by Cynthia Towers, ACB Convention Coordinator

It is hard to believe that in four short months we will be in Las Vegas for what is shaping up to be one of ACB's biggest and best conventions ever. It will be held July 2-9, 2005 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. The Riviera was the first high rise on the strip when it arrived in 1955. The board of directors along with the convention committee, some members of the BOP and several guests converged on Vegas the weekend of Jan. 20-23. The weather was great and we were treated to a wonderful welcome on that Saturday evening in the president's suite by Nevada Council of the Blind President Carol Ewing and members of the Nevada Council.

The board and staff were given a tour of the meeting space that ACB will be using this summer. The Capri meeting rooms are either numbers or letters -- no meeting room names. Meeting rooms 103 through 116 are located on the right as you enter the hallway past where registration and information will be. That is where 95 percent of our activities will be housed. The general session and exhibits as well as lettered meeting rooms are on the left side of the hallway. This prompted second vice president Mitch Pomerantz to call this oasis of meeting rooms the Isle of Capri!!! There are no turns in this area. Those candidates running for an office this year will not have to run to their caucuses at all because rooms are close to one another.

There is a second floor of meeting rooms, called skyboxes, accessible via stairs or elevator. There are just 12 of these rooms upstairs numbered in the 200s and will mainly house some of ACB's fixtures such as the Youth Activity Center, resolutions, constitution and bylaws and the like. Some receptions and other meetings will be placed there too.

Capri 101 and 102 are two large rooms located just before you arrive at the other meeting rooms. They will be great for larger meetings and luncheons. We will once again offer quick meal service for breakfast and lunch only. Breakfast items will be priced individually; boxed lunches will vary each day. In between times you can go to that area for snacks, coffee or use it as a meeting place. We plan to locate quick meals in a meeting room in the center of the Isle of Capri to make it easy to grab and go to your next session.

The Riviera has many restaurants, but with so many conventioneers planning to attend and with the hotel housing several other non-ACB guests (we will have about 850 of their 2,000 rooms), the board felt it would be good to offer this service once again. I personally would not make it through the week if it weren't for quick meals. However, the Riviera is not the largest hotel in Las Vegas. The MGM Grand is one of the world's largest hotel/casinos, with more than 5,000 rooms. It would take a person 13 years and eight months to sleep in every one of them and it would take 288 years for one person to spend one night in every hotel room in Las Vegas.

Speaking of sleeping, the rates for the Riviera are $77 per night for singles and doubles, $87 for triples and $97 for quads, plus a 9 percent tax. Those rates will be in effect from June 24 to July 13, 2005, so you can stay a good long while. Howard Hughes stayed at the Desert Inn so long the owners asked him to leave. He offered to buy the hotel and the owners sold, thus beginning his casino-buying spree. There will be plenty of slot machines that you will be able to use. Yes, the Riviera has converted some of its slot machines to the paperless type, but this amounts to about 30 percent. In the early days of the strip, the slot machine was initially a diversion for the women companions of male gamblers who were busy at the tables. Now slot machines typically earn 60 to 70 percent of a casino's take.

There will be so much to do in the evenings. Besides the great mainstays of ACB such as DVS movie night, the Showcase and the banquet, outside the Riviera is the world at your feet. The strip is very safe at night, but just as with any city, you need to take the same steps to keep yourself safe as when you are traveling anywhere.

ACB and its affiliates are in the process of setting their programming, speakers, times and events. Keep checking the web site at for up-to-date convention information. I am so excited about this coming convention as I am sure you are as well. I have heard from many of you with suggestions and questions. I look forward to making this convention one that will be favorably talked about for years to come. As always, if I can be of service, you can reach me at [email protected] or call me on my toll free line at 1-800-474-3029 extension 00. So, start checking those airfares and saving your quarters for the slots. I'll be seeing you soon.

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