Affiliate News: Convention Sneak Preview

** Calling All Radio Amateurs!

The American Council of Blind Radio Amateurs (ACBRA) invites you to hang out with fellow hams this summer at the ACB conference and convention in Reno. If you're not a ham, here's your chance to discover what the hobby is all about.

Throughout the week, we'll meet informally on 147.48 MHz simplex, so be sure to bring your HT. On Thursday, July 14, we'll hold our annual business meeting from 1:15 to 2:30 (see the convention program for the exact location). Once again this year, a lucky ham will win a Wouxon dual-band handheld transceiver, so make sure you buy at least one ticket so you can be eligible to participate in the drawing. You don't have to be an ACBRA member to buy a ticket, but you will need a valid amateur call. The winner will be announced at our Thursday afternoon meeting, but you don't have to be present to win.

We look forward to seeing you this summer in Reno!

** BITS Convention Bytes

You won't want to miss the BITS program at ACB's 50th anniversary convention celebration! Sunday morning's opening session will feature "Computers, the Present and the Future: Which System Is Right for You?" presented by Tom Jones, Renee Zelickson, Steve Holmes, and Richard Villa; "Using PDF, Advocating for Enhanced Accessibility," Pete De Vasto, Accessibility Engineer from Adobe Systems; and the BITS vendor showcase.

Monday afternoon will feature "Cloud Computing: How It Is Used in a Business Environment," presented by Matthew Villa, applications architect from Twentieth Century Fox; and "Accessible Cloud Computing for Consumers and IT Professionals," presented by Ricky Enger, executive team, Serotek.

Our Tuesday luncheon speaker will be Kelly Ford, senior lead software design engineer for Microsoft, who will tell us about social networking, your user settings, and best practices for security.

Select the BITS package on your convention registration form, and you will receive your BITS registration; a ticket to hospitality ("Bytes with BITS") on Monday evening; a ticket to the BITS luncheon; and a chance to win an iPad 2.

** Got Low Vision?

The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) would like to share some of the highlights of its 2011 convention program.

Sunday, July 10 at 4 p.m.

CCLVI Mixer: An afternoon of fun, food, friendship, and door prizes! Catch up with old friends and make new ones. Meet this year's scholarship winners and learn what we have in store for the rest of the convention!

Monday, July 11 at 7 p.m.

Take Me Out To The Ball game: A new twist on an old favorite – Kathy Casey and Richard Rueda co-host this fun-filled evening of trivia, trivia, and more trivia ... and prizes! We'll cover a wide variety of topics, including, but not limited to sports, music, and general knowledge. And we'll serve up some ballpark favorites: hot dogs with toppings, freshly popped popcorn, ice cream bars, bubble gum, and assorted soft drinks!

Wednesday, July 13 at 1:15 p.m.

Going Blind: CCLVI is proud to present the film "Going Blind: Coming Out of the Dark about Vision Loss." Join us as we screen an audio-described version of the film that is being talked about across the country. Both educational and thought-provoking, this film presents a view of vision loss as seen from a variety of perspectives. Please stay with us after the film for a lively discussion ... and door prizes!

** Piano Tuners Returning to Convention

Piano technicians from around the country will be attending the ACB convention in Reno this summer to take advantage of the learning opportunities with IVIE (Independent Visually Impaired Enterprisers). Along with the IVIE business activities, panels and discussions, you will find piano technicians all week at a booth in the exhibit hall who are ready to answer your questions about pianos, hand out piano technology information and promote the viable profession of piano tuning. Information will also be located in your convention program and in the daily newspaper letting you know our schedule for our special planned classroom introduction.

For years, blind people have gravitated away from the piano tuning profession into computer and tech fields. Proportionally, the sighted piano technician population has increased. Only 1 percent of the Piano Technicians Guild members are visually impaired. Our goal is to alert visually impaired people that piano tuning is still a very profitable and viable business, especially if you figure the hourly income. There are some technicians that work only a few hours a week and bring home $3,000 a month. Tuning is not just for the sighted!

Several of us would like to start a piano technicians' chapter within IVIE. Whether you are a part-time or full-time piano technician, please come and join the group. Your participation will encourage a chapter which will promote the profession of piano technology and jobs for the blind.

For more information concerning piano tuning and technology, and our activities at the convention, please call Loren Buntemeyer at (785) 842-1370 or send e-mail to lbuntemeyer@ku.edu. Please note in subject line: tuning ACB convention.

** RSVA Celebrates 75 Years of Excellence

This year's theme is: "75 Years of Excellence." RSVA starts its activities on Saturday, July 9 with its pre-convention board meeting at 3 p.m. On Sunday, July 10, we have a full day of programs. The schedule includes: a welcome from Dan Sippl, RSVA president; a panel focusing on roadside rest area issues, moderated by Roy Harmon; and a "Randolph-Sheppard Update" given by Daniel B. Frye, J.D., Management and Program Specialist, Randolph-Sheppard Programs, RSA.

Dawn Turco, Senior Vice President of the Hadley School for the Blind, will discuss "Hadley School for the Blind Courses for Entrepreneurs." "Networking Opportunities for Vendors" will be the next topic. RSVA is redoing its constitution and bylaws. It will be read on Sunday and voted on at the business meeting Monday. A National Buying Program Update will be given before breaking for lunch.

RSVA is again sponsoring the NABS scholarship luncheon and invites all to purchase tickets for this great way to meet scholarship winners. A "What's Happening in BEP?" panel of vendors will follow lunch. We hope vendors from Nevada and elsewhere will update participants on their activities. Our next panel will focus on new technologies such as the iPad, iPhone, and Intel reader.

The next topic, "RSA Updates," will be covered by Suzanne Mitchell, VR program specialist, RSA. Our last program of the day will be a discussion on the latest Social Security initiatives. RSVA will hold an open mixer immediately following the Sunday night ACB session in the RSVA Suite for those purchasing tickets.

On Monday, July 11, RSVA will hold its awards luncheon. The RSVA business meeting will follow the luncheon.

The RSVA annual auction will be held Monday evening and is free for all to attend. A cash bar will be provided. We encourage all to stay and join us for our karaoke night as well. On Tuesday, July 12, there will be a RSVA affiliate presidents and board lunch in the RSVA Suite.

** Tennessee Convention in Nashville

The Tennessee Council of the Blind will hold its annual convention Aug. 26-28 at the Comfort Suites, 2521 Elm Hill Pike in Nashville. Room rates are $79 for a king suite and $89 for doubles, plus tax, per night. This includes a deluxe continental breakfast each morning. There is complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. Join us for a weekend filled with informative presentations, hands-on exhibits, a live auction, fun, good food and a heapin' helping of southern hospitality.

For more information, call Dan Dillon at (615) 874-1223 or e-mail him at dan.dillon@comcast.net. Y'all come!