Fall 2019 Edition
“Inside The Clock”
Opportunity, Equality, Independence
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Denise Colley, President
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Newsline Committee Co-Chairs
Reginald George, Technical Editor
Heather Meares, Content Editor
By Denise Colley
Summer is upon us once again and, with it, comes water activities, barbeques, campouts and just general fun with family and friends. Summer can also be a time of reflection as we get ready for a new season and new beginnings.
At the beginning of July, 14 Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) members winged their way to Rochester, N.Y., to attend the American Council of the Blind (ACB) annual conference and convention. It seems like every year the convention week gets busier and time gets shorter to do all the things you want to pack into one week. A new slate of officers was elected and stands ready to take the next step in the ACB journey. We heard updates from such ACB convention sponsors as Aira, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Verizon, AT&T, Apple, Humanware and Vispero. Once again, the exhibit hall didn’t disappoint, and we even had time to conduct a lot of important organizational business.
With fall comes our annual state convention, and with convention comes meeting up with old friends and making new ones, educational and informational sessions, and conducting the important business of the organization that charts our course for the year to come. By the time you read this article, the convention bulletin will be out and registration will be in full swing. Your convention committee has been working very hard, so be sure you get the dates of October 24-26 on your calendar and make your plans to join us at the DoubleTree Seattle Airport for a jam-packed weekend. There is something for everyone, so let’s make this the best convention ever.
The election of qualified officers and board members equipped to lead the work of WCB is a key part of our annual business meeting. Our 2019 nominating committee is being ably chaired by Frank Cuta, and serving with him are Jim Turri and Cindy Van Winkle. This year, you will be electing a president, first vice president, treasurer, and three board members. If you have a heart for WCB and its mission and believe you possess the leadership skills to serve as an officer or board member, let the nominating committee know of your interest. You need to do this by submitting a letter of interest highlighting any work you have done on the local chapter and/or state level, committees you have served on, any projects on which you have taken the lead, and any offices you have held. Also, tell the committee why you want to serve and what you believe you could bring to the board and to the position you are seeking. Letters of interest should be emailed to Frank Cuta at email@example.com.
As I’ve said before, WCB is an organization with a lot of potential. However, to achieve this potential will require the efforts of many more of us. WCB is not just about the officers and directors. It is only when we all do our small part that we will continue to grow.
We are so pleased to bring you the 4th and final issue of 2019. It has been a year full of new and exciting changes and innovation, including some surprises we are unveiling in this issue.
The first announcement we have for you is the addition of links that will lead you to extra audio content related to the article. We will leave it a mystery for you to discover the audio links and enhance your reading experience with expanded behind the scenes material, if you so choose to go down the rabbit hole. We will tell you, however, that there are three such mystery links, so enjoy the journey and give us your feedback.
Second, we have created a new “Reader’s Choice Award” to give out at our annual state convention. This is in addition to our traditional “Editor’s Choice Award” that we give for outstanding writing from you, the writers and heart of what makes Newsline great! For this year, you will find a list of our top nominations of 2019 in this issue. Send us your choice for your favorite article and tell us why you chose it to TheWCBNewsline@gmail.com. Both awards will be announced at the convention in October. In future years, you will have the opportunity to submit your own nominations from each issue to TheWCBNewsline@gmail.comaddress. The winner for each issue will be announced in the following issue. That article will become a finalist for our new Reader’s Choice Award.
Conservatively we are aware that we have at least 500 readers for this publication, and probably a lot more. Very rarely do we hear from you. We hope this new award will change that. We know that WCB is made up of active involved members who care about issues and want to make a difference. We hope that you will be as excited about these changes as we are to bring them to you. We encourage you to speak your mind, be engaged, and make your reading or writing experience something you look forward to. Our utmost desire is to stir things up a bit and create some titillating discussions based on your submissions. We also truly appreciate all the feedback from you, especially when we have missed something or need to make corrections, so keep it coming!
It has been a spectacular year full of great content and a more defined sense of our history and our future. We are looking forward to another great year of adventuring with you all in 2020.
Now it’s time to kick back, relax, open your mind, eyes, ears or fingers, and enjoy your fall 2019 Newsline.
Heather Meares, Content Editor and Reginald George, Technical Editor
We are pleased to present your very own section to express your most important thoughts, voice your valued opinions of our articles, inspire us with your grandest ideas, and share your honest concerns so that we may continue to evolve our publication into the Newsline you can’t wait to read. Opinions expressed here are those of the individual members, and not those of WCB.
From its opening inspirational material to the many articles on products and resources to the history and sports, the summer Newsline was remarkable for its diversity and scope. I loved the article on 3D printing and was surprised to learn that you can print wood fill. I was impressed to learn that so many chapters take part in their local parades.
Comment on Be My Eyes article: Another extremely useful way to stabilize the camera/phone is to mount it on a gooseneck or boom to support it over your work as I did when assembling snap circuits.
The whole magazine is a treat and I love the changes the committee has made.
I think the board meeting report written by Frank was outstanding. I was at that meeting and the report is super accurate. I vote to stay home next time and just read Frank’s report. I am hoping it will include more dragons!
Now it’s up to you. Please submit your letters and comments, good or bad, to theWCBNewsline@gmail.com.
Here is the list of nominees for our new Reader’s Choice Award. Please send us your vote, and tell us why you liked the article by no later than October 1, to theWCBNewsline@gmail.com if you want your opinion to count. Be on the lookout for a special email Newsline coming soon containing the text of the articles for your consideration.
From Winter 2019:
“Back to the Basics of O. and M. Travel” – by Danette Dixon
“The Woman Who Never Quit Finding Her Way” – by Nancy Lind and Joleen Ferguson
From Spring 2019:
“A New Beginning In Spite of Ourselves” – by Frank Cuta
“Tin Sandwich Madness” – by Gaylen Floy
From Summer 2019:
“The Missing Link” – by Carl Jarvis
“The GDUWS Spring Fling” – by Praline
From Fall 2019:
“Time: a Meditation” – by Chris Coulter
Please consider recycling your large-print issue by donating where someone else might see it and benefit from it.
We will publish the next WCB Newsline in January, and we are looking forward to your quality content. The deadline for all submissions is November 3.
by Frank Cuta
As usual, our American Council of the Blind national convention was great this year. I could not be there in person, but I listened attentively to the sessions as they were streamed on the Internet. If you seriously want to understand the inner workings of the ACB, I recommend that you listen to these convention archives. And if you ever actually attend a convention, you need to make a point to attend the meeting of the national board where the business of the organization is actually conducted.
This year on the last day of the convention, a significant modification was made to our constitution. I particularly encourage you to listen to this part of the Thursday general session. I keep turning its ramifications over and over in my mind, and it continues to give me great concern. I am going to relate my understanding of what actually transpired as this change was ratified, but I encourage all thoughtful questioning members to listen to the actual recording.
For a good part of my life, harassment in all of its devious forms has been just one of those things that we had to bear. Unfortunately, in this day and age we still endure way too much intolerance and injustice, but the tide is turning. We are lucky, indeed, to live in a society where the harassers are now experiencing some intolerance. Certainly some intimidation still exists in most organizations, and organizations of the blind are no exception. Our national organization took bold steps at the summer convention to curtail the harassment that exists within our ranks. They gave the board the authority to establish a code of conduct and establish a process for disciplining convicted offenders. I believe that this change will make us a stronger, more inclusive organization, but it bothers me that they may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
Some of us remember well that in 1979 many of the people who eventually founded the Washington Council of the Blind were expelled from another organization, the National Federation of the Blind. This eviction was performed by the board of that organization and it was done against our wishes. This did not happen because we had committed immoral or unethical transgressions; we were just on the wrong side of a political controversy.
After years of being unaffiliated, we were attracted to the American Council of the Blind where clauses in the national, state and local constitutions made it clear that the convention floor, not the board, had final say in who stayed and who went. Now, just 20 years later, we have adopted language that not only gives the board of directors the authority to make disciplinary decisions in response to harassment complaints, but the language goes too far. It also removed the right of the convention to overrule any such decisions, even if they are not based on a harassment complaint.
I believe that it should be possible to develop a process that deals with the harassment issue, but also preserves the right of members who feel that their ejection is politically motivated to appeal such a decision to the convention.
History repeats itself. One day a remarkable charismatic leader will capture our imagination and rise to power in this organization. The articulate, questioning individuals who are the bedrock of this organization might be seen as frustrating impediments to such a leader. Impatient with the status quo and in the name of aggressively moving forward, the board might be convinced to evict their critics and detractors.
In 1961, a small group of fiercely independent thinkers created for us a more democratic national organization of the blind, the American Council of the Blind, one in which the leadership was held in check by the will of the convention floor. As we continue to eviscerate the checks and balances in our constitution, I can see them turning over in their graves. If you want to get involved in the workings of this organization, I urge you to dig in and support a more democratic and fair resolution to this problem. We need to reinstate the convention as the ultimate authority of the ACB.
***Note from the Editors:
Please follow this link to listen to the debate as it was heard on ACB Radio. Knowledge is power, and information should be free.
Visions of Retirement Dancing in His Head
by Heather Meares
I have found myself thinking a lot lately about independence, freedom, and the right we all have to live how we choose,regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. Yes, I said ability. This is a very powerful word. It means something completely different to every person. It could mean having the ability, and equal right, to get an education, or to earn a living through gainful employment, maybe even while doing something you love. Or perhaps it is the ability to live independently and be able to read your own mail, handle your own money and finances, listen to your favorite music, read an intriguing book, or go out for a night on the town.
One of the most difficult things for me to admit, being the stubborn and fiercely independent thinker that I am, is that being independent does not always mean doing something without assistance. It is always exciting when that assistance comes in the form of the latest technology, fun gadgets, and finding workaround ways of completing a task. In fact, these things can provide a sense of accomplishment when they work well. When the assistance comes in the form of a living, breathing person, it is not always so easy to accept the help, or recognize the true intentions of this person. As much as I love my iPhone, I have not yet found one that can drive me to a job and have an actual conversation with me while doing so. And I have definitely not found one that does so because it has a gift it desires to share.
It is for this reason I am interviewing Steve Pierce, who thinks he recently retired. This couldn’t be further from the truth. He is spending his time as a reader/driver for the Washington Department of Services for the Blind, and is now also working with our very own Newsline team as a final editor.
Steve graduated in 1970 from Washington State University with a degree in journalism and went to work at The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, WA, where he had already worked as an intern for three summers. He worked there for several years and became the business editor. His next career move was in corporate communications for Weyerhaeuser Co., and then to The Seattle Times for 15 years in various editor roles. He then went to work for the Department of Labor and Industries for nine years, eventually becoming the public affairs manager. During this same time, Steve was called to be the deputy press secretary for Gov. Christine Gregoire. Next, he became the communications director at the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for three years. He retired a little over six years ago.
Steve said, “I loved what I was doing, especially working for the Governor, and working for Paula Hammond at WSDOT, but I haven’t looked back for a second. I love retirement. Life is full of cycles and you sort of realize there’s lots of change coming. I did a lot of planning, thinking and reading in anticipation for retirement. There’s a great book out called ‘Younger Next Year,’ and it was a great road map for me. It basically asks the question, ‘What are you going to do with the next third of your life?’ One of the things I wanted to do was be a driver. I wanted to be useful. You hear the horror stories of people who retire and don’t know what to do with their time and end up sitting around watching television. I can’t stand the boredom and didn’t want that to happen to me. My wife says I’m too busy, but I can’t sit still very easily.
I was in a musical group called Northwest Repertory Singers, and I was telling one of the singers I wanted to drive, maybe for the elderly. His wife worked for DSB and he told me that sometimes they need reader/drivers. I checked it out, and sure enough, soon after that, there was an opening. In some ways, Heather, it’s changed my life. It’s enriched my life and made my life fuller, this whole experience as a reader/driver for DSB. I’ve made lasting friendships, first of all, with the staff. My perspective on disabilities has been radically changed. I don’t think I was insensitive to disabilities, but now I understand them so much more fully. As I spend time with vocational counselors who meet with clients who are either blind or low-vision and have all kinds of obstacles to overcome, and DSB’s mission is to help them become employed or stay employed, I just saw things through a new perspective as I was tagging along. I tell people I’m just a part-time on-call reader/driver for DSB, and yet it’s been inspiring. I don’t want to say that word; it’s been enlarging for my life.
I enjoy every day I wake up because my father died of a heart attack at 57, and I just turned 71. I appreciate what I get to do in retirement. I loved what I was doing professionally, but now I teach piano. I’m a reader/driver for the blind. I care for two friends’ yards. I used to volunteer at the Humane Society. I spend time with our grandkids, and my wife just started a home-staging business and I help her. I’m the furniture lifter. My life is very full, but one part I don’t want to lose is being a reader/driver with DSB. It has just changed me in some ways. I want to use my skills and, gee, I can drive safely and I can read well. I’ve been a writer and journalist my whole life, and I want to be useful. The fact that I get paid for this job is an added bonus. It becomes our travel fund.”
Heather: “I really love that you just corrected yourself – you changed from inspiring to enlarging, because a lot of times, we, as persons who are blind or low-vision, hear our whole life, ‘Oh, you’re so inspiring and amazing,’ when we feel like we are just doing our regular life. You realized that was not what you really meant.”
Steve: “Six years ago I wouldn’t have realized the difference in what I was saying. Yes, I understand, I get that now. I’ve become educated on issues of disability. I corrected myself because all of us are regular people, we just need certain accommodations.”
Heather: “It’s kind of a double-edged sword. If you really are inspired, you want to be able to say so. I’ve lived in both worlds and understand both sides. It has been an eye-opener for me. I think sometimes sighted people who have never been around someone who is blind are just meaning to say something they are really feeling, and it can be taken offensively when it shouldn’t necessarily always be. There are definitely two sides.”
Steve: “I agree. It’s sort of a lack of understanding, a lack of education and a lack of experiencing friendships with people who are blind or low-vision. You get the fuller picture of what that life is like, and it’s not an inspiration, its congratulations, you’re living your life and I’m living my life. Accommodations for all. It has enlarged my view.”
Heather: “On the other side of that, did you ever know how important what you do is for us? It’s not just having a cab, it’s how we get to our job, and how we are able to live our life. Did you ever realize the full impact of that when you signed up for the job?”
Steve: “No, and it’s still kind of hard for me to see that. When I left WSDOT, I had a staff of around 65 and there was a lot of pressure. Now I call myself a part-time, on-call reader/driver who basically just has to read well and drive safely. My perspective is I’m in the background, just support and I’m very happy with that, and yet I do know it serves a purpose and has value. I don’t want to make too much of it. I truly feel and think that, and yet I know when I drive for staff at DSB it is appreciated and certainly meets a need. I just don’t want to think I am so important, that blind people couldn’t live without me. It’s the opposite of that.”
Heather: “It’s both. If you called out one day, we would be stranded and have to find another way to get to work. I think that people with disabilities are definitely really resourceful at finding every possible way there is to do something if it’s important to us, but you definitely facilitate things on a level that is very important. I did want to thank you for that, and also for your attitude about what you do, for us all to see both sides of that. On to another topic of what you’re doing now, helping us with the editing of the Newsline, I was really pleased that you opened up that conversation with me about journalism and writing, and love that you are willing to share that talent and gift with us. What made you decide that was something you would want to help us with, somebody with your wide, professional experience?”
Steve: “I’m not in the professional workforce anymore. What skills do I have? One of my skills is being able to write and edit, and copy edit. When I go to a restaurant, I find myself editing the menu mentally or, as my wife knows, we will be driving down the freeway and I’ll find myself editing a billboard. I’m odd in that way. I live and breathe correct English and grammar and punctuation. We’re sort of losing that as a society with all the social media. I still cling to the old school. I figured I literally could do this in my sleep. I’ve had decades of copy editing, and I just thought I could do it, I enjoy it and I enjoy being helpful, and I’m using a skill I’ve practiced for 50 years. Why not use it?”
Heather: “I think it’s a great partnership and I’m very thankful you are willing to help us with that.”
Steve: “You’re fun to work with. You guys have a big task, a 90-page newsletter, and you’ve got a lot on your plate, but it’s fun. You are just fun folks, so that makes it worthwhile. I’m in the background, support, one cog in the wheel of getting things done.”
by Reginald George and Heather Meares
Earlier this summer, your Newsline editors took a short trip to Seattle to meet with the men and women of Audiobook Ministries (formerly Tape Ministries Northwest) who reliably and affordably bring you the quality Daisy audio version of your WCB Newsline. We felt it was important to show our appreciation for their hard work, discuss any concerns, and replace some of the cartridges that had not been returned in the past by our members, so they could better support all their other projects. Most of all, we wanted to hear the story of this non-profit organization that has created a lending library containing over 3,200 Christian-based books and publications for visually impaired and print-disabled consumers across the Northwest for almost 40 years.
You can listen to a short excerpt from our visit here:
From their web site:
“We are the nation’s largest Christian, non-denominational audio-lending library that offers over 3,200 titles, which include books on Christian living, missionary stories, Christian fiction, biographies, basic Christianity, theology and much more.
Our mission is to provide wholesome, inspirational, recorded material for people who cannot read due to blindness, visual impairment or other disabilities. We aim to share the pure joy of reading through books that inspire, entertain and provide encouragement, comfort and hope.”
Everyone was so welcoming. We were greeted with much excitement and hospitality, and I forgot all about our reason for being there as we chatted over Oreo cookies. I tried to resist for about five seconds, but I found it quite challenging to stay out of those cookies. Meanwhile, Finnegan, the 2-year-old Cockapoo, meandered under the table, quietly making his way to each person for an appropriate greeting.
Executive Director Martin Moore told us the story of Crystal Bolis, who has since passed on. Crystal was concerned about all the people who were shut out from reading about God. She started by recording books in her basement and passing them on to others. Eventually, she found a group of people who shared her dream, and it grew from there.
Currently, Audiobook Ministries is serving about 1,300 readers with only four part-time staff members and lots of volunteers. They also produce the audio version of the Busy Bee Newsletter for a local Lion’s Club.
Their office is in a former home that has been modified considerably to meet their needs. We were able to tour their two sound-proofed recording studios, and best of all, we met three of the 25 volunteer narrators. The two you can hear on almost every issue of the Newsline are Susan Scholtes and George Thielen. George is a former broadcaster, and told us it was nice to be able to put faces to the words of some of our writers.
Jo Etta Smith, the operations manager and librarian, told us anyone can enjoy listening to a good book. Even her daughter asks to be read to. The production manager, Rabecca Kunza, reviews all the recordings and sends material back to the narrators to repair when problems are found. She also provides WCB with a Daisy version that can be downloaded through our website and copied onto a flash drive or blank cartridge, or even to your smart phone through Dropbox and into the BARD app if you wish to keep an audio copy of the WCB Newsline at no cost. It is interesting to note that we pay less than $2 per issue to have a navigable audio version. The large-print version costs nearly twice as much per issue. So please feel free to select the one that works best for you. At this writing we are waiting for issues to be resolved on the website, so check back in the future for archives of the Newsline.
To learn more about Audiobook Ministries, you may wish to visit with them on the exhibit floor at our convention, or contact them using the information below.
Office Audiobook Ministries
840 S. 192nd St.
Seattle, WA 98148
by Chris Coulter
When I was six years old, I was given a gift that has served me very well. It could be referred to as the gift of time. It was my first Braille watch. It gave me the ability to bring some kind of organization into my life. When I woke up, I would know if I had overslept, gotten up in the middle of the night, or rolled out of bed with plenty of time to eat breakfast, get dressed and show up at school on time. It was the beginning of independence for me as a blind person.
As the years passed, however, I learned something about myself and my relationship with time that I couldn’t ignore, no matter how hard I tried: the fact is that I live on Hawaiian Time. I hang loose. When I’m at my best, time is not the rigid and cruel master that many of us know it to be. Oh, I am punctual. I arrive on time at the places I’m supposed to be. I meet deadlines because I know that for the sake of all concerned in any creative endeavor, there has to be a day, an hour, and a date when something gets done and has to be put on someone’s desk or sent to someone’s email inbox. I am punctual, but I’m not too concerned with rushing through a day or working through the night.
Time is not a rigid thing, as I’ve stated above. Remember that we have such things as time zones and daylight saving time. We manipulate time to make our world run more smoothly, as is the case with time zones. We also manipulate time when we spring ahead and fall back each spring and fall. We have created the artificial daylight saving time in order to make summer evenings last an hour longer so that when people get home from work they will still have time to water the lawn or flop into a patio chair and enjoy the evening while the sun is still shining, until the beautiful colors of sunset grace the skies.
Have you ever been online via email or Skype or some other communication over the Internet and realized, as you talk with someone from New Zealand or Australia, that you are talking to someone who is over a day ahead of you in time? On April 2, there is someone who wishes me a happy birthday via Skype. Well, for him it’s April 2; for me it’s still April Fool’s Day. He’s 19 hours ahead of me in time. He’s talking or Skype-chatting with me from the future. At least that’s what it feels like because of the manipulation of time.
So, what is the conclusion we can reach by looking at the flexibility of time? For most of us, there is no conclusion. We just go through our days taking time for granted or letting it be the demanding and rigid master of our lives. For me, time is a gift. It isn’t just the Braille watch or the computer clock that has been a gift to me. Time is the gift of looking at my life and the things I have learned over the years, and organizing that life and learning through the story of my experiences. It is the gift of knowing the chronology of, organization of, the history of any nation, family, or organization of the blind. I’m going to enjoy my day, tell the story of the experiences of my own life, and learn the stories of others. That’s more interesting than being afraid of missing the deadlines of
by Vivian Conger
Are you like most of the rest of us – I’ll take care of that tomorrow? Well, tomorrow doesn’t always work out for those important tasks that we tend to put off.
Just over two years ago, my husband, Bob, passed away without warning. After the initial shock, life got very crazy. Friends and family stepped up to make sure I was doing OK and I have been so very blessed in that regard.
I want folks to consider preparing for doing things on your own and not leaving life decisions up to family. That is something they don’t need to deal with.
Fortunately, Bob and I had planned and paid for our cremations. Also, I knew his wishes and didn’t have to make any of those types of decisions. Not everyone is that prepared.
To eliminate problems for your family and friends, please be responsible and complete the following documents:
- Living Will or Advanced Directive
- Power of Attorney – at least the one for medical
- A Will.
By completing these forms and filing them with those who need them, you will let folks know your wishes and they won’t have to guess. That is the best gift you can give anyone.
Since my husband passed away, I have created the above documents and recorded them with the proper entities. I also sent copies to my son and obtained a safety deposit box in which to store them. I have friends who have access to that box, as they are local and my family is not.
Something else to consider is knowing certain things before you lose a spouse. These include:
- Knowing how to pay bills and what those bills are.
- Know the locations of your water shutoff and your circuit box.
- Know where all your important papers are located.
One thing that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately is “what if something happened to me during the night like it did with my husband?” I live alone and have a pet cat and a guide dog that sleeps in her locked crate at night. If something happened to me, who would know they were there and rescue them? I found a wonderful service called IAmFine.com that will check on me up to twice a day and then try to call me four times within a specified period. If I don’t answer, they will contact folks I have on file. The plans cost $14.95 a month, or $120 a year. What is priceless to me is my peace of mind, just knowing that someone would know to check on my critters. Toll-Free USA: 1-855-410-1010
by Tim Van Winkle
There is always fear of the unknown when visiting the doctor’s office. When the unknown becomes reality, it plays with your emotions. Then comes the questions circling in your head: Who should I tell? Do I need to tell anyone? Why didn’t I ask the doctor more questions? What do I need to know?
I have had successful surgeries more than 10 times in the past 14 years, but now I have something I can’t overcome with diet, exercise or mindfulness. July 31, 2019, is a day that is very profound to me.
Volunteering in the blindness community has been a highlight of my life. I love describing, walking with, and working alongside my friends and peers. My experience as a volunteer has been an amazing journey, from helping at state and national conventions to assisting at countless board meetings, guiding and describing the whole way. Standing with my peers in Olympia to save the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library was a life-changing moment for me. Advocating for blindness in general every day, reaching out to passers-by who have a guide dog or cane, greeting them with a handshake and smile, and always being willing to help anyone at a moment’s notice has been a great source of joy. I have had many opportunities to serve, such as standing in the rain in Seattle in order to help someone fulfill a dream, driving the president of the American Council of the Blind around town, or taking a friend to the music store to rent a keyboard (and, of course, getting sidetracked by guitars and other fun things), all while telling one too many jokes at the wrong time. That’s me, love it or hate it. Pouring drinks in the hospitality room at the conventions has always been a favorite job of mine. In some instances, I have assisted in giving hidden freedoms to some who are unable to advocate for themselves. I effortlessly move through a convention hotel to whisk someone to their room or to a board meeting, running microphones and setting up the stands to best meet the needs of the person using them. Working behind the scenes in the blindness community is an exciting challenge for me, and is also something I love so much.
I’ve learned from experienced mentors both what to do and what not to do. I’ve participated in causes such as fighting to keep the library funded, getting accessible voting centers placed in good locations, and keeping the Department of Services for the Blind as a separate entity to better serve its clients. I’ve been to places that I would have never gone otherwise. Serving others gives me great satisfaction, and it is an honor to do so.
Saying this is hard: I was diagnosed with the beginning stages of macular degeneration on July 31. I know now the importance of doctor/patient communication. Two days later, I was full of questions that I never thought to ask, and feeling completely overwhelmed. I did go back to the office and talk face to face with my doctor to educate myself. Macular drusen was the specific diagnosis, an early pre-cursor to macular degeneration. The condition is caused by the cells in the back of the eye not being able to recycle as fast as they had before. I may or may not lose my sight. I look back at the lessons I have learned from friends and peers, and am choosing to accept this diagnosis as a challenge to continually better myself, to not wait hopelessly on the sidelines in self-pity, and to put into action all the great things I’ve learned from my mentors.
I look within myself today, reflecting on this journey. I have been waiting like the dragonfly nymph to become a mature dragonfly, never knowing my destiny but looking forward to the journey. While my walks over the past year have been guided by dragonflies, it sounds funny to me because dragonflies represent the transformation of something or someone to finally be realized. I do not want to have my vision fade or go away. I think about the chances of never seeing color, architecture, or flowers again as I realize how much I have learned to see things differently from every person in my life. The time is now to see how it’s done and prepare for the journey ahead. I will continue to pursue my dream of working with my fellow veterans, helping them fulfill their own dreams. I will become whatever I want to be, with or without sight, but always with vision.
Celebration Time: Adopting New Attitudes as a
New Generation Begins
by Holly Turri
In June, my husband Jim and I flew to Jacksonville, FL, to visit our son, his wife and their kids. They recently adopted three boys for whom they were foster parents. At the time of our visit, the family had five children ranging in age from 10 months to 10 years. Four are boys and the eldest is a girl. While we were visiting, there were two instances that illustrated how attitudes and times have changed towards blindness.
Estella and I were hunting for shells in the Matanzas River. This is a beautiful state park, which is like the ocean without the waves. It’s a perfect place for little ones to play safely. After asking me how clams procreate, (thank goodness I remembered from 10th-grade biology), our granddaughter said, “You know, Grandma, being blind isn’t a big deal, is it?”
Well, after 62 years, I’ve been asked a lot of questions. This was a first. After thinking about it, I said, “Other than not driving and the poor employment situation, I guess it’s not.”
She wanted to know more about the employment issue, so we talked about it and she said, “I’ll hire a blind person.”
I said, “That’s terrific. When you become the president of the universe, please remember this conversation.”
A couple of days later, my four-year-old grandson said, “I bet I could play a trick on you.” I asked him what happened when he did that sort of thing to his brothers or sister. He said, “I get punished by Mom and Dad.”
“Okay,” I said. “Feel free to plan a trick for me. It had better be really, really good, because unless it makes me laugh, I’ll punish you, too. Then, I’ll let your folks know and you’ll get in trouble with them. Finally, Grandpa will find out and you’ll have the same thing happen again.”
He said, “Okay, it’s not worth it. I don’t want Grandpa being mad at me.” He loves Jim immensely. The point of this story was that he wasn’t trying to get something over on the blind lady. He just wanted to see if Grandma was a pushover.
All the kids loved me reading Braille picture books to them. Their parents have several they saved from Mike’s childhood to pass on. When I hear all the crazy stuff millennials do, I shake my head. This situation was a blessing. It showed me that as time passes, with the right priorities and training, there is hope for the future of blind Americans.
Now, I wonder in which party my granddaughter will run for president?
by Heather Meares
The enchanting nature of a cuckoo clock mesmerizes me every time I hear one. It’s the way the quirky little bird magically appears out of its hiding place to sing a whimsical song and then, just as abruptly as he appears, he is gone for a very precise amount of time. Then the whole thing happens again, over and over, regimented and specific, and yet I just can’t help but feel it could hop out at any moment and run amuck. I admit I would enjoy this a bit, seeing the cuckoo set free.
What would happen if the cuckoo got stuck in the door, unable to pop out or go back inside? Or worse yet, what if he decided not to come out at all? If no one took the time every day to wind the clock, his whole purpose for existing would be obsolete. I think about all the work that goes into the making of a cuckoo clock, the intricate detail, and the mechanical parts it takes for it to function so perfectly. If even one of those parts is neglected or breaks down, there will be no cuckoo.
Now, I may or may not be talking about actual cuckoo clocks – I will leave that up to you to decide, but let’s say, hypothetically, I am. What do I need to know about them? I would want to know where they came from, and have a complete understanding of how they are made and what it takes for them to work properly. I would want to educate myself on what to do when something goes wrong so I would be able to fix the problem.
I did some research, and this is what I learned. While the origins of the clock are nebulous, the first true cuckoo clock was created in 1730 by the clockmaker Franz Anton Ketterer in the village of Schonwald. This may have been the first clock to contain the cuckoo mechanism, but the singing cuckoo had been around since 1619.
The first cuckoo clock that is similar to styles made today, resembling a railway signalman’s house, is the Bahnhäusle model from 1850. By 1860, elaborate carvings were added, as well as quaint pinecone weights. Clocks have continued to transform, and modern clocks experiment with bright colors, geometric design, and fun interpretations of the traditional clock.
The intricate carvings that decorate many cuckoo clocks start out as a block of wood. A clockmaker outlines the basic shape of the clock using a stencil and paint, then cuts it out with a jigsaw. Using up to 50 different knives, the artisan will begin carving the wood. Sometimes a case has no carving at all; instead, an artist paints an elaborate design. Other cuckoo clock cases have a combination of painting and carvings.
On the inside of the clock is a system of brass gears that keep time and trigger the cuckoo. The components vary depending on whether it’s a one-day or eight-day movement.
All cuckoo clocks will have a cuckoo bird. The cuckoo bird’s movement in and out of the door is also driven by the clock’s movement. Some move their wings and open/close their beaks while leaning forward, whereas in others, only the bird’s body leans forward. Before each cuckoo, a hammer on the end of a wire hits a gong. The number of cuckoos indicates the hour.
To make the quintessential cuckoo call, a hammer on two small pipes is attached to two wooden bellows, or air chambers, on either side of the clock. Air fills the chambers as the clock’s movement activates the bellows, squeezing the air in and out of the whistles. The depth of the cuckoo call varies depending on the size of the clock, bellows, and pipes.
The pendulum swings, keeping time at an even beat, one second for every back-and-forth movement. It is often in the shape of a maple leaf, and the weights are in the shape of pinecones. They are on chains, wrapped around the gear, driving the cuckoo clock’s internal movement. Each swing of the pendulum is driven by the descent of the weights, causing the gears to turn, making the “tick tock” sounds and cuckoo calls.
The weights hang on chains underneath the cuckoo clock and slowly drop over time. When the weights reach the floor, they are simply pulled back up to rewind the clock. In many clocks, they help power lovely music boxes with dancers on a rotating disc underneath the cuckoo’s door, sometimes joined by additional moving elements like sawmills or beer garden scenes. A clock is deemed an authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock, Link, when the clock and all of its essential parts have been handmade exclusively in the Black Forest region of Germany.
Now, I have answered my initial questions, and am pondering how complicated it all sounds and how much work it is going to be to keep this authentic cuckoo happy and singing. So much time (pun intended), craftsmanship, and care went into the making of this beautiful little bird. All the upkeep, the oiling of the parts, the daily winding of the mechanisms, and the finding of authentic replacements for broken or missing pieces sounds like an impossibly daunting task. I may indeed be talking about an actual cuckoo clock. I also might be speaking about the importance of keeping an organization running smoothly and effectively. Most likely, I’m referring to my own mental health and wellbeing, and how fragile and uniquely beautiful the balance is for each and every person. And, yes, I am fully aware that my cuckoo bird escapes his house on a regular basis, but he is spreading his wings and enjoying life so I’m okay with it. I don’t even try to rein him in anymore because he doesn’t listen anyway. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the specific topic actually is. The principle is one and the same. Is it worth it? You tell me.
Serving with Care, Loyalty, and Obedience:
An Inside Look at Nonprofit Boards
by Lisa George
Since moving to this state almost seven years ago, I seem to have evolved into a “professional” volunteer, working with various nonprofit groups in a variety of roles. Each one has its own reason for being, and all are compelling in their passion for their work. I have been a WCB member since 2013 and am currently secretary of Yakima Valley Council of the Blind, a member of the YVCB board, and board president of Vision for Independence Center, a nonprofit serving people with low vision in Yakima and Kittitas counties. Needless to say, each group has their own dynamic, but every nonprofit in Washington is expected to operate within the same framework.
Recently, a nonprofit with a fairly high profile was in the news, after being closed by the Attorney General. All that good work, impacting so many people, is suddenly gone. Will there be any entity that can pick up the slack?
What exactly does it mean to be on a nonprofit board in the state of Washington? Every board director in the state of Washington has three general fiduciary duties: care, loyalty, and obedience.
Duty of Care:
The Duty of Care describes the level of competence expected of a board director, exercising reasonable care when making a decision as a steward of the organization. It means actively participating in the management of the organization and providing direction to and scrutinizing the work of committees. Board directors must agree to board action (or record their objection) and review board minutes.
Each board director should have general knowledge of the books and records of the organization, as well as its general operation, ensuring that the organization’s records and accounts are accurate. As a whole, the board of directors has the duty to protect, preserve, invest, and manage the organization’s assets in a manner consistent with its mission, always operating within legal requirements.
Assisting the organization in obtaining adequate resources to further its mission and investigating warnings or reports of mismanagement or misconduct are also expected of each board director.
Duty of Loyalty:
The Duty of Loyalty means that a board director must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. Avoiding conflicts of interest, having a written policy on conflicts of interest, and not engaging in or benefiting from a business opportunity for personal gain are all aspects of this duty. Always operating within the confines of the Internal Revenue Code is also expected.
Duty of Obedience:
Each board director is expected to be faithful to the organization’s mission, always maintaining the public’s trust that the nonprofit will manage donated funds and other resources in a manner that is consistent in fulfilling the organization’s mission. Adhering to applicable federal, state, and local laws and complying with tax and financial reporting is a big part of this duty. Additionally, understanding of and operating within the governing documents is expected.
As we come together for our annual WCB business meeting and the election of officers and board directors, it’s important to remember what’s at stake and what responsibilities are involved. It’s also a time to thank those people who have stepped up as leaders in our organization, both at the state and affiliate levels, for all their diligent work and let them know their efforts areappreciated.
The information in this article comes from several sources, including the office of the Secretary of State and the Washington State Nonprofit Corporation Act. For more detailed information, a great resource is www.sos.wa.gov.
Time … the Perfect Gift
by Hayley Agers
It’s true what they say, that it takes a village to raise a family, make a business successful, and build an organization that is great. What must this village do in each of these situations?
First, let’s address what it takes to make a business a success. It begins with patience and time to gain experience and iron out all the kinks. It also requires persistence and the commitment to not give up when things don’t work out on the first attempts. A great team of people working together is necessary to determine what works best. And of course, it takes money to make things happen.
Now, let’s talk about what is needed to build an organization that is great. It needs people with experience to share their knowledge and a willingness to voice their opinions and suggestions, even when those thoughts aren’t the same as the majority. It also takes individuals with the ability to step out of their comfort zone, take risks, and try new things. Extra time is needed outside of the once-a-month or quarterly meetings, and people need to follow through with things they have committed to. And it takes love…love for others, for the cause, and for oneself.
Finally, what does it take to make a family and a home full of hope and light? It takes having mentors who will tell you what you need to hear, even when it’s difficult, and asking for help when it is needed. It takes time management to ensure that family time is quality time. Knowing when to listen, admit when you’re wrong, and when to have patience is always important, and in my case, lots of prayer and sometimes wine. Can I use those both in the same sentence?
As you can see, there are similarities in all of the above. All of them require time, which I believe is the best gift you can give:time to think, time to heal, time to process a circumstance. Simply giving of your time can make a difference in whether a person or a group succeeds and comes out on top. Some of my favorite gifts have been those of time: A friend taking the day to have coffee with me, even though her life is busier than mine; a friend asking me to join her to visit the local rose garden because she knows it would make me happy and is not something I’d do by myself; my husband taking time to help me work on a scrapbook page even though he’d rather be doing anything else; me taking the time to put together a day of activities for Sydney’s class so her teacher can get some things done. I can think of so many more examples, can’t you?
I always like to ask a question of you in my columns and here is today’s: What can you do today to either make more time for the things that truly matter or make time for somebody else more meaningful? Below are a few recipes that will save you some time and allow for meaningful memories to be made.
Easy Green Smoothie
This is a healthy way to start the morning and have a little extra time for the next day.
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup ice
- 2 to 3 large handfuls of spinach
- 1 ripe banana, cut into rounds and frozen
- 2 cups of mixed berries, frozen or fresh
- 1 apple, cut into chunks, but not peeled
- 1 Tbsp. of flax seed
- 1 scoop of protein powder
Put ingredients into a high-powered blender in the above order and blend until smooth. This will make enough for two meals. Pour into two glass jars, put on the lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Shake well before drinking.
- 1½ lbs. ground beef or chuck, cut into cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 4 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 can tomato soup
- 3 cans beef consommé
- 1 can water
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 Tbsp. barley
- 1 (28 oz.) can stewed diced tomatoes
- ½ tsp. thyme
- ½ tsp. parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Brown meat with onion and drain before adding to Crock-pot. Place meat and remaining ingredients in Crock-pot. Turn on low and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
Slow-cooker Cinnamon Applesauce
What a beautiful way to give of your time. By the time you read this, it will be apple-picking season and it’s always more fun with a friend. Then, make this yummy applesauce and have dessert ready or take to a friend who may be feeling under the weather. If nothing else, your house will smell amazing.
- 8 apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a slow-cooker, stir to mix. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. When apples are soft, use a potato masher to mash to your desired consistency. Makes 4 cups and can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- • •
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”
by Awesome Possum
Not long ago on a warm summer day, I found myself standing on a platform high in the air, tied to a tree with a bunch of strangers also attached to this tree. I was visiting the beautiful Mountain Springs Lodge, about 20 miles north of Leavenworth,WA, in search of a new experience. My ziplining adventure was just beginning. As my guide Becca told me “you got this” for about the 15th time that day and I stepped into space from 70 feet in the air, I paused to consider how I got myself into this position. I can’t even see. Wouldn’t it have been easier, safer, and just as much fun to go stand in front of a giant fan and pretend? But then I would have missed the birds, the shouts of happy people walking the plank, and that allusive feeling of soaring up to 190 feet over the Beaver Creek valley as I channeled my inner possumness.
Ziplines are relatively new, so let’s consider how they work. There are lots of stories about how they came about. Modern ziplines were built to move freight across distances and difficult terrain in jungle areas. They became really big in Asia in the ’90s. Many adventure parks sprung up in the United States. Some provide a way to land in the water from a great height. Others are almost a mile long and give you time to relax and completely feel the beauty of the location. Speeds on a zipline can reach as high as 60 miles an hour. I wanted to fly because it’s considered safe for people of all ages, between 70 and 270 pounds, who do not have neck or back injuries, and are not pregnant. Most importantly, it just sounded fun.
Before I went, I was very concerned about having control of my speed and being able to stop myself. Once I gave up any idea of control, it was much easier to relax and enjoy the flight.
We met our driver at the gate and rolled out to the trailhead on a Polaris Ranger UTV, where we met our guides. Once there,each of us in our group of eight had to step on a device similar to a scale to choose our helmets. It made me think of the sorting hat from Harry Potter. Keeping the mystery alive, they refused to say anything about how it actually worked. That is how I became the Awesome Possum. Returning to human form appears to be much more difficult. Others in my group included Sparkles, Cupcake, Bugs, Tinker Bell, Skywalker, Captain Time Travel, and Princess. Our guides were Tad and Pikachu.
Once this was done, we stepped into our harnesses. These must have been similar to parachute harnesses. They allow you to fly in a sitting position and have straps that go around your waist, chest, thighs, and shoulders. When not traveling through the air, your line was always clipped to a tree. Nothing was left to chance. The guides were in control of everyone at all times. They communicated by radio. It was all designed to take your mind off the process and focus on the fun.
My tour consisted of five ziplines. The longest one is about a quarter mile and takes about 45 seconds to complete. They also offer a nine-line tour, but the five-line tour contains the longest line and is a better value, in my opinion. The entire process took about 2 hours.
First, those who had never done it before were allowed time to try a
15-foot practice line close to ground level. When I asked, I was told that
I was the only blind individual they had served in the five years of this facility. They did not single me out in any way or make me feel differently than anyone else. Obviously, canes and dogs stay on the ground, but you could bring your phones and smaller items.
So how does it feel? It feels wonderful! I would do it again. Walking the plank happened when our guides asked us to yell as we stepped off the platform. By comparison, parasailing allows you to stay in the air longer. Once you get past the nervousness of stepping into space, ziplining is exhilarating, safe, and fun. It’s thrilling to soar for almost a minute until the guide stops you and you lower your feet onto the tree platform, feeling the wind in your face, knowing we are all there because nature can be just as adventurous as any rollercoaster or amusement park. It certainly builds confidence. I was told that a 92-year-old lady had done the five-line course and loved it.
In my research, I learned about many ziplines across Washington. Amboy, Bellevue, Camano Island, Eatonville, Everett, Leavenworth, Liberty Lake, Silver Lake, Stevenson, and Woodinville all have options. Some are integrated with challenge courses like rope climbing, repelling, staircases, and suspension bridges. Once you choose your style of zipline, it is easy to find videos on YouTube. It’s a great experience for family reunions or team-building activities.
I recorded this fantastic journey from start to finish, and you can listen to an edited Binaural 1-hour recording of it at the following link:
Headphones are recommended for maximum enjoyment.
Bottom line: Awesome Possum is thrilled to be able to recommend Leavenworth Ziplines as it was an adventure I won’t soon forget.
by Devorah Greenspan
I have always had, to some degree, an attraction to motorcycles. It has varied in strength over the years. The “movie-watcher me” vicariously became “one of the boys,” fitting in somewhere. Hollywood focused on the non-conformists and the outlaws. The soundtrack helped the story roll along. The roar of a motorcycle on the street and its subsequent toll on a person’s hearing is a motorcycle reality. How can one hear nature on that proverbial two-lane blacktop? The role of women in the subculture, from what I gather, has progressed from mere sexual appendage to more active participation. For “visually-impaired me,” I still look at the motorized version of my ride. After all, before the motorcycle and the airplane, there were bicycles.
Back in junior high, there was a daredevil who captured the imagination of many. Evel Knievel rode between the mid-1970’s news section and the sports. Evel’s motorcycle would rev up, gaining in speed, jumping over barriers. The actual event only took a few minutes. The lasting imprint was an example of being outside convention, yet socially accepted in my Midwestern town.
I’ve had a few rides on motorcycles. They are fun. The danger is part of it. I have been injured at very low speeds on a bicycle. At motorized speeds, the thrill of the danger increases, lessened by the sobriety and experience of the front-seat rider. The “spirit-me” enjoyed a front-seat lesson in an empty Brooklyn, N.Y., parking lot, while a male friend at the time sat in the rear. He wanted to assist in the gear shifting; the timing rarely worked. While I did learn the basics of how to ride a motorcycle in the front seat, I also knew there was no way I had the eyesight for it. The demand for visual acuity is the rider’s protection. This was one of my rare “jumps” into contact with biker culture. While traveling the country in 2011, I visited Evel Knievel’s grave in Montana, writing the poem below. I arrived in Washington a few weeks later. Recently, at a yard sale, I noticed a maroon and black model of a 1960’s style chopper, with a raised, angular gas tank, modest ape hanger handlebars, and a raked front fork, holding out the front wide tire. The model bike has a seat for one, a fat rear tire, a few basic wires, light fixtures and no brand advertising. In 2019, I bought “my motorcycle.”
Poppin’ a wheelie
Forever in stone
Back in seventh grade
When I was all alone
Blazing across the television screen
My imagination roared biker spirit dream
Your broken bones
My bad eyesight
Your grave in Butte
I visit with the scent of pine and traffic nearby
– Butte, MT, August 2011
by Frank Cuta
On December 17, 2011, the lights went out at the Evergreen Radio Reading Service in Seattle. It was a dark day in Washington, for it was a great service, one of the best in the country. However, it’s important that we remember that there remain in existence many similar services, both in and out of this state, and that they can be extremely valuable resources.
While listening to a radio reading service, you can expect to hear a great deal of very specialized content from those many periodicals that are not available to us through the national library service. In addition, you can find readings of purely visual material that cannot be scanned, such as comics and grocery ads.
Reception has improved substantially. When Evergreen was in its heyday, the only way to listen to broadcasts was with a rather cheap special radio, and the reception was not always the greatest. In the past eight years, most reading services have moved to the Internet where noise problems, for the most part, have disappeared.
At the same time, these services are available from the Cloud. The new handheld mobile technologies have virtually replaced our computers. With the development of the iPhone, the wireless Victor Stream, and the new smart speaker technologies such as Alexa and Echo, it is easier than ever to connect to a radio reading service whenever and wherever you wish.
In preparation for this article, I opened the free Sero app on my iPhone. Under reading services, I saw listed 42 entries. Under Internet radio, I opened the ooTunes search on my Victor Stream. A search for radio reading resulted in 20 matches. Each can easily be added to your favorites using the bookmark key. Note, these matches are not programs, but services. Each service has its own 24-hour-a-day, 7-day program schedule. It is really a bit overwhelming. However, two of the excellent services that I often listen to are Mind’s Eye from Illinois and Sun Sounds from Arizona.
As an example, Sun Sounds can be enjoyed as a live stream by just saying “play Sun Sounds” on your smart speaker or saving it as a favorite by tapping the bookmark key on your Victor Stream. Alternatively, you can stream or download your favorite individual programs automatically with the podcaster on your iPhone and, if you miss it, you can still call it up for immediate playback with their “on demand” service.
One last thing of interest to some: There are still two radio reading services in Washington. The American Senior Radio Network service comes out of Vancouver. I found it on my Stream by searching ooTunes for “American senior.” It is a 24/7 service.
For over 30 years, we have also had the Fine Arts Radio Reading Service in Richland. However, we only read the local newspaper, the
Tri-City Herald, each morning for half an hour at 6:30 and for another hour at 8 o’clock. I only mention it because, for anyone living in Eastern Washington, it’s a convenient way to catch the reading of the grocery ads from Yoke’s, Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons. It is not actually streamed on the Internet from the studio, but I rebroadcast what I receive on my radio receiver to a hidden Facebook group. If you want to be added to this group, let me know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. As you can imagine, the sound quality is not perfect, but it’s usually not too bad.
By Nathan McCann
Cost and value are two similar looking but very distinct concepts. It is critical for an entrepreneur to understand the difference between the two and how they interact. This will let us offer better products to customers and make more money per unit sold.
Cost is paid by the entrepreneur. It represents the time and materials that are used up in order to create a product. Let’s use handmade jewelry as an example. The most obvious cost of jewelry is the material – it takes more money to buy gold to work into jewelry than brass. The second most important cost of jewelry is the time required to create it. These are both pretty easy to calculate. If you buy the material for $10 and take five hours to work it into jewelry, the total cost is $10 and five hours.
The concept of value is different in that it is paid for by the customer. Customers will usually pay more money to get products made of more expensive material. With jewelry, the link between cost of the materials and value to the customer is strong, so if we want to increase the value to the customer, we would have to increase the cost to ourselves by a proportionate amount. A customer is also likely to value finely crafted jewelry more highly, so there is some link between time invested by the jeweler and the value to the customer.
The reason that making the distinction is so important is that it helps us identify methods to add value to our product that would cause little or no increase in cost to ourselves, or to decrease our costs without decreasing the value of the product to our customer. One of the easiest ways to decrease our costs without impacting value is to find better prices on materials. While the basic type of metal used in jewelry is important, customers won’t care at all where you bought the materials. It doesn’t matter to the customer if you got the brass for your jewelry online, at a wholesaler, or at an overpriced craft shop. It is easy to overlook the impact of finding better prices for your materials.
Making jewelry takes a significant amount of time, so cost to the entrepreneur can be increased simply by being able to make jewelry faster. Even if we make the same amount of money per piece of jewelry sold, working faster will let us make and, therefore, sell more jewelry. While the entrepreneur may very well not be able to sell every additional unit they create, they will be able to make more money or at least expend less time by increasing speed. There are tips and tricks all over the Internet for creating things more quickly, and a craftsperson such as a jeweler will naturally be able to work faster with more experience. This need not reduce the final quality of the finished product at all.
It is very easy to overlook how these two methods can impact the earnings of your business. Let’s say you currently buy 10 units of brass for $10 each, and you spend five hours on each unit of brass to turn it into a piece of jewelry that you sell for $20. Imagine that you could lower your costs a bit. Ask around or use Google to find a better price on brass and you might be able to buy the same amount for $7 per unit instead. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but since you pay that much for every piece of jewelry sold, you’re now making $13 of profit for every piece of jewelry sold instead of $10 – it’s like getting a 30% raise!
Let’s imagine that you also learn a few new tricks to work faster while keeping quality high. If you could learn how to make each piece of jewelry 30% faster, you get paid 30% more per hour. By reducing the monetary cost and time cost per unit sold, entrepreneurs are often able to increase their hourly earnings at a rate that would make people in typical office jobs quite envious. This is one of the beautiful things about entrepreneurship – you can wield much greater influence over how much money you make than in other forms of work.
How to Use Siri to Make and Play Recordings
on Your iPhone
by Reginald George
There are times when situations occur and you need a way to capture it with voice or video and make a recording rapidly. By the time you get your phone out, find the app, and start the recording, it might be too late. By then, it’s also likely everyone within 10 feet will have realized you are recording, and that may not be what you want.
There are many ways to approach this problem. Recently, a free app called Blindfold Video was released. It is designed so that it can be set to start recording the moment the app is opened. For more information about this app, search for it on the Apple App Store.
In theory, once the Voice Memos app is set up properly and permissions have been given for it to use the microphone and camera, you can use Siri to launch the app, or place it on your home screen where you can find it quickly. The app will automatically start recording as soon as it is opened. This is great, but the app is noisy if you don’t turn off most of the speech and sound effects in its settings, and sometimes you may not care if you have video in your recording.
Here I am describing an alternative. This is a way to use a new feature called Siri Shortcuts, and the free Voice Memos app that comes standard with your phone to quickly capture a conversation. Apple will not let you capture a phone call this way. If you happen to run into an Uber driver who isn’t meeting his commitments, or any number of difficult situations, you could use a built-in Siri Shortcut by speaking any recorded phrase you wish, to launch Voice Memos on your phone and have it immediately start recording.
These instructions assume you are using Voiceover, and can be completed in five fairly straightforward steps:
- Navigate to “Settings” on your device and double tap, then down to “Siri Settings” and double tap, then down to “Shortcuts” and stop.
- If using Voiceover, navigate by headings or flick right until you hear the “All Shortcuts” button and double tap.
- Find the heading labeled “Voice Memos.” The next item will state “Voice Memos, record a new voice memo.”
- Double tap on this and a dialog will open. Flick right and tap on the “Start Recording” button.
Pro Tip: Use headphones, and make sure your location is quiet. Record a short phrase to start the recording. If you don’t want anyone to know you are recording, you could make the phrase something innocuous like “make a note” or “remind me to do the dishes next year.”
- When you are happy with your phrase, double tap the “Done” button. You will be placed on the “My Shortcuts” tab and your new shortcut will have been added to Siri.
If you create one by mistake, you can delete it easily from here just by flicking up with one finger as you typically would in the mail app. You can test your shortcut by holding down the “Home” button or saying, “Hey, Siri” and speaking your phrase. For bonus points, you can go in and add the “Listen to most recent memo” shortcut in the same way.
Pro Tip 2: Voice Memos is a nice, free, handy recorder to have around. You can share your recordings by text message or email. It should have been installed automatically on all devices except iPads. You can typically find it in the utilities folder. You can always tell Siri to open Voice Memos or any other app, but then it won’t automatically record. It’s a good idea to learn where it is located on your phone, and to move it to a location that is easier to find. Moving applications is an entirely different topic for another day.
by Frank Cuta
Most everyone has heard that blindness need not keep you from using carpentry, metalworking and plumbing tools. But in addition to the regular tools that everyone is familiar with I want to bring to your attention a list of particularly useful tools that help me around the house.
These are: a spring-loaded center punch; a drill guide to prevent drilling crooked holes; an audible level for mounting things perfectly vertical or horizontal; a talking tape measure; a Braille caliper; the Roto-Rule and Click-a-Matic rulers; a talking digital meter for determining voltage, current, capacitance, resistance and frequency; a rechargeable hammer that makes it virtually impossible to miss the nail or bend it over; a talking tire-pressure gauge; and an audible stud finder.
Come to the state convention and see them all, as well as a few others.
by Carl Jarvis
At almost 30 years of age I became totally blind. Filled with a lifetime of misinformation, the last person I ever thought I’d meet, as I opened the door to greet my new rehabilitation teacher, was another totally blind man. But there stood Harry Trabaugh. “my God,” my wife Judy said, “he’s blind!” And sure enough, there stood Harry with his long white travel cane in hand. I blushed as I thought of how I’d given him such detailed visual directions to my house, right down to the light beige shakes and the dark chocolate trim.
The year was 1965, Harry told me this might be his only visit, since he was Washington’s only Field Rehabilitation Teacher. And so I began to pour my heart out to this blind stranger. I explained to Harry that I was no longer able to do any of the things that were important to me. Certainly I knew that I would never work again.
“How do you keep from looking blind,” I asked Harry. “I know that no one can tell from behind, but when they look at my face, how can I not look blind?” Harry chuckled, “What do you think blind people look like?”
I blushed and stammered and then shut my mouth because I didn’t know how to tell this blind man that I thought blind people went around with their eyes rolled up and their mouths hanging open, looking like imbeciles. Without missing a beat, Harry talked about some of the differences brought about by the lack of sight. He said that many blind people practiced looking at the person speaking to them, but that eye contact was difficult for people with limited or no vision.
“It does give the impression that you are looking past them, and not paying attention,” he said. “But otherwise, you should continue looking like…well, like yourself,” he laughed.
But I was not ready to believe that blind people could hold jobs or provide for their families. Harry rattled off an impressive list of jobs being done by blind men and women around the state and the nation. Professors, lawyers, mechanics, farmers and even a few states are hiring blind teachers in public schools, he told me. This was 1965, and many school districts still resisted considering blind teachers.
“But,” I insisted, “There are some things I’ll never be able to do again. I loved to run, and I’ll never be able to do that.” Harry, a short wiry man, jumped to his feet, grabbed his cane and told me to take his arm. We went out the door, across the front yard and down into the middle of the street. Harry turned to the East and said, “Here we go.” With that he took off at a dead run with me clinging to his arm like a frightened rabbit. After about half a block Harry stopped dead in his tracks, looked up at me and asked, “Just how much faster do you want to go?”
And so began a new picture, an “Ah Ha” moment inside my brain. This was far more than a wild race down the center of the road. Each stride was a giant step on the road to my rehabilitation.
Later, as I went through the Adult Orientation and Training Center (OTC), that first rehab lesson grew and flourished and whispered, like that little train that could, “I think I can, I think I can.”
And as I went through the daily classes, the little voice changed to, “I know I can, I know I can,” until one day it cried loudly, “I did it!”
That was nearly 55 years ago; a different time; a different world.
But there, laboring in the field, were those who believed in the ability of people to overcome blindness, and live full, productive lives.
Harry was but one field hand among so many unsung laborers, but he was the one who connected with me and through that crazy race down the road, he opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities.
Thank you so very much, Harry.
And thank you to all the past and present laborers who have run with us down that road toward Independence.
by Carl Jarvis
As members of the American Council of the Blind, we are involved in our national community. As blind people, how aware of our role in our society are we? Sharing information and news with members is critical in keeping an organization alive and vital.
Question: Who was Henry Ivar Bartleson?
Answer: (From The Blind American, December issue 1963, Inkprint Edition, published by The American Brotherhood for the Blind, a charitable and educational foundation.) Henry Ivar Bartleson, 61, whose death came on November 14, 1963, was a member of the executive board of the Washington State Association of the Blind and chairman of the committee for the White Cane Magazine, published by the Washington State Association of the Blind. He was an active member of the local King County White Cane Association.
In addition to his work for the blind, Bartleson was active in the Great Books Association and other study groups, according to an obituary published in The White Cane’s December issue. Born in Lake Mills, IA, he moved to Seattle from Spokane 19 years ago. He retired in 1956, when he became blind following an illness. He is survived by his wife, Ruby, three grown children and several grandchildren.
Writing in the editorial column of December’s The White Cane, Managing Editor Helen B. Anthony penned the following tribute to her departed co-worker: “Henry Bartleson helped plan this issue…and the next, for we plan weeks ahead. He had the long view and his general plan extended for years into the near future. He wanted this magazine to be of ‘quality.’ He wanted it to give a self-respecting image of the blind to themselves and to the public.
“In his personal relations, if only a brief phrase must be used, he was a ‘Christian gentleman” in all that this conveys.
“He was dedicated to the cause of the blind. Becoming blind in maturity, he is said to have spent a year soul-searching and adjusting to his new role. Then he took advantage of enforced leisure to study the great philosophers and to do creative things. After which, knowing himself, he did his best to help his fellow (blind) men. He had a vision of blind men and women, forgetting their differences and personal frustrations, uniting to make a better world for the children…”
Question: What is the name of the official monthly publication of the American Council of the Blind; and what do we know about the history and purpose of The Braille Forum?
Answer: (Note from the editor: The following answer by Carl has been enhanced with information found on the ACB website and provided by Deb Lewis, current chair of the ACB Board of Publications.) The ACB Braille Forum is the official publication of the American Council of the Blind. It has now been joined by another publication, the ACB E-Forum. In addition to the versions on the website, The ACB Braille Forum is available in Braille, digital Daisy Cartridge compatible with NLS players, large print, podcast, and by email. The ACB Braille Forum is your source for information about ACB and blindness issues.
The E-Forum is not published in hard copy, and generally contains different content with a different theme in each issue. It alternates bimonthly with the Braille Forum. Both can be listened to by phone through the ACB hotline, and two alternative sources – the NFB Newsline Service and Audio Now. There is also a third monthly publication called ACB Reports. The current issue contains information on the Audio Description Project, and an app to listen to audio descriptions of all U.S. national parks. All these publications are worth your time.
Listen by phone to these publications at no cost on the ACB Hotline. Call 605-475-8154 and choose option 1 for Braille Forum, 2 for ACB E-Forum, or 3 for ACB Reports.
Challenge: Can members discover when the ACB Braille Forum was first published, and why? Who was the original editor? Was the Braille Forum the first ACB publication? What is the history of the E-Forum?
Please help all of us be better informed by sharing your findings with TheWCBNewsline@gmail.com, and on the WCB-L discussion list.
by Mark Adreon
Welcome to a series of articles on the concept, implementation, best practices and ideas for affective advocacy on behalf of all residents of Washington State who are blind or low vision.
Some of the ideas shared might challenge current ideas or understandings and I do welcome healthy exchange on all ideas presented. This is why there are “many faces” to advocacy.
Advocacy is not a new idea. Advocacy is a concept that is used widely by individuals, groups and organizations to achieve their outreach and cultural-change goals.
I want to acknowledge the great work and engagement WCB and its members do in advocacy, both personal and community. This advocacy makes a difference in the lives of people who are blind or low vision.
Why am I writing on this topic, and what qualifies me to share ideas and concepts?
I’m glad you asked. Let me share some background on my involvement in advocacy. As this series unfolds, I’ll be sharing ideas from all of you and our shared advocacy experiences.
For the past 20 years, I have engaged in advocacy for cultural change with government, business and employers (local, state and national). And like most of you, I have spent lots of time with personal advocacy. In 2017, I received the Carolyn Blair Brown award for a lifetime of advocacy from the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment (GCDE).
My association with the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) has afforded me the opportunity to engage in change advocacy. These efforts are inclusive and cross varied communities.
A few of my associations have included: former co-chair and commissioner with the City of Seattle’s Commission for People with Disabilities; commissioner with the King County Human Rights Commission; chair of the King County Accessible Transportation Committee; associate member of GCDE; active member of the state’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council (DEI), focused on equity and inclusion for all state agencies; vice chair of the Disability Inclusion Network for the state of Washington, a business resource group; vice president of Disability IN Washington, an affiliate state serving as your business connection for disability inclusion; the Board of the Puget Sound Diversity and Inclusion Network; and the National Employment Team (NET) for vocational rehabilitation services.
Through my leadership and advocacy and developing an awesome team of workforce professionals, we were successful at establishing the first standing committee to the Workforce Board. The Barrier and Access Solutions Committee (BASC) has a state-level committee with decisionmakers and 12 local advisory groups in the 12 Workforce service areas throughout the state. The mission is to remove barriers and create access for all.
Now, that is enough about me. (Yes, I agree with you. Smile).
What have I learned from this work?
I have learned that strong partnerships magnify change initiatives and enhance desired outcomes for all. The power of many communities with shared values and issues, working together, brings more strength and focus than everyone working separately on a lone track.
Examples of potential collaborative bridge issues are equity and inclusion in employment, housing, transportation, and access, including social and community engagement.
In starting our conversations from the beginning, I am going to explore the meaning of the word advocacy and want you to support the idea that a mutually agreed definition or understanding will assist in developing and implementing consistent and effective advocacy strategies. This is especially important when working with others on advocacy efforts. Aligning and sharing a mutual understanding on the meaning of the words we use, is the first place to begin. These shared understandings help frame conversations and action plans for the WCB organization plus your own personal advocacy efforts.
Let’s dive into the definition, and I promise as this series develops, it will not be this dry. (Smiling)
Advocacy as a thing or used as a noun is as follows:
“Public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. Their advocacy for access for all people that are blind.”
Note: Think of this as the goal, name, intention or purpose of the action of advocacy.
Synonyms or other words that mean advocacy:
“Support for, argument for, arguing for, calling for, pushing for,
From another angle:
“Defense, espousal, espousing, approval, approving, endorsement, endorsing, recommendation, recommending, advising in favor, backing, supporting, favoring, promotion, promoting, championing, sanctioning”
Note: The synonyms encompass the action or statement of actions to engage in the act of advocacy.
Okay, it sounds like we have a lot of choices regarding the action steps for advocacy. My sense is that all of us have done one or more of the above.
Consider, for now, that in developing and implementing advocacy efforts, both the goal/purpose/outcome, plus the actions required to achieve the goal, should be present.
(The advocacy goal) We want more pharmacies to provide talking or accessible labels on medications.
(Advocacy action – using the “carrot and not the stick”) To acknowledge and reward pharmacies for making accessible labels. They will receive a “Good Neighbor” award at a consumer group’s state convention. As advocates, we can provide a spotlight on business actions that we want other businesses to emulate. Positive reward has potential change in pharmacy resistance. Using some media outlets can then magnify the advocacy efforts.
In closing, here are two principles to begin our shared knowledge and strategies:
- By providing positive reward or acknowledgement for entities that are taking tangible actions on accessibility for all, they should be used as the model others should follow. These role models are putting action to work through inclusion and equity practices as part of their operational strategy. We hold them up as the example for others to follow.
- Advocacy is not intended to make entities or people feel uncomfortable, nor create defensive and resistant behavior. However, the goal of advocacy is not to make people feel comfortable at the expense of real change. Advocacy for some entities or people will make them uncomfortable and require firm engagement to meet resistance. Change is uncomfortable for some. The goal for advocacy is cultural or behavioral change. Good relationships can promote change, and good relationships are not the advocacy goal.
I’m looking forward to our future articles where we can focus on strategies and ideas for targeted, general, or institutional cultural change. Our focus will be ambitious goals like access, inclusion and equity for all Washington residents who are blind or low vision.
In the next issue we will look at the similarities and differences between personal and community advocacy strategies.
Note: Please send any comments or any topic ideas you would like to discuss in this article series to TheWCBNewsline@gmail.com and they will be forwarded to the author.
by Danielle Miller, Director & Regional Librarian
Beginning on October 1, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will change its name officially to “National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled,” though it will continue to be referred to by the abbreviation NLS. Both NLS and Library of Congress sought input on this change from stakeholder groups and gathered data through various public channels. This move will help NLS address the use of outdated language in the current name and more clearly communicate the breadth of those we serve.
In order to continue to improve services to Washington Talking Book & Braille Library patrons, we have recently added a high-efficiency scanner to our Braille Department production workflow. The scanner allows us to convert a 300-page book into a text file in about an hour. The file can then be imported into Braille 2000 software and converted into a Braille file that is sent to one of our volunteer transcribers for the inclusion of front matter and review of the Braille translation. This minimizes the manual process of transcribing text to Braille and can lead to increased production and more materials added to the collection.
We have also made upgrades to our Audio Book Production Department. An additional recording studio was created, raising the number of booths to 11, increasing our capacity to accommodate narrators and reviewers. We upgraded our computers and monitors in the recording booths and implemented new post-production software that greatly improves efficiency and reduces time in book production. A new recording and editing software is being piloted, and hundreds of locally produced books that were previously only available on the WTBBL download site are now being made available on BARD. All these changes will allow us to continue to produce and make available more high-quality, locally-produced audio books to Washington residents and NLS patrons nationwide.
This summer, the Youth Services Department held a great summer reading program, “A Universe of Stories,” with a space theme and over 40 youth participants. We had eight weeks of by-mail packets and in-person programming at the library, in the Seattle area, and in Eastern Washington. Some highlights included the NASA Solar System Ambassadors at WTBBL, the Alien Spaceship escape room in Spokane, and the multisensory twilight nature walk in Yakima. The Youth Services Department also began the work of creating a Teen Advisory Board for WTBBL.
As we look toward the future, we are excited about new initiatives that allow for enhanced service and an improved reading experience. Keep in touch and let us know how we are doing.
by Denise Colley
The summer board meeting of the Washington Council of the Blind took place August 3, using the Zoom platform. After calling the meeting to order and reviewing the agenda, the first order of business was to appoint a new first vice president to fill the vacancy left with the resignation of Andy Arvidson. Board member Julie Brannon was appointed to fill this position until the next election at the fall 2019 state convention. President Colley made the decision not to fill the then board vacancy and wait for regular elections.
At the request of President Colley, committee reports have been submitted to the board in writing. Here are some of the highlights:
- Since the passage of HB2822 limiting the definition of service animal as it is applied to places of public accommodation and making it a civil infraction to misrepresent an animal as a service animal, the Advocacy Committee has been exploring next steps in the education and enforcement process. At the request of the Advocacy Committee and WCB Board, President Colley will be reaching out to both the new executive director and the chairman of the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment about how we, as a consumer group, can support the work of the Governor’s committee and how the committee is going to work under new leadership. The Advocacy Committee is still considering ways to collaborate both with other WCB committees and with outside organizations to support both individual and systemic advocacy.
- The Aging and Blindness Committee is developing a plan to contact legislators at both the national and state level regarding the underfunded status of the Older Blind Program and the lack of a program for non-working blind people under age 55, and is currently developing a position paper for legislators. Several committee members have sent personal letters to national legislators regarding the Medicare Demonstration Program supported by ACB.
- The Communications Committee reports that a new consulting company, iAccessibility, has been hired to assist in development, imaging and server maintenance for our website. Much work has already been accomplished on stability of the server, reliable backups, and more.
- The scholarship application was completed and used by both members and scholarship participants to get scholarships to the Scholarship Committee.
- WCB newsletters are undergoing some investigation on the best formats to publish on the website. This includes communication with the ACB national office, and more work will continue with the newsletter committee.
- The convention bulletin is being finalized and the program written. Early bird rates go through September 15, preregistration through October 10, full registration October 11 through onsite. With a room rate of $102 (plus taxes and fees) based on single or double occupancy, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport is ready to take reservations now at 800-222-8733. The convention theme is “WCB, We Are Community!”
- Pierce County Association of the Blind has graciously agreed to serve as host chapter. Our national representative this year is Katie Fredrick from the ACB Board of Directors out of Ohio.
- The Finance Committee is revising the grant proposal form, which will be ready in the next couple of months. Chapters and nonprofit organizations will be able to apply. The committee is also developing some resources for chapters to help them be legal and to qualify for fund-raising opportunities. This project has had a slow start, but they should have it ready to go in the next couple of months.
- The Membership Committee will be working with both the First-timer and Scholarship committees to make sure first-timers have a one-on-one buddy at the convention, as was done last year, and they will be working with the Scholarship Committee to make sure scholarship winners have after-convention contact and, hopefully, will join WCB in some fashion.
- There has also been discussion about forming a members-at-large group or chapter to begin providing more support and connectivity to those members. We will probably begin by inviting them to a Zoom discussion meeting to begin dialogue about how we can better reach out to them. The board was in full support of this outreach effort.
- If you are reading this article, you know that the Newsline Committee was successful in putting together our fourth issue of the year, even though three issues were originally anticipated. In June, our Newsline editors met with the team at Audio Book Ministries to strengthen our relationship and communication with them. They were able to talk about some of our concerns with them and have seen improvement since the discussion. The committee is continually striving to raise the bar on content, technical processes, and meeting our deadlines to give WCB a Newsline we all can be proud of.
- The Scholarship Committee received 10 applications this year and is in the interview phase of its work right now. Once this is completed, they will move into the scoring phase and then on into awarding scholarships.
- The WCB Families Committee is busy preparing for its second youth conference to be held in conjunction with the convention again this year. This year, a Friday evening program is being added, which will include an ice-breaker social time and an accessible escape room. The Saturday program will include both youth specific sessions, and opportunities for them to mix and mingle with the WCB membership. The committee is also continuing its mission of finding ways to reach out to more families, as well as ways to get individual chapters involved.
Reports were also given by our representatives to our three state agencies for the blind, but are not being summarized here.
President Colley announced that Deb Cook Lewis will again chair our Resolutions Committee, and that the Nominating Committee will be Frank Cuta, chair, Jim Turri and Cindy Van Winkle.
by Kim L. Moberg
First, let me begin by thanking Danette Dixon (First-timer Committee chair) and her committee members for selecting me to go to the ACB conference in Rochester, N.Y. It was an awesome experience. I learned so much, and I met and visited with people from around the country. I am truly grateful for this opportunity. I feel myself being pulled in to WCB, and a need for me to be even more involved.
I went to a variety of sessions. One, in particular, that I was very interested in was the Low-vision Group Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI). I connected with this group on so many levels. While I know ACB encompasses all degrees of blindness, we all have different needs and comfort levels. I identified with this group, with so many individuals in the same room with very similar vision needs. They made me feel welcome from the minute I walked in the door to the first event that I attended. I want to be more involved with this group. As I learn from them and they learn from me, I will continue to gather more information on topics that are of interest to many of our seniors and young people alike that are struggling with losing their vision. This particular group will be of great value in my own local chapter, as well.
Another area of interest to me since attending a couple different sessions was the Diabetics in Action Group. Being blind or visually impaired is definitely a challenge. Finding a glucose meter that you can read, a monitoring system that is accessible and being able to figure out meal portions is something most of us struggle with who have diabetes, whether they are blind or not. Having a group to turn to in order to see how others are handling various situations is what this group is all about. They, too, welcomed me and made me feel right at home. Again, this group and my involvement with it will help me in my own chapter as there are many diabetics in my group.
Some of you may not know, but my husband and son also attended the ACB conference. One thing we all enjoyed doing together was participating in bingo night. People of all ages were having a great time.
I am usually not one who wins things. That night, though, I won a couple items for my kitchen. My kiddo won a Starbucks card and items for his kitchen.
We took a bus tour around Rochester. We saw so many historic places and beautiful countrysides. While on the tour, we also learned of Rochester’s crazy weather. When we started the tour, it was a beautiful sunny day. Some 2½ hours later as the bus tour was finishing up, it began to rain. It was a warm rain, and reminded me of visiting Hawaii.
I attended all the general sessions. There was so much information given out by all kinds of big vendors, including Google, Amazon, and Aira. And along with all of this, there was election of officers. Denise Colley was elected as ACB secretary. Congratulations Denise! Dan Spoone is the newly elected president of ACB.
I am sure many have said that the general sessions are too long.
I understand the need for it to be this way, but there were other things
I would have liked to attend that ran at the same time as the general sessions. I guess this means I need to attend another ACB conference!
Thank goodness for Aira! Navigating both hotels and the conference center was very tricky. I had a hard time figuring out where things were.
I found and downloaded the app on my phone. It was a lifesaver. If you have not had a chance to experience Aira, do it. It is independence on your phone.
The exhibit hall was fantastic. I could have spent a couple of days there checking out all that technology. I even found a couple of things on my wish list that will improve my independence greatly. I now have a coffee mug from the National Library Service that will go in my cup collection. I also have a new money reader. That, too, is going to come in handy.
My guide dog, Junior, had a great time at convention, as well. Junior and Cindy Van Winkle’s guide dog, Balsa, have for a long time wanted to get together to play. So at the convention they did just that. I thought it was really cool that there was a playroom for the guide dogs, allowing them to play and run off some energy. Junior learned where that room was right away,and every time we passed the room he tried to convince me that we needed to go back and play some more. Another thing I learned is that you do not have to be at the convention to get your name called for a door prize. Nathan Brannon’s name was not called once, but twice. Some people are just lucky that way.
I guess the big question is whether I would want to attend another ACB convention in the future. My answer is most definitely. It was a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to attending an ACB conference again. My thoughts are that if you have not had a chance to attend an ACB conference, do it. You will be glad you did. Once again, thank you WCB for selecting me as this year’s first-timer to the 2019 ACB convention.
by Cindy Van Winkle, Convention Coordinator
If assistive technology is your thing,
Or maybe you have a hankering to sing.
If you wish you could ride a bike once again,
Or wish you could play video games with your friend.
Then the WCB Convention’s for you!
If you’d like to learn tips and tricks for your home,
Or would like to learn to knit a hat for your dome.
If your pastime is HAM Radio, and you’d like to learn more,
Or if you wonder what all those essential oils are for.
Then the WCB Convention’s for you!
If you’d like to learn ways to grow your chapter’s presence,
Or if you’re a lady ready to up her fashion sense.
If you’d like to help low vision aids legislation succeed,
Or you’re someone who loves to read and read.
Then the WCB Convention’s for you!
If you’d like breakout sessions and presentations galore,
and an exhibit hall with mega vendors like a big specialty store;
How ’bout the Showcase of talent where you can perform if you choose,
Or be a part of the audience and be entertained. You can’t lose!
Then the WCB Convention’s for you!
Three days of learning, sharing, and community.
Three nights of drinks and laughter in hospitality.
Now if any of this sounds of interest to you
And you’d like to meet up with old friends and make new,
Then the WCB Convention’s for you!
October 24, 25, 26 is the when.
The where is in SeaTac, Washington, at the Doubletree by Hilton.
Registration is now, so make plans for the fun.
We want you to be there. Come all or come one.
To the WCB Convention. It’s for you!
For more information and to register for this year’s convention, go to:
www.wcbinfo.org or call 800-255-1147.
by Hayley Agers
Despite the fact that summer is full of non-WCB activities like traveling, spending time with family and friends, and enjoyingbeing outdoors, our committee has continued to have our monthly calls and stay plugged in to what is necessary for the upcoming months. Just a few of the activities we will be attending over the next few months are:
- YES2, a chance to share personal blindness journeys with the youth who participated in this summer’s program.
- Fly Day at Payne Field in Everett, August 25. This event once again allowed us to team up with the Lions Club and give blind and disabled children a chance to go on a private airplane ride and have fun participating in other activities with their family.
- The Everett Fishing Derby for the Blind, September 15.
- A book giveaway at the Everett Children’s Museum, taking place in September. Although this book event is usually focused on giving print books to sighted children, this year we will be there with Braille books for those who may need them.
Our big focus right now, as you can imagine, is preparing for the upcoming youth conference, to be held in conjunction with the WCB state convention. Our focus this year will be on giving the participants skills and resources necessary to put their best foot forward. They will learn about labeling and organization, what it means to be prepared and appropriately dressed for different situations, and so much more. All committee members are hard at work preparing for different aspects of the program and we are so excited. Please take some time to say hello if you happen to be seated with or encounter any of the youth and their family members.
by Julie Brannon
As I sat down to think what was most important to share for our autumn Newsline in regard to membership, it occurs to me that fall is often the time when routines get put into place, school begins, and we throw off our summer clothes for the cooler weather.
As we get back to focus and routine, in relating that to membership recruitment, it occurs to me that the most common membership-recruitment tool is something each and every one of us has the talent, power and ability to enact. Can you guess what that might be?
It’s person-to-person contact that brings the majority of people into membership organizations, and since we are people and since we come in to contact with other people, we have that ability (and, frankly, that responsibility) to make that personal contact with potential new members to invite them to our local chapters, which will also connect them with WCB and ACB.
I enjoy asking people how they happened to join the council, and 90% of the time the answer is from an invite from someone. Was this the case for you?
Some may wonder how I go about inviting someone to the council. Here are a few things to think about from a membership-recruitment article:
- Remember what made you get involved? Probably the most important step in designing a recruitment strategy is for you to think back to when you first became involved. What attracted you? How were you recruited? If you weren’t, how did you hear about the group? Why have you stayed involved?
- Get everyone involved. Have your current members identify people they know who might want to get involved. Personally invite them to attend a meeting. Word-of-mouth is the best and least expensive type of publicity you can use.
- Talk about your group. Tell people what you have to offer them. Ask them about themselves, and really listen.
- Sell your organization and the benefits of membership. Tell them how the organization can benefit someone like them. Personalize the message to each potential member. Let them know how their talents, skills, and interests would help the organization.
Even though social media is essential nowadays, and a presence is very important, that human interaction and subsequent invite still trumps any other recruitment practice. So start thinking about contacts you have, someone who might be interested in joining the council that you haven’t yet shared with what it means to you, and what you feel they could gain from membership. My experience has been that sometimes it takes more than one invitation with the same person until they are ready. But, often, with continued invitations, the right time will arise.
compiled by Reginald George
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to, and celebrate with, the following WCB members:
- Julie Brannon on her retirement September 30 from the Washington Department of Services for the Blind as the manager of the Orientation and Training Center, and on her 41 years of state service.
- Howard Underwood, treasurer of the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind, on his 75th birthday.
- And our treasure of member outreach, Anne Ridenour, YVCB, on her 98th birthday.
- Ron Bradshaw, United Blind of Whatcom County, celebrated his 80th birthday.
- Kim and Donny Moberg celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary
July 15. Her guide dog, Junior, was born on this date three years ago.
- Arnold Kammeyer from the PCAB turned 80 years old in July.
- Bernie Vinther from United Blind of Tri-Cities is turning 75 in September.
- Gaylen Floy from SKB on her new job at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., in Seattle as assistive technology trainer.
- Denise Colley, WCB president, on her election as secretary of the American Council of the Blind.
- Deb Cook Lewis, WCB treasurer, on her appointment as chair of the American Council of the Blind Board of Publications.
If you or someone you know has something for inclusion in Hats Off, email TheWCBNewsline@gmail.com with “Hats Off” in the subject line. Those items that may not meet the criteria listed below, may still be very appropriate in your local chapter’s “Around the State” article.
The following are reasons for inclusion in this column:
- Birth of a child, grandchild or great-grandchild
- Birthdays 75 years and older in 5-year increments (yearly after age 90)
- Marriage or wedding anniversary 25 years and more in 5-year increments
- Graduation from high school, college or vocational program
- New job, career promotion, or retirement
- Partnering with a dog guide
- Appointment to a city, county, statewide, or national board or commission
- Exceptional recognition or award
Last issue we inadvertently left out the chapter update for United Blind of Spokane. It appears below with their current update, and our heartfelt apologies.
by Alan Bentson
We held our annual chapter picnic on August 10, at LBA Park in Lacey, Washington. There was an informal beep baseball demonstration at the picnic.
Our latest CCCB book club meeting happened on August 3, to discuss “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee.
We congratulate Vice President, Zandra Brown, and her husband James Jablonski, on their 37th wedding anniversary, celebrated on July 10.
We congratulate our chapter member, Denise Colley, on her election as Secretary of the American Council of the Blind. We send our prayers to Berl Colley for recovery from his prolonged illness.
by Vivian Conger
At the ACB National Convention, there was a plaque placed on the Angel Wall for Marlaina Lieberg. Our own Deb Lewis gave the tribute.
On August 3, at 2:00 p.m., GDUWS held a membership conference call. The main focus was on “Coping with the Real Dog.” Of course, that is just a starting point and I’m hoping that members will voice concerns and ideas as to what they want the future for GDUWS to be.
Danette Dixon is the chair of our Nominating Committee. The positions up for election when we have our breakfast business meeting on October 26, are President, Treasurer, and one Director position.
Also, at the WCB Convention, we will be having an exhibit table on Friday, and if there is enough interest, a dinner gathering.
Beauty and the Beast
by Carl Jarvis
When we think of our rugged mountains and the rich, thick forests that make our Olympic Peninsula so appealing to travelers from around the world, we never think that this very magnificent Wilderness could also turn into a monster.
That was the picture our Fire Chief, Jim Walkowski painted for us at our JCCB meeting this past July 26. In fact, we are now in the most dangerous months, May to November, when we are at our greatest risk of fire. All WCB Chapters might wish to take advantage of local fire departments’ free presentations. Chief Walkowski explained how the Fire Department would send out inspectors to do a walk-through of our homes and property, pointing out trouble areas that need attention.
We also talked about what we should pack into a survival kit, and where to store it so it could be grabbed in a hurry. We talked about exit routes, and when to evacuate. Chief Walkowski informed us that if we still had Land-Lines, 9-1-1 could send a reverse alert, warning folks in the path of fire. In Jefferson County, he told us people with cell phones could download an alert app named Nixle. He said every county in our state has a similar alert system. Finally, Chief Walkowski stressed the need to plan ahead. Being prepared means practicing to the point where we act automatically. “Remember,” he said with a chuckle, “we don’t move as fast, or see as well as we once did.”
by Jenny Andersen
This summer, we recently participated in two parades, where we promoted awareness for our chapter in our community, and were able to reach some folks who didn’t know we were out there. We shared our mission statement and let them know we are a local chapter of the Washington Council of the Blind, and we gave out business cards. Those of us who walked with our brand new parade banner enjoyed some deep sunburns!
We recently set up our Facebook page and Website so that those interested could call the business number. We did receive a call from Maurice, who joined us at our Theo Chocolate Factory tour, and became a member the same day. For advertising purposes, Marcia White, our secretary and membership chair, had a brilliant idea. She suggested we should have packets of information sitting in local eye doctors’ offices, which we decided to do. This has also brought us new members.
Our chapter has started using a budget and now, everything does not need to be brought to the table and voted on. This allows for more efficiency in how things are run. We set aside 30% of all the income from our fundraisers strictly for helping members to attend our state convention in October and have enough to pay for it without breaking the bank. There are quite a few members attending this year, and they honestly earned it.
Another thing we are doing is celebrating White Cane Day. We were granted permission to go to Edmonds Ferry Terminal, walk amongst the cars, and ask for their support.
Our valued member, Pat Best, who is losing her hearing fast, will receive new hearing aids, all from donations. Her screen cracked on her phone, so we voted to buy her a refurbished i7, and are teaching her how to use it. This got us thinking, and now we have a line item in our new budget specifically for this purpose.
We have had a great summer full of progress and are excited about our future as a chapter.
by Kim L. Moberg
Our chapter has been working hard on fundraising lately, and we have decided to have a candy sale. We are looking into selling the candy outside Walmart. We are also working on getting our 501(c)(3). This is going to open so many doors in the fundraising department.
Donny Moberg and I have been married for 35 years as of July 15. Also, on this day we celebrated my guide dog, Junior’s, third birthday. All of you whom we know in SKCB and WCB have, in one way or another, contributed to the success of our marriage. Thank you!
I was chosen to be the First-timer to the ACB Convention in Rochester, New York. If you want to know more about my experience at the ACB convention, read my convention report in this Newsline.
We just had our annual summer picnic. It rained, so I changed the name and called it our “Summer Rain Party!” Luckily, we had an alternative plan in place. We initially were going to have the picnic at the Train Park. Due to some issues with the Parks Department and the location, we ended up having the picnic at our meeting site. A couple of our newer members who we haven’t seen in a while attended. It was good to have Chuck and Jane join us. We missed Bob and Pat Whitlow because they were in California helping family. We had a guest, Bob Mahoney, visit with us at our Summer Rain Party. We all had a great time visiting, sharing, and eating delicious food!
Lilacs and Other Beauties in Spokane
by Debby Clark
Greetings from the Lilac City! As I am writing this update from Spokane, I can smell the lilacs in bloom that circle our property. We are in the middle of our annual Lilac Festival with the Lilac Torchlight Parade. The parade is another source of beauty; the sounds, smells and laughter abound.
We here in Spokane also host something called the Bloomsday race, which is the largest event of its kind in the United States.
In April, Debby went to the President’s training in Richland. It was very impressive. Getting to know other presidents and learning what works for them was a great source of pleasure!
April also saw ten members and guests attending the GDUWS Spring Fling at Lilac Foundation. Much fun was had by all. There were at least 20 dogs in attendance with their people, of course; probably the prettiest dogs ever assembled in our meeting room.
Also in April, we had Jack Lloyd become our newest member. Welcome, Jack. We are so glad you have joined us.
In our March meeting, we heard from Deborah Wolfer about “Access for All.” Deborah and friends started this to educate businesses and others in how best to facilitate access through seminars and training. They are doing great work!
On a light note…if you Call the name Deb in our meeting, you will get responses from five women! This includes me, Debby Clark the president.
At the top of our list for beauty is all of our members. Each one is beautiful in their own way.
by Debby Clark
The inner workings of United Blind of Spokane are no secret. All are welcome to contribute and participate, not just the officers. Without Jeff to make coffee, serve, and set up, we would be lacking in so many ways. He is everywhere! Without Cindy, Vivian and Tracie we would be lacking in guests, speakers, and energy. Without all of our five Debs and Daniel, we would be without a plethora of door prizes, food, party fare and expertise, and fun. Without Dorothy as our senior stateswoman, we would be lacking in wisdom, grace and depth. Without Frank, our finances would be in trouble. He and Dave serve us well with humor. Loren, Lance, Craig, Greg, Jack, and Collin are the men who help ground us with their strengths. Melanie’s bright mood and sense of humor with her deep faith make her the best secretary ever. Debra calls and encourages everyone each month. There are the hospital visits, emails, prayers, and celebrations that make this a great and caring place to come. Vicki, Kathy, Patrice, Charlene, Jennifer are still finding their niches and helping.
In May we discussed the problem of scooters and bikes littering downtown Spokane sidewalks and a committee was formed.
In June we had speakers from Bath Planet with hands-on ways to make bathrooms safer.
July brought us our newest member, Gabriel. Cindy and Vivian gave us a demo on folding and labeling clothing using Pen friend, safety pins, rubber bands etc. We brought electric can openers that cut without sharp edges and can be easily used by blind persons.
August will bring us a joint barbecue with Sports for the Blind at their beep baseball game and at the lake.
Join us at Lilac Blind the third Monday of the month from eleven to one.
by Frank Cuta
Here in the heart of wine country, we try and keep our glasses full. Each week of the month we have an activity designed to get members out of their homes, including our weekly walk in the mall, ceramics class, monthly lunch, card group, book group and tech group get togethers. We had 11 members attend our last audio described play “Girls of the Garden Club.”
The new eye-catching T-shirts, produced by Pat Johnson, are getting good use. The UBTC T-shirt is black with a 9 by 9 inch yellow square on the chest. On this yellow background is a white “Cane and Able” logo on a black circle. The words United Blind of Tri-Cities are also emblazoned in black.
Our most recent outreach effort was led by Jennifer Soltis. This was the annual Celebration of Science Exposition in the park,where five of us demonstrated our gadgets and assistive tech for the public. We also received public exposure at Fred Meyer,where we sold candy for four days, and at the Edith Bishel Center fundraiser, where we demonstrated beep baseball. We made about $700 with our candy sale.
We were forced to find a new date and location for our monthly business meeting and now meet on the second Saturday at the Clover Island Inn.
Recently we had a presentation from the transit service with both good and bad news. They are extending evening hours to 9:30 P.M. but are taking away “will call” return rides.
We also had a presentation from Paul Shane, the new director of the Edith Bishel Center. He formerly worked for our organization in California and is demonstrating his respect for our capabilities by actively engaging us in planning the future of the Center.
Our membership is constantly regenerating. Most of our new members come to us by meeting them at the Bishel Center, or on Dial-a-Ride. This month we bid a sad farewell to Joy Kelley, who is moving to Spokane, Jennifer Soltis, who has a new job on the west side, and Ken Sanchez, who has been accepted to graduate school on the west side. Both Joy and Jennifer were board members.
This time of year is party time, and UBTC is planning to picnic both here and in Walla Walla, and to also have a pool party at the home of our president, Sherry Dubbin.
by Holly Turri
Although the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer are here, United Blind of Whatcom County has been quite busy. As you will learn, advocacy comes in many guises.
We learned about the beautiful area, water conservation, and how power is generated.
On July 1, a long-time member of the United Blind of Whatcom County, named Ron Bradshaw, celebrated his 80th birthday. On behalf of our UBWC family, Jim and Holly Turri hosted a party for him.
Unfortunately, another member of UBWC, named Sharon Stevens, passed on. For many years she had been part of this family.
On June 30, a group came from Seattle to demonstrate kayaking. One of our members is a former Olympian in that sport and encouraged people to go. Jim Turri did go, and he says it was an amazing experience.
On June 26, several members attended a meeting with the City of Bellingham Public Works Department to discuss and learn about pedestrian concerns.
At our June meeting, a member of a group which is working toward prison reform in our county met with us to discuss her program. She was so fascinating that we want her back in the fall again.
On June 3, we met with the Whatcom Transportation authority to test the newly installed, automatic speaking stoplight announcements. The program is easy to understand and the personnel were open to suggestions.
In May, we had a speaker from the Whatcom County Senior Center tours program. As a result, on July 3, four members and friends visited Blake Island and the Tilicom Village. This is a Native American cultural experience with lunch. On August 15, others will be taking a similar tour with the center to Diablo Lake. The tour providers were encouraging and supportive of guide dogs and blindness in general. The other participants were a hoot and a half.
by Tim Van Winkle
Here in sunny Walla Walla we’ve been relaxing and enjoying a beautiful summer. We gathered for a social at El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant. Everyone had an excellent time, good food, and great conversation.
Our relationship with the Delta Gamma chapter of Whitman College is growing stronger. They partnered with us to start the UBWW Facebook page and follow it during the summertime when they are not in school. Please feel free to join and like our page. You can find us by typing @UnitedBlindOfWallaWalla in the search field on Facebook.
The group is holding steady with advocacy concerning roundabout safety for blind and visually impaired people. Some of our members have written a letter to the city planner’s office, supplying them with resources and ideas to help make the construction of the roundabouts more accessible. We are also asking restaurants to consider getting Braille menus.
We’ve got the sunscreen and hats on as we are preparing for our 2nd annual Tri-chapter summer BBQ and shindig, which will be held on September 6th.
Remember, Walla Walla is an excellent place to visit. There is wine, rivers, music, theater, and antiques galore, with a lot of audible signals
in the downtown area. Come on by for a visit. We will give you a
Yakity Yak from Yakima
by Lisa George
The heat isn’t stopping us from keeping busy with our activities. We continue to make plans for convention, collaborate with other organizations in our area, and bowl, of course. We’re excited to work with the new Youth Services Specialist at the Yakima DSB office, Steffi Coleman.
Our treasurer, Howard Underwood, celebrated his 75th birthday in July and our treasure, Anne Ridenour, will be 98 in September.
As always, we’d love to have you join us at our weekly bowling outreach anytime you’re in Yakima. We’re averaging 10 bowlers each week and we’re continuing to have fun, even if some of us can’t break 100. Congratulations to Terri Stiles for surpassing Darla Hatfield as our top bowler so far this year, with a score of 189.
See you at convention!
1: First day of convention, early bird registration
5: WCB President’s call, 7 p.m.
13: Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council meeting, 9 a.m., Seattle
15: Monthly Tech Chat with Reg George and Frank Cuta, 7 p.m.
15: Early Bird convention registration deadline
27: Washington State School for the Blind Board of Trustees meeting,
11 a.m., Vancouver
3: Washington State Independent Living Council (WASILC)
Public Meeting, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Wenatchee
3: WCB President’s call, 7 p.m.
10: Deadline for convention preregistration and hotel reservations
10: Deadline for submitting letters of interest to the nominating committee
19: Washington Talking Book and Braille Library public meeting, conference call, 9 a.m.
20: Monthly Tech Chat with Reg George and Frank Cuta, 7 p.m.
24-26: WCB Annual Convention, DoubleTree by Hilton, Seattle Airport
3: Deadline for submission of articles for winter 2020 Newsline
7: WCB President’s call, 7 p.m.
15: Washington State School for the Blind Board of Trustees meeting,
11 a.m., Vancouver
17: Monthly Tech Chat with Reg George and Frank Cuta, 7 p.m.
5: WCB President’s call, 7 p.m.
6: Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council meeting,
9 a.m., Seattle
7: WCB board meeting, 9 a.m., Zoom platform
23: Monthly Tech Chat with Reg George and Frank Cuta, 7 p.m.