Opportunity, Equality, Independence
PO Box 3127
Bremerton, WA 98310
WCB’s Newsline is a Hollis K. Liggett Braille Free Press Award winner, 2011.Presented by the Board of Publications of the American Council of the Blind in order to promote best journalistic practices and excellence in writing in publications of ACB’s state and special interest affiliates.
Cindy Van Winkle, President
Meka White, Editor
Federal Way, WA
Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX-deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Eric Hunter, at PO Box 3127, Bremerton, WA 98310.
To remember the Washington Council of the Blind in your Last Will and Testament, you may include a special paragraph for that purpose in your Will or Trust. If your wishes are complex, please contact the WCB at 800-255-1147.
The WCB is a 501(c)(3) organization. For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our Fundraising page found at www.wcbinfo.org
Table of Contents
From the President’s Desk
Newsline Needs You!
Adieu to Audio Description
And the Winner of the Award is….!
Discovering WCB Treasures
Product Review: Talking Tags, an Interesting
Spring Board Meeting Report
In-Home Training: Is it all it’s Cracked up to Be?
From the Senior Side
Hitting a Home Run in 2015
Going for the Silver!
Time to Apply for a WCB Scholarship
Around the State
From My Kitchen to Yours
Bits and Pieces
2015 Calendar of Events
By Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President
Most mornings I get up and go to work, not only for the paycheck, but also because I believe that what I do is making a positive difference in the lives of the children I work with. When a young teenage girl willingly uses her cane on an outing in public, possibly because I too am using mine, or when a 4-year-old, sits in awe as she learns I’m reading the books in braille with my fingers, just like she does, it gives me purpose, even to muddle through those uneventful days.
When I come home, much of my time is serving the Washington Council of the Blind: answering emails, making and returning phone calls, and doing whatever necessary to keep our organization moving forward. Sometimes I’m called upon to write a letter or make a presentation that educates a legislator or business about our needs. Other times I’m providing individual support to members, providing resources, encouraging, listening, problem solving, and the list goes on.
I surround myself with people who believe in me, encourage me and hold me up when weakness creeps in, and I always try to be that same kind of wife, mother, friend, coworker, and yes, even president in return.
Why do I bring all of this up? There’s nothing magical about who I am or what I do. I am driven by purpose. It is also purpose which drives this organization. The purpose of creating opportunity, ensuring equality and demonstrating and developing independence within the blind community.
What better way than to demonstrate our desire for opportunity, equality and independence than with a competitive sport for the blind? Three of our chapters have been involved with supporting the creation of a beep baseball team in their areas. The Spokane Pride, South King Sluggers and the brand new, Tacoma Tide all welcome blind folks to come check them out, give the game a try and see if it might be a competitive sport they’d like to join in on.
In February we held a regional competition as part of the national Braille Challenge Program sponsored by the Braille Institute. Nine young people took part, and what exciting news it was to learn that one of them made it into the top 12 nationally in their age group. How glad I am that our Families with Blind Children Committee believes enough in kids and braille to have co-sponsored this event, allowing ten-year-old, Holly to shine and demonstrate what she knows about braille and perform in the competition. How proud I am that our board recognizes the value of her participating in the Braille Challenge later in June and ensuring she has this opportunity by providing a financial gift to assist her family with their travel expenses to Los Angeles. We wish you well Holly and know you will represent Washington well in the Braille Challenge!
Over the years we, as an organization, have sent folks to Washington DC for the ACB Legislative Seminar and to visit our legislators on Capitol Hill. Well, this year’s effort paid off! In February, when Denise Colley and Steve Fiksdal made such a visit and after talking with representatives from Washington State, they learned that “Congressman Heck has co-sponsored H.R. 729, the Medicare Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015.” Great work!
Although our First-Timers Committee can only send one person to the national convention of ACB (congratulations Danette Dixon GEACB president), they are able to send a few to our state one. So, if you’ve never been to a WCB convention previously and you’ve been a member since May 5, 2015 or longer, write a letter sharing about yourself and your involvement in your local chapter and WCB and send to by August 31. We know for many who attend these conventions for their first time, it is an exercise in independence and an opportunity to experience true equality with their blind peers. So if you meet the qualifications, why not you?
Our summer board meeting takes place at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library on Saturday, August 15 from 10 am to 3 pm. Lunch will be provided for those who make a reservation by August 9, email or call 360-689-0827. All are welcome!
Remember to check out the 2015 Calendar of Deadlines and Events to ensure you don’t miss an important deadline, meeting or forum call. This is all for you! You are the reason we do what we do!
By Meka White, Newsline Editor
Collaboration – Contribution – Community!
These three words say a great deal about who we are as an organization and the work that we do on a local and state level. Everything that we do happens because we work together, and this is especially true for the Newsline publication! With that being said, the Newsline Committee definitely wants to hear from you.
Although we occasionally receive submissions from non-members, most of the articles in the Newsline are written by members like you.
You’re probably all familiar with columns or segments in Newsline of late like: Hats Off, Bits and Pieces, From the Senior Side, and Around the State, but why not more?
This issue we introduce two new columns: Dear Gabby and Product Review. In Dear Gabby, folks can write in with blindness related questions and receive resources and other information to hopefully assist the inquirer. Product Review is just that, a personal review of a product that is reviewed by someone who is blind with its accessibility in mind.
Here are just a few ideas of possible columns we’d like to have in future Newslines:
- Hobby Alley: Do you have a craft or hobby you’d like to share with others? A crochet pattern, woodworking project, a love for collecting baseball cards or model trains? Do you work on models, and if so, how do you do it?
- Healthy Living: Do you have tips and tricks for staying healthy, whether diet, nutrition, exercise, meditation, the list goes on.
- Creative Writing: Send us your original works such as essays, short stories, or poetry.
- Member Spotlight: Theres nothing better than for us to learn about our members. How about submitting an article about a member in your chapter? It could be someone you know well, or someone you’d like to learn more about. It can be as an interview, or a biographical article. Heck, you can even write your own autobiographic spotlight.
Why not share some of those recipes and techniques with us? Have you purchased a product recently such as an app or maybe something that is more mainstream, but could be used by someone who is blind, and think that we could benefit to know more? Tell us your thoughts!
Do you have something that doesn’t fit in to any of these categories? Send it anyway! Our readers are of all ages, levels of vision loss, abilities and interests.
Submissions for articles should be sent to and be no more than 750 words in length (350 words for chapter updates), double-spaced, and already spell checked (please take special care to spell names correctly). They should be attached in either .rtf, .doc, or .dox formats because this makes it far easier on the committee when it comes to editing in a timely manner. In order to get this publication out quickly, it is important that you get those articles in to us by the previously published deadline. If you have any questions about articles to submit, or need a little nudge, please send an email to the above email and we’ll be happy to assist you.
This is your Newsline. By contributing, you are setting the stage for collaboration and in turn, will be adding to and getting to further know your community. So let’s work together to create an even better Newsline publication, not just for WCB members, but for all who might read it!
By Jesse Minkert
Blood began to pour into my eyes in 1981, a couple of weeks after I arrived in Seattle. I had diabetic retinopathy, a major cause of blindness. At the UW Medical Center, I received over 1,800 laser shots to each retina. I retained most of my vision, but the effects are always with me.
My master’s degree as a sculptor was not yet a month old. I had decisions to make about my future. I chose to develop arts programming for blind people, and to start writing, because writing was something I could do, if the treatment didn’t take.
My first access projects were radio theater workshops, based at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library, and recorded with the help of KOMO-FM. My first sponsor was the organization which is now called Sight Connection.
Around 1985, the Broadway Performance Hall (as it is called now) asked me to develop an audio description program. Intiman Theatre was in residence at the Hall. I was working with a group of visually impaired people active in the blind community, the Committee on Arts and the Visually Impaired. I was new in town, but they welcomed me and my efforts, and I am grateful for their advice, friendship, and support.
The King County Arts Commission, which was replaced by 4Culture, created an outreach program to disabled communities called “Forgotten Audiences.” I applied, for the Hall, and got funding.
I contacted Margaret and Cody Pfanstiehl, who operated the audio description service out of the Metropolitan Washington Ear in DC. Their principles are the foundation of the way audio description is practiced today. They sent a trove of material.
My first audio description was for Intiman’s Duet for One in September of 1985.
Audio Description delivers verbal descriptions of the visual content of a performance for blind and visually impaired people. Images and actions that are out of reach become words that are within reach. A transmitter sends a signal to receivers that patrons listen to in their seats. The audio describer inserts descriptions of visual details at timely moments. Patrons connect with a show more completely, with less confusion, and can follow action in real time.
The project ended and went away. Somebody had to step up, and I was the only fool willing. I secured sponsorships, approached theaters, wrote grants, organized schedules, trained describers, and described shows, from Duet for One in 1985 to The Piano Lesson at the Seattle Rep this year.
I was never a great administrator. Every audio description was a risk. The describer gets sick, and the backup leaves town. The equipment won’t work, or contact with the theater gets confused. We survived these messes well enough to keep being funded and working with theaters for thirty years.
My longest sponsor was Allied Arts of Seattle. They told me I had to start a non-profit corporation. I founded Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences in 1991.
I wrote and recorded pre-show program notes for each production, including descriptions of the stage and major characters.
My first audio engineer was Joan Rabinowitz, a broadcaster for KRAB-FM. Later she became the Program Director and then Executive Director of the organization that evolved from KRAB, the Jack Straw Cultural Center. In 1989 we got married.
My greatest reward was training audio describers. Only a few have the natural gifts of unprejudiced observation and skill with words that can be harnessed to the task. I designed workshops to train people to see with their eyes, not their assumptions. The rule established by the Phansteihls, “Say what you see”, was at the core.
Audio description’s peak was in 1997, when we described 45 productions at nine theaters. Our numbers held close to that level through most of the nineties, but as time passed, theaters closed and new ones didn’t pick us up.
We have audio described 674 productions. I have strived to give our clients the best access possible. I have enough troubles with my health that to go on would put me at risk. I was 37 when I started. I am 67 now.
Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences will go on. We are planning great programs in collaboration with Jack Straw Cultural Center involving blind and visually impaired children. It is valuable work, and it makes lower physical demands on me. I also plan to train people in descriptive methods to create access in many situations.
So farewell, audio description. You’ve given me many friends and memories.
By Julie Brannon, 2015 Awards Committee Chair
This winner could be you, or someone you feel very deserving of one or more of the annual WCB awards presented to members and non-members every year. This year the WCB convention luncheon and banquet will be held on Saturday, November 7th at the Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel.
The truth is, all of us know of deserving persons that exemplify each of the award categories. It’s just a matter of taking the time to write about the reasons for your award nomination. Don’t let this be another year when you say, “Darn, I missed the opportunity again!” Awards will need to be sent to me at by midnight, August 31st, 2015. The awards committee members: Malissa Hudson, Joanne Hunter, Kevin Jones and I will be eagerly reminding you for the next 2.5 months to get those award nominations submitted.
- Certificates of appreciation to those who have completed their board/officer tenure within the year.
- A certificate to chapters honoring ongoing growth with ten percent or more membership increase in the past year.
- Honorable mention to chapters who have submitted a chapter update quarterly for the past year in the WCB Newsline.
- Internal awards will consist of:
- Certificate for outstanding service to WCB.
- Chapter of the Year Award to a chapter that has demonstrated actions of outstanding community outreach.
- Outstanding Advocacy Award.
- Newsline Editor’s Award to a writer who has written an outstanding article for the Newsline within the last year on some aspect of blindness.
- Employer of the Year Award going to an employer who has employed blind/visually impaired persons along with allowing for access and upward mobility, who isn’t in the rehab/blindness field.
- Business of the Year Award given to a business that has provided outstanding customer service to blind/visually impaired persons.
- One-World Award given to a person or entity who has assisted in minimizing the impact of blindness in some way.
If you would like further explanation regarding the criteria for each award, feel free to email me at , or call me at 206-547-7444 with your questions. Or go online to the WCB website, www.wcbinfo.org, and look at the Newsline article from June 2005, written by Marlaina Lieberg outlining detailed explanations of each award.
There will be more information posted on the WCB website, including a letter you can send out to your families, friends, and organizations for their suggestions for possible recipients for the external awards.
Your submission for award considerations shall include your reasoning for the nominee deserving the award, must not exceed 350 words and contact information for both you and the recipient must be included.
The committee and I just know this will be the largest nominee pool ever!
Dear Gabby is an anonymous advice column that offers solutions to everyday challenges for people with vision loss. Check out this month’s question.
Is there an easy way to search for information at one call center, where I can find assistance? I am visually impaired and it is difficult to read through a phone directory for service agencies. More and more cities are now eliminating printed phone directories. Since I do not own a computer, I have no way to search for information online. Kelly in Everett
Good news! Yes, simply dial 2-1-1 to find the help you need. Snohomish County implemented the 2-1-1 network eight years ago. In Washington State, the Legislature designated the Washington Information Network 2-1-1 (WIN 211) as the lead organization to plan, develop, implement and support a 2-1-1 network. The United Way of America and the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems are leading the effort to develop a nationwide system.
Dial 2-1-1 to speak with a trained referral specialist who will help you locate programs and services in your area. The service is free, and provides confidential information for callers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are also equipped to serve the hearing impaired TTY (1-866-385-6525) and can accommodate most languages.
- Listed are only a few categories:
- Disaster Services
- General Health/Dentistry
- Utility Assistance (Gas, Electric or Water)
- Veterans/Active Military
- Women’s Services
2-1-1 reaches approximately 260 million people covering all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
So, no matter where life takes you – remember to dial 2-1-1.
Note: Dial 9-1-1 for immediate emergencies (police/fire/medical)
Dial 4-1-1 for specific directory or toll free numbers
Dial 2-1-1 for the help you need
Have a question for Gabby?
Your questions may appear in a future edition of the Newsline.
Email it to:
By Steve Fiksdal, Chair, Leadership Committee
Fourteen members representing nine chapters participated in this year’s Leadership Seminar. Following is feedback from a few of the participants:
I did not know what to expect from this seminar. Alarmed at first that there were so few people, but that was dispelled quickly when I realized it made small groups more convenient. The program was well designed and implemented. I learned a great deal…not only about the organization, how it functions and how to keep it functioning, but who gets it done. Bravo! This experience gave me a lot to think about.
Nancy Villagran (JCCB)
I think the leadership conference was great! I liked everything about the way it was set up. Good motivation speakers. Got to learn about different leadership styles. I learned a lot of what WCB does with the blind community. I am very happy with all they do and I want to be more involved in the Tri-Cities. I enjoyed meeting the people.
Joel Valdovines, (UBTC)
The facility was wonderful. It was clean and warm. It was especially nice to get to the meeting rooms without having to go outside as we had to at Tacoma last year, at the State Conference.
The WCB leadership seminar was excellent, as was the Conference planning and execution. Steve and Cindy are exceptional leaders. Lynn Hunter and Ed Stevens (KCC and GEACB)
I wouldn’t change very much. The material provided was very helpful to me. The only possible change I would suggest is to explain in more depth how ACB and WCB and chapters relate to each other.
Casey Dutmer (UBS)
Thank you leadership committee for an invigorating experience. I thought that all the topics covered were all relevant and that the facilitators did a great job with their presentations. I also enjoyed learning about the history of WCB and how far the organization has come along with its leaders, who have become such an inspiration to all of us today. I especially liked the presentation regarding “What is Leadership?” I truly believe and agree that we can all be of service and lead without having a title or position attached. I am glad to have partaken with such amazing peers and this year’s leadership seminar.
Tracy Fejeran (UBSPO)
As of this seminar, 232 WCB members have taken part in one of the fourteen leadership seminars held to date. This year’s theme was entitled, ”Discovering WCB Treasures”, in the hopes that the participants would make some WCB discoveries of their own. Truth be told though, the leadership committee found WCB treasures in each of the members participating.
Congratulations to the 2015 WCB Leadership class!
Terry Butler (GEACB)
Donald Causer (GEACB)
Casey Dutmer (UBS)
Wally Farbo (PCB)
Tracy Fejeran (UBSPO)
Ken Hanson (JCCB)
Lynn Hunter (KCC)
Deb Lewis (GDUWS)
Qin Lian (KCC)
Marie Masterson (SKB)
LaNae Naugle (SKB)
Ed Stevens (KCC)
Joel Valdovines (UBTC)
Nancy Villigran (JCCB)
By Reginald George
Did you ever wish you had a way to make audible labels for things in your home with a device you already own? Can you appreciate re-directing something originally geared for a totally different purpose? TalkingTag.com just might be right for you.
There are versions of this no-cost software available for your computer or your Android or Apple Smartphone. Today, we’ll review the Apple version, tested with an iPhone 5 using IOS 8.3, using Memory Labels purchased by my wife for her scrapbooking addiction.
There are a few different types of audio/video labels for TalkingTags. Some are self-adhesive, like the audio/video Memory labels and Voice-Memo Personal labels. Others are iron-on or stitchable, like the Fabric Memory labels. Some are square, some are rectangle and some are on acid-free paper, making them suitable for photo album and/or scrapbooking applications requiring archival quality. They even have gift tags, note cards and customized memory labels.
Memory labels take a one-time recording of audio or video and are able to be shared with anyone who has the app to play them back. They’re designed for a permanent message.
Voice-Memo Personal labels can be erased and recorded multiple times, but can only be read on the device that made the recording. They’re suitable for labeling things at home or work that you might wish to modify at some point, like important files, food containers, or hard to identify objects.
How it works:
Recordings are keyed to a bar code on the label. The recordings are stored anonymously and indefinitely on secure servers for later retrieval, so an internet connection is necessary.
When you open the app, there are 5 tabs across the bottom of the screen. From left to right, they are: Rec/Play, FastPlay, CopyTag, ClearTag, and Options.
When you open the app, by default, you’re in the Rec/Play window. The button in the main window is Scan TalkingTag. The small white italic “i” that appears in the upper right-hand corner is Help. If using voiceover, these are spoken as two buttons in the main window. They are labeled Scan TalkingTag and View Help.
Once you tap the Scan TalkingTag button, your camera is active and you may immediately scan a label. When a beep is heard, a window pops up with buttons to allow you to create and review your recording. You are then given the opportunity to keep it or discard it and start over. Once you select to keep the label, it’s uploaded to the Talking Tag servers and made permanent. Some of the options are a little misleading on first use, such as the option to clear a tag, which only works with the re-recordable personal labels. The Help documentation is well written and worth reading.
In the Options tab, you will find settings that will let the program start in the scan window, enable voice prompts for instructions, control sounds and vibrations, and many other settings. You can even pre-record a message without scanning a label. Every button is clearly labeled. The next time you scan a label that you have recorded, it will be played back automagically. It sounds harder than it is.
The tab called FastPlay lets you scan multiple tags one after another and have them play almost instantly. The other tabs are self-explanatory. The iDevice should be held with the camera 6 to 8 inches from the tag and parallel to the surface of the object.
Some labels are re-recordable and all are fairly inexpensive (from 20 Voice Memo-Personal labels for $15.95 to 6 Fabric Memory labels for $14.95). The developers of the app are responsive, and have done their best to include accessibility features and make it work well with Voiceover.
There are several types of labels available depending on your needs.
You can easily record and read labels with a device you already own.
Labels support audio or video recording depending on type.
Maximum recording time is 60 seconds per label.
It takes practice to scan labels properly and quickly.
The flat adhesive labels available may not be right for every project.
No labeling solution will meet everyone’s needs completely, but this is an interesting concept by a company who has taken the time to make their solution both useful and accessible. Because of this they have earned my business and appreciation. I hope you will find it useful.
By Casey Dutmer
The WCB quarterly board meeting took place on Sunday May 3, at the Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel.
After roll call was taken and guests were introduced, the business began. All fourteen participants of the Leadership Seminar were present.
February Minutes – approved as submitted.
Treasurer’s Report – The treasurer reported that all aspects of WCB’S finances were in good shape. To date we have taken in $2,000 more than we have spent.
President’s Report – Cindy Van Winkle reported that all chapter visits will be completed by the end of May.
The Mariners game which takes place on July 26 at Safeco Field was mentioned. Deadline for purchasing tickets to this event is June 15th. Come and join us. You’ll have a lot of fun! This will be my first time attending this event with WCB and I’m looking forward to having a great time. Since moving here in October, I’ve seen two games at Safeco, It’s a great place to watch and enjoy a baseball game and friends.
The following are some highlights from the committee reports that were presented.
Leadership: Steve Fiksdal talked about the Leadership Seminar which was held this weekend prior to the board meeting. He said fourteen people took part in this event. The theme of this year’s seminar was “DISCOVERING WCB TREASURES.” As a participant, I found that even though I served in a number of ways in Michigan, I took a lot home with me, which will help me become a more effective leader.
Dolores Gilmore, Kitsap County Auditor, was our banquet speaker. Her story shows that anybody no matter what their weaknesses or fears are can become a leader.
Legislative: Denise Colley had good news regarding the funding of the Washington State Library. Two proposals favorable to the funding of the library are in the House and Senate. One proposal is to take the money from the general fund, the other is HB 2195 which would raise the recording fee from $2 to $3. This would generate 2.9 million dollars. We are very hopeful of a positive solution. She thanked all members who contacted their legislators regarding this matter. As you can see, WCB members do make a difference pertaining to the services and programs we need and treasure.
HB 1143 the online voting ballot was defeated.
Scholarship: The scholarship information is now on the WCB website. The application forms are also online. The deadline to apply is August 15th.
Convention: The WCB State Convention will be held November 5 through 7 at Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel. Room rates are $99 per night.
Other committees who reported were Advocacy, Crisis, Website, Public Relations, History, Membership, Aging, Families with Blind Children, First-Timers, the Newsline, and Environmental Access.
Other reports included: WSSB, SRC, Pac, and an ACB update.
As you can tell a WCB board meeting is packed with a lot of very useful information. If you have never observed a board meeting, join us, I know you will have a lot of fun with a lot of information to take back to your chapters.
The next WCB board meeting will be on August 15 at the WASHINGTON TALKING BOOK and BRAILLE LIBRARY. Hope to see you there!
By Marlaina Lieberg
Many of you know I recently retired my guide, Agnes. Due to medical reasons, I requested home training from Guide Dogs for the Blind. They only do about 30 in-home trainings a year, so they give careful consideration to such requests. Mine was granted, and on March 16, my trainer and a little black Labrador named Nisha arrived at my door.
The benefits of this type of training include the fact that you work in familiar areas. It is particularly nice to work on problematic intersections and difficult routes you use regularly.
All the same new dog rules apply; Nisha remained on leash at my side 24/7; I had to be up and out early with her each day to be ready to meet the trainer for our working session. Each day’s training was 2 to 3 hours long, and of course, obedience still must be done on a daily basis.
But what happens at home? It’s very difficult to balance managing a home, cooking, keeping up with volunteer activities, or even finding time to just do email as one might normally do. While I was able to figure some of this out, I was constantly concerned that Nisha was being short-changed. In a training facility, meals are prepared, no house cleaning is necessary, your days are pretty well laid out, and your primary focus is on learning to understand the new dog.
If you are considering home training, you might do well to think about the responsibilities you have within your family. Can you balance family and new dog? If you are someone who spends a lot of time online, and many folks do, can you still give your new guide the attention she deserves?
Would I do it again? I believe I would. I hope this article gives you some insights into the benefits and drawbacks of home training with a guide dog. Only you can answer for yourself whether in-home training is all it’s cracked up to be.
By Carl Jarvis
The only birthday that ever bothered me was my fiftieth. I came to know it was bothering me when I realized that I was talking far too much about it, making weird jokes and laughing too long and loud. I did not want to be fifty. But my family threw me a, “Now we are six party”, with all the pointy hats, the noise makers, streamers, balloons, cake and ice-cream and flavored popcorn. And my staff at the Orientation and Training Center had a little party and presented me with a three pound box of See’s chocolates. “You know,” I told Cathy later, with a mouth full of chocolates, “Fifty isn’t all that bad.” I decided that at fifty I was old enough to look back and learn lessons from life, and still young enough to put them to work. But that was thirty years ago. Even though it seems like only yesterday.
Today, as we have done for the past twenty years, Cathy and I continue providing in-home services to older blind and low vision folks through the Independent Living Older Blind Program. At eighty, I am about the age of many of our clients. And there is something about that which troubles me. Too many of these men and women seem to be simply sitting around, waiting. When we ask what folks do during the day, what groups they are active in, what interests they have, what makes their lives meaningful, many merely shrug. They tell us that they are worn out, too old, too blind.
When I was a boy, looking at my great grandma sitting hunched over in her rocking chair, I guess I did think that we got to a place in life where all we had left to do was to wait to die. But now that I’m getting toward the far side of life, I don’t buy it for a second.
We have clients in their nineties and even a few past one hundred, who are active, contributing members of their families and communities.
What makes the difference? Is it a matter of physical health? Maybe, but some of our more active clients are medical miracles, while some of those sitting on the side lines seem to be fine physical specimens.
I think the secret ingredient is called, “Purpose”. Some folks have purpose in their lives while others appear to be purposeless. If this is true for people, the same holds true with organizations. Many organizations, once brimming with energy and activity, have come to a place where they just exist. It’s like they’ve been around so long that they don’t know how to give up and go away. But other organizations revitalize themselves year after year, finding new challenges, new members and new purpose for being.
Just like me, the Washington Council of the Blind (dating to its roots in the organized blindness movement) is 80 years old this year. So I ask myself, “What about me, do I still have purpose in my life?” And what about my organization, the WCB? Are we still on target? Do we still have the passion and the purpose to make meaningful differences in the lives of blind people? Do we think about it? Talk with our friends about it? Discuss the organizations purposes at chapter meetings? If the answer is “no”, then just what is our own purpose in WCB?
By Kevin Daniel, Head Coach/Program Coordinator
Invigorated and inspired by successful seasons in 2013 (inaugural season) and 2014, the Seattle South King Sluggers beep baseball team is poised to hit another home run in 2015 as far as raising public awareness of the abilities of persons who are blind, building a competitive beep baseball team, adding a “FunGaging” a sporting activity for the blind, and marrying the concept of winning and disability.
This season, we’ve started with 11 players, five sighted volunteers, a new website, a beautiful home and playing field, more supporters, a calendar field with new and exciting opponents and events, increased public interest, and a renewed team commitment to be one of the best in the country and to compete for the World Series Beep Baseball National Championship! As one of our newest players put it, “I am excited about what I think beep baseball can do for me physically and personally as well as being excited about what I think my athletic ability and desire to win can bring to the Seattle South King Sluggers team.” Our team will feature as many as four brand new players to the sport and our team, one coming from as far away as Ellensburg, Washington for the chance to play competitive beep baseball.
This season will also feature the rematch against the Seattle Police Department, on June 6th, and the Hot Doggin’ with Guide Dogs – Guide Dog Users of Washington State Benefit Game, on June 20th against the new team just formed in Tacoma (the Tacoma Tide.)
The Sluggers will practice on Thursdays from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, and on Saturdays 12 pm to 2 pm. Practices are open to the public and persons who are blind are welcomed to visit a practice and try out the sport.
Beep baseball is a skilled and challenging sport. The essentials that make a successful player in the sport of beep baseball are the exact same things that make a successful player in other athletic endeavors: speed, agility, good mobility, awareness, conditioning, and the spirit to compete. However, due to the uniqueness of our sport, hearing, listening, and timing ability also are success factors.
The Sluggers goals are simple: to win a beep baseball championship for the city of Seattle; feature a kids program; attract new players; raise enough money to support the team each year; and increase the number of persons who are blind who in one way or the other benefit from the sport of beep baseball. The Sluggers were not formed just to play, but to do something great with the sport. And in that regard the entire blindness community, as well as the public, will be enlisted to encourage, guide, support, and inspire us. This is the formula for the Sluggers to grow, reach our goals, and have a successful team and program.
To find out more information about the Sluggers beep baseball team or program, please visit: www.seattlesouthkingsluggers.org, or like us on Facebook at Seattle South King Sluggers, or follow us on Twitter at sluggerbeeperball.
By Gloria Walling, Convention Committee Chair
The WCB Convention at The Seattle Airport Marriott is going for the silver! This year is our 25th anniversary and you can bet it is going to be better than ever, with lots of focus on the 25 years of WCB, along with the 25th anniversary of the ADA!
The exhibit hall will be bigger and better than ever before, with products and services most of which have those with visual impairments in mind.
The Showcase of Talent will provide great entertainment. So start getting your acts together and plan to be part of the action!
The business meeting will help set the course for the work of WCB in 2016 and every member is encouraged to actively participate.
What issues will WCB confront in 2016? Are there issues that you believe need to be addressed? Then start drafting that powerful resolution or constitutional amendment. Watch for details informing you about where to submit your ideas. This information will be found in the upcoming bulletin, which will be available in early August.
Each night, hospitality will provide a place for mingling in a relaxed environment. This is a great opportunity to talk with old friends and to make some new ones.
There will be something at the 2015 WCB Convention for everyone: business, pleasure, social, educational, and opportunities for a great deal of fun. So whether you’re an old or new member, the WCB Convention is the place to be the weekend of November 5 through November 7.
By Lou Oma Durand, Executive Director
What a busy time at DSB, for our partners and customers! Here are a few highlights:
Do you realize that 2020 is sneaking up on us?! At DSB, we want to think forward about what this means for our customers, and for the agency. How is the world changing, and what do we need to do so that people who are blind and low vision gain greater economic vitality, independence, and inclusion over the next five years? In January, DSB launched a Strategic Planning process that will be ongoing. You are a part of our process to gather information about customer needs and ideas for the future. Some of you may have participated in the stakeholder surveys we initially conducted to gather input. Thank you for your ideas and your valuable feedback.
To begin, we gathered and analyzed data on staff and customer perceptions of the agency, national and regional demographic trends, and agency performance. Through a facilitated process, we are now identifying a few targeted, truly strategic initiatives that will improve outcomes for the people we serve and take us to a new level of success. And we are asking ourselves: what would success look like? How will we evaluate our progress? So stay tuned, as DSB will be rolling out these strategies soon. And we look forward to sharing results with you in the future.
During this session, the agency followed the progress of 16 bills that could impact the agency and the communities we serve. Four of these bills (HB1496, HB1636, HB2063 and SB5679) have been signed by the Governor. Fortunately, we maintained our current level of resources in the Governor, House, and Senate biennial budgets and are now waiting for a compromise budget to be enacted.
At the same time DSB is preparing to implement changes required by the Federal Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA), put out by the U.S. Department of Education, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Labor. WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Two major focuses in the new law are increased services to transition age youth and closer partnerships between Vocational Rehabilitation and other Workforce Development organizations. DSB is preparing to meet the WIOA requirements and continue to bring our clients and stakeholders the best possible service when the majority of WIOA regulation takes effect on July 1, 2015.
DSB takes a strong role in advocating for accessibility with employers, state government, and policy-makers, to make sure IT systems, training, resources and jobs are accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals. DSB staff are working in many arenas on these issues. And we are seeing progress as awareness spreads in the broader environment. One project encourages and assists One-Stop WorkSource Centers to convert their resources to an accessible, web-based format, and to provide Wi-Fi so that job-seekers can access materials using their own mobile devices.
Upcoming Events – Save the Date
Looking forward, July 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To celebrate this milestone in the disability rights movement, DSB is partnering with other community groups to host the ADA 25th Anniversary Celebration and Rally on Wednesday, July 22 from 4 – 6 pm. The event will be held at Westlake Park in Seattle and will feature prominent speakers and entertainment. We hope you will join us and celebrate the achievements of the ADA and Rally for issues that will bring opportunity for true equity to all. Event details will be updated on our website as the date draws nearer.
Coming in October, in recognition of Disability Employment Awareness Month, each DSB office will host an Open House event. The Open Houses will all be held on White Cane Safety Awareness Day, Thursday, October 15. Everyone is invited to visit their local DSB office to chat with counselors, see the latest assistive technology. Local and State officials will be invited to speak and meet with attendees. Open House details for each DSB office can be found on dsb.wa.gov.
I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful spring!
By Malissa Hudson, member of the Scholarship Committee
There are many things that we as members of the Washington Council of the Blind can be proud of. One of the most treasured things that we love is giving out college scholarships to very deserving blind and visually impaired persons in Washington State.
If you are attending or plan to attend an accredited vocational school, college, or university, are a resident of Washington State, and are legally blind, then you are eligible to apply during the 2015-2016 school year.
To start the process of applying, please go to the Council’s website at www.wcbinfo.org and fill out the scholarship application once you’ve read the cover letter provided. There’s a link to the application there as well. The deadline date for the scholarship committee to receive applications is August 15, 2015 at 11:59 PM.
Once the applications have been received, a telephone interview will be conducted by a member of the WCB Scholarship Committee. Those people that will receive a scholarship are invited to attend our scholarship reception and the banquet on Saturday, November 7 at the WCB Convention in SeaTac, Washington. The awards will be presented during the banquet.
If you have further questions about the scholarship program, or about applying, please contact Tim McCorcle, Chair of the WCB Scholarship Committee via email at or by phone at (206) 522-5850.
We are always proud of what the recipients have accomplished, and we look forward to receiving this year’s applications.
Capital City Council of the Blind (CCCB)
By Gloria Walling, President
The Capital City Council of the Blind is doing well and growing by leaps and bounds! As of today we are at an all-time high of 37 members!
We have about five committees working on a variety of issues. Three in particular are: the Web Committee that is working on updating our list serve, the Fundraising Committee that is looking into new ways of raising money and our Ad Hoc Committee that is working on our 25th year celebration.
We also have several members who are new to blindness and are working on forming a support group to help them deal with the struggles of vision loss.
Our member Berl Colley has been appointed to the Board of Trustees to the Washington State School for the Blind by Governor Inslee’s office and has informed us that the governor is the guest speaker for the WSSB graduation. Denise Colley attended the tea for library patrons over the age of 100 and informed us that they now have 69 library patrons in that age group.
About 20 members attended our annual pizza party in May. Everyone had a great time socializing and getting to know one another! In May we also started ending the chapter meeting with Brag for a Buck and member Dan Lovell reported that he caught a huge Marlin on a fishing trip in Cabo San Lucas!
Finally and certainly not least, Jeff M. Bowler, member of CCCB, and two time winner of WCB scholarships attended commencement with the class of 2015 at St. Martin’s University on May 9th and earned his Master’s Degree in Teaching. He is now pursuing his credentials for Teacher of the Visually Impaired from the University of Northern Colorado beginning this coming Fall Semester. We are very proud of him and are looking forward to seeing him do great things in the future.
Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind (GEACB)
By Chris Coulter
The Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind is in the middle of making great plans. Most of them are still works in progress, so we’ll leave any discussion of them until a later date and focus on what some of our members are doing this spring.
Gloria Riley has started a support group for people who are losing their sight. She has expressed a wish that speakers come to meetings of this group to give members a dose of much-needed inspiration. The group meets on the third Monday of each month at the Everett Senior Center.
Several members of our chapter attended the Leadership Training Seminar at the Airport Marriott Hotel the weekend of May 2-4. Lynne Hunter, Ed Stevens, Donald Causer and Terry Butler were all very enthusiastic about what they learned as a part of that weekend. Many comments were made about the abilities blind people demonstrated using white canes and walking with guide dogs, as well as the inspiration they received from WCB leaders.
Danette Dixon won the first-timer scholarship to attend the ACB Conference and Convention in Dallas, Texas. Congratulations to her and we all hope she has a great time.
I’d like to close by saying that I am impressed by the way our chapter steps up to the plate and gets involved in conventions and other WCB events. This has been true even at the beginning of our existence when we were tiny in numbers. Now that we are growing so fast it is still the case. It’s an amazing thing to watch.
Stay tuned for more information about our latest events and activities in our next issue and on the WCB E-mail list.
Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)
By Marlaina Lieberg
Annual Spring Fling, a Major Success!
On May 2, 2015, GDUWS held its Spring Fling in conjunction with the WCB Leadership Training Seminar. Twenty-two members and friends attended along with their four-footed guides.
We first heard an update from Eric Bridges, ACB’s Director of External Relations and Policy, regarding a lawsuit against four major taxi companies in DC for refusing to transport people with guide dogs.
Next, Guide Dogs of America, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Guide Dog Foundation, Guiding Eyes, Leader and Seeing Eye gave presentations during our guide dog school update panel.
Chad Hazen from AccessaMed joined us at lunch to talk about strategies we might use to interest our veterinarians in the use of accessible prescription labels for our dogs’ medications.
This was followed by a very informative, lively and emotional discussion of transitioning from one guide to the next.
Chelsea Davis, the WA State Marketing Director for Uber, joined us to share info on what Uber is, how it works, and what to do if a ride is refused due to the presence of a guide dog. Uber’s policy is that once they are made aware of the issue, the driver’s contract is immediately broken.
Joleen Ferguson presented the history of the personal GPS. As usual, her presentation was fascinating and factual; she included some tips for using your GPS while working your guide dog.
We ended the day with a Blessing of the Animals. Attendees shared names of guides and pets who have died; these names were read aloud, and a small bell was rung after each to signify the lighting of a candle. A meditation station which included an empty harness, leash, bowl and toy was set up and participants could visit it throughout the day to stop and remember.
The Fling was a great success, and we are already beginning to plan for 2016. If you aren’t yet a member of GDUWS, do consider joining! You do not have to have a guide dog to join, we welcome everyone!
Jefferson County Council of the Blind (JCCB)
By Carl Jarvis, Secretary
Does anyone know what happened to winter? A couple of downpours, two or three inches of snow one day, and lots of sunny, balmy days. So with great expectations of an early, warm spring, we gathered for our March 27, meeting. We gave a warm welcome to our guest speaker, Nate Marshall. Nate is serving on the State Rehabilitation Council for the Department of Services for the Blind. Nate is an employment consultant with Concerned Citizens. Nate informed us of the variety of services Concerned Citizens provide. They train their own in-home service staff and work closely with programs such as COPES, Medicare, Medicaid and Skookum Industry.
In April our Secretary and Treasurer, Carl and Cathy Jarvis, took a three week vacation. No, they did not make off with the chapter bank account!
At the April meeting President Sue Ammeter announced that Nancy Villagran and Ken Hanson would be attending WCB Leadership Training May 1st through 3rd. Sue, Nancy and Ken will regale us with their adventures at our May meeting. We will also welcome Denise Colley as our guest speaker at our May gathering. Long active in WCB leadership, Denise is currently serving as our State Legislative Committee Chair. She comes to us brimming over with information. But of course, you’ll need to wait until next issue to learn what we learned.
King County Chapter (KCC)
By Linda Wickersham, President
Hello to everyone from the King County Chapter. It’s been a busy few months. We usually meet the fourth Saturday, but due to most of our members being away that day for May, we have moved our meeting to the fifth Saturday, May 30th. We have a new meeting time per the request of the restaurant. Lunch is at 1:00 pm and the meeting starts at 2:00 pm.
This month we have a speaker, Dan Murphy. He was one of the people who started the Evergreen Radio Reading Service. Tim Schneebeck and Marilyn Donnelly spoke one month about Identity Theft.
On Saturday April 4, several of our members participated in a CPR training. Everyone who participated passed. John, who is with Medic II, does a wonderful job. He is very much hands on.
The first weekend in May, three of our members participated in the Council Leadership Training. Five of us went to the Dog Users meetings, which were held at the same time as the Spring Fling. It was excellent. I am looking forward to getting the tape of the seven dog schools.
We have made six changes to our Constitution and Bylaws. I want to publicly thank Rhonda Nelson, the Chair of the committee and her two committee members. They worked hard and did an excellent job. I also want to thank, in alphabetic order, John Drain and Lynn Hunter for their two amendments. All amendments passed. I want to thank the Chapter for all their hard work.
Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB)
By Cindy Van Winkle, member
In March we had a very special speaker at our meeting. Julie Brannon, first Vice President of WCB and program manager for the Orientation and Training Center for Department of Services for the Blind, shared with us about the OTC and the importance about consumers being involved with the State Rehabilitation Council. In April, a representative from AccessaMed joined us via phone to share about the need for labeling of pharmaceutical products.
In March, eight of the nine people attending the town meeting held by Kitsap Transit were members of PCB. We listened and were heard. We learned that at some time in the not-too-distant future, there will be opportunity for us to debate whether service should be expanded with more limited routes added in outlying areas, extending hours on current days of operation, or to add some form of Sunday service.
Our All Ears book club meets on the first Thursday of each month at Subway in Silverdale, and continues to do what it does best, read, discuss books, and share about anything else that might come up.
Our dinner socials have taken us to Richie’s Burgers, Skippers and Venetos Restorante Italiano. And our support group, held on the last Saturday of the month at the Hunters’ home, continues to be a lively couple of hours of fellowship with some sort of food thrown in.
At the end of April, for our fourth consecutive year, we went fishing for a couple of hours, courtesy of the Kitsap Poggie Club. There were ten of us (most of us fished despite the rain), and three visually impaired teens joined in the fun, even tagging along with us for pizza afterward.
Our picnic is scheduled for Saturday, August 8th, and will be held at Evergreen Park, home of the first fully accessible playground in Kitsap County. We’d love for you to join us for some outdoor fun, and always invite you for any of our meetings on the second Saturday in the restaurant of Allstar Lanes in Silverdale from noon to 2pm.
Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB)
By Lori Allison, President
Wow! What fantastic weather we have been having and PCAB has been in the planning mode. During our April meeting we had Carol Brame from the WCB board come and talk to our group. Carol talked about some special events coming up on the WCB calendar. After Carol’s great pep talk PCAB took her and her husband Chris out to lunch.
Our annual picnic will be held on Sunday, August 9th, at the Spanaway Lake Park. Poor Boy BBQ will be catering for us. The PCAB picnic will be loaded with some great door prizes, great entertainment as well as some fun and exciting games. There will be something for everyone.
During our May meeting the chapter celebrated with David and Hayley Edick. They will be parents again in November. Sarah Edick also passed her Certification to be a Peer Counselor.
PCAB holds our meeting the third Saturday from 11:00 to 1:00 pm, at TACID in Tacoma. We hope that you’ll come and join us.
South King Council of the Blind (SKB)
By Gaylen Floy, President
The chapter is gearing up for convention. In April, Gloria Walling, from the WCB Convention Committee, talked with us about our host chapter responsibilities. Marie Masterson, in a quilting fever, has designed a special quilt to donate to the Silent Auction.
We’ve had two guests: Terry Blankenship from West Seattle and Joaquin, who plans to move here from Hawaii to be a BEP vendor.
The owner of Marlaina’s Mediterranean Kitchen donated proceeds from the Burien Bites event to our chapter. We voted to get him a Slugger’s jersey.
Our Steve Fiksdal led the WCB Leadership Seminar at the Seattle Airport Marriott. SKB had two leadership participants: LaNae Naugle and Marie Masterson. LaNae enjoyed meeting wonderful people and the speakers. Marie got to room with Qin Lian who had the first guide dog in China. Marie is now a backup receptionist on the WCB Buzz Line!
The WCB Advocacy Committee wants help in getting Group Health to provide accessible prescription labels. This need resonated with Maida Pojtinger and Grecia Luke who will contact Sue.
As WCB board reps, Steve spoke at the Spokane Chapter, Meka White spoke at United Blind of Seattle, and Gaylen spoke at the Capital Cities Chapter in Olympia.
In June, Meka White will leave the Xerox Call Center to tackle a new job with the Lighthouse. Gaylen Floy is now a vendor for DSB, teaching ZoomText, and by fall should be certified and training people in Magic and Jaws.
Gina Allen is still very active with the Peaceful Vision Outreach luncheon. Her chemo was postponed because of health issues. We hope to see her at the June meeting.
Kevin Daniel’s son, Thaddeus, has been accepted at Western Washington University in Bellingham as a Communications Major.
We are starting a new fundraiser called the Ace of Spades game. Each month one lucky person can win a little cash.
Members are looking forward to Beep Baseball season with the Sluggers vs. Seattle Police Department rematch and a benefit game for Guide Dog Users of Washington State.
South Kitsap Council of the Blind (SKCB)
By Carol Brame, Treasurer
We canceled our April Meeting as many members were unable to be there. Our guest speaker from WCB, Lori Allison, will be joining us on May 30th. Our chapter will take Lori and her driver to eat at The Family Pancake House.
On a sad note, cancer has struck two of our members, who are both in hospice. Steve Kuntz is at home. He will not give up on living, loving, laughing, and is doing as much as he can as long as he can. We are beside you with encouragement. Loraine Osborn is in a nursing home. Loraine was a shut in, and lonely. Please, check on your clubs members. Our prayers are sent for them and their families.
Surgeries: Chris Brame (four hernia’s) healed and back to work. Dorothy Bryant (hip replacement) healing and doing well. She is recovering at a nursing home and will be home soon.
Congratulations to Bob Herman, who retired from his IRS job in April. Enjoy a happy retirement!
Our social at God Father’s Pizza was after our March meeting. We all had a great time. Our next social will be at the Pancake House after our May 30th meeting.
Our June car wash has been canceled due to lack of snow causing a water shortage, and the lack of members who can help.
In August we will have our picnic with PCB in Bremerton. I am sure we will have lots of fun.
We are still working on membership growth. We might get a new member at an upcoming meeting.
Thank you to PCAB for lunch and a good time. I was a guest speaker for the WCB Board. Topics: WCB matters and convention. We played a game and I said to them things we all need to remember – EVERYONE MATTERS! Your vote counts. Even if it doesn’t go your way, it’s OK to agree to disagree and still be friends.
Have a wonderful summer. Remember to live, love, and laugh.
United Blind of Seattle (UBS)
By Casey Dutmer, Secretary
The United Blind of Seattle (UBS) holds its monthly meetings at Razzis Restaurant in North Seattle on the third Saturday of the month.
Since January, we have had a variety of speakers and discussions about upcoming events.
In March we had Karen Mehlhorn from SIGHT CONNECTION talk about the services they provide to several counties in western Washington.
An idea expressed by our chapter was to work toward having a volunteer program to assist with office functions such as, answering the phone, helping run the store, and a variety of other duties. Karen is excited about UBS’s involvement with their work.
Meka White from the board of WCB came and gave the group an update of events and opportunities on how to be more involved and stay better connected with the state affiliate.
Kevin Daniel came and gave a presentation about the upcoming Seattle Slugger’s Beep Baseball season.
We had a great turn out at the March breakfast. We are planning our annual Green Lake walk on July 18th at 11:30 am until around 3 pm in the afternoon.
We have a spaghetti dinner fundraiser set for September 26th.
As a relatively new member of UBS and secretary, I’m excited about how active this chapter is.
Darryl Roberts, our president is doing his best to make sure all members have a chance to suggest ways in which this chapter could help the blind and partially sighted community more effectively.
So, if you’re in the area on the third Saturday of the month, and want to have lunch, join us at Razzis located at 8523 Greenwood Avenue North in North Seattle.
United Blind of Spokane (UBSPO)
By Debby Clark
A warm welcome glimpse into the window of United Blind of Spokane.
Our March meeting had us all putting our hands on the accessible voting machines. A representative of the Spokane County Elections Office explained them to us.
Our April meeting had Steve Fiksdal to brighten our day. He talked to us about fund raising and encouraged us as a Board member of WCB. We had great food and lots of fun and laughter. We also had a college student shadowing our Vivian Huschke to learn about working with the blind.
At our May meeting we learned info from Tracy Fejeran about the leadership training for WCB. This is what she said, ”I had an exhilarating experience during this year’s WCB Leadership seminar in Seattle. I thought one of the most interesting parts of the seminar was learning about the history of WCB. The other topics were as important, however it was fascinating listening to the facilitators describe the origins and the evolution of WCB to where it has become today. I was inspired”!
At the same time Danielle Maher went to the GDUWS Spring Fling. We thought it was a great idea putting these two events together. Danielle really liked the hotel and the dog relieving area. The guide dog transition, honoring past guides and new equipment were her favorite topics. Danielle announced her upcoming trip to the Seeing Eye June 1 to get her next dog guide. Congratulations!
May was the great fund raising month. Donations facilitated by Jeff Clark from Washington Trust Bank and the North Spokane Suburban Lions Club.
Papa Murphy’s also went well. McDonalds also donated some gift certificates and that is creating new interest in our monthly raffles.
June and July will see more of these fund raisers.
Jeff arranged a Beep Baseball exhibition game for the last Saturday of May with Cabellas. More on this later.
We welcome back Frank and Berry. We missed them tons. Snow birds!
United Blind of Spokane meets on the third Monday of every month at Lilac Blind
United Blind of the Tri-Cities (UBTC)
By Karyn Vandecar (First Lady)
It is the end of May already! We are done with our Annual Fundraiser—selling See’s candy. Sales went great!!! Now we need to sell everyone diet plans (giggle).
Our lunch bunch went to Bob’s Burger & Brew in May and Red Lobster in June (Evelyn’s favorite spot).
We now have a very informative Technology Group each month at the home of Mel and Sherry Dubbin.
Our monthly card group is still having a lot of fun and losing nickels for our annual pizza party in December.
Our Book Group is reading Cell (Robin Cook) and At the Water’s Edge (Sara Gruen).
We had a very special Scotsman at our last Membership Meeting, Eric Hunter. He told us about his position as State Treasurer. He was very informative and encouraged us as members to initiate changes, if we feel strongly about an issue.
Our President, Steve Vandecar, is still going through cancer treatment and is doing well.
The Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is planning a trip to Sacajawea State Park, the Bluegrass Festival, and a tour of the museum. July will be a wine tour.
Busy! Busy! Have a wonderful summer. Come visit us—we treat visitors well!
United Blind of Walla Walla (UBWW)
By Alco Canfield, President
A LOT to SHARE
These last several months have been busy ones for the United Blind of Walla Walla.
In March we held our meeting at Wheatland Village, a retirement center. Our purpose was twofold: to do outreach and to support Libby Swenson after the recent death of her husband Fred, both long-time members of UBWW.
Four of us had a chance to do some advocacy. We testified at City Council meetings against the removal of a traffic light. At the second meeting, over one hundred people showed up, the majority in favor of keeping the light. It passed 4-2. It was good to see participatory democracy in action. It also, once again, demonstrated the importance of vigilance and advocacy and the need for consumer organizations such as the Washington Council of the Blind.
In April, Sue Ammeter visited our chapter as board representative. She discussed the Forum Calls, WCB’S work with the legislature advocating for restoration of 4.5 million dollars to the state library. She commended those of us who spoke with Senator Mike Hewitt about this issue via teleconference call. Sue also spoke about the state and national conventions. As usual, Sue always has good information to share.
At our May meeting, Kyle Bealey, director of public works for the city of Walla Walla will be making a presentation to us concerning all the street repairs currently taking place here in Walla Walla. I am sure his remarks will be most informative.
As you may or may not know, Walla Walla is hosting Mumford and Sons and Foo Fighters, August 14-15. This is a huge festival and anticipates 35,000 people in attendance. This will be a stretch for a town of only 30,000 with 1200 hotel rooms. The golf course and several parks are being converted into camp sites. Plan to visit us then. If we all survive this August invasion, we look forward to updating you on UBWW’S activities in the September Newsline.
United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)
By Holly Turri, Secretary
Community Food Shopper Fundraiser
During the month of March, the Bellingham Food Co-op featured us as their charity. On the 21st we set up tables at two store locations. Two percent of what was purchased that day went to us. Thanks to very generous people, we earned $1,978.07. One thousand dollars ($1000) of this was divided into two stipends to send members to the national ACB convention. The remainder is being used for two educational field trips.
During March, May and June we are sponsoring a vision series at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center. This is in conjunction with their Wellness Wednesday program. On March 11, 2015, Mimi Freshley, spoke on devices for people whose vision is fading. An excellent turnout occurred and lots of great questions were asked.
We had two book club meetings this quarter. ”The Living” by Annie Dillard and “The Quiche of Death” were the titles discussed.
On Thursday, March 12th, several members met with Congressman Rick Larson to discuss the low vision and Medicare funding bill. On March 15th, two members attended the local town hall meeting of state legislators to discuss the library situation.
On Saturday May 9th, we were honored to have Cindy Van Winkle visit our meeting. Her information presentation highlighted current and future activities.
Yakima Valley Council of the Blind (YVCB)
By Lisa George, Secretary
YAKITY YAK FROM YAKIMA!
Our chapter has experienced some drastic changes since the last Newsline was published.
We’re so sad to share that Judi Thompson passed away unexpectedly on May 12th, after a short hospital stay in the ICU for pneumonia. Judi was an active member of YVCB, past Secretary, current Board member, and Program Committee Chair for 2015. We’ll certainly miss her smiles, laughter, helpful attitude, and cheerleading every week at bowling. Our prayers are with her family and friends.
Bud Kohl submitted his resignation as President, so he can concentrate on his health. He is taking things day by day, and we hope his strength and endurance continue to improve. His goal is to be back bowling with us this month. We eagerly anticipate that day!
Gina Ontiveros has stepped up to finish Bud’s term for the remainder of 2015. As a relatively new YVCB member, she has shown enthusiasm and willingness to be involved, which will help in her leadership role. Dolores Acosta will remain Vice President, providing continuity.
Happy 61st Anniversary to Bud and Ginny Kohl on May 3rd
Happy 88th Birthday to Greg Sherman on May 9th
WCB Board member, Frank Cuta attended our May business meeting. In addition to bowling with us, he joined us for a ride on the Yakima electric trolley. Thanks to Frank for not only driving the trolley, but successfully bringing it to a stop using the hand brake.
We continue to explore fundraising opportunities, to broaden our outreach in the community, and to identify new social activities. Bowling on Fridays is a mainstay for us for fellowship. There’s always room for more bowlers, so if you’re in Yakima on a Friday morning, please join us! Our connections with each other and experiences together help us through the tough times. Have a safe 4th of July and a summer full of fun with your loved ones!
Submitted by: Lori Allison, WCB Board Member
CALICO SLOW COOKER BEANS
- 8 ounces bacon, about 10 to 12 slices
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. dry mustard
- 2 cans pork and beans
- 1 can lima beans or butter beans, drained
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. vinegar
Brown bacon, ground beef, and chopped onions. Combine drained ground beef mixture in slow cooker with remaining ingredients; cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours.
SONOMA CHICKEN SALAD
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 4 tsp. cider vinegar
- 5 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. poppy seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
- ¾ cup pecan pieces, toasted
- 2 cups red seedless grapes
- 3 stalks celery thinly sliced
In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, poppy seeds, honey, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to two days ahead.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breast in one layer in a baking dish with ½ cup water. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes until completely cooked through. Remove chicken breast from pan and cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.
When the chicken is cold, dice into bite size chunks and transfer to a large size bowl. Stir in pecans, celery, grapes and dressing.
Compiled by: Meka White
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 and put “Bits and Pieces” in the subject line.
Changes to Braille!
In January 2016, the Unified English Braille (UEB) will go into effect.
In February, we began a three-part series on the changes to braille in a Special Events Forum, the Braille Forum on Transitioning to UEB (Unified English Braille). This was so successful that we will repeat this series on the 4th Tuesdays of August, September and October at 7 p.m. So if you are a fluent braille reader, consider joining the call by dialing 800-977-8002 and use code 5419226. Share this information with your friends, and let’s all get acquainted with UEB.
Now here are some resources to get you started:
If you would like to read some books transcribed in UEB, download one of these from BARD: currently book numbers BRE00013 to BRE00022.
- Braille Spelling Dictionary (UEB) by Gregory Hurray. Now in Unified English Braille with Large Print on the same page. A dictionary of 1400 words, listed alphabetically without definitions. Cost is $15. National Braille Press: www.nbp.org
- BANA (Braille Authority of North America) www.brailleauthority.org/index.html
- ICEB (International Council on English Braille) www.iceb.org
- UEBOT (online course) which uses a custom designed MOODLE interface and the program Perky Duck. These are designed for people proficient in EBAE and usable with screenreaders.) University of Illinois: http://uebot.niu.edu/
- Introduction to Unified English Braille (Video presentation with .pdf and .brf files, a six-part series which explains many of the changes that will come with the transition to Unified English Braille. Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: http://www.wcbvi.k12.wi.us/outreach/ueb-introduction
- Transition to UEB (course offered free of charge), Hadley School for the blind: www.hadley.edu
Audio Description Movies and TV Shows
Here are all 60 movies and TV shows available with audio description as listed on the BlindBargains.com web site as of this writing. To access the audio description, start the show you want to watch, access the language menu on screen, and choose descriptive audio.
Note: Not all shows from every season have been described, and the procedure for accessing this content will vary depending on your specific device.
- American Dad!
- Bob’s Burgers
- BoJack Horseman
- Burn Notice
- Dawg Fight
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Grace and Frankie
- Johnny English Reborn
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Lilo & Stitch
- Monster Math Squad
- New Girl
- Orange Is the New Black
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- The Bernie Mac Show
- The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her
- The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him
- The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
- Wet Hot American Summer
- White Collar
- 13 Going on 30
- About a Boy
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
- Anger Management
- Being Human (U.S.)
- Black Hawk Down
- Bomb Girls
- Chef’s Table
- Daddy Day Care
- Ella the Elephant
- Fish Tank
- Going Blind
- Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
- Hemlock Grove
- How to Train Your Dragon 2
- Jack Reacher
- Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
- Labor Day
- Marco Polo
- Marvel’s Daredevil
- Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
- Pain & Gain
- Parks and Recreation
- Richie Rich
- Royal Pains
- Star Trek Into Darkness
- The Croods
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- The Office (U.S.)
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- White Chicks
- World War Z
Compiled by: Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to, and celebrate with, the following WCB members:
- Jeff Bowler (CCCB), on earning his Master’s degree in Teaching at St. Martin’s University, and will pursue his credentials for Teacher of the Visually Impaired in the fall.
- Courtney Cole (at large) on being amongst the Class of 2015, graduating from North Kitsap High School.
- Michelle Denzer (PCB) on the pairing with her new guide dog, Sooner, a male Yellow Labrador Retriever from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
- Danette Dixon (GEACB) on being selected as WCB’s 2015 First-Timer to attend the American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention in Dallas, Texas.
- Gaylen Floy (SKB) on being accepted as a vendor to teach ZoomText through Department of Services for the Blind.
- Bob Herman (SKCB) on his recent retirement from the Internal Revenue Service where he worked for over 26 years.
- Carl Jarvis (JCCB) on the special occasion of his 80th birthday–an extended vacation with wife Cathy was a great way to celebrate!
- Marlaina Lieberg (SKB & GDUWS) on her new partnership with Nisha, a sweet Black Labrador Retriever from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
- Jolynn Page (GDUWS) on receiving her new guide, Maraba, a female Yellow Labrador Retriever from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
If you have something for consideration of inclusion for future Hats Off articles, please send to with “Hats Off” in the subject line.
2. Career Forum, 8 p.m.
4. Presidents call, 8 p.m.
9. Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
15. Deadline to purchase tickets for the Mariner game
16. Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
22. Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
23. Special Events Forum on Travel, 7 p.m.
3-11. ACB Conference and Convention, Dallas, TX
22. ADA 25th Anniversary Celebration/Rally, Westlake Ctr, 4-6 p.m.
26. WCB at the Mariner’s game, 1 p.m.
6. Presidents call, 8 p.m.
9. Deadline to make lunch reservations for upcoming WCB board meeting.
11. Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
15. WCB Summer Board meeting, WTBBL, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
15. Deadline to submit scholarship application packet.
18. Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
24. Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
25. Special Events Forum on UEB, Part 1, 7 p.m.
31. Deadline to apply for a First-Timer Scholarship to the WCB Convention
1. Career Forum, 8 p.m.
8. Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
14. Call in for convention free room, (800)255-1147 (press 0), 9:00 am -noon
15. Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
17. WCB booth at the Puyallup Fair
22. Special Events Forum on UEB, Part 2, 7 p.m.
26-27. WCB booth at the Puyallup Fair
28. Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
1. Presidents call, 8 p.m.
6. Career Forum, 8 p.m.
13. Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
15. Deadline to register and make hotel reservations for the WCB Convention
20. Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
26. Diabetics Forum, 7 p.m.
27. Special Events Forum on UEB, Part 3, 7 p.m.
5-7. WCB Convention, Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel, Seatac, WA
3. Presidents call, 8 p.m.
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To be considered for inclusion in the September issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by Saturday, August 22, 2015. Articles should be sent as a Word document and should not exceed 750 words, while chapter updates should be no more than 350 words. Contributions may be edited for clarity and space considerations. Email to .
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