by Carla Ruschival

June 30 to July 7 are the official dates, and Minneapolis, Minn. is the place. The 2007 convention of the American Council of the Blind will fill the Hyatt Regency and the Millennium Hotels, located literally across the street from each other on Nicollet Mall.

The national convention committee has just completed several days of intense work in Minneapolis, and the local host committee is extremely well-organized and hard at work. Many details are already falling into place, and by next July ACB will be ready for one of the best national conventions ever!

Here are answers to some questions you've been asking:

The 24-story Hyatt will house two-thirds of the sleeping rooms. General sessions and exhibits will be on the first floor, across the hall from each other, and many break-outs and other activities will be on the second and fifth floors.

Across the street at the 14-story Millennium will be the remaining one-third of the sleeping rooms. Some meetings and events will also be housed there. The two hotels are connected by a skywalk on the second floor.

The hotels are in downtown Minneapolis, so you will be within easy walking distance of many restaurants and stores. The light rail stop is about seven blocks away, and there are lots of buses passing by all the time. It costs just 50 cents for people with disabilities to ride either the light rail or city bus. Taxi fare from the airport is about $28, plus an extra small fare for each additional passenger. The shuttle costs $16 per person.

As has been the case for the past several years, anyone wishing to reserve a suite must do so through ACB rather than the hotel. While there is certainly a sufficient number of suites to handle the average demand at a convention, the needs of special-interest groups must be met before other reservations are approved.

An afternoon scheduling change has been approved by the ACB board, effective with the 2007 convention. In 2006, 67 different groups scheduled over 350 meetings and events during convention week. Breakfasts started at 7 a.m., and lunches at 12:30. In an effort to try to eliminate some scheduling conflicts, special-interest groups and ACB committees (such as women's concerns and SASI) are being asked to complete their Monday through Thursday afternoon program meetings by 4:30 p.m. Focus groups will be scheduled between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Please note that this change DOES NOT affect mixers, receptions and other late afternoon/early evening events.

You can now make reservations directly with either the Hyatt or the Millennium. Room rates at the Hyatt are $81 (single/double) and $91 (triple/quad). Add $3 to each rate for the Millennium. Call 1-800-233-1234 for Hyatt reservations, or 1-800-522-8856 for the Millennium.

For questions about the convention, or to discuss arrangements for suites, contact Carla Ruschival at (502) 897-1472, or by e-mail at [email protected].

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