by Janet Dickelman
The 2016 American Council of the Blind conference and convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency in beautiful downtown Minneapolis. There are numerous restaurants within a few blocks of the hotel. The Hyatt also has great food options right in the hotel. Convention dates are Friday, July 1st through Saturday, July 9th. The exhibit hall will be open Saturday, July 2nd through Wednesday, July 6th. It will feature 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 2nd and run through Thursday, July 7th. Tech sessions offered by our business partners will begin on Saturday, July 2nd. Our opening general session is Sunday evening, July 3rd; morning general sessions run Monday through Thursday. Friday’s session runs all day, and will feature elections and ACB business. Don’t miss the annual banquet Friday evening, featuring presentation of ACB awards, “The ACB Braille Forum” raffle drawing and an exciting speaker!
As you make plans for Minneapolis, this article will focus on information that will enhance your convention experience.
Navigating the Hyatt
Macular Degeneration Support will again provide indoor navigation technology for attendees at this year’s ACB conference and convention in Minneapolis. The guidance system works by sending audible instructions and location descriptions to iDevices (iPhone 4S or later and iPad 4 or later). The information is electronically transmitted by beacons placed at meeting rooms, restrooms, elevators, and other locations throughout the Hyatt. If you are planning to use MD Support’s LowViz Guide at this year’s convention, you’ll need to know your Apple Store ID and password in order to download the LowViz Guide. To download the app, receive additional information, or for step-by-step instructions, visit www.mdsupport.org/audioguide. LowViz Guide indoor navigation is made possible by grants from Macular Degeneration Foundation and Genentech, Inc.
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 her an e-mail with “interpreter for Minneapolis” in the subject line at [email protected]. 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 [email protected].
Sally Benjamin, ACB volunteer coordinator, and the Minneapolis host committee are working to obtain volunteers to assist convention attendees at the Hyatt 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 Minneapolis, please submit the following information.
The name of the airline you will be arriving on
Your departure city
Arrival flight number
Arrival date and time
Cell phone number
You can send Margarine an e-mail with “airline information” in the subject line at [email protected], or call her at (512) 921-1625.
Transportation around Minneapolis
A taxi from Minneapolis (MSP) airport will cost approximately $45. SuperShuttle is offering ACB a discounted fare from the airport of $16.60 one way and $27.20 round trip. Call 1-800-258-3856 to make reservations or online at http://groups.supershuttle.com/acb.html. Lift-equipped vans are available, but need to be requested in advance. Make certain to mention you are with ACB and be prepared to provide the information shown above in the “airport assistance” section of this article.
If you would like to use paratransit in Minneapolis, call (651) 602-1111. Additional information regarding paratransit can be found in the November 2015 issue of the Forum. Please note the correct phone number for certification is (651) 602-1111.
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 [email protected]. 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.
Room rates at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis are $89 single or double. There is an additional $10 per night charge per person for up to four people in a room. Applicable state and local taxes are currently 13.4%. For reservations by telephone, call Central Reservations at 1-888-421-1442, and be sure to mention that you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate. To make reservations online, visit www.acb.org and follow the 2016 convention link.
2016 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,[email protected]
2016 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,[email protected]
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman at (651) 428-5059, or via e-mail, [email protected].