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 quietly folded. In 1976, the organization was given to Rick Kuhlmey as he lobbied for the blind in the Nevada State Legislature, for safekeeping.
In early 1980, Kae Pohe was calling every blind and visually impaired individual in the state that could be found and he reached Rick. He was trying to get everyone involved in a fight 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 talked for a while, the organization in a box was mentioned and discussed. The NCB was reorganized shortly after and was the lead organization which saved the Bureau from being dissolved in the 1981 Legislative session. That Legislative battle included a state and nation wide coalition of the Nevada Council of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, the Nevada Association of the Deaf, the National Association of the Deaf and the Nevada Federation of the Blind.
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 2006 NCB worked with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to update the Drivers License Handbook which increased the safety of the blind community as well as drivers. The change 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 Drivers License Exam regarding the use of white canes.
In 2005, NCB lengthened its state convention by convening on Friday evening and still meeting Saturday. To fill out the evening, NCB sponsored a ‘roundtable’ discussion after a brief business meeting. This time has fulfilled its purpose to educate elected officials about issues faced to the blind community.
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. This event evolved into an annual event called “Vision Forum”.
In 1985 NCB was successful in negotiations for Nevada to host the American Council of the Blind convention, which resulted in the largest convention in their history of ACB to that point. Again in 2005, twenty years later, history repeated itself with NCB hosting ACB’s largest ever 2700 attendees and approximately 500 guide dogs in Las Vegas again. The 2011 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 it’s convention and conference in the Riviera Hotel and Casino again.
The NCB received an award from ACB during the 2011 national conference and convention for a seventy-six percent increase in membership the previous year.Presidents
- 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
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.
Traditionally during the bi-annual legislative sessions, NCB provides Braille alphabet cards to each legislator with their name in Braille on a separate card.