NEWSLINE MARCH, 2015 Edition

Opportunity, Equality, Independence
Founded 1935
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.

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

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

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

Table of Contents

From the President's Desk
Editorial: Where have all the Caregivers Gone?
Winter Board Meeting Summary
Texas Fun, Y'all Come!
Media Moments from the Environmental Access Committee
Braille is Alive and Well
Calling All Future Leaders
Recipes from Chef Jackie’s Kitchen
WCB Committees 2015
Batter Up
Update from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library
WCB Member Benefit Feature: Zero Interest Loans
ACB Legislative Report
Bits and Pieces
Around the State
Hats Off
WCB Calendar of Deadlines and Events

From The President’s Desk

By Cindy Van Winkle, WCB President

We’re off and running with another exciting year in WCB! Committees have been formed, appointments made for our representatives for statewide activities, chapter membership lists are all turned in, and other vital roles in WCB have been filled.

Committees are busily doing their thing: following legislation, planning for the leadership seminar and convention, preparing for academic and first timer scholarship applications and other awards, taking care of the important day-to-day tasks of our organization, providing support for the personal and professional needs—of not only our members—but all blind Washingtonians—young and old alike and so much more. Those who represent us on these committees, as a receptionist, forum call facilitator or on a statewide board or council, do so with professionalism and pride. I am so grateful for each one of them!

One of the most important tasks at hand for us as an organization is to create ways to remain vital to our current membership and inviting to those considering joining. This initially happens for most at the chapter level, where members gather on a regular basis. So I ask each of you, as you attend your meetings, consider new ideas and ways in which you might be more inviting and exciting! Styles in clothing, cars and home fashion continue to evolve; the entertainment industry continues to bring us new favorites while we still enjoy the classics. Remember, if we continued enjoying “the way things were,” we’d never fully enjoy “the way things are.” So, if you’ve never tried holding a meal social, game night, technology discussion, camp out, sing-along, support group, or taking a visit to another chapter, give it a try. Is there someone in your group that is good at knitting or some other craft? How about asking them to teach a class? Learn the interests within your chapter circle and find a way to make them shine!

Although WCB as an organization meets just four times a year due to our face-to-face board meetings, all but one of these bring a small representation of our membership together—our annual convention. This is the precise reason we started holding monthly forums (conference calls) on given topics where we could meet across the miles and share with one another. The Career Forum, facilitated by Julie Brannon is held on the first Tuesday of each month at 8pm. It’s a way to hear from those involved in the employment of people who are blind, to gain ideas and to encourage one another who are on a job search. The Technology Forum—facilitated by Meka White is held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7pm. It brings information about a given technology related topic of interest to participants. The Book Forum—facilitated by Casey Dutmer is held on the third Tuesday of each month at 7pm. This is a book club that shares about a selected book, but also provides book lovers to share about whatever they are reading at the time. The Diabetics Forum—facilitated by Sharon Schauer is held on the fourth Monday of each month at 7pm. This is a support group for those who are blind and living with Diabetes. And on occasion, we hold special forums on the fourth Tuesday of the month; currently, we have a series on the changes to braille (set forth by the Unified English Braille Code)—the Braille Forum is facilitated by yours truly and takes place at 7pm through the month of April. These are all great ways to bring topics of interest to our membership, to share with one another, and to learn and grow as individuals. If you have an idea for an upcoming forum, drop me a note at and we’ll try to make it happen!

In our effort to stay connected with our membership, the WCB board will be out and about over the next few months visiting every chapter. This is not only our opportunity to share with your members what’s happening on a state level, but also to meet you in your home environment and to learn about your chapter and each of you as a part of it and WCB. We hope you will embrace this opportunity and look forward to it as much as each of us do.

Now, I admonish each of you to set a new goal for this year and find a way to create positive change. Together we can make a difference!

Editorial: Where Have All The Care Givers Gone?

By Carl Jarvis

After twenty years out in the field, serving older blind and low-vision folks, and becoming closely acquainted with many age-related needs for which our program is not equipped to be of assistance, I can honestly say that the number one service provided to the elderly is Lip Service.

Not only are the care-givers woefully under paid, there are not nearly enough to provide the level of service needed. In addition, there is not nearly the number of supervisors overseeing the quality of services provided. There is not enough room to do more than give a couple of examples, but they represent a serious lack in our care for our seniors.

Several years back, we visited an elderly woman who was a double amputee, as well as being visually impaired. She met us at the door on a scooter. She later told us that the artificial limbs rubbed and caused sores that did not heal well. As we entered the living room, we noticed a woman seated in a recliner, watching TV, while eating a sandwich. We just figured this was a relative or friend. "This is my caregiver", she said, introducing the woman by name. We spent nearly two hours doing our initial intake, and the woman never stirred from her seat. The home was not so clean and tidy that there was no work to be done. On our second visit the care giver was not present. We asked what sort of things the woman was supposed to do to help. "She's supposed to clean and prepare meals in advance, so all I have to do is to heat them up". So we wondered out loud if she was satisfied with a helper who sat around all day.

"I don't dare complain. She takes me shopping, but she's not supposed to do that. If I lose her, I'd have a hard time getting groceries."

In another home, the poor client was being ordered about by her helper. "You need to call the supervisor and have this woman removed from your home. Can't you get someone else?" She shook her head, "This is the third care giver I've had assigned to me this year. They tell me, “If I'm so fussy, maybe I can just get along with no one."

This woman needed assistance every day, but she had someone only four hours, three days a week. And they were cutting that time in half.

As we age and become more child-like, heartless predators move in on us, eager to help us out, out of our life's savings. Why is it that when we talk about keeping our nation safe from terror, that we don't include our elderly citizens? How does building drones or bullets keep Grandma from having her bank account raided, or Grandpa from being bullied by some angry, under paid orderly?

We ship billions of our dollars around the world in the belief we are promoting peace and democracy. Since the only people I see benefiting from such generosity are the Billionaires, why don't we let them fend for themselves for a few years, while we spend those dollars helping our own people?
Just a thought.

Winter Board Meeting Summary

By Steve Fiksdal, Secretary

Meka White asked that I craft a summary of the Winter Board Meeting for this issue of Newsline. Bless her heart!

The meeting took place on January 31st at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma.

Treasurer, Eric Hunter reported that we still have some money in the bank account, although a software update nearly deleted all our records. But thankfully, they are restored!

Committee membership has been assigned. Fortunately, President, Cindy Van Winkle survived the task, although it was iffy at one point. We have 22 committees and the art of balancing East and West, new and seasoned, is as you can imagine quite a challenge. A list of the WCB committees is on our website, along with their membership rosters.

Not all may be aware that David Edick was recently mugged in Tacoma. He was on a walk with his son, Matthew. Neither were injured, but the thief did take David’s cell phone. The phone was later found in some bushes. Thank God, he and Matthew are OK. Be safe everyone!

The customary committee reports followed:


Denise Colley noted that it’s early in the session. The only legislation being tracked right now is a measure that would allow voting by email or fax. This extends a method of voting used by military personnel overseas.


The budget will be a focus of our attention though. The State Library, and subsequently, the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library face a 2.4 million dollar shortfall. All patrons of the WTBBL will be receiving a letter from the PAC asking you to contact your legislators and encourage them to support library funding. This is not a time to sit by passively.

Braille Challenge

Meka White reported that a Braille Challenge will take place on February 7, 2015 at Lowell Elementary in Seattle. Twelve participants are registered. Seattle Public Schools Vision department is providing the facility. Volunteers are still needed.

Leadership Training

Steve Fiksdal, that’s me, mentioned that 20 people attended the previous evening’s Leadership Training. WCB will sponsor its annual Leadership Seminar on May 1st – 2nd. This seminar is open to all WCB members, who have not previously attended the Leadership Seminar. If you are interested in attending, letters expressing your interest in going can be sent to my email address .

2015 WCB Convention

South King Council of the Blind will host our annual convention November 5th – 7th at the Seattle Airport Marriott. Room rates will be $99 per night.

Washington Access Fund

Kathy Gilman, Program Manager for the Washington Access Fund, spoke at the meeting. WAF provides no-interest and low-interest loans for accessible technology. Low-interest loans up to $20,000 and WCB no-interest loans up to $8,000 are available. Applicants must show the ability and willingness to repay their loans. Credit is a consideration, but not the only one. The no-interest loans are underwritten by WCB and require applicants be a member of WCB at least six months prior to application and for the duration of the loan. For more details visit

Newsline Articles

Meka reminded us that February 28th is the deadline to submit articles for the March issue.

Washington State School for the Blind

Kudos to the Washington State School for the Blind. They recently hired two new classroom teachers, both graduates of the school.

Event Expectation Policy

Cindy Van Winkle introduced a proposal to adopt new policy. The policy in essence states “WCB and its representatives are not responsible for personal care or ongoing assistance to participants. If greater individual assistance is needed, participants are expected to arrange for such support at such WCB sponsored events on their own, based on individual needs. When possible, volunteers may be on-hand to provide minimal assistance to attendees with navigating the public areas of our events.” The full text of the policy will be posted to the WCB website. Your safety is paramount. By the way, the policy was adopted.

2015 ACB National Convention

Oh! There is one other thing to mention. The ACB Convention begins July 5th in Dallas, Texas. The following deadlines are in place: To request the $300 stipend or to apply for up to a $700 loan to attend the convention, applications must be submitted by May 15, 2015 and sent to .
To apply for the WCB sponsored National Convention First-Timer Award, applications must be submitted by May 1, 2015.


By Malissa Hudson, Chair, WCB First Timers Committee

Get your cowboy boots on, as well as your jeans, and start thinking about applying for a First-timers Scholarship to attend the American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention in Dallas, Texas! The dates for the convention are July 3-11 at the Sheraton in Dallas.

To be eligible for this once in a lifetime opportunity, you need to have been a WCB member for at least a year, have no outstanding loans in default, and, most important, you must never have attended an ACB Conference and Convention.

You are also required to write an article in the Newsline about what the experience was like for you and what you gained from attending. To apply, please send an electronic letter explaining what chapter you belong to, what your involvement is locally or on a state level, and why you are interested in going to a national convention, and what you think you’ll get out of going. This is a wonderful way to not only have your hotel stay and your travel paid for, but you’ll get to have a better understanding of how our national organization functions.

Please send your letter of application to , and if you need assistance, you can call me at (206) 327-9207 and I’ll be glad to help you over the phone. If you have questions, please call and/or email me. Michelle Denzer, Carol Gray, Denise Colley, Jolene Ferguson, Meka White and I are looking forward to receiving your applications! The deadline date to apply is on May 1, 2015, so don’t delay! Thank you in advance for your interest, and as they say down in Texas, Y’all come!

Media Moments from the Environmental Access Committee

By Dorene Cornwell, EAC Chair

Audible Pedestrian Signals:
Here is a story from KUOW about the new standard on Audible Pedestrian Signals as set forth by the Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices:

The gist of the article and what it means for audible signals around us:
As new audible pedestrian signals are installed, they will have a cycle that sounds like the sound clip in the article. To some people this sound is a little like gunfire. Older audible pedestrian signals will continue to have whatever chirps or cuckoos they currently have.

Shared Streets and What It Means for Blind People Here is a video from Britain about a new design concept being considered by a number of cities in Washington. The video is called, ’Sea of Change: Walking Into Trouble’. The Environmental Access Committee invites people to speak up about their concerns, both to the EAC and to local officials, after watching the video at

Happy and safe walking!

Braille is Alive and Well!

By Cindy Van Winkle

The Puget Sound Area Braille Challenge, sponsored by WCB, WTBBL and Seattle School District Vision Department, took place on Saturday, February 7, in Seattle. Held at Lowell Elementary, we had nine participants and well over 12 adult volunteers from the education, braille transcription, and blind communities, who served as proctors, scorers, and assisted with other tasks. Mandy, WTBBL's Children's Librarian was amazing with her coordination and enthusiasm throughout it all.

This event is sponsored nationally by the Braille Institute of America and is truly a Braille Olympics. Kids are tested on their knowledge of reading and writing braille to an extent that most adult braille enthusiasts would find challenging. The younger children (through 4th grade) had three areas (including spelling, proofreading and reading comprehension); the older children (5th and beyond) had four (proofreading, reading comprehension, speed and accuracy, and charts and graphs) in which they were scored.

This was an all-day event. Crafts, games and story time were included during some of the down time or to serve as a break for the children. Parents were there for the entire day, visiting with one another which appeared to be encouraging for them. Sighted siblings enjoyed some of the planned activities as well.

Lori Allison, as chair of our Families with Blind Children Committee, took time to chat with parents and get input on what they perceive as unmet needs for their children and as a family. Cindy gave an informative presentation following lunch about WCB and the many facets of our organization. Snacks were made available throughout the day along with pizza and mini cupcakes for lunch.

At the end of the event, Meka (as this year's Braille Challenge Regional Coordinator) presented each child a tote bag from WCB, which had the braille, sign language and print alphabet on one side and WCB logo on the other. They were filled with a mini braille puzzle, heart candy and some print materials for the family, while Mandy presented certificates and a braille book of each child's choosing from WTBBL.

A huge "thank you" to all who gave of their time on a Saturday to help make this Regional Braille Challenge such a success! Together we are keeping braille alive and well!

Calling All Future Leaders

By Steve Fiksdal, Chair, WCB Leadership Committee

Announcing the 15th Annual WCB Leadership Seminar!
May 1 – 3, 2015
Seattle Airport Marriott

The 2015 Leadership Committee just knows that many of you WCB members haven’t yet attended one of the 14 previous Leadership Seminars. If you have been members since at least February 1, 2015 or longer and are not amongst the WCB Leadership Seminar alumni, we want to hear from you! This annual event is truly one of the most informative, inspiring, and friend making weekends you will spend. Do you want to hear from a former participant? Read on…

“When I heard the theme of the 2014 WCB leadership program was ‘Ocean of Opportunity’ I knew that I was going to have a great time”.

My husband Jim and I are new to Washington State. All my life, the ocean and maritime matters have played an integral part in my being. For me, the best part about living in Bellingham is that we are only five minutes from Puget Sound.

Our train trip down was wonderful. Traveling via rail is the only way to go. There is plenty of room to spread out and my guide dog Sara didn’t have to be squeezed under that seat back in front of me.

The hotel was very nice. The relieving area was easy to find and the staff was extremely kind and helpful to me.

Federal way is just too busy. Although until the past year I’ve always been a city gal, it was quite a shock to be back amid the traffic and hustle. I was glad to get back to the slower pace of our new home.

Not enough positive things can be said about the program and those in charge. Everything was well organized. Each presenter was well prepared, interesting and thought provoking.

It was wonderful to meet 14 diverse and fascinating participants. Knowing folks from across our big state makes me feel a lot more at home.

Lots of humor leavened what could have honestly been some pretty uninteresting topics. Who knew that writing resolutions could be fun? Group participation was encouraged and opinions could be freely expressed.

The topics were current and practical to my life. Learning about differing personality types and conflict resolution has already helped me.

The meals provided by WCB were delicious. It was wonderful to change tables both at mealtimes and in class.

The banquet was delicious and interesting. The keynote speaker gave me lots to think about. Although I am a retired woman, there were lots of take away points I could share with our blind daughter who lives back in Maryland.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this program. I feel much more prepared to be a leader in the United Blind of Whatcom County. I would like to thank those in charge for giving me such an excellent educational and fun opportunity.”

Holly Turri, Leadership participant
I know personally of many connections and friendships that have been formed at leadership seminars, with many people saying after being involved in the weekend that they now understand so much more of the bigger picture, the goals, and the objectives of WCB. This is a weekend you’ll long remember!

So, submit your Application Letter by March 31st. Tell us why you would like to attend the upcoming Seminar. Do plan to join us this year for a better than ever Leadership Seminar. Send your Application Letter to: if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 206-669-8001 or email me at: .

Recipes from Chef Jackie’s Kitchen

Submitted by Jackie Cabrera, Chef/Caterer

Teriyaki Beef

  • 1 pound beef, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 15-ounce can pineapple chunks with juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Combine all ingredients, including liquid from pineapple, and marinate, covered and refrigerated, 3 hours. Thread beef and pineapple alternately on skewers.
Discard leftover marinade. Broil about 8 minutes, turning once, until beef is cooked.

Sesame Beef Bites

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar, green onion, garlic, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the beef tenderloin cubes and toss to evenly coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes, or in the refrigerator up to 8 hours.

Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spread the beef cubes onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until cooked to your desired degree of doneness, about 8 minutes for medium-well. Transfer to a bowl and toss with teriyaki sauce. Skewer each piece of beef with a toothpick and place onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

WCB Committees 2015

The following is a list of all WCB committees and the contact information for the chairs of each.


Chair: Sue Ammeter
(360) 437-7916


Chair: Julie Brannon
(206) 547-7444

Constitution and Bylaws

Chair: Frank Cuta
(509) 967-2658


Chair: Gloria Walling
(253) 363-0489


Chair: Stuart Russell
(360) 377-2437

Environmental Access

Chair: Dorene Cornwell
(206) 524-8746

Families with Blind Children

Chair: Lori Allison
(253) 538-4427

Finance Investment

Chair: Eric Hunter
(360) 377-9917

First Timers

Chair: Malissa Hudson
(206) 327-9207


Chair: Chris Coulter
(206) 617-8579


Chair: Steve Fiksdal
(206) 669-8001


Chair: Denise Colley
(360) 438-5783


Glenn McCully
(206) 706-0434


Chair: Carol Brame
(360) 895-0854


Chair: Meka White
(360) 689-1678

Public Relations/Website Oversight

Chair Gaylen Floy
(253) 217-9586


Chair: Tim McCorcle
(206) 522-5850

Batter Up!

By Cindy Van Winkle

Mark your calendar for July 26 (that’s a Sunday) and dig out that old transistor radio, because WCB is going to “the ball game!”

What better way to spend a summer Sunday than at Safeco Field! We will be rooting on the Mariner’s as they take on their rivals from the north, the Toronto Bluejays! Just as we did last year, we will be sitting in the ‘Hit It Here Café’, where one of their attentive servers will take your order, bring you your meal and keep your beverage filled throughout the game.

Now for all the details:
The cost of this fun event is $56, which includes an $18 food voucher to be used at the ’Hit It Here Café’. This is also the face value of these seats. The deadline to purchase tickets is June 15 (no exceptions)! Tickets can be paid in installments, or all at once, but must be paid in full by June 15. If wishing to make payment arrangements, contact Cindy at or 360-689-0827.

Those who purchase their tickets in full by May 15 will be placed in a drawing for two tickets to an upcoming game of the winner's choosing, during the remainder of the 2015 season. (These seats are not in the Café).

If wishing to have tickets mailed to you prior to the game, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the mailing address listed below. Otherwise, tickets will be made available for pick up at the Mariner’s Will Call on the day of the game.

Payments should be made “paid to the order of” and sent to:
Cindy Van Winkle
6686 Capricorn Ln. NE
Bremerton, WA 98311
Or via PayPal by sending to

Those who purchase tickets, will be notified closer to the day of the game on specific details about preferred drop off and pick up locations for transportation, assistance through the stadium and more.

This is an event for all ages. So feel free to invite friends and family to share the day with you. And try not to drool too much over the thought of those garlic fries or that loaded hot dog just waiting for you!

WCB is going to the ball game! The 48 of us that were there last year had a blast cheering the M’s on to victory! Don’t be left out for this year’s day of summer fun! Go M’s!

Update from the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

By Danielle Miller, Director/Librarian

We are in the midst of the 2015 Legislative Session. This year, the Washington State Library (our administering division) is asking the Legislature for $2.4 million dollars to fill a budget shortfall we will have for the 15-17 biennium (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2017). Without the appropriation of these funds, the State Library and WTBBL will likely see cuts. Since 2009, WTBBL’s budget has decreased by 14%, the Evergreen Radio Reading Service and the large print programs were closed, we went three years without a youth services program, and our staff is down from 21 to 15.75. All of the staff at WTBBL is dedicated to providing you the best possible library service with the resources available to us. Sometimes this takes creativity and new ideas and I am always open to your thoughts.

In February we were again able to partner with WCB to put on the annual National Braille Challenge in Seattle. Many children and families participated. There were activities for the kids, and information for the families. Thank you to Meka White and WTBBL’s youth services librarian, Mandy Gonnsen, for making this possible. We hope to continue to partner with WCB to engage children and families, share the wealth of resources WTBBL has to offer, and build community.

A common item in the library community and heavily supported by the American Library Association is a “Read” poster. These posters typically feature a celebrity, athlete, musician, or local figures with a book and text on the poster in a large font saying “Read”. We have just produced our own ”Read” poster featuring Washington State Senator Cyrus Habib, who is a blind legislator and a patron of WTBBL. The photograph is of Senator Habib at his desk in the Senate Chambers in the Capitol Building and he is reading a braille copy of “To Kill a Mocking Bird”. The text on the poster is in orange and has “Read” in large letters and then, “Readers are Leaders”, “Senator Cyrus Habib” and “Washington Talking Book & Braille Library”.

If you are interested in getting a poster or any other WTBBL materials to share in your community, we always appreciate your help. Getting the word out about WTBBL services is one of the most critical activities, and together we can all be ambassadors for the library.

Wishing you all the best for a happy spring and many good books. Danielle

WCB Member Benefit Feature: Zero Interest Loans

Have you taken advantage of WCB’s Zero Interest Loan Program? This is a great benefit, exclusively offered to Washington Council of the Blind members in good standing. Don’t worry! You will not be revealing your personal financial information to fellow WCB members. The application and loan process is all outsourced to a local nonprofit and longtime partner, the Washington Access Fund.

The Washington Access Fund is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to promote access to technology and economic opportunity for people with disabilities in Washington State. They do this by providing low interest loans (zero interest for WCB Members) for assistive technology and small businesses. The Seattle-based nonprofit, exclusively loans to people with disabilities. CDFI has a special understanding for the kind of financial impact a disability can have in someone’s life.

The Assistive Technology Loans can be used to purchase anything that is going to maintain, improve or increase the functional capabilities of a person with a disability. The items purchased do not have to be used for employment or education. They can be for recreation as well. For example, a person who is blind or low vision could purchase a tandem bicycle to ride with a sighted person riding in front. Some examples of items that have been purchased in the past by people who are blind or have low vision include: Braille Notes, CCTVs, Roombas (Robot Vacuum), iPads, Kindles and much more. So, if you’ve been itching to try out all of the new apps out there that improve accessibility, but don’t have an iPhone yet or just need to update your existing technology, this is your opportunity.

The loan applications can be completed online at, or you can contact their office at 206-328-5116 to set up an appointment to have your application taken over the phone. If preferred, applications in regular and large print can also be mailed to you. If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact Kathy Gilman at the number listed above or

ACB Legislative Seminar Report

By Steve Fiksdal, Secretary

I had the honor of representing WCB, along with Berl and Denise Colley and Marlaina Lieberg at this year’s ACB Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar in Washington, DC on February 22 – 24. The meeting was attended by affiliates from across the nation. Not that other state organizations aren’t doing great work, but, I can say that WCB is very well respected by ACB members across the nation.

For this report allow me to spend some time on the Legislative Seminar. ACB has three legislative imperatives that it is focusing attention on right now. They are: 1) Medicare’s exclusion of low-vision devices, 2) the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, and 3) ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. Certainly other issues are important as well, however, these are the three we focused on.

Medicare’s Low Vision Device Exclusion
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) promulgated a regulation that has had a detrimental impact on the lives of countless individuals who are blind or visually impaired. To the dismay of the blind community, the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies Competitive Acquisition Rule contains a provision entitled "Low Vision states that all devices, "irrespective of their size, form, or technological features that use one or more lens to aid vision or provide magnification of images for impaired vision" are excluded from Medicare coverage based on the statutory "eyeglass" exclusion. ACB is well aware that this extremely restrictive reading of the "eyeglass" exclusion has resulted in the denial of vital assistive devices for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries who may have disabilities, particularly those with vision loss, who need to use such devices to live healthy, safe and independent lives.

This legislation would evaluate, through a five-year national demonstration project administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, the fiscal impact of a permanent change to the Social Security Act. This legislation would allow reimbursement for certain low-vision devices that are the most function-rich, most powerful, and most expensive. The devices would be considered durable medical equipment. Individuals will be eligible to participate in the demonstration project only after completing a clinical evaluation performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist who would then deem a low-vision device as medically necessary.

The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act
Since 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), has revolutionized educational opportunity for all children and youths with disabilities. However, without key improvements, our national special education system cannot fully keep IDEA’s promise of a truly appropriate education for students, who are blind or visually impaired.

H.R. 4040: The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act, is intended to do just that, to improve the delivery of appropriate special education and related services to all students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, including students who may have additional disabilities. Once enacted, the legislation will ensure that properly designed and individually tailored services are, in fact provided, meeting the unique learning needs of students, who are blind or visually impaired, and that the educators who serve them are prepared and supported to do their jobs well, based on evidence-driven best practice.

Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.
In practical terms, this treaty states that libraries and other organizations that produce accessible format copies of works for distribution to people with print-reading disabilities will be able to share those works with each other. That will ultimately free up resources that are currently used to make multiple copies of the same work, so that more publications can be put into accessible formats. The treaty contains provisions that protect both the rights of copyright holders and those who want to gain access to their copyrighted works.

Note: If you would like a copy of any or all of these initiatives feel free to email me at .

On Tuesday, February 24th, Denise Colley and I ventured to Capitol Hill to meet with aides of our Congressional delegation to request their support of these initiatives. We visited the offices of all ten of our Representatives and our two Senators. We personally met Denny Heck (10th district) and Cathy MacMorris Rodgers (5th district) and navigated what seemed like hundreds of miles of tunnels and halls. We received a personal escort on the “members only” train that connects the House buildings with the Senate buildings. And, I only got us lost, well, several times. But we found our way out…eventually.

Bits and Pieces

Compiled by Meka White, WCB 2nd Vice-President

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. Email submissions to: . Put "Bits and Pieces" in the subject line.

Comcast Advertises Talking Guide!
An emotional new Comcast commercial, which aired during the broadcast of the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 22, features a blind girl imagining her version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. The instantly viral ad, which stars a 7-year-old girl named Emily, promotes Comcast's new talking guide, which allows visually impaired people to channel-surf through the "first talking guide" ever. The 60-second ad begins with Emily sharing how she envisions characters from her favorite movie.

"I think about the shape," the little girl says as a tornado whirls in the background. "I think about color. I also think about sound. I take it into my brain and I think about… 'What would it look like to me?' Her imaginative characters include a Tin Man with a “big toe the size of a house” and a Cowardly Lion that's the “size of a toy poodle” who happens to be "very scared of everything."

"My Scarecrow has wooden teeth," she notes, "and his fingernails are very long!" As for the heroine of the movie? And Dorothy, she looks like me," Emily says of Judy Garland's iconic role.

The ad is narrated by Robert Redford, and created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners NY. The creators used CGI to bring Emily's vision to life. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told the WSJ that he was "incredibly moved" by what was created by his company's engineers and "couldn’t be more proud of how the team has brought Emily’s story to life."

Link to the commercial:

Link to more information on Comcast’s Talking Guide:–VQ6-44340076416-VQ16-c-pkw-comcast%20talking%20guide-pmt-e&iq_id=85031718

Local Camp for the Blind!
SUNSET LAKE (July 5-12)
30811 Quinnon Rd
Wilkeson, WA 98396

Camp Coordinator: Sherrick Hiscock
Telephone (530) 559-3658
Registration Closes: June 5, 2015

National Camps for the Blind® and National Camps for Blind Children® are affiliated with Christian Record Services, Inc. This project began in 1967 with a single camp at Kulaqua in High Springs, Florida. Camps are held at various locations across the United States and Canada. Since its organization, over 50,000 campers have attended these specialty camps.

Each camp is scheduled at a well-equipped site, chosen especially for the standard of excellence and geographical location. Committed staff and counselors are trained to meet the needs of blind and legally blind campers. Medical personnel are on duty 24 hours a day. Emergency care is available when needed.

The camps are FREE to blind and legally blind persons, except for a nonrefundable processing fee of $35, thanks to gifts from generous donors. These camps are for blind and legally blind persons who are between the ages of 9 and 65 and whose corrected vision is no better than 20/200.

For more information or to download an application, go to

Audio Book Ministries Launches Online Library

Besides the monthly devotional, Our Daily Bread and Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, patrons can now access and download an ever-growing list of audio books from their website, If you are interested in signing up for these free services, contact the office at 206-243-7377. Recent additions to the online library include War-Torn Valley by Joyce Miller: Life among the Mennonites in Virginia during the Civil War days.

The online collection includes missionary stories like Janet and Geoff Benge’s Lillian Thrasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt – the true story of a young American woman, Lillian Thrasher, who founded the first orphanage in Egypt.

Around the State

Compiled by the Newsline Committee

Capital City Council of the Blind

By Berl Colley

It has been six months since you have heard from us. I will try and summarize what has been going on.

We conducted our annual Candy Sale Fundraiser in late September and early October. We sold at two stores each weekend and ended up netting $1,373.14.

We held elections at our November meeting. Gloria Walling was re-elected as President and Berl Colley was re-elected as Treasurer. There were 29 people at the chapter Christmas party on December 6th. We had an excellent dinner at Chambers restaurant at Panorama, and then enjoyed a fun gift exchange.

We heard from Craig Shoulders, from the Claris Eye Center at our January meeting. He talked about their expansion in the Olympia area and some of the eye services that they provide.

We welcomed a new member, Pam Neil, and two members from the past, Lee and Christi Hagmeier.

At our February meeting the guest speaker was Rand Simmonds, the Washington State Librarian. He told us about the history of the state library and then we talked about the current budget issues that the state library and WTBBL are facing.

The chapter is engaging in another round of pedestrian safety issues. In 2014 we were successful in getting the City of Tumwater to install a few intersections with audible signals. The committee is now working with Olympia and their Green Capital Way proposal. We will be engaging the cities of Olympia and Lacey in a second round of audiblizing intersections.

We were saddened to loose Bob Tanna. He passed away in his sleep in January.

Berl Colley has been appointed by Governor Insley as the new representative for District 10 on the Board of Trustees, for the Washington State School for the Blind. He replaces his wife, Denise Colley, whose term ended last June.

Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind

By Chris Coulter

It seems like a long time since December, but that’s when we last updated our readers on how things are going here in Everett. It’s even a different year now than it was then. So enjoy the Everett update for March 2015.

On December 13th, 2014 we held our chapter Christmas party at Denny’s Restaurant in Everett. There was a good-sized crowd of people, lots of conversation, great food and a fun gift exchange. Everyone was able to find gifts that pleased the recipients.

At our January meeting there was discussion of an Outreach Day and it was decided that the Outreach Day committee would have a meeting to begin the process of organizing the event. The Outreach Day committee meeting was held on January 23rd in the conference room at Broadway Plaza Apartments in Everett. Several possible venues were discussed and plans were put in place for seeing what facilities would be available for holding the event.

In February our meeting was held on Valentine’s Day. There was a report on our plans to hold our second Outback Steak House fundraiser. We are thinking in terms of holding that event around the end of June. We are still working on the Outreach Day and are considering September as our target date.

Everyone seems to be doing well as we move toward spring. Gale Chappell had back surgery in December and had to miss our Christmas party, but she has recovered, and as of our February meeting, she is doing well. Nancy Lind will soon be getting from place to place in a new wheelchair. Gloria Riley was welcomed warmly as a new member, who has moved to Everett from Bellingham and we have several other new members. You’ll be hearing more in other issues about them.

We hope everyone enjoys the unseasonably warm weather and gets a chance to get outside and do something fun. You’ll be hearing more from Everett next time in the Newsline.

Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)

By Sheri Richardson, President

Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone … Oh, wrong place? Sorry!

Actually though, it has been rather quiet for GDUWS since our 2014 convention. However, we expect to change that very soon as we begin making plans for a 2015 Spring Fling. At this time we are planning to hold it on May 2nd in conjunction with the WCB Leadership Conference and Board meeting. The program will include fun and informational presentations and interactions. I strongly encourage anyone who is a guide dog user or who is interested in guide dogs to attend. We will be sharing more information as we make plans, so please stay tuned.

Member Highlights:
Like all chapters, we spent the first five weeks of 2015 scrambling to update our membership information and collect dues for WCB. I want to publicly thank our Secretary, Vivian Conger, and Treasurer, Holly Kaczmarski, for meeting the deadline once again. While this is a challenging task for all chapters, it is made even more challenging for GDUWS as a state-wide affiliate. I am proud to work with such competent and dedicated people!

I am pleased to introduce a new member of GDUWS who joined when he and his wife, Patti, moved to Wenatchee, Washington from Oregon last year. Rae Hale served in the US Marine Corps in Vietnam, where he was wounded. He continues to serve as a dedicated member and volunteer in several capacities.

Rae is a graduate of the Veterans Administration, Blind Rehab Center at American Lake. Memberships include:
Life Member of the Blinded Veterans’ Association, presently serving as a National Service Officer. Life Member of GDUI for past several years. Member of Alumni from GDB and GDD.

Rae is now the proud companion of a black German Shepherd named Bo, from Guide Dogs of the Desert.

I am also very pleased to introduce Holly Turri. Here is what she would like to share with everyone:

“It is a pleasure to have joined GDUWS. In 2013 my husband Jim and I moved to Bellingham from Maryland. Both of us treasure the lifestyle of the northwest. Our GDUWS and WCB families have made us feel so welcome. We have two adult children, Michael and Tracey. Both are married and have three grandchildren between them. Sarabelle, Sara for short, is my first guide dog. She came from Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB). If I’d known how much fun it would have been to partner with one of these beautiful creatures, I’d have done it years ago.”

If you are a guide dog user or have any interest in guide dogs, please join GDUWS and become a part of our family of two and four-legged “people.” You may join on-line at, or by contacting me at .

Until our next issue, I wish everyone a very happy and safe spring!

Jefferson County Council of the Blind

By Carl Jarvis, Secretary

We began the New Year with 25 members. Not too bad for an area of Washington State that is mostly trees and mountains.

In our January gathering, we set about electing new officers. Well, at least one new face showed up. Ken Hansen was voted to be our Vice President. Sue Ammeter returned, following a couple of year’s absence, to the President's Office, and Treasurer Cathy Jarvis and Secretary Carl Jarvis have been kept around for another term.

Our February meeting was held Friday, the 28th, at the Road House Restaurant in Port Townsend. Nineteen members and two guests were present and eager to question our guest speaker, Luke Bogues. Luke is a detective with the Port Townsend Police Department. He presented a lively discussion regarding the increase in identity theft. Luke pointed out that more and more personal information about each of us is now on the internet. The more someone can learn about us, the easier it is for them to become us. Luke gave "common sense" advice, such as not leaving our credit or debit cards laying exposed while settling our bill.

Crooks often snap pictures with their cell phones, and use your information later. Luke also suggested when possible, have your mail delivered to a post office box. Never put mail out and raise the flag. That is an open invitation to a thief. He also ran down the growing number of scams, reminding us to double check before giving out any personal information. Luke inspired a rush of questions, making him the most popular guest speaker since WTBBL librarian Danielle Miller.

We'll be meeting in March, on Friday the 27th, at the Road House restaurant. The welcome mat is out to one and all.

Peninsula Council of the Blind

PCB Happenings

By Stuart Russell

Greetings from the Peninsula Council of the Blind.

This fall, PCB revised our constitution. As a result, elections were held in November, and I began my term as president in January. The night before the meeting, I slept very little. I was sure that I would make a fool of myself in front of the membership. Fortunately, that did not happen, and everyone was patient and supportive of the new president.

In February, we worked hard ironing out the details of a budget. I believe that having a budget is a good idea. Once you have a budget in place, you don’t need to vote on every dollar spent. This means that there is more time at the meeting for speakers, discussion, or just friendly visiting. Having a budget is also a good way to discover if your income is keeping up with expenses.

Our March meeting will feature High-tech/Low-tech Show & Tell. We will be sharing specialized devices, iPhone apps, and simple but useful kitchen gadgets.

We meet in the restaurant of Allstar Lanes in Silverdale on the second Saturday of the month. At PCB meetings, we feature more laughs per hour than any other chapter. Come and visit us soon!

Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB)

By Lori Allison, President

Wow! It is hard to believe that we are already into the second month of 2015! Where has the time gone?

PCAB is starting this year with great enthusiasm, hope, and energy. We elected Sue Burdyshaw as our new secretary; Sue is doing a fantastic job. Hayley Edick started working for the Social Security Administration and her hours did not allow for any extra time to handle the added work that the secretary’s position required. Congratulations Hayley! The group also elected three new members to our board, each one bringing a new prospective to the table. The three new board members are John McConnell, Kathy Wilson, and Buddy Yates. Welcome aboard each one of you! We also had some of our older members’ comeback to join us.

In March, the PCAB family opted to have a social gathering at the local IHOP with family and friends invited. The hope is that in a more relaxed venue, family and friends would be encouraged to join in the camaraderie that is developing among the membership. The members of PCAB are striving to build up our membership, as well as, let our surrounding communities get to know what we are about.

PCAB meets on the third Saturday of each month from 11:00 to 1:00 at the Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities Center (TACID), and everyone is welcome.

South King Council of the Blind

By Shannon Curry, Secretary

The South King Council of the Blind has been having a busy few months. We have welcomed several new members into the fold including, Sagi McCleary, who comes to us from Hawaii, Marie Masterson from Federal Way and Meka White, who have joined us from the Peninsula Council of the Blind. We look forward to their contributions in the future, and we are excited for what they have to offer.

We are excited to report that we have finally received our 501(c)3 status from the IRS. This will help us to increase our ability to fundraise, and will open many new doors for us. This required adopting changes to our chapter constitution and bylaws. Thanks to Marlaina and Gary Lieberg, Steve Fiksdal and Gaylen Floy for putting those documents in order, and again to Gaylen for continuing to pursue our 501(c)3 status with the IRS.

Our members are continuing to be active in the community. Steve Fiksdal is the new chair of the WCB Leadership Committee. Kevin Daniel and the Sluggers are gearing up for another exciting season, Maida Potinger has joined WTBBL's Patron Advisory Council, and Meka White has helped to put on another successful Braille Challenge.

We still enjoy our social activities. Recent outings have been to restaurants in Federal Way and Kent, where we have been levying Braille menus for the restaurants to offer to future customers. We are planning other activities for the spring.

All in all, this has been a great start to our new year, and we look forward to the rest of the year.

South Kitsap Council of the Blind (SKCB)

By Carol Brame, Treasurer

Seems like yesterday since I last wrote. Since then, we had a wonderful Christmas party and almost all our members were able to be there.

January was a rough month for me, because my mom was ill, but we made it as fun as we could. On Jan 5th we found out that she had fast aggressive lung cancer and on Feb 5th she passed over to be with God. My mom was a great inspiration for me. Always my mother; always my best friend.

One more thing before I am back to the chapter. I will be your exhibit coordinator again this year, and I look forward to working on the exhibits and making it a good experience for all.

We will be having a few speakers this year. Lori Allison should be here in April and Rick Talley is coming in May. There will be more to follow.

We have a new lady who called us. Thank you Carl for sending her our way. Young or old, we love to have new people join us.

For fundraising, we just sold Kitsap cards again and made a bit more money than last year. We plan on doing a car wash in June too, and we might be having the Cub Scouts help us, allowing the scouts to earn badges. Hopefully we can hold a few more fundraisers before the fall convention.

For our picnic this year we will be joining our PCB family on their side of the pond, so to speak. It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since we left the PCB, and we look forward to being with you all and catching up.

Welcome back to Kevin Jones, who is President again. Our prayers are with Kevin’s wife Mary, who is having health issues. Also, we are thinking of our WCB family members, who are battling cancer and other illnesses.

Happy 10th Anniversary South Kitsap Council of the Blind. May we have many more wonderful years to come!

United Blind of Seattle (UBS)

By Malissa Hudson, Member

In the January issue of Newsline, Alco Canfield talked about passing the torch and how she had been Editor of Newsline for many years. Well, I’m doing the same kind of thing, but for United Blind of Seattle. I’ve been writing these updates for the last five years, and I feel that it’s time that I give our new secretary, Casy Dutmar, the opportunity to write them. But never fear, I’ll still be writing Newsline articles in the near future, and I will still be involved in WCB! Now to the update.

At our January meeting, we were in the capable hands of our new president, Daryl Roberts, and he did an excellent job facilitating his first meeting! We talked about what we’d like to see happen as a chapter in 2015 and what committees’ people would like to serve on. We also welcomed a few new members to our family! One thing that the chapter loves about Daryl’s leadership is that he has this incredible sense of humor, and it makes our meetings so much fun! In February, Danielle Miller came as OUR guest speaker to talk about the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library.

If you’d like to come to a meeting, we’d love to have you! We meet on the third Saturday of each month at Razi’s Restaurant, 8523 Greenwood Avenue North. I want to thank you all in WCB for allowing me to serve in this capacity. I especially want to thank both Denise Colley and Cindy Van Winkle for letting me do this for the last five years. Take care and God bless all of you from the largest chapter in Seattle!

United Blind of Spokane (UBSPO)

By Debby Clark

A glad “hooray” from United Blind of Spokane! The winter is over and it is definitely the time for birdsong. There are so many of them singing at my feeders.

In December, Jeff Clark and I were sent on a jet setting trip to Spain by our children. Our daughter Liz is a Petty Officer on a destroyer and stationed in Rota Spain. We decided the Flamenco dancers, beautiful weather, and Christmas were definitely winners. Sitting in the sun at a beach on the Atlantic Ocean about five miles from the naval base was a delight.

Our chapter had lots of fun at the Christmas party/potluck at the Lilac Foundation for the Blind. I do not think we would have traded places, even though we were a little sad to miss the party. The greatest challenge of the trip was 26 hours in airports and on airplanes each way.

In January we had a wonderful meeting. Danielle, our president, has started the process of advocating for an audible signal close to her home, which is on a crazy and busy road. Tracy had surgery and her husband Jessie was there to help keep us in line.

New member spotlight: Cindy Glidden is one of our newest members. Jeff met Cindy at their doctor's office and the rest is history. Cindy has an on-line, all natural, pet food line (Cindy's Pet Cafe). We all got samples of dog kibble, treats and cat food. The pets love it! Cindy is a real encouragement and we are so glad to have her as a member.

Nancy Dannon is also a new member. She is the wife of long time member Earl Dannon, a local pastor in Spokane. They are great members working behind the scenes.

Our February meeting went by too fast. We had so much fun sharing our favorite resources. Danielle shared about the NFB Newsline, which reads magazines, newspapers, store ads, and television guides. This guide tells which programs are audio described. Tracy goes to the Regal Cinema and all their movies are audio described with a special headset. Seems like they know her on sight!

Jeff is making brochures and business cards to assist us in fundraising. We will be partnering with Sports for the Blind for this endeavor. Sports will be marching and carrying banners in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the Lilac parade. Just one more way to gain exposure to many who are clueless about the blindness community. Loren and Viviann from United Blind will also be marching.

Danielle shared a little about the board meeting and leadership training at the end of January. She picked up some good information tools.

Each one of our members brings so much to the table. Dorothy has a wealth of experience. Melannie has been sharing her blindness tools with her Sunday school kids. Loren is our celebrity on the news with his wood crafting business, Deborah with her willingness to do anything for the good of our chapter, Bea and Anita with their servant's hearts and all the rest of us that I could go on about.

Bea is having surgery on her eyelid soon and we are praying for a good result.

Quite a few of us are on WCB committees and we hear the great things going on with them. Being on the legislative committee has been a real eye opener for me. This organization has many seasoned, long time warriors on this one alone. It is encouraging to see the great valuable work being done on these committees.

We meet at the Lilac Foundation for the Blind on the third Monday of each month from eleven till one. Until next time!

United Blind of the Tri-Cities (UBTC)

By Karyn Vandecar

It is the end of February already! We are busy with our Annual Fundraiser—selling See’s candy. Sales are going great so far!!!

Our new officers for 2015 are as follows:
President: Steve Vandecar
VP: Bill Hoage
2nd VP: Sherry Dubbin
Secretary: Frank Cuta
Treasurer: Brenda Vinther
Board Members: Myra Wood & Bernie Vinther

We have four new members: Joy & Russ Kelly and Ron & Loretta Almberg, who joined in January 2015.

Our lunch bunch went to Hubby’s Pizza in January (a long-time tradition) and Rosy’s Diner in February.

We now have a very informative Technology Group each month. Our Book Group is reading In the Kingdom of Ice (Stewart) and Letter from a Stranger (Barbara Taylor Bradford).

After our monthly February meeting, several members visited and rode the beautiful Carousel of Dreams. We even had two guests from the Yakima chapter join us in the fun. Frank Cuta shared with us the latest information about the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library funding crisis.

Frank gave a great report on the WCB Convention.

Our President, Steve Vandecar, just found out he has cancer. We are praying for a good recovery and strong battle. Thank you for all your needed prayers!

United Blind of Walla Walla (UBWW)

UBWW On the Move

By Alco Canfield

The first two months of 2015 have been very busy for the United Blind of Walla Walla.

In January, elections were held with the following results:
President: Alco Canfield
Vice-President: Joleen Ferguson
Secretary: Annee Hartzell
Treasurer: Shirley Musick
Alco Canfield and Shirley Musick continue to serve out their terms. Joleen Ferguson vacated the office of secretary and was elected Vice-President. Annee Hartzell was elected secretary.

At our January meeting, Louise Hester came to share with us about the File of Life program. She provided packets for those interested to be filled out with medical information. When placed on the refrigerator it makes for easy reference by first responders.

A committee was delegated to check out the conference room at Wheatland Village for a possible meeting there in March. Shareen Hoar, Wheatland’s Activity Director is anxious to acquaint Wheatland’s blind/low vision residents with our group.

After a report from the committee at our February meeting, our members decided to meet at Wheatland in March to present information about WCB and UBWW to those interested. We also decided to visit Garrison Creek, another local facility to see if an April meeting there would be a viable option. We hope to gain new members from these outreach activities.

At our February meeting, Vicki Ruley and Sandra Olson from the Walla Walla Police Department presented information about frauds, scams, and identity theft. They gave us good suggestions for keeping our information safe.

Stay tuned for our next report. Who knows? We may be coming to visit your chapter too!

United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)

By Gloria Riley, President

“Pass it forward” has been the theme for our past quarter. Additionally, the United Blind of Whatcom County had lots of fun and frolic. We all were reminded that all these themes can be experienced simultaneously.

During the months of November and December, we collected extensively for a local food bank. Many thanks to those who drove our donations of nonperishable items to the facility.

The UBWC singers and band caroled at three locations. The Festival of Trees is a local display of themed Christmas trees. All organizations who use the Health Support Center, where we meet, contributed either a basket or decorated real evergreen. All who viewed these agreed the favorites were a handy man, one complete with a big tool box, and one for cooks. UBWC made a basket containing CDs of blind artists, soap made by a member, candy, a handmade soap dish, and beautiful stationary from Yvonne. Additionally, we sang at the Willows, a local assisted living facility, and the Christian Health Center, in Lynden.

At our November meeting, we presented Yvonne Thomas Miller with a Lifetime Membership plaque for 20 years of continuous service to UBWC.

During the past quarter, three new members joined our little family. Welcome to all of them!

With sadness we bid adieu to Gloria Riley. Due to health concerns, she resigned as our president. At our final meeting many loving tributes were given and cards and gifts were presented.

Vice-President, Jim Turri, is acting as our president for the final year of Gloria’s term, He has big shoes to fill, but seems to be adapting nicely.

Our enjoyable Christmas party was held at the Fairway Café in Lynden. Besides wonderful food, the restaurant staff was kind and helpful. Thirteen members and friends attended, ate too much, and enjoyed interesting conversations.

The head of the Family Meal Project from Ferndale spoke at our January meeting. The theme was ’Sensible Shopping and Not Wasting Food’. Two guests from Canada attended. It was wonderful to meet Josette Kernaghan and Rita Dilek. We look forward to them attending again soon.

Yakima Valley Council of the Blind (YVCB)

By Lisa George, Secretary

Yakity Yak from Yakima

After a very enjoyable holiday season, the New Year has proven to be challenging for our chapter. President Bud Kohl and Board Member Bill Smedley have both had hospital stays and are slowly, but surely, recovering.

The remaining officers, especially new Vice-President, Dolores Acosta, have done a great job keeping the momentum. We’re exploring new ways to attract members and identify fundraising opportunities. Thanks to all the other chapters in the state, we reviewed the last Newsline and extracted at least one fantastic idea from every chapter’s update.

Program Committee Chair Judi Thompson is forming her committee to bring new activities to the group. Our first “mixer” with United Blind of Tri-Cities was on February 21. Lisa George & Gina Ontiveros traveled to Kennewick to attend the UBTC meeting and go to the Carousel of Dreams, the restored 1910 hand-carved carousel that recently opened. It was a welcome opportunity to see how another chapter operates (we’re totally going to steal your “50/50” idea!) and interact with fellow WCB members.

Bowling on Fridays continues to be a great activity for us. Congratulations to Bud Adams, who bowled a whopping 189 on January 23! There’s always room for more bowlers, so if you’re in Yakima on a Friday morning, please join us.

Happy Spring to everyone, and we hope to see our President back in the thick of things by the next time the Newsline rolls around.

Hats Off

Compiled by Cindy Van Winkle

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

  • Berl Colley (CCCB) on his gubernatorial appointment to the Board of Trustees for the Washington State School for the Blind, representing District 10.
  • Rosemary Spencer (PCAB) on the birth of her grandson.
  • Maida Potjinger (SKB) on her appointment to the Patron Advisory Council for the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.
  • Joleen Ferguson (UBWW) on being appointed to serve as WCB’s representative on the Board of Trustees for the Washington State School for the Blind.
  • Donny Moberg (SKCB) on his well-deserved retirement from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

If you have something for inclusion or consideration for future Hats Off articles, please consult the below list and send to with "Hats Off" in the subject line.

The following are reasons for inclusion in this column:
Birth of a child, grandchild or great-grandchild;
Birthdays 75 years and older in 5 year increments (yearly after age 90);
Wedding anniversary 25 years and more in 5 year increments;
Graduation from high school, college or vocational program;
New job or career promotion;
Partnering with a dog guide;
Appointment to a statewide board or commission;
Exceptional recognition or award.

2015 Calendar of Deadlines and Events


  • 17: Book Club Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 23: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 24: Braille Forum on UEB, 7:00 pm
  • 31: Deadline to apply for the WCB Leadership Seminar


  • 2: Presidents call, 8:00 pm
  • 7: Career Forum, 8:00 pm
  • 14: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 21: Book Club Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 26: Deadline to make lunch reservation for upcoming WCB board meeting
  • 27: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 28: Braille Forum on UEB, 7:00 pm


  • 1: Deadline to apply for the Firsttimer scholarship to the ACB convention
  • 1-3: WCB Leadership Seminar, Seattle Airport Marriott
  • 3: WCB Spring Board meeting, Seattle Airport Marriott, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
  • 5: Career Forum, 8:00 pm
  • 12: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 15: Deadline to request a travel stipend or loan to attend the ACB convention
  • 19: Book Club Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 25: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 23: Submissions due for June Newsline


  • 2: Career Forum, 8:00 pm
  • 4: Presidents call, 8:00 pm
  • 9: Technology Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 15: Deadline to pay for Mariner Game tickets
  • 16: Book Club Forum, 7:00 pm
  • 22: Diabetics Forum, 7:00 pm


  • 3-11: ACB Conference and Convention, Dallas, TX
  • 26: Mariner Game, Safeco Field


  • 6: Presidents call, 8:00 pm
  • 9: Deadline to make lunch reservation for upcoming WCB board meeting
  • 15: WCB Summer Board meeting, WTBBL, 10:00 am-3:00 pm
  • 22: Submissions due for September Newsline
  • 31: Deadline to apply for a first timer scholarship to the WCB convention


  • 14: Call in to apply for free room, 800-255-1147, 9:00 am-12:00 pm


  • 1: Presidents call, 8:00 pm


  • 5-7: WCB convention, Seatac, WA
  • 21: Submissions due for December Newsline


  • 3: Presidents call, 8:00 pm


NEWSLINE Article Submissions

The NEWSLINE is available in large print, on cartridge, via email, and on our website at

Subscribe to the Newsline email list to receive the quarterly publication via email and other important announcements from WCB by sending a blank email to .

To be considered for inclusion in the June issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by Saturday, May 23, 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 consideration. Email to .

Address changes and subscription requests should be sent to Denise Colley at or by leaving a phone message by calling 1-800-255-1147.