Opportunity, Equality, Independence
Denise Colley, President
Alco Canfield, Senior Editor
Terry Nelson, Assistant Editor
Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Glenn McCully, at PO Box 30009, Seattle, WA 98113-0009.
To remember the Washington Council of the Blind in your Last Will and Testament, you may include a special paragraph for that purpose in your Will or Trust. If your wishes are complex, please contact the WCB at 800-255-1147.
The WCB is a 501(c)(3) organization.
For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our Fundraising page found at www.wcbinfo.org.
Table of Contents
From the Presidentís Desk
Guest Editorial by Gaylen Floy
May 2011 Board Meeting
2011 Legislative Wrap-up
Breezing Into the Tri-Cities for Convention
College Help Is Here Again Through WCB
Say Hello to WCBís Newest Chapter
From the Senior Side
Washington State Department of Services for the Blind
Louis Braille School
Farewell Letter From Carolyn Meyer
Washington Talking Book and Braille Library
Washington State School for the Blind
10th Annual WCB Leadership Conference
WCB History: January to April 2001
We Need Your Help!
Around the State
Bits and Pieces
Hats Off to You
From My Kitchen to Yours
2011 Calendar of Deadlines and Events
From the Presidentís Desk
by WCB President Denise Colley
Hello WCB members and friends!
When last we chatted the winter cold was still making its presence known and we were looking forward to things to come. While hope of spring periodically teases us, and is just around the corner, we have yet to see it in its entire splendor. This is quite a dichotomy when May will quickly be sliding into June and summer will be upon us sooner than we realize. WCB members are already beginning to prepare for our national convention, summer picnics, baseball games, county fairs, and other summer fun.
In this article, I will share with you some of the many ways I have been able to represent WCB over the past quarter.
This past quarter has been spent monitoring legislation and testifying at hearings as well as attending conferences in Seattle and Washington DC. I also spent a lot of time updating our membership database and getting our membership information into the national office. We turned in a membership count of 394 in March. At the present time we are right around 425 members with the addition of our new WCB chapter, the United Blind of Southwest Washington. (See the article on this brand new WCB chapter later in this issue.)
On February 26ñ28, I attended the American Council of the Blind Presidentsí Meeting and Legislative Seminar held in Washington DC. (See my article on these activities later in this issue.) There was a good turnout of participants at both the presidentsí meeting and legislative seminar, and it was a great time of sharing, learning, and spending time with good friends.
In March, I attended the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind. This year the institute was held in Seattle in conjunction with the Pacific Northwest Association of Education and Rehabilitation Conference. Along with attending some great sessions on education and rehabilitation for the blind, I participated on a panel to discuss current national issues and needed actions to ensure access to jobs, education, and technology, speaking from the consumer perspective.
Eleven WCB members attended this yearís leadership training, held on April 29ñ30, in Seattle, and the spring board meeting was held on May 1. The theme of the leadership weekend was ìLeadership Is Service,î and the training consisted of such topics as:
* Where I am today and where I want to be tomorrow in WCB,
* Steps to Stepping UpñTransferring developed skills and allowing mentoring to take place, and
* Learning the CultureñYour first impression of your chapter, your evolving understanding of it, and how you can be a part of eventual change.
The time for the American Council of the Blind (ACB) National Conference and Convention is fast approaching, and approximately 35 of us will be winging our way to Reno, Nevada. The dates for the convention are July 8ñ16, and this year marks the 50th Anniversary of ACB.
Congratulations go to Bill Hoage, WCB board member and president of the United Blind of the Tri-Cities, for being selected as this yearís WCB First-Timer to convention. Itís always lots of fun to see WCB members experience the wonders of their first national convention.
Just a reminder that the summer board meeting will be held on Saturday, July 30, at the Holiday Inn downtown Everett, located at 3105 Pine Street. Their phone number is 425-339-2000. Room rates will be $89 plus tax per night (based on double occupancy). The meeting will begin at 9 AM and end at approximately 3 PM.
Are you beginning to make your plans to attend this yearís WCB state convention? The dates are November 3ñ5, and we will be back in Pasco at the Pasco Red Lion Hotel. Letís make this the biggest and best state convention yet. (See the convention article later in this issue for more details.)
This is shaping up to be another busy year for WCB. As we move forward, however, we can never let down and just coast. It is through the work of strong chapters and a committed membership that we can meet whatever challenges that may face us in the future. It is all of us doing our part, no matter how large or how small, that makes us who and what we are.
by Gaylen Floy
A few weeks ago I observed a veteran learning how to download a book from the National Library Service website for the first time. The next afternoon he had over 30 books on his computer. The smile in his voice reminded me how empowering services are in the lives of people with vision loss.
As I write this editorial, we in Washington State are collectively holding our breath againówaiting to hear how the budget plays out in Olympia. Will the school in Vancouver take a big hit or a massive hit? How will our library fare? And will the Department of Services for the Blind get by relatively unscathed? Those state budget figures can dramatically affect our lives and so many across our state.
Since 2007, weíve had to rally, email, call, testify, and reach out to friends, family, and other organizations to defend services. Thank you to everyone who hustled! Olympia got our message in the past because our numbers warranted their attention. That is just one reason why each member is so very important. Each personís story has the power to make a lasting impression.
Iíve encouraged online friends living in rural areas across the United States to join the American Council of the Blind as members-at-large. Even if they never get to attend a meeting, their membership is like a vote on the issues they care deeply about, like accessible currency. Membership numbers help those doing the legislative work and structured negotiations.
The next five years may test us as never before. The council is an all-volunteer organization up against countless other groups. On the evening news, weíve seen protestors in Olympia willing to go to jail. We cannot afford to be complacent. We cannot assume our services will remain intact. Our membership numbers are more important than ever.
Vince Lombardi once said, ìThe achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.î This summer is the time to build on the relationships weíll need next year. To find your legislatorís contact information you can go online to: www.leg.wa.gov and look for the ìFind Your Legislatorî link. Then type in your address. You can also use the Legislative Hotline at: 1-800-562-6000.
Perhaps youíve never done anything like this before. That is okay. Not everyone is as articulate as a Sue Ammeter or a Denise Colley. Plan what you want to say. Keep your message short and sweet. Let your representative know you appreciate their work in difficult times. Invite them to speak at your chapter meeting or simply meet with them for coffee. What committees does your legislator serve on? This key information can help the WCB legislative committee. It doesnít matter what party. We need friends on both sides of the aisle.
May 2011 Board Meeting
by Alco Canfield
The spring 2011 WCB Board Meeting convened at the Executive Inn on May 1, 2011. The meeting was ably chaired by Julie Brannon because of President Denise Colleyís vacation absence. All chapters were represented with the exception of the United Blind of Whatcom County.
Minutes of the winter board meeting, distributed earlier, were approved. Glenn McCully gave the treasurerís report.
The constitution of the newly-formed United Blind of Southwest Washington was accepted. A motion was adopted to grant a charter to the new chapter. Brooke Strand is the president and the affiliate already has seventeen members.
President Colley continues to update the database. With the addition of the United Blind of Southwest Washington, there will be 421 members of WCB.
Denise and Berl attended the mid-year meeting of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) as well as the legislative seminar. ACB hopes to promote regional leadership training and Denise was asked to present information about WCBís leadership workshops.
Accessible prescription labeling, the use of Medicare to cover low vision devices, and vehicle donation were three legislative initiatives discussed during the seminar.
Julie Brannon, chair of the Leadership Training Committee gave a report. Eleven individuals participated in the most recent workshop held April 29ñ30, 2011. The theme was ìLeadership Is Service.î
The national convention in Reno was briefly discussed and requirements for a First-Timer stipend reiterated.
Our state convention will be in the Tri-Cities at the Pasco Red Lion Hotel. Rooms will be $92 for singles and doubles, and an additional $10 for triples and quads. Registration is $15. Banquet with registration is $35, registration plus meal package is $75.
The Advocacy and Legislative Committee reports were given by Sue Ammeter. She also reviewed the activities of the Patron Advisory Council and the State Rehabilitation Council.
Stuart Russell gave the Crisis Committee report. Alco Canfield reported on the activities of the NEWSLINE Committee and urged everyone to get their articles in no later than May 28.
Joleen Ferguson updated us on the WCB website and Jim Eccles presented the Environmental Access Committee report. He also updated us on the Washington State School for the Blind. John Common reported on fundraising activities.
The summer Board Meeting will be held on July 30, 2011, at the Everett Holiday Inn from 9 AMñ3 PM. Rooms are $89 a night.
2011 Legislative Wrap-Up
by WCB Legislative Committee Chair Sue Ammeter
2011 was a very, very busy time for WCB and your legislative committee. Following is a summary of the bills and issues which we tracked during the legislative session.
SHB1087 and SB5094, authorizing the State budget for 2011ñ2013: passed the House and Senate, awaiting the governorís signature.
SHB1089, regarding instructional materials in alternate format: signed by the governor and will be effective July 22, 2011. WCB supported this bill with amendments.
HB1129, regarding pedestrian safety curricula in traffic schools: governor signed into law April 2011. WCB supported this bill.
SHB1339, concerning negligent driving resulting in substantial bodily harm to vulnerable individuals: signed by governor. WCB supported this bill.
SHB1728, requiring businesses, where food for human consumption is sold or served, to allow persons with disabilities to bring their service animals onto the business premises: signed by governor. WCB supported this bill with amendments.
SHB2033, concerning moving the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library and the state library to a newly created mega agency: on March 31, a hearing was held by the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee. WCB and several other individuals testified against the bill.
SSB5639, creating the Department of Education and moving the Washington State School for the Blind in to this super agency which would eliminate its autonomy: March 30, hearing held in Senate Ways and Means. WCB provided written testimony in opposition to this bill.
Despite the fact that the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee had convened a hearing at 8 AM on HB2033, nearly forty blind people and their friends filled the hearing room. A charter bus from Seattle and people from Kitsap County, Tacoma, Olympia, and Vancouver were present. WCB President Denise Colley, National Federation of the Blind of Washington President Mike Freeman, Patron Advisory Committee Chair Mike Mello, retired Director of the Washington State Library Jan Walsh, and retired Director of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library Jan Ames all provided testimony opposing this damaging piece of legislation. Due to our advocacy the bill was amended so that the Washington State Library would remain in the Office of the Secretary of State. Kudos to everyone for your hard work on this most important issue!
As all of you know, Washington State is facing a very severe financial crisis. Your WCB Legislative Committee monitored the budget as it ground its way through the legislative process to its final adoption. As of this writing, we are still waiting to hear how this budget will impact our three agencies. I want to personally thank Lou Oma Durand, Danielle Miller, and Dean Stenehjem for keeping us informed about the budget and how it would impact our services and programs. We have, indeed, had a terrific partnership during this most difficult time.
I want to thank all of you for your phone calls, emails, and personal visits to your legislators. You have, once again, made a difference!
Breezing Into the Tri-Cities for Convention
by Frank Cuta
In the early days of the Hanford site, thousands of workers were brought into Richland to work on the project and many of them turned around and left because of the shockingly strong winds that they experienced. They called them the ìtermination winds.î However, rest assured, we promise only warm welcoming breezes to the attendees of this yearís state convention.
No matter how many roads you walk down or seas you sail they all should lead to the Pasco Red Lion on November 3, 4, and 5. This year we have as our honored National Representative and banquet speaker American Council of the Blind Second Vice President Brenda Dillon.
On the program expect to see all of the regular updates and reports from our state service providers, a great employment panel, as well as technology updates on the iPhone and iPad. The program is not finalized yet, but there will definitely be some exciting surprises.
Exhibits have grown into a huge part of the convention in recent years and they are a great place to get updated on all of the newest low tech and high tech aids. This year two outings are being planned for Friday afternoon: a tour to a local winery and a chance to experience a climbing wall. You can either struggle up or scramble up, depending on your ability level. You can expect all of the regular social events as well, including lots of door prizes, the talent show and a sing-along Friday night, and hospitality rooms every night.
So, how many times will they call your name for a door prize when you are out of the room, and how late will friends stay up chatting with friends in hospitality, and how many hours will the sing-along last? The answer is blowing in the wind.
This is not only the major social get-together of the year, but also your opportunity to learn new skills, get up-to-date on service changes, and to make your contribution to the running of our organization.
Conference registration comes in three flavors:
Registration only: $15; registration plus banquet: $35; and the full meal deal, registration and five major meals: $75.
Online convention registration will be available at our www.wcbinfo.org website starting August 15. The cutoff date for registration is October 4, and thatís also the deadline to request a travel stipend and to obtain a hotel room from those that have been blocked off for our convention.
Free bus transportation will be available with pick ups in Bremerton, Port Orchard, Tacoma, Seattle, and Federal Way. If you canít take advantage of the buses, and live outside of Benton or Franklin counties, you may qualify for a WCB travel stipend of $40. Contact Shirley Taylor at 206-362-3118.
Members who have never attended a WCB state convention, who have joined WCB prior to May 3, and who have a strong interest should consider applying for our full ride First-Timerís award. Applications are due August 31, and letters should be sent to Denise Colley at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her at 360-438-0072 if you need assistance.
A few free rooms are also available on a first call, first served basis and the call-in date to request a bed in a free room is September 11. Call the WCB hotline for details on any of these benefits at 800-255-1147.
So, how many attendees will remember to register before October 4, how many attendees will the free bus see on board, and how many loaded goodie bags will be picked up at the convention door? The answer is blowing in the wind.
This year we are returning to the Red Lion in Pasco. Itís one of the oddest shaped buildings you will ever see, but written and audio descriptions will be available in advance. We actually have a large detailed tactile map, but you wonít get a chance to see that until you arrive.
Hotel room rates are $92 plus tax. Contact the Pasco Red Lion by October 4, to make your reservations at 509-547-0701.
So, how many friends do you see just once a year, how many times can you hold them near and dear, and what will it take to get your rear in gear, and get to Pasco in November?
The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.
College Help Is Here Again Through WCB
by Scholarship Committee Member Julie Brannon
As the economic times grow more challenging, and low and high tech adaptive equipment becomes more expensive and necessary for blind/visually impaired college students, itís nice to know there are organizations who champion the cause of these students by providing scholarships for college and/or vocational/technical training.
This year, as in the past, the WCB is one of those organizations which provides assistance. We will again be awarding college scholarships up to $4,000 to deserving residents of Washington State.
To learn about the criteria for applying for a WCB scholarship, please read the cover letter on the WCB website. Just click on the link titled ìAnnouncements.î You will also find the WCB scholarship application along with an explanation of what other documents are required. The selection process will include: committee review of applications and other required documents and telephone interviews with each applicant to obtain more in-depth information. Upon receipt of all necessary information, the committee members will complete an objective rating scale. The WCB website is located at: www.wcbinfo.org.
If you have any questions or need clarification of any kind, please donít hesitate to contact the Scholarship Committee Chair, Tim Mccorcle, at email@example.com. Please consider applying yourself this year if you are college bound or currently in college. If you know of people who are residents of Washington State and who meet the visual acuity requirements noted in the scholarship cover letter, encourage them to apply. They need to be either planning to attend an accredited school or be current college students in an accredited institution of higher learning. We have a very competent and very skilled scholarship committee awaiting your application. Applications and other required documents must be received by August 31, 2011.
Scholarship winners will be notified of their selection soon after the application receipt deadline date and when necessary processes are complete. The winners will be invited to attend this yearís WCB convention in Pasco, Washington. The scholarships will be awarded at the convention banquet.
Donít miss this opportunity to win a valuable scholarship from WCB!
Say Hello to WCBís Newest Chapter
by Denise Colley
On May 1, 2011, at the WCB winter board meeting, the United Blind of Southwest Washington was voted in as WCBís newest chapter. Hereís how this all came about.
For some time now the WCB board has been looking at areas where we currently have small chapters to see what might be the option for chapter growth. One of those areas was Vancouver. After doing some research we concluded that Vancouver is one of the largest population communities in Washington, and as such, was a prime location to build a new chapter. While we already have a functioning chapter there, it was felt that Clark County could handle a second chapter and would provide a fresh start for recruitment of new members.
The process began with an outreach and organization day. Letters were sent to all Talking Book and Braille Library patrons in the county inviting them to attend a resource sharing and organizing day which was held on April 2, 2011, from 10 AMñ1 PM, at the Vancouver Hilton Hotel. Press releases were also sent out to area newspapers.
Approximately 75 people attended the event at one time or another. Denise and Berl Colley, Julie Brannon, and Cindy Van Winkle facilitated the activities for the day.
Presentations were made on local resources for the blind as well as on the importance of consumerism and the benefits of joining a consumer organization. Halfway through the morning light refreshments were provided along with a time for people to just network with each other. The last hour was spent talking about the process of actually organizing, getting contact information, and dues from those interested in joining. Sixteen individuals joined that day and several more have joined in the two subsequent meetings they have held.
On the following Saturday, April 9, Berl and I made a trip back down to Vancouver to meet with the chapter and assist them with writing their constitution and electing officers. Their new officers include: President: Brooke Strand, Vice President: Beth Manning, Secretary: Michael Higley, and Treasurer: Chris Higley. Brooke is an elementary school teacher at the Washington State School for the Blind. Those of you who attended last yearís WCB convention in Vancouver will remember Beth Manning as one of the speakers on the Employment panel and that she works for the Hilton as a telephone operator. Chris Higley is Bethís sister, and she and her husband, Michael, attended a good part of our convention.
This newest chapter will be meeting on the second Saturday of each month at 11 AM at the school for the blind. They are already talking about creating an informational flyer and putting up a page on Facebook. They have a strong desire to reach out to the high school and college students in the area. They are also planning a picnic for their first social event.
We want to say a big welcome to United Blind of Southwest Washington and weíre excited youíve joined our WCB family.
From the Senior Side
Redefining the Rules Governing Service Animals
Covered by the American With Disability Act
by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez
for the U.S. Department of Justiceís Civil Rights Division
Service animals play an integral role in the lives of many individuals with disabilities, providing assistance in a wide variety of ways so that they can have the freedom to go about their daily activities. For this reason, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, and retail stores accommodate individuals with disabilities who use service animals.
However, when the Department of Justice (DOJ) originally issued its Title III regulation in the early 1990s, the department did not define the parameters of acceptable animal species. Few anticipated that everything from pigs and miniature horses to snakes, iguanas, and parrots would be used as service animals in the years to come. Some individuals who do not have disabilities have claimed, whether fraudulently or sincerely (albeit mistakenly), that their animals are service animals covered by the ADA in order to gain access to hotels, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation.
The proliferation of individuals who do not have disabilities claiming that their animals are service animals covered by the ADA, as well as the original vague definition of a service animal, has led to confusion throughout the years about the obligations of public places to accommodate individuals who use service animals. Additionally, individuals with disabilities who use trained guide or service dogs have expressed concern that if untrained or unusual animals are termed ìservice animals,î their own right to use guide or service dogs may become restricted or questioned. For these reasons, in the new ADA regulations that took effect in March, the DOJ has clarified the rules governing service animals covered by the ADA.
The DOJ agrees with the views expressed by some that limiting the types of species recognized as service animals will provide greater predictability for those who own or manage public accommodations, as well as added assurance of access for individuals with disabilities who use dogs as service animals.
The department has, therefore, decided to limit this ruleís coverage of service animals to dogs, which are the most common service animals used by individuals with disabilities. The departmentís final rule defines a ìservice animalî as ìany dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
ìOther species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handlerís disability.
ìExamples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
ìThe crime deterrent effects of an animalís presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.î
In drafting the definition, the department took into consideration the many comments received from individuals and organizations recommending species limitations. Several of these comments asserted that limiting the number of allowable species would help stop erosion of the publicís trust, which has resulted in reduced access for many individuals with disabilities who use trained service animals that adhere to high behavioral standards.
Others suggested that species other than dogs would be acceptable if those animals could meet nationally recognized behavioral standards for trained service dogs.
Public accommodations covered by Title III of the ADA are obligated to permit service animals. However, the new rule stipulates that a service animal can be excluded if the animal is out of control, the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken. If exclusion of a service animal occurs for one of these reasons, the handler should be given the opportunity to access the public accommodation without the animal.
With the clarification provided by the final rule, individuals with disabilities will continue to be able to use their service animals as they go about their daily activities. The clarification will also help to ensure that the fraudulent or mistaken use of other animals not qualified as service animals under the ADA will be deterred.
Washington State Department of
Services for the Blind (DSB)
By Director Lou Oma Durand
The environment the past two years has been, to say the least, stressful. Many of us are struggling or have friends and family affected by the uncertainty of our economy and the challenges of how we utilize declining resources to meet the common need. At DSB, we have already absorbed a series of mandated budget cuts and face an additional 10% cut in state general funds in the upcoming biennium. We have offset some of these cuts by spending down our Social Security Administration reimbursement funds. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars have also helped sustain our programs, but those dollars will go away at the end of September. This means we will have fewer resources to apply to Independent Living services, both for the older blind and those under 55.
Despite these growing challenges, we have maintained a high caliber of committed and professional staff with an enormous pool of expertise, a creative and passionate network of community partners such as yourselves, who are committed to our mission and our work, and customers who continue to inform us about their own successes and contributions to our local economies and communities. We have maintained a consistent level of employment outcomes (despite an over 10% unemployment rate in the state), and have seen an increase in our customersí hourly wagesóthis is awesome. The Orientation and Training Center (OTC), services to children and families, services to transition-age kids, and our Business Enterprise Program all remain robust.
In addition, after five years of searching and researching our options, the OTC apartments will be moved to a brand-new, ìgreenî and accessible building in the Othello neighborhood of Seattle. We are so excited for this development, which not only provides our customers with a safer and more readily maintained environment, but also ensures full compliance with the Americans With Disability Act and provides a rapidly-developing and exciting residential environment. We are looking forward to the new opportunities this improvement will present as well as working with and in a new community.
As always, thank you, WCB, for your strong commitment to our work and for continually speaking on behalf of Washingtonians who are blind or have low vision to secure the future of our services. Even in the most difficult times, you make a real difference in our communities and in individual lives. Your leadership continues to keep one ìfront doorî open to all Washingtonians who are blind or have low vision by staying committed to our missionó ìInclusion, Independence, and Economic Vitality for People With Visual Disabilities.î
The Louis Braille School
Hike, Bike, and Boat Trip
by Louis Braille School Student Alan Bridgeford
The stop and go weather was not enough to prevent the students from having nonstop fun on the Hike, Bike, and Boat Trip.
Louis Braille School students Alan, Jordan, Jordanís sisters, and our teacher, Andre, and his daughter went on the trip. There were many other people from other groups.
This event happened May 7, 2011, at the Clear Creek Campground in Darrington, Washington. This event was important because kids with disabilities in our community do not go to places outdoors in the country as much.
Our first activity was the nature hike. Our guide, Phillip, told us about trees, shrubs, and plants. I asked him what season the plants and trees grow in.
After the nature hike, we went back to our campsite for lunch. For lunch I had a cheeseburger, chips, an orange, M&Ms, and a juice pouch.
Our next activity was a nature lesson with park rangers Stella and Sarah. They taught us how to take care of our environment and about invasive plants here in Washington State.
After the nature lesson, our next activity was bike riding. Before we rode our bikes, we put our helmets on our heads. I rode on a tandem bike with Andre. The bike ride was bumpy and fun, too.
Once we finished our bike ride we got ready for the last activity of the day, THE BOATING TRIP! I had to put on waterproof pants and a waterproof pullover to help keep me dry and warm. When I sat in the front of the boat, our guide introduced himself as Franz. Floating down the river in the boat felt relaxing, bumpy, and fun.
Despite the rainy weather, we didnít stop having fun. Near the end of our boating trip Jordanís boat got on the rocks. Jordanís guide got out of his boat and yanked it off of the rocks.
The Hike, Bike, and Boat Trip was fun, educational, and exciting. At the end of the day I felt tired, proud, and happy. I would recommend kids with disabilities do the Hike, Bike, and Boat Trip again next year.
Note From Carolyn: Wild and Scenic Institute provides environmental education and outdoor recreation to special needs children in the Greater Seattle area. The institute develops physical and emotional confidence in youth who, due to their physical, cultural, or financial barriers, would not otherwise have these opportunities. Wild and Scenic Instituteís website is: www.wildandscenic.org.
Equipment for the outing was provided by Outdoors for All. Website: www.outdoorsforall.org.
Farewell Letter From Carolyn Meyer
Dear WCB Friends,
It is with a sad heart that I tell you the Louis Braille School will close with the 2010ñ2011 school year. The last day of school for the children is June 17; we will vacate the building by the end of the month. The financial struggle of maintaining the Louis Braille School has become too burdensome and there just arenít funds to continue.
We plan a little graduation/moving on ceremony before the last day of school. One student will get his high school diploma; the others will be moving on to junior high school. I will let you know the plans and date as things develop. We hope you can attend.
The staff is understanding and supportive and will work in June as volunteers. We will not have a summer program.
I have loved every minute of my work with the children and staff. The children have thrived during their time with us. We believe they have gained skills, confidence, and knowledge that will carry over to their next experience. Their parents are well pleased with their childrenís progress and sad, but understanding, about our decision. That said, I am looking forward to relief from the constant financial stress and the twelve-hour plus days, seven days a week.
I have set myself up as a sole proprietor under the name of Carolyn Meyer ñ Braille Services. I will do Braille transcribing from my home. I would appreciate any referrals. The phone is 425-778-8428. I promise quick turnaround and excellent Braille.
Thank you, my dear WCB friends, for your participation in and support of our very special little school. Please know that you have touched the hearts of many young children. Please keep in touch.
My love to each one of you,
Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL)
by Danielle Miller
As I sit down to write my update, the 2011ñ2013 budget has just been approved. By the time you read this there will be some concrete information and thoughts for implementation at WTBBL. But today, I donít have any real news. Briefly, there will be a cut to the Washington State Library and a portion of that will go to WTBBL. However, I donít have any numbers and would rather wait for firm information.
WTBBL was in far worse shape earlier in the legislative session and we were once again helped when WCB members and WTBBL patrons rallied around us and called their legislators to oppose a bill that would move us in to a mega agency and cut us by 22%. In fact, Sue Ammeter organized a bus from Seattle and members from all over Western Washington got up at the crack of dawn and attended an 8:00 AM hearing on the bill. I think the committee was astounded when over 40 blind and visually impaired people and their friends and families filled the hearing room.
Three WTBBL patrons testified on behalf of WTBBL: WCB President Denise Colley, Patron Advisory Council Chair Mike Mello, and the National Federation of the Blind of Washington President Mike Freeman. Never underestimate the power of your advocacy; by early that afternoon an amendment had been added that removed us from the bill! The library staff and I are truly appreciative of your advocacy year after year.
Despite the worry and stress of the legislative session, many things have still been happening at WTBBL. We continue to try to get a digital player in the hands of all our patrons and increase access to digital books. If you know someone that could use our service, please tell themóin terms of technology and access, there is no better time to be a patron of the library. I know many of you are downloading your books from BARD and from the WTBBL download site and I encourage you to see if others in your area could use any help with that process. We have new instructions and frequently asked questions on the download page of our website (www.wtbbl.org) for both PC and MAC. I shifted one of our librarianís roles to focus on instruction and electronic services so we can do training in person, on the phone, and on the web.
In May, we held our 7th annual Ten-Squared High Tea honoring our patrons 100 years old and older. It was a lovely event with five centenarians attending and two of them being newly inducted into the club (we have 51 centenarians in all right now, WOW!). I wanted to bring the theme back to what connects so many of us with our books; the narrator. One of WTBBLís amazing narrators, Sneha Mathan, spoke about her path to becoming a narrator and voice actor and shared what it means to her to be the voice of several WTBBL audio books. You can look for Snehaís books in our online catalog. We had several guests at the tea including WCB member and Performing Advisory Council (PAC) Secretary Karen Johnson. This is always an inspirational event and we look forward to it every year.
Also in May, I attended the Western Conference of Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Denver, Colorado. It is always exciting to get together with the other regional librarians and exchange ideas and help each other out. There were four representatives from the National Library Service (NLS) there and in the next six to twelve months many exciting things are on the way.
For example, Braille will actually move to BARD and that ìBî will make sense. Foreign language titles, music materials, and best of all, state produced digital books will start to go up on BARD so it can truly be one place for all resources.
I am honored that I was elected Chair of the Western Council for the next two years. A very important part of this role is participating in a monthly call with NLS. I want to be sure to include concerns and ideas from Washington as well as the whole Western Conference Region. I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts and suggestions, or talk to one of our PAC members, or a staff member at WTBBL. Fingers crossed for some sunny news on the budget outcomes and some actual sun. Keep in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-615-1588.
Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB)
Partnerships Lead to Success
by Superintendent Dean O. Stenehjem
In times of shrinking resources we have to continue to look to each other to help determine how we as a group of educators, rehabilitation personnel, consumers, and advocates can more efficiently work together to not only preserve programs/services for the blind/visually impaired (BVI), but at the same time continue to improve services. I know that this may seem like an oxymoron, but I do believe these difficult times can bring out some of the most creative thoughts amongst a group of very dedicated individuals. If you have new ideas on how we could gain efficiencies, share some resources, and/or develop new partnerships, please throw out the ideas and letís analyze them to determine efficacy.
Washington State School for the Blind, like many other state agencies, is in somewhat of a holding pattern until the state legislature acts on the 2011ñ2013 biennial budget. The budget decisions made on various programs and agencies end up having repercussions on all the agencies providing service to the blind. However, in this time of indecisiveness we continue to plug forward and try to answer the question of how we are going to help meet the needs of BVI children throughout the state. How are we going to find trained teachers of the visually impaired (TVI), make a commitment to hire them, realizing that if we donít make decisions now, BVI children will not have trained teachers in their districts in the fall of the year? And probably most important, will we have all the financial resources to fulfill the commitments we have made? This is a heck of a situation to be in, but we have what we have at this time and the needs of children have to come first. So I guess we will just have to figure it out!
Requests for Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) services continue to grow with more people from Washington requesting on-campus programs, outreach services, and all the other services that the school provides. Unfortunately, WSSB had to eliminate our Preschool program, but we are working with families and the local school districts in putting these services in place in the local districts. These students will be served by WSSB Itinerant Vision services next fall. Middle school and high school requests for on-campus programs continue to grow as do the requests at this level for placement of out-of-state students. Eventually, if we have a better idea of how many out-of-state students enter WSSB on a tuition basis each year, we may be able to buy back some services that have been lost. At this time these out-of-state students are secondary and possibly some fifth year students. We really will not have any ideas on the potential number of students until the fall of 2011.
Outreach service requests also continue to grow. Starting the fall of 2011, WSSB will have hired an additional two TVI and/or Orientation and Mobility staff. For years the school has tried to find a TVI for the greater Spokane area. I am proud to say that we have found such a person and the school will have a presence in northeast Washington beginning in the fall of 2011. Outreach services are predominantly paid through contracts with local school districts. This has worked very well over the years and WSSB has had contracts with up to 1/5th of the local school districts in the state at various times.
Donít forget to mark July 15ñ17, 2011, on your calendar. We will be celebrating our 125th Anniversary with a big celebration including a former studentsí convention at WSSB. A banquet in the new Kennedy Fitness Center will be held the evening of July 16. It would be great to have all of you in attendance. Stay tuned for more information and/or contact Janet Kurz at email@example.com, 360-696-6321, extension 120.
Tenth Annual WCB Leadership Conference
by Participant Andrea M. Damitio
The 2011 WCB 10th Annual Leadership Conference was held April 29 to May 1, at the Executive Inn, Seattle. The theme of this yearís conference was ìLeadership Is Service,î and it was brilliantly facilitated by Julie Brannon, Leadership Committee Chair and WCB Second Vice President; Cindy Van Winkle, WCB Immediate Past President; and Meka White, seminar facilitator and WCB board member. Barb Crowley was also involved in the planning for the weekend but was unable to attend due to illness. We were also honored to have featured guest speakers Carl Jarvis, long-time council member and former WCB board member; and leadership banquet speaker Frank Cuta, WCB secretary.
Friday evening began with a brief welcome and overview by Julie. Then Meka hosted the introductions and an ice breaker rolled into one, cleverly designed so we could never forget each otherís names!
Cindy started out by asking us, ìWhere are we today and where do we want to be tomorrow in WCB?î This was then followed throughout the weekend with three very interesting and historically rich segments by Carl, which included presentations on, ìWhy American Council of the Blind (ACB)?î; discussing why we want to be a part of ACB; ìLives Filled With Service: The history of the blindness movement in Washington Stateî; and ìWho Is WCB Today?î
Julie started us out fresh on Saturday morning with a fantastic presentation on personality types and working through conflict. She stressed the importance of teamwork and self knowledge.
Cindy showed us how this all relates to WCB by presenting, ìSteps to Stepping Up: Transferring developed skills and allowing mentoring to take place.î
Julie took us through, ìHow Our Leadership and Service Are Connectedî; and Cindy and Carl went over the WCB Mission Statement: Opportunity, Equality, and Independence. We were then divided into small groups and lively discussions ensued.
We concluded the conference by sharing how we each could apply what we had learned during the weekend to a potential leadership role in the future, starting with our local and state chapters, and perhaps someday, to a leadership position in ACB.
Thanks to all the facilitators and speakers; and a round of applause for Frank Cuta, who really wrapped up the whole conference with a big bow by closing with his motivational speech on a life of service!
I think I can speak for the rest of the attendees and state that the weekend was well worth the time and effort, and would encourage those that have not attended, no matter how short or long your involvement has been, to apply next year to attend. Youíll be fortunate that you did.
by Berl Colley
1. The Outstanding Advocacy Award. This award is given to individuals who champion and safeguard the legal rights and entitlements afforded to blind and partially sighted people and who promote and support improvements to the lives of these individuals.
2. The NEWSLINE Editorís Award. This award is given in acknowledgement of an article that is considered to be outstanding in reporting of a blindness-related event, activity, or program, or for an article of original content that comments on issues, concerns, and realities of daily life for blind and partially sighted people.
3. The Employer of the Year Award. This award is exclusively intended for those employers who are not involved in the training, or rehabilitation of, or direct service provision to people who are blind or partially sighted. It is given to an employer who has taken proactive steps to recruit and hire qualified blind and partially sighted people as well as create a working environment in which these individuals can advance.
4. The Business of the Year Award. This award is given to a business which has provided outstanding customer service to people who are blind or partially sighted and which has demonstrated its consideration of blind and partially sighted customers by providing appropriate and respectful service to these customers and where appropriate, has made its materials available and accessible via Braille, recordings, large print, or accessible websites. Special mention should be made if this business employs any people who are blind or partially sighted.
5. The One World Award. This is an award given to an individual or entity whose actions have resulted in minimizing the impact of blindness by creating an opportunity for equal access such as providers or sponsors of described movies, plays, or museums, and describers and narrators of sporting events.
6. Certificate of Outstanding Service to WCB: This award is given to express appreciation to those members whose consistent donation of their skills, services, and time have contributed to the successful operation of the Washington Council of the Blind.
7. The Chapter of the Year Award. This award is given to a chapter of WCB which has demonstrated outstanding community interaction and outreach through presentations at schools, community events, and meetings.
With the above criteria in mind, please submit nominations by sending an email describing how the candidate(s) meet the awardís criteria to any member of the WCB Awards Committee. In 350 words or less, tell us why you believe your nominee is deserving of recognition in any of the categories. Be sure your submission contains contact information for you and the candidate whose name you are submitting. The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2011, and all submissions must be by email. People using voice email programs such as AOL by Phone may submit candidate information by reading their prepared text.
Washington Council of the Blind History
January to April 2001
by Berl Colley
The Washington Council of the Blind had four face-to-face meetings, one conference call business meeting, and one special conference call meeting in 2001.
The first conference call business meeting was on January 7. The board asked to have an Aging and Blindness committee established. President Colley appointed Peggy Shoel to chair this committee. The other item approved by the board was a grant for $2,600 to the Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals With Disabilities, to purchase various items to demonstrate to their clients in their Independent Living program.
Midyear was held in Des Moines, Iowa, the site of the 2001 National Convention. Berl Colley, the WCB President, and Cynthia Towers, the Assistant National Convention Chair attended. They attended a convention committee meeting and several meetings for affiliate presidents.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) Legislative Seminar was held in Washington, DC, on February 24ñ26, at the Quality Inn Suites in Arlington, Virginia. Attending were: Kay Valdez, Joleen Ferguson, Frank Cuta, and Kevin LaRose. There were four legislative imperatives that WCB received from the national office.
Issue 1: For blind or visually impaired persons to vote independently in a format of their choice.
Issue 2: Increased funding for older blind programs to provide more independent living services.
Issue 3: Extending the coverage of durable medical equipment by Medicare.
Issue 4: Making sure that the legal definition of blindness was not substantially changed in proposed amendments by the Social Security Administration.
All four WCB members were upset by United Airlines when returning to Washington State. They were told to stay in a holding area for disabled people by the airlines while waiting for their connecting flight in Chicago.
The March 10, board meeting was held at the Best Western Executive Inn in Seattle. Lynette Romero, from a group in the Longview/Kelso area, asked for affiliation in WCB. The board voted to accept them and they were given a $500 startup grant to get going. Lynette was its first president.
A number of money issues were dealt with.
1. The board voted to provide a $25,000 grant to the Washington Assistive Technology Foundation to be available to loan to any blind or visually impaired person in Washington State at a low interest rate.
2. WCB gave a $1,000 matching grant to bring visually impaired high school kids from Eastern Washington to participate in a track meet at the School for the Blind in Vancouver.
3. The board approved a grant of $5,000 to give to the National Braille Press in Boston, Massachusetts, to produce a childrenís book called Humpty Dumpty. Funding was for two printings. This book had Braille and print on one side of a page and raised line drawings on the other side.
4. ACB radio was given $5,000 to keep it going until the end of the year.
5. WCB First Vice President Cindy Hollis presented an idea which would establish a youth activity center (YAC) during the national convention. The idea was accepted and Cindy ran the YAC at the Des Moines convention. WCB donated $500 to help supply the center with games, books, and puzzles.
The organization rented storage in the Tri-Cities in which to place accounting records and other historical information. This storage is climate-controlled to preserve items longer.
The board accepted Lisa Johnson of the Seattle law firm of Preston, Gates, and Ellis as our attorney. She charges on a fee for service basis.
It was decided that WCB would change from three face-to-face and three conference call board meetings yearly to a four face-to-face meeting schedule with monthly informational calls.
Jim Bickford, the principal of the Washington State School for the Blind, left the school on March 16, to take a position at Portland State University in its Teachers of the Blind program. Mr. Craig Meador was hired to fill the principalís position.
The Department of Services for the Blind moved back into its Alaska Street offices in the spring of 2001. A couple of the upgrades were seismic and insulation improvements. The remodel wasnít completely finished until the summer.
April 25 was a good day for guide dog users. Governor Gary Locke signed a bill making it a felony to attack or harm a working guide dog. The bill was supported by WCB after several incidents in which guide dogs were attacked by a person or another dog.
WCB in 2001 will be continued in the September NEWSLINE.
We Need Your Help!!
by the WCB Fundraising Committee
Well, it is only June, but before you know it, it will be November 3, and time for the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) State Convention. Fundraising is a yearlong endeavor so that WCB can keep up the many programs that are offered to its members.
During the WCB convention, the Fundraising Committee will be selling several items that will be both practical and fun things to gift or keep for your own use. All proceeds of monies made by the Fundraising Committee will go to WCB.
The state convention is fun and exciting for its members to attend and one of the highlights of the convention is the silent auction. The committee would like this yearís auction to be innovative and exciting as well as competitive. In order for this to happen we need some help from you, the WCB members. How can you help?
Throughout the state there are many businesses that would be willing to donate items for this great cause, but we need you to help us locate them. Bill Hoage is the chair for the silent auction. If you have any questions you can reach him or John Common, chair of the Fundraising Committee.
Around the State
Capital City Council of the Blind (CCCB)
by Alan Bentson
On May 20, six people from CCCB visited a wine shop in Lacey where they learned how to bottle wine. This wine will be sold to chapter members under the Braille Mountain label to raise money.
CCCB had its spring pizza party on May 7. Our chapter picnic is on August 21.
We congratulate Andrea Damitio on being chosen to participate in the spring WCB Leadership Seminar. Congratulations to Dan and Kathy Matsen on the birth of their grandson, Alexander, on May 12; and to Dan for his successful recovery from heart surgery.
Berl and Denise Colley and Tim and Gloria Walling have all joined the new United Blind of Southwest Washington, though luckily they have not left us.
Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind
by Cindy Stormo
Before the start of our last meeting, May 14, Todd Cramemore, an ocularist from Ericksonís Lab Northwest, spoke about eye prostheses and let us feel various forms/stages of artificial eyes. It was very educational and informative.
Two of our members, Vicky Reesnes and Anita Both, attended the WCB leadership training in Seattle. They strongly encourage anyone who has not attended to go.
We gave long-time member Donna Patchett, a WCB lifetime membership. We gained two new members: Welcome Jack and Theresa Peterson!
On July 23, weíll be at the Everett Wal-Mart store selling candy.
We will be having our annual summer picnic in Lundeen Park at Lake Stevens.
Jana Goebel will be celebrating her 20th high school reunion on July 22.
Our meeting location has been changed from the Everett Pattyís Eggnest to Dennyís and we now have 16 members.
Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)
by Holly Kaczmarski
Itís time again for the news of GDUWS, which is a special affiliate of the Washington Council of the Blind. GDUWS strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life of working guide dog teams. GDUWS provides peer support, advocacy, and information to guide dog users in Washington State.
We are continuing on with our new action plan of assigned duties for the coming year. At our January face-to-face board meeting, several ideas were developed into an action plan to ìPromote, Recruit, and Educate.î Among the many action items that we listed was to activate our publications committee. We also are planning to develop a mission statement. Various tasks were assigned to each member of our group.
Holly Kaczmarski will be working on brochures and continuing to write the quarterly NEWSLINE article. Joleen Ferguson will continue to work on the GDUWS website. Marlaina Lieberg will develop a public service announcement. Audio files of our meeting will be placed on our GDUWS website soon.
Guide dog schools will be contacted by members to see what can be developed to create a working relationship between GDUWS and the various guide dog schools. We also discussed the possibility of asking the schools to put our GDUWS brochures into their graduation packets.
We have recently set up our GDUWS website so that people can join or pay their dues directly from the website using Pay Pal. Also of interest to our members is the possibility of having open board meetings so that all can participate. We are working on the details of that idea.
Good News! Our Spring Fling is happening soon. Each spring, members of GDUWS meet to talk about issues of being a guide dog handler. We enjoy each otherís company and have a good time discussing guide dog related issues. We always have a nice time and learn a lot from special speakers who come to the Spring Fling. This year our event is being held June 4, 2011, at the Inland Northwest Lighthouse in Spokane, Washington. Kevin Daniels, director, is very interested in having us hold our event there. It is sure to be a great time for all.
At our November business meeting, held in conjunction with the WCB convention, we will be holding elections. The positions up for election are president, treasurer, and one board position. The people serving as president and treasurer are ineligible to run for their positions again, so please let us know if you are interested in serving in one of these positions.
Please feel free to communicate with any and all of your GDUWS board members since 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, thatís it for now. Stay tuned next time for more news from GDUWS.
Jefferson County Council of the Blind
by Carl Jarvis
Weíre on the move again. Finding restaurants with meeting rooms large enough for our growing group is not easy in a town the size of Port Townsend.
Our May meeting will be held at Tís Restaurant. But it will barely hold us and so weíll be on the prowl again. There are larger meeting rooms available, but not in restaurants and this is a mostly retired group of folks who enjoy meeting over lunch. So lunch it is!
After suggesting that we love to eat, we need to hasten to point out that we do have a very active chapter. Our president, Lynn Gressley, is serving on two WCB committees: Advocacy and Environmental Access. Sue Ammeter chairs both Advocacy and Legislative. Carl Jarvis has stepped down as chair of Aging and Blindness but continues to serve on the NEWSLINE committee.
Carl and Cathy Jarvis visited the South Kitsap County chapter on March 26, and represented both WCB and Peninsula Rehabilitation Services. Boy, wearing two hats can give a person a headache.
Carl also assisted with the WCB Leadership Seminar, April 29ñ30, as well as assisting at the Low Vision Fair, May 21, in Lynwood.
Currently we are revising our bylaws and hope to have that task completed either in May or June.
Our best thoughts go to the Garings. Bob Garing has been moved to the Life Care Center in Port Townsend and Viola is staying with their son, out of the area, until she moves to a new apartment at Discovery View in June.
And speaking of June, we had best close so this report can make the June NEWSLINE. Wishing you all a wonderful summeróif summer ever shows up.
King County Chapter
by Chris Coulter
Hello from the King County Chapter. The past three months have flown by and weíve been busy and active.
In March, Carolyn Meyer, director of the Louis Braille School, was our guest. She gave a very interesting presentation by highlighting many of the schoolís activities, programs, and the accomplishments of the students.
Carolyn told us about the success of the schoolís annual auction, including musical numbers performed by three of the students on stage with the Huckabillies.
Our April meeting featured a presentation about a study evaluating a keyboard ìappî for inputting text into a smart phone. Rhonda Nelson and I participated in the study and gave the presentation. We also welcomed Alta Drane, mother of John Drane, as our newest member.
Our next meeting will be held on May 28. We meet at Marie Callenderís Restaurant at 9538 1st Avenue Northeast in Seattle. Our meetings are usually on the fourth Saturday of the month. If youíve never been to one of our meetings or if itís been a long time since youíve attended, you are most welcome to join us.
Peninsula Council of the Blind
by Meka White
Spring has certainly sprung, and while the weather may be fickle, the fun that the Peninsula Council of the Blind has had in the last few months certainly is not!
First off, Amelia Hammonds gave birth to George James Hammonds on March 28. Their family is growing and grandparents Tim and Cindy, as well as great-grandparents Jim and Connie, couldnít be happier. George made his first appearance at our spring brunch just a couple of weeks after his grand entrance.
Speaking of our brunch, it was absolutely wonderful! Nearly forty people were in attendance and delicious food was brought by members and friends. The waffle iron was heated up and much food was consumed. After brunch, we had a very short meeting. Who says you canít mix business with pleasure?
In March, a group of us went to the Aloha Kitchen in Silverdale for authentic Hawaiian cuisine. It was fantastic and is on our Kitsap card. Just a few days before this writing, we went to the Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. Clearly we want to tour the world through food.
Meka White was asked to facilitate the WCB Leadership Seminar. This was an exciting and challenging opportunity and she loved getting to know all of the participants.
The All Ears Bookclub is still going strong. In our last writing, I mentioned that we were looking for a new place. Due to scheduling issues, the coffee shop did not work out for us as we had hoped. We are still meeting on the first Thursday of the month at Applebeeís and that seems to be working out well. Since our last report, we have read Escape From Heng Yang by Chung Yao, Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. We get all of our books from BARD and hope that those of you who use this service will also consider reading along with us.
Our support group continues to be a focal point of this chapter. Members are encouraged to come and support others or share. There is plenty of food and fellowship to go around and I believe that it has made us a stronger chapter for having it.
Our meetings are on the second Saturday of the month from 12:00 to 2:00 PM at All Star Lanes in Silverdale and we cordially invite you to attend.
We shall see you once again in the fall!
Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB)
by President Lori Allison
Wow! Spring has finally come to Pierce County and the Pierce County Association of the Blind has been busy. Several members of PCAB are participating in the weekly Goal Ball practice held in Tacoma on Saturdays from 10 AM to 12 PM. The people who go to the practices have a great time and get in shape while having fun.
In March, Lisa Arias joined PCAB and we are really glad to have her with us. We also had Debbie Peterson rejoin our family in April and it is great to have her back.
In April, PCAB ordered pizza and pop for our meeting and we had several visitors come to see what we are all about. Denise Russell from Speak to Me came and told us her inspirational story and how she started her business; she is one fantastic lady. Several of our members had a great time visiting and making new friends. Denise also told us about the Access Computers Seminar happening in May.
The PCAB May meeting was an action filled meeting. We had a group planning session that renewed and energized our members. We had two new members join PCAB, Laura Beigh and Tamie Strong; we welcome them. PCAB co-hosted with the blind peer support group at Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals With Disabilities (TACID) in a fundraiser for the independent living program. It was a great time having members of the community eating spaghetti with sleep shades on. The Spaghetti Feed with a Twist was a great success. As things are progressing, PCAB will have a busy summer and all of you are more than welcome to come join us at TACID on the third Saturday of each month and participate in the fun.
South King Council of the Blind (SKB)
by Vice President Marlaina Lieberg
SKB has a bright, shiny new meeting place! We now meet on the second Saturday of each month from 10 to noon at the Federal Way Dennyís, 2132 So. 320th Street, in Federal Way. Our waitress is great, the food is delicious, and the room is cozy and warm! Wonít you join us?
Bowling anyone? Watch for the SKB-sponsored bowling party; itís in the works and we promise itís going to be fun!
Marlaina Lieberg, vice president, represented SKB and WCB at a very wonderful lecture on making art more accessible to blind and partially sighted people. In the process of introducing the keynote speaker, she was able to give information on the three Seattle-area WCB chapters, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, the WCB website and toll-free phone number, as well as share some of the major victories won by our parent organization, American Council of the Blind.
SKB is going and growing and we very much look forward to hosting a visit from you! Come break bread with us, share your ideas, and weíll all be the richer for it.
South Kitsap Council of the Blind
by Carol Brame
South Kitsap Council of the Blind has been very busy so far this year. We are so excited about the things that we have planned.
We have a committee for membership growth that has been brainstorming. Carl Jarvis was a speaker at one of our meetings and gave us some tips. What we got out of his talk is that membership growth is not the goal but a result of reaching out to the community. A result, hmm, never thought of it that way.
So we are brainstorming now about what are our club goals? How do we want to reach out locally and what service can we provide while reaching out to others? How can we grow and keep the new people wanting to join in and stay with us? Are we ready for growth and if so, what will we do to help others as we grow? We as a chapter want to maintain the closeness of a family feeling as we reach out to others. This is important to us, too.
We also have had two socials: one at a Mexican restaurant where they say a good time was had by all. They had a wonderful turnout though I was not there. Then after our meeting on May 21, we went bowling. We had a few who just wanted to cheer us on as the rest of us played. We also ate lunch there. Getting out more where others can see us will help spread the word that we are around because our normal meeting place is in a church.
Sharon Maalis could not join us that day because she was off getting her new guide dog and I canít wait to hear more about her trip and her new guide. She is in Palm Springs at Guide Dogs of the Desert.
Fundraising is going well so far this year. We are having a candy sale which is going wonderfully. On June 25, we will be having our 2nd annual car wash from 11 AM to 4 PM, at Novas in Port Orchard. Last year we made $450 so we are very excited to find out how well we will do this time! We do it the day of the parade in our town and last year we washed a lot of cars and even a boat that participated in the event. The guide dogs were great at getting peopleís attention and bringing in customers.
We also plan on selling tickets for prizes again this year as well as the Kitsap cards in November. None of our fundraisers would be successful if it were not for the whole club working together and realizing the importance of why we raise money and making goals of what to do with it. Thanks to everyone who has helped out.
The South Kitsap Council of the Blind and the Peninsula Council of the Blind will be having a joint picnic on July 9, at Kitsap Regional Park from 11 AM to 3 PM. This will be a delicious potluck and the park will have the trains running as well. If you are not going to the American Council of the Blind National Convention and would like to join, please RSVP to either chapter.
Take care until next time.
United Blind of Seattle
by Secretary Malissa Hudson
First of all, Iíd like to thank Ursula McCully for her dedicated service in writing these updates for the past six years. Sheís done a fantastic job and Iím glad she passed the torch onto me!
At our March meeting, we had the privilege of welcoming Rick and Deb Lewis as our guest speakers. They talked about American Council of the Blind Radio and how to become a broadcaster.
In April, we had Gaylen Floy as our speaker. She is active in the Legislative Committee for WCB and she urged all of us to contact our local legislators to let them know how important services are to blind people.
Our annual Friendís Day will be on June 18, from 1 to 3 PM at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. This is our membership drive for folks to learn about the state, national, and local chapter of the council.
Well, thatís all the time I have for now. Thank you WCB for allowing me to contribute in this way and I look forward to writing the next issue. God bless!
United Blind of Walla Walla
by Joleen Ferguson
United Blind of Walla Walla membership has had its share of illness this year, but meeting attendance has been good in spite of this.
We had so much to discuss around the accessible signal project in February that Dodie Brueggeman graciously agreed to reschedule her program about her experience teaching Simply Music piano lessons for a later date.
Neither Dodie nor Dorothy Jones could be present in March to do their presentations, meaning that Joleen Ferguson shared her experience obtaining and learning to use her new iPhone.
In April, Dorothy was able to give us highlights of her two months in Bogota, Colombia, where she went to be with her daughter and the new baby. Her husband, Ernie Jones, batched at home in her absence. It was a very interesting presentation and there were many questions following it.
Alco Canfield, our WCB board liaison visited at our May meeting and shared information about WCB activities and then she helped us fill out the questionnaire that Aging and Blindness sent to all chapters. It was very nice to have her leadership with this.
Even more than the time she spent at our meeting, we really enjoyed her presence with us. Clif and I met her at the airport Sunday evening. She, Dodie, Vivian, and I had lunch together with her prior to our Monday meeting. Libby and Ferd Swenson, Jean MacConnachie, teacher of the visually impaired in our school district, and I had dinner with her Monday evening.
Alco and the Swensons went to church and then breakfast together on Tuesday morning and then Alco and I joined Carla Brinkley for lunch before it was time to take Alco back to the airport.
It really worked well to meet Alco in small groups so that she could get to know many of us better than a large group could accomplish.
Less than a week prior to the May meeting, the long awaited accessible signal at the 5-way intersection was installed on existing poles. Vivian and I met with city workers following our May meeting and Alco had the unexpected opportunity to go with us to the intersection in question and witness the positive and helpful interactions that took place with city workers.
We are all pleased that Dodie was honored to receive the Mother of the Year award at Washington State University. She was nominated by her daughter Nikki who is a current student there.
United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)
by Barb Crowley
Despite a mist and gray clouds, several hundred people assembled for Bellinghamís annual human race walkathon. The 5K (3.2 mile) route along Bellingham Bay is organized by the Whatcom Volunteer Center to provide nonprofits a fundraising opportunity. At 10 AM, a variety of two and four-legged creatures (bunnies in a stroller, miniature horses, and dogs galore) stepped out onto the trail. Included in this menagerie were UBWC members and families: Betty Sikkema and her brother-in-law, Case, David Engebretson, with his son, Solomon, and mother, Debra, Hope Nightingale, and Barb Crowley. Three other UBWC members who could not walk sponsored the UBWC team. These members included, Margit Kingston, Diane Kirschman, and Yvonne Thomas Miller. As walkers meandered along the shoreline, shouts of encouragement, clanking boats, and the Bellingham high school jazz band music wafted across the water. All age groups were represented and in the UBWC team ages ranged from four years to 75 years. We all finished the race to our amazement and we raised about $800!
Every year on the Memorial Day weekend, Bellingham kicks off the opening of summer with the Ski to Sea race. This is a special race this year since it is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the race. What used to be a race of locals has expanded to both national and international teams. There are a variety of legs in the race: skiers, bikers, canoeists, and kayakers. The race begins atop Mount Baker and ends in Fairhaven on the south side of Bellingham.
Parties abound throughout the city with music, food, crafters, and much more. While UBWC members are not yet quite ready to enter a team in this race, we are very good at the party leg.
Itís summer, so break out those lawn chairs, throw some shrimp on the barbie, pack a picnic lunch, and a few good books and music and head out to your favorite spot.
If you are looking for some good mystery books, check out books by Alan Bradley and Louise Pennyóboth are available from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. But it would not be summer unless you bring along Louis Armstrong singing, ìWhat a Wonderful World.î If you Google ìlyricsî and ìWhat a Wonderful Worldî you will find the lyrics and music for this song.
Bits and Pieces
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. If you have some Bits and Pieces for the NEWSLINE send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org with Bits and Pieces in the subject line.
Appreciation to Regalóour friend and longtime sponsor of American Council of the Blind! ìOn May 4, 2011, Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theater circuit in the United States, announced plans to equip all digital cinema locations with personal captioning and descriptive video technologies. For years Regal has actively worked with various technology companies and film distributors to create opportunities to increase theater access for deaf, hard of hearing, and blind moviegoers. The advent of digital cinema technology offers new opportunities to increase access at all digitally equipped theaters and Regal expects to have practically all of its theaters converted to digital cinema by the end of 2012. In conjunction with its digital cinema rollout, Regal has developed a strategy to also rollout these adaptive technologies for widespread consumer use over the next 12 to 18 months.
ìRegal once again has bolstered their commitment to providing movies that are accessible to people with hearing and vision loss. Regal was the first to provide a comprehensive website, advertised show times, theater manager training programs, and free screenings to deaf and hard of hearing children.
ìRegal is now ordering and, depending on product availability, will be installing these new technologies at their fully digitized locations. Their intentions are to offer captioning and descriptive video for every film that comes with such content, at all show times, at every theater equipped and to be equipped with digital cinema systems over the next 12 to 18 months. By the end of 2012, almost every Regal location nationwide will be fully equipped with digital cinema systems and be further equipped to provide closed captions and descriptive video for their deaf, hard
of hearing, and blind guests.î
Funds Available for Adaptive Technology
Do you know an individual with a disability who needs assistive technology? If so, the Washington Access Fundís pilot ìIndividual Development Accountî (IDA) program might be just the thing. The IDA is a matched savings account that helps people with disabilities earn a grant of up to $4,000 for any sort of assistive technology, including, but not limited to:
* hearing aids or assisted listening devices,
* vision aids (for example: closed circuit TV magnifiers),
* computers, laptops, tablet PCs, or iPads,
* home or vehicle modifications,
* specialized software (such as Dragon Naturally Speaking),
* sports wheelchairs, and
* communication devices.
The Access Fundís IDA Program has been developed to help low-income households (which is defined as 80% of the family median income) save and earn matching money to go towards assistive technology (they also have an IDA program for business equipment!). However much the individual saves, the program will match it dollar for dollar (up to $4,000), thanks to a generous grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. If the individual saves the
maximum amount, they will have a total of $8,000 to go towards assistive technology purchases. Participants must save for a minimum of six months before they will be eligible to use the funds and they have up to three years to spend it.
There is no deadline for applying but accounts are available on a first come, first served basis and only a limited number of slots are available.
To request an application, please contact the Washington Access Fund directly by phone at 206-328-5116 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Hats Off to You
We are pleased to extend our congratulations to the following WCB members:
* Andrea and John Damitio, members, United Blind of Seattle and Capital City Council of the Blind, on celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary on February 14. (This information did not make it into the March issue.) Belated congratulations Andrea and John.
* Peggy Martinez, member, United Blind of Seattle, on her job promotion at the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind. Her former job title was Computer Training Program Lead Instructor and her new title is Accessibility Manager. She says, ìThereís no doubt that it will be challenging though it is also proving to be quite rewarding.î
* Frank Cuta, secretary, Washington Council of the Blind, who, in March, passed his test for a general amateur radio license and is now wf7ott. Great job Frank!
* Bob and Vivian Conger, members, United Blind of Walla Walla, and president, Guide Dog Users of Washington State, who celebrated their 35th Wedding Anniversary on March 11, 2011.
* Amelia Hammonds, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, who gave birth to George James Hammonds on March 28. Cindy and Tim Van Winkle are grandparents all over again and Jim and Connie Hollis, also members, are great-grandparents. Molly loves her little brother dearly.
* Dodie Brueggeman, member, United Blind of Walla Walla, on being chosen 2011 Mom of the Year at Washington State University (WSU). Dodie was nominated by her daughter, Nikki Brueggeman, a junior at WSU. Washington State University presented the 2011 Mom of the Year Award to her during the annual Momís Weekend Brunch on Saturday, April 9. The Mom of the Year Award is coordinated by the Momís Weekend Committee under the direction of the Womenís Resource Center. The award is presented each year to recognize the impact mothers make on their childrenís lives and to honor their personal achievements and their contributions to WSU and their local communities. Way to go Dodie!!!!
* Carrol Gray, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, who became a great-grandmother for the first time. Mason Roger Jamison was born on May 10.
* Dan and Kathy Matsen, members, Capital City Council of the Blind, on the birth of their new grandson, Alexander Joseph Jay Matsen. Little Alexander was born on May 12, at 7:58 AM, weighing in at 8 pounds 6 ounces and 21 inches long. Big sister Olivia is thrilled!
* Gary Ernest, member, Capital City Council of the Blind, who turned 65 on May 12. Happy birthday, Gary.
* Paul and Sue Sather, members, United Blind of the Tri-Cities, who are grandparents again. Waylon Oliver Sather was born May 17, 2011, tipping the scale at 9 pounds 13 ounces.
* Sharon Maalis, member, Peninsula Council of the Blind, who graduated from Guide Dogs of the Desert with a fifty pound black Labrador female named Pika. Sharon says that she and Pika are an absolutely fabulous team and is very proud of her work. She looks forward to many happy years of working with her.
* Bill Hoage, president, United Blind of the Tri-Cities and WCB board member, on being selected as this yearís First-Timer to the American Council of the Blind Convention in Reno, Nevada. Bill says he is absolutely delighted to be going to his first national convention.
From My Kitchen to Yours
by Marlaina Lieberg
Bacon and Tomato Frittata
This is an excellent summer mealóeasy to cook and a wonderful way to use up those fresh tomatoes. This meal will pair very nicely with a great Washington Chardonnay. Serves 4.
1/4 teaspoon garlic-and-herb seasoning (Mrs. Dash)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 slices lightly cooked bacon, cut into small pieces
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, seasoning, and salt; set aside.
Heat oil over medium heat in a broiler-and-oven-safe skillet; do not use a skillet whose handle will melt under high heat. Add onions; cook and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour in egg mixture. Cook 6 to 9 minutes, gently lifting edges of cooked portions with spatula so that uncooked egg mixture can flow to bottom of skillet, until set. (Blind cooks can easily feel along the circumference of the egg mixture with edge of a thin spatula.)
Set oven control to broil. Top frittata with tomatoes, cheese, and bacon. Broil 4 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top each serving with sour cream.
Serve with green salad and a crusty roll. (If you donít care for bacon, you could use smoked chicken or smoked salmon; low-fat sour cream or yogurt may be substituted for sour cream.)
2011 Calendar of Deadlines and Events
June 4: SRC meeting, Seattle DSB office
June 6: Office hours conference call at 7 PM with President Colley
June 10: WSSB student graduation, Vancouver
June 10: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver
July 9ñ16: ACB National Convention, Reno, Nevada
August 27: Deadline for submission of articles for the September issue of NEWSLINE
August 31: Deadline for submission of WCB scholarship applications
August 31: Deadline for submission of WCB awards nominations
August 31: Deadline for submitting first-timer applications to attend state convention
September 3: Office hours conference call at 12 PM with President Colley
September 10: SRC meeting, Seattle DSB office
September 11: Call-in date to request a free room for state convention
September 16ñ17: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver
October 4: Deadline for state convention registration and hotel registration
October 4: Deadline for requesting a travel stipend to state convention
November 3ñ5: WCB State Convention, Pasco
November 18ñ19: WSSB Board of Trustees meeting, Vancouver
November 26: Deadline for submission of articles for the December issue of NEWSLINE
December 3: SRC meeting, Seattle DSB office
The NEWSLINE is available in large print, half-speed four-track cassette tape, via email, and on our website at www.wcbinfo.org . Subscription requests and address changes should be sent to
or by phone, toll free at 800-255-1147.
Special thanks goes to the NEWSLINE Committee and production volunteers.
Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the next issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by August 27, 2011. Articles may be edited for clarity and space considerations.
Publication policy: To ensure accuracy, we require submissions be emailed to our new NEWSLINE address at . Articles should be no longer than 750 words.