2018 Conference Plans


By Tom Burgunder, PCB Conference Coordinator

Hello, everyone! It has been hot in Pittsburgh this week as I sit down to write this article. I hope you are thinking ahead and preparing to join us in Pittsburgh at our annual Conference and Convention, which begins on Thursday, October 18, 2018 and ends on Sunday, October 21, 2018. This year we will be meeting again at the Doubletree by Hilton Greentree, located at 500 Mansfield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15205. The room rate is $99 per night plus tax. Each room reserved by at least one PCB member will receive a subsidy of $10 per night. While you will be charged tax on the full overnight rate, the PCB subsidy will be debited from your final bill. To reserve your room, please call 800-222-8733. The local number for the hotel is 412-922-8400. This is very important!! Room reservations must be made by September 15, 2018 to guarantee the $99 overnight rate. After that date, the price goes up drastically. If you must arrive at the hotel a day before the conference starts, or if you wish to stay an additional day afterwards, you can do so at the same rate. When making your reservation, reference our group code: COB.

Check-in is at 3:00 p.m. When you check in, you will be given the most delicious warm chocolate chip cookie you could ever ask for! Uber, Lift, and regular taxi service are available in Pittsburgh to get you to and from the hotel.

Conference events begin on Thursday, October 18, 2018 when the PCB Board of Directors meets at 4:00 p.m. All are invited to attend. The packing of goodie bags will take place at 4:00 p.m. in a separate room. Chapters are strongly encouraged to bring a count of at least 150 small items to share with everyone in their goodie bags. Last year we received a nice cloth bag provided by the Carnegie Library that was packed with lots of great items. Goodie bag items should be mailed to me ahead of time or given to me by 3:30 p.m. on that Thursday afternoon. The registration desk will open at 5:00 p.m.

NavCog will be here again to provide indoor navigation assistance. Do you all remember those nice but persistent young men wishing to help us learn how to use the NavCog app?

The Thursday evening program begins with a greeting and update by our President, Susan Lichtenfels, followed by a presentation by Carnegie Melon University about Robotics. The evening program will continue with a first reading of bylaw amendments, a brief presentation from George Holliday and the Fund Development Team, announcements, and an interactive game opportunity.

Friday morning will start with a complimentary continental breakfast for all first-timers. Like last year, the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services will sponsor an employment seminar beginning Friday morning. It is intended to assist people of all ages. The audio darts event is on the schedule for novice and experienced darters alike. Yes, we are also planning a tour. We will visit the Senator John Heinz History Center and enjoy lunch at the museum.

Our Friday afternoon session starts at 2:00 p.m. We’ll hear from Joe Strechay, Director of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services. If you have any questions of him that are of a systemic nature (not case specific), please submit them ahead of time to me so that we can get them to him to assure he addresses those issues. We have lined up a local author to speak along with a representative from the Library for the Blind. There will be at least one breakout session after the general session featuring Lisa Salinger. She is going to describe and demonstrate two Braille displays that cost less than $500; the Orbit Reader and the Braille Me.

The busy Friday will conclude with our famous auction. Please generously donate items when solicited. Please come and share in the excitement of being the highest bidder.

Our Saturday morning program is not finalized yet. Our Vision Loss Resource Team has arranged for a presenter with expertise in disaster preparedness for people with disabilities. We’ll have a special Learn and Lead Luncheon hosted by the Organizational Development Team. After lunch we will have our usual business meeting with elections and such.

Saturday evening will begin with a cocktail hour when we will draw the winners for the various raffles. Our banquet will follow with our new awards presentation. the after-banquet entertainment is going to be special. Our President, Sue Lichtenfels, has written a play and it will be either as good as or better than the play the PCB actors put on for us in 2015.

Sunday morning, we will meet for breakfast and finalize our conference business. We will remember our members who have passed, act on resolutions, and hear the conference report. The Conference and Convention will adjourn at 11:30 a.m.

If there are any concerns, please contact me or any member of the Conference Program and Planning Team. The members are: Gigi Beatty, George Holliday, Chris Hunsinger, Susan Lichtenfels, Cathy Long, Rose Martin, Jeanette Schmoyer, Roberta Simmons, and Jackie Wissinger. You can write to me via regular mail to Tom Burgunder, Pendale Towers, 460 Washington Road, apt. ph5, Pittsburgh PA 15228; email me via tjburg@verizon.net; or call me at 412-502-6931.

Please check your emails, the PCB information line at 773-572-6314 and the next issue of The PCB Advocate for emerging details. The full conference schedule and registration information will be available in late summer. Please remember to make those hotel reservations by September 15 to guarantee our $99 rate. I hope to see all of you at our Annual State Convention in Pittsburgh.

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