2016 WCB Convention Program

Washington Council of the Blind (WCB)
Full Steam Ahead

November 3- 5, 2016 | Seattle Airport Marriott
Hosted by United Blind of Seattle

Departure Platform ⎯ This guide and welcome information

“All aboard”

Honoring the theme of our convention, let’s imagine that we are boarding the Empire Builder. This historic train journeys from Seattle, across our beautiful country, and arrives in Chicago. Instead of physical locations, we’ll be traveling toward the education, enjoyment, and empowerment stations of convention.

This year our program is organized similarly to one that passengers receive on long-distance trains and cruise ships. We hope you enjoy the trip!

Trip Planner

Cruise Desk ⎯ General information, live streaming, and more

General Guidelines

All WCB meetings are open to members and non-members alike. With a few exceptions, convention related events will take place in the conference area of the hotel. Please refer to the Departure Platform which will guide you through all events, times, and locations.


For the safety of all those aboard, we ask that name tags be worn while in the various train cars (conference center) throughout the weekend. Visitors not registered should obtain a visitors pass at the registration desk or exhibits.

Streaming and Recording

All major program events will be streamed live when possible on ACB Radio www.acbradio.org / 231-460-1047, and recorded for future access at www.wcbinfo.org.

Time Change

Early Sunday morning we “fall back” to Pacific Standard Time. For those of us who will still be on board, we get an hour more for fun. Hurray!

Boarding the Train

Registration, name tags, and door prizes

Registration Desk Schedule

Thursday: 3 to 5 p.m. pre-registration only
Friday: 7 a.m. to Noon, and 1 to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m. to Noon

Besides receiving this program and welcome packet, checking back here for information about locations and times of activities and events can be helpful. Friendly desk personnel are ready willing and able to assist you.


Volunteers will be on site throughout the convention. Upon your arrival or departure of the train, they may assist you to and from the door of your sleeping car. Beyond that, volunteers will be available only in the main cars, also known as the public areas of the hotel and conference center.

The Ticket Kiosk

Our name tag works like a train ticket. Please wear the tag or have it easily retrievable. Each name tag has been color coded with dots to confirm your registration and membership status. In order to enter all train cars, the tag must be easily viewed; this includes: dining, social, exhibits, entertainment, and meetings. As with a train ticket, losing the tag is not a good idea. If you do, there will be a $5.00 replacement charge.


All WCB members will have a green dot placed on the upper right corner of the name tag. Be sure to verify you have this if wishing to vote on Saturday afternoon. Any concerns about membership status should be dealt with at the Registration Desk prior to noon on Saturday.

Door Prizes

Door prizes are an anticipated part of our journey. Throughout the general sessions, the Friday luncheon, business meeting and banquet, prizes will be given. When an individual’s name is chosen, unless working on something directly associated with the convention, to be eligible, that person must be present and have their name tag available.

Club Car ⎯ Social gatherings and receptions

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Welcome Lounge (Snoqualmie Ballroom)
3 t0 4:30 p.m. WCB Welcome Lounge: Here’s your opportunity to go over the program, buddy up with a new friend or meet up with an old one, and maybe even find a partner for dinner – hosted by the Membership Committee.

Hospitality (Seattle Ballroom)
10 p.m. Come unwind with old and new friends in our hospitality room. This is a wonderful opportunity to mingle, have a drink, enjoy a snack, and discuss all the events of the day. – Sponsored by South King Council of the Blind

Friday, November 4, 2016

Life Member Reception (Snowqualmie Ballroom)
9 p.m. for WCB Life members only – hosted by the WCB President

Hospitality (Seattle Ballroom)
9 p.m. Come unwind with old and new friends in our hospitality room. This is a wonderful opportunity to mingle, have a drink, enjoy a snack, and discuss the events of the day. – Sponsored by United Blind of Seattle

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Scholarship Reception (Seattle Ballroom)
5:30 p.m. Come meet the 2016 scholarship winners and enjoy light refreshments. – Sponsored by the WCB Scholarship Committee

Hospitality (Seattle Ballroom)
10 p.m. Come unwind with old and new friends in our hospitality room. It’s a wonderful opportunity to mingle, have a drink, enjoy a snack, and discuss all the exciting and fun events of the day.

Theater Car ⎯ Entertainment

Friday, November 4, 2016

Showcase of Talent (Washington A-C)
7:30 p.m. Members gather to enjoy a variety of entertainment from all across the state. Our program is often better the national convention.

Dining Car ⎯ Meals

Please be sure to attend the meal for which you signed up.

Friday, November 4, 2016

7:30 a.m. General Breakfast- (Washington A-C)
7:30 a.m. First-timer Breakfast (Snoqualmie 1)
7:30 a.m. Presidents Breakfast for Presidents (or designee) only (Snoqualmie 2)

Awards Luncheon (Washington A-C)
Noon, Awards Luncheon MC Julie Brannon, Chair WCB Awards Committee presentation of internal WCB awards, and hear from some students attending the Orientation and Training Center

Saturday, November 5, 2016

7:30 a.m. General Breakfast (Washington A-C)
7 a.m. Guide Dog Users of Washington State Breakfast and Gusiness Meeting. (Evergreen F-G)

Noon Plated Lunch (Washington A-C)
Noon GDUWS lunch and program (Evergreen F-G)

Banquet (Washington Ballroom)
6 p.m. No host social hour and WCB Silent Auction
7 p.m. WCB Annual Banquet: MC Deb Lewis, Treasurer, Washington Council of the Blind; singing of God Bless America: Meka White, First Vice President, Washington Council of the Blind; Invocation: Hayley Agers, Chair, WCB Cares Committee; Scholarship presentations: Tim McCorcle, Chair, WCB Scholarship Committee; Award presentations: Julie Brannon, Chair, WCB Awards Committee; Banquet address: Jeff Bishop, Board of Directors, American Council of the Blind

Spur Line ⎯ Exhibits, Silent Auction, and Women’s Expo

Friday, November 4, 2016

Exhibits (Evergreen Ballroom)
8 to 10 a.m. Vendor set up
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Exhibits are open for an extra hour this year. A record-breaking 28 vendors will be available for hands-on examination, questions, and purchase of products and services.

Silent Auction (Seattle 1)
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Silent Auction: Peruse and bid on many wonderful items entered in the annual Silent Auction. Remember, all proceeds benefit WCB. So bid often!

Computer training (Seattle 2)
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
One-on-One Computer Training with Al Yardley (253) 223-2069, reservations required

Women’s Expo (Snoqualmie 1 and 2)
2 to 4 p.m. A new path has been mapped for WCB ladies. Join your gal pals for a Women’s Expo. Receive one-on-one attention in the areas of fashion, personal care, and more from ladies ready to help you pamper yourself. Attendees will be placed in a special door prize drawing thanks to our fabulous supporters.

Main Line ⎯ General sessions, board and business meetings

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pre-convention Board Meeting (Washington D-E)
7 p.m. All members and friends are welcome to observe and learn more about the operations of the governing body of the Washington Council of the Blind. Witnessing so many people working toward positive goals is an experience not to be missed.

Constitution and Bylaws Committee (Snoqualmie 1)
9:30 p.m. Take part in finalizing the work of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee before important amendments are read to the membership Friday morning and voted upon at the annual business meeting on Saturday.

Resolutions Committee (Snoqualmie 2)
9:30 p.m. Become a self-appointed member of the Resolutions Committee and work on language that will go before the membership on Saturday and help guide the future of our organization and of the blind community.

Friday, November 4, 2016

General Sessions (Washington D-E)
8:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies: Flag salute; invocation by Minister Benjamin Brown, Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church, Seattle; City welcome: Pam Fernald, Deputy Mayor, City of SeaTac; chapter welcome: Darryl Roberts, President, United Blind of Seattle.
9 a.m. President’s address: Steve Fiksdal, President, Washington Council of the Blind
9:25 a.m. Nominating Committee report: Julie Brannon, Chair, WCB Nominating Committee
9:35 a.m. Constitution and Bylaws Committee report: Frank Cuta, Chair, WCB Constitution and Bylaws Committee

10 a.m. Keynote Address: Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Accessibility Coordinator, Microsoft

10:25 a.m. Break

10:40 a.m. Keeping an Eye on Vision Care: A glimpse of the latest Ophthalmology advancements in research and treatment with Dr. Lisa Olmos de Koo, University of Washington

11:15 a.m. Services for Those Who Served: Veterans’ journey panel with Mary Beth Harrison, Director of the Blind Rehabilitation Center, and Michael Pistacchio, Vice President of the Blinded Veterans Association

11:55 a.m. Break
Noon Lunch

1:15 p.m. Be a power reader with alternative book reading technologies – panel Frank Cuta, Chair, Patron Advisory Council for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library; Deb Lewis, Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Washington Assistive Technology Program; and Reggie George, Assistive Technology Specialist with the Department of Services for the Blind

2 p.m. The Long and Winding Road: A journey toward computer access for Washington state citizens. Our facilitator is Sue Ammeter, Second Vice President, Washington Council of the Blind; Panel members are Ryan Leisinger, Solutions Architect, Washington Technology Services; Jeff Bishop, Director, American Council of the Blind; Deb Lewis, Technical Assistance Coordinator, Washington Assistive Technology Program.

2:45 p.m. Break

3 p.m. Knowledge is the Best Defense: Learn what you need to know about consumer protection and identity fraud prevention with Eric Moss, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General.

3:45 p.m. Common Sense Cooking: Learn from two blind professionals who work daily in the kitchen using their sense of smell, taste, touch, and hearing, but most importantly, common sense. Jackie Cabrera, Chef and owner, See What’s Cookin’ Catering, and Randy Tedrow, proprietor, Avia Café.

4:30 p.m. Break

Saturday, November 5, 2016

General Sessions (Washington D-E)
8:45 a.m. Announcements

8:50 a.m. We Are ACB: Learn what’s happening on the national level from our ACB representative Jeff Bishop, Board of Directors, American Council of the Blind

9:30 a.m. Jobs People Do: Our facilitator is Sue Ammeter, Second Vice President, Washington Council of the Blind; Panel members are Kevin Berkery, Tax Fraud Investigative Assistant, Internal Revenue Service, Los Angeles, CA; Rita Dilek, Chair Department for the Visually Impaired, Vancouver Community College, Vancouver, BC, Canada; and Randy Tedrow, proprietor, AVIA Café, Renton, WA

10:20 a.m. Break

10:35 a.m. Let It Snow: Learn how people who are blind are enjoying the sport of skiing with Tim McCorcle, Board of Directors, Ski for Light.

10:50 a.m. State of the State: It’s time for the annual report from each of our state agency leaders serving the blind with Lou Oma Durand, Executive Director, Department of Services for the Blind; Danielle Miller, Program Manager, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library; and Scott McCallum, Superintendent, Washington State School for the Blind.

11:55 a.m. Break
Noon Lunch

Annual Business Meeting (Washington D-E)
1:30 p.m.
In Memoriam; elections; adoption of WCB budget; resolutions; Constitution and Bylaw amendments; old business; new business

4:30 p.m. Adjourn


The Washington Council of the Blind extends a heartfelt thank you to the following groups and individuals who helped make this annual convention a success:

  • The 2016 Convention Committee, who spent countless hours putting the program together working behind the scenes;
  • Our host chapter, the United Blind of Seattle, who ensured we had wonderful goody bags and helped with opening ceremonies;
  • ACB Radio and those involved with streaming the convention over the internet and taking care of sound and recording;
  • The WCB receptionists who spent many hours assisting folks in completing registrations over the phone;
  • Those overseeing the registration/information desk, volunteers, Silent Auction, door prizes, welcome lounge, and hospitality;
  • The organizations and individuals who served as volunteers throughout the weekend;
  • The many presenters who made our program complete;
  • The chapters, businesses and individuals who contributed to the door prize pool and silent auction;
  • The vendors who came to share their products, services, and knowledge with us in the Exhibit Hall and Women’s Expo;
  • And to each and every conventioneer who shared in this special weekend.

Hotel Description

The Seattle Airport Marriott is a smoke-free hotel. Self-parking (for our guests) is complimentary for those staying at the hotel. For our convention, high-speed Internet for guest rooms is available at a reduced rate of $3 per day; it’s complimentary in the lobby and public areas.

This description/information is provided for your convenience and assistance and may not be exact.


When standing at the entrance of this hotel prior to going in at the main lobby doors, the wing to the conference center is to your far left, extending north.


When entering the main entrance you are facing south. The front desk is to the right along the west side of the lobby, the Atrium Lounge is ahead of you. The Aqua Terra Restaurant is off to the far left along the east side. CG’s (THE COFFEE BAR/GIFT SHOP), is off to the left along the north side. The business center is in the southwest corner, the automatic doors leading to the Atrium Tower is at the southeast corner and the entrance to the conference center is at the north east corner.

A tiled pathway is placed along the outer edge of the lobby, in the center of which is a sitting area toward the front and the Atrium Lounge toward the back (both carpeted) with a tiled pathway between them running east-west. There are entrances to the Atrium Lounge from east or west sides of the lobby.

Conference Center

The entrance to the conference center is at the northeast corner of the lobby, between CG’s and the restaurant. The main corridor is a long tiled pathway heading north, which leads to two hallways along the right side. The first hallway leads to the Snoqualmie Ballroom, the second one at the end of the long corridor leads to the Washington, Evergreen and Seattle ballrooms.

The restrooms are along the left side of the main corridor, the women’s is across and just before the first hallway and the men’s is just before the second.

The volunteer table will be placed just passed the women’s restroom along the west side of the long corridor. The registration desk will be at the far end of the corridor along the west side facing the second hallway.

Exhibits will take place in the Evergreen Ballroom; pre-convention board meeting, general Sessions, and annual business meeting will take place in Washington D-E; general meals (including the banquet and the Showcase of Talent will be in Washington A-C; smaller Friday breakfasts, welcome lounge, and Women’s Expo will be in the Snoqualmie Ballroom; the silent auction will be in Seattle 1, technology training in Seattle 2, and Student Summit in Seattle 3; Guide Dog events on Saturday and the scholarship reception will be in Evergreen F-G; and hospitality all three nights will be in the Seattle Ballroom.

The Snoqualmie Ballroom is along the right (south side) of the first hallway.

Down the second hallway heading east, the Washington Ballroom is along the right (south side) with Salons E through A. The Evergreen Ballroom is along the left (north side) with Salons F through I, and at the far end of this hallway is the Seattle Ballroom with rooms 1 through 3, left to right.

Sleeping Rooms

This hotel has over 400 sleeping rooms. Although there are guest rooms west of the lobby, our guest rooms will be in the Atrium tower. The entrance to the atrium is at the southeast corner of the lobby, entering on the south end of the tiled pathway along the east side of the lobby through an automatic sliding glass door. The lobby level is on the second floor and the open atrium overlooks the pool below on the first floor. The fitness center is also on the first floor.

A cove to the elevator is along the north wall east of the automatic doors. When you enter this opening, the elevators will be to your right.

At each end of the hallway on every guest floor are a fire escape with stairs leading to the ground level.


Amenities in guest rooms include hair dryer, iron, and coffee maker. Decaf coffee will have a paper clip on it. Shampoo and conditioner will be in the shower with a rubberband around the shampoo, and the lotion will be on the counter.

Thermostats are located on the wall opposite the beds in most guest rooms. There are two buttons at the base with a triangle on each, the one pointing up adjusts the temperature warmer and the one pointing down adjusts cooler. Rooms are set to 70 degrees by housekeeping.
There are ice machines located on every floor along with vending machines (which will be brailled) carrying Pepsi products at a cost of $2.50 and Rockstar Energy drink for $3.50.

Relieving Areas

There are two designated relieving areas, one near the conference center and the other near the sleeping rooms. A receptacle will be set out in both locations.

The relieving area near the conference center is at the north end of the main corridor, offset slightly to the right. So when leaving the meeting rooms or meals, head toward the main corridor and once you hit tile, turn right and exit to a patio. Walk through the small patio to the fence ahead of you. Go through the fence and a grassy area will be to the right.

The relieving area nearest the sleeping rooms is just outside the exit on the second floor of the Atrium Tower at the northeast end of the hallways. If coming from any floor other than the 2nd, turn left from the elevator cove and head east to the exit. There will be grass and dirt on both sides. You may need your room key to get back into the building. The key lock is along the right wall when facing the door to enter.

Hours of Interest

  • Aqua Terra Restaurant: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. (to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday)
  • Atrium Lounge: 11 a.m. to Midnight
  • Consummate Grind (CG’s) Gift & Coffee Shop: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Fitness Center/Health Club: open 24 hours
  • Pool and Jacuzzi: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sauna: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Room Service: 6 a.m. to Midnight
  • Shuttle Service: 4:15 a.m. to Midnight every 15 minutes, Midnight to 2 a.m. on call