by Cynthia Towers, Convention Coordinator

Elvis may not be around anymore, but don't you be missed at the 2005 convention to be held July 2-9 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Before I go into any more details about the convention, I thought I would give you a little history of the city you will be visiting. In 1829 Spanish explorers discovered the city and in 1905 the town of Las Vegas was established by the auctioning of land; the city was incorporated in 1911. The first commercial flight was in 1926 via Western Airlines. Today some 980 flights a day come into Las Vegas, 58 of which are direct flights from U.S. cities.

Las Vegas means "the meadows" in Spanish. It currently has a population of 478,000. There are some 122,000 slot machines to choose from and over 3,800 gaming tables. You have a choice of nearly 1,000 cabs to get you around to all those casinos. Do you feel lucky? Well, in 1997, Sue Henley, a Las Vegas construction inspector, won over $12 million on a Megabucks slot machine. It is the largest slot machine jackpot in history to date. And by 1998, annual gross gaming revenue in Nevada hit the $8.1 billion mark.

Well, the American Council of the Blind hopes that you will take one of those cabs to transport yourself to the 44th annual convention of this great organization. There are just a few details I want to advise you of at this time. Margie Donovan is in charge of dealing with the guide dog relief areas. She has recently returned from Las Vegas and has scoped out a few places that she feels might work. When you make your room reservations, if you are a guide dog user, you might want to request that you be placed in the Monaco Tower to give you the best vantage place for relieving your dog. There will be other relief areas as well. The other tower we will be in is the Monte Carlo. Both towers are in easy reach of the convention area where our meetings will be held.

By the time this Forum reaches you, we hope that the online reservation process will be in place. By going to the ACB web site, you will be able to reserve a room and place a deposit. This is a great convenience to our members, and the convention committee thanks the Riviera and ACB webmaster Earlene Hughes for making this possible. Until then, you can call the hotel directly at 1-800-634-6753. The room rates are $77 for singles and doubles, $87 for triples and $97 for quads with a 9 percent tax.

All of the usual plans for convention are coming along well. We hope to have over 100 vendors, the children enrolled in the YAC (Youth Activity Center) will have a wealth of places to go for amusement, and the tours will be comprised of some interesting venues, such as the Liberace museum, comedy clubs and our ever-popular city tour.

I wish you all the best that the holiday season can bring. As always, if you would like to reach me for convention-related questions, comments and/or concerns, you can do so at 1-800-474-3029 extension 00 or via e-mail, [email protected] Viva Las Vegas!

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