Opportunity, Equality, Independence
Founded 1935

Cindy Van Winkle, President
Bremerton, WA

Alco Canfield, Editor
Walla Walla, WA

Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Eric Hunter, at PO Box 3127, Bremerton, WA 98310.

To remember the Washington Council of the Blind in your Last Will and Testament, you may include a special paragraph for that purpose in your Will or Trust. If your wishes are complex, please contact the WCB at 800-255-1147.

The WCB is a 501(c)(3) organization.
For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our Fundraising page found at

Table of Contents

From the President’s Desk
2013 Convention Board Report
Business Meeting
Board of Directors
In Memoriam
WCB Committees
Bylaws Go Back to the Future
Reflections of a First Timer
Two Hearts
Resolution 2013
And the 2013 Award This Year Is Given To
2013 Scholarship Recap
From the Senior Side: Seeing Without Eyesight
It’s That Time Again
Update from the Washington State School for the Blind
Update from WTBBL
Making Your Transit, Paratransit, and Pedestrian Access Advocacy Count
Around the State
Bits and Pieces
Hats Off
From My Kitchen to Yours
Calendar of deadlines and Events

From the President’s Desk

by Cindy Van Winkle

I write this on the heels of Thanksgiving and what most would consider the beginning of the holiday season. As Tim and I welcomed friends into our home for a traditional feast (with a few non-traditional dishes thrown in), we were blessed to learn of the birth of our granddaughter. Not a much greater gift to be thankful for than that of a new life, yet still so much more to be thankful for. I hope you have had the opportunity to reflect on the many blessings in your life as I have.

I’m thankful for family, and friends who are like family. To share in the lives of others is such an incredible gift and one that reminds me of being part of a community; that this world is not just about me, rather how my actions and words impact the lives of others on a daily basis, their thoughts and feelings, and how those around me impact my life. This includes each of you. Of course there are so many other things to be grateful for such as my job, our dogs, a warm home with plenty of food, and the list could go on. I can’t help but think of the song in the movie White Christmas about counting my blessings one by one, but I think you get my sentiment.

Then I think about giving. This is a time of year for giving of presents, but it’s also a time for giving so much more; giving of oneself through time and resources; doing for others, whether it be serving a meal, making a friendly phone call, donating food, toys or clothing to a program that reaches out to those in need. These are all things we can participate in. This time of year reminds us to think a little more deeply about things like this though, but we don’t have to just give during the holidays.

In fact, so many of our members give to WCB throughout the year. I wish I could name each of them here, but I’d no doubt forget someone. So I’ll just say that presentations (whether in person or via conference call), conventions (and all they have to offer), seminars and meetings, our website, email lists and this newsletter, our membership database, our phone system (answering it, responding to voice-mail and leaving recordings), the work of our many committees, all of these require members giving of themselves, their time and talent. I speak on behalf of all of WCB when I say “thank you” to each of you for your continued support.

Our work continues in 2014. If you would be willing to serve WCB on a committee or in some other way, email me at by January 10, 2014. The more options you provide me of your committee interests, the easier you make my job. If you would like to discuss possibilities of a good committee match for you, I’m ready and willing to do that too. You can either drop me an email or give me a call at (360) 689-0827.

As this year nears its end, it’s also a time to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished in 2013 and maybe think about the things we wish we’d done. But I want to look toward the future. So I ask you to consider two questions. What is one thing in WCB you feel good about that has taken place this year? And, what would you like to see happen in WCB in 2014? These can be chapter or statewide related, but I’d genuinely like you to share with me. And as an incentive, I have set up a special email address to receive your responses. All those emailing their answers will be placed into a drawing for special prizes. Email to by December 31, with “new year” in the subject line, and you just might be a winner.

In closing, I’d like to wish each one of you a special holiday season. May you be richly blessed in the New Year with increased good health, a renewed sense of purpose and an overabundance of love. And as you sip that hot cup of your favorite warming beverage, know that I wish I could be sitting with you, talking over the things for which you are thankful and sharing in your joys and sorrows as a friend would. Know that I am praying for you daily as part of my WCB family.

2013 Convention Board Meeting Report

by Gaylen Floy

The WCB Board Meeting convened at the Red Lion Inn at the Park in Spokane, Washington, on November 7, 2013, at 7:15 p.m. All board members were present.

Eric Hunter gave the treasurer’s report. This was a good year with investments. We’ve received no income from the Vehicle Donation Processing Center (VDPC). The Santa Show fundraiser has already sent $5,000 with a projected goal of $55,000.

Cindy Van Winkle said talks with the VDPC are ongoing. We are now doing pay-per-click advertising on Google to see if this brings in any revenue. There will be more to report at the next board meeting in February.

There was no president’s report and committee reports were abbreviated due to time constraints.

Frances Pennell, the Washington Access Fund’s founding Executive Director, is retiring. Francie gave the Washington Access Fund (WAF) report. The issue right now is how to get more members to take out loans. She asked if there was any interest in raising the Assistive Technology loan cap to $10,000.

Lori Allison reported that 150 people registered for this 2013 convention. We have the largest number of vendors ever in the exhibit hall. The 2014 WCB convention will be in Tacoma, October 30-November 1, at the Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway.

Ursula McCulley, Chair of the First Timers committee, reported that we have six first timers and eight OTC students. We have the most new people we’ve ever had at a convention.

Tim McCorcle, Scholarship Chair, said that six scholarships were awarded. This was the first time WCB has ever had five winners attend the entire convention.

Frank Cuta, Constitution and Bylaws Chair, reported that there were three proposed amendments.

Denise Colley, Resolutions Chair, reported that a transportation resolution is being considered. The EAC, UBS, and PCAB are working on a special needs transportation package. Governor Inslee just called a special session. Denise asked that we call and email our legislators for special needs transportation to be included in their budget.

Dorene Cornwell said Denise summarized the resolution nicely. She noted that Ron Brooks, of Arizona, would speak on transportation advocacy Friday and that there would be a transportation nerd session Friday at 3 pm. in the coffee shop. Dorene pointed out that King County Metro announced major cuts that day.

Vivian Conger, Listserv Chair, asked how often rules should be posted. It was suggested the committee develop a proposal for the board to consider. We currently have 140 people on the WCB listserv.

Alco Canfield, Newsline Chair, said Newsline is in transition to go digital. This conversion process should be complete by March. Alco thanked Frank and Judy Cuta and Bill Hoage for their work reading and duplicating the cassette version of Newsline. WCB is partnering with Tape Ministries Northwest Re digital conversion. Alco asked that we encourage members in our chapters to get the digital player because cassette technology is no longer supported.

Julie Brannon, Membership Chair said that this years’ committee was focused strongly on recruitment.

Sue Ammeter, Advocacy Chair, reported that they handled 32 cases so far this year. Two cases required a lot of time and our attorney Michael Watkins.

Stuart Russell, Crisis Committee Chair, gave kudos to Marilyn Donnelly and Shirley Taylor for their years of service on the committee. We only had ten cases this year; a surprisingly low amount of money was spent.

Chris Coulter, History Chair, asked for photos from past conventions and events. The committee plans to upload a new audio interview to once a quarter.

Sue Ammeter reported that the Aging and Blindness Committee is holding a breakout session on technology for seniors.

Meka White, Chair of the Families of Blind Children committee, said their long-term goal is to host a youth conference in Tacoma next year. Their short-term goal is the Puget Sound Braille Challenge March 1 at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL).

Gaylen Floy, PR and Web Oversight Chair, reported that two convention news releases were sent to Spokane area media. The website now has a Legislative page and an About Us page. The committee goal for next year is to upload a media and permanent scholarship page. The History page would become more of a personal story page, being updated once a quarter.

Berl Colley did not report on the Washington State School for the Blind because Dean Stenehjem would report Saturday. One of the board members is battling cancer. Cindy visited the school Oct 7 for White Cane Day.

Sue Ammeter, Patron Advisory Council chair, reported that the next PAC meeting will be on February 8, 2014. They held elections and Denise Colley is the new chair, Mike Edwards is Vice Chair, and Karen Johnson is Secretary. Sue Ammeter is serving as past chair. All four are WCB members. Sue will serve for one more year and then will rotate off after serving nine years.

Sue Ammeter reported that the State Rehab Council (SRC) met in September. Three new people have been appointed: Steve Fiksdal, Sheila Turner, and Gloria Walling. The SRC will meet on Fridays from now on. The March SRC meeting will be at the Washington State School for the Blind.

New Business

Eric Hunter recommended a do pass of the proposed 2014 budget to present to the membership at the annual business meeting. This motion was seconded by Sue Ammeter.

Grants are still at $0 until revenue comes in. Because this is a line item, the board can decide to change the amount at a later date.

The upcoming board meeting will be the first weekends in February and May. Check the Newsline calendar.

Should WCB consider an ongoing contract with the Washington Access Fund? It would alleviate the signing back and forth. Sue recommended an ongoing contract, Alco seconded the motion.

Should WCB lift the AT loan cap from $8,000 to $10,000? Eric Hunter recommended raising it. Meka White seconded the motion. There was discussion but the motion passed.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 P.M.

Business Meeting

by Alco Canfield

The business meeting was convened by Cindy Van Winkle on November 9, 2013 at 1:30 P.M.


Officers, the board members, and alternate delegate were elected. They are as follows:

President, Cindy Van Winkle
First Vice President, Julie Brannon
Treasurer, Eric Hunter
Board Position 1. Lori Allison
Board Position 2. Sue Ammeter
Board Position 3. Gloria Walling
Board Position 4. Frank Cuta

This last is a one year position to complete Bill Hoage’s vacated term.

Alternate Delegate: Meka White

Bylaw Changes

Changes to bylaws 1 and 2 were adopted. (See article in Newsline)

Resolutions 2013-02, 2013-03, and 2013-04were adopted, commending the United Blind of Spokane, the staff at the Red Lion Inn at the Park, and the convention volunteers respectively.

Resolution 2013-01 dealing with special needs transportation was presented by the Environmental Access Committee (see December Newsline for details). The resolution was adopted.

The 2014 WCB budget was presented by Berl Colley. It was adopted with an amendment stipulating that WCB would pay for the lunches of those attending quarterly board meetings.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:30 P.M.

2014 Board of Directors


President: Cindy Van Winkle
Bremerton, WA
(360) 689-0827

First Vice President: Julie Brannon
Seattle, WA
(206) 547-7444

Second Vice President: Meka White
Bremerton, WA
(360) 689-1678

Secretary: Alco Canfield
Walla Walla, WA

Treasurer: Eric Hunter
Bremerton, WA
(360) 377-9917

Immediate Past President: Denise Colley
Lacey, WA
(360) 438-5783

Board Members

Lori Allison
Tacoma, WA
(253) 537-4428

Sue Ammeter
Port Hadlock, WA
(360) 437-7916

Frank Cuta
Benton City, WA
(509) 967-2658

Gaylen Floy
Federal Way, WA

Tim McCorcle
Seattle, WA

Gloria Walling
Olympia, WA
(360) 556-7080

In Memoriam

At the 2013 annual business meeting of the Washington Council of the Blind, the following WCB members who have passed away since our previous convention were fondly remembered.

Jo Ellen Barton (UBWC)
Ann Bradbury (JCCB)
Bob Brezler (PCB, SKCB)
John Common (GEACB)
Lynn Gresley (JCCB)
Lynden (Mitch) Mitchell (PCB)
Glenn Nickel (SKB)
Virginia Schneebeck (KCC)
Ram Sharma (UBS)
Lita Sippy (SKB)

WCB Committees

Here are your WCB Committees. You have until January 10, 2014 to request placement on a committee. They are: Advocacy, Aging and Blindness, Awards, Constitution and Bylaws, Convention, Crisis, Environmental Access, Families with Blind Children, Finance, First Timers, History, Investment, Leadership, Legislative, Listserv, Membership, Newsline, PR, Scholarship, and Website Oversight.

For details concerning the function of each committee, please see the December, 2011 issue of Newsline.

Bylaws Go Back to the Future

by Frank Cuta

This year our Constitution and Bylaws Committee brought 3 possible amendments to the floor of the WCB State Convention and two out of the three passed. Traditionally this post-convention article is only intended to bring you up to date regarding these details. However, this year I wish to step back and also comment on an issue that in my mind continues to be a problem. I continue to be very concerned about our excessive quorum requirement.

The quorum requirement in the Constitution currently stipulates that 20 out of every 100 members must be present and voting at the state convention. If at some future convention attendance is less than this number we would not be permitted to have elections and carry on the business of the organization. In such a case these responsibilities would fall on the shoulders of our board of directors. In the past members have scoffed at the idea that a rapidly growing membership would ever result in a failure to meet the current quorum requirement. However, they failed to recognize that all it takes is the combination of a swelling membership and a convention with only moderate attendance to create such a situation. This year in Spokane we came dangerously close. We needed 94 and we just barely squeaked by. Changing the quorum requirement from 20% to 15 % will probably come up again next year. Please carefully consider the consequences of someday traveling all the way across the state to a convention where you are unable to vote.

Now here are the results of this year’s Bylaw changes as proposed in Spokane.

The first proposed change was to Bylaw 1. It changes the language regarding the membership of the awards committee so that the president may choose the size of the committee. This change was adopted.

The second proposed change was to Bylaw 2 and its purpose is to remove the requirement that the alternate delegates way be paid to the national convention. It leaves open the possibility that if funds are provided in some future annual budget. These travel expenses could still be covered. This change was adopted.

The third proposed change was to bylaw 7. It would have changed the membership requirement for affiliate representatives that have their way paid to board meetings from three months to six months. This amendment was not adopted.

Reflections of a First Timer

by Bud Kohl

I was in the Aero Space and Nuclear fields in a management capacity for 45 years. I attended more seminars, conferences and conventions than I can count. I have to say that the WCB Convention in Spokane was the best I have ever attended.

The first reason is the people. I mean attendees as well as staff. You were all an inspiration to me. The dedication and professionalism are awesome.

I tried to take advantage of as many programs as possible since I am to be the 2014 Chapter President in Yakima. The business meeting and the General Sessions will go a long way in assisting me in doing my job as well as bringing new ideas for the Yakima chapter.

I am very grateful that you provided me with this opportunity, and my best endorsement is to say, “SEE YOU IN TACOMA NEXT YEAR.”

Two Hearts

by Chris Coulter

I don’t know about you, but I think the most fun I have every year around WCB convention time is reading the Newsline articles and messages on
E-mail lists written by people as a kind of recap of everything that meant something to them. This is my recap of the 2013 convention.

My husband Jon, myself and our housemate Heidi, who is also a member of Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind set out early on the rainy morning of November 7th for Spokane, with Jon at the wheel and Heidi and me helping him devour assorted snacks and keeping him entertained as well as we could as we crawled south, trying to get to I-90 under very difficult conditions. No, Moses never parted the Red Sea for us but we eventually ran out of rush hour traffic and, to make a very long story short, we reached Spokane at about three o’clock in the afternoon.

After we got our packets and got settled things ran very smoothly for us the rest of the weekend.

I accompanied myself and Terry Blankenship on piano as we each sang in the Showcase of Talent. I’m amazed at how professional our Showcase of Talent has become over the past few years. This year Malissa Hudson coordinated and hosted the show. It was a pleasure being a part of such a high-energy show.

Saturday, after the business meeting and elections I attended the scholarship reception. I was so impressed with all of our scholarship winners. They are intelligent and enthusiastic people and I hope we will hear a lot about their accomplishments over the years.

The WCB banquet was a smashing success. The food was delicious; the awards were given and accepted with grace and class. Jeff Thom gave a wonderful banquet address, keeping us all engaged with his wit and his great story-telling ability.

Then, just as the banquet was about to come to an end something amazing happened. It’s the reason for the title of this article. Marlaina Lieberg, who was our MC, announced that someone who wished to remain anonymous had donated two lifetime memberships. Other lifetime membership recipients had been announced during the proceedings and I shared in the joy of each person who received one. This time, though, there were two donations and they were for a couple. Jon and my names were called. I was stunned at that moment and now, a week later, I’m still stunned. We truly appreciate the gift to both of us and next year we will be proud to wear a heart on each of our name tags.

Resolution 2013-1

Regarding Increased Funding for
Special Needs Transportation

Whereas: The Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) is dedicated to promoting opportunity, equality and independence for people who are blind through education, public awareness and advocacy, and,
Whereas: members of the WCB rely very heavily on all modes of public transportation, including bus, rail and light rail, ferry, Paratransit and customized services funded by the Special Needs Transportation Fund, and,
Whereas: public transportation services are of critical importance to WCB members who wish to access jobs, education and training, medical services, shopping, recreation, places of public assembly including churches, synagogues and other places of worship, public meetings and other offerings of federal, state and local government, interaction with family members and opportunities to volunteer, and,
Whereas: members of the WASHINGTON Council of the Blind, as residents of WASHINGTON are concerned about the state’s entire transportation network including building and maintaining roads and bridges, funding public transportation, care for the environment, congestion, and the economic health of our state, and,
Whereas: stable funding of public transportation is vital to the state’s transportation network, and,
Whereas: public transit agencies and systems in the State of Washington generally have experienced decreased revenue needed to fund comprehensive transit services, and,
Whereas: local jurisdictions immediately need renewed authority to raise revenues specific to local needs in order to prevent drastic cuts to service delivery that would have very negative impact on members of the Washington Council of the Blind and their communities.

Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the Washington Council of the Blind in convention assembled on this 9th day of November, 2013, at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park, in Spokane, Washington, that the membership of this organization calls on Governor Jay Inslee, members of the Washington State legislature, and other stakeholders to work together to:
–fund a balanced package of roads and public transportation,
–as soon as possible renew local jurisdictions’ authorization to seek additional revenue from local sources to fund public transportation,
–Substantially increase the appropriation for the Special needs Transportation fund to meet needs of many communities which would not otherwise have public transportation of any kind, and, Be it further resolved that the president of this organization be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Governor Inslee and members of the House and Senate Transportation Committees.

And The 2013 Award this year is given to…

by Julie Brannon

As the Friday afternoon lunch was winding down, it was time to give awards. The lunch crowd waits with some expectation, but truly, their hearts can’t be pounding as much as those on the awards committee; knowing to whom the awards will be given and with the excitement, pride and passion that being a part of this fine organization and knowing these dedicated people brings.

After recognizing those whose terms are completed among the officers and directors with certificates of appreciation, it’s time to give very specific awards to persons inside and outside WCB.

During this lunch, the Chapter of the Year Award was presented to the Jefferson County Council of the Blind, noting all the excellent outreach work initiated by newly elected president Nancy Kelly-Patnode and the chapter members.

A big cheer was heard from the audience, and I do believe those present from that chapter were pleased and surprised. Since Nancy wasn’t present at the convention, the award was accepted by chapter member Sue Ammeter.

It’s good to have more than 24 hours before giving the rest of the awards, for anticipation and excitement can’t be sustained for long periods without down time in between. The banquet had finally arrived. The excitement and anticipation was even more intense among banquet guests than at lunch, for people knew there were more very special awards to be given.

First, the Newsline Editor’s award winner was announced, this award being chosen by the Newsline editor. This year it was given to Doreen Cornwell for her June 2013 Newsline article entitled: “Stars for Yesterday, Stars for Today, Stars for Tomorrow,” summarizing her 2013 WCB leadership seminar experience. Doreen accepted her award, indicating surprise, and expressing her appreciation for the award.

Next, the Outstanding Service to WCB Award was announced. This award was given posthumously to former WCB board member, chapter president and committee chair John Common who passed away just a couple of months before the convention. The room was filled with both sadness remembering John’s tremendous passion and service for WCB, but erupted in applause at his service being honored via this award. Current Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind president Danette Dixon proudly accepted this award for John and will give it to family members.

Finally, last, but in no way least, the prestigious One World Award, given to a person or entity that has assisted in minimizing the impact of blindness in some way, was to be announced. Again, the audience became still with quiet expectation. “And the 2013 one-world award is being presented to the award winning Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, and to its phenomenal director Danielle Miller!” The audience erupted in applause as Danielle came up to accept the award.

So, as you can see, awards and deserving people and entities are alive and well within WCB. Now is the time to be thinking of your award nominations for next year to be presented at the 2014 convention.

2013 Scholarship Recap

The Washington Council of the Blind announced the six winners of WCB scholarships for 2013 on November 9 at the annual convention in Spokane. Five of the six scholarship recipients attended the convention, taking part in a panel discussion at the scholarship reception and receiving their scholarship checks during the banquet. Each of the winners demonstrated excellent academic abilities, strong leadership and communication skills, and a willingness to explore and adventure both within the blind community and in the wider world. The scholarship committee is confident these recipients will succeed in their chosen academic pursuits and will inspire those they encounter along the way. The WCB awarded a total of $16,500 to the following recipients:

Wilson Charles Wilson lives in Everett and currently attends Edmonds community College. He plans to transfer to the University of Washington for the fall 2014 quarter and major in political science and communications. His extended plans are to pursue a Master’s degree in law and diplomacy and then embark on a career in the Foreign Service as a public diplomacy officer. Wilson is a naturalized U.S. citizen, having grown up in Haiti, and is also a graduate of the School of Piano Technology in Vancouver. He received a scholarship of $3,500. Shelby Kappler Shelby is a 2013 graduate of Skyview High School in Vancouver, where she completed her studies with a 3.80 GPA. She is enrolled at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, pursuing a Bachelor degree in international studies. Shelby earned a varsity letter in swimming and received AP Scholar, Leadership and Service, and National Advanced Placement awards. She also participated in the DSB’s YES program during the summers of 2011 and 2012. The WCB awarded Shelby a $3,000 scholarship.

Shawn Berg – Shawn hails from Arlington and attends Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ. He carries a 3.83 GPA as a sophomore in his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering program. He is a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, active in their Push America national charity, and participated in his school’s Eagle Leaders program. Shawn is a two-time WCB scholarship awardee and received 3,000 this year.

Corey Grandstaff – Corey resides in Vancouver, where he is a social studies teacher at the Washington State School for the Blind. He graduated magna cum laude in 2011 from Grace College and Seminary in Indiana, and is currently enrolled in graduate school at the University of Northern Colorado. He is pursuing a Master of Arts degree with the goal of becoming a Teacher of the Visually Impaired. The WCB awarded Corey a $2,500 scholarship.

Forrest “Rusty” Wray – Rusty lives in Vancouver and completed his Associate’s degree at Clark College last spring with a 3.67 GPA. He attends Washington State University Vancouver, where he is studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. Rusty previously held management roles in both the restaurant and financial services industry. He is also a youth sports coach. Rusty received a $2,500 scholarship.

Jeff Bowler – Jeff resides in Olympia and is attending St. Martins University in Lacey, where he is earning a Master’s in Teaching, working towards a special education endorsement and secondary education certification. He graduated from Sheldon Jackson University in Sitka, Alaska with an undergraduate business degree. He has worked in management positions in the construction industry and held multiple par educator positions. Jeff received a $2,000 scholarship.

From the Senior Side
Seeing Without Eyesight

by Ernest Jones

(From his monthly column in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin, Ernie Jones explores the impact of vision loss in later life, and how he overcomes the many challenges by turning blindness into the exploration of a new frontier.).

People use their eyes to see the beauty that lies all around them-the blue sky, fluffy white clouds and that old crow sitting on top of the spruce tree. With their eyes they see the storm clouds rolling in from the west and they see that blackened area where a recent fire swept through.

Do you know there are other ways to “see” then with one’s eyes? Here are a few examples of how I see what I am doing or where I am going.

I “see” with my ears. In the house I know where I am by listening to the sounds most people never even pay attention to, like the ticking of the mantle clock. This clock tells me exactly where I am and which way I am facing. You can test this theory by covering your eyes so you can’t see while standing in your front room. Next, with eyes closed or covered turn around a few times before again standing still. Now listen as you try to find out which way you are facing-you might be surprised at what you discover. There is also the furnace blower as it heats or in the summer cools our house giving me a sense of direction. Today a couple parakeets are seldom quiet as they chatter in their hanging bird cage letting me “see” exactly where they are.

Outside I “see” by listening to the sounds I hear like the wind chimes I have hanging around our house; there are two special chimes hanging at the entrance to the back shed/greenhouse directing my way. There is also the heat pump that alerts me as I work outside in the back yard.

Another way I “see” is with my hands. They find objects I drop on the floor or ground. They tell me which are the plants I want growing and which are weeds to pull out. Many people use gloves when working in their yard but I use bare hands so I can “see” with them; gloves would camouflage what I need to feel making it more difficult to do such work. My hands tell me the difference in the plants I have planted from the weeds I don’t want and they tell me what tree I am leaning against or trimming. They identify the building, telling me I am touching the house, garage or a back shed.

I also “see” with my feet. In the house my feet let me know if I am on carpet or hard floor. They let me know if I am in a bedroom or the hall just by the change of the carpet and padding beneath the carpet. Outside my feet tell me if I am on cement, wood, grass or garden loam. They tell me if I am walking over a wet surface or a dry surface, that is if I am paying attention. On our walks it is my feet that alert me that I may be walking out towards the center of the road or if I am walking near the edge of the pavement. My feet let me know when I am walking on the shoulder of the road but where traffic cuts a corner and thus the shoulder is packed hard and smooth I find it a little more difficult to know I am on the shoulder and not the pavement. My feet tell me if I am walking over a wooden bridge or along a board walk.

With the nose we catch the fragrance floating in the air as one passes a fragrant flowering shrub or passes a bar-b-q cook out. The nose can also detect as you walk past a pasture of cattle, especially in the spring after the thaw. It can even alert you to the fact that it has just rained to freshen the land and clear the air. With the nose we draw in the wholesome fragrance of a fresh baked loaf of bread.

All too often people use only their eyesight as they walk, drive or do the daily chores. They so depend on their eyes they miss much of the other activity that surrounds them. They don’t hear the meadowlark singing or the frogs when near a stream-their eyes are glued to the road. They find objects only by sight and when starting down a darken hall they find they are suddenly unable to “see” their way.

But even when using good eyesight a person will often do jobs without looking. What about working in the kitchen, maybe doing the dishes while looking out the window at the birds at the bird feeder? How many cups and plates can one wash, rinse while not even looking at what is in the hand.

So really, though most don’t realize it, they actually do many tasks without using their eyesight.

Have a great day as you see, feel, hear, smell, and touch what lies all around you.

It’s That Time Again

by Denise Colley

It’s hard to believe it, but another year has almost come and gone! So what does that mean in the life of WCB? It means that the time is fast approaching for all WCB chapters/affiliates to submit your 2014 membership lists and affiliate dues. February 10 is the deadline date for submitting them to me, but, as your new membership database manager, I say even earlier is better.

All current and new members can help speed up this process by making sure that your membership person has your correct personal contact and preferred newsletter format information. It is very important that those of you sending in the membership lists make sure that all information has been updated and verified. Along with your updated membership list, I also need to receive a complete and accurate list of your newly elected 2014 officers.

Membership information must be sent to me in an electronic format at All presidents will be receiving an Excel spreadsheet template with the requested information fields that need to be completed. However, if filling in this template does not work for you it is perfectly OK to send the information in another format or in the body of an email.

As a reminder, the contact information that is required to make our database complete includes the following:
First and last name
Address, city, state, zip
Mailing address if different from street address
Phone number (including area code)

Cell phone # (if available)
Email address (if available)

The following questions must also all be answered: Are you a lifetime member of ACB? (Yes or No)
Are you a lifetime member of WCB? (Yes or No)
Are you totally blind?? (Yes or No)
Visually impaired? (Yes or No)
Fully sighted (Yes or No)
Date the person joined (if available)

This information is especially important for new members in order to help us know about their eligibility for WCB and ACB stipends and guideline requirements.

How would you like to receive the following publications? WCB Newsline: (large print, thumb drive, email, website, or none), The Braille Forum: (Braille, cassette, large print, IBM-compatible CD-ROM, email, website, or none), WCB Mailings: (email, large print, or Braille).

Please note that we are now requesting more specific information about visual status. This is because the new ACB database is requiring this information be broken out more.

If you are a member who is currently receiving either newsletter in a hard copy format, and have email, I would like to urge you to help us cut down on printing, recording and mailing costs by considering switching to email. To receive the WCB NEWSLINE via email, send a blank message to:

To receive the Braille Forum via email, please send a blank message to: Now for some final instructions. Dues money must be received by treasurer, Eric Hunter, No later than February 10, 2014, in order for your affiliate to receive the WCB stipend. Our WCB address is: WCBPO Box 3127Bremerton, WA 98310. If any changes have been made to your constitution, a copy must be sent to WCB President, Cindy Van Winkle, at and to Frank Cuta, Constitution and Bylaws Chair, at

Throughout the year, please contact us with any additions, corrections, or deletions to your membership list so the changes can be made immediately. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email at or by phone at (360) 438-5783.

Thank you for your support and let’s try to exceed our 2013 membership total of 465.

Washington State School for the Blind – Future Initiatives

Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Supt.

WSSB staff has a history of looking to the future and exploring how to continue to work with others in improving statewide and regional services to blind and visually impaired (BVI) children. This entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in numerous improvements in services to students over the years with provisions built into the system for sustainability. Below is a tentative list of future Initiatives in various phases of moving forward:

Potential Future Name Change: WSSB began to make major modifications on how we operated back in 1990-91. At this time we had received input from about 170 individuals from throughout the state at a “Future Direction Forum”, which was conducted by the Board of Trustees. The result of this forum
was the creation of a major goal: WSSB would provide world-class educational services to the visually impaired and blind. This would begin by realizing that no one school or agency could accomplish what students need without a spirit of cooperation and sharing of resources. As part of this charge, nine future direction statements were created:

Development of effective partnerships (expand service options) Active involvement of parents in their child’s education

Emphasis that WSSB would be a hub of service delivery for our state and a demonstration site for “Best Practices”

Strengthen educational and residential programs through short- term placement options.

Develop programs to assist students in gaining confidence and realizing that blindness and vision loss need not be disabling

Set high expectations for all students

Strengthen all programs and work with LEAs on most appropriate placement (question: why does a student need the intensive services from the on-campus program?)

Work with all consumers and stakeholders to develop school/agency pride

Continue to develop creative solutions both on-campus and through outreach services in helping met each child and family’s needs.

Since 1990, using these nine future direction statement as a platform, WSSB has gone from serving about 65 students per year to serving approximately 2,000 students, providing annual training to over 300 teachers, paraprofessionals and parents, and producing over 600,000 pages of braille, plus active participation in major research. However, we did not go through a process of changing our name to better describe all the services we provide. A committee has been formed through the Board of Trustee that is beginning to explore a name change and potential changes in our enabling laws. If this moves forward we will more than likely keep the on-campus program name: Washington State School for the Blind and explore an agency name change to more accurately reflect the full range of services the school provides. As the committee progresses we will keep you posted.

Additional initiatives underway: I will not get into too much detail on any of the following initiatives, but will provide more focus on each of the initiatives in subsequent issues.

Common Core/Expanded Core: Staff, under the leadership of Dr. Hans Michielsen, will work on revisions to the on-campus course catalog and aligning curriculum to meet common core standards. At the same time we will work at integrating Expanded Core (blindness related specialized training) into all we accomplish and track for outcomes in a way that is understandable to the general public. Contact:

Distance Learning Options: Under the direction of Ms. Sherry Hahn, WSSB will continue to expand distance learning options, utilizing both asynchronous and synchronous learning models and a combination of both to better serve children, families and those needing training. Much of the research being done in this area will be conducted in partnership with major universities and other partners (both public and private) from throughout the country. Contact:

Teacher Shortage (Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) & Orientation and Mobility (O&M): Mr. Craig Meador, Director of Outreach and State Vision Consultant for Washington, is heading up the exploration of either starting a new TVI/O&M program in Washington and/or figuring out how we can do a better job of getting more people into the field. Currently, local school districts and WSSB are not able to keep up with the demand for highly trained TVIs/O&M Instructors. If you have ideas, please contact Craig at:

Early Intervention Services (major focus – B-3): We would like to see a more comprehensive system of service delivery for low incidence disabilities such as BVI within our state. Service delivery options will be explored the remainder of this school year with the goal of having systems and or processes in place to develop new service options by the fall of 2014. Contact: Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem –

I have briefly covered a number of initiatives that will have huge positive impact for parents, BVI children and those working with children. If you have questions, please send me an e-mail. We are always looking for input in helping us do a better job of serving children/families/school districts. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”!

Update from the Washington Talking Book and
Braille Library

by Danielle Miller

Very happy holidays from all of us at your Talking Book & Braille Library. 2013 has been a challenging, yet rewarding year for WTBBL and we are thankful to have had you with us. The support from patrons and friends like you helps us weather the budget pressures and still do all we can to provide a vibrant library service. I also want to thank you for another great WCB Annual Convention. I always have the best time and have tremendous appreciation for the work that goes in to it and the camaraderie and teamwork of WCB members.

I did mention some of the following at Convention, but it is worth repeating. For example, exciting things have been happening like the new BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) app for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. There will also be an app for the Android platform devices coming in probably the next 6 months. The app has been very popular and people are finding it so nice to be able to download and read a book all in one place. One of our BARD users said, “It is a joy for me as an avid book reader to have the ability to read audio books or braille books digitally via my iPhone. I can hardly believe that today I am able to carry around countless numbers of digitally prepared books in my pocket on my iPhone. It truly is a miracle!” If you would like more information on getting and using the BARD app, please call the library.

Another exciting thing is that we have filled our vacant Audio Book Production Supervisor position with John Pai. This may be a familiar name to you because John was the Lead Broadcaster for the Evergreen Radio Reading Service. John and two other staff members in the department handle all aspects of creating and producing local talking books and also copies of books from BARD to help meet the circulation needs of our patrons. If you are looking in our catalog, locally produced books begin with DBW and we’d love to have you give some a listen.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. If you have any stories about how or why WTBBL is important in your life, I’d love to hear them. You can call or email me and share your thoughts or story. Wishing you all the best, Danielle.

Making Your Transit, Paratransit, and
Pedestrian Access Advocacy Count

by Ron Brooks

Last month, I had the honor of sharing some strategies which individuals and local chapters can use to improve the effectiveness of their advocacy on public transit and environmental access issues. Because the topic was very detailed, and because the WCB Conference was already jam-packed with lots of other interesting and informative presentations, the conference organizers asked me to include some of the details of my presentation in an article for inclusion in the WCB Newsline. Therefore, I am using the balance of this article to summarize the key steps you should consider as you organize your advocacy efforts and a list of some resources that may be helpful along the way. First, I want to acknowledge Cindy Van Winkle and the members of the Environmental Access Committee—and especially Dorene Cornwell. Cindy and Dorene each provided me with a great deal of background information about the goings on in Washington State, and this information was very useful as I thought about how to approach this large and complex topic. I would also like to acknowledge Project ACTION, which is an organization operated by Easter Seals and funded by the Federal Transit Administration. Project ACTION, with input from the ACB Transportation Committee, developed an on-line training course called “Forming Partnerships with Transit”. I included much of the information provided in this training within my presentation to the WCB as well as within the balance of this article.

Forming Partnerships
Although knowledge is important, the most critical ingredient for successful advocacy on transportation and environmental access issues is the willingness to build partnerships—partnerships with transit authorities, partnerships with other like-minded groups, and even partnerships with other individuals and groups who have very different agendas. Here are some examples of the types of groups you should check out when you’re building your local transportation or environmental access plans.

Public transit agencies – All too often, we view transit agencies as our adversaries. However, transit agencies exist for the sole purpose of providing the transportation upon which we all depend. It is easy to get caught up in frustration over the lack of service, service quality problems and other issues which make public transit less convenient, but we should always remember that the extent to which we can build support for public transit will determine the amount of funding and service that is available to meet our needs. We should also remember that in the larger arena of environmental access, the amenities that benefit public transit tend to benefit us as well.

Private transit and Paratransit providers – Like public transit agencies, the companies and organizations who provide transit and Paratransit services (usually under contract to public transit agencies) exist to provide service. The more they provide the more profitable and successful they become. Of course, we should demand safety and quality from these companies, but when we are working on larger-scale transportation and environmental access issues, we should set these concerns aside and collaborate. (It is worth noting that many of the private transit and Paratransit operators possess financial resources and expertise that can help to drive local advocacy efforts in ways that public transit agencies cannot.)

Community organizations – When we think about collaboration, we tend to gravitate toward other organizations like ourselves. This is very important and will help to convince policy makers that the entire disability community (and perhaps the senior community) is speaking with one voice. The challenge with other disability groups is often in the details. Blindness groups tend to support detectable warning strips; other disability groups do not. When these issues arise, we need to resolve them in private so that we can advocate for the goals which we share—usually funding and the need for more service, more pedestrian access and generally speaking, more accessibility.… We can work through the details with each other and with staff—later.

Environmental, bicycle and other pedestrian groups – Although it may not appear that we have a lot in common with these groups, we are probably aligned on the big picture goals of pedestrian-oriented communities with an abundance of safe and convenient public transit. Therefore, the keys for working with these groups are listening, sharing and finding common ground. We also need to make sure we support their goals even as we call upon them to support ours.

Developers – For too long, we have viewed developers as potential adversaries in our fight for better environmental access and more abundant public transportation. In truth, developers are generally interested in redeveloping existing communities or building new ones, and their primary goals are to have their projects approved, funded and advanced. With this in mind, the key to working with developers is getting them to address our concerns in their plans and then supporting those plans when they come to zoning boards, funding entities and other local Boards and Commissions for approval.

Finding the best partners within your own community will take some effort. Some simple strategies for locating potential partners include: reviewing attendance lists and the Public Comments sections of meeting minutes for local planning,
zoning, transportation, and governance boards; and conducting Internet research—in addition to the name of your community and/or transit agency, try key words like “bicycles”, “environment”, “livable community”, “livability”, “pedestrian” and “planning. You can also conduct web searches for national bicycle, pedestrian, environmental and livable community groups and search their websites for local chapters and/or affiliated groups. Here are just a few national groups to get you started:

  1. Alliance for Biking and Walking –
  2. America Walks –
  3. American Public Transit Association –
  4. Community Transportation Association of America –
  5. Easter Seals Project Action –
  6. Feet First –
  7. Smart Growth America –
  8. Surface Transportation Policy Project –
  9. Where the Sidewalk Starts –

Targeting Your Efforts
Having partners is a critical first step to effective advocacy, but the second step is equally important. Every project goes through several phases, and each phase involves different actors and requires different advocacy strategies. Although the size, scope, cost and potential funders of a given project will change the number and timing of phases through which a project must go, two of the most basic phases of a project’s evolution are planning and funding. For small local projects, these steps may take place simultaneously. For larger projects, there may be several layers of planning and funding activities. Therefore, one of the first things you will need to do to target your advocacy efforts is to determine the path which the project you are watching must follow. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

In large urban areas, most projects are planned at the local and/or regional level. Specific bodies that have a role in the planning and funding of these projects may include, but not be limited to: local planning and zoning boards, the local Town or City Council, the local transit authority and the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

In smaller communities and rural areas, planning and funding activities are typically shared between the local municipality and (in the case of transportation projects), the state’s Department of Transportation who acts as a recipient for federal funds on behalf of small communities and rural areas.

Determining where to target your efforts can begin with a call to your local transit agency, Metropolitan Planning Organization, to your Town or City Hall, or to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Politicians Never Fund Failure! One message I shared during my presentation, and the one with which I wish to close this article, is that politicians never fund failure. – All too often, we find ourselves decrying the current state of affairs. We say things like: “The sidewalks are lousy”, “This transit system is terrible. It doesn’t meet our needs. The buses are old, the service inadequate” and on and on and on. When we speak in these terms, the message is a negative one, and no politician or community leader wants to be identified with a failing program, and no politician wants to make a failing program bigger. On the other hand, if we can reshape our message into a positive one: “Sidewalks make our community better”, “We need more transit because transit grows our economy, improves our community”, and so on, then we stand a chance of finding supporters and making progress.

Although every place in America has room for improvement, many of the cities and towns in Washington State serve as role models for the rest of us in terms of livability and the strength of the local commitments to public transit and environmental access. In addition, the Washington Council of the Blind stands as a fantastic example of what a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind can achieve through dedicated leadership, strong local participation and effective advocacy. In that spirit, I appreciate WCB’s interest in having me as a convention presenter, and I hope that this information will be of value to each of you and to your entire affiliate as you advance your own advocacy agenda. Either way, I wish you the best of luck with your transportation and pedestrian access advocacy challenges, and I invite you, on behalf of myself and of the ACB Transportation Committee, of which I’m a member, to share any lessons learned, challenges and triumphs you experience.

Around the State

Compiled by Joleen Ferguson

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

by Chris Coulter, Member

A lot has been happening at Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind in the past few months. In September chapter president John Common passed away unexpectedly. He had served for several terms as chapter president and was on the WCB Board, as well as the crisis committee and other committees. He will be missed.

Tim and Cindy Van Winkle were guests at our October meeting. Cindy talked about the upcoming convention in Spokane. She and acting president Danette Dixon read memories of John
Common that had been saved from E-mail list correspondence. Tim Van Winkle read an article out loud that was written by Cindy about John Common. The article had recently been published in the Newsline.

Several chapter members attended the WCB convention in Spokane. We donated chocolates to the silent auction in memory of John, as well as cash door prizes.

We are looking forward to our Christmas party, which will be held at Denny’s Restaurant, where our chapter meetings are always held. We’ll be sure to let you know all about the party in the next Newsline issue.

I hope everyone has a chance to rest up from convention before we dive into the Holiday season. Enjoy the Holidays and we’ll be back reporting more good stuff in the March Newsline.

Guide Dog Users of Washington State

by Holly Kaczmarski, Treasurer

It is time again for news of Guide Dog Users of Washington State, GDUWS. As with past submissions, we have several items of interest and we hope you enjoy reading our update.

As always, I include the purpose of GDUWS for those of you who are new to Newsline Updates. GDUWS, a special affiliate of Washington Council of the Blind, strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life of working guide dog teams. We also provide peer support, advocacy, and information to guide dog users in Washington State.

This year at the WCB Convention, we had our yearly GDUWS Business Meeting of members and their dogs. Some of us currently have a guide dog and others do not. Some of us are between dogs but we all enjoyed visiting with the dogs that were in attendance. During this meeting we held elections and the officers for 2014 are as follows: President, Sheri Richardson; Vice-President, Julie Miller; Treasurer, Holly Kaczmarski; Secretary, Vivian Conger; Director, Michelle Denzer; Director, Hayley Edick; and Immediate Past President, Marlaina Lieberg.

At our Luncheon Meeting, we had a special speaker–Toby Willis from Independence Guide Dogs of Seattle, WA. Independence Guide Dogs trains and places German Shepherd guide dogs with blind and visually impaired individuals. This is the first kennel-free guide dog training program in North America.

News From Our Members:
Vivian Conger: Barbee and I have celebrated our 3rd anniversary together. I became a life-time member of WCB.

Margie Donovan: After three long years of not having a guide, I now have a male dog named Groton. He is 26 inches tall and two and a half years old. It is wonderful working a dog again. We are a great team!!

Danette Dixon: The APH Calendars that were on sale at the GDUWS vendor table are just the coolest. I have never seen one like this. I am looking forward to using it and not just on the wall for everyone else to see. I won the first door prize from GDUWS–a coffee mug, coffee and lots of things for Velma. I am really looking forward to this next year with GDUWS moving forward.

Dodie Brueggeman: A touching story – Have a Wonderful Life, Reta. After a broken ankle last February, a broken foot in July, and then becoming very ill in September, I chose to make one of the most painful decisions I’ve ever had to make. My beloved 3-year-old Blue Standard Poodle guide, Reta, was released to Guide Dogs of the Desert to be placed into another work situation. I have had many dogs and believed I had bonded thoroughly with each and every one. Reta, however, stole my heart immediately and I realized how much my bonds with my other Guides were diminished in comparison. She was thoroughly beloved!

I heard from Bob Wendler at GDD in October. He told me about a 12-year-old diabetic girl who needs help with blood sugar alert assistance. Because GDD has branched out in that area, Reta will be placed with this beautiful, energetic little girl. I, of course, wept copiously, and now am thrilled at Reta’s wonderful life ahead. Reta is a little Rock Star and I miss her terribly, but
knowing that she will spend the rest of her days with this child brings giant smiles through my tears. The two looked absolutely engaged and happy in the photo I was sent.

I believe that Reta was my last Guide.

Last summer, I married a wonderful man, Eugene “Dakota” Orlando, who is walking through my stage 4 serous adenocarcinoma battle with me. While we plan to beat this disease, we will concentrate on fulfilling my life-long dream of world travel as soon as I am able. My husband and I plan to make every moment matter by filling them with happiness. Knowing that Reta is in a wonderful situation really helps!

Please feel free to communicate with any and all of your GDUWS Board members as we are all here to work for you. Also, please be thinking of how you can serve GDUWS and consider throwing your hat into the ring and getting involved. As always, your input is desired. Without you, GDUWS will become just an empty organization. Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned next time for more news from GDUWS.

Jefferson County Council of the Blind

by Carl Jarvis, Secretary

An excited buzz and lots of laughter burst from the meeting room at the Road House Restaurant as we gathered for our November meeting, 25 members and guests. Our largest gathering since we began back in 1996, when six members came before the WCB board and requested membership.

What a thrill to learn that JCCB had been awarded the Outstanding Chapter Award for WCB, along with the award for most increased membership. How can there be so many low vision and blind folks in a rural county of 29,854 people?

Well, they are there. All we need to do is to go out and look for them.

It helps to have an energetic president, like Nancy Kelly-Patnode, to generate enthusiasm. Nancy just can’t help herself, talking to anyone who will listen…and probably some who won’t. Of course Cathy and Carl help increase attendance through their work in the Independent Living Older Blind Program.

Cathy Jarvis drove Carl, Sue Ammeter and Nancy to the open house at the Department of Services for the Blind in Seattle, to get a gander at all of the technology available to blind people. Nancy fell head over heels in love with the Clear View Plus Speech, CCTV. Her new unit was delivered the day before our November chapter meeting…well; almost all of it was delivered. They forgot to send along one small part, the screen.

JCCB is doing more outreach these days. We’ve had guest speakers, including our Port Townsend Fire Chief, Bill Beasley, who provided us with packets of information, and talked about the new fire house, Pat Teal, from DASH, keeping us updated on improvements around town, especially new sidewalks at the hospital, and Lisa Monroe from Jefferson County Transit.

Member Ken Hanson gave us a detailed overview of his training at American Lake, and our usual convention “Big Four” Sue, John, Cathy and Carl reported on the recent WCB convention in Spokane. We talked about ways of getting more members to next year’s convention in Tacoma. In the meantime we are looking forward to December 20, and our Christmas luncheon at the Silver Water Cafe in Port Townsend. To all of you, we send our hope for peace, both world-wide and within each of our hearts.

King County Chapter

by Linda L. Wickersham, Member

The King County Chapter held elections at their October meeting. I am pleased to announce that Tim Schneebeck was re-elected to President, Julie Miller was elected Vice President, Maria Fabian was elected Secretary and Marilyn Donnelly was re-elected Treasurer. This year we decided to elect an Assistant Treasurer to help Marilyn. I am pleased to announce that Carrie Long was elected to fill this position. We sure have a good line up for our officers!

The convention was discussed at our November meeting. It seemed like everyone thought this was the best convention ever. I truly learned a lot from the woman who came and spoke about Social Security. I found the woman who spoke about her small business was very interesting. The Spokane Chapter did a wonderful job hosting the convention this year. Thank you for all your hard work.

For some sad news; two of our members are ill. Fred Chapman, a member since the early 80’s took a serious fall about four weeks ago. It’s been difficult getting information on his status. The place his mother tells me he is at won’t return my call. It’s difficult to get information from his mother due to her age. When I can find out more I’ll let you all know. The other person I am saddened to mention is Shirley Taylor. We have learned she suffered a major stroke shortly after she returned home from convention. Julie Miller has been in touch with one of her relatives. All of our prayers and best wishes go out to both Shirley and Fred.

The chapter’s Christmas party is going to be Saturday December 7th. From the King County Chapter we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and a wonderful Kwanzaa. Everyone have a happy and safe New Year!

Peninsula Council of the Blind

by Kim L. Moberg, President

Life in our chapter has been quite busy and fun all at the same time the past few months. First of all we kicked off a new and fun event. It is called “Kid’s Day”. This is an event where children between the ages of 4 and 10 come together and take part in some activities that help them have a better understanding of what it is to be blind or visually impaired. All of these children have something in common and that is that they each have a parent that is blind or visually impaired. This event was such a success that we are going to have this event take place every few months. In December we are going to have our next “Kid’s Day” event. This one will have a Christmas theme.

The kids enjoyed things like learning to walk with a cane while under blindfold and also writing with a pencil which was also done under blindfold. They learned a bit about Braille by doing a graham cracker project. Best of all each child got to take something home that they could do with their parent who is blind or visually impaired. We gave the kiddos decks of cards that had braille on them. Meka White, immediate past president, read the kids a story that was in braille and then we had a drawing and a lucky child got that book for their very own. Four year old Dani Schweizer daughter of Sarah Schweizer, Vice President won the book.

We had a very successful fundraising event at Outback Steakhouse in Bremerton. We sold tickets for a Benefit Luncheon. Outback provided us with a very nice lunch. Tim Van Winkle was awesome selling our Braille Beans during the event and Cindy Van Winkle, President of WCB, got door prizes that various people won that day. Sarah Schweizer sold the most tickets for this event. Thank you Sarah for your hard work; and thank you to all who sold or bought tickets for this event. Your support was appreciated.

We all just returned from the WCB convention. 12 members attended this event. Several members won door prizes. Cindy Van Winkle presided over the events of convention in an awesome way as she always does. Many of our members participated in all kinds of ways to help make the convention a success.

In December we have our Christmas party coming up. This is always a fun event. Santa usually pays us a visit. We are going to have a gift exchange as well.

United Blind of Seattle

by Malissa Hudson, Secretary

Happy Holidays from all of us at United Blind of Seattle! The question remains, where has the year gone? In September, our very own Dorene Cornwell, who is very active in the transportation realm, spoke about a hearing that she attended and then we had Jim Freeburg as our guest speaker to talk about what we as consumers can do to improve our transportation system.

UBS had their Friend’s Day in October. We usually have it in June but we decided to change it so that if people wanted to join, they wouldn’t have to worry about paying their dues twice. I’m proud to report that we had 19 guests present and 6 of those members decided to join our chapter! This was the biggest turn out of guests we’d ever had! Welcome! Malissa Hudson was the MC for the event for the second year in a row. At our last meeting in November, just a week after convention, we elected for the offices of Vice-President and Treasurer. We also elected two Board positions. Congratulations to the following individuals:
Glen McCully was reelected as Treasurer
Clint Reiding was elected Vice-President
The two Board positions went to Beverly Saunders and Terry Blankenship! We’re going to have an awesome 2014!

United Blind of Seattle had excellent representation at this year’s WCB Convention in Spokane. We even had a new member come for his first time, who wowed the audience with his piano playing at the Showcase of Talent! His name is Young Choi, and it was so fun watching his enthusiasm. Our annual Christmas Luncheon will be on Saturday, December 7th at the Old Spaghetti Factory, which was the same place we had it last year. We are all looking forward to a time of fellowship, great food and the singing of Christmas carols and our ever-popular gift exchange. All of us would like to wish the rest of our WCB family a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and many blessings in the year to come. Thank you all for allowing me to not only serve as UBS Secretary, but for giving me the chance to write these updates. I love you all! See you next year.

United Blind of the Tri-Cities

by Karyn Vandecar, Member

Hi! Karyn Vandecar here from United Blind of the Tri-Cities! What a great group of people we have in our chapter. We had 10 people from our chapter invade Spokane for the WCB Convention. It was fun and informative. Each person reported at our November meeting what they liked best at the Convention–Tour of the Lighthouse; Scholarship Reception, Talent Show, Breakout Sessions, Food, Volunteers and Great Leadership! Locally, we have a card group that is planning our yearly Pizza Party. We had to gamble a lot of nickels to pay for the pizza! We have tripled the number of participants at our Book Club because we moved the venue. Thank you, Evelyn Crose, for hosting the club at Richland Gardens. We eat cookies, fresh fruit and discuss good books. We just finished the 4th book in The Walk series by Richard Paul Evans and Breakfast at Sally’s (a true story of homeless people in Bremerton) Each month we go to a different restaurant to eat lunch! Our annual Christmas Party is going to be at Applebee’s and should be wonderful—gift auction, good fellowship, and of course, food. Our chapter knows food in 500 languages. LOL our annual Candy Sales fundraiser starts in January and we are changing to See’s Candy (milk chocolate with toffee, sugar-free bars with almonds. dark chocolate and walnut squares.) We sell candy on our own and also sell candy at Fred Meyers for a weekend. We do really well getting donations (people love seeing the guide dogs). We are a strong chapter and use the money we raise to buy season tickets at the Richland Players for plays. We also pay for our annual picnic and our outreach program. We held elections and the following people will be Board members: Steve Vandecar, President; 1st VP: Bill Hoage; 2nd VP: Sherry Dubbin; Secretary: Frank Cuta; Treasurer: Brenda Vinther and Board members: Reefa Dahl & Ruth Shook. Come visit us–we are a fun bunch!

United Blind of Walla Walla

by Joleen Ferguson, President

We are saddened this time to report that one of our members, Jerry Musick, passed away on November 16 after an extended illness. Our condolences go to Shirley, his wife and our treasurer.

We held elections on November 19 as follows: Alco Canfield resigned her position as secretary, leaving a one-year term available to be elected for president—Joleen is not available for a third term. Joleen was elected secretary to complete the vacancy left by Alco. Joleen was also elected treasurer as Shirley was not eligible to consider a second term with the illness and recent death of her husband.

Alco and Joleen returned from the WCB convention and shared about their experiences during our November meeting. Our newest member, Annee Hartzell did the leg work for our WCB silent auction contribution.

In October, we were joined by Heather Lovelace and Sarah Anderegg, Delta Gamma girls from Whitman College. They shared with us the many projects and fund-raisers they are doing in our community. They said that they also make tactile quilts to send to students of the Colorado School for the Blind. They have helped fund accessible signals in years past in Walla Walla. We hope to establish a closer working relationship with them in the year ahead.

Our conference calls using an iPhone worked so well on our first two tries last summer that we repeated the concept for our September program. This time we invited Cindy Van Winkle, WCB president, to share with us some information about WCB and the November WCB convention in Spokane.

We voted in September to move our meeting date from Monday to Thursday as a six month trial, but this proved to be even more problematic for attendance and we are currently voting each month to move our next meeting date to Tuesday. If you are in our area, you will need to check on the when and where of each meeting until we can settle on something that makes it possible for the most members to be with us. Our December meeting, though, is a lunch Christmas party at Smith’s restaurant on December 10. We will share about that in the next report.

United Blind of Whatcom County

by Betty Sikkema, President

It’s time again to write a report. This will be the last time you’ll be hearing from me as president.

We had a fund raiser going called “flower power” in which we could sell flower bulbs. Members of UBWC made $273.50 profit.

I did not preside at the October meeting because I was in White Water California near Palm Springs training for a Guide Dog. I came home with a beautiful female poodle named Bethers. They say her color is blue, but she looks black. We take lots of walks, and she is still learning. She is an affectionate dog, and I love her lots!

The speaker for October was Sheila Rhodes, representing Whatcom impact, formerly the Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement.

Bill Freeman is now a life member of ACB, and has received his plaque.

The Cordata Dairy Queen didn’t have proper Braille plaques on their bathrooms. It has been taken care of.

Voting took place at the November meeting. Elected were: Gloria Riley, president; Jim Turri, vice-president; Holly Turri, secretary and Beth Marsau, treasurer. Leaving the executive board are: Betty Sikkema, president, Yvonne Miller, first vice-president, and Bruce Radtke, secretary. I want to thank Yvonne and Bruce for all their hard work!

Four of our members went to WCB convention: Bruce, Gloria, Ron Bradshaw and David Engebretson. Gloria, Ron and Bruce gave us reports about the convention. Barb Crowley shared with us that she heard the convention on ACB radio. We also found out that Bruce received an ACB and WCB lifetime membership. Congratulations Bruce!

Our Christmas party will be December 13, at Hope nightingale’s home.

We wish you all a Blest Christmas and a happy new year!

Yakima Valley Council of the Blind

by Bud Kohl

The election of officers for 2014 Yakima Valley Council of the Blind (YVCB) is complete. The following is the list of officers: President, Bud Kohl; Vice President, Susan Whitman; Secretary, Judi Thompson; and Treasurer, Howard Underwood.


YVCB President Sally Mayo is on schedule to graduate in December from Eastern Washington University with a Post Graduate Certificate in School Psychology. YEA SALLY!!!!

The Yakima Valley Chapter continues with the popular Bowling for the Blind on Fridays at 11:00 A.M. followed by lunch and bragging rights by the weekly winner.

An Instructional meeting was held with our own Reggie George as the presenter. Reggie demonstrated use of the iPhone, iPad and separate keyboard for use by the blind and visually impaired. A future instructional meeting is planned with Bruce Goebel teaching us the maximum use of the Victor Reader.

YVCB welcomed Dolores Acosta as a new member. This increases our membership to 22 (and growing!!!)

Four YVCB members attended the WCB Annual Convention in Spokane. Reggie and Lisa George, and Bud and Virginia Kohl attended all three days. Bud was the YVCB Delegate and attended the Presidents Breakfast and the Board Business Meeting. YVCB was recognized with an award for Chapter growth. Lisa was a big winner of one of the drawings for WCB Life Member. Virginia won one of the many door prizes and Bud participated in the Talent Show. YVCB provided a Silent Auction basket of Yakima Wine, Cider, Pale Ale, Carmel, and Apples.


compiled by Alco Canfield

This column is presented for your information and enjoyment. Inclusion of information, products, and/or services does not constitute endorsement by the Washington Council of the Blind. Send submissions to email: Put “Bits and Pieces” in the subject line.

Are you a person with a disability trying to find a job or start a small business? The Washington Access Fund is excited to announce that we are teaming up with Seattle-King County and Snohomish County Workforce Development Councils to offer a new program with grant money and employment counseling for people with disabilities. With our Work Opportunities Individual Development Accounts (ODAs), jobseekers with disabilities engaged with a Seattle-King or Snohomish County WorkSource Center can save up for assets needed to overcome barriers to employment or self-employment. Assets are broadly defined to include, among others:

  1. Assistive Technology;
  2. Business equipment;
  3. Vehicles and other transportation-related needs;
  4. Information and communication technologies;
  5. Tuition, books, and other materials needed for education and training.

We will match every $1 saved up to $2000. Save a dollar—get a dollar! This IDA program is funded through a Department of Labor Disability Employment Initiative grant ending September of 2014. People should sign up early so they can have longer to save! Applications will be accepted through May 30th 2014. Participants in the Work Opportunities IDA Program will be required to save for at least 3 months and a minimum of $10 per month. Contact Emerson Sekins for more information! Email: or call (206) 328-5116

Today the Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (TEACH) Act was introduced by Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI).

When enacted H.R. 3505 would significantly improve the accessibility of instructional materials used in post-secondary education, including electronic and multimedia materials. the TEACH Act would accomplish this objective by requiring the U.S. Access Board to develop standards for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to adopt as part of DOJ’s responsibilities to implement and enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These standards are essential for creators of post-secondary instructional materials to employ so that students with disabilities will have full and equal access to the educational content that such materials provide. the TEACH Act does not alter the effective communication or other requirements of current law but provides both the creators of instructional materials and colleges and universities greater certainty about how to offer accessibility and to comply with existing law ACB supports the introduction of the TEACH Act and urges its passage.

by Eric Bridges

ACB at the Table with FCC Chairman

reprinted with Permission

Yesterday ACB attended a small group meeting with the new Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler.

He expressed appreciation for each of the eight organizations accepting his invitation to participate in the meeting. The Chairman was just completing day 10 on the job and wanted to let the group assembled know that accessibility to technology for people with disabilities was an absolute priority for him and his staff moving forward. Additionally, he wanted to let us know of his knowledge about the high unemployment and underemployment rate within the community. In the coming months the Chairman will be undertaking an initiative to increase opportunities for people with disabilities at the FCC. At the end of the hour-long meeting, he said “While you may not always completely agree with what we do please know that we will be traveling down the same road together.” He demonstrated an excellent working knowledge of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)

This was an encouraging first meeting with the new head of the FCC.

ACB and the membership will have much more work to do in the coming months and years to ensure the FCC enforces the regulations from the CVAA. We will need to maintain and
develop new relationships at the FCC to ensure that the blind community realizes the potentially truly transformative technology breakthroughs that the CVAA promises. We learned at the end of the meeting that the Chairman and his staff appear quite willing to have an open door policy for our issues.

by Eric Bridges
Director of External Relations and Policy
American Council of the Blind
2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 650
Arlington, VA 22201
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The following is from Top Tech Tidbets “Folk Music in America” was a set of 15 vinyl records compiled during the 70’s at the Library of Congress. The 13-hour compilation has been digitized and can be downloaded, along with pdf files that contain lyrics and notes about the songs:

The NLS has posted 12 videos on using the iOS BARD Mobile app to its YouTube channel.

compiled by Dean Martineau

Hats Off

compiled by Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to, and celebrate with, the following WCB members:

Ardis Bazyn (at large) on the birth of her second grandchild, born to her daughter Gwen. Ember Evans was born in the Netherlands on September 11, weighing in a strong 8 LB 10 OZ.

Hayley and David Edick (PCAB) on the birth of their first child, a son. Matthew David was born on September 25, weighing 7 lb, 2 oz and 20.25 inches in length. This precious family of three are doing great, and little Matt even attended his first WCB convention this year!

Margie Donovan (GDUWS) on the birth of her first grandchild, Audrey Claire, born November 26, weighing 6 pounds and was a long 21.5 inches, and on the partnering with her new guide dog, Groton, a handsome and tall German Shepherd.

Amelia Hammonds (at large with husband David, Cindy and Tim Van Winkle (PCB), and Connie and Jim Hollis (PCB) on the birth of their daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter respectively. Elaina Grace was born on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, weighing in a healthy 9 lb 7 oz. and 21 inches long with lots of strawberry blonde hair.

Frank Cuta (UBTC) on his recent retirement after 38 years with Batell and his reelection to the Board of Directors for Washington Council of the Blind.

Bob Squires (UBTC) on his recent retirement as a Project Controller Engineer, most recently with the Department of Energy. Janice and he celebrated this new chapter in their lives with a Mediterranean cruise.

Betty Sikkema (UBWC) on receiving her new guide dog, a female, Standard Poodle named Bethers from Guide Dogs of the Desert.

Denise Colley (CCCB) on being elected as Chair of the Patron Advisory Committee for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.

Sue Ammeter (JCCB) on her election to serve on the Board of Trustees for the National Braille Press, Boston, MA.

Gloria Walling (CCCB) on being elected for her first time to the Board of Directors for the Washington Council of the Blind.

Meka White (PCB) on being elected to serve as WCB’s 2014 Alternate Delegate at the ACB Conference and Convention.

If you have something for inclusion consideration for future Hats Off articles, please send to with “Hats Off” in the subject line.

From My Kitchen to Yours

by Alco Canfield

Because of the holidays, two recipes are featured here: the first is from Cindy Van Winkle, and the second is from Alco Canfield. Enjoy!

Marvelous Muffins

by Cindy Van Winkle

  1. 1 standard spice cake mix
  2. 1 small can of pumpkin
  3. ½ cup raisins if desired

Mix together and put into greased muffin tins.
Bake at dg.350 for min.15-20 or until toothpick comes out clean.

Quick Christmas Salad

by Alco Canfield

  1. 3 cup red grapes
  2. 3 cup green grapes
  3. 1 8oz. container of sour cream
  4. 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  5. 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  6. 1 cap vanilla

Soften cream cheese and mix with sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. Fold into red and green grapes.


You can do this a day ahead which allows the flavors to permeate the salad.

Calendar of Deadlines and Events 2014

7: Job Seekers Forum, 8:00 pm
10: Deadline for committee requests
14: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
27: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm
31: Leadership Training, 3:00 pm-9:00 pm

1: WCB Winter Board meeting, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
4: On the Job Forum, 8:00 pm
6: Presidents call, 8:00 pm
11: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
24: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm

4: Job Seekers Forum, 8:00 pm
11: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
24: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm
31: Deadline to apply for the WCB Leadership Seminar

1: On the Job Forum, 8:00 pm
3: Presidents call, 8:00 pm
8: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
28: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm

1: Deadline to apply for the First timer scholarship to the ACB convention
2-4: WCB Leadership Seminar
4: WCB Spring Board meeting, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
6: Job Seekers Forum, 8:00 pm
13: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
15: Deadline to request a travel stipend or loan to attend the ACB convention
26: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm

3: On the Job Forum, 8:00 pm
5: Presidents call, 8:00 pm
10: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
23: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm

13-19: ACB Conference and Convention, Las Vegas, NV

7: Presidents call, 8:00 pm
16: WCB Summer Board meeting, WTBBL
10:00 am-3:00 pm

2: Presidents call, 8:00 pm.
30: WCB convention begins, Tacoma WA.

4: Presidents call, 8:00 pm.


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