A brief history of the Nevada Council of the Blind:
Created in 1972, the NCB lived for a short time in the Reno, Sparks, and surrounding area of Nevada. It achieved the status of a 501 c 3 organization in January 1974 and temporarily halted its activities in 1975. In 1977, the organization was given to Rick Kuhlmey for safekeeping as he lobbied for the blind in the Nevada State Legislature.
In early 1980, Kae Pohe was calling every blind and visually impaired individual in the state that could be found and he reached Rick. Kae was trying to get everyone involved in an effort to save the Bureau of Services to the Blind from being dissolved and the blind population being served under the general rehabilitation program. After the two met and talked, the organization in a box was mentioned and discussed. The NCB was reorganized. NCB has since focused on educational campaigns to raise awareness to the special needs of the blind and visually impaired in rehabilitation and to prove there is life after vision loss. NCB is an effective resource to guide and enable the blind and visually impaired residents of Nevada to attain their independence and to enjoy their lives after blindness.
In 1985 NCB was successful in negotiations to bring to Nevada the American Council of the Blind national convention and the response from the members resulted in the largest convention attendance in the history of ACB. In 2005, twenty years later, history repeated itself with NCB hosting the ACB national convention with, again, the largest attendance ever. It was estimated there were approximately 500 guide dogs also in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel and Casino at the convention. That convention saw the playing of Black Jack with Braille cards. This was the first time the Nevada Gaming Commission had allowed this. Then in 2011 the national convention of the ACB was held in Reno in the John Ascuaga Nugget Hotel and Casino. ACB will return to Nevada in 2014 when it holds its convention and conference in the Riviera Hotel and Casino again.
In the late 1980’s NCB established a scholarship award program to encourage and assist financially blind graduates of Nevada high schools to continue their secondary or vocational education.
In 2005, NCB lengthened its state convention by convening on Friday evening and still meeting during the day on the following day. To fill out the evening, NCB sponsored a ‘roundtable’ discussion after a brief business meeting. The purpose was to educate the public about issues faced by the blind community. The round table discussions have been lively and very successful in accomplishing their goal to provide a forum for open and free discussion.
In 2006 NCB worked with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to update the Driver’s License Handbook which increased the safety of the blind community and all pedestrians. The change NCB accomplished added a requirement for drivers to look to the right, as well as to the left, when proceeding to make a right turn after a stop. The change also set the stage for two additional questions being added to the Nevada Driver’s License Exam regarding the use of white canes.
In 2006 NCB applied for and received a grant to participate in the Centennial celebration of Las Vegas by hosting a “Come On Out And See Us” event. There were games, crafts, education booths, Goal Ball demonstrations, vendor demonstrations of accessible technologies for the visually impaired, entertainment and a visit from the City’s Mayor, Oscar Goodman. NCB showcased the history of blindness mileposts in Nevada and brought together, for the first time, all organizations of and for the blind in Southern Nevada for consumers to visit at one time. Since then NCB has participated with other organizations and government entities in producing "Vision Forum", an annual event to educate and enable the blind and visually impaired to more fully enjoy their lives. 2013 saw the eighth annual consecutive "Vision Forum" event.
The NCB received a membership growth award from ACB at the 2011 national conference and convention for having the largest growth of any affiliate. NCB achieved a seventy-six percent increase in membership the previous year.
In 2012 NCB was again honored at the ACB national convention and conference for achieving the largest growth of any affiliate both in the total of new members and in percentage of growth in the previous year.
In 2012 NCB launched a fundraising and awareness campaign offering six in one screwdriver/hammer tools for a donation. NCB was present in Pahrump at the Fourth of July event, and the Nye County fair. NCB also hosted a booth at the Clark County Fair in April of 2013. An interesting historical note here is that NCB's first fundraising effort in 1980 was through the offering of the screwdriver/hammer combination. The only difference is the current model of the screwdriver/hammer is coated with flowers, making it far more attractive.
In the day to day functioning of NCB, the organizations telephone is used constantly by individuals seeking information on available services and resources for the blind and visually impaired. The NCB is a completely volunteer organization and has no paid staff. The referrals are aided by the resource lists NCB has created specifically for those with vision impairment. These resource lists are shared with members and the public at meetings and on other occasions.
NCB, in conjunction with the Clark County Elections Department, has helped train poll workers in how to assist blind voters to ensure independent voting.
NCB provides Braille alphabet cards to the Clark County School District, and the public upon request; participates in Braille Literacy Month as well as Nevada Reading Week; and sponsors events to educate the fully sighted and not fully sighted community about blindness.
NCB is represented since early 2012 on the Nye County "Transportation Committee" working to bring a public transportation system to Pahrump. The input of the NCB Representative has brought about an awareness of the needs of the blind and visually impaired and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements that will save a great deal of time and effort later because what is being created is being done correctly.
NCB members participated in hosting the first audio description school in Nevada in April of 2013, with Joel Snyder, a professional Instructor with Audio Description Associates, LLC, hosting the event and doing a great job of teaching the skills needed to appropriately audio describe an event. The goal is to have properly trained describers available to serve when needed to make an event in Nevada accessible for those people who have lost the use of their eyesight.
A history of the Presidents of the Nevada Council of the Blind:
|Charles S. Burns||1972 - 1974|
|Rick Kuhlmey||1980 - Oct. 1984|
|David Krause||Oct. 1984 - Oct. 1990|
|Bettye Krause||Oct. 1990 - Oct.1991|
|David Kraue||Oct. 1991 - Oct. 1997|
|Carol Ann Ewing||Oct. 1997 - Oct 1998|
|Ed Newell||Oct. 1998 - Oct. 2001|
|Carol Ann Ewing||Oct. 2001 - Oct. 2009|
|Rick Kuhlmey||Oct. 2009 - Present|