The Gateway to Success Is in St. Louis

The 2018 American Council of the Blind conference and convention will be held at the Union Station Hotel in historic St. Louis. Convention dates are Friday, June 29th through Friday, July 6th. The exhibit hall opens Saturday, June 30th, and will be open through Wednesday, July 4th. 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, June 30th and run through Wednesday, July 4th. Tech sessions offered by our business partners will begin on Saturday, June 30th. Our opening general session is Saturday evening, June 30th; morning sessions run Sunday through Wednesday. The all-day Thursday session will feature elections and ACB business.
Don’t miss the annual banquet Thursday evening, featuring the presentation of awards, “The ACB Braille Forum” raffle drawing, and Grammy Award-nominated Michael Cleveland who, along with guitarist Brian Allen, will play for us and regale us with tales of life on the road as blind musicians.
Welcome to Missouri Party
Join the MCB host committee Friday evening, June 30th, for the Welcome to Missouri party featuring Steve Schnelle and his band Timbucktu. The band plays music from the ‘60s to the present, from classic rock to modern country!
Start Your Day with Breakfast
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) will host a breakfast Sunday morning, July 1st. National Industries for the Blind will hold a breakfast Tuesday morning, July 3rd. Both breakfasts will feature speakers who will share information about their work.  Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) offers breakfast on Monday for GDB graduates and others interested in learning about guide dogs.
Indoor Navigation
Let indoor wayfinding technology be your guide around the hotel 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. This will be our 4th year providing LowViz Guide for attendees, and MD Support director Dan Roberts assures us that the technology gets better every year. Tech specialists Jerrod Witt and Joe Roberts will be on hand for support and assistance.
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, contact Lori Scharff, who will assist in making arrangements. Send her an e-mail with “interpreter for St. Louis” in the subject line at, or phone her at (516) 695-6370.
If you need a wheelchair or scooter during the convention, contact Janet Dickelman (651) 428-5059 or via email,
Convention Volunteers
Sally Benjamin, ACB’s volunteer coordinator, and the Missouri host committee are working to obtain volunteers to assist convention attendees at Union Station Hotel 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, please plan to attend the tour with a friend who can act as your guide, PCA or wheelchair pusher.
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 St. Louis, 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
Your cell phone number
You can send Margarine an e-mail with “airline information” in the subject line at, or call her at (512) 921-1625.
Transportation around St. Louis
Go Best Express is offering ACB a rate of $38.25 round trip from the airport; a taxi from the airport is $50 each way. To make your reservation by phone, call their 24/7 reservations department at (314) 222-5300 and provide our discount code, ACB2018.
You could also take Metrolink, St. Louis’ light rail system, from the airport to Union Station Hotel for $4.
Using Paratransit
To be certified to use paratransit in St. Louis, call Pat Hall at (314) 982-1525. You will need to provide proof of eligibility. The phone number to set up a ride is (314) 652-3617.
Ordering Dog Food
Scoop Masters will provide and maintain our dog relief areas. If you would like to preorder dog food to be delivered to your hotel room, call Tim Stone at 1-800-787-7667, or order online at There’s a form on the page that asks for your name, phone number, and the brand and type of food. Tim will call you for further details, and will accept payments at the hotel. Be sure to order your dog’s food by June 18th to ensure delivery.
Staying in Touch
The convention announce list will be filled with information! To subscribe to the list, send a blank e-mail to If you received updates for the 2017 convention, you’re already on the list; you need not subscribe again.
Hotel Details
Room rates at Union Station are $89; this rate applies for up to 2 people in a king room and up to 4 guests in a room with two queen beds. Room tax is currently 18.435%. Make telephone reservations by calling (314) 231-1234, and be sure to mention you are with the American Council of the Blind to obtain the convention rate. To make reservations online visit and follow the 2018 convention link for online reservations.
Convention Contacts
2018 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2018 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,