Newsline Spring 2017 Edition

Roses in Heaven

By Cindy Van Winkle

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” — Anne Bronte

On March 13, this world said goodbye to one of WCB’s own. Eric Hunter, a life member of the Washington Council of the Blind, not only served as our Treasurer for eight years (2006-2009 and 2012-2015), but he shared his love for gardening with us through a convention presentation and many one-on-one conversations over the years. He was a 32nd degree Master Mason, a father of five which included Joanne’s two children, and most importantly, he was a faithful friend who will be very missed.

In our local Peninsula Council of the Blind chapter, Eric was an active member who served multiple times as President and always encouraged and supported our members. In many ways, he was the Patriarch of our PCB family. Somehow, several years back, he acquired the nickname “Shrek,” and over the years he proudly accepted Shrek gifts and displayed them with honor in his home.

Joanne was the love of his life and he always referred to her as his “lovely bride.” They were married for 34 years. At their home we held many events including support group, Easter Brunch, and summer picnics, but none were more well received than those that ended outside in their backyard among the roses and the rest of the beautiful fragrance and color of his garden.

Now I’d like to share a couple excerpts from posts from other members.

Cathy and I became acquainted with the Hunters through the WCB, but it was through our rehab work that we came to know the real compassion of this couple.  Even while on dialysis, Eric would call us with concerns over someone he just met, who was losing their sight and had no idea of where to turn.  And Eric did not just refer folks to us, he kept on our backs to make certain we were doing all we could do for them. No fanfare, no basking in the limelight, Eric simply did what he would want others to do for him. We’ll certainly miss Eric, but we would never have wanted to not know him.
— Carl and Cathy Jarvis

Eric was the type of guy who would have given you the shirt off his back if you needed it while at the same time attempting to teach you to fend for yourself so you wouldn’t be in that situation again.  When it came to the finances of WCB Eric was always a faithful steward of the organizations funds.  He did not believe in spending the organizations money unless there was value in what we were wanting to spend it on.  Money doesn’t grow on trees and he knew it.  His dedication to conserving the organizations resources for our future was something I always admired and respected about him. He may have left us but his countless contributions to WCB certainly will not be forgotten. Rest in peace my friend. May your heavenly rewards include the biggest rose garden inside the pearly gates.
— Glenn McCully

More than 100 people were present at Eric’s memorial service held on March 17 at his local Masonic Temple, representing all walks of Eric’s and Joanne’s life – AA, Union Club, the Rose Society, Central Valley Garden Club, Master Gardeners, Masonic friends, the Peninsula Council of the Blind and the Washington Council of the Blind, and most wore bright colors as requested by Joanne Hunter (because that is what Eric could see).

“A beautiful garden now stands alone, missing the one who nurtured it, but now he is gone. His flowers still bloom, and the sun it still shines, but the rain is like tear drops, for the ones left behind.” — Unknown

Breaking News! Just In.

Reported by Steve Fiksdal
Well, Washington State has once again scored an ACB Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) First-Timer Award recipient.   It is with great pleasure that I announce that James (J.R.) Kinnison of Bremerton has been named as a 2017 DKM Award.  J.R. is president of the Peninsula Council of the Blind and a Lighthouse for the Blind employee.  The Durward K. McDaniel First-Timer Program recognizes two individuals annually as rising leaders. Created more than 15 years ago to honor the unique contributions of ACB pioneer Durward McDaniel, the DKM first-timer program offers members the opportunity to experience the week-long panorama of education and fellowship that is ACB’s national conference and convention.  This is an extremely coveted award, as only two are awarded each year.  You will represent us well in Reno.
The other recipient was Graham Steel of Wyoming.
Congratulations J.R.  WCB is proud of you!

Table of Contents

Roses in Heaven
Breaking News! Just In.
President’s Message
Family’s With Blind Children … we’re more than the braille challenge
WCB Membership
A Glimpse into the Cost of Convention
Touring the Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.
Pasco Airport Gets $41 Million Upgrade Just in Time for the WCB Convention
Carl Jarvis, A Biography
Celebrating the Number 11
DSB Director’s Report
School of Piano Technology for the Blind to close and establish Endowment Fund
Around the State
Bits and Pieces
From My Kitchen to Yours
Games, Games, and More Games
Hat’s Off
Calendar of Deadlines and Events, 2017

Washington Council of the Blind
Opportunity, Equality, Independence

Founded 1935


PO Box 834
Twisp, WA 98856

WCB’s Newsline is a 2011 winner of the Hollis K. Liggett Braille Free Press award presented by the Board of Publications of the American Council of the Blind promoting best journalistic practices and excellence in writing in publications of ACB’s state and special interest affiliates.
Steve Fiksdal, President 
(206) 669-8001
Federal Way, WA
Meka White, Editor 
(360) 689-1678
Federal Way, WA
Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind treasurer, Deb Lewis, at or PO Box 834, Twisp, WA 98856.

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 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

President’s Message

By Steve Fiksdal

At the time of this writing, I sit here drafting a grant proposal for a new project called Sharing the Light. The Light is your stories, your experiences, your challenges and triumphs. I know that sounds like the title of a soap opera but it is not. One of the initiatives of the WCB Communications Committee is to create a feature video that promotes the blind and visually impaired. Videos that depict you or others at home, at work, at school, at the park, at the movie theatre, at the grocery store, at an affiliate meeting…well you get the picture. As part of this initiative we’d like to produce a professionally produced video that portrays blind independence, equality and opportunity.

Another component of the WCB video project is to post short one-minute (or less) videos to the WCB Facebook page. These are videos supplied by you. Videos that tell your story or highlight a topic important to you, blindness related of course. I’m not so concerned about the quality of the video. These videos are about you. Your story is what is important.

So why are we creating videos that many of us cannot see? These videos are for those that can see. These videos are to show the sighted world that we are able and capable and contributing members of society. We seek not your pity but your understanding.

Send your videos to Please remember that videos need to be one-minute or less. WCB reserves the right to not publish videos it deems inappropriate. Please forward only videos that are blindness related and tell a certain part of your story. For example:
DO NOT send a video showing footage of what ingredients are in a fruitcake.
DO send footage of you making that fruitcake.

Accepted videos will also be posted to the WCB YouTube channel. I look forward to you being a part of our video message.

I’ve mentioned in the past that fundraising will be an important part of our efforts going forward. We need to look to new opportunities to generate the funds necessary to continue our mission. You can help. Should you know of a corporate giving program, employee or corporation, or a foundation that is looking to support the efforts of organizations such as WCB, I’d like to hear from you. Also, if you know someone in Human Relations at a company, they too can be a great resource.

Now you may say that you don’t know anyone that might be of help. Never underestimate who you know. It’s not always who you know, but those who your friends and family know.

One of our biggest investments is our annual convention. Later in this edition of the Newsline you will read to what extent WCB subsidizes your attendance at convention. One way for us to reduce our financial exposure is to seek corporate sponsors. You can help us here as well. Do you know someone who works with a company that would be a willing and logical sponsor?

For those of you that were unable to attend the last WCB Board meeting, I spoke of the need for us, that includes you, to be involved. There is much uncertainty in our nation and state right now. We have a new administration guiding the nation in Washington, D.C. We have the need to fill the mandate of the McCleary Decision to fully fund education here at home. We cannot sit back and wait for the other guy to speak out on our behalf. We are a nation of individuals. We need to be heard. If there is/are issues that you are deeply concerned about or support, let your voice be heard. This is not a time to be idle. We need to be heard, heard loud and clear.

I was in Washington, D.C. in February. The climate there is very uncertain. No one knows what to expect.

If you are not sure who your district’s representative is, you may find them using the following link.

This should bring you to our two Senators. Select the Representative tab to identify your congressional district representative.

Use the following link to find your state legislators. Type in your address in the appropriate boxes, and your district and your state senator and two representatives will be identified.

On whatever side of the aisle you may rest, be an active voice. Never forget that this is a nation of “We the People!”

Family’s With Blind Children … we’re more than the braille challenge

by Holly Turri

Were you aware that in the state of Washington 10,000 children are or will be facing visual impairment?  President Fiksdal shared this statistic with members of the Family’s with Blind Children committee.  All of us were amazed by this high number.  This year, we are taking steps to address it. 

Our Plans
1.   Operation Blind Child – students who are graduating will receive shoe boxes containing basic adaptive items which they might need to aid their futures. Kits for partially  sighted and blind children will be prepared.  Chapters may be asked to participate.
2.  Youth leadership seminar – members of our committee will have three hours to participate. Conflict resolution and self-advocacy will be the areas on which we will concentrate.
3.  Student summit, during the WCB state convention a youth summit will be concurrently presented.  Activities for both parents and young people will take place.
4.  Letter of introduction – this will be prepared, approved, and sent to organizations and individuals in our areas.  It will describe what visual acuity is, as well as WCB and FBC programs of interest to this population.

The Braille Challenge

On February 18, 2017 The Regional Braille Challenge took place at The Washington Talking book and Braille library. Families with Blind Children worked in conjunction with WTBBL to host this event.  Nine students participated.

These young people are divided by age. Tests are given  on reading and writing abilities. 

Highlights of the program included
… Oscar the blind cat and his special person were invited.  In books this individual told of Oscar’s adventures; even reading one of Oscar’s books.
… a Lego challenge was held.
… T-shirts were made for the students.

Next year the plan is to conduct a program of this type in Eastern Washington.

If you would like to assist this group in any way contact President Steve Fiksdal by emailing

WCB Membership

by Steve Fiksdal

We’ve noticed that some of our At-Large members have yet to renew their membership in WCB. Often this is merely an oversight as the reminders generated by membership in an affiliate aren’t there. If you are an At-Large member, or even an affiliate member who has not yet renewed, you can become a member of the state’s largest consumer organization dedicated to the blind and visually impaired.
Top ten reasons for joining or renewing your membership with the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB):
1) You become a member of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), WCB, and, if you choose, a WCB chapter local to you;
2) You connect with others through social and supportive events, as well as business meetings;         
3) You partner with many other people taking appropriate and meaningful action regarding issues relevant to people with vision loss;
4) You belong to an organization which provides meaningful and often substantial college scholarships to blind and visually-impaired students;
5) You receive a free subscription to The ACB Braille Forum, the ACB monthly publication, available in multiple formats, to find out what’s happening at the national level;
6) You receive a subscription to NewsLine, the WCB quarterly publication available in multiple formats, to find out what’s going on across our state;
7) You can develop your leadership skills through WCB’s annual leadership training seminar;
8) You can attend state and national conventions;
9) You can apply for first-timer’s scholarships to attend conventions
10) You can apply for interest-free loans for the purchase of technology you may need to live and work independently.

And, perhaps best of all, you will have the opportunity to share with and learn from a diverse and warm group of people who like you, are living with vision loss.

If you are sighted, all of the above is yours as well, with the addition of having an opportunity to share with and learn from other sighted persons who are friends or family of those living with vision loss.

While WCB is an active and viable organization with an absolute belief in opportunity, independence, and equality for all people living with vision loss, by its very nature, it is a nurturing place where ideas and future leaders are born. From students to seniors, WCB offers something for everyone. Become a part of the largest consumer organization of the blind in Washington State, and add your voice to the one that is clearly heard and regarded on issues of importance to people with vision loss.

Please click on the following link and join or renew your membership in the Washington Council of the Blind, advocating for the blind since 1935.

A Glimpse into the Cost of Convention

By Cindy Van Winkle, WCB Convention Coordinator

Most convention attendees worry about the cost of registration, the room, and travel. But do you really know what you are paying for? More specifically, what you aren’t paying for?

The cost of a WCB convention is beyond the registration fee times the number of guests. The fact is, if we charged each attendee at last year’s convention the actual cost of convention, we would have needed to charge each person coming for all five meals closer to $300, because the cost to bring an individual to convention is much more than the cost of the food.

Meals at a convention hotel the size we use run approximately $30, $40 and $60 for breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively. Depending on the location, the cost can be more if adding in gratuity and tax. When contracting with a hotel, we commit to spend a certain amount of money with banquets; this is referred to as a “food and beverage minimum”. Conferencing facilities use this in lieu of room rentals. So whether we pay it for the food or for the room rental, we are committed to paying that set amount. If we go over the F&B minimum, that’s fine, if we go under, we still pay the contracted amount.

Other charges we pay for may include: the setup of each meeting room, audio/Visual services, internet services for streaming, exhibit tables, power for vendors, parking, coffee in the meeting room, and I’m sure there’s more I’m not thinking of. We also cover the cost of our national guest and other expenses related to programming. All of this goes into the overall cost of putting on a top-notch convention.

As most of you have probably learned by now, the WCB board at its winter board meeting made some tough decisions related to convention in an effort to respond to the charge of our membership at the 2016 business meeting and work toward operating with a more balanced budget. Because of this, we have chosen to discontinue the free room for this year (which only assisted four members maximum), not offer any travel stipends (which made for a lot of work for our Treasurer and added up to a couple thousand dollars), and to only rent one chartered bus from the west side while charging a fee to ride on it. The board did also vote though to offer to qualifying members who request it, up-to-a $300 convention loan which must be paid back within the ten months following convention. More information about the loan and bus will be in the next issue of Newsline as well as in our convention bulletin.

Most importantly, we encourage individuals to take responsibility and begin saving for convention, and for chapters to discuss ways in which they can help their membership attend. Many chapters have been holding fundraisers for years to assist their members. If this is not your chapter, be proactive and help organize one; if it is your chapter, keep on doing what you’re doing.

This year’s convention is being held October 26-28, 2017 at the Red Lion Pasco. At the time of this writing, registration rates have not yet been decided, but we will be working to make things as equitable as possible. The bottom line is we don’t want to give up all the aspects of convention we’ve all grown to love, but we cannot continue to subsidize it as we have. Together, let’s be the solution!

Touring the Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.

By Jim Turri

Cindy Van Winkle arranged a tour of the Lighthouse for the blind, Inc. on Friday February 3rd, with ten WCB members in attendance.

I was glad to find a cozy lobby to wait in so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the heavy rain. A friendly and careful fellow named dan greeted me at the security window and notified Cindy that our group had arrived.

Two women began talking to each other in sign language. I concluded they must really enjoy working there because after a couple minutes, they began laughing heartily.

Cindy joined us and guided us to a nicely furnished conference room with a large polished wooden table, and a dozen high backed comfortable rolling office chairs.

A lot of interesting information was presented in Cindy’s lively stile. Of the over four hundred people who work at the Lighthouse, two hundred of them are blind or deaf-blind. These employees work in many departments, including the machine shop. Blind and deaf-blind employees also work as accountants, administrative assistants, receptionists and information technology specialists, to name just a few. Kirk Adams, the former CEO of the Lighthouse is fully blind.

Readers may be wondering how a blind or deaf-blind person can make airplane parts. They use C&C machines, just as fully sighted and hearing people do, with the inclusion of screen-reading programs such as ZoomText or JAWS. The Lighthouse has had a machine shop for about sixty years.

Cindy then focused on some of the reasons that lots of people choose to continue working at the lighthouse for many years.

They earn a competitive wage for the kind of work they do, receive full benefits, and can take part in mobility and technology training, Braille classes, the Braille library, and so much more.

I was intrigued with the ongoing support for the blind and deaf blind employees. There is a technology training center for computer classes, training in independent living, and a renowned camp that takes place each year in Seabec, Washington, where participants come from all over the country for the week.

In my next article, I will talk more about what I saw on the tour, so be sure to read the summer edition of the Newsline.

Pasco Airport Gets $41 Million Upgrade Just in Time for the WCB Convention

By Frank Cuta

Our new airport in the Tri-Cities has all new ADA compliant facilities including lots of Braille signage, TTY accommodations, and special on call support for guide dog relief. This is a brief description of the extensively remodeled Pasco Airport as reviewed by seven members of the United Blind of Tri-Cities.

The building is roughly the shape of a very squat capital letter I with a left and a right wing as you enter at the bottom. Straight up the shaft of the “I” is going through security then after you are screened another pair of left and right wings take you to the gates.

You will probably enter the airport through the main center entrance. It leads straight ahead to security screening. Directly across the street from the main entrance is a grassy area for dog relief.

If you are dropped off at the main entrance and have your boarding pass you can proceed straight ahead to the screening TSA checkpoint. If you wish additional assistance it’s easiest to obtain it at the ticketing counter associated with your provider. Turn right at the main entrance and as you walk forward the airlines will be on your left. They are in order Delta, United, Alaska, then Allegiant.

Just to the left as you proceed through the main entrance and down toward TSA screening there is available a basic café and seating but you will find much more elaborate food concessions on the other side of security. After you complete the screening process you are facing a gallery with a fine restaurant and bar with waited tables on your left and coffee and gift shops on your right. Also is a convenient grab and go quick meals counter where you can grab a meal to take with you on your flight.

If you are flying Alaska/United turn right out of the screening checkpoint and follow the wall on the right. You come to a toddler play room and then a down ramp and vending machines. Directly across from these machines is gate 2 for United Airlines. Farther down the hall, still on the right, you find the family friendly restroom, a drinking fountain and alcove to the general restrooms — men on the left and women on the right. Straight ahead are Alaska gates 1 and 2.

If you are flying Delta/Allegiant you should turn left as you leave security screening. Immediately on your right is the grab and go food counter and on your left is a special secured door to the outside. Anytime you need to relieve your guide dog while you are in the secured area you can call 509-727-3643 and an officer will open this door and let you step outside. Proceeding straight ahead and hugging the left wall you go past a drinking fountain then the men’s and woman’s restrooms. Directly across from these restrooms is Delta gate 3. If you continue straight past the restrooms you proceed up a long ramp. Turn right at the top of the ramp walk to the carpet and turn right again and you are at Delta gate 4. This is the only gate in the airport with jet way boarding, all the rest board from the ground. If you proceed straight ahead from the top of the ramp, go to the end of the hall and turn right you are at Allegiant gate 5.

Carl Jarvis, A Biography

by Berl Colley

Carl Jarvis was born in Spokane Washington on April 13, 1935 to Clyde
Fletcher and Elsie Louise (Ludwig) Jarvis. When he turned two, the Jarvis’s move to Seattle. By the age of 4, it was discovered that Carl had cataracts.  Surgery in 1939, along with heavy bifocals, enabled Carl to function as a sighted person. 

While attending Ballard High School in 1952, Carl developed a detached retina, resulting in the loss of vision in his left eye.  “After the fact, the doctors told me that my eyes were egg shaped, and this put stress on the retinas.  I shouldn’t have been boxing or high diving, but that came too late.” Carl said.  

The eye surgery kept Carl out of school for a full year.  Graduating in 1954, he enrolled at the University of Washington, planning to become a history teacher.  Due to the need to work, along with the stress on his limited eyesight, Carl decided to drop out after one year. “I managed to leave just ahead of them kicking me out”, he recalled. 

In 1955, Carl enrolled at the Broadway Edison Technical College and studied commercial photography, completing the course in 1957. Along with Al Pyser, whom he met in photography class, Carl set out doing freelance photography.  The two young men contracted with schools and colleges to take photos of couples at school dances.  Carl’s goal was to open his own photography studio.  Along with his connection with Al Pyser, he worked for Robert Lee Boldman Studio. 

In June of 1957, Carl went to work for Bartmann and Bixer, a drapery factory in down town Seattle, hoping to earn the money needed to open his studio.  Mid 1958 was the year that his dream came to fruition. Jarvis studio opened on Finny Avenue in North Seattle. 

For the next two years Carl worked part time at the drapery factory, and full time in his studio along with doing freelance work.   

Carl’s plans took a turn in another direction when, on June 3, 1960, he and Judith Cullins were married.  He went back to full time work in the drapery company, and did weddings and family portraits during evenings and weekends.

Carl and Judy’s first baby was born on Valentines Day, 1961, and died one day after birth.  But in November 1962, one day before Thanksgiving, Jennifer Lynn Jarvis was born.

On January 25, 1965, Carl was bowling in league play, when he noticed movement in the corner of his eye.  By March 3rd, recovering from retina surgery, Carl was totally blind.

Out of work, angry and depressed, with a wife and a two-year-old daughter, the Jarvis’ were soon facing foreclosure on their home.  A friend at church put Carl in touch with the Northwest Foundation for the Blind.  Arnold Sadler loaned the money that saved their home.

Carl attended the Northwest Regional Rehabilitation Center, at 3411 South Alaska Street in Seattle in the Fall of 1965.  He attended Shoreline Community College where he obtained a 3.85 grade point average.  Carl then went to the University of Washington, as a sociology major. 

Once again, Life got in the way of Education.  Judy was never able to adjust to a marriage to a blind man, and after struggling for an additional five years, the couple divorced in 1970. 

Carl left the University in his senior year, and entered the Business Enterprises Program (BEP) through the Office of Services for the Blind.  In the late summer of 1969, Carl became active in the Washington State Association of the Blind (WSAB).  He helped organize the Youth Association, consisting mostly of blind college students. 

Editor’s Note: To learn more about Carl Jarvis, please check out the rest of the story in the Summer edition of Newsline.

Celebrating the Number 11

By Cindy Van Winkle

On September 12, 1987, Edgar Martinez began his 17 year career with the Seattle Mariners, and became one of the most beloved players in Mariner history. On August 12, 2017, the Mariners will be honoring Edgar by retiring his number, #11, and the entire weekend will be all about celebrating Edgar, the greatest Designated Hitter of his time and deservedly future Hall of Famer.

You have the opportunity of sharing in this special Edgar Martinez weekend as WCB joins in the festivities on Sunday, August 13. We have a limited number of seats reserved in the Hit It Here Café at a cost of $62 per ticket (which includes a $2 fee for processing by WCB).

This will be the third game in the series against the Los Angeles Angels, and game time is scheduled for a 1:10 pm start time. You’ll want to get there early though because the first 45 thousand fans through the gates will receive an Edgar Martinez replica jersey. And remember that tickets also include an $18 food voucher for the café.

Now, if you are interested in being included in this fun outing, here’s the stats.

Make your reservation by emailing Cindy at ASAP. Your reservation will not be secure until payment is received in full.

Payments must be received no later than June 30, 2017. After that date, unpaid tickets will be released back to the Mariners.

Payments may be:

Delivered in person to Deb Lewis, Treasurer, at the WCB Spring board meeting;

Made by check, payable to WCB and mailed to:
Washington Council of the Blind
P.O. Box 834
Twisp, WA 98856

Via credit card by clicking on the PayPal button on the “donation” page of and be sure to write in the notes that it is for Mariner game tickets and the name of the person purchasing them.

Tickets will be available at Will Call on the day of the game in the name of the person who made the reservation.

One week prior to the game, a detailed email will be sent to all who have reserve their tickets sharing accessibility, menu, and other pertinent info.

Now, make your reservations and get your payment in, pull out those old radios ensuring you have fresh batteries, and let’s cheer on the Mariners to victory while chanting Ed…gar, Ed…gar, Ed…gar!

DSB Director’s Report

By Lou Oma Durand

It’s hard to believe that we are already a quarter of the way through 2017!

The New Year brought with it a new legislative biennium for the state. This year, DSB included a state budget request to cover the cost of identifying and deploying a new case management system for all internal processes. It also included a 0.5% increase in our maintenance level budget in response our grant split with DVR for the Vocational Rehabilitation Basic Services grant and the Independent Living grant. So far, this request has been approved and included in the Governor’s and the State Senate’s budgets.

We continue to take steps to align our services and processes to the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA). In addition to rolling out new programs for youth we are working hard to meet the Act’s numerous requirements. One requirement is the participation with the state Workforce Board. DSB is working to establish formal agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with partner agencies to sort out all of the requirements of WIOA with a vision to making Washington a better place for all of our citizens.

Also, the changes brought forth by WIOA necessitate changes in Washington State rules to implement and DSB staff have been working diligently to make these updates.

The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) is the set of rules that govern how state agencies carry out their missions. We are nearing final stages of preparation for the review of the agency’s section of the WAC. Over the next few months, these proposed changes will be published by the Office of the Code Reviser and made available for public comment and hearings. This is an opportunity for you to participate in the legislative process. More details will be posted on the agency website,

School of Piano Technology for the Blind to close and establish Endowment Fund

News Release from School of Piano Technology for the Blind
(March 9, 2017– Vancouver, WA)

After nearly seven decades of teaching and training blind and visually impaired students to tune and repair pianos, the School of Piano Technology for the Blind has elected to close its doors effective later this year. The school is currently between enrollment periods, so no students will be affected by this closure. The piano retail sales will also wind down operations over the next few months, however the piano tuning program will continue to operate as before through a succession plan that is being finalized.

Although the school has experienced great success over the years, the world has changed in ways that have impacted the organization’s core programming. Most importantly, educational and employment opportunities for the blind and visually impaired have improved dramatically. While the school’s board, which includes members of Emil’s family, has found this to be a very difficult decision, they are also pleased that members of the blind and visually impaired community have so many more employment options from which to choose.

With these factors in mind, the board of directors has determined that it is in the best interest of the organization to dissolve its operations. The organization will transfer its assets into a permanently endowed fund in the name of Emil B. Fries. This fund will allow the use of the school’s assets to create a larger impact through annual grants to organization serving the blind and visually impaired community.

Established in 1949 by Emil Fries, the school has graduates from more than forty states and sixteen foreign countries and has served as the only vocational training program of its kind. Emil was a graduate of the Washington State School for the Blind, and as board member and family representative Doug Hunt noted, “When my grandfather, Emil founded the school there were very few options available for blind and visually impaired individuals to find work that provided true financial independence. The record shows that 70 percent of the school’s graduates went on to a career in the piano technology field and have earned up to $75,000 per year, with an annual average of $46,000. More than anything, Emil was a visionary who helped open the door for blind and visually impaired individuals to pursue a wide array of career options, and we know that he would be proud to have left such a legacy.”

Piano School board chair Kim Capeloto noted, “We want to acknowledge and thank the many foundations, individual donors, and volunteers who have generously supported the school with their time, talent, and resources over these many years. This support has enabled us to change the lives of our students, enrich communities and maintain a solid financial position that will establish Emil’s endowment and continue to benefit causes supporting blind and visually impaired individuals.”

Contact Info:
Cheri Martin Kim Capeloto
Executive Director Chairman-Board of
360-693-1511 Directors 360-759-2404

Around the State

Beep Ball Clubs of Washington State

By Fred Baker

Is that spring that I feel? If it is, then Beep Ball cannot be far off. I am charging up the beep ball batteries, and admiring our new barrel bat.

This off season was filled with improvements on the State level, as well as the local team level. The WCB took action on recognizing the “Beep Ball Clubs of Washington State” as a special affiliate. With this action the sports of Beep Ball and Beep Kickball are at the fingertips of all that are interested in playing, supporting, and sponsoring the games. No longer does it take months to become an official non-profit, 501c3, insured Beep Ball Club.

Five visually impaired players plus one sighted player can take to the field tomorrow with the collective assistance of this Affiliate.

July, 22, 2017 will see a gathering of all the clubs in the State of Washington in the city of Spokane for a Day of Fun.

We invite all members and friends of the WCB to come join us, and help make this Day of Fun a GREAT SUCCESS!

“” is the official Webb address for all things Beep Ball in the State of Washington. All events, fund raising activities, game schedules, and contacts will be found on the State calendar, and on each team calendar. Each team will have its own page to post to.

Troy Leeberg from Spokane‘s “Lion Pride” team is the President of this Affiliate. He can direct any of your concerns or questions to the right person, whatever that question might be. Troy’s contact information is “” or text at 509-688-7173.

If we do not contact you first, feel free to contact any of us as the above address.

Greater Everett Council of the Blind

By Danette Dixon

GEACB has been pretty busy the past couple months. In January President Danette Dixon met our Board liaison Jim Turri at Everett station. Then all of us Danette and Mayor, Holly and Pima and Jim were off to the meeting on Paratransit. Jim did a great job, he made it fun by asking us questions. He talked about the Leadership seminar, National convention, the WCB membership list, and all things about WCB. Afterword’s since we had some extra time he talked about some APP’s on his phone that he enjoys. It was nice to have Holly and Pima visit with Jim. Thank you to Susie who took them back to Everett Station to catch there train back to Bellingham at 7:00
I was sorry they had such a long wait, but thankful that they brought their books and games on cell phone since they had around 3 hours at Everett station to wait for their train.

Also in January and the first part of February, Treasurer Victor and President Danette worked hard to make sure GEACB received there stipend this year. At the last minute on February 9 I noticed that Frank did not have our bylaws, so I emailed this but there was no change. Also at the last minute Victor remembered to send our check and it was received before February 10.

In February Vice President Gale Chappell and Marcia White conducted our meeting, Thank you so much, I hear they did an awesome job. President Danette had the chance to visit the South King Council of the blind. Everyone was back in there places in March. People volunteered to check on fund raisers Jana and Jenny. Hope to hear a good report next month.

Guide Dog Users of Washington state
By Sheri Richardson

The lengthening days and warming temps can only mean one thing for GDUWS, well, actually two things. It’s time for our annual Spring Fling and for a great chance to take our dogs out to the ball game — beep baseball, that is.

We are trying something different this year for our Spring Fling. Instead of meeting in conjunction with the WCB leadership conference and Board meeting, we will have the Fling on April 29th. It will be held at the Paralyzed Veterans of America building: 616 SW 152nd St. in Burien. If you would like to attend and need a hotel on Friday or Saturday night, we have made arrangements at the nearby Coast Gateway Hotel, and you may contact the hotel at 206-248-8200. We are still working out some of the details at the time of this writing, but please contact Sheri Richardson at if you want to attend and have not received further information.

Our second big event to herald in spring time is our joint event with the Seattle South King Sluggers beep baseball team. This will be held on May 20th at the Rainier Beach high school, and it will be an amazing game between our own Sluggers and the Seattle Police Department. In addition to being a great opportunity to show off our dogs and have a lot of fun, it is also one of our biggest fundraising events. The game begins at 11:30, and I hope many of you will be there.

Jefferson County Council of the Blind

A tribute to Lynn Gressley
By Carl Jarvis

A tribute to Lynn Gressley, past president of Jefferson County Council of the Blind(JCCB) and, until his death in 2013, president of the Port Townsend Disabilities Awareness Starts Here (DASH).

On March 3, 2017 a permanent bench was dedicated, in front of the new Emergency and Specialty Services Building, in Port Townsend. The bench, bought with funds raised by DASH, “provides a moment of rest and anchors the memory of Lynn Gressley and DASH, right at the door of Jefferson Healthcare,” said Jefferson Healthcare Chief Financial Officer Hilary Whittington.  The dedication took place outside the main door to the new hospital building, in heavy wind and rain.  Tents were erected, and bundled in blankets, Lynn’s 97 year
old mother, Julianne Gressley, was joined by about forty  others who gathered to pay tribute to Lynn.  “We gather today to bring together the community to recognize the impact individual community members can have…” Whittington said.

In addition to his work with DASH, Lynn served on the Jefferson County Council of the Blind, was on the Jefferson Transit Advisory Board, and worked with other county and city departments on access issues.

For about 8 years, Lynn organized a Disabilities Awareness Day each spring, calling on members of JCCB to work with community leaders to bring awareness to existing architectural   barriers, and to brainstorm solutions.  JCCB members participating included Sue Ammeter, Carl and Cathy Jarvis, and Bonnie Sherrell.

Through DASH, Lynn’s work continues.

Since it was started in 1999, DASH has been instrumental in improving
access to streets, sidewalks, trails, paths, buildings and restrooms.

DASH has consulted for the City of Port Townsend, Jefferson County, the Port of Port Townsend, police and sheriff’s departments, Jefferson Healthcare, Fort Worden State Park, school districts and churches.

DASH also produced a map of Port Townsend that indicates where people who require mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, can use the devices. In addition, DASH offers a “disability friendly” guide to restaurants.

Anytime someone asks, “What can one person do?” just say, “Lynn Gressley”.

King County Council of the Blind

By Darlene Hilling

Hello from the King County chapter. it has been a long cold and wet winter; maybe spring will come. 

In October we elected new officers. They are president Linda Wickersham, vice president Tim Schneebeck, secretary Heidi Campbell and treasurer Lin Hunter.

We had our Christmas party at the Blue Star Cafe where we hold our meetings. 

Thoughts and prayers are with Trudy Broker. She had a fire at her home. She is fine, she is staying in a hotel near Northgate.

In June Shirley Taylor would have been ninety-seven years old. We have a couple of speakers for the next two months.

We hold our meetings the fourth Saturday of the month except in July when we hold our picnic. Stay tuned for more in the next edition of Newsline! 

Peninsula Council of the Blind

By Cindy Van Winkle, Secretary

Plans for an upcoming exhibition beep ball game between the South King Sluggers and Kitsap police are in the works. We’re hoping for this to be a positive outreach about blindness and our chapter in the community. Please consider joining us on June 3rd at noon, at Lions Field in Bremerton for all the fun!

Socials at Shari’s Restaurant and Mod Pizza, gatherings at the home of J.R. and Kat for our support group, and lively discussions about books with our All Ears book club continue to bring our members together outside of our chapter meeting day. By the way, our meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month from noon to 2:00 pm in Silverdale at Allstar Lanes Restaurant. We were delighted to have Lori Allison visit us in February as our WCB chapter representative as she shared lots of information with us, and she and Arnie were a great addition to our entire meeting.

We all have been saddened by the loss of long time chapter member, Eric Hunter, who was serving as Vice President at the time of his passing. His contributions to our chapter and WCB will long be remembered as will his friendship. And we are so very grateful to know that Joanne will remain an active part of our PCB family.

In closing, let us all be reminded of how fleeting this life can be and to daily cherish each moment and one another.

South Kitsap Council of the Blind

By Kim L Moberg

Greetings from all of us at South Kitsap Council of the Blind. I don’t know about you but I am done with winter. I really want spring, warm weather and sunshine. I bet you’re wondering why I want spring. Spring means fund raising for SKCB. Once again we will be having our fundraising luncheon event at Outback Steakhouse in Bremerton.

Unfortunately several of our members have been ill. Some have had to be in the hospital as well. So I’m hoping that spring will also bring good health to all.

As of February our chapter has a new meeting place and a bit of change in time. We are renting a room from the Gibbin’s center in Port Orchard. So now we have the room from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM. This allows us not only time for our meeting but some socialization time before and after our meeting. The room is big and will allow us all to be able to grow more comfortably in numbers.

Andy Arvidson, WCB board member, was the speaker at our February meeting. He brought us up to speed on the many changes taking place in WCB. He talked to us about the leadership seminar coming up in May. He also talk to us about the first timers Scholarship to the national ACB convention as well as the First Timers award for our State convention. He answered many questions with regard to WCB. Thank you for visiting us Andy!

Our February meeting was a little different as Chris, secretary, and Carol, treasurer, were unable to make the meeting due to family commitments, and so Kim Moberg filled in as secretary and treasurer for the day.

Kevin Jones, our president, was in Boring Oregon in January being trained with a new guide dog. Clarissa is a golden lab cross. She is a sweet little girl who has a lot of spunk and personality. Kevin and Clarissa, you guys will make a great team.

United Blind of Spokane

By Debby Clark

We have partnered with Lilac Services on several occasions this last winter. Cindy Glidden and Vivian Huschke both work and or volunteer for Lilac Blind. This is part of our presence in the Spokane blindness community.

Lilac Services sponsored a Health Fair where several of us were in attendance.  Japanese Medical students came and did blood pressure checks, blood sugar screenings, gave health tip ideas and manicures and pedicures.  Fun was had by all. 

January’s meeting had us learning about snowshoeing for the blind and the equipment needed and the timing for it.

February’s meeting had Steve Fiksdal speaking.   Jerry Evanesky is our new member and we are looking forward to having him as he is very motivated and has great ideas about fundraising as well as other things.

We received a King James Braille Bible via donation. With the help of Reggie George, we were able to find it a new home in Ohio with a family of three that all suffer blindness issues.

Debra Jantzen, Loren Miller and Vivian Huschke went snow skiing with sighted skiing partners this past month and enjoyed it greatly.

We received a call from a Boy Scout leader wanting our help as their assignment the month of March was to meet someone with a disability. The leader picked us up at Lilac Tuesday night and took us to dine with her family at home and then do the meeting.  We brought a slate and stylus and a brailed book for them to feel as well as other pieces of equipment that can help the blind and visually-impaired.   

Knowing these are 14-year-old boys and that they have no prior experience, Troy brought his Guide dog, Gus.  They loved it and it went amazingly well.

At the March meeting we will have some specialty exercises demonstrated.

See you at Lilac Blind on the third Monday of the month.

United Blind of the Tri-Cities

By Frank Cuta & Holly Kaczmarski

We had incredibly good publicity from our summer Beep Baseball picnic experience. Bernie Vinther got us on the radio, TV, and on the front page of the paper. Now Erick Vasquez is doing a great job making us more publicly visible by keeping the Facebook page that he CREATED for us constantly updated. Erick was honored at the Christmas party when we gave him a scholarship and Karyn Vandecar gave him a new Mac computer.

There were 40 at the Christmas party held at the Country Gentleman where Karyn led a great gift exchange with lots of good stealing of candy and wine. We also collected several pounds of food for the food bank. At the UBTC it’s just one party after another.

In September, we supported the Edith Bishel Center by getting over half of our members to their dinner in the dark which raised over $15,000.

Several of us recently attended the dedication of a memorial swing down by the Columbia River for Bill Van Winkle. Bill was a charter member of our chapter and for the last half of the twentieth century Bill Van Winkle and Don Simonson, now also departed, kept most of the pianos in the Tri-Cities in excellent working condition.

At our chapter meetings, we have recently had great presentations on self-driving car technology and Project Warm Up. The latter provides support to other groups in the community in need of donated warm clothing and food. One of our members, Geri Tow is offering to pick up all food and clothing donated by our members. Speaking of rides, in December, UBER finally came to the Tri-Cities after months of negotiations and should be available in all 3 cities in time for the fall convention.

Elected to office for 2017 are Sherry Dubbin – President, Bill Hoage – Vice-President, Eric Vasquez – Second Vice-President, Frank Cuta – Secretary, Brenda Vinther – Treasurer, Karyn Vandecar – Board member and Bernie Vinther – Board member. Congratulations to all of our new officers.

United Blind of Walla Walla

By Annee Hartzell

The members of the United Blind of Walla Walla may be small in number, but we are mighty in our commitment to living life to its fullest and making our community accessible and open to the blind and visually impaired.

Some members are involved in sports activities like Swim Team (Alexann Tureman) or hiking (Annee Hartzell) for their health, well-being, and sheer joy of winning. Andrew Nantz and Annee Hartzell presented to Delta Gamma Sorority, resulting in planning for our group to collaborate with them in an upcoming community service event. While Vivian Conger and Joleen Ferguson work with the city of Walla Walla to ensure that the audible traffic signals function correctly. 

Andrew Nantz performed in a play at the community college.

Our chapter received an informative visit from our state Board representative, Holly Kaczmarski. 

In general, I am encouraged as I note that the members of the UBWW are about the business of living: showing through their lives that the blind and visually impaired answer the questions of fear, hopelessness, and helplessness that often accompany the loss of sight with definitive denial through their action. We walk our talk. 

United Blind of Whatcom County

By Holly Turri, President

This winter has been a busy one for UBWC.

As is usual, we performed Christmas carols at several health care facilities. Due to the snowy weather we had to cancel some of the events.

On December 17, we held our annual Christmas party. Thai food was catered and a birthday was enjoyed.

In January, we were pleased to have one of our members Dr. William L. Freeman give a fascinating in depth and informative presentation on diabetes. He even provided a list of exercise programs and courses for blind people.

Our meeting location day and time have changed. We now gather on the 2nd Friday of each month at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, which is located at 315 Halleck Street. We meet from 1:00 until 2:30. Prior to the start time many gather to enjoy lunch together.

These changes have given us much more exposure. We have three new members so far this year.

Bits and Pieces

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. If you have items for inclusion, email: Newsline and put “Bits and Pieces” in the subject line.

Walk in My Shoes is a book written by writers who are deafblind due to Usher syndrome. Twenty-eight true life stories written by deafblind authors makes this book the first of its kind. The proceeds of each sale goes to the Ushers Coalition to provide more research for cures from the various types of Ushers Syndrome.
You can find the Kindle edition at

Amazon’s Disability Customer Support Line

This line is dedicated to answering technical support questions in terms of using a screen reader with Amazon’s website, locate products on the site, and add them to your shopping cart. If there are questions that they are unable to answer, you will be transferred to the correct department. The Disablity Customer Support Line is open from 3 AM until 10 PM Eastern standard time. To reach this line, either go to the click to call link on the website once you are signed in, or call 1-888-283-1678.

From My Kitchen to Yours

By Cindy Van Winkle

Here are a couple of healthy sauce recipes I’ve been using in our home that are not only good for you, but tasty too! Enjoy!
Avocado Spread

2 large ripe, avocados, seeded, peeled and diced
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (approx. 1 medium lime)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small chipotle pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt or seasoning of your choice

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.

Healthy alternative for sandwiches, salads and more.

Homemade Salsa

Four tomatoes, quartered
One small onion, diced
1 bunch green onion, diced
1 bell pepper
1/2 cup cilantro,
1 large jalapeno pepper,seeded
1 packet taco seasoning

Place tomatoes in blender or processor and blend for about 15 seconds. Add following ingredients one at a time and blend about 15 seconds each time. Pour into air tight container and enjoy! Makes about one quart (depending on sizes of vegetables).

Option: Omit cilantro and jalapeno pepper and substitute
Italian seasoning for the taco seasoning, and make your own spaghetti sauce.

Games, Games, and More Games

Are you constantly looking for the next accessible game to play on your PC, Mac, or cell phone? How many times have you tried to find a game that would suit you but you are just not sure of what’s out there that is playable? is a website dedicated to the blind gamer. The database consists of hundreds of games, from card games to multi-player quest-oriented adventures, and everything in between, you’re bound to find something just for you. The database is constantly updated and is well-maintained, so no matter your interest, you’ll find something to help pass the time. The site also hosts dedicated forums where you can talk about the latest releases, learn just how blind and visually-impaired people are playing console games, and assist game developers in building a fun product where accessibility is implemented from the ground up. Meet other blind and visually-impaired game developers, and provide feedback. has a plethora of games, tips, and tricks that will keep you busy for hours!

Hat’s Off

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

Jeff Bowler (CCCB) on his employment as short course/orientation & mobility instructor at WSSB beginning 05/01/17.

Chris Coulter (at large) on her appointment to the Patron Advisory Council for Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.

Steve and Kelly Fiksdal (SKB) on the celebration of their 36th wedding anniversary.

Shirley Gray (KCC) on the very special occasion of her 97th birthday!

Kevin Jones (SKCB) on his new partnership with Clarissa, a little Yellow Labrador Retriever from Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Randy and Cindy (Fleck) Tedrow (GDUWS) who were married on January 14, 2017.

Calendar of Deadlines and Events, 2017

2: President’s call, 8:00 pm
11: Technology Forum, 7 p.m., 800-977-8002 code: 5419226
28: Deadline to make lunch reservations for the Spring Board meeting.  Send to:
29: GDUWS Spring Fling, 9am, Paralyzed Veterans of America Building, Burien

1: Deadline to submit Letters of Application for First-Timer Scholarship to ACB Conference and Convention.  Send to:
5-6: WCB Leadership Seminar, Clarion Hotel, Federal Way
7: WCB Spring Board Meeting.  9 A.M., Clarion Hotel, Federal Way.
9: Technology Forum, 7 p.m., 800-977-8002 code: 5419226
15: Deadline to make stipend and loan requests for national convention. Send to:
19: Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council meeting, 9 a.m., Seattle

2: Washington State School for the Blind Commencement, 9:30 a.m., Vancouver
2: Washington State School for the Blind Board of Trustees meeting, 12:00 p.m., Vancouver
4: President’s Call, 8:00pm
13: Technology Forum, 7 p.m., 800-977-8002 code: 5419226
30: Opening Session of the ACB Conference and Convention, Sparks, NV.
30: Deadline to make payment for the August Mariner game.

1 – 31: Enjoy the warm weather

6: President’s call, 8 P.M.
11: Deadline to make lunch reservations for upcoming WCB Summer Board Meeting. Send to:
19: Summer WCB Board Meeting, 10 A.M., Washington Talking Book and Braille Library

8: Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council meeting, 9 a.m., Seattle
12: Technology Forum, 7 p.m., 800-977-8002 code: 5419226

1: President’s Call, 8 P.M.
10: Technology Forum, 7 p.m., 800-977-8002 code: 5419226
26 – 28: WCB Annual Convention, Pasco Red Lion Hotel

14: Technology Forum, 7 p.m., 800-977-8002 code: 5419226

1: Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council meeting, 9 a.m., Seattle
3: President’s Call, 8 P.M.
12: Technology Forum, 7 p.m., 800-977-8002 code: 5419226


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