Helpful Hints for Attending the Convention

by Janet Dickelman
The 2017 American Council of the Blind conference and convention will be held at the Nugget Casino and Resort in sensational Sparks, Nev. The theme of this year’s convention is ACB Sparks Success! During convention week we’ll celebrate our successes as an organization. In addition, the Nugget is just steps from one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the country, with lots of music, food and crafts vendors and a huge fireworks display just outside the hotel! Sparks will be flying as we celebrate ACB’s successful 56th convention!
Convention dates are Friday, June 30th through Friday, July 7th. The exhibit hall will be open Saturday, July 1st through Wednesday, July 5th. It features the latest and greatest in technology and items for home, work and play!
ACB affiliates and committee programs, seminars and mixers will be held Saturday, July 1st and run through Wednesday, July 5th. Tech sessions offered by our business partners will begin on Saturday, July 1st.  Our opening general session is Saturday evening, July 1st, morning sessions Sunday through Wednesday, and the all-day Thursday session will feature elections and ACB business. Don’t miss the annual banquet Thursday evening featuring the presentation of ACB awards, ACB Braille Forum raffle drawing and a sensational speaker!
As you make plans for Sparks, read on for information that will enhance your convention experience.
Navigating the Nugget
Let indoor wayfinding technology be your guide around the Nugget this year. MD Support is again providing its LowViz Guide app at no cost; just download it to your iPhone or iPad and let it describe all points of interest and routes throughout the hotel lobby and meeting areas. Last year’s problem with the beacons was solved by the designers too late for many members to take advantage of the full service, but MD Support Director Dan Roberts assures us that the system will run smoothly; he has also added an extra staff person to assist during the convention.
For important information, including a direct download link to the App Store, frequently asked questions, an audio-visual demonstration of the app, what you need to know ahead of time, and articles and audio broadcasts about LowViz Guide, visit
Reasonable Accommodations
If you plan to attend the convention and need a support service provider or interpreter, please contact Lori Scharff, who will assist in making arrangements. Send an e-mail message with “interpreter for Reno” in the subject line to You may also contact Lori via phone at (516) 695-6370.
If you need a wheelchair or scooter during the convention, contact Janet Dickelman at (651) 428-5059 or
Convention Volunteers
Sally Benjamin, ACB volunteer coordinator, and the Nevada host committee are working to obtain volunteers to assist convention attendees at the Nugget and the airport.  Here are a few reminders to make things run smoothly for convention attendees and volunteers.
Volunteers are happy to help you locate meeting rooms, the exhibit hall, your table in the ballroom, restaurants in the hotel, and the elevator bays. Volunteers cannot accompany you to the sleeping room floors or assist you in locating your room. If you need help getting to and from your hotel room, you will need to make arrangements with a friend or family member to assist you.
Volunteers or hotel staff cannot administer medications, or assist you with other health care needs. Volunteers and hotel staff can assist you in locating dog relief areas, but they are not expected to take your dog out for you. If you need assistance in these areas, please make arrangements prior to the convention for a friend or family member to help you.
If you use a wheelchair, ACB convention volunteers may not be physically able to push your chair. Please don’t count on ACB volunteers or hotel staff to be wheelchair pushers.
A limited number of volunteers will accompany each tour.  Volunteers will help as much as possible; however, they are not personal guides or personal care attendants.  If you need individual assistance, plan to attend the tour with a friend who can act as your guide or PCA.
Assistance at the Airport
To assist airline personnel and Margarine Beaman and her cadre of airport volunteers, if you would like assistance when you arrive at the airport in Reno, please submit the following information.
Your name
The name of the airline you will be arriving on
Your departure city
Arrival flight number
Arrival date and time
Departure airline
Departure date
Departure time
Cell phone number
You can send Margarine a message with “airline information” in the subject line to, or call her at (512) 921-1625.
Transportation around Reno
The Nugget provides a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport.
Using Paratransit
If you would like to use paratransit in Sparks, call customer service at (775) 348-0477. You will be asked to fax your certification information to (775) 348-3261.  To set up rides, call (775) 348-5438.
Staying Connected
The convention announce list will be filled with information about the convention. Subscribe to the list today by sending a blank e-mail to If you’ve been on the list in the past, you need not subscribe again.
Don’t have e-mail? No problem! Convention updates will also be featured on ACB Radio and by telephone through Audio Now at (605) 475-8130.
Hotel Details
All rooms at the Nugget have refrigerators and safes. Room rates at the Nugget Casino Resort are $89 (single or double occupancy) with an additional $10 per person for up to four people per room. Room tax is currently 13.5%. There is also a $2 per day tourism tax added to each room.  When you book your reservation, one night’s stay will be charged to your credit card.
Included in the room rate is the hotel resort fee, which includes:
·      Round-trip shuttle transportation to and from Reno-Tahoe International Airport;
·      Complimentary wireless Internet in guestrooms;
·      Daily complimentary bottled water, 2 bottles per room per day;
·      Unlimited use of the year-round Atrium Pool;
·      Unlimited use of the Fitness Center;
·      Full service concierge; and
·      Valet and self-parking in the secured covered parking structure.
To make reservations via telephone, call 1-800-648-1177 and ask for group code GACB17. You may also make reservations online by visiting and following the 2017 conference and convention link.
Convention Contacts
2017 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2017 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059 or