Opportunity, Equality, Independence
Cindy Van Winkle, President
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)(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 President’s Desk
May 2013 Board Report
What’s Happening at the State Capital?
Giddy Up to Spokane
Become A Convention Partner
Stars for Yesterday, Stars for Today and Stars for Tomorrow
Here’s Your Chance
A Guide Dog and So Much More
Excellent Accessible Money Management Software
How I Go Hiking
Ramping Up WCB
From the Senior Side
A Day of Remembrance
Around the State
Bits and Pieces
From My Kitchen to Yours
2013 Calendar of Deadlines and Events
by Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President
WCB is all about the people. It’s about you and me, our members at
large and the chapters big and small. It’s about those who came before
us, those who are with us today, and those who will join us tomorrow.
It’s about each of us, individually and collectively with our
challenges and successes and weaknesses and strengths. WCB exist
because of a need and desire to ensure the quality of life for people
who are blind is filled with opportunity, equality, and independence.
Each year, at our Leadership Seminar, we have the awesome task of presenting the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB), its rich history, its vibrant present and its unknown future to members, eager to learn and grow. And each year, we, the leadership team, are amazed at the quality of membership we have who participate fully, completely, giving as much of themselves as we give to them. This year, sixteen incredible individuals took part in “REACH FOR THE STARS” (read more in this issue from the perspective of a participant), and I want to acknowledge each of them here and ask you to help me celebrate them.
2013 Leadership Participants
Terry Blankenship (UBS),
Lisa Brown (at large),
Dorene Cornwell (UBS),
Shannon Curry (PCB),
Mike Edwards (PCAB),
David Engebretson (UBWC),
Bud Kohl (YVCB),
Randall Nozawa (at large),
Darryl Roberts (UBS),
Sunni Rogers (UBSWW),
Elisabeth Scott (PCAB),
Rick Talley (PCB),
Neil Vosburgh (PCAB),
Kelsi Watson (SKB),
Michele White (GEACB),
Sue Yates (PCAB),
I sincerely look forward to witnessing each of their growth as leaders in their respective communities and in WCB as they reach for their individual star.
WCB continues to share our message with the blind community and the general public. Again this year, we will be taking part in the Low Vision Expo sponsored by Sight Connections (this event will have already taken place by the time you read this) and we will also have a presence at the Puyallup Fair on September 15 and 16. If you would like to assist us in this outreach to the general public by working a three hour shift, contact Lori at or 253-537-4428 and she’ll schedule you.
We’re always looking for new ways to reach out to our own membership and to the blind community at large. In November, we launched the Technology Forum, the first of our forum calls, with our second, the Employment Forum, making its debut in December.
The Employment Forum takes place on the first Tuesday of each month and covers anything related to employment, from the job search to challenges on the job; topics thus far have included: when to disclose your disability, job search supports, and so much more. Denise Colley facilitates this forum and you are encouraged to contact her at or 360-438-0072 if you have suggestions for future topics or need the call –in info.
The Technology Forum is held on the second Tuesday of each month. Topics for this one hour call have ranged from internet shopping, favorite websites, IPhones and more. Meka White facilitates these calls and you can contact her at or 360-689-1678 if you have suggestions for future calls or to get the call-in info.
But these forums aren’t anything new, we’ve actually been holding one on Diabetes for several years now. The Diabetics Forum meets on the fourth Monday of each month and serves as a support group for those who are blind or have low vision and are living with Diabetes. Peggy Shoel graciously facilitated this group since its inception, until this year that is. Now, you can contact Sharon Schauer at or 253-639-0659 if you have suggestions for future topics or would like the call-in info.
All of these Forum calls take place from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and are for members and non-members alike. I would love to hear from you at or 360-689-0827 if you have a suggestion for other topics that we might want to address in a Forum call. Truly the skies the limit.
Yes, WCB is about the people, each and every one of us who cares about our organization. Whether you’ve been a member for years or are just learning about us. Whether you’ve been blind since birth or just recently. Whether you’re a sighted
member who has a family member or friend who is blind. You and me, we are WCB!
The spring board meeting of WCB held on Sunday, May 5, at the Red Lion in Bellevue boasted 50 members in attendance.
Cindy was invited to participate on a panel entitled Microsoft Ability Summit on Employment and Blindness. Cindy found the audience receptive and the questions excellent.
Cindy discussed the expectations and eligibility requirements to receive a stipend or loan to the ACB Convention.
Advocacy: Three cases were shared. Sue has created a glossary for blindness related acronyms. Contact Sue to receive a copy.
Constitution and Bylaws: There are three potential amendments proposed thus far. Send your amendments to: .
Crisis Committee: There have been 5 requests for help this year.
Environmental Access: This committee has a sub-committee that deals with public transportation issues. Persons from this committee attend the metro meetings. Five members of the Tri-Cities Chapter are on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee there. The Pierce County Chapter has a transportation sub-committee as well.
Families with Blind Children: In June, the committee will be catering the Yes Program arrival dinner and hope to sign up students for the Youth Conference at that time.
First-Timers: The committee was pleased to receive ten applications. At the time of this writing, we now know that Alco Canfield was selected.
History: The committee is involved in several projects. History articles will be on the history page of the WCB website rather than in the Newsline. Anyone skilled at editing audio should contact Cindy if able to assist with editing interviews.
Legislative Report: Since the legislative session ended on April 28 without a budget, a special session will be convened on May 13. The bill to amend the definition of “service animal” died. A bill establishing a legislative task force to improve access to higher education for persons with disabilities did pass. The state library was cut $632,000 by both the house and the senate budgets. This would have an effect on the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. If these cuts remain in place, production of locally-produced Braille and audio books would need to be discontinued. The Legislative Committee is working with the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the House Appropriations Committee regarding this issue.
Membership: This committee will do outreach through the Puyallup Fair and the Low Vision Expo. If you can work at the Puyallup Fair booth for a three hour shift on September 15-16, contact Lori Allison .
Newsline: Alco shared that the Digital Conversion Sub-committee is experimenting with text-to-speech and mp3 formats.
Denise is working on our membership database with ACB. Janice Squires is in charge of the WCB database. Send address changes and subscription concerns to Janice .
PR and Website Oversight: Gaylen asked chapters to review their web pages for fact checking and updating. She reminded us that at 100 likes on our Facebook page, there will be a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card.
Scholarship Committee: Tim reported that May 1, 2013 was the beginning of Scholarship Application Season. August 31 is the deadline for applications. State residents were encouraged to visit the WCB website for the link to information about scholarships.
Berl discussed news from WSSB. Graduation is June 7 with 13 graduating, the largest number ever. There are 3 openings for the Board of Trustees in districts 6, 7, and 9.
Sue reported on DSB as chair of the State Rehabilitation Council. The council is still looking for a representative from business and labor as well as a former VR service recipient. The next SRC meeting is June 1, in Spokane at the Inland Northwest Lighthouse from 9:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M. Sue encouraged people to participate via teleconference. The SRC will tour the Lighthouse the day before.
The Rehab Services Administration is going to hold a training workshop for State Rehab Advisory chairs in Washington, D.C., June 24-25. Sue will be attending that as well as an NLS Braille Summit which will be held June 19-21 in Boston, dealing with Braille production technologies, etc.
Sue reported on WTBBL. There are twelve people on the Patron Advisory Council, representing different locations of the state. The budget is of grave concern to the PAC. It is working with other partners advocating for the restoration of money lost by the state library which affects WTBBL. On June 15, there will be a public meeting of the PAC at WTBBL from 10:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M. and Kim Wyman, Secretary of State will be in attendance and will speak.
Shannon Curry from the library discussed conducting the Use of Braille Survey. She urged people who might not have been contacted to call the library and speak with Shannon or Alan.
Berl gave the ACB report. The ACB Braille Forum Raffle tickets are on sale. $50 per ticket and can be shared by up to five people. The prize is from $1,000- $5,000.
Denise mentioned that due to budget cuts, the Braille Forum will be moving to a bi-monthly publication produced in its multiple formats, and on the off months, an electronic version will be made available. This is not preferred, but necessary.
Next year the ACB Convention will be held at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
Cindy also briefly discussed the Monthly Monetary Support Program, MMS. Contributions can be as low as $10 to as much as one is able to give.50 percent can be designated to come back to WCB if one chooses.
The summer board meeting will be held August 17, 2013 at WTBBL from 10:00 A.M.-3:00 P.M.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:47 P.M.
by Denise Colley, Legislative chair
Your legislative committee has been monitoring activities of House and Senate bills important to blind Washingtonians.
Bills that did not pass out of their respective Houses:
HB-1024 would amend the definition of “service animal” for purposes of unfair practices in real estate transactions. (companion bill: SB-5645). Under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), it is unfair practice to discriminate in real estate transactions, facilities, or services on the basis of the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. For purposes of most sections of the WLAD, “service animal” means an animal that is trained for the purpose of assisting or accommodating a person with a sensory, mental, or physical disability. However, under the Federal Fair Housing Act the term “service animal” is not used or specifically defined. Species other than dogs, with or without training, as well as animals that provide emotional support, have been recognized under the Fair Housing Act as necessary assistance animals under the “reasonable accommodation” provisions.
This legislation would have removed the definition of service animal from the real estate section of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW” to match federal law which is being used by HUD in investigating state cases. WCB did not take a position.
HB-1321 would require all state agencies and other interested organizations to adopt and begin implementation of a food and beverage service policy. The policy must apply to food and beverages: (1) provided by state agencies for their employees and guests at meetings; (2) made available to employees of state agencies and guests in vending machines or through on-site vendors in all buildings, facilities, and properties owned or leased by the state; and (3) prepared on-site by private operators and state-operated cafeterias and cafes sold to state employees and the public.
This initiative continues in an attempt to address the obesity crisis that has a tremendous cost to health care in Washington. There was concern initially that passage could have a negative effect on the Department of Services for the Blind Business Enterprise Program. WCB did not take a position.
SHB-1814 Concerned re-establishment of the enabling legislation for the agency council on coordinated transportation (ACCT). Last June, ACCT’s enabling legislation expired. At that time the Council felt strongly and voted to continue the work on an ad hoc basis. The bill aligned the Council with federal coordination requirements and is financially supported through the Federal Transit Administration. WCB made phone calls to the chair and vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee requesting that it receive a hearing. On April 28 HB1814 was returned to the House Rules Committee, and on May 13, by resolution, was reintroduced and retained in its present status by the House Rules Committee. The next step is for it to be passed out of House Rules.
SB-5180, An act relating to improving access to higher education for students with disabilities passed out of both houses and onto the governor’s desk for signing. It called for establishment of a legislative taskforce on improving access to higher education for students with disabilities. The taskforce must collaborate to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding students’ transition from K-12 to higher education.
making the transition from K-12 education to higher education more seamless and successful;
selecting a statewide method of sharing best practices between education institutions;
improving outreach to students and their families regarding available options in higher education;
investigating the creation of a statewide database of student disability accommodation equipment, software, and resources owned by school districts and postsecondary education institutions.
Our three state agencies:
Department of Services for the Blind: The Inslee budget is consistent with Gregoire’s proposal as it affects DSB–an additional 5 FTEs and an increase in federal spending authority are still included, but no increase in state funding for Independent Living programs (Older Blind or under 55). Currently, there is nothing significantly different in the House and Senate budgets.
Washington State School for the Blind: did not receive decision packets funding for distance learning and/or short courses in any of the three budgets, but the Governor’s budget was the best followed by the House. The Senate’s would cause problems for them with the loss of $166,000 from the Governor’s Budget. If they end up with the Governor and/or House Budget along with the private local funds they bring in annually, they should be ok for the next biennium.
Washington State Library: received a $632,000 cut in all three budgets, and if passed, it could result in cuts to services provided by the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. Examples–locally produced braille or audio production programs. A portion of the operating funds for the Washington State Library have come from Heritage Center Funds. It is anticipated that the Heritage Center revenue will likely exceed projections. WCB supports the Secretary of State in her request to increase the appropriation from the Heritage Center account to mitigate cuts to our library.
The legislative session ended on April 28 without a balanced budget. The governor called a special session to begin on May 13. Currently, things are very quiet on the hill.
by Frank Cuta and Karyn Vandecar
Howdy partner! Get ready to giddy up to Spokane on November 7-9 for a boot-scooting good time at our Washington Council of the Blind State Convention. Pack up those saddle bags, lasso your spouse or a friend and climb aboard the chartered wagons that will pick up members from the Puget Sound area at no cost or throw that saddle on your best bronco and apply for the $40 travel stipend that you otherwise qualify for unless you live in Spokane, Kitsap, Pierce or King County. (Contact Shirley Taylor at 206-362-3118 to make a stipend request).
The theme of this year’s convention is “Light of Opportunity.” So be prepared to ride into the light with vigor on November 7th and hoist your weary rear end into the saddle and ride into the sunset on November 9th.
Don’t worry about a grub stake, the $85 general convention registration includes five meals and that bed in the bunk house is only going to put an $89 per night dent in your wallet. Other convention registration alternatives include $25.00 registration only, $45 for Friday meals only, $45 for Saturday meals excluding registration and $45 for banquet only.
Every night the WCB convention watering hole will be open for members to quench those dry throats and get caught up with other cow pokes from around the state that they only see once a year.
Got a hankering to go for a little ride? Grab your chaps and spurs and saunter on down to Riverfront Park where you can throw your saddle on one of the furry steeds aboard Eastern Washington’s largest carousel. Or do you have a hankering to see the Spokane Lighthouse? On Friday afternoon a special tour of it is available.
Do you have a country yodel that you just can’t suppress? Enter the talent show taking place Friday night or join in the sing-along that follows the show. Each day will be filled with door prizes, exhibits, tours and a full program of educational and informative presentations.
Don your best duds, Stetson and Tony Lamas for the Convention banquet Saturday night.
Are you at the end of your rope? Consider bunking with several other cowboys or apply for a bed in one of the free rooms. (The free Room call in lottery is on September 9.) Are you a tenderfoot? Apply for a first timer scholarship. (First Timer applications must be in by August 31.)
Do not delay. Get started now by calling 1-509-325-7329 and make your room reservations at the Red Lion At the Park Spokane. On line convention registration will be available at our www.wcbinfo.org website in a couple of months. The cutoff date for registration is October 15 and that’s also the deadline to request a travel stipend and to obtain a hotel room from those that have been blocked off for our convention.
Head um up, move um out! The stampede to Spokane has started.
Editor’s Note—This letter has been written by the Convention Committee in the hope of securing corporate sponsors for our convention.
Chapters/individuals are also more than welcome to sponsor an activity.
The Washington Council of the Blind (WCB), a 501(c)(3) organization will be holding its annual Convention, November 7-9, 2013, in Spokane, Washington, at the Red Lion at the Park. We anticipate over 200 blind, visually impaired and sighted supporters to attend this weekend filled with presentations, discussions, exhibits, and social activities designed with the needs of our conventioneers in mind.
By becoming a “Convention Partner” you will not only assist us in providing the best possible programming for our attendees, but you will be recognized as someone who cares about the needs of blind people in our state and as a supporter of the Washington Council of the Blind. You or your organization will be acknowledged in our program, on our website, and depending on your selection, you may also be acknowledged in other convention publications or on ACB Radio.
To discuss your options or desire to become a WCB “convention partner”, contact Lori Allison at – 253-537-4428 or Cindy Van Winkle at – 360-689-0827. To ensure inclusion in our program, we must hear from you by September 30, 2013.
PLATINUM – $1,000-plus
Sponsor: one of the two convention buses, convention programming on ACB Radio, exhibits, or any two options listed in GOLD.
Name will appear in convention program (also published on our website) as sponsor of said event.
All PLATINUM sponsors will be mentioned on the floor of convention both days and on ACB Radio throughout the convention.
Bus sponsors will also be acknowledged in the convention bulletin.
Exhibits sponsor will also be acknowledged in the published exhibitors List.
GOLD – $500-$999
Sponsor: Scholarship reception, talent show, banquet, registration/information desk or any two options listed in SILVER.
Name will appear in convention program (also published on our website) as sponsor of said event.
Registration/information desk sponsor will be permitted to provide a small sign to set atop the table throughout the event as the sponsor.
For the following sponsorships, sponsors will be acknowledged during the scholarship reception, talent show or banquet.
SILVER – $250-$499
Sponsor: a General session, meal event (excluding banquet), volunteer desk, or any three options listed in BRONZE.
Name will appear in convention program (also published on our website) as sponsor of said event.
Volunteer Desk sponsor will also be acknowledged in the volunteer handout;
BRONZE – $100-$249
Sponsor: the Welcome Lounge, a breakout session or a night of hospitality.
Name will appear in convention program (also published on our website) as sponsor of said event.
Hospitality sponsor is expected to have a presence on their given night providing needed support.
Now is the time to be thinking about worthy recipients for the following WCB Awards to be presented at the 2013 WCB convention. Then, you must take action and write a letter explaining how your nominee meets the spirit of the particular award. Letters must not exceed 350 words, should include contact information for both nominator and nominee, and must be emailed to the Awards Committee in care of Bill Hoage no later than August 31, 2013 to be considered.
- 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.
- The NEWSLINE Editor’s 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
by Dorene Cornwell
I was humbled and inspired to be invited to participate in the 2013 WCB Leadership Seminar, Reach for the Stars, held at the Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue May 3, 2013. Well, at first, I made excuses: “my schedule of weekend obligations has been pretty full. Send someone younger who has not already done a lot of this kind of thing.” I am grateful that members of the Leadership Committee persisted with their invitation to apply.
The theme of the weekend, “Reach for the Stars” was expressed in everything from table decorations and door prizes to session titles. Here are a few moments that made especially strong impressions.
Friday evening opened with a session called “Star gazing: looking at the rich, piquant history of the organized blind and blindness organizations in Washington and the US. To this day WCB chapter names reflect several eras in the history of Washington blindness organizations: I have heard about the history and culture of the two national consumer organizations in other places, the Friday presentation was notably low-key but quite informative.
The history vividly illustrated how organized blind citizens in Washington have organized around and campaigned for a succession of major improvements in the lives of blind citizens: job opportunities from food service to professional categories, a state law even before the ADA barring discrimination on the basis of sensory disability, the right to serve on juries and buy life insurance just as any other citizen would, an independent state agency, the right of blind or low-vision schoolchildren to learn Braille, several enhancements through the decades in the library for the blind / WTBBL. One has the sense of big shoes to fill to keep building on all this history.
Saturday reflected many present-day concerns. We worked through several star-themed topics: the Stars within us, When Stars collide about conflict, Navigating the Galaxy about partnerships between local chapters and state WCB or national ACB bodies, Star Light Star Bright about ways to share news of chapter activities, drafting resolutions, working within our chapters, and finding our leadership legs. Most topics had an engaging introduction and opportunities for participants to work together to respond to exercises. We not only got to know each other and learned of common challenges, but also gained experience addressing real problems.
Saturday evening Banquet Speaker, broadcaster, and Secretary of the American Council of The Blind Marlaina Lieberg regaled us with a lively, humor-laced speech about all of us making a difference. At one point, Marlaina opened a meeting in Washington DC, “Senator Kennedy, I am here to talk about transportation for the handicrapped.” Senator Kennedy did not miss a beat: he said “Yes, I agree, it is kind of crappy, isn’t it?”
Marlaina brought us to the electronic age: in the 1990’s Marlaina urged readers of every blindness email list she knew of to let frozen meal company Schwann’s know of their interest in Braille catalogs. Within two days, the president contacted Marlaina; he had definitely gotten the message. Newsline readers should ask Marlaina about her experience with the IPhone ap vizwiz; we also can thank her for help beta-testing the new ap allowing people to read Kindle content on iOS devices!
I am especially grateful to have worked into my weekend conversations about several specific interests of mine including technology accessibility, transit / transportation legislation and a possible survey about Seattle area chapter members needs for readers. I am also delighted to have met in person several people whose names I recognize from the WCB email list, including another member of the WCB environmental Access committee. I am surprised about how energized I felt after the Sunday WCB board meeting. I am inspired not only by things that spoke clearly to my own inner work but also by the number of Leadership seminar participants who have resolved to go home, become more active in their local chapters or try to found a chapter in their area and to read and even write articles for Newsline.
There are over 7 million people in Washington. An estimated 63,000, a little less than 1 %, of them are blind, and of those, somewhere less than 1% are members of the WCB (or the NFBW). That is a lot of people needing work and services and not expecting to settle for less than the best. There is plenty for all of us to do, both as blind people and as citizens who are vital parts of our whole social fabric.
by Kim L. Moberg, Scholarship Committee member
Are you going to be attending college for the 2013-14 school year? Are you a resident of Washington state? Are you legally blind? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then, you are eligible to apply for a scholarship through the Washington Council of the Blind. It doesn’t matter if you are enrolling in college for the first time right out of high school, or are going for graduate studies. You are eligible to apply for a scholarship through the Washington Council of the Blind. Yes, even if you’ve previously applied for or have received one of our scholarships, if you will be enrolled in college this coming school year, you can apply again.
If you are interested in applying, and we hope you do, here is what you need to do. Go to the WCB website and there you will find a link to the application for the scholarship. The email address is www.wcbinfo.org. Along with the application you will also need to submit other supporting documents. The documents you will need are indicated on the scholarship information page along with the link to the application. There will also be a phone interview as part of the application process. The interview will be conducted by a member of the Scholarship committee once all of your documents and application has been received.
Various amounts of money are awarded to deserving applicants. Unlike other scholarships that you may apply for this one does not say that you have to use it on one or two specific items like tuition. You can use the money for pretty much anything related to your education for the upcoming school year. Many past scholarship winners have used the money for things like a new computer, other technical devices that they may need to aid in their education or child care and transportation.
The deadline for applying for a scholarship is August 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM. If you have any questions or concerns or you need more information you can contact the chairman of this committee, Tim McCorcle, at: or (206) 522-5850.
We, the scholarship committee, look forward to receiving your application. Oh yes, and if you know someone who is legally blind, a resident of Washington state, and going to college this coming school year and is not a member of WCB, let them know about the scholarship because You don’t have to be a member of this organization to apply.
by Janine Prindle
Guide dogs receive basic training for guide work at any guide dog training facility. After graduation, each team begins a life of learning together to become a well-oiled partnership. My 8-year-old yellow lab, Cranberry and I are no different except for the hobby that we share. Since high school and through my entire adult life, I have participated in competition obedience trials with all my pet dogs. Also, as an adult, my family and I have raised 30 puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Now that a progressive eye disease has left me with 15 degrees of tunnel vision, I have chosen to partner with a guide dog. My guide dog is also my Competition dog. The extra training and time I have spent with Cranberry, as described below, serve to strengthen our bond and improve our relationship. Cranberry loves both guiding and competing and is not confused by the separate roles. Besides competition obedience, we have also participated in Rally Obedience and Therapy Dog activities with titles in each.
Our initial competition goal was to complete our AKC Utility Dog (UD) title. We first had to complete our Novice title (Companion Dog – CD) and then our Open title (Companion Dog Excellent – CDX). Notice I say ‘our’ titles. We compete as a team and it takes both of us to earn the titles we work so hard to complete.
The Novice exercises are behaviors that well behaved dogs should know – walking in heel position on and off leash, staying, coming when called and a stand-stay. After Cranberry and I finished our CD, the AKC added a group of classes, leading to additional titles, called Optional Titling classes. Cranberry added the title, Graduate Novice (GN), which included the beginning steps of jumping, retrieving and more complex heeling. Continuing, we worked on training for the Open title (CDX). This included the finished jumping and retrieving exercises, drop on recall, heeling off leash and staying put for longer periods, with the handler out of sight. Following was Graduate Open (GO). This included elements of Utility, with exercises less difficult than the regular Utility class. During this time, between Open and Utility, we completed Cranberry’s Beginning Novice (BN) title—not available earlier and easy for her. Next, we put all efforts into completing our Utility Dog title (UD). This included using only hand signals to command the dog, scent discrimination, directed retrieve and go outs with directed jumping. We finished this title, our original goal, February, 2013.
We decided to go for the AKC’s new, optional titling competition class that would come after the UD title–Versatility title (VER). It involves exercises from all three regular classes, Novice, Open and Utility. The judge chooses two exercises from each level to perform in random order. The Utility exercises are worth more points than the Novice exercises. We have passed this twice and need one more pass to complete her Versatility title–hopefully, soon.
A quick review:
Cranberry’s other titles are as follows: CGC – Canine Good Citizen. Most guides could pass with minimal practice.
The titles, RN, RA and RE stand for Rally Novice, Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent. Rally Obedience is another form of AKC competition somewhat like agility but without many of the obstacles. Rally Novice is done on lead. The Advanced and Excellent classes are off leash and have a few obstacles such as jumps and cones. The Excellent class is more difficult than the Advance class. A totally blind person might have difficulty with this. Those with some vision might find this challenging. I had some trouble seeing some of the stations, so it took a few tries to pass the more difficult classes.
ThD is the Therapy Dog title. Cranberry had to first pass the Canine Good Citizen test, and then work past obstacles encountered while working as a therapy dog–wheelchairs, unpredictable actions from people, children, etc. Then Cranberry made 50 visits to two facilities to earn her ThD. She ‘listened’ to children read to her and visited an Alzheimer’s assisted living home. She isn’t in harness to avoid confusion with her guiding job.
Cranberry’s official AKC registered name is : Guide Dogs’ Cranberry, CGC, CD, CDX, UD, BN, GN, GO, RN, RA, RE, ThD.
I encourage guide dog handlers, people with career changed dogs and breeder keepers to give AKC performance events a try. CGC and/or Beginning Novice classes would be a great place to begin.
by Joleen Ferguson
Why is it that money management software is so inaccessible to our screen readers? Why is it that we must devise strategies to work around such inconveniences? Some of us have sighted family members available to do the book work, but it is much better to have direct access to our personal finances. One never knows when circumstances will change such that we must gain access ourselves.
A January, 2013 computer crash necessitated a new system–A desktop replacing my laptop, Windows 7 operating system replacing XP, JFW 14 replacing JFW 11 and Quicken 2013 replacing Quicken 2008. With my old computer and outdated software, there was a somewhat adversarial relationship with Quicken—enough to maintain a register for our primary checking and savings accounts and credit card purchases. My access allowed me to reconcile these accounts, but accessing reports or sorting the information in meaningful ways was not doable. It did not seem possible to export to Excel or create text or PDF documents. Quicken technical support has been problematic through the years. With the new computer and software, it became obvious that Quicken had morphed over the years until doing even these basic functions was more difficult and less accessible with the improved equipment.
It was this environment that necessitated finding an accessible money management software that would work with JFW. Freedom Scientific was contacted for suggestions as well as the Washington Council of the Blind e-mail list. Eventually there was a lead–Accomplish CashManager from New Zealand. Googling it provided some helpful articles and podcasts, and there was an option to download the demo package from their site, http://www.accomplishglobal.com/. Contacting the company with some questions was the next step. It took a very short time to discover that technical support from Accomplish CashManager is superior to that of any other company I have experienced. Their patience and persistence is unmatched. They have been accessible on Skype and through e-mail. They have, built into their software an option to link a computer with their system over the internet to give secure support and to observe customer interaction with their program. They are familiar with JFW and Window-Eyes and even have demo software of both programs on their computer to test their product with screen readers. They are eager to make their product accessible to us and are receptive to suggestions for improvement.
During the installation of their software, there is an option to choose for those using screen readers. There are built in keyboard commands for the various functions of their software.
After a trial of their demo program, purchase of the home version was the next step. With CashManager, it is easy to input and edit the register for checking, savings, and the credit card information. Reconciling the accounts independently is straight forward. The data can easily be sorted by date, as entered, Reference number, name, or Amount. A variety of reports can easily be created and exported to PDF, Excel, rtf, htm, or txt format. Reports can be e-mailed. Transactions can be assigned to categories (accounts) such as groceries, medical, and any other types that are needed. Transactions can be split or dissected into as many subdivisions as needed. It gives the ability to process and edit recurring transactions and it offers on-line banking. There is an option to create and track a budget. Backing up personal data is easy.
There was a learning curve because this software is a bit different from Quicken, but The CashManager technical support was available, even before my purchase, to get me acquainted with their software. There is one cautionary comment. At the time the demo version was downloaded, it was not the latest version and working with the updated demo that they made available to me later worked much better. Once the software was purchased along with a year of technical support, they gave one-on-one help to get me started. Their instructions were made available as a Word document. There cannot be enough praise given this company or the software they have provided for over 20 years in New Zealand and Australia. They have a robust accounting package for businesses as well that includes the ability to write invoices and do so many things that one with the home version would have no need to know about, and these features, by their report and available for practice with the demo example are also accessible.
by Bernie Vinther
In the early days of adjusting to blindness, I found a technique that made trail hiking much better than the techniques I learned for navigating around town.
Being the experimenter and innovator that I am, I began trying out a few techniques of my own. So here’s what I did.
I use two canes, and both at the same time. No, I don’t usually use them like an animal with 4 legs. You’re probably thinking what a stupid idea this is, but read on.
I got a pair of snow ski poles and cut off those things called baskets near the tip of each pole. Ski poles are fairly light and strong enough for hiking, and have nice hand grips and loops that are just what I want. I got two canes that are about shoulder high.
With a cane in each hand, I held them so the tips are about six inches in front of each foot. With one step the cane tips are crossed in front of each foot, and the next step the tips are straight ahead of each foot again, and so on, back and forth with each step. I also briefly touched the tips down every time I crossed and uncrossed them. With this technique I found that I was quickly able to find my way around logs, rocks, and tree roots without tripping or having to stop most of the time.
I found that using a single cane used for city sidewalks is usually best on bridges and board walks. The tip of a ski pole can get broken if it gets caught in-between the boards.
On The Trail:
First of all, the sighted person walking in front of me wears sleigh bells around their ankles. The bells that work well are about an inch in diameter instead of the small ones sometimes found on toys and stuffed animals. The bells ring with every step. Now I can tell how fast they’re walking, where they are, and when they stop. I was also alerted to some upcoming obstacles when a change in the stride made the bells ring in a different pattern.
Working Through Steep Places:
It’s often easy for me to lose my footing and fall down on these kinds of trails. So when navigating them, I poke one cane at a time into the ground or a stable pocket while probing ahead with the other one. This helped to stabilize my body and reduce my chances of falling. Sometimes I also walk on hills sideways while poking one cane into the ground ahead of me and probing ahead in a more conventional manner with the other one.
Safety glasses are a must! It’s no fun getting whacked in the eye with a branch or a pine needle! We also carry food, water, a first aid kit, a flash light, a cell phone, and a whistle. The whistle will help a rescue team find exactly where we are. Finally, if we were real serious back packers, we’d also carry a lighter and a flare gun with several cartridges.
I also find that good footwear and socks is an absolute must! This means that unless I’m on real good or paved paths, street shoes or sneakers are out. There are a lot of things we can hurt and still walk back for a ride to medical help if one of us doesn’t hurt an ankle. Otherwise we’re stuck until we can find a way to attract a rescue team! I usually wear a long sleeve shirt, even in hot weather to help protect my arms from thorns and other sharp objects.
In rock climbing, I sometimes wear shin guards, gloves, and elbow pads. And if I go into a cave or tunnel, I wear a hard hat too.
by Gaylen Floy, PR and Web Oversight Chair
Charles Dickens once said, “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.” That’s a given, but keep in mind Dickens was very adept at using the media to his advantage. If Dickens were alive today, he would probably be using social media like mad.
Social media is one tool in long-term relationship building. The goals are to 1) Strengthen name recognition 2) Drive people to visit the website and take action, and 3) Monitor and respond to what people say and do.
Having an active online presence is vital since WCB does not have an office, store front, or advertising budget. Less than five percent of people who are vision impaired in our state know we exist or see the value in belonging to a consumer organization.
If WCB’s mission is to promote opportunity, equality, and independence for legally-blind people in the state of Washington and throughout the nation, how can we use social media to our advantage? There are several ways.
Google and other search engines use links and content to determine your website credibility. The more good links you have, the higher your website will pop up in search results, and the easier it is for people to find your information.
As of March 26, WCB has a new affiliate page on the ACB website: www.acb.org. Not only does this page offer our mission statement and general contact information, but people can also follow links to contact officers, board members, and chapter presidents. On the right side of the page, you’ll find photos of our 2012 leadership class and a few other members. Most state affiliates have not taken full advantage of this free option.
We are encouraging chapters to create websites or Facebook pages, maintain fresh content, and link back to the WCB website. Seven chapters have a website. Two more chapters want to develop a website. A few chapters have Facebook pages.
Updating our website: www.wcbinfo.org
We want to make our state website useful to people searching for information regarding blindness and services. We want to be personable, highlight our accomplishments, and invite people to connect with us.
The PR and Web Oversight Committee pulled together ten reasons to donate to WCB and have edited several pages. A link to the 2013 college scholarship application is prominent on our home page. We plan to expand the Resources page and perhaps create a separate Government Affairs page. Ultimately, we would like fresh content on our home page each month, encouraging people to keep checking the site.
Daily posts on Facebook
Our Facebook page features the WCB logo and a montage of photos taken by John Damitio at the 2012 convention. From left to right, there is a photo of Andrea Damitio with Qin Lain, the guide dog user from China; Hongda Sao holding a dog; Marlaina Lieberg accepting an award; Nathan Brannon strumming a guitar with Mozart at his side; Meka White belting out a song; and one of our scholarship recipients holding her certificate.
Posts are made twice a day, usually inviting people to follow a link or read further. Content is gleaned from timely WCB and ACB posts, other member Facebook posts, and other organizations posting news to Twitter.
At the time of this writing, we have 91 page Likes. If everyone one of those people shared the same post with their Facebook friends, that message has the potential to reach over 17,000 people.
Recently someone on our Facebook page asked if Christine Ha’s new cookbook was available in braille. I tweeted Christine Ha and she tweeted right back. She is working on a braille version and that Facebook post received 240 views.
How you can help
Visit wcbinfo.org and offer feedback. Is there a resource or organization we should feature on our Resources page?
We are always looking for fresh content for the Facebook page. Invite people to your chapter event. Brag about what your chapter or a member has accomplished. Chat up the WCB Facebook page at your chapter meeting. Email information to at least 24 hours before you want it posted.
We need event photographers. Why? Showing people who we are and what we do is much more powerful than telling. Please contact me if you know a source for photos related to our website’s history page. Full credit will be given.
by Carl Jarvis
“What an absolutely glorious spring day,” I sighed, chomping down on a big slice of hot banana bread oozing with butter.
“It could be a little warmer and I wouldn’t complain,” grumbled Winston, the Wonder Cat, as he sprawled out on the warm deck.
In case you’ve not met him, let me introduce Winston. He appeared out of the forest some years back, looked our house over and decided that it would do him just fine. Something had chomped off his tail and done a little damage to his hip, and he was covered with ticks and fleas. But Winston was a survivor and we opened our door and our hearts to him, after a trip to the Vet, of course.
Winston was lean, sharp- eyed and quick in those days. Now, glaucoma has claimed his eyesight and too many late night snacks have fluffed up his soft black fur to a cuddly 25 pounds.
“I should be out here with the brush axe clearing the tall weeds on the water tank trail,” I mused.
“Why would you want to do that? Just relax and enjoy the sunshine,” Winston said, rising up and giving a big stretch.
“Well, I used to be out early in the morning cutting up fire wood, clearing the brush along the road and filling pot holes. I just feel guilty sitting here doing nothing.”
“So what’s so wrong with doing nothing?” Winston purred, trying to clamber up into my lap.
“Look at you,” I told him, “you have gotten so fat you can’t even hop up on my lap or the bed without help.” Don’t you miss those carefree days when you could leap into the air after the butterflies and chase squirrels up the trees?”
Winston began kneading my expansive stomach until I grabbed both of his paws. “That was then,” he said, trying to get around my hands, “and this is now. Sure I had good times. But I was young and agile back then. I’d kill myself if I tried doing that today.”
“But I can’t help thinking how it was just a few short years ago,” I complained. “I could walk for miles without tiring, cut up fallen trees and pull the logs down where we could cut them up for fire wood, and still have enough energy to go out for the evening. Getting old just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.” “If you ask me,” Winston said, beginning to do his housekeeping while perched on my lap, “If you ask me, you are spending far too much time missing yesterday. You’re going to wake up one fine day and realize that you’ve missed today.”
Winston hopped down and waddled over to a spot on the deck that had been warmed by the sun, sprawling out full length. “Yes,” he yawned, “those were good times, and I did enjoy every minute. But today is good times, too. I would rather focus on the joy of being here now than to become frustrated wishing I could go back in time.” Winston looked up at me and then closed his eyes. As he drifted off to sleep he murmured, “Remember, it’s what you do with what you got that counts.”
I considered the words of Winston, the Wonder Cat as I reached for another tasty slice of banana bread. “You know,” I said to myself, “I think you’ve got something there my chubby little buddy. I’m going to start right now to enjoy today for all that it is, and with all that I have to give it.”
Great Students and Dedicated Staff Devoted to Helping Student’s Gain the Skills and Abilities to Succeed
by Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Supt.
It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of another school year, with another large graduating class of thirteen wonderful young people ready to move onto their next journey in life. This year’s commencement speaker is Representative Cyrus Habib from Bellevue who is not only the first Iranian-American Elected Representative in the U.S., but also is a successful attorney who is blind. Rep. Habib has met many WSSB students in Olympia during the 2013 legislative session and it was really enjoyable to see how students connected with him and he with them. What a great role model!
This summer will be extremely busy for WSSB and we are very excited to once again have a full Business and Human Resource department on campus. The past 2-1/2 years have been difficult in securing solid financial information needed for decision making and having the support needed for employees through Human Resources services. Mary Sarate, WSSB’s former Director of Business and Finance is back with us (yeah!) and we recently hired Anne Baker who has her master’s degree and national certification in Human Resources. They will be a great addition to WSSB and will help with national recruitment of teachers of the blind and visually impaired (TVI) during this huge national shortage of TVI’s. Having teachers with the right training and certifications needed to help us meet our mission is vital to the future success of programs for children and having these support services on campus will help us attain this goal and many others.
If WSSB was to use one word to help describe our success over the years, it would be Partnership! If it weren’t for all the wonderful partnerships, much of what we do would not be possible. Currently we are serving approximately 2,000 blind and visually impaired (BVI) children and provide training to about 250 teachers each year. This has been made possible through partnerships with many organizations such as: OSPI (Office of the Supt. of Public Instruction), Local School Districts, Washington Sensory Disabilities Services, Department of Services for the Blind, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, Lions, Blind Consumer Organizations, numerous in state and out-of-state organizations, University Research Facilities, and private donors (to just mention a few). These partnerships have allowed us to expand services during these difficult times through the entrepreneurial spirit of being able to do more in partnership with each other. In the past, WSSB’s funding was 99% state funded for all of its programs. At this time we are about 65% state funded and 35% funded through private local funds, some of which come through some of the partners mentioned above. Thanks to these partnerships, students continue to receive excellent services. Creative partnerships, along with donors, have helped students and programs not only survive, but thrive. Thank you!
This summer, upcoming events will include: (1) Summer School, Youth Employment Solutions I, (2) A national computer programming camp for up to 22 teachers from throughout the U.S. that will learn a new programming language designed to work better for BVI students, (3) Summer Institute (designed for classroom teachers that will have a BVI student in their classroom), (3) Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) workshop with Dr. Christine Roman, (4) Parent workshop sponsored by AFB/NAPVI, and (5) B-5 workshop/jamboree for parents of young BVI children. The above list is not inclusive of everything that is happening, but will give you an idea that summers are as busy as the regular school year.
Please keep in touch with WSSB by visiting our website (www.wssb.wa.gov).
Check out the upcoming events, read the blog, twitter and check out the video clips on blindness tips. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
by Bruce Radtke and Gloria Riley
May is the month when we remember and honor our men and women in the military. But courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says; “I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Bruce Radtke and Ron Bradshaw researched and found the grave sites for deceased UBWC members who lived their lives to make a difference in the world of the blind and visually impaired. On May 17th a group from our chapter paid tribute to these men and women by tidying and cleaning their grave markers. They observed a moment of silence at each site, and left a cut flower for each one at Fragrance Garden.
Jo Ann Mancinelli; a founder of UBWC & officer
Jo Ellen Barton; a founder of UBWC, officer & public speaker
Daisy Patterson; officer
Edward Pettinger, former president
Keith Ahrens; officer & public speaker
Gladys Hunt; hospitality
Pearl Rosell; supporter
Genevieve Adkinson; officer
Elmer L. Smith; officer
Margit Kingston; civic activist
Tekusa Buchinoff; hospitality
Shirley Steward; Vice President UBWC
M. Michael Wilson; parliamentarian
Earl Kennedy; pianist
Maye Provance; hospitality
Charles Van Liew; member
Rosella & Vern Kalk; hospitality
Eva Poyser; hospitality
Jo Ellen Barton; a founder of UBWC, officer Blic speaker
”Friendship inspires and enriches the lives of those who come together.” – Vimala Thakar
CAPITAL CITY COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
by Berl Colley, CCCB member
CCCB has had three meetings since we last reported to you.
The March meeting was President Wallings third meeting and it is clear that she has got the hang of things. She finished her agenda in just a little over an hour.
We had a guest speaker at our April meeting, Pat Kosier, the associate director for the Tacoma Independent Living Center spoke about the Center’s activities. Also in April, CCCB had its annual spring pizza feed. We had a smaller group this year, only 14 people, but we were as rockus as ever and devoured the same number of pizzas as last year.
May brought another guest speaker to our meeting. Charlene Woodring, the Department of Services for the Blind Olympia councilor spoke to us about DSB and some of the things that she was most proud of during her service at DSB. She told the chapter that she will be retiring shortly and DSB will be recruiting for her position. She received several complements and thank-you’s for her work with some of our members, like Gloria, Viola Bentson and John Guydish.
We also want to welcome our newest member, Patty Wearstein to the club. Patty jumped right in and took over the chair of our Tea-Shirt committee.
GUIDE DOG USERS OF WASHINGTON STATE
by Marlaina Lieberg GDUWS President
Hello from all our dogs and their humans to each of you! GDUWS is busy reorganizing and making a difference. We are about to publish a brochure to be used when taxi drivers are difficult and for training in the taxi industry.
We are doing something new this year; we are holding membership meetings via conference call. Stay tuned, we’ll let you know how that works for us.
We have voted to remove our affiliation for now from the national organization, Guide Dog Users, Inc. National has its challenges right now, and many members felt it was more important for us to focus on our work here in Washington. However, several of us are members-at-large in GDUI, so we still have our finger on the national pulse.
By the time you read this, we will have met and begun planning our convention program. Stay tuned, I promise it will be a great one you won’t want to miss.
Do you have a guide dog or do you want to support that mission? Go to www.gduws.net and join; everyone welcome!
Until next time, I wish you sunny days and happy travels!
JEFFERSON COUNTY COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
by Carl Jarvis, JCCB Secretary
Longtime member and former president Lynn Gressley died April 12 from cancer. Lynn had also served as vice president and was the current president of (DASH) Disability Awareness Starts Here of Port Townsend.
A memorial service was held on April 27 at the Port Hadlock Community Methodist Church.
Prior to retiring to this area, Lynn had worked for the VA in Palo Alto, teaching computer skills to blinded veterans. Some of us basic computer users leaned on Lynn’s vast knowledge, which he gave freely.
We are already missing Lynn’s warm and cheery presence.
Some of our members began questioning what strange language we were using in giving state and national updates. We realized that a few of us have been around Work with the Blind for many years and forget that those acronyms so familiar to us are Greek to the ears of those who have become visually impaired in later life. Which includes most of our members. And by the way, we are up to 24 members!
So Sue and Carl pulled together the most commonly used acronyms and at our March meeting they led a discussion, and provided hard copies to those wanting them. The list was expanded by Sue and put out to the WCB list.
Our president, Nancy Kelly-Patnode is back after undergoing surgery. It’s taken a while but the spring is coming back in her step and voice.
At our April meeting we heard from Ken Dane, director of ECHHO (Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization). ECHHO began in 1997, sponsored by some 30 local churches. Today it is a large service organization providing a wide range of support services to Jefferson County residents. ECHHO loans out medical equipment and has over 50 volunteer drivers.
In April, Cathy and Carl had the pleasure of meeting with a class of Third graders from Chimacum elementary school. The students were studying Louis Braille and Helen Keller as part of Disability Awareness Month. What a bright group of youngsters. With our nation’s future in their hands we’ll all be able to sleep nights.
Finally, we say goodbye to Peg Humphrey. Peg has moved from the SKP park to live closer to family in the Seattle area.
KING COUNTY CHAPTER
by Linda Wickersham, acting officer
This year we lost one of our long time members. On March 16, Virginia Schneebeck passed away. Many Council members attended the Memorial. Virginia was beloved and cherished. She will be truly missed by all.
Activities of the Chapter included a visit by a League of Women Voters member who reviewed the initiatives and candidates for office, answering our questions so we could vote intelligently.
Al and Connie Gil spoke with us about the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound who meet and listen to old time radio shows.
Recently, May 11, we had an EMT from Medic One come to give a class on CPR. The speaker was excellent. He passed among the participants and verified that everyone could do the CPR. It was a good hands-on experience. He demonstrated how to shock people using the defibrillator and even how to check the battery.
Coming in July is the Chapter Picnic sponsored by Tim Schneebeck and his family.
Membership is growing. We have three new members of the Chapter. Carrie Long, Lynn Hunter and Ed Stevens. Welcome!
Every month we collect food and money for a local food bank. New member Carrie volunteers her time to deliver whatever we raise to a different food bank each time, ensuring that we share all across the city.
PENINSULA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
by Shannon Curry, PCB member
Spring has been a busy time for us in PCB. In April, we had our Easter brunch, which was held at the community center of Jess Landby, our chapter Treasurer. The potluck lunch was well-attended, and there was much good food and conversation. I knew I was part of the PCB chapter when the entire group teased me about my notorious dislike of cheese and pointing out all the food that had been brought that I should feel free to eat. (Yes, there was plenty, in case you were worried.)
We’ve seen a few returning members joining our chapter recently. Beverly Lewis and Lisa Norbut have rejoined us, and we are pleased to welcome Mitch Mitchell into our ranks as well.
The All Ears Book Club has been reading some well-received books, including North River by Pete Hamill, Matilda by Roald Dahl, and Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt. Future books to be discussed are: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Night Train to Rigel by Timothy Zahn, and Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo.
In April, several of our members attended a fishing event sponsored by the Poggie Club in a park in Gorst. Several of us caught fish, and the event was capped with dinner at Boston’s Deli and Pizza in Bremerton.
Rick Talley and Shannon Curry represented PCB at the WCB Leadership Seminar in Bellevue. Two of our members, Kim Moberg, President and Eric Hunter both applied for a first-timer scholarship to attend the ACB convention. Though neither were selected, we’re very proud of them.
Several of our members are struggling with serious health issues. Any thoughts and prayers would be appreciated, and we hope that summer sees them returning to full health.
PIERCE COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF THE BLIND
by Lori Allison, PCAB Membership Chair
Oh what a beautiful day and PCAB is in a planning mode. It seems that our chapter members are getting out and letting Pierce County know about us. This last meeting, May 2013, we had four (4) guests visit our chapter. We also had Dr. Randall Nozawa as our special guest.
This year PCAB has been called to fill in at the I 5 Safety Stop (rest area) serving coffee and goodies. This Endeavour has been a great outreach and fund raiser for the group.
This summer, on July 20 we will be holding our annual picnic at the Spanaway Lake Park. The goal is to have an outreach event that will allow the visually impaired community, along with their friends and families, to come together to meet and greet each other. We will have fun, great food, great door prizes, and great music along with resources and information for all. We invite all of you to come out and join us.
Watch out future leaders. Up and coming, in May we had four of our members attend the leadership seminar: they were Michael Edwards, Elizabeth Scott, Neil Vosburgh and Sue Yates. Each of them had a fantastic experience, gained invaluable knowledge and had great fun. Each participant returned with great ideas and high hopes for the future for PCAB and WCB.
Well if any of you are ever in Pierce County on the third Saturday of the month, stop in and visit us. Have a wonderful summer!!
NEWS FROM SOUTH KING COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
by Sharon Schauer, SKB President
Hello WCB friends and family
South King Council of the Blind has been doing a lot of interesting and fun things. In April, we had a speaker by the name of Jim Ballard come to our meeting and show us the tactile art he does. Carolyn Meyer of Carolyn’s Braille Services does the labels for his art and she came along with him. It was wonderful. We were able to hold and look tactually at pictures of the space needle, the sky and stars, snowflakes and other wonderful things. Being able to feel these things gave us all new points of view about them. we had never seen before. For example, no two snowflakes look the same.
In June, Jackie Cabrera will be our speaker at our meeting.
We will learn a lot about food from a chef’s point of view, I’m sure.
We are now starting a beep baseball team. We are called The Seattle South King Sluggers. Our first practice will be Saturday, June 1st at Walt Hundley Park Field #2 at 6920 34th Ave. S.W. in West Seattle. The practice will be from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. All visually impaired men and women are invited to participate. We would like to get a competitive team together to participate in the Beep Baseball World Series. We hope to see a lot of people come to the practices and play on our team. We hope to make it to the World Series later in the summer. We will have tea shirts with our name and logo on them. We look forward to seeing everyone there. The number 21 Metro bus goes to the park where the practices will be held. The park is a few blocks away. This is a program of the South King Council of the Blind.
To get involved and for answers to any questions, please contact Kevin Daniel, head coach at: 206-979-5616.
In August we will have a picnic lunch at 12:00 noon and then the public is invited at 1:00 p.m. to see our beep baseball team practice. More information will be following on the WCB and SKB-L lists.
We are selling chocolate covered coffee beans. They are selling like hot cakes at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle.
Interesting times are happening in our Chapter right now and we are coming into our own. See everyone next time.
UNITED BLIND OF SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON
by Sunni Rogers, UBSWW Secretary
Greetings to you from UBSWW!
In March our chapter had one of our first socials since the Christmas party. The chapter went bowling. A few members did attend the event.
In April, our chapter had a speaker come from The Foundation on Fighting Blindness. The speaker talked about an upcoming walk in June 2013 in Portland, Oregon. There was also a game night held at Chris and Beth’s house.
In May we didn’t have a speaker. We did participate in the Parade of Bands in Hazeldale, Washington. For those who don’t know, Hazeldale is a suburb of Vancouver, Washington. A good time was had by all at the parade. Terry Ward handed out the most WCB Brochures from out of the group. Everyone else did their best to participate in the fun. The cloudy weather didn’t stop us.
Something to Know: We have chapter T-shirts on sale for $15 each if you’re interested.
UNITED BLIND OF THE TRI-CITIES
by Janice Squires, UBTC Member
Once again the UBTC chapter is as active as ever with its educational and uplifting support group events for its 45 members. It takes all of us to make our chapter as active and productive as it is and we thank each and every one of our members.
Our monthly chapter meetings are very well attended and it is partly due to our excellent programs. Our own Frank Cuta demonstrated the Tap tap See Application on his I Pad and we were all so impressed with this new technology. In march, Spencer Peterson, President of the Edith Bishel Center Board spoke to us on the financial difficulties facing the center at this time and explained how the board and the diminished staff will do its best to keep the center up and running. Spencer is employed by the Veterans administration, supporting the rehabilitation of blinded Vets in our area. In April, a member of Toastmasters, Kathy Hagen, gave us a presentation on what they do as an organization. Also, Kim Moberg, President of the Peninsula Council of the Blind, was visiting in the Tri-Cities and spoke briefly at our chapter meeting. She gave us some good advice on some new activities that they do in her chapter.
Frank also started a new game in which he gives an acronym and the first person that guesses it right gets a prize.
Our Lunch group is once again eating its way through the Tri-Cities with lunches at Kimo’s, Bob’s Burger and Brew and next month at Inca Mexican restaurant. The card group still meets at the Bishel Center once a month and is a very popular get together for many of our wild and crazy ladies. Our book group, thanks to Evelyn Crouse, is now meeting at the Richland Gardens Retirement Home. It is a lovely place to meet with complimentary cookies and coffee. We have read the books, “Micro”, “Her Mother’s Hope” and “The Fields of Home”. The final narrated play of the year was “On Golden Pond” and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Thanks again to Brenda Vinther for tickets, Frank Cuta for equipment and John Yegge for doing the narration and setting up transportation. We could not do it without all of you.
Our Outreach Chair, Sherry Dubbin, reported that the Outreach Committee will visit the royal Columbian Retirement Center in May and the West Richland Senior Center in October. We have a huge opportunity to reach many blind and visually impaired people which was made possible through a friend of Sherry’s to provide information to local nurses Aid training classes. Five members from our Outreach committee visited Richland
Gardens, where they were received by an audience of 30 people. A couple of these persons signed up for WTBBL library services as a result of our visit. In addition to our periodic visits, Sherry is taking our Outreach materials to the discharge departments of many of the local hospitals.
Here is wishing each and every one of our WCB family a warm and fun summer time.
UNITED BLIND OF WALLA WALLA
by Joleen Ferguson, UBWW President
When last we wrote, we were anticipating an excellent program at our February meeting, and we were not disappointed. Not only did Devon share, with great enthusiasm, his experience attending Space Camp last September, he also brought touchables for us to examine. He ended his program with a drum solo. It was a Christmas gift and he seems to be a natural with it.
At our March meeting we discussed various advocacy efforts that our members had been doing. Ernie has ongoing advocacy with the local newspaper with his monthly articles; Alco worked with Apple on some issues she was having with her note taker and IPhone; Joleen told of her experience with CashManager software. We had a new member join during the March meeting.
In April, we had a guest speaker. Annee Hartzell now has Mondays free and hopes to begin attending our meetings. She spoke about her work as a teacher of the visually impaired. Working out of Yakima, she currently sees 50 students on a rotating basis. She teaches braille, assistive technology, and some independent living skills. Her presentation was interesting and informative.
In May, we voted unanimously to develop a web site. There have been several recent indications that people have tried to locate blindness-related information in our area and have had difficulty finding us. Be watching for a new web presence.
We recently obtained 1,000 “Living with Fading Vision” brochures from Holly Kaczmarski to have on hand and to pass out to appropriate places in our area: physician’s offices, the senior center, assisted living facilities, ophthalmologist and optometrist offices to name a few places. This has been an ongoing project for us and we now have a committee to replenish them as supplies dwindle. Imagine our surprise when we received a call from Rhonda Nelson. She had received from our WCB 800 number a request from a Walla Walla physician’s office requesting additional copies of the brochure. We were glad to meet their request.
This has been a difficult winter and spring for us as several among our ranks have had injuries, illness or both. Some of us had spent time in the hospital. Perhaps we will have recovered by our next update.
NEWS FROM THE UNITED BLIND OF WHATCOM COUNTY
by Bruce Radtke and Gloria Riley
Our group is focusing on fundraising this year. We have already had three successful events. Wendy’s Burger Bash held in April and Flower Power held in March. Members took catalog orders for spring flowers and will also be taking orders for the fall. Also, Ross Stores sent a generous contribution. Our next event is the Human Race scheduled for June 1st. This is a 5k/10k run and 5k walk that follows the beautiful harbor loop starting at Squalicum Boathouse at Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham.
The highlight of April was a panel discussion called, “Living in the Darkness: Coping with Blindness,”
Keynote speakers were our own professional members: Ardith Kling, Masters in Education, Masters in Mental Health;
Barbara Crowley, MSW;
Hope Nightengale, Masters in Education;
Miriam Freshley, MSW
Mimi led with an emphasis on vision loss or blindness being on a spectrum, rather than only one experience per individual. She spoke about legal blindness, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, explaining some of the emotions possibly accompanying these changes. Barb spoke about both peripheral vision loss and central vision loss, with varied reactions to the sense of loss, from anxiety or fear or depression or anger. Of the Charles Bonnet Syndrome becomes a problem for older people, hallucinations may be experienced. Barb stressed that we need to help family members respond to these changes with “how can I help you?”
Ardith began experiencing macular degeneration about seventeen years ago, and when a stroke hit her, she lost some speech facility. She worked hard to develop her mobility skills and spatial awareness. She found how important it is to help others adapt, and we need to learn how to explain to others how they can help. Her sense of humor continues to help her relate to everyone present at the gathering. The audience responded to the panel with enthusiasm and personal experience accounts.
All the UBWC members give special thanks to Meka White, WCB’s Second Vice-President for her wonderful presentation. Meka provided an overview of our State organization. She also led us singing “Happy Birthday” to two of our members, Diane Kirscheman and David Engebretson, Jr. We also welcomed guest Chris Murray who is a potential volunteer. She has offered her services to read and provide transportation to members of our chapter.
David Engebretson, who just returned from the 2013 Leadership Training, gave us his inspiring account of his participation. David’s enthusiasm was contagious and he stated that he is ready to “Make a Difference”. He is ready to take a more active role in our chapter!
Compiled By Joleen Ferguson
This column is presented for your information and enjoyment. Inclusion of information, products, and/or services does not constitute endorsement by the Washington Council of the Blind. Send submissions to . Put “Bits and Pieces” in the subject line.
Thursday, May 9th, 2013 was the second Global Accessibility Awareness Day, a day to get people talking, thinking, and learning about digital accessibility. That day, Albert Rizzi, founder of a nonprofit, “My Blind Spot” in NY partnered with Intuit, Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) to ensure that QuickBooks, the leading Windows-based accounting software program, will be made accessible and usable for those with conditions that impede reading text on-screen.
The partnership is presently moving through Phase 1, identifying glitches and removing any barriers that keep screen readers from properly interfacing with QuickBooks. They have a goal to launch an accessible and usable version with appropriate scripting solutions as needed for the Fall 2013 version, QuickBooks 2014).
Mr. Rizzi stated, “This is an exciting opportunity for the community, and I will be keeping you abreast of the steps moving forward as our collaboration moves toward Phase 2, Beta Testing. Those interested in taking part in our Beta Testing or in receiving updates on My Blind Spot can sign up for our newsletters at http://myblindspot.org/mailing-lists/.”
Kevin Frankeberger, Ph.D. keynote speaker for the state-wide conference of the Emblem Club on May 17 held near Shelton at the Little Creek Casino directed his considerable honorarium to, “My Blind Spot” as it so fit the theme of the “Day of Caring” luncheon of the Club.
For additional information about this project, contact WCB and GDUWS member, Kevin Frankeberger, Ph.D. at
Petition Supporting Treaty to Allow Greater Access to Books by People Who Have Print Reading Disabilities
As we get closer to the Diplomatic Conference which will decide the future of efforts to make it possible for producers of books in accessible formats to share them with people with visual impairments worldwide, we need to show the government of the United States that their constituents support a treaty that will provide meaningful access to books. Please go to the ACB website and sign a petition in support of this treaty. The petition can be found here: https://donate.acb.org/PetitionWIPO
Then, tell your friends, family members, neighbors, business associates, and anyone else you can think of, to do the same. We need to send a message that is loud and clear to our government, and to the large corporations and publishers who have been trying to erode the support for this treaty among members of the U.S. delegation to WIPO. Please spread the word and share the link to this petition. We are urging people to sign here. There is another petition on the We the People Site, but this one is much easier to work with.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Melanie Brunson, Esq.
American Council of the Blind
2200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 650
Arlington, VA 22201
Need Workers who are blind or visually impaired to Feature on MSU NTAC Website the National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) has launched a web site designed as a resource for three primary audiences: businesses, service providers in the blindness field and people with vision loss. In the Businesses section they want to feature brief stories accompanied by pictures of people who are blind or visually impaired at work demonstrating how people with vision loss can do all kinds of jobs.
Currently, they are looking for individuals working in mainstream jobs outside the blindness field in businesses doing non-academic work. They have featured a chemist, a lawyer, and have a couple similar stories in the works. They want to demonstrate to businesses that individuals with vision loss can do, for example, a man who was blind who worked on the loading dock at a Lowes. The difficult goal is to feature two people per month.
They could arrange a telephone interview with the individuals, perhaps in the evening so as not to interfere with work. There would follow, a 250-word story about the job responsibilities; information about adaptive technology used; the cause and degree of vision loss and related background; and outside work activities such as interests, hobbies, and passions. It could include the job search as well. Participants would be asked to e-mail a picture of themselves doing their job if possible.
Questions? please e-mail or call:
Mississippi State University.
Compiled by Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to, and celebrate with, the following WCB members:
Alco Canfield (UBWW) on being selected to receive this year’s WCB First-Timers award to attend the 2013 ACB Conference and Convention in Columbus Ohio.
Gaylen Floy (SKB) on her new position as a Marketing and Communications Intern with the Seattle Lighthouse.
Kevin Frankeberger (GDUWS) on his appointment to fill an “at-large” position on the Advisory Committee to the Washington State Fish and Game Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
Amy Jantsen (at large) on the birth of her fourth grandchild, a grandson; little Nathan was born on May 10, 2013 weighing a healthy 8 pounds 3 ounces.
Gina Mooney (UBWW) on her new job as a Member Services Representative for Sykes.
Ferd Swenson (UBWW) albeit belated, on the special occasion of his 90th Birthday.
Randy Tedrow (at large) on receiving his new guide dog, Webster, defined as a male Black Labrador Retriever; the team graduated from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
If you have something to be considered for inclusion in future Hats Off articles, please send to with “Hats Off” in the subject line.
by Cindy Van Winkle
Below is the recipe as provided me by the chef at the Red Lion in Bellevue following our board meeting lunch. Because the original recipe had no measurements, I’m including in parenthesis more specifics as prepared by me. Enjoy!
- Penne or Tortellini Pasta (I used a 17oz bag of Penne);
- Vegetables (I used a half each red and orange bell pepper and 2 broccoli florets, cut into small pieces);
- Cubed cheese (I used 8oz of Cheddar);
- Fresh Parmesan cheese (I used 2 to 3 ounces);
- Honey Raspberry Vinaigrette or Honey Mustard Dressing (I used an 8oz bottle of Raspberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette).
I ran cold water over the pasta while in the strainer until it was cooled before adding to the vegetables and cheese. Toss well with dressing and let set in refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Adjust ingredients to your needs.
Compiled by Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President
- June 4: Employment Forum, 7:00 pm.
- June 6: President’s call, 8:00 pm.
- June 11: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm.
- June 24: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm.
- July 6-12: ACB Conference and Convention, Columbus, OH.
- July 9: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm.
- July 22: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm.
- August 1: President’s call, 8:00 pm.
- August 6: Employment Forum, 7:00 pm.
- August 11: Deadline to make lunch reservation for the summer board meeting.
- August 13: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm.
- August 17: WCB Summer Board meeting held at WTBBL, 10:00 am-3:00 pm.
- August 26: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm.
- August 31: Deadline to apply for First Timer Scholarship to attend the WCB Convention.
- August 31: Deadline to submit WCB scholarship applications.
- August 31: Deadline to submit nominations for WCB awards.
- September 3: Employment Forum, 7:00 pm.
- September 9: Call in for free room between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm.
- September 10: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm.
- September 15-16: WCB booth at the Puyallup Fair.
- September 23: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm.
- October 3: President’s call, 8:00 pm.
- November 7-9: WCB Convention, Spokane WA.
- December 5: President’s call, 8:00 pm.
by Alco Canfield
NEWSLINE Article Submissions
The NEWSLINE is available in large print, half-speed four-track cassette tape, via email, and on our website at www.wcbinfo.org.
Articles should be no longer than 750 words and may be edited for clarity and space considerations.
Article submissions, address changes, and subscription requests must be sent to the NEWSLINE email address:
. or by phone, toll free at 800-255-1147.
Article deadline: To be considered for inclusion in the September issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by Saturday, August 31, 2013.