by Rick Kuhlmey, Vice President

Hello from Nevada and the Nevada Council of the Blind. Founded in Reno in 1972 and having just celebrated its 32nd anniversary, NCB is stronger and livelier than ever. Nevada has been the fastest growing state in the nation since 1960. Presently, nearly 70 percent of the approximately 3 million people live in one of Nevada's 17 counties -- Clark County (Las Vegas). In this seventh largest state with 110,540 square miles, population centers outside of Clark County are sparse. The next largest population center is Reno and Carson City, some 479 miles from Clark County and Las Vegas. Think you have transportation problems? Imagine walking the 479 miles to Carson City. One member of NCB did just that in 1975, wearing 2 inches off his white cane in the 18 days of walking.

Given the distances involved in reaching out to Nevada's rural areas, NCB has begun a program of disseminating information through the library system. There are 92 libraries supporting Nevadans, therefore reaching more of our visually impaired that tend to stay home and just make do in our rural counties.

Education is a high priority for NCB because it leads to independence. The scholarship program is offered to visually impaired high school graduates continuing their education, be it at a university or a trade school. An effort is under way to procure grant funding to expand the program. After an unsuccessful attempt to hire a grant writer, members of NCB are now learning to write -- and writing -- grant applications themselves.

Another vital service NCB provides is assisting individuals who need eye exams, glasses and operations through NCB's Last Source Fund. Coordinating with other organizations to provide services broadens NCB's ability to assist in providing services.

To tie the membership together, NCB has "The Silver Banner," a quarterly publication devoted to local and state news. A visit to the NCB web site at fills in between editions. "The Braille Forum" brings national news from the American Council of the Blind. Telephone and computer e-mails allow constant day-to-day communication.

Through its legislative committee, the NCB is kept aware of matters affecting the blind and visually impaired at the state and federal levels. The membership by law is not allowed a voice in formulation of laws affecting them through lobbying. NCB is a 501(c)(3) organization and it must be careful in its lobbying and political activities. This is where networking with other organizations plays a role; NCB is very active with other groups.

Field trips are popular events. NCB members participate in educational and health fairs. NCB also sponsors booths in other towns around Nevada as time and money permit. The last trip to Goldfield for "Goldfield Days" was awesome. Goldfield was celebrating its 100th anniversary. NCB had a booth right on the main highway -- the main street of the town. The highway patrol shut down traffic on the only main road between Las Vegas and Reno for some two hours for the parade through Goldfield -- a distance of about a half mile. Boasting some 20,000 residents in its heyday, now there are maybe 350 hardy souls. Braille alphabet cards were handed out and visitors' names were brailled for them. It was a grand success. One of the NCB members, a Randolph-Sheppard vendor, even bought a gold mine at the tax auction held the day of the parade.

The NCB is a hub of information exchange. Many of the members are involved in other organizations. This is a tremendous asset for anyone seeking services and information. With such an active membership, problems are solved far more easily.

One board member revitalized the Blinded Veterans Association several years ago, serving as president until last year. She is now president of Nevada GEMS, a retired military ladies group and is active in other organizations. Several members are charter members of the Nevada Council of Blind Lions, which is the third Lions Club in the U.S. to be comprised principally of visually impaired individuals. Another board member has started an organization that does direct referral for needed services and has grown to have an office and volunteer staff. Two more board members are founders of the Purple Sage Chapter of the Red Hat Society. Yet another board member has founded a PAC through which the blind may be politically active and an organization geared to lobbying. These two organizations protect the 501(c)(3) status of the NCB and other organizations.

Other members are active in goalball. NCB supports goalball for youngsters with an active program in conjunction with the school district. Another member has put together a team of college-age young adults and coordinated a multi-state regional goalball tournament held in Las Vegas last December.

Las Vegas will be celebrating its 100th anniversary during 2005. NCB will be a part of it, as one of our board members obtained a grant to do an awareness day, titled "Come On Out and See Us," celebrating the history of the blind movement in southern Nevada.

Everywhere you go, NCB is there. We welcome you to "Come On Out and See Us" at the Riviera Hotel and Convention Center July 2-9, 2005.

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