ACB in the Silver State: Golden Past, Diamond Future, by Sharon Lovering, Judy Jackson, Jenine Stanley, Paul Edwards, Marcia Dresser, and Ken Stewart

(Editor's Note: To listen to any convention session, go to www.acb.org/node/559 and select the session you'd like to hear from the menu on the left side of the page, then hit the enter key. You may also download the MP3 file by selecting the link for whichever day you want, hitting the context key or right-clicking on it with the mouse. Select "save target as" and then hit enter.)

ACB celebrated its 50th anniversary with a look at its past and its future with a variety of speakers, historical glimpses from past presidents, and gems from its present.

** SUNDAY

"Ladies and gentlemen, let me call the 50th annual conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind to order!" stated Mitch Pomerantz, ACB president. "Our theme is apropos: ACB in the Silver State: Golden Past, Diamond Future. And this week you'll learn about our past and you'll find out about our future."

Mayor Geno Martini of Sparks, Nev., welcomed attendees. "It's such a great honor, especially now that I know this is your 50th convention, I think it's wonderful that you chose the city of Sparks to hold it," he said.

Rick Kuhlmey, president of the Nevada Council of the Blind and co-chair of the local host committee, spoke next. "It is indeed an honor and a pleasure to be here and to welcome you to the state of Nevada," he said. "Nevada is proud to host this convention and conference, and we know you're going to enjoy it."

Following the welcomes, Pomerantz gave his annual president's report. (To read the report, see September's issue, as well as this issue and the December issue.) He noted the recent passing of Hollis Liggett, and concluded with reading the names of the charter members.

With a cue from Pomerantz, the sound booth rolled a tape of past president Reese Robrahn (1966-1972) from the 25th annual convention in 1986. "I was the first treasurer, second president of ACB," Robrahn said. "As president of ACB I had the privilege of experiencing opportunities which never otherwise would I have been able to enjoy."

The convention next heard from Gilles Pepin, chief executive officer of HumanWare Inc. He congratulated ACB on its great work over the last 50 years. "In 1961, technologies available to visually impaired people were limited and pretty expensive," Pepin said. "The basic technology kit for a visually impaired person was mainly composed of a white cane, a Perkins brailler, probably a slate and stylus, and if lucky, a tape recorder."

With the budget crisis, everyone has been cutting funding for access technology, he noted. "I believe the current level of funding available ... is too low, and could bring us longer term in a vicious cycle where many visually impaired people will have difficulty acquiring the proper equipment, having an impact on their ability to get the necessary education or a job, which in turn could potentially weaken the old assistive technology sector." And the consequence would be the gap between mainstream and assistive technology growing larger.

"I'm often being asked what the next big thing will be in assistive technology," he said. "And I'm really struggling finding a good answer to this important question. ... The trend that I see is more about our ability to put more processing power, more memory and more efficiency in a form factor that is more mobile."

Allen Casey, chairman of the Durward K. McDaniel Committee, introduced this year's first-timers: Darrin Cheney from Idaho and Michael Golfo from New York. Then Pomerantz moved on to life membership presentations. New life members include: Sandy Wilbur, Cincinnati, Ohio; Dan Dillon, Hermitage, Tenn.; Allena Eller, Troutman, N.C.; Barbara Lacy, Raleigh, N.C.; Ken Jessup, Virginia Beach, Va.; Edwin Rumsey, Houston, Tex.; Loretta Welch, Butler, Mo.; Ida Scotti, Festus, Mo.; Alison Smitherman, Jackson, Miss.; John Bancroft, San Francisco, Calif.; and Sarah LaPrade, Tupelo, Miss.

Ron Milliman updated the convention on the progress of the Monthly Monetary Support Program. Pomerantz then introduced Carl Augusto and Paul Schroeder from the American Foundation for the Blind, who presented ACB with an Access Award.

Following the award presentation, Jean Mann gave the first credentials committee report. She thanked the affiliates who sent their membership lists in on time, and reminded everyone that the deadline was March 15. "I just want to remind all of you to please let us know if you have problems," Mann said. "Get in touch with Sharon in the national office, get in touch with me or whoever the next chairperson may be. We're more than willing to work with you, and we want to know what's going on."

The session ended with the roll call of affiliates and the presentation of a charter to the Idaho Council of the Blind.

** MONDAY

Monday began with the conducting of ACB business. New this year were presentations by the conference's ruby sponsors. First to present was Dr. Joseph Hull of Vanda Pharmaceuticals, who provided an update on some of the findings about sleep disorders that Vanda has made. The credentials report was adopted with no penalties for any affiliate. Both the standing rules and the convention program were adopted. Kim Charlson was then introduced as presiding officer for Monday.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, recordings of former ACB presidents were played. Oral Miller provided details of his life and career. Then it was time for awards. Paul Edwards, chair of the board of publications, presented three awards. The Hollis Liggett Award, which recognizes affiliate newsletters, went to Washington state and was accepted by Denise Colley. The Vernon Henley Media Award went to Major League Baseball for its efforts to make its web site and audio player more accessible to people who are blind. The Ned E. Freeman Award went to Carmella Broome for an article she published in "The Braille Forum" concerning her efforts to record a book she had written about her experiences in college.

Cindy Van Winkle then presented several awards. The Nevada Council of the Blind, which grew by 78.9 percent, received the Affiliate Growth Award. Rick Kuhlmey, president, said the affiliate worked hard to find new people and even waylaid folks shopping in malls to try to persuade them to join. Also receiving an Affiliate Growth Award was the Utah Council of the Blind, which managed to get 247 new members last year. Linda Collins, president, indicated that part of their success lay in the fact that they had an AmeriCorps grant which allowed them to go to visit people who are blind throughout Utah. They also have transportation coupons and coupons for readers. The awards committee did not present an outreach award this year; Van Winkle urged affiliates and chapters to go back and reach out to the community and tell the awards committee about their efforts.

The George Card Award goes to a person who has made significant contributions to the success of people who are blind. The recipient this year is Pratik Patel, chair of the information access committee and someone who has worked closely with the staff of ACB to forward our efforts to get more cooperation from organizations like Google, Microsoft and Apple. Patel indicated that his committee was being recognized as much as he was and thanked them for their hard work. He stated that he worked on these issues because he cared deeply about increasing access to technology for people who are blind.

After the awards presentations came Chris Driggs, an archivist from Carson City, Nev. He told the story of how Nevada became a state in 1864.

Dr. Francisco Lima, a university professor from Brazil, was our international speaker this year. Brazil is larger than the U.S. minus Alaska and is the fifth largest country by population in the world. He spoke about the high unemployment rate and the poor education. He reviewed some of the disability history in Brazil. The minimum wage is about $250 a month, so it is difficult to get expensive devices. Audio description is now being provided in Brazil; companies with 100 employees are expected to hire at least two who are disabled. Lima indicated that we should all fight for human rights, and we must work to create opportunities for everyone in our world.

Following Francisco Lima, we heard a brief presentation from John Ascuaga, owner of the Nugget Hotel, who welcomed us and told us that he had grown up on a farm in Idaho, was 5 feet 4 inches tall and was proud to welcome us to Sparks, Nev.

Jim Kutsch, president of The Seeing Eye, presented ACB with a plaque recognizing our 50th anniversary, which Mitch Pomerantz accepted.

Next on the program was a panel of people to talk about ACB's past. M.J. Schmitt, who was in Kansas City in 1961, focused on the difference between ACB and NFB. She said that we in ACB are democratic while NFB is a top-down organization where people are told what to do by the leadership. She described the time when ACB was formed as a terrible time where people's children were told they could not play with their best friends if their parents were on different sides. She said that most of the dissidents would like to have stayed in the NFB if it could have been democratized. Phyllis Burson is the wife of the late Brad Burson, who was an active member of the Federation at the time of the secession. Phyllis indicated that Brad tried hard to get the Federation involved in an employment project for blind people but, because of his opposition to the leadership, that project was not carried through. Phyllis ended by saying that Brad was fond of telling people that the most important thing they could do with their lives was to "agitate! agitate! agitate!" He felt people should spend their lives working on things that would better the lives of everyone. Michael Byington was the son of Jack and Bonnie Byington, who were charter members of ACB from Kansas. Michael was only 7 in 1961 but has vivid memories of his very articulate parents' discussions of the events surrounding the creation of ACB. He paid tribute to Reese Robrahn and Brad Burson, who were both mentors to him, and indicated that one of the reasons ACB was created concerned not fundamental differences in philosophy, but because of disagreement over how an organization of people who are blind should be governed.

Eric Bridges, director of advocacy and governmental affairs, provided a report on the last year of legislation. On Oct. 8th, S. 3304, the 21st Century Video and Accessibility Act, was signed at the White House. Bridges said that this is the most significant law to pass since the ADA and that ACB should be very proud of its role. After the passage of the law, emphasis has shifted to the regulatory arena where ACB has made comments on three notices of proposed rule-making this year. He indicated that Apple's efforts to produce accessibility for its products, particularly the iPhone, have been an example because most people thought that accessibility to a touch screen for blind people was something that could not be created. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act also passed in December and will go a long way to making people who are blind safer as work is done on quiet car warnings.

Resolutions concerning technology at our 2010 convention have resulted in ACB reaching out to Google, Microsoft, Apple, Sprint and Facebook. Google has recognized that it has problems and is actively working with ACB to identify and solve them. Google is a ruby sponsor and will be working with ACB to conduct a survey on how blind people access technology or how they do not. The survey was Google's idea. Facebook is working with ACB to do better but has a long way to go. Progress has been made with Sprint as well. Sprint has developed roadmaps for their handset manufacturers concerning accessibility and has made a commitment to work on doing better. Change won't happen overnight, but Bridges believed that our engagement with all these companies was bearing fruit. Oral Miller stated that this year the Recreation Zone information was all together in one place in the program. Activities include exercise, audible darts, and golf.

** TUESDAY

This session of the ACB national conference and convention was sponsored by Adobe Systems. Patrick Sheehan presented the nominating committee's report, proposing the following slate of candidates: president, Mitch Pomerantz; first vice president, Kim Charlson; second vice president, Brenda Dillon; secretary, Marlaina Lieberg; treasurer, Carla Ruschival.

Susan Crawford from the U.S. Department of Justice spoke about the settlement agreement reached with Wells Fargo in May. In it, Wells Fargo has agreed to comply with the ADA in physical accessibility, web site access and provision of financial information in alternative formats. There is also a monetary relief fund of $16 million, the largest settlement agreement under the ADA thus far. If you believe that you have experienced discrimination due to disability by Wells Fargo or Wachovia, contact the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division: e-mail wfclaims@usdoj.gov, phone 1-866-708-1273. All claims must be received by Jan. 29, 2012.

Otis Stephens, chair of the constitution and bylaws committee, presented the first reading of a proposed constitutional amendment and bylaw to provide for secret ballot voting.

Pomerantz turned the convention over to ACB's second vice president, Brenda Dillon, who proudly introduced a segment featuring past president Otis Stephens (1987-1989).

A highlight of Tuesday's proceedings is always the introduction of scholarship winners. Patty Slaby, chair of the scholarship committee, did the honors. The winners are:

Floyd Qualls Memorial Scholarships
Michelle Hackman
Michael Jernigan
Samuel Muwanguzi

William G. Corey Memorial Scholarship
Hayden Dahmm

Kellie Cannon Memorial Scholarship
Corey Kadlik

Arnold Sadler Memorial Scholarship
Kate Kataluk

Eunice Fiorito Memorial Scholarship
Caitlyn Lynch

National Industries for the Blind Grant M. Mack Memorial Scholarship
Eric Chandler Whittington

Dr. S. Bradley Burson Memorial Science Scholarship
Sara Conrad

John Hebner Memorial Scholarship
Patricia Kepler

Bay State Council of the Blind Scholarship
Morgayne Mulkern

James R. Olsen Memorial Scholarship
Noah Beckman

Duane Buckley Memorial Scholarship
Rose Martin

Ross N. and Patricia Pangere Scholarships
Ryan Beyer
Paulette Monthei

Jeff Lovitky, the attorney assisting ACB, updated the audience on progress made toward accessible currency. In May of 2010 a notice of proposed rule-making in the Federal Register stated that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was making the following recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury to comply with the court order to provide accessible currency: 1. Put a tactile feature on each bill; 2. Provide currency readers free of charge to blind and visually impaired Americans; and 3. Continue to do research on making currency accessible. A tactile feature will be incorporated into future redesigns of currency. ACB is committed to seeing this process through.

Dillon next introduced a panel spotlighting ACB's present through the work of its various committees. Each of the presenters and contact information for their committees can be found on the ACB web site.

Pratik Patel, chair of the information access committee, explained how issues come to the committee's attention, often from reports that come into the ACB national office. He noted that one of the more frustrating access issues still involves the use of captchas, visual solutions as part of log-in screens or other access to web content. Access to web sites in general, including social networking sites, is high on the committee's agenda. Two resolutions dealing with information access have been proposed this year involving Netflix and access to applications for mobile platforms.

Peggy Garrett proudly announced that this is also the 25th anniversary of the multicultural affairs committee. The committee represents members of minority ethnicities facing discrimination. They hold a luncheon and several social activities during each year's conference. Garrett noted that ACB's diversity is what allows us to assist so many blind and visually impaired people, and encouraged everyone to become involved with the committee.

Paul Edwards began his presentation by thanking Debbie Grubb, chair of the environmental access committee, for her tireless work with ACB. The committee has worked for the past two years to produce a revised edition of ACB's Pedestrian Safety Handbook. He also announced two significant initiatives of the board of publications, the redesign of the ACB web site and the availability of "The Braille Forum" in a BARD format for playing on NLS machines. The Forum will also be available soon on the BARD and Web Braille web sites.

Cindy Van Winkle then asked everyone to look at what they get out of ACB and remember that in order to get something, one must give something. She encouraged everyone to offer their resources (time, talent or financial) to help ACB create a diamond future.

The session ended with a report from Ruth Scovill, acting director, and Michael Katzmann, chief of the Materials Development Division, National Library Service for the Blind. NLS celebrated its 80th anniversary earlier in 2011. As of July 4, 2,679,493 copies of 6,121 digital titles have been distributed to cooperating regional libraries. 400,000 digital players have been produced. Over 21,000 titles have been added to the BARD site.

The popular BARD web site is undergoing some changes. The Web Braille service will be incorporated into the BARD site by the end of 2011. Currently there are over 10,000 books and magazines available via Web Braille and over 1,500 music scores for voice, piano and guitar plus other types of music-related items.

NLS continues production of foreign-language titles, with 60 Spanish titles produced in 2011 and 75 slated for 2012. Other languages soon to appear on BARD include Russian, Arabic, Mandarin, French, German, Polish, Portuguese and Ukrainian.

In 2011, over 200 commercial audio titles were made available on BARD. Next year NLS will investigate limited use of synthetic speech as well as other types of audio content. Regarding the electronic publishing industry, NLS and those working on standards expect that the DAISY standard will yield to the new EPUB format but accessibility will only come through advocacy from groups like ACB. Goals for 2012 include daily uploading of material to the BARD site once approved, outreach and development of applications for Android and iPhone platforms.

** WEDNESDAY

Wednesday began with the adoption of a change that will require ACB to implement a secret ballot starting next year. A bylaw amendment was also adopted that indicates that we will use a paper ballot. The gavel was then passed to Marlaina Lieberg, ACB's secretary, who introduced the past president segment. LeRoy Saunders provided a history of his life, which began in Virginia where he became superintendent of a workshop in Charlottesville. He moved to Oklahoma and only after taking over as director of the Oklahoma League for the Blind did LeRoy become actively involved in ACB. He indicated that he was proud of the independence he has always sought to maintain and has truly enjoyed all the work he has done for ACB and with the Committee for Purchase where he served for 10 years.

The first panel dealt with privacy and access to medical information. Dr. Chris Cooke, a naturopathic physician who also is visually impaired, provided basic information about patients' rights to privacy and talked about how she as a doctor had to set up a secure online system in order to protect information. Paula Perlman suggested that people request HIPAA forms in advance and fill them out before going to the doctor. She stressed that people are not required to bring someone with them to fill out forms and that offices ought to provide a private place for filling out medical history forms. She indicated that we have the right to ask that medical information be shared electronically and said we should be sure that information is sent to our home e-mail addresses. Titles II and III of the ADA and many other laws do create rights. She suggested writing in advance to the hospital or health care provider describing the particular accommodations you need. She stressed that we are not asking for favors. We have the right to these protections and to accommodations. The materials handed out at this session are available at www.disabilityrightslegalcenter.org.

The next panel concerned safety inside and outside the home. Dr. Wendy David urged people to read her book "Safe Without Sight," which is available from the National Braille Press and still relevant 14 years after publication. She indicated that we must all develop inner confidence so that we can avoid feeling as vulnerable as we otherwise might. There are six specific things we can do to feel and be safer which Wendy described. Together they spell the word safety; they are survival instinct, awareness, fake it 'til you make it, empowerment, trust and yell. Tracey Hawkins owns a security business in Missouri. Her presentation included 5 assignments. First, call for a police safety inspection. Second, examine your house as if you were a criminal. Third, know your neighbors. Fourth, develop a safety plan. Fifth, prepare for and practice a fire safety escape.

Kristen Allison from Talking Book Publishers was this year's narrator. She paid tribute to many other readers from whom she had learned and indicated that she was glad to have worked as a monitor before starting to read so that she could observe others' techniques. Allison read from a new vampire book and then took questions from the audience.

Next up was a panel on ACB's future. Sara Conrad, president of the National Alliance of Blind Students, said that encouraging student participation is crucial. She indicated that we could work for ways to help students financially to be involved in ACB. She urged us to create a system that would nurture students by creating mentors. Conrad suggested that we were not doing enough to provide programming that is attractive to students. Suzanne Whalen is a recent member who is now president of the ACB affiliate in Dallas, Tex. and was formerly an NFB leader. At the heart of what she said is the fact that ACB has the integrity and independence to represent people who are blind while the Federation is more like an agency, given all the projects it is funding and running to train people who are blind. Whalen indicated that we must be sure that state and local officials hear our points of view and our approach. She indicated that it had taken her a long time to see the light, but now "I am home and will do anything I can to work with the ACB to make things better for people who are blind." Kenneth Semien Sr. says that when we are looking at ACB's diamond future, we should look at the diamond and create an organization that sparkles, is appealing and is valuable. Semien listed a number of articles he had written that will help ACB achieve that diamond future if we take the steps he outlines.

Joel Snyder described the current state of ACB's Audio Description Project. Our institute where we train describers (taking place this week) has a record number of participants. We recently received a large grant from the Department of Education which we will be operating in conjunction with the Smith-Kettlewell Institute in San Francisco. In August, we will be conducting an audio-described tour of the White House. Snyder indicated that he needs more volunteers to work on audio description and asked that people contact him through the national office. Chris Gray then presented a number of audio description awards.

** THURSDAY

Margarine Beaman recognized all of the convention sponsors, and introduced Naomi Black, who is part of the accessibility engineering team at Google. Black said that Google is committed to making all of its products accessible to everyone, and everyone who works at Google has a role in this effort. Google's philosophy is to launch their products early, before they are set in stone, so that changes can be made based on feedback from consumers. She acknowledged that the accessibility of docx, apps, Gmail, and Android need a great deal of improvement. She urged everyone to visit www.google.com/accessibility and go to the feedback link and post comments about Google's products.

Next, Carla Ruschival described the new golden anniversary banners, which commemorate all of the places where ACB has held conventions since 1962.

Otis Stephens gave the first reading of a proposed amendment to Bylaw 3. Resolutions committee chair Judy Jackson presented Resolution 2011-01 affirming ACB's support of an international copyright treaty which would make it easier for people with print disabilities to share materials in accessible formats with qualifying people overseas. Following a short discussion, the resolution was adopted.

Outgoing ACB treasurer Mike Godino presided for the rest of the morning. Berl Colley, who is spearheading the ACB Oral History Project, presented a recording of reflections from Paul Edwards, ACB president from 1995-2001. Next, Godino introduced Michelle Woods, who runs the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office, a division of the Library of Congress. For the last two years, Woods has been part of the U.S. delegation to WIPO regarding matters of copyright. The first goal in crafting an international treaty is to provide more national exceptions; currently, only 55 of the 147 WIPO member countries have laws to provide material in accessible formats. Second, it would be very helpful if these exceptions laws were more uniform in nature. Third, it is crucial to allow cross-border transfer so that more books would be available in more languages, which would help to reduce the access to knowledge gap in developing countries. Woods outlined the difficulties inherent in the process, and concluded by summarizing the meeting on the international treaty which was held in Geneva in June.

Judy Dixon, director of consumer relations at the National Library Service and the chair of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), spoke next. BANA has just drafted new guidelines for the development of tactile graphics, which should be released shortly. Guidelines for foreign language are almost completed, and braille formats guidelines will be available next year. Braille production costs must be reduced. Children's textbooks are increasingly visual, with many icons and symbols which must be recognizable in braille. Everyone needs increased access to technology. Therefore, for many reasons, braille must change with the times. Two systems, UEBC and NUBS, have been proposed which would combine all of the existing braille codes into one code. Neither system has been adopted in the U.S. Any changes to the braille code will be implemented gradually, with much planning and forethought, and there will be no major changes to the formatting rules currently in use. Dixon urged those who love braille to use it every day, and to ask for braille wherever you go. Patronize companies and restaurants that give access to braille statements, manuals, and menus, and express appreciation for these services. Make it a personal goal to do one thing each month to promote braille. Everyone should learn as much as possible about how braille is used and why change is necessary, and figure out what you think should be done to meet the challenges of today. For the latest information on BANA, visit www.brailleauthority.org.

Next, executive director Melanie Brunson gave her report. New staff has been hired in the D.C. and Minneapolis offices. Dionne Matthews is Melanie's new administrative assistant, and Steven Obremski is the new director of development, who is developing plans to increase and diversify ACB's sources of revenue. He hopes to work with affiliates requiring fundraising assistance, and to enlist the aid of affiliates to increase ACB's participation in the Combined Federal Campaign. A great deal of effort has gone into implementing the resolutions passed at the 2010 convention, especially in the area of technology. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is committed to providing accessible currency in the near future. The Social Security Administration is providing beneficiaries with statements in accessible formats; anyone having difficulty obtaining these should contact the national office. The implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is being closely monitored. Efforts are under way in the Senate to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act and the Rehabilitation Act. ACB is collaborating with other blindness organizations to make sure that our issues are addressed when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is reauthorized. Brunson is passionate about the right of everyone to read in their format of choice, and she is very appreciative of the work of the U.S. delegation to WIPO. Brunson, Pomerantz, and Lieberg have created a new show on ACB Radio called "ACB Coast to Coast"; be sure to check it out! Despite technology glitches, ACB is always working to improve the efficiency of communications, and Brunson wants to hear from ACB members with any ideas or concerns. She concluded by saying that every person can make a difference, and that our work is not finished. "Fifty more years, fifty more bills, at least!"

Carol Ewing announced that Valley Braille in Nevada will donate $1,000 worth of transcribing braille to the 2012 ACB convention. Pomerantz stated that eight nations in addition to the U.S. were represented at this convention.

Following the break, treasurer Mike Godino gave his report. He thanked the chairs of the committees for which he served as liaison. The 2010 audit is complete. ACB received $2,321,198 in revenues, and incurred expenses of $1,521,163. As of the end of 2010, ACB's total assets were $2,229,568. Godino thanked everyone who switched their Forum subscriptions to e-mail, and he thanked all those who worked with him during the past six years.

Michael Garrett, chair of the ACB Enterprises and Services (ACBES) board thanked the board members and Minneapolis staff who work with him and briefly explained what ACBES is and what it does. He stated that, due to the poor economy, one thrift store had to be closed; the remaining six stores are doing as well as can be expected. A business plan has been developed with the goal of expansion of the program, thereby increasing revenue for ACB.

Next, Carla Ruschival thanked the members of the convention committee, the local host committee, and the volunteers. Pre-registration was up from last year. The 2012 convention will be held at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky., with rates of $85 per night single/double for a regular room, and $105 per night single/double for a suite. The 2013 and 2014 conventions will be held in Columbus, Ohio and Las Vegas, respectively. Ruschival announced that although she will very much miss it, she is stepping down as convention coordinator, and Janet Dickelman is assuming this role.

The ACB auction netted $27,715; the walkathon raised approximately $25,000. Trophies were awarded to the individuals, affiliates, and teams raising the most money for the walk/run.

** FRIDAY

Friday was a day for conducting officer elections and acting on resolutions not already considered. All officers and members of the board of directors serve two-year terms. All director terms end in even-numbered years, and all officers are elected in odd-numbered years. Officers and directors are limited to three consecutive terms, but only treasurer Mike Godino was completing his final term. All officers who could serve another term ran for re-election and were unopposed. Carla Ruschival from Kentucky was placed on the slate by the nominating committee earlier in the week for the treasurer position, and John McCann from Virginia was nominated from the floor. After each candidate identified two speakers, those presentations were made, Patrick Sheehan and Jeff Thom for Ruschival and Billie Jean Keith and Sandra Sermons for McCann. Then members present in the hall cast a vote for one of the candidates by standing when that name was called. After that, the official delegate for each affiliate present was called in alphabetical order to announce its vote. Ruschival received about two-thirds of the votes cast, and was declared the next treasurer of the organization.

Earlier in the session, the body heard a recorded autobiographical presentation by immediate past president Christopher Gray. He described his college and graduate school education, highlights from his personal life, and his many important roles in the organization, which include member of the board of directors, chair of the board of publications, and president from 2001 to 2007.

Prior to elections, constitution and bylaws committee chair Otis Stephens reported one more proposed bylaw change. It concerned modifying the dues structure as applied to those who are members of both state and special-interest affiliates. The proposed amendment was soundly defeated by voice vote.

After elections, many more resolutions were presented by Judy Jackson, assisted by Paul Edwards. The full text of resolutions adopted will be placed on the web site, www.acb.org, and can also be requested by contacting the national office. The afternoon's business ended on a positive note with resolutions expressing appreciation to the wonderfully helpful volunteers and others who contributed extraordinarily to the success of the conference and convention. Laudatory comments about the hotel staff were abundant!

The Friday evening festivities began with a reception for life members. Later, at the banquet, attendees were delighted with an entertaining mock "Jeopardy" quiz show with the answer-question material drawing on ACB history. The winner was Roger Petersen, who edged out the other three who volunteered to participate, Becky Barnes, Paul Edwards, and Karla Westjohn.