicken in flour mixture and place on the greased rack of a broiler pan.
Preheat oven to 425-450 degrees.
Cook chicken on oven rack placed in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
Turn over and cook for another 30 minutes.
Place on paper towel-covered plate to drain excess grease.
Sprinkle with Johnny’s Seasoning Salt before serving if desired.
Note: If you put foil on the bottom of the pan, cleanup is much, much easier.
Compiled by Alco Canfield
July 6-14, 2012: ACB Convention, Galt House, Louisville, KY
August 4, 2012: WCB Board Meeting, Best Western Plus Evergreen Inn and Suites, Federal Way, WA
August 25, 2012: Deadline for article submission for September NEWSLINE
August 31, 2012: Application deadline for First Timer Scholarship
August 31, 2012: Application deadline for 2012 scholarships
September 10, 2012: Deadline to call in for free room at State Convention
September 30, 2012: Deadline for submission of award nominations
October 4, 2012: Deadline for WCB convention registration
November 1-3: WCB Convention: Hilton Hotel, Vancouver, WA
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