Sparks of Excitement Will Light Up the Sky in Reno

by Janet Dickelman

Excitement is building for the 2017 conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind. Sparks’ motto is “It’s Happening Here,” and that will certainly be the case when ACB visits in July. Summers in Sparks are beautiful, with very low humidity. Daytime temperatures could be in the 90s; it cools down to the 50s at night!
In this article, you will find a listing of convention activities by day, information about ordering dog food, and how to arrange for airport assistance upon your arrival in Reno. To save space, affiliates and committees will only be mentioned on their first scheduled day of programming. Most affiliates and committees will hold several days of programming. I apologize to any affiliate or committee whose information may not be included in this list. Sessions are still in the planning stages for some affiliates and committees. All affiliate and committee information will be shown in the conference and convention program. 

Friday, June 30

ACB tours
Convention registration: Registration opens at 8 a.m. for pre-registration pick-up only. After 11 a.m., registration will open for those of you who have not yet registered. Note: Registration will follow the same schedule on Saturday and Sunday.
ACB pre-convention board meeting begins at 9 a.m. 
Leadership training
Dinner for student scholarship winners
Students’ welcome party
Welcome to Nevada Party
ACB Lions Milly’s Place Pin Swap


Saturday, July 1

Let the Sparks Fly at the ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk
ACB tours
Exhibit hall open from 1 to 5 p.m.
Tech user groups and product spotlights (tech sessions will continue through Wednesday)
Programming for students, blind vendors, information technology specialists, citizens with low vision and diabetics 
Sports Fanatics’ Luncheon
Scholarship Winners’ Luncheon
Keys to the Convention seminar
Catholic Mass and interdenominational service
Mixers held by government employees (ACBGE), Friends-in-Art (FIA), Blind LGBT Pride (BPI) and CCLVI.
ACB opening keynote general session at 7 p.m.


Sunday, July 2

Teachers breakfast
General session runs from 8:30 a.m. ‘til noon
Exhibit hall open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Special meetings and activities for attorneys, Blind Pride, guide dog users, library users, women’s concerns, rehab task force, and multicultural concerns lunch and program
Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss luncheon and program
ACB tours
ACB Recreation Zone (healthy and fun options also on Wednesday) 
Evening activities include CCLVI game night, RSVA karaoke, mixers for SASI (sight and sound impaired committee) and BITS (Blind Information Technology Specialists), and prose and poetry reading.


Monday, July 3

General session 8:30 a.m.-noon
Exhibit hall open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Special meetings and activities for braille users and supporters of braille
International relations committee luncheon featuring voices from around the world
ACB tours
Monday evening, join ACB for the “Sparks of Enthusiasm” auction.


Tuesday, July 4

General session 8:30 a.m.-noon
Exhibit hall open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Mixers for AAVL and MCAC
ACB Diabetics in Action luncheon and business meeting
Visually Impaired Veterans of America luncheon
Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs luncheon and small business expo
ACB tours
Evening activities:
ACB Families Bingo and Friends-In-Art Showcase of the Performing Arts


Wednesday, July 5

General session 8:30 a.m.-noon
Exhibit hall open from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
ACB tours
ACB membership seminar and board of publications workshops 
ACB Radio Amateurs meeting
Affiliate presidents’ meeting 
DKM First-Timers reception
ACB movie night
Students’ comedy night


Thursday, July 6

ACB all-day business session 
ACB banquet


Friday, July 7

Final ACB tours


Ordering Dog Food

Scoop Masters will be maintaining our dog relief areas at the Hyatt. Again this year, they are offering you the opportunity to order dog food delivered to your hotel room. To order your dog’s food, visit, or call Tim at 1-800-787-7667. The deadline for ordering food is June 20th.


Assistance at the Airport

We all know how hectic it can be at the airport. If you would like assistance at the airport, to assist airline personnel and Margarine Beaman and her cadre of airport volunteers, please send Margarine an email with “airline information” in the subject line at, or call her at (512) 921-1625.
Please be sure to include all the following information in your message to Margarine:
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 and time
Your cell phone number


Staying Connected

Once again this year, 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 email? 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 covers:
·        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
·        Valet and self-parking in the secure, 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 via email,